1868.]            Jewish Wars as Precedents for Modern Wars.             119

then, is another cause of war held sufficient by all the modern
defenders of war, but proved entirely insufficient by the very
preccdents to which they appeal.
   It may be objected to the argument, from these cases of invasion
and insurrection, that the Jews were forbidden to resist the
former because they had sinned against God and deserved to be
punished ; and that Rehoboam was forbidden to resist the latter
because, as the prophet told him, "this thing is from the Lord."
But this explanation only confirms our previous conclusions, for it
shows that a justifying cause for war, under the Jewish economy,
had to be found in some circumstance entirely distinct from the
conduct of the parties toward each other. In the absence of that
other circumstance, neither invasion nor insurrection, however
unprovoked they might be, could justify an appeal to arms.
   If the justifying circumstance referred to, in case of invasion,
were the innocence of the invaded party, so that when they were
conscious of no guilt in the sight of God they might repel an
invasion, this would not enhance the practical value of the prece-
dent for modern nations, for there is no nation free from sin
against God, or undeserving of punishment at his hand, and
therefore there could still be no resistance to invasion under this
precedent. And if, in case of insurrection, the question of resist-
ance depended upon the further question, whether or not the
insurrection were "from the Lord," no insurrection could, in
modern times, be suppressed; for God has ceased to inform men
what insurrections are from him, and men are now able to know
it only by the result. If an insurrection is successful, men are apt
to conclude that it is from the Lord; but if it fails, they pro-
nounce it from the devil. This is rather a superficial method of
judging; for God might accomplish good by an unsuccessful in-
surrection, as a successful one might subserve the purposes of the
devil; but granting its correctness, it leaves nations utterly un-
able to know at the outset of a given insurrection whether it is
from God or not, and therefore the precedent binds them to
non-resistance. This is unquestionably true, unless God, in the
New Testament, has given some standard by which we may know
whether given insurrection and invasions are sanctioned by him.

      previous page                               next page