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if he were
us of the size of
say, enabled to get any insight into the nature of modern wars.
It must certainly strike him, if he were to see a number of such diminutive persons chasing one another in bodies over different parts of the hills and valleys of the earth, and following each other in little nut-shells as it were upon the ocean, as a very extraordinary sight, and as mysterious, and hard to be explained. He might at first consider them as occupied in a game of play, or as migrating for more food, or for a better climate. But when he saw them
and fight, and destroy one another, and was assured that they were actually engaged in the solemn game of death, and this at such a distance from their own homes, he would wonder at the causes of these movements, and the reason of this destruction; and, not knowing that they possessed rational faculties, he would probably consider them as animals destined by nature to live upon one another.
I think the first question he would ask would be, And from whence do these fightings come? It would be replied, of course, that they came from their lusts ;—that these beings, though diminutive in their appearance, were men ;-that they had pride and ambition ;-that they had envy and jealousy ;-that they indulged also hatred, and malice, and avarice, and anger ;-and that on account of some or other of these causes they quarrelled and fought with one another.
Well:—but the Superior Being would say, Is there no one on the earth, which I see below me, to advise them to conduct themselves better ; or are the passions you speak of eternally predominant and never to be subdued? The reply would of course be, that in these little beings, called men, there had been implanted the faculty of reason, by the use of which they must know that their conduct was exceptionable, but that in these cases they seldom minded it. It would also be added in reply, that they had a religion, which was not only designed by a Spirit from heaven, who had once lived amongst them, but had been pronounced by him, as efficacious to the end proposed ; that one of the great objects of this religion was a due subjugation of their passions ; and this was
so much insisted upon, that no one of them was considered to have received this religion truly unless his passions were subdued. But here the Superior Being would inquire, whether they acknowledged the religion spoken of, and the authority from whence it came. To which it would of course be replied, that they were so tenacious of it, notwithstanding their indulgence of their passions, and their destruction of one another, that you could not offend them more grievously than by telling them that they did not belong to the religion they professed.
It is not difficult to foresee what other questions this Superior Being would ask; and probably the first of these would be, the duration of the lives of these little beings, and the length and frequency of their wars. It would be replied to these, that their lives were but as a vapour, which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away, and that a quarter and sometimes half of their time on earth was spent in these destructive pursuits. Their Superior Being would unquestionably be grieved at this account, because he would feel that they really frustrated their own happiness, or that they lost
by their own fault a considerable portion of the enjoyinent of their lives.
In this impatience and anxiety for their future comfort he would probably ask, again, if they had any notion of any generous end, for which they were born; for it is impossible they could suppose that they came into the world to destroy one another. It would be replied, that they could not be ignorant of the true object or end; for the same religion, in which they believed, and which was said before to have been given them by a Spirit sent from heaven, inculcated, that they were sent there on a life of trial, and that in a future existence they were to give an account of their conduct, and were to be rewarded or punished accordingly. The same religion, it would be replied also, inculcated, notwithstanding their fightings, the utmost benevolence from one towards another. It wished so much every one of them to live peaceably, that it enjoined it as a duty rather to put up with an injury than to resent it, and it carried its benevolence so far, that it made no distinction between others of the same species, who spoke
a different language, or lived in other districts or parts of the same world.
But here the Superior Being would interrupt. What! he would say, Are they not to resent injuries, and yet do they go to war? And are they not afraid of fighting in this manner, when they are to give an account of their conduct in a future state ? It would be replied, No. They have their philosophers among them; and most of these have determined, that in this particular case responsibility lies at the door of those, who employ them. But, notwithstanding this, there are others living among them, who think otherwise. These are of opinion, that they, who employ them, cannot take the responsibility upon themselves without taking it from those, whom they thus employ. But the religion of the Great Spirit no where says, that any constituted authorities among them can take away
the responsibility of individual creatures; but, on the other hand, in the most positive terms, that every individual creature is responsible wholly for himself. And this religion does not give any creature an exemp: