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Yet Titus far from being condemned for exceptional cruelty, was applauded by his contemporaries as a most benevolent ruler. He was called the Delight of the Human Race, and the monument commemorating his victories and triumphant entry into Rome, exists to this day. The author of the “ Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' with his usual bias, concurs in this favorable verdict, remarking that “under the mild administration of Titus, the Roman world enjoyed a transient felicity," and that his memory was beloved by his subjects. But in the light of the atrocities sanctioned or tolerated by Titus, it is difficult to explain why even Gibbon should pass so warm a eulogy on the Roman general. A Christian leader with a similar record would surely have been painted in more sombre colors by the English historian.
Contrast the treatment of the Jews under Titus with the conduct of General Grant toward the conquered Confederate States. Both generals were engaged in a civil war. Judea was as much an integral part of the Roman Empire as the Southern States were of the Federal Union. Its inhabitants appealed to the clemency of Titus as forcibly as the vanquished States appealed to the magnanimity of the Northern general. Yet Grant in allowing the Southern leader with his officers and men to return home after the surrender at Appomattox Court House, was not particularly praised for his humanity. Imagine General Lee with his surrendered army led in chains through the streets of Washington, and the victorious troops bearing aloft the confiscated treasures of Southern homes and sanctuaries! Imagine also a monument erected in Washington by the enslaved prisoners of the Confederacy to commemorate the victories of General Grant! Would not such a spectacle be revolting to the feelings of the whole country, and would not the American people protest against such a humiliation inflicted on their conquered brethren ?
1 Vol. I., Chap. 3.
The Roman and the American general each acted up to the spirit of the time in which he lived. Titus in exterminating a race, was obeying the sentiment of Pagan cruelty. Grant in sparing the vanquished, was reflecting the humanity of Christian civilization.
But it is by comparing the conduct of the same nation towards its enemies before and after its conversion, that we can form a more correct idea of the restraining influence of the Gospel. The moderation with which the newly-converted English used their victories in Wales, is in pleasing contrast with their former inhumanity towards the people of that country, and is an eloquent tribute to the humanizing influence of Christianity: “The evangelical precepts of peace and love," says Freeman, “ did not put an end to aggressive conquests, but they distinctly humanized the way in which war was carried on. From this time forth the never-ending wars with the Welsh cease to be wars of extermina
tion. The heathen English had been satisfied with nothing short of the destruction and expulsion of their enemies; the Christian English thought it enough to reduce them to political subjection. . The Christian Welsh could now sit down as subjects of the Christian Saxon. The Welshman was acknowledged as a man and a citizen and was put under the protection of the law.” 1
Under the benign influence of Christianity, not only are conquered nations shielded from the penalty of death and from the degradation of slavery, but every contrivance which humanity and science can invent, is employed to mitigate the sufferings, of the sick and wounded and prisoners of war. Hospitals, hospital-nurses, medical purveyors, ambulance corps, and exchange of prisoners are expressions familiar to modern warfare. I do not think that such terms are ever met in the military annals of Paganism.
Montesquieu pays the following just tribute to the successful efforts of Christianity in mitigating the barbarities of war: “When we place before our eyes the massacres committed by Greek and Roman chieftains, the populations and cities destroyed by them, the ravages of Timur, and Genghiskhan, who devastated Asia, we shall see that we owe to Christianity, for the right of nations in war, a debt of gratitude which human nature cannot sufficiently repay.'
1 Hist. of the Norman Conquest, Vol. I., pp. 33–34. Esprit des Lois, Liv. XXIV., Chap. III.
Candor compels us to admit that Christian generals have too often been guilty of deeds of cruelty and inhumanity to a fallen foe. But these instances are exceptions to the rule. These cruelties were perpetrated in contests usually aggravated by religious strife, and they have been condemned by the judgment of Christendom. We may well conclude in the words of Thomas Arnold, of Rugby: “Wars between independent states in the ancient world were far more frequent than now, and produced a far greater amount of human misery.".
THE INFLUENCE OF PAGANISM ON HUMAN
At the dawn of Christianity, slavery was univer-sal. Although some Pagan philosophers, like Seneca, declared that all men are by nature free and equal, still by the law of nations slavery was upheld in every country on the face of the earth; and it was an axiom among the ruling classes that “the human race exists for the sake of the few.” Aristotle maintained that no perfect household could exist without slaves and freemen, and that the natural law, as well as the law of nations, makes a distinction between bond and free. Even Plato avowed that every slave's soul was fundamentally corrupt, and that no rational man should trust him.3
The proportion of slaves to freemen varied, of course, in different countries, though usually the former were largely in excess of the free population. In Rome, for three hundred and sixty-six years, from the fall of Corinth to Alexander Severus, the
* Legg. VI., p. 277.
1 The Gentile and the Jeu, II., 265. Polit. I., 3.