In order to remain beholden to the narrow ideology of Abolitionism, it is important to touch on the subject of its second tenet and what it means to be reliant on God’s Providence. It is important to discuss how such an endeavor is contrasted against the pragmatism of an unbelieving and perverted generation lost to its own statism.
“Achieving results, i.e., ‘getting things done’ in business and public affairs, is often said to be ‘pragmatic.’ There is a harsher and more brutal connotation of the term in which any exercise of power in the successful pursuit of practical and specific objectives is called ‘pragmatic.’ The character of American business and politics is often so described. In these cases ‘pragmatic’ carries the stamp of justification: a policy is justified pragmatically if it is successful.” (Encyclopædia Britannica)
In other words, the quintessential description of pragmatism is the idea that the ends justify the means without regard to crossing moral boundaries and compromising one’s principles. All political pursuit is therefore a pragmatic approach, necessitating that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. To even become a civil citizen, one must be a pragmatist, believing it acceptable to give up one’s essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety. Scripture has much to say on the subject of pragmatism and, more pointedly, about the myopic “wisdom” of men who walk by their own sight and follow their own machinations towards destruction.
Alternatively, the nature of relying on God’s Providence includes being beholden to righteousness and faith without concern or worry for the end result of one’s actions. This is not to say that Abolitionists do not make practical decisions and disregard entirely the consequences for their actions, but rather they realize that it is more important to be good and not compromise their goodness than it is to cheat in order to prosper. Because if you try to do good things while being bad, willing to sacrifice your character to reach a good end, then you lose any right to the good end you were ever fighting for. God notoriously blesses the righteous in spite of their ability and supplements the weak efforts of the faithful. There are numerous Biblical examples to express how this principle is a tenet held by the people of God.
“Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” (Joshua 6:1-5)
No doubt, the pragmatist approach to besieging a city in wartime might include a literal attack, or a waiting out of enemy provisions, or a midnight assassination of city officials, or even a parley with military captains to determine terms of surrender. But the method of laying siege to the city-state of Jericho included the Israelites foolishly marching around it in pageantry, but also in direct obedience to their God. And because they relied on His providence, and walked by faith, God used a miracle to display His power and simultaneously strip the socialist might of a pagan nation from their institutional superstitions, not only leveling the city, but making its people prostrate with humble reason to abandon their covetous, slothful, and self-defeating way of life.
In addition to the Battle of Jericho, God declared his efficacy as a Ruler of His people through Gideon, who was instructed to very narrowly and purposefully limit his militia to a mere three-hundred men in order to conquer the Midianites who far outnumbered them. It may not be prudent to list every example of how God’s Providence in scripture triumphs over obvious pragmatism, but it is necessary to express that there is actually an aspect of competing civil jurisdictions between two very different kinds of kingdoms (not to be confused with “two kingdom theology”) when it comes to obediently choosing to rely on God’s providence or to pragmatically choose to rely on the providence of false gods.
“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.
Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fail together.” (Isaiah 31:1-3)
No doubt that those who believe in the efficacy of human civil government will commit to mental gymnastics to make this passage exclusively about literal horses and literal chariots, in the same way that those who argue against the second amendment of the American Constitution might say that the weapons in question exclusively refer to muzzle-loaded, smoothbore firearms. The passage is actually a motif that is repeated all throughout scripture referring to the pragmatism of relying not only on the military might of human civil government for some feudalistic protection (“Protection draws to it subjection; subjection protection.” -Coke, Littl. 65.), but to any of the applications made to human civil government that bring the people into bondage. Other examples include, but are not limited to, socialist provision (Genesis 47:23-25) and perverted justice (Mark 7:9-13). It is no wonder that the characteristics of the relationship between the obedient and God are similar to, and perverted in, the relationship between the pragmatic and false gods (rulers of human civil government) which will be discussed into fuller detail shortly.
It is often the refuge of the statist to declare that the Bible condones the presence of human rulers by prooftexting that David was “a man after God’s own heart”. While that had been true at one point in his life, as an authoritarian bureaucrat inheriting Saul’s idolatrous institutions, David committed the same atrocities inherent to centralized human authority that even the statists of today complain about concerning their own authoritarian bureaucrats:
“Although Saul failed as the first king of Israel, his successor David, as a great warrior, was able to conquer much of the territory belonging to the Promised Land.
David’s son Solomon extended his sway until he put under tribute most of the area originally mentioned to Abraham [Gen 15:18] from the river of Egypt to the River Euphrates.” (Major Bible Themes: Revised Edition  Lewis Sperry Chafer)
This may seem like a victory for the position that Scripture condones human rulers as anything other than a judgment for sin. No doubt many statists believe in the efficacy of imperialism and would say that David and Solomon not only had a right, but a responsibility to take that which was promised by God to the descendents of Abraham by their own wills and military might. However, all throughout scripture, tribute is described as a wholly wicked and misfortunate thing: “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.” (Proverbs 12:24) Not only that, but Abraham notoriously spent his life rescuing civil slaves from living under tribute in accordance with the voice of God which consistently redeems the obedient from bondage, not subjecting them to it. If there is any more consistent confusion about whether the human kings over Israel were God’s original means to justify good ends, allow some more history to squash that notion:
“While the Hebrew judgment of David seems to be ambivalent, his accomplishments in his forty-year reign are undeniable. After centuries of losing conflicts, the Hebrews finally defeat the Philistines unambiguously under the brilliant military leadership of David. His military campaigns transform the New Hebrew kingdom into a Hebrew empire. An empire is a state that rules several more or less independent states. These independent states never fully integrate themselves into the larger state, but under the threat of military retaliation sent tribute and labor to the king of the empire.
Most importantly, David unites the tribes of Israel under an absolute monarchy. This monarchical government involved more than just military campaigns, but also included non-military affairs: building, legislation, judiciaries, etc. He also built up Jerusalem to look more like the capitals of other kings: rich, large, and opulently decorated. Centralized government, a standing army, and a wealthy capital do not come free; the Hebrews found themselves for the first time since the Egyptian period groaning under heavy taxes and the beginnings of forced labor.
It is the third and last king of a united Hebrew state, however, that turned the Hebrew monarchy into something comparable to the opulent monarchies of the Middle East and Egypt. The Hebrew account portrays a wise and shrewd king, the best of all the kings of Israel. The portrait, however, isn’t completely positive and some troubling aspects emerge.
What emerges from the portrait of Solomon is that he desired to be a king along the model of Mesopotamian kings. He built a fabulously wealthy capital in Jerusalem with a magnificent palace and an enormous temple attached to that palace (this would become the temple of Jerusalem). All of this building and wealth involved imported products: gold, copper, and cedar, which were unavailable in Israel. So Solomon taxed his people heavily, and what he couldn’t pay for in taxes, he paid for in land and people. He gave twenty towns to foreign powers, and he paid Phoenicia in slave labor: every three months, 30,000 Hebrews had to perform slave labor for the King of Tyre. This, it would seem, is what Samuel meant when he said the people would pay dearly for having a king.
…Groaning under the oppression of Solomon, the Hebrews became passionately discontent, so that upon Solomon’s death (around 926 to 922 BC) the ten northern tribes revolted. Unwilling to be ruled by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, these tribes successfully seceded and established their own kingdom. The great empire of David and Solomon was gone never to be seen again; in its place were two mighty kingdoms which lost all the territory of David’s once proud empire within [two] hundred years of Solomon’s passing.” (Jewish Virtual Library, The Monarchy, 1050-920 BC)
After giving an introduction to the effects of pragmatic human authority over “God’s chosen people”, now may be a good time to examine just how human rulers (false gods) over civil slaves inherently usurp, plagiarize, refract, and pervert the roles of God over free people:
Whereas God is Provider to his people, commanding them to provide for each other in a national network of charity, and miraculously supplementing that charity when it tallies shy of sustaining their whole nation, false gods maintain their own providence for their nation in a much more sinister way. Through taxation and socialist benefits. Pragmatism tempts a people that they should have one purse together, centralizing their economy by making each individual in their civil society contractually obligated to work for and pay for his neighbor’s welfare, allowing a bureaucracy full of greedy people to siphon out the wealth of society, inflating its currency, and bringing it to a moral and fiscal bankruptcy in a socialist gambit of pragmatism. While the God of good men makes much wealth out of a little charity, the gods of wicked men make much debt out of a little greed. The providence of these false gods is not merely summed up in distributing daily bread through direct welfare, but also ensuring that bread is affordable by providing a simulated “market”.
“The Roman diet was very dependent on grain. The average Roman adult male ate two pounds of wheat bread each day. While loaves of baked bread were available in the market, most evidence on prices that have come down to us refer to the standard measure for wheat, the modius (about two gallons). A modius would bake up into roughly 20 one pound loaves of bread so it would provide the needed bread for ten days. The Roman mind placed importance on a concept of ‘Just Price’ feeling wronged if grain was not available at this price (or less). Politicians and those who would be public benefactors could gain considerable status by insuring the availability of grain in the market even to the point of buying high priced grain and reselling it at a loss as a public service. In the early years of coinage, the ‘Just Price’ was about 4 asses per modius. By the time of Caesar it was 12 asses; under Nero it could be as much as 2 denarii (32 asses). These prices are really rather stable when compared to the inflation that the modern world has experienced during the century now ending. The wars of the third century resulted in an end of this stability frequently raising prices to levels where ordinary workers were reduced to near subsistence levels.” (Smith, Doug. “Buying Power of Ancient Coins.” Forum Ancient Coins, 2000.)
God is the heavenly Father who adopts the faithful into a literal, civil kingdom and secures them into a truly patriarchal adhocracy where biological fathers (pater familias) are meant to retain the equitable rights to their families and possessions and to redistribute the wealth of their estates through charity to other elders and their families in a network that sustains their free nation as God’s Kingdom. This description is inherent to being made in God’s image. False gods posit themselves as “Fathers of the earth” (Pater Patriae, Patronus, Conscripti Patri) who entice biological parents to give up the equitable rights to their children through birth registration, social security enrollment, patriotism, and other contracts for civil, socialist benefits like tax write-offs, protection, education, participation in false economies, and anything else they take for granted. These pragmatic benefits also ensnare the biological parents and bastardize biological children, remaking them in the image of false gods to become slaves to the civil Fathers of the Nation and their bureaucracies who have jurisdictional authority to their adopted children, or “citizens.”
The God of Heaven is a Protector to His people, foremost by instructing them to love their neighbors as themselves, and to supplement that brotherly love and mutual, sacrificial protection with miraculous providence. In God’s Kingdom, the people must participate in the Hue and Cry process for the apprehension of thieves or in the protection against invasion, realizing that the safety and security of the possessions of one member of the community is synecdotal for the integrity of the whole community. When the proverbial shofar is heard, the Posse comitatus selflessly assembles as a militia, willing to establish protection for even its most “insignificant” members. When those faithful to God assemble together, even if it is just two or more Providence-reliant individuals, then God may directly intervene on their behalf. There are many stories throughout Scripture of this occurring: from within lions’ dens, to repentant prostitutes, to prophets in the wilderness, to apostles in prison. The examples are exhaustive. In contrast, the pragmatism of looking for protection from false gods reveals how they endeavor to slowly strip away the ability for the people to protect themselves as free souls under God, but rather establish socialist provision for bureaucracies consisting of “protecting” agents ranging from policing precincts, to firefighting departments, to military might. This slippery slope invariably leads to what is commonly called “surveillance” and “police states.” False gods strip away the rights that men have to their labor through income tax in order to provide salaries for professional police and arbiters of protection. More aggressively, the false god takes
“your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.” (1 Samuel 8)
This, of course, describes a military draft into a standing army which is entirely unable to protect people from the very forces that have enslaved them into their military to begin with. This does not even begin to acknowledge the perverse effects that military service has on its willing participators. The pragmatism of worldly protection does not even establish any real protection at all, but only fascist fear-mongering oppression over the people.
“Here, again, we find the classic pattern of government bureaucratic power being used, not for the protection of the people as is its excuse for being, but for the aggrandizement of individuals holding that power and for the elimination of honest competition in the market place.
The voters approve one extension of government power after another always in the naive expectation that, somehow, they will benefit. But, in the end, they inevitably find themselves merely supporting a larger bureaucracy through increased taxes, paying higher prices for their consumer goods and losing one more chunk of personal freedom.
There are almost no exceptions to this rule, as will be obvious if one but reflects for a moment on the results of government entry into such areas of economic activity as prices and wages, energy conservation, environmental protection, health care and so on.
As the Frenchman, Frederic Bastiat, observed well over a hundred years ago, once government is allowed to expand beyond its prime role of protecting the lives, liberty and property of its citizens; once it invades the market place and attempts to redistribute the nation’s wealth or resources, inevitably it falls into the hands of those who will use it for “legalized plunder.” There is no better way to describe the governments of the world today — and the government of the United States is no exception.” (G. Edward Griffin. World Without Cancer)
God is the one Lawgiver and Judge of freemen, compelling them to keep their communities righteous instead of corrupt, productive instead of slothful, and charitable instead of covetous. He established natural and customary laws, and their non-statutory guidelines, thereby making a framework to unify a free community without taking away individual liberties. This is the essence of a capitalist society. Justice, in a free society, is also established ad hoc by consent of the people who know to correct each other through a process of personal and societal accountability. “The lex fundamentalis of natural law is the duty of every man, so far as in him lies, to strive that the welfare of human society in general be secured and maintained.” (Pufendorf: On the Duty of Man and Citizen: Introduction By Walther Schucking and translated by Herbert F. Wright.) The Biblical guidelines for this practice are commonly repeated, and fairly often, but go misunderstood by professing Christians who are already reliant on the providence of false gods. Early Christians under Christ’s tutelage were instructed to create a voluntary network of free societies, who were bound by charity. In this way they were free from relying on the pragmatic provision of false gods who acquired their contributions by force and taxation. When free people decided not to “even eat” with unrepentant sinners and “hand them over to satan,” this meant that they no longer included the unrepentant sinners in their networks of charity, and effectively kicked them out of their freewill welfare congregations, where they would either be forced to starve to death in their stubbornness, or to seek socialist benefits, and put on again the yoke of bondage provided by false gods and their civil citizenship. Punitive justice in a free society largely consists of excommunication through idiomatic “stoning” unto spiritual death as a result of exile. This is all that is needed in a society under God’s jurisdiction because he rules every man individually by writing His Law onto his heart and mind, and instructs the people not to rule over each other, but to serve each other, and only discontinue that service for people who refuse to be ruled by God and bear righteous fruit.
“In respect to the ground of the authority of law, it is divided as natural law, or the law of nature or of God, and positive law.
Positive Law is, “Law actually ordained or established, under human sanctions, as distinguished from the law of nature or natural law, which comprises those considerations of justice, right, and universal expediency that are announced by the voice of reason or of revelation…” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary)
Positive law, therefore, is an example of pragmatism, consisting of man-made, civil sanctions authorized by false gods who must write their statutes on hearts of stone which belong to a people who refuse to walk by faith, but choose to dismiss their community ethics and outsource their social virtues and the weightier matters of God to authoritative bureaucracies. “The civil law reduces the unwilling freedman to his original slavery; but the laws of the Angloes judge once manumitted as ever after free.” ( Co. Litt. 137) The presence of civil law is evidence of bondage. This is a noteworthy fact considering that most of what passes for civil law provided by false gods is actually “contract law” and includes the enforcement of those contracts created by vows, and by applying for legal citizenship, legal titles to property and legal relationships to community. That enforcement ranges from fines (generic financial restitutions to be placed into the coffers of false gods to “avenge society”), to imprisonment (which reduces the productivity of the criminal and keeps him in suspended animation that increases his fiscal debt), to a literal death penalty (which most often is applied hypocritically in false convictions to innocent suspects). The horrors of the pragmatism of legal and judicial systems of worldly kingdoms are only made even more muddy in a bureaucratic quagmire for those who endeavor to reconstruct civil law in a quixotic attempt to codify their interpretations of God’s law into positive law. This invariably would compromise the laws of nature, twist them into something unnatural, and make a mockery of God’s intention for a free society by continuing to place His commands under the jurisdiction and scrutiny of false gods. This, too, is bondage. Just bondage falsely christianized because, in every single instance, civil law is the law men establish for themselves. Foolishly trying to make one’s interpretation of God’s Law into civil law is the definition of moving away from what’s actually lawful towards establishing legalism.
“But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” (Isaiah 28:13)
When people in bondage have been given over to debased minds because they wish to be governed and ruled by the glory of false gods instead of remaining as free souls under the glory of the one, true God, they become confused and blinded about many things, but especially about the meaning behind God’s word. Taking his name in vain, they seek to use their interpretations of it to exercise authority over each other through the socialism of democracy. God’s word therefore becomes a stumbling block to them, breaking them, and so they ensnare themselves by looking to be ruled by and to rule over each other, and are taken into bondage simply because they look to legislative fathers to write a perversion of God’s laws onto hearts of stone instead of allowing God to write His true laws onto hearts of flesh. They look to pagan gods to punish their fellow man because they lack the diligence to maintain a righteous society and let God punish the evildoer.
God is the Savior of the people delivering them from the maladies of famine, being orphaned, invasion, and lawlessness through the means mentioned in the above paragraphs, but the most noteworthy aspect of salvation by God is from the spiritual and jurisdictional bondage that the people experience after they look to false gods to be their saviors. Repeated throughout scripture are examples of those who profess to be God’s people selling themselves into bondage through covetousness for socialist provision, or through sloth in failing to maintain a society strong enough to elude invasion, conquering, and capture, and therefore acquire for themselves a civil slavery that lasts from generation to generation until, eventually, God steps in and redeems the people who might better appreciate His mercy and provision after having experienced generations of bondage.
“Redemption is deliverance from the power of an alien dominion and the enjoyment of the resulting freedom. It involves the idea of restoration to one who possesses a more fundamental right or interest. The best example of redemption in the Old Testament was the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, from the dominion of the alien power in Egypt.” (Zondervan’s Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible)
This sort of salvation and mercy of God is not exclusive to the Old Testament. God even sent his Son, who was born a freeman, was recognized as the rightful King of Judea, and established a kingdom for free men, and died a martyr’s death by regicide, in order to secure for him a people who would not be subject to the kingdoms of the Pax Romana and the kingdoms modeled after the Roman political world. We have written about this extensively here. And also here. The Kingdom of God, then, is a refuge for repentant sinners, saved by grace from the civil laws of ruling men, through faith in a God who replaces the civil yokes of taxation and judicial liability with a lighter yoke of charity and God’s Law.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances [man-made laws] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers [bureaucratic rulers], he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
It is popular but dead churchian tradition to make this passage about God’s laws being blotted out on the cross, even though the rest of the New Testament still describes God’s Law as a good thing. This is because churchians remain in the same bondage experienced by Jews of Christ’s generation and have not yet received the salvation bestowed upon the Christians of Christ’s generation. They believe that their bondage is part of their Christianity, unable to grasp any sense of liberty beyond their normalcy bias. This is because churches, seminarians, and laymen believe the same sophistry about scripture as the Pharisees did, and are just as incorporated by pagan governments under false gods as was the temple of Herod in Jerusalem. Their confusion about the real meaning of most of scripture starts right there.
“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” (John 8:34-38)
“Whereas the Providence which has guided our whole existence and which has shown such care and liberality, has brought our life to the peak of perfection in giving to us Augustus Caesar, whom it filled with virtue for the welfare of mankind, and who, being sent to us and to our descendants as a savior, has put an end to war and has set all things in order.” (Priene calendar inscription; 9 B.C.)
The emperor was repeatedly called “the savior of the world” and “the savior of the inhabited earth.” Further salvific rhetoric in Rome regarding “manumission” (setting captives free) included the mercy of turning chattel slaves into the “adopted sons” of government officials. However, this “freedom” unfortunately merely meant that those chattel slaves were being delivered into a civil bondage no different than the people of the world experience today. Chattel slaves in Rome could be “freed” by the grace of their civil fathers (patronus) to become their clients (voting constituents and jurisdictional servants) and plebeians (civil slaves). The “saviors” of human civil government promised the people freedom, but it was not the “freedom indeed” as Christ’s Gospel came to elucidate. This bait and switch about “freeing” chattel slaves into civil bondage is not unfamiliar to modern societies, as we have touched on here.
“The Fourteenth Amendment uses the word ‘citizens’ as a word denoting membership, as opposed to the former use of the word, which denoted merely an inhabitant. This is not to say that there was not citizenship of the United States prior to the amendment, for there surely was. The Fourteenth Amendment was an across-the-board offer of citizenship as a member of the United States Federal Government.” (The Covenant of the Gods, Citizen vs. Citizen)
It is not uncommon for caste systems to have social means for the members of its lowest class to navigate a step or two up the social ladder, or pyramid, or ziggurat. After all, the more citizens there are, the more of the socialist debt there is to spread around which stymies the inevitable economic collapse of society. “Freeing” slaves in 19th century United States unto the civil bondage of American citizenship is no exception. However, manumission is not the only way that false gods practice a pragmatic “salvation” of the people. A far more convenient method has always been one of imperialism.
It was during the Hasmonean civil war that Queen Salome created the Sanhedrin which included giving the Pharisees both legislative ability and judicial authority in a rabbinical council over Judea. They eventually used this power to invite the foreign imperialists of Rome to play arbiter between the Hasmonean dispute for the Judean throne and to decide which of the competitors was the rightful heir. History tells us that this adulterous cry for help was the invited foot-in-the-door for Rome’s occupation of Judea, justifying their resulting perpetual involvement by their obligation and national interest in defending their decision with military might and political input. In this way, the people of Judea looked to the false gods of Rome for pragmatic “salvation” from the self-destruction of civil war and political implosion. That salvation shattered the national sovereignty of the Jewish nation and made them pragmatic participators in an imperialistic one world government.
The common theme of these examples of the dichotomy between relying on God’s Providence and pragmatically relying on the providence of human civil magistrates is simple: One cannot possibly make a deal with the Devil and expect to succeed in any discernible way. Human civil governments who wield the double-edged sword of authority, covetousness, and compromised morality all belong to Satan, and they do not wield that sword in vain. Anybody who desires to live by that sword, will die by it, finding themselves effortlessly split in twain in the same bitter irony that corrupted King Saul into insanity and only ever brought the nation of Israel into bondage over and over again throughout Biblical history. However, it is the Abolitionist imperative to remain set apart and unstained from that world; to rely on God’s providence and keep themselves to the narrow strategy passed down from King Christ. As for the pragmatists who are beholden to cumbersome and self-defeating political pursuits, preach to them the Gospel of reconciliation, and, if necessary, dust off your feet and let the dead bury the dead.
Following is a pretty firm lesson in what it means to rely on God’s Providence and not rely on one’s own understanding, from the 29th chapter of The Ill-Made Knight:
‘”What was the third trial?”
“They got worse as they went. In the third trial a man came to him dressed as a priest, and told him that there was a lady in a castle nearby who was doomed to death unless Bors made love to her. This supposed priest pointed out that he had already sacrificed the life of his own brother— that was me—by wrongly choosing to help the maiden, and that if he did not sin with the new lady now, he would have a second life on his conscience. I ought to have mentioned that the two knights left me for dead, and Bors found me apparently dead, and he had taken my body to an abbey for burial. Of course, I recovered later.
“Well, the lady appeared in the castle—as stated by the feigned priest—and she confirmed the story. She said that there was a magic which would make her die for love, unless my brother was good to her. Bors now realized that he must either commit mortal sin and save the lady, or refuse to commit it and let her die. He told me afterwards that he remembered some bits out of the penny catechism, and a sermon which was once given when there was a mission at Camelot. He decided that he was not responsible for the lady’s actions, while he was responsible for his own. So he refused the lady.”
“That was not the end of it. The lady was dazzlingly beautiful, and she climbed to the highest keep of her castle, with twelve lovely gentlewomen, and she said that if Bors would not stop being so pure, they would all jump off together. She said she would force them to do so. She said that he only had to have one night with her—and why need it not be fun?—for the gentlewomen to be saved. All twelve of them shouted out to Bors, and begged him for mercy, and wept for dole.
“I can tell you my brother was in a quandary. The poor things were so frightened and so pretty, and he only had to stop being obstinate to save their lives.”
“What did he do?”
“He let them jump.”
“Shame!” cried the Queen.
“Oh, they were only a collection of fiends, of course. The whole tower turned up-so-down and vanished immediately, and it turned out that they had been fiends all the time, including the priest.”
“I suppose the moral is,” said Arthur, “that you must not commit mortal sin, even if twelve lives depend upon it. Dogmatically speaking, I believe that is sound.”
“I don’t know what the dogma is, but I know it nearly turned my brother’s hair grey.”‘ (The Once and Future King by T H. White)