The Responsibility of Self-Defense

The Responsibility of Self-Defense

“All evil do I accredit to you: therefore do I desire of you the good. I have often laughed at the weaklings, who think themselves good because they have crippled paws!” (Friedrich Nietzsche, [1960]. Thus Spake Zarathustra. Modern Library.)

When it comes to the topics of self-defense, defense of others, or just of answering the question, “When is it okay to exercise some idea of force or violence?,” those who believe themselves to be Christians typically take one of two complete opposite positions. Between their prooftexts, historical license, and logical blind spots however, both camps seem to be evenly assured of their position. The non-resistant pacifists on one side tend to argue that there is never an acceptable time to exercise self-defense or defense of others, citing the ideas that doing so is “vengeance” which “belongs to God only,” or that Jesus mentions that his followers should not “resist an evil person.” On the other side of the debate are the Constitutionalists declaring that violence and force are warranted, not only for self-defense and the defense of others, but especially for political revolution against tyranny after it becomes a normative experience at some point for these proponents to have begun to “cry out” in complaint against their realized civil bondage. On a purely philosophical level, the two ideas are polarized, but when it comes to working out these positions practically, they might as well be the same.

Where the pacifists may decry all forms of violence in a self-righteous pietism, the comfort which allows them such opinions is protected by socialist institutions who are funded by the threat of violence through the redistribution of public funds. They are not in a position to need to defend themselves or their neighbors (or be defended by them) because they are already being defended by socialist institutions, because they have been slothfully and covetously living at their neighbors’ expense. They may profess to “love their enemy” so much that they are unwilling to do no direct violence to a tortfeasor even though they are already doing violence-by-proxy to their neighbor. On the flip-side of the coin, the person itching for revolution against their government in some assumed position of rightful self-defense against the tyrants of their own making, is already guilty of outsourcing his responsibility to keep the weightier matters of God’s Law to the socialist institutions of administrations that necessarily engage in violence through taxation and corrupt power. Their demand for revolution is a tantrum against the consequences for their own actions. They created a golem to do their bidding against their neighbor, and are now endeavoring to defend themselves against it since their neighbor as turned that civil monster around against them.

Unfortunately, voicing simple logic and exposing already obvious hypocrisy are not enough to exhaust all the necessary points on this subject matter. If it were, maybe the topic could be concluded this early in the endeavor. To attempt cover all the bases however, this article will venture to also address many of the scriptural prooftexts used to dismiss the responsibility for freemen to act in self-defense and defense of others when warranted, and to lay the groundwork for why we should be discussing self-defense as a responsibility before discussing it as a right or, in the case for subject citizens of idolatrous nations, as a privilege.

Beat Swords into Plowshares

“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. (Isaiah 2:3-9)

Sometimes taken out of context as a soundbite to favor a blanket condemnation of armaments, this phrase from Isaiah’s prophecy does not refer to self-defense, or the defense of others at all, but rather to a future where a peculiar people who have learned to obey God’s Law, take His Kingdom-model in a Great Commission to all of the people-groups in the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all the things God has commanded them. In response, these people-groups, formerly in competition that was institutionalized into covetous bureaucracy and imperialist warfare, will repent and seek cooperation by providing for each other with the fruits of their self-sacrificial labor through a system of charity. Plowshares and pruninghooks are a symbol of a freeman’s first capital: his labor. The purpose of relating such symbols to the context of a kingdom of peace represents a freeman’s first responsibility: the Dominion Mandate. Men who abandon God’s Law and injunction to work the land and enjoy its rewards will invariably, through some combination of sloth and covetousness, find themselves in civic flesh pots of collectivist societies built on mutual surety and debt, eventually requiring them to go to war with other collectivist societies to take their resources in order to stave off their own impending bankruptcy into weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The verses following this prophecy describe such societies, highlighting the wayward nation of Jacob as a contemporaneous example: they have committed to the twisting of scripture and preached the efficacy of tax-funded human institutions to secure society, and have bonded themselves to foreign governments for socialist provision, either by subject citizenship or by treaty, and have received such benefits at the expense of that nation’s children as social security collateral. Part of the appeal of binding their society in contracts, entitlements, and taxation is that they accumulated much wealth to fund a cavalry by which to outsource their national defense. They also formed central banks with their wealth, which invariably leads to peripheral political institutions that they have compelled each other to serve. As such, the people outsourced their responsibilities to perform the weightier matters to their civil institutions thereby “making the word of God to none effect.” Through covenanting with false gods, they compelled each other to pay for the forceful policies of authoritarian benefactors.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12) The force mentioned by Christ here echoes the swords of pagan nations who, like the Pharisees, institutionalize the weightier matters into ineffective bureaucracies and, like the Zealots, seek to commit to insurgency against existing power centers in bloody revolt to attempt regime change. Ever since the people of backsliding free Israel asked for a king in 1 Samuel 8, the “kingdom” has only known violence in contradiction to God’s plan. Each king was more oppressive than the one before it, until half of Israel seceded from the other before suffering more violence by going under the authority of rulers of other nations. This self-defeating desire for institutional force and violence eventually lead to the Pharisees requesting Pompey to come to Israel to end its civil war and decide for it another king. Naturally, this military occupation lead to the Zealots retaliating with their own force in insurgency.

In fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus says to these groups, and groups like them: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:43) The nation of the early Christians, in receiving this kingdom, idiomatically beat these institutional swords of bureaucratic force into adhocratic plowshares of charitable provision to remodel society entirely, where every man was his brother’s keeper and, through individual responsibility, exercised the weightier matters of the Law through faith, hope, and charity, never needing to covet the power centers at all, but diligently worked both the land and the community to provide a kingdom built on free-will service and self-sacrifice. To get to the point, they chose to protect themselves and each other directly, out of this brotherly love, with literal swords if necessary, rather than look to human civil government to provide protection by forcing their neighbor to pay for its provision. If the people of free Israel were willing and diligent to maintain society out of direct action and adhocratic congregation, like protect their neighbors lives and property as though they were their very own, then they never would have found themselves on this long, wide path leading them under oppressive institutions that inspire weak men to rebel against them in bloodshed.

Sermon on the Mount

Christ’s sermon at Eremos, containing many pithy aphorisms and injunctions, includes some statements commonly misunderstood to support the idea that Jesus forbade self-defense and the defense of others. While we have addressed many of its saying elsewhere, perhaps here is a worthwhile place to address these:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-49)

It seems to be a common tactic among professing pacifists to conflate vengeance with self-defense and to project that intellectual dishonesty onto Christ’s words here. The idiom regarding “an eye for an eye” is therefore often taken to refer to literal violence and direct retaliation even though it is actually describing a popular institutional philosophy of executive justice, extending even to the concept of the death penalty. Talion, from the Roman lex talionis, did sometimes include the concept of “bodily injury for bodily injury” in more ancient cultures, but the phrase is a synecdoche for any court-ordered redress of grievances against a defendant brought to court, covering the destruction of property and monetary compensation or some other loss of value, accidental or otherwise. Christ’s proscription against retaliation in this context is not a condemnation of self-defense, but of the “tit-for-tat” mentality resident to authoritarian courts where defendants and plaintiffs sue and counter-sue each other in state-sponsored vengeance. The initiation of this kind of culture happens with the self-justification that allows one to imagine that they can receive government benefits at their neighbor’s expense just because their neighbor has received government benefits at their own expense. But Jesus says that if you will not forgive your debtors, God will not forgive you. This same explanation about self-defense also applies to the idea of “turning the other cheek.” A slap to the face (at least among less emasculated men) cannot be said to be violence, but rather humiliation. A backhanded slap is the only way to strike someone on the right cheek with your right hand. Such a blow connotes an insult requiring a retaliatory taunt, not a fistfight, and has always been a common way to express contempt, or even a reprimand over someone in a lower social caste.

This lesson is further expounded upon in the injunction to “resist not evil” in refraining from civil retaliation when subject citizens of pagan nations take free men in God’s Kingdom to their pagan courts for whatever reason. To make these sentiments about self-defense is to misunderstand that Christ is speaking on a specific method of “resistance” which is retaliatory, referring to the same force, warfare, and institutionalism that are themselves evil. Voting or electing magistrates “in self-defense” is evil because outsourcing the concept of “self-defense” to socialist institutions only legitimizes the original use of them against you in pragmatism. However, direct “violence” against unwarranted aggression towards an innocent person cannot be said to be “evil,” but rather a righteous display of the weightier matters. The context of the rest of Christ’s sayings do not indicate that he is referring to bad men in the heat of direct violence amongst a free society, but rather political enemies who use institutions for their own greed and insatiable appetite. It is to this topic of pagan bureaucracies that scripture always explicitly speaks against vengeance.

“For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” (Deuteronomy 32:32-35)

Sodom and Gomorrah, like all socialist societies, redistributed “intoxicating” socialist benefits, often including even literal wine. For these benefits to be associated with “gall,” and “bitter” “poison,” and “venom,” is to reveal them to be harvested at the expense of their consumer who likes the promise of welfare until he realizes that it is just bait on the hook of subject citizenship, making his unpaid labor the bait for another consumer’s hook. Self-destructive communities that redistribute benefits through the force of taxation incur the vengeance of God therefore, and usually through the eventual ouroboros of fiscal and moral bankruptcy that leads to the weeping and gnashing of teeth of social collapse.

“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)

The early Christians, under the jurisdiction of Heaven and free from the civil jurisdictions and socialist practices of the idolatrous Romans, still lived among them as free inhabitants and unfortunately received their jealous persecutions for the sake of the Gospel. As such, they were often encouraged to bear each other’s emotional burdens in addition to their financial ones. It is to these institutional persecutions that Paul speaks of overcoming evil with good, and not with mimicked evil. The purpose of living among them is echoed in the purpose of not retaliating against their knee-jerk convictions: to preach a consistent message of reconciliation with the double-edged sword of truth as an agitating weapon to separate civil slaves from their socialist and institutional addictions. To do good to these political enemies, like the Good Samaritan did, even in spite of their own tenacious rebellion against God and your agitating message, is to beckon them to be baptized into the Kingdom of God. “Blessed are the peacemakers” who reconcile greedy, corrupt institutionalists with the perfect Law of Liberty, understood as the weightier matters, in a free society. It is this call to repentance on which the message of reconciliation rests that expands the Kingdom of God. If you only love those who love you and seek fellowship with only likeminded people, then you are not in the business of saving souls, and you do not belong to the Kingdom of God. If you do not forgive your political enemies, then you are still a lost sheep yourself, congregating with other lost sheep out in the wilderness, waiting for a shepherd to come call you home to his Kingdom. By “blessing those who persecute you,” you inspire them either to love you as you have loved them, or to inspire others to take their behavior as a lesson in what not to do against peaceful do-gooders who preach personal responsibility. Considering that self-defense is the right only of free men in free societies, and the early Christians in the context of these passages were still working towards that end, it is a subterfuge to read them as though they are condemning self-defense.

You Die by the Sword by Which You Live

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” (Matthew 26:52)

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” (Romans 13:4-6)

In both of these contexts, the term used for “sword” is the same word. This alone indicates the grammatical function of freely interchanging literal meanings of Greek (and Hebrew) words with their figurative meanings. It is not as though rulers over human civil government bear a literal sword by which to personally “execute wrath” onto those who “doeth evil,” rather the usage of the term sword (Strong’s 3162. machaira) frequently indicates an executive judgment by bureaucratic institutions. This is revealed by its primary definition, and many of its contexts:

“properly, a slaughter-knife; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; (figuratively) an instrument for exacting retribution.

…of the sword as the instrument of a magistrate or judge: death by the sword, Romans 8:35; ἀναιρεῖν τινα μάχαιρα, Acts 12:2; τήν μαχαίρας φόρειν, to bear the sword, is used of him to whom the sword has been committed, viz. to use when a malefactor is to be punished; hence, equivalent to to have the power of life and death, Romans 13:4 (so ξίφος, ξιφη ἔχειν, Philostr. vit. Apoll. 7, 16; vit. sophist. 1, 25, 2 (3), cf. Dion Cass. 42, 27; and in the Talmud the king who bears the sword, of the Hebrew king). Metaphorically, μάχαιρα, a weapon of war, is used for war, or for quarrels and dissensions that destroy peace; so in the phrase βαλεῖν μάχαιραν ἐπί τήν τήν, to send war on earth, Matthew 10:34.”

The context of the Gethsemanean encounter is not relevant to the prohibition of self-defense or the defense of others. The purpose of Christ’s ministry, as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Heaven, was to establish that literal kingdom by commanding mankind to repent of the slothful and covetous works of darkness that had brought them into bondage to the kingdoms of the world, and to perform the works that would seek and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This included congregating together in adhocratic and gregarious communities to perform the weightier matters of God’s Law, in a renewed civil citizenship as free souls under God. This kingdom had its own exclusive laws, customs, government, system of welfare and historical continuity. Unlike Rome during the Hasmonean Civil War, it did not invade worldly nations through imperialist wars:

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is [among] you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

And unlike the Zealots at Masada or the frequent assassinations of the Sicarii, the citizens of God’s Kingdom did not commit to insurgency to slough off unwanted political occupation:

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36)

Rather, because Christ’s kingdom was not of the “apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, or and government” of Rome and kingdoms like Rome, it did not require institutionalized bloodshed or violent revolution to maintain its efficacy. It was not a top-down political society with militaries and authoritarian courts desiring the use of society’s power centers. It was a bottom-up legacy of freemen, all equally responsible for the weightier matters and national defense. It did not have to invade nations from without because it relied on moral suasion occurring from within other nations to increase its citizenry. Its members did not consider themselves victims of military occupation, rather they recognized political oppression as a judgment on those who do not want to be ruled by God, and therefore sought the repentance that would grant them salvation from such consequential realities. This secured them from any notion of violent retaliation against kingdoms who may oppress them due to the consequences for their sins. This interpretation is recognized by Tertullian:

“But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two masters—God and Caesar. And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John (Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule; albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed; still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbelted every soldier. No dress is lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action.” (Tertullian. “On Idolatry”, Chapter XIX)

This is the context for which Peter’s impetuous actions in Gethsemane were proscribed. Even though it was necessary, according to prophecy, for Christ and company to be wrongly “reckoned among the transgressingZealots for simply exercising their right to bear arms, it was just as necessary for he and his followers to not actually be like the Zealots and insurgents retaliating against Roman occupation with their own military might and political ambitions. As mentioned for another prooftext above, it is only the violent who attempt to take the Kingdom by force, but Christ came to show another way. As Peter was a member of God’s servant government, this injunction to sheathe the sword for political pursuit (but not get rid of it entirely for all occasions) is especially important considering that Heaven’s ministers received the brunt of the persecutions against the Christians in order to intimidate the people into going back under the subject citizenship of Rome to be surety and merchandise for its failing, socialist coffers.

To make Christ’s rebuke against Peter a general rebuke against self-defense and the defense of others in a free society is to undermine the actual context of Christ’s sacrifice and the persecution of his body politic which secured the right to have a free society in the first place. It is to make a mockery of Christ’s gambit to restore the imago Dei to mankind because it removes the conditions that make the image of God worthwhile: the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of property, and the personal responsibility of brotherly love that all make the Kingdom of Heaven a eutopia of prosperity. “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” (Leviticus 25:10) The culmination of Christ’s ministry lead him to “the cup” which His Father had given him, referring to the capital punishment of worldly kingdoms against an innocent king in regicide so that his guilty followers would no longer be subject to their bondage, thereby removing the legitimacy of their institutional power. Peter’s actions to defend his King would not only undermine his sacrifice for his people, but would also represent a militaristic course of action in a politically-charged situation. This is what separates circumstances surrounding malfeasors met with self-defense and circumstances surrounding persecution met with martyrdom. Swords of authoritarian governments against their citizens are inevitably punishments for raising up authoritarian governments. Those who live by their institutions will find themselves caught in the ouroboros of their destructive natures. In this context, Peter was acting like the authoritarian governments of the world, bringing, not only reproach onto Christ’s Kingdom, but also potentially justified militaristic recompense against the entire troop as if they were Zealots.

For the Weapons of our Warfare Are Not Carnal

“But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:2-6)

The conclusion that a carnal weapon is necessarily a physical one tends to stem from the faulty premise that the opposite of “walking in the flesh” is “walking in some ill-defined, hyper-spiritual sense of cherubic perfection where one’s weapons are the thinking of happy and ascetic thoughts all the time like some Buddhist monk.” To properly define the subject, a “fleshy” or “carnally minded” person is one who is motivated by creature comforts that lead him into the baited snares and traps of human civil government because they have been given over to a reprobate mind to become bestial servants of human institutions. Because they “live by bread alone,” and not by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” they will readily be led by their bellies to consume the free bread of socialist provision because they lack the self-control to wait on God’s Providence as prescribed by God’s wisdom.

The “strongholds” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10 do refer to the human institutions with which the early Christians were notoriously in conflict, but that conflict was vindicated by the Providence of God which allowed them to completely abdicate from using their existing power centers or seeking to replace them with their own administrations. It is not as though a literal sword or weapon for self-defense debases its user to be carnally minded any more than a spoon does for eating or a car does for traveling. However, regime-change through both democracy and revolution do make men feral beasts kicking against the goads of their civil masters. The weapons of the early Christians with which they bested the New World Order of Rome consisted of the maintaining of their embryonic “republic in the heart of the Roman Empire” through keeping the weightier matters, and by the moral suasion with which they preached to the subject citizens of Rome to baptize them into the civil citizenship of the Kingdom of Heaven instead. It did not consist of the carnal weapons of government institution through an attempt of minarchism, Dominionism, or electing lesser magistrates to protect them and provide for them.

We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Identical to the images in 2 Corinthians 10, the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness in that age, and spiritual wickedness in high places refer to magistrates, jurisdictions, satanic arbiters of reprobate idolatry, and the worship of human institutions. Likewise, because Christians do not war against people themselves to advance God’s literal kingdom, but rather war against concepts of sin and wayward submission to human rulers in political infidelity, the method of their war-waging does not have to include a militaristic or bureaucratic arsenal of literal retaliation. Paul’s following description of the armor of God is not meant to be some sort of rigid check-list taken out of Kingdom-context to be hyper-spiritualized and removed from practical meaning. Rather, they are a simple, cohesive reminder to be “doers of the word of God,” but in a deliberately ironic image related to warfare. This passage of course is not an injunction against protecting your neighbor’s life against someone who wishes to literally shed his blood, because the “wrestling” of the early Christians is not descriptive of their day to day duties to love their neighbors and protect his life as though it were their own, but refers to their mission as Christian aliens unto a foreign kingdom as ambassadors.

Prima Facie

Without these prooftexts to justify their position, it should be self-evident that pacifists must only appeal to an argument from silence. Nowhere in Scripture do you see the prohibition of armaments, or the use of them in personal or mutual defense. God never tells His people to rid themselves of defensive tools, nor prohibits their use. To sheathe a sword for a time, as in the case of Peter in Gethsemane is not to condemn the sword altogether or to prevent its use universally. Men of first century Rome, Greece, and Judea readily carried swords for self-defense just like they do all throughout history.

“We grant to all persons the unrestricted power to defend themselves, so that it is proper to subject anyone, whether a private person or a soldier, who trespasses upon fields at night in search of plunder, or lays by busy roads plotting to assault passers-by, to immediate punishment in accordance with the authority granted to all. Let him suffer the death which he threatened and incur that which he intended… For it is better to meet the danger at the time, than to obtain legal redress (vindicare) after one’s death.” (Codex Justinianeus 3.27.1, 529 A.D.)

Despite being written in the sixth century AD and authorized by an Eastern Roman Emperor as a privilege for his subject citizens (instead of a right), the principles expressed in the above quote are universal to define self-defense and preservation of property in a way that has been taken for granted by free men of all eras. Bearing arms for this purpose is the assumed Natural Law responsibility of all men uncovered by human authority who obey the Dominion Mandate, providing for future generations through hard work, and the preservation of the fruits of their labor by defending their property from violent, greedy, and covetous men. There is just no reason to imagine that men in first century Judea like Jesus’ apostles did not carry swords or other weapons of self-defense.

“And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)

“Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)

When Jesus originally established his own Sanhedrin, he sent them out in pairs to preach the Gospel without any personal protection or provision, to “heal the sick and tread on serpents and scorpions,” by the exclusive power and authority of the Holy Spirit, to test their resolve and to magnify the efficacy of God’s Providence over unprotected extremists as a witnessing tool for lookers-on. Once that test was completed however, Jesus informs the Seventy that they should take with them their money, bread pouch, and tools of self-defense, and if they do not have such tools, to explicitly go out and arm themselves. While part of this reasoning does include the prophecy of Jesus seeming to be armed to be falsely counted among the violent Zealots or Sicarii, that prophecy would have to be fulfilled within only a few hours of this exchange, at Gethsemane. There was no need for them to suddenly take up their coin purse and provision satchel for Christ to be wrongly rumored of being a violent revolutionary, and so it is safe to assume that his instructions were not meant exclusively for the theater at his arrest, but a rescinding of their former gambit and a return to the carrying of their everyday items. Two swords may have been enough to fulfill prophecy, though this is unlikely considering the notorious “Sicarii” (literally meaning “dagger men,”) were an entire splinter group of Zealots that were, not only all armed, but violent assassins, committed to eliminating Roman occupiers and their sympathizers. Similarly, the Zealots all carried arms to wage open warfare against the Roman Empire to drive them from the Holy Land. Regardless, to be counted among these transgressors, two swords are not enough to arm all seventy men to whom Christ gives the instructions, implying either the presence of more swords in the troop, or that Jesus’ reply of “It is enough” was not specifically about the swords at all, but rather a conclusion to his long list of instructions to the seventy bulleted in the rest of the chapter.

If there is any doubt that the prophecy from Isaiah should refer to revolutionaries, and not merely to petty criminals and lawbreakers who “healed on the Sabbath” or did not “wash their hands before eating,” then it should be noted that the primary definition for the Hebrew word for “transgressors” means “rebel, revolt, of nations; to break away (from just authority), i.e. Trespass, apostatize, quarrel—offend, rebel, revolt, transgress…” To add to this notion, as we have expressed elsewhere, Barabbas was not a petty thief, but a violent revolutionary who marauded rural villages in order to fund guerilla operations. This same description is given to the two men crucified on either side of Christ, reserving the capital punishment for those involved in stirring up the people against the occupying world of Rome and its political sympathizers.

“It is possible that Barabbas was merely a robber or highwayman, but more likely, given the use of the term ληστής (lhsth”) in Josephus and other early sources, that he was a guerrilla warrior or revolutionary leader. See both R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:857) and K. H. Rengstorf (TDNT 4:258) for more information. The word λῃστής was used a number of times by Josephus (J. W. 2.13.2-3 [2.253-254]) to describe the revolutionaries or guerrilla fighters who, from mixed motives of nationalism and greed, kept the rural districts of Judea in constant turmoil.” (Footnote to John 18. From NET Bible)

To reiterate, the existence of weapons and their amount amongst his troop were enough for his detractors to make a case to Roman authorities that Christ was a violent revolutionary, even if the swords would only ever be used in a righteous manner, like in self-defense, or the protection of the weak. Christ’s revolution was a nonviolent one (and the only one that succeeded), but self-defense cannot actually be said to be offensive violence in any case. The concept of “warrior-monks” is not at all uncommon throughout history referring to various groups of men who are peaceful, generous, and self-sacrificial, but are adept at protecting those within their care and willing to draw blood for them in relative circumstances. This notion was even prevalent at the time among an almost identical group to the early Christians, the Essenes.

Fifty-four years before this exchange, in 20 BC, a former member of the existing Judean Sanhedrin as its last second-highest-ranking member, Menahem the Essene, abandoned his role in the Tannaim and, along with eighty pairs of disciples, abdicated the ever-worsening Judean government to “serve the King” prophesied to come liberate its people. Practically unknown to most professing Christians until recently, the Essenes, or in Aramaic,assaya, which means doctor or healer… are not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament, although their numbers were at least as great as the Sadducees and Pharisees.” (Kersten, Holger. Jesus Conspiracy. Element, 1995.) Though they may not have called themselves “Essenes,” they were the more prominent of the Jewish sects, even more popular at the time than the Pharisees and Sadducees. They read the same scriptures as these other two groups, but came to highly different interpretive conclusions that often coincided with Christ’s own teachings and life, like the absurdity of animal sacrifices, the importance of seclusion for preparing for ministry, or the habit of congregating together within the borders of existing municipalities of foreigners. In fact, Christ’s servant-model for government was already being practiced by many of the Essenes to serve the same people that the other two political parties endeavored to rule.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls community, who are probably Essenes, were led by a high priestly leadership, who are thought to be the descendants of the “legitimate” high priestly lineage, which the Hasmoneans ousted. The Dead Sea Scrolls bitterly opposed the current high priests of the Temple. Since Hasmoneans constituted a different priestly line, it was in their political interest to emphasize their family’s priestly pedigree that descended from their ancestor, the high priest Zadok, who had the authority to anoint the kingship of Solomon, son of David.” (“Sadducees – New World Encyclopedia”. 2022.)

“According to Josephus, the Essenes practiced collective ownership (War 2.122; Ant. 18.20), elected a leader whose orders they obeyed (War 2.123, 134), were forbidden from swearing oaths (War 2.135) and sacrificing animals (Philo, §75), controlled their temper, served as channels of peace (War 2.135), carried weapons only as protection against robbers (War 2.125), had no slaves but served each other (Ant. 18.21) and did not engage in trading (War 2.127). Both Josephus and Philo have lengthy accounts of their communal meetings, meals, and religious celebrations.” (“Essenes – New World Encyclopedia”. 2022.)

There is a lot of information to give on the Essenes, like how John the Baptist was very likely raised in an Essene community before taking up the mantel of prophet for the awaited Messiah, or the idea that he and Jesus both had taken the Nazirite vow (intimating the source of “Nazareth“), or that James was the leader of an Essene sect of Christians in Jerusalem, but the focus on them for the intent of this article is to describe the Essenes as pacifists, but pacifists with swords who recognized the difference between war and self-defense. Vestigial records of their way of life are still discernable in this context from history. The Sicarii, known for plundering villages, once attacked the Essene community at Ein Gedi (sometimes spelled “Jedi”) and drove out its defenders, necessitating the idea of an armed people willing to protect each other from outside aggressors. As already mentioned, the Christian Kingdom and Essene communities resembled each other because they were both modeled on the primordial concept of a free society as practiced by ancient Israel, but also echoed in the concept of the Greek polis:

“Though the notion of the free, or self-governed community, originated in ancient Greece, the Greek polis seems to pose a problem for the modern post-Hobbesian concept of sovereignty. For the latter presupposes that of the State, that is an agency which monopolizes the use of violence, as an instrument by which sovereignty is constituted. Yet, the polis was not a State but rather what the anthropologists call a stateless community. The latter is characterized by the absence of ‘government’, that is of an agency which has separated itself from the rest of social life and which monopolizes the use of violence. In stateless societies the ability to use force is more or less evenly distributed among armed or potentially armed members of the community. Being stateless, then, in what sense can we say that the polis was sovereign? On the practical level the Greek polis had a very limited ability to control and direct legislation. The decentralised nature of Greek society and the absence of coercive apparatuses meant that the laws had to be identical with the customs of the community or else that decisions had to be shared by a wide consensus, which imposed a severe limitation on the ability of the poleis to change their laws or initiate changes in the community.” (Polis: The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought, Volume 17, Numbers 1-2, 2000, pp. 2-34 (33) Berent M. Sovereignty: ancient and modern.)

The Defense of Others as a Weightier Matter

When free people are no longer in anticipation of the collapse of the pagan societies which surround them, are able to live without fear of molestation from their imperialist administrations, and are restored to the Eden growing from the rubble of fallen empires, they get to experience all the rights of primordial Man before he sold his birthright of liberty into the coffers of human civil government. While seeking liberty on the narrow path, he may have already been picking up many of his responsibilities that he had discarded on the broad path to bondage, and towards the end of his journey to the Kingdom of God, he may find the right to self-defense and defense of others restored to him. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

In ancient Israel, it was expected for every man to practice justice, removing the need for police forces and militaries in their communities, thereby preventing institutional corruption, bloodlust, and concentration of power by preventing the existence of institutions themselves through adhocratic self-reliance emanating in community ethics. To preserve their liberty, even after they began giving it up by the request for autocratic rulers, God still expected the people to preserve their responsibility to perform justice, citing political, social, and economic ruination if they failed.

“Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.” (Jeremiah 22:3-5)

As discussed elsewhere, the Weightier Matters necessitate direct, individual attention to your neighbor’s health, welfare, prosperity, and safety, and the integrity of his property. Free people are a peaceful people, but true peace necessarily includes the willingness to use force and defensive violence to safeguard your neighbor if necessary, because it is unequivocal violence to side with the violent in your cowardice by refusing to met out proportionate force against the violent. The command to do no violence to the stranger is the common sense command to prevent violence against him. The command to not shed innocent blood is also the common sense command to prevent innocent blood from being shed. The more you outsource to power-hungry institutions your injunction to safeguard against evil, violent, and rapacious men, the more those institutions begin to be filled with evil, violent, and rapacious men seeking power, and the more your society accelerates towards desolation. Protection draws to it subjection; subjection protection.” (Coke, Littl. 65)

All societies perform the weightier matters in principle, only most make the word of God to none effect in their attempt, as trees that bear no fruit, owed to the fact that the self-refuting means by which those weightier matters are attempted are socialized, compartmentalized, and therefore neutralized. The average wait time for law enforcement in the United States, for instance, is eleven minutes. The response time for fire departments is a little better, at just over five minutes. When your neighbors are next door, but your help is much further away, why have neighbors at all? No doubt pacifists would prescribe that neighbors who love each other in a free society should put out each others fires, recognizing the need for all men to practice the weightier matters, but they fail to admit that all men should be intentionally prepared to execute justice and defense as a necessary ingredient to preserve the liberty of an entire society and not make the word of God to none effect. Free people naturally scoff at this hypocrisy, knowing that failure to do defensive violence in the face of offensive violence is itself offensive violence. They know that a man who does not acquire the means to protect his neighbor against violence with violence is also guilty of that violence and is not a good man, for the same reason why the slothful, neglectful, and cowardly cannot said to be good because it is fundamental to do what you can to protect the innocent from unwarranted molestation. A man who is unwilling to aid his neighbor against violent attackers is a man undeserving of freedom and safety.

“Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” (Ezekiel 33:3-7)

This passage speaks about a community of people who may be set upon by aggressors meant to pillage and slaughter them, and a system of warnings that free societies may have to alert the people of their presence. As will be discussed, the shofar for free Israel was an instrument to conduct the “hue and cry” principle intrinsic to common law. When a warning is given to the community and one of its members does not answer the call to arms, then that man is guilty of his own murder and the murder of those around him. When no warning is given to the community, the watchmen is guilty of the destruction of the whole community as if he took an active part in mass murder. As such, there is an intrinsic link between a danger made known and a danger proportionately redressed.

“Blowing the shofar was a well-known multi-purpose call in biblical times; the scholar Saadya Ga’on identified ten ancient occasions when the shofar was used. It announced the Creation, the Revelation at Mount Sinai, the exhortations of the prophets. It proclaimed a military advance; it called for a military retreat. It marked calendrical occasions such as the commencement of a new month. It announced the Word of God. One day it will proclaim the messianic redemption.

The shofar is commanded in the Torah (Numbers 29:1). It has two principal, seemingly contradictory, purposes — as a call to war (Numbers 10:1-10) and as a proclamation of freedom (Leviticus 25:9). Turned into personal spiritual terms: the first purpose sees the individual struggling with themselves, battling an inner enemy, feeling guilt for the year’s wrongdoing; the second purpose sees the human soul, cleansed of its transgressions, committing to a new regimen that is full of positive possibilities.

The medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides says:

‘Although the blowing of the shofar is a command of the Torah, it has this further meaning: “Awake, you slumberers, from your sleep, and rouse yourselves from your lethargy. Search your deeds, return in repentance. Remember your Creator, you who forget truth in the vanities of the moment, who go astray all your years after vain illusions which neither profit nor save. Look to your souls, mend your ways and actions, leave your evil path and unworthy purpose, seek the way of the Lord.”‘” (Rabbi Apple, R., 2021. The Two Meanings of the Blast of the Shofar. ABC Religion & Ethics.)

Though many of these descriptions have been hyper-spiritualized by a culture that has moved away from its more practical use, the original purpose of the shofar can be gleaned from their symbolism. As a call to arms by the Levitical minister of every congregation, or even by their Elders, the shofar rallied every able-bodied man and woman within ear-shot, repeated by every other possessor of a shofar across the countryside, and roused the people from sleep and invoked them to action, grabbing anything to serve as a weapon as they ran out of the safety of their homes and to the source of the sound so that they can quickly organize themselves for whatever task was needed of them, whether it was the apprehension of a criminal, the protection against bandits, or the confrontation of an invading army.

“By the Statute of Winchester of 1285, 13 Edw. I statute 2. capitulum 4, it was provided that anyone, either a constable or a private citizen, who witnessed a crime shall make hue and cry, and that the hue and cry must be kept up against the fleeing criminal from town to town and from county to county, until the felon is apprehended and delivered to the sheriff. All able-bodied men, upon hearing the shouts, were obliged to assist in the pursuit of the criminal, which makes it comparable to the posse comitatus. It was moreover provided that “the whole hundred … shall be answerable” for the theft or robbery committed, in effect a form of collective punishment. Those who raised a hue and cry falsely were themselves guilty of a crime.” (Adams, George Burton & Henry Morse Stephens, eds. [1901]. Statute of Winchester.)

In speaking of the “whole hundred,” free societies are organized into adhocratic congregations of ten families, each represented by an Elder, and each congregation served by one minister. This pattern for society is a historical norm, practiced by Israelites, the Essenes, the early Christians, and many other anarchist societies throughout posterity. It is from this principle that “tithe” and “tithingman” are derived. Even most pagan governments must recognize this universal principle of the hue and cry and enact Good Samaritan Laws for when their subjects have themselves forgotten the principle. Posse comitatus, Latin for “force of the country” is a formal, useful tool for institutions to justify the use of the “hue and cry” when their administrations are overwhelmed by malfeasors and highwaymen. It necessitates that a sheriff or some other institutionalist with a badge must call all able-bodied subject citizens to arms on his behalf. Its purpose is to give an air of civil legitimacy to the natural need for all men to be responsible for justice and protection, by deputizing the members of a posse under some arbitrary civil allowance for a time to engage in a “citizen’s arrest.” When this natural responsibility is exercised in spite of the institutional failure to request it, it is given euphemistic terms of disapproval, like “frontier justice,” “jungle law,” “mob rule,” “rough music,” “vigilantism,” or even a “witch-hunt.” All of these are popularly misrepresented in such a way to vilify the necessities of liberty to make it seem barbaric and grotesque, and to remedy them with the safety and comforts of institutionalism manned by corrupt authoritarians. However, free people are not actually prone to unnecessarily tar and feather bad guys based on rumor, mass-hysteria, and groupthink. They actually have a system of courts and juries made up of actual peers and family members, intent on doing justice but also showing mercy, and other facets of loving their neighbor as themselves.

“The roots of local responsibility for crime prevention seem to lie in Anglo-Saxon customs that placed prevention squarely on the local community through the tithing and the ‘Hue and Cry‘. Every male over the age of 12 had to belong to a group of nine others, called a tithing. These ten men were responsible for the behaviour of each other. If one of them broke the law, the others had to bring that person before the court. The sanction, to make the system work, was that if they did not, they would all be held responsible for the crime. This usually meant paying the victim of a crime for their loss. The community was also responsible for doing their best to chase after a criminal. Anyone wronged could call upon everyone else in a community to chase a criminal simply by calling on them to do so by “raising the hue and cry”—calling out for help. Everyone nearby was then supposed to join in the chase. If they did not make an effort then the whole community was held responsible for the crime and would face punishment themselves.” (Potts, Andy. “Enforcement Of Law“. Binghamheritage.Org.Uk.)

Even in ancient Israel, freemen established a system of appeals courts for those who professed to be wrongly accused, tried, and found guilty of wrongdoing and who claim to not have received a fair trial. These examples are meant to serve to rightly divide the need for justice in the immediate and direct execution of defensive violence between a tortfeasor and his prey, and the barbaric practice of vengeance through capital punishment which usurps God’s sole right to punish an evildoer after he is no longer a threat to his potential victim like he was “in the heat of the moment.” Self-defense and defense of others therefore cannot be equivocated with capital punishment or vengeance. It is not punishment at all, but a natural consequence for an unnatural affront to natural law, a reactive danger for those with dangerous intent, and an incentive for bad men to act good around good men. To intend to maliciously and willfully harm another and their property is to confess that you have already abdicated the imago Dei and the Dominion Mandate by seeking to exercise dominion over someone who does bear God’s image. It says that you have already spurned being “made upright” and have intimated the behavior of a feral beast, begging for recompense for your ferocity. Repentance may be opened to you, but any expectation of being forcefully stopped in the middle of your heinous act, even unto your own violent death, is a form of Divine justice that may very likely and judiciously come between you and that repentance. To set in course a series of violent events is to forfeit any right to complain when the domino falls on your head.

Forming a Militia as a Weightier Matter

Having discussed the shofar as a regular instrument in free Israel for rallying the people for the Hue and Cry, it is also noteworthy to express its extended use for mobilizing the people, not just for acts of individual justice, but as expressed above in Ezekiel 33, but also as an able-bodied militia against entire armies of invading aggressors.

“Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.” (Joshua 6:4)

“And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man.” (Judges 3:27-29)

“And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.” (Judges 7:16-21)

“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid?… (Amos 3:6)

Whether these accounts represent national defense, or acts of imperialism leading to results of either prescribed spiritual death or a pericope thereof in described physical death initiated by the dead party’s sin, one thing is clear: a free and righteous people engage the preservation and prosperity of their free society by forming a system of national corps.

MILI’TIAnoun [Latin from miles, a soldier; Gr. war, to fight, combat, contention. The primary sense of fighting is to strive, struggle, drive, or to strike, to beat, Eng. moil, Latin molior; Heb. to labor or toil.] The body of soldiers in a state enrolled for discipline, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies; as distinguished from regular troops, whose sole occupation is war or military service. The militia of a country are the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations.” (“Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Militia.” Websters Dictionary 1828.)

A “well-regulated militia” is one that is marked by system, regularity, or discipline, and controlled by a principle of law. In this case, that law is natural law that requires men to gregariously and adhocratically come together to practice community-wide and national defense. Along this vein, it should be expressed that there are two different kinds of militias, and that only one is prescribed for God’s people. To use the United States as an example:

“Today, as defined by the Militia Act of 1903, the term “militia” is used to describe two classes within the United States:

Organized militia – consisting of State Defense Forces, the National Guard and Naval Militia.

Unorganized militia – comprising the reserve militia: every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age, not a member of the State Defense Forces, National Guard, or Naval Militia.” (“Militia (United States) – Wikipedia“. En.Wikipedia.Org.)

To label a free man’s militia as “unorganized” is not to imply that it is disorganized, like a group of buddies who get together at the firing range over a case of beer twice a year and talk about deer season and the Superbowl. It simply means that it is a self-organized militia not subject to bureaucratic oversight through maritime law or other military laws, and is ineligible to partake in martial law. Simply put, “unorganized militias” are the prima facie “military force” of free societies who have not outsourced national defense to socialist institutions. Abraham and early Israel had unorganized militias, as did free Americans, the Teutons, and early Rome.

Just like there are adhocratic primacies usurped by bureaucratic perversions in all pagan nations regarding the weightier matters like justice, welfare, education, and so forth, the freeman’s injunction to form a militia is perverted into a subject slave’s compulsion to be drafted into a military. Simply put, if men will not love their neighbor enough to voluntarily seek to be a part of a well-regulated militia they will, in a natural consequence, find themselves subject to forced militaristic inclusion on the whims of autocrats. For the Israelites backsliding away from liberty, this punishment is described as “[Your ruler] will take 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 8:11-12)

Even under the “best” rulers who were once considered men “after God’s own heart,” this power-hungry temptation to pressgang subject citizens into a standing military was too palpable to ignore. “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people… And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.” (2 Samuel 24:1-10) The purpose of this census was for David to prepare a military draft, to have a sense of security in his imperialist conquests against Israel’s enemies. Rather than rely on the good faith associations of freemen in their voluntary militias, already ready to organize at a moment’s notice, David wanted to compartmentalize that responsibility into a centralized institution over the people. That is, until he repented and considered his pragmatism foolish. If it is foolish for David to have a standing army, then it is foolish for anyone to have a standing army.

Even as early as the formation of the Constitution of the United States, the rights of the American people were subject to the dangers complained about in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, it should be expressed that the average man was more free before the Declaration than they were after the ratification of the Constitution. True liberty did not come from a seven-year war over broken covenants that members of state governments had made with the administrations of the kings of England. The individual freeman was not a part of those covenants to begin with. True liberty came from decades and centuries of struggle to “dress and keep the earth” through fee-simple allodium, from forming strong bonds of love in freewill communities in welfare, protection, and justice, and by rejecting attempts of central authority to relieve them of such responsibilities and rights. This is why free Americans rejected the Constitution as a threat to the true liberty they had been enjoying and preserving for generations. Even incrementalists like the Anti-Federalists expressed the tyranny of Constitutionalism as a rejection of liberty, especially in regards to its proposed replacement of the minute-men in every community.

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. I am answered by gentlemen, that, though I might speak of terrors, yet the fact was, that we were surrounded by none of the dangers I apprehended. I conceive this new government to be one of those dangers: it has produced those horrors which distress many of our best citizens…

There are sufficient guards placed against sedition and licentiousness; for, when power is given to this government to suppress these, or for any other purpose, the language it assumes is clear, express, and unequivocal; but when this Constitution speaks of privileges, there is an ambiguity, sir, a fatal ambiguity — an ambiguity which is very astonishing…

My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants. It is urged by some gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength—an army, and the militia of the states. This is an idea extremely ridiculous: gentlemen cannot be earnest. This acquisition will trample on our fallen liberty. Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe. Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress?…

A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them?… You will find all the strength of this country in the hands of your enemies; their garrisons will naturally be the strongest places in the country. Your militia is given up to Congress, also, in another part of this plan: they will therefore act as they think proper: all power will be in their own possession. You cannot force them to receive their punishment: of what service would militia be to you when, most probably, you will not have a single musket in the state? for, as arms are to be provided by Congress, they may or may not furnish them….

This Constitution is said to have beautiful features; but when I come to examine these features, sir, they appear to me horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting; it squints towards monarchy; and does not this raise indignation in the breast of every true American?” (Patrick Henry, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 5, 1778)

While these lengthy warnings were important at the time, and proximately universal for education, they are now inapplicable for men in civil bondage to acknowledge as efficacious. This is because it is too late. The American people are no longer freemen because the Constitution has since applied to them, and no longer just to the people who signed it, through the application of benefits and slothfully going under its jurisdiction in subject citizenship. Covenants with false gods always make men civil slaves, and civil slaves do not have the right to bear arms because they prefer the comforts of a cage over the responsibilities of liberty. They make men tyrants over themselves by endeavoring to be tyrants themselves over their own neighbors, vicariously through the cannibalisticone purse” of the administrations of the tyrants that they place into power. An implication of this arrangement is that the right to revolution is also removed because a tyrant cannot revolt against himself, he can only kick against the goads of his own tyranny. He may attempt to shift the blame of his tyranny onto his own institutions to no real avail, but the only solution capable of redeeming him from the self-destructive effects of his own tyranny begins by repenting of the actions that make him a tyrant. That is the only first step towards liberty that God acknowledges and promises to bless.

“But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become so accustomed to freedom and equality that they no longer value them, and begin to aim at pre-eminence; and it is chiefly those of ample fortune who fall into this error. So when they begin to lust for power and cannot attain it through themselves or their own good qualities, they ruin their estates, tempting and corrupting the people in every possible way. And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.” (Polybius: The Histories Fragments of Book VI, p289 See also Loeb Classical Library edition, 1922 thru 1927)

The people of the world groan under oppressive, legalistic bondage owed to their initial consent to its manmade administrations for their empty promises. Those promises led them to hate themselves as they hate their neighbor, to live at the expense of his forced sacrifices, and to outsource his education, protection, and care to authoritative “benefactors.” But the long, winding, and narrow road to liberty necessarily means turning around on each of these behaviors, to love your neighbor as yourself, to voluntarily commit to self-sacrifice in order to sustain your neighbor in the hopes that he will do the same for you, and to directly account for his education, protection, and care in order to bear his burdens and keep him free from depending on the socialist institutions that have hitherto enticed you both to sin and die in mutual self-destruction.

This solution can only be effectively performed in the context of Abolitionist Societies, as adhocratic congregations coming together for the redistribution of healthcare and welfare in a daily ministration, as juridical courts and juries to keep each other accountable to the Perfect Law of Liberty, and as militias engaged in interpersonal protection and sources of self-defense against malfeasors and threats against your (eventually) hard-earned lives, liberty, and pursuits of property.

The Grave Within

The Grave Within

Hormonal birth control is responsible for the murder of preborn children.

A single sperm and a single egg meet in the Fallopian tube. Conception occurs when the sperm enters the egg, the combination forming a single-celled human being called a zygote. The zygote immediately begins to divide and form a ball of cells called a blastocyst. This blastocyst is made up of an inner group of cells that will develop into the vital organs of a growing human being, and an outer group of cells that will become membranes which will nourish and protect this human. Once this young human reaches the uterus, it travels towards the endometrium on the uterine wall, but instead of implanting there and receiving nourishment from his mother’s blood, the endometrium gives way, flushed out, expelling the child and killing him in the process.

It does not help that culture wants to deceitfully muddy the definition of pregnancy. According to “leading medical authorities”— such as the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – pregnancy begins when the fertilized egg (independent and unique offspring) implants in the lining of a woman’s uterus. Implantation begins five to seven days after sperm fertilizes the egg (when a human being is created), and the process is completed several days later. When the product inserts for hormonal birth control say that their substances, devices, and mechanisms prevent pregnancy, they are including the fact that they prevent human beings from ever implanting in the one place a young child at that stage of development goes to for survival- the uterine wall. Therefore, birth control kills children made in God’s image, of the flesh and blood of the mother who is administering birth control and of the father who fails to disallow its use. “Preventing pregnancy” in this case means abandoning the child downstream on a river of blood, starving him to death by preventing him from ever making the initial attachment to his mother’s womb. This reality applies to every form of hormonal birth control and chemical contraception.

The Pill

Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the endometrium which reduce the likelihood of implantation.Here is a more thorough analysis of the abortifacient nature of the birth control pill.

(Physicians’ Desk Reference. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998)

Depo Provera

“…inhibits the secretion of gonadotropins which, in turn, prevents follicular maturation and ovulation and results in endometrial thinning.” When the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, is thinned, it is rendered hostile to implantation. This means that Depo-Provera sometimes acts as an abortifacient, since it ends the life of a new human being after conception.

(Pfizer, “Highlights of Prescribing Information” and “Clinical Pharmacology: Mechanism of Action,” Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection (Depo-Provera CI) Full Prescribing Information, October 2010.)

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

This IUD prevents fertilization by damaging or killing sperm and making the mucus in the cervix thick and sticky, so sperm can’t get through to the uterus. It also keeps the lining of the uterus (endometrium) from growing very thick.” This makes the lining a poor place for a fertilized egg to implant and grow.

(Grimes DA. 2007. Intrauterine devices. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 19th ed., pp. 117-143. New York: Ardent Media.)

Copper or progesterone-releasing IUDs may attenuate or accentuate the inflammatory response, disturb the physiology of the gametes in the female genital tract, or destroy the viability of the embryos or endometrial receptivity to implantation.

(Ortiz ME, et al. “Mechanisms Of Action Of Intrauterine Devices. – Pubmed  -NCBI”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.)

NuvaRing

Obtained by prescription only, the ring slowly releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones into the body. The walls of the vagina absorb the hormones and distribute them into the bloodstream. These hormones work by stopping ovulation, thickening cervical mucus as a barrier to sperm, and preventing implantation of the embryo if fertilization occurs.

(“Vaginal Contraceptive Ring“. Contracept.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.)

Patches

The birth control patch prevents pregnancy in one of three ways: First, it prevents eggs from being released from the ovaries. Second, it thickens the cervical mucus preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Third, it changes the lining of the uterus preventing implantation.”

(“Birth Control Patch: Side Effects, Effectiveness And Costs”. American Pregnancy Association. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.)

Implanon and Nexplanon

The implant steadily releases the hormone progestogen into a woman’s bloodstream. Progestogen is similar to the natural hormone progesterone, which is released by a woman’s ovaries during her period. The continuous release of progestogen stops a woman releasing an egg every month (ovulation), it thickens the mucus from the cervix (neck of the womb), making it difficult for sperm to pass through to the womb and reach an unfertilized egg, and it makes the lining of the womb thinner so that it is unable to support a fertilized egg.

(“Myths And Facts About… Implants | IPPF”. IPPF. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.)

The implication of murdering children through hormonal birth control.

Hormonal birth control is widely practiced and accepted by professing Christians and professing non-Christians alike. It is both largely ignored by the pro-life community and unashamedly unopposed by the “Christian Culture” in any widespread sense. It is practiced by well-meaning women marching at pro-life rallies, it is practiced by girls getting dropped off by their parents at public schools, it is practiced by women in church pews listening to Sanctity of Life sermons on Sunday morning. It is condoned and supported and facilitated by husbands, boyfriends, and even fathers or, in this case, grandfathers. Hormonal birth control is a subtle, silent, and popular means of killing children that is responsible for more prenatal infanticide every single day than even surgical abortion. It reveals a stark pro-choice position in the hearts and minds and lifestyles of people who profess themselves to be pro-life and makes murderers out of those who claim to be Christians. Hormonal birth control is murder. If you are taking hormonal birth control, imagine how many of your children you have frustrated out of God-given life and existence. Consider whether you can live with yourself after either ignorantly or knowingly making your body and relationships mass graves for your innocent children who never had loving parents to give them names. Consider whether you live at peace with child sacrifice that is happening all around you and within you. Consider what repentance looks like for you, in the face of God and Conscience.

It was Jesus the Christ, God’s only begotten Son, King of Judea, the firstborn of Creation, and redeemer of repentant murderers, who confined himself to the body of a single-celled zygote, seeking to implant on the uterine wall of his mother, entering into the one place where most human beings only know abandonment, death, and destruction. The Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings adoption, life, and redemption began in the place that is most prevalent for blasphemous violence against humans made in God’s image. The Servant-King of mankind placed himself in a miraculous gambit of the apparent folly and danger of human reproduction in order to save murderous mothers and apathetic fathers, not to mention their pre-born sons and daughters, from each other and from themselves; setting the oppressed free; teaching the oppressor to walk in repentance, faith, and obedience; securing the future of the orphan and giving his parents new life.

If you are guilty of likely dehumanizing, aborting, and murdering unknown children through hormonal birth control, only the God-Man Jesus Christ, can give you the forgiveness you need, and only if you cease the practice of pre-natal infanticide and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

If you are guilty of allowing, ignoring, or being apathetic towards the mass-murder of unknown children through hormonal birth control, or any other method, only the God-Man Jesus Christ, can give you the forgiveness you need, and only if you learn to love your preborn neighbor as yourself and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We do understand that there are medical reasons that women might believe that they have for taking hormonal birth control. That topic is addressed here.

If you would like to learn more about abolitionist ideology, you may begin your journey here.

Birth Control and a Woman’s Health

We understand that many women take hormonal birth control, sometimes not to control whether their preborn children live, but for health reasons. What most women do not know is that birth control will merely mask the symptoms of their imperfect health while proliferating the underlying problems. There are healthy alternatives to hormonal birth control that do not include negative side-effects and will also heal your body. What needs to be fundamentally clear is that there is no excuse for putting the lives of your children in danger by taking hormonal ‘contraception’: neither some idea of self-preservation, nor an effort to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. The posture of the relationship between a mother and her child should be one of nourishment and self-sacrifice for the child’s best interest and greater good. This is the nature of God’s Spirit and order for human interaction. However, God has also provided a thorough and efficacious method of healthcare in sustaining and restoring your health that will not compromise your moral standing before God, Neighbor, and your own progeny. The following testimony should serve as an informed testament to that fact:

Many women today suffer with symptoms of infertility and hormonal imbalance and the subsequent emotions that go along with them. Often in seeking to treat their symptoms naturally, women are bombarded with blogs and books recommending herbs, supplements, creams and specific diets that promise to correct their hormone imbalances and allow their bodies to conceive naturally.

was one of those women.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) after getting off birth control about six years ago. After the ultrasound, I asked the gynecologist what I could do to get rid of PCOS, she recommended I get back on birth control and start on Metformin. I remember getting very quiet. I knew in my heart I did not want to take any medicines, but she was the doctor and she was telling me this was the only way. How was getting back on medicine the only way? Weren’t doctors the ones who were supposed to fix you? I knew there had to be another way.

I left her office without filling any prescriptions and immediately found information on detoxing my body online. For about six to nine months, I tried every natural solution within my understanding. I became a vegan and sought to regulate my hormones with nutrition, I exercised, I took supplements and even felt somewhat better… but I was still not having a monthly cycle. In fact, I was maybe having four to six cycles a year and had no clue when they would come!

I made contact with my homeopath about a year later because I knew I needed help to figure out how to heal my body. At the end of my first appointment with her, she prescribed just one thing: a single homeopathic remedy! I was on my remedy for about four months and started having monthly cycles again. My testosterone had been around 90 nanograms before I started on homeopathy and by the end of four months my testosterone was within normal range.

I was shocked and surprised, and so was she!

I had never tried homeopathy before, much less could I ever fathom that a prescription that cost $11.00 ONCE, could heal my body and cure me of PCOS. I saw my homeopath for about two more months, just for follow-ups and continued taking my remedy until I stopped gradually because I just did not need it anymore. I have had regular monthly cycles ever since.

Clinically, my PCOS was HEALED

And not only that, my remedy allowed me to feel better and experience wellness in all areas of my life. I procrastinated less, I could process life’s difficult obstacles without getting overwhelmed and crying about them. My astigmatism which had required me to wear prescription glasses also went away. Many other annoying psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms I had previously just been tolerating were also gone and were replaced with the ability to appreciate a healthy body and, most importantly, think critically and clearly about important issues, for the first time in my life.

I can already anticipate the objections of skeptics: ‘That may have worked for you, but it will not work for everybody.’ This is a common excuse used by those who may have resigned themselves to the idea that they should mask their symptoms with western medicine and remain chronically ill for their entire lives. That propaganda was inserted into your mind through clever marketing by government-invested companies whose profit margin is sustained by your lack of faith that God has established a philosophy of medicine that can heal your body in a completely holistic way. Homeopathy treats the root of your issues, which is not done by taking pharmacology or herbs which circumvent your broken body and force it to do something it is not healthy enough to do.

Later in life, I learned that birth control not only causes abortion, but is also a poison to a woman’s body and, in addition to the recent human papillomavirus vaccine, is the leading cause in the rise in infertility we see among women today.

“Drugs of all types, of course, are damaging, but in my experience the most disturbing to the organism are antibiotics, tranquilizers, contraceptive pills, cortisone and other hormones.” -The Science of Homeopathy, George Vithoulkas

I share this testimony for multiple reasons:

First, there is this erroneous thought that one should have multiple supplements and herbs to take daily to keep their body functioning well. That is a symptom-based approach to caring for the body, it does not heal. It only continues to place a band-aid over the problem. Considering the ongoing cost of herbs and supplements, it is a very expensive band-aid. And in an emergency situation, without herbs and supplements available, many would not be able to function and some would likely die.

Second, and this is huge to stress– infertility and imbalanced hormones are not the root issue that must be dealt with, but a symptom. Your body being out of homeostasis is the issue. Homeostasis is defined as, ‘a state of equilibrium between processes tending to disorder the organism and processes which tend to maintain order.’ -Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, Dr. James Tyler Kent. So if the body’s processes, in this case ovulation and hormone regulation, are not able to maintain order and function, you are not in a state of homeostasis. Returning the entire body (mental, emotional and physical) to a state of homeostasis will undoubtedly end the symptoms being experienced.

Homeostasis is a great concept for how homeopathy works inside us. ‘Homeo’ being ‘same’ and ‘stasis’ being ‘standing’, the term means ‘tendency toward a state of equilibrium’. Our bodies are in a constant state of flux – a series of actions and counteractions to every stress life presents. The right homeopathic remedy at the right potency can provide the force we need to swing the pendulum just the right way. –Homeostasis and Homeopathy

When you treat the entire body and not just the symptoms, the symptoms will be treated too. When our whole body is being treated and returning to a state of mental and emotional health, any physical problems resolve as well.

Lastly, this solution of using homeopathy to heal the root issue forces us to regard our bodies as God created them. God gave us a physical body with a Spirit dwelling within us. They are not working as separate parts, but synergistically as one.

‘If we have material ideas of disease we will have material ideas of the means of cure.’ -Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, Dr. James Tyler Kent

We can take this one step farther in that, if we have material ideas of how God heals, we will never seek anything outside of material doses of herbs, pharmaceuticals and trust in Scientism. When dealing with an issue of sin, it is only truly resolved with a heart change. Homeopathy works in the same way and reminds me that it is the only way of healing that is consistent with scripture.

It is hard to let go of the idea of not taking daily supplements, herbs and eating restrictive diets; especially when the body does react positively to them. But the bigger questions that should be asked are: why is our body not working properly without supplementation? If we cannot trust our body to work without a daily supplement, are we experiencing true health? If we cannot go weeks or months without that chronic symptom popping up, are we really healthy? If the restrictive foods we eat were not available, would we be able to live on the things God has given us?

If we are not able to consume the wheat and grain of the field that God gives and live without need of daily medicines, we are merely a slave thinking we are free.

If you are struggling with infertility or hormonal imbalance, herbs and supplements are an option, but true and lasting healing will only come by seeking out a qualified homeopath to treat the root of your illness. I cannot promise that it will take only six months to restore you to full health, but the eventual results will be lasting, efficient, and, in the long run, you will save money, time and a be rewarded with a beautiful new outlook on life.

For a list of homeopathy practitioners registered with NASH, click here.

This post was re-blogged from here.

Immediatism vs. Incrementalism

Immediatism vs. Incrementalism

“…Revolutions don’t require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” (Ackerman, Diane. “The Man Who Made a Revolution.” Parade Magazine. Sept. 6, 1987.)

“There is always a philosophy for lack of courage.” (Albert Camus, Notebooks [1942–1951])

Because Immediatism is one of the more difficult tenets of Abolitionist Ideology for most people to grasp in a thoroughly understood and consistently applied manner, it may be necessary to define the problem to its solution. Incrementalism, or gradualism, confesses, either by deed or by practice, that Liberty and Righteousness can be best achieved by making concessions with the tyranny of civil bondage, truncating the total and complete injunction of political redemption by compromising with manmade institutions through democracy, legislation, and installing lesser magistrates to gradually achieve liberty. It is a strategy predicating on small victories accumulating over time towards some distant end, hacking at the branches of evil, expending the energy of reactionary motion against a tyrannical political, social, and economic system. Incrementalists typically equate this strategy with righteousness, even if they refuse to accept the label of Incrementalism.

It should be expressed that the condemnation of Incrementalism is not a wholesale condemnation against the concept of compromise, but only against compromise when it is a self-defeating permission of a bad thing while attempting to combat that bad thing. Any compromise with sin is a justification for sin and a proliferation of sin. Hacking at the branches of an evil tree only prunes the evil tree, incidentally making for a stronger, more healthy evil tree. And evil trees can only ever bear evil fruit and, ultimately, no fruit at all. Any deal with the Devil is good only for the Devil. “…For no one makes promises to a dragon.” (Peter S. Beagle) Likewise, it should be noted that Immediatism is not some expectation that total and complete repentance and sanctification unto liberty happens overnight. It is not a wish granted by a genie, or the waving of a magic wand. The Kingdom of God is not sought to perfection immediately upon stepping foot on its narrow path. Immediatists recognize that the road to salvation is not an easy one, and that their willingness to “put their hand to the plow” “in hope” insists that working towards liberty means a long, persistent, toilsome journey towards a proverbial Promised Land. Rather, Immediatism is the prima facie demand for human liberty in complete (and not partial) opposition to the practices, habits, and worldly wisdom that lead men into civil bondage to begin with, without relying on those same compromises to try and get out of that bondage. Doing so is what is meant by a “works-based salvation.”

Immediatists declare that it is only God that saves men from the bondage of sin and death, and that the abolition of human archism is not compatible with the management, redirection, fine-tuning, guidance, or adjustment of human archism. Incrementalists believe (no matter what they declare) that men can save themselves from their own bondage by their own political endeavors, which invariably are defined by the same thinking and sins that made them subject citizens in the first place. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

“It follows, from the abolitionist’s conception of his role in society, that the goal for which he agitated was not likely to be immediately realizable. Its realization must follow conversion of an enormous number of people, and the struggle must take place in the face of the hostility that inevitably met the agitator for an unpopular cause… The abolitionists knew as well as their later scholarly critics that immediate and unconditional emancipation could not occur for a long time. But unlike those critics they were sure it would never come unless it were agitated for during the long period in which it was impracticable….

To have dropped the demand for immediate emancipation because it was unrealizable at the time would have been to alter the nature of the change for which the abolitionists were agitating. That is, even those who would have gladly accepted gradual and conditional emancipation had to agitate for immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery because that demand was required by their goal of demonstrating to white Americans that Negroes were their brothers. Once the nation had been converted on that point, conditions and plans might have been made…” (Kraditor, A. “Means and Ends in American Abolitionism,” 1969; pp. 26-28)

Immediatists understand the purpose of maintaining a prophetic voice to demonstrate their message and call to personal action is to be in direct opposition to political pandering, which could only ever undermine their efforts and procrastinate their goals.

“As Martin Luther King and his cohorts fighting against racial segregation in the twentieth century had repeatedly to explain “Why We Can’t Wait” (the title of one of his books), so in the previous century the English Abolitionists, in their long struggle, had finally come to see that they had to say “immediately”—because anything gradual stretched out into never. If you were serious about ending slavery, history had shown, you had to cut through that endless self-deceiving delay.” (Miller, William L. Arguing About Slavery. [1996])

HouseOfAnarchyToolsOfMinarchy

The philosophical conclusion of Incrementalism rests on either one of two premises. The common denominator between these excuses (whether or not they are acknowledged in word and not just in deed) is faithlessness towards the Promises of God for those who seek His Righteousness by seeking His Kingdom. But these two premises should be recognized by either the first premise: the idea that institutions of human authority, while evil, are a necessary evil, either to provide roads, or justice, or order, or benefits, and that this minarchism can be utilized so that “good may come,” or by the second premise: the idea that institutions of human authority are impossible giants to overcome, and that progress can only be tempered with conciliatory cowardice with which to supplicate to them, because Liberty is only a distant and unreachable dream, nebulous and impractical in the face of defeatism. The two pitfalls of Incrementalist behavior and ideological subterfuge that lead to these unfortunate conclusions are summed up either in the conclusion that their efforts will end up actually strengthening the dragon they endeavor to slay in an ironic judgement against their misguided and reactionary schemes, or the conclusion that the efforts that they may attempt are a form of innocuity where the endeavors of incrementalists end up making them historically irrelevant because their actions amount to nothing but catharsis.

“Our cry, from the commencement, was for the immediate deliverance of the oppressed from chains and slavery. For this we were ranked among madmen. It was said that nothing but gradual emancipation was either safe or practicable: how gradual, no man undertook to show. Well—eight years have passed away. During that period, not less than four hundred thousand slaves have been emancipated by death, and their places supplied by more than half a million of new victims. Is not this a long time for “preparation”? But who are better prepared for liberty now than they were eight years ago? None. And we seriously ask, Has not the experience of two centuries shown that gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice? Is there an instance, in the history of the world, where slaves have been educated for freedom by their taskmasters? But if—by any management or contrivance—such an event had happened, or such scholastic treatment had been successfully given, still our cry would continue to be for immediate and unconditional emancipation; because to predicate a right to enslave men upon their ignorance, much more upon the complexion of their skin, is absurd, inhuman, monstrous. If the lapse of two hundred years be not sufficient to meet the claims of gradualism, (the rights of man out of the question), no quarter should longer be given to it by any friend of God or man.” (Wendell P Garrison and Francis J Garrison. William Lloyd Garrison: 1805-1879 ; the Story of His Life Told by His Children. II, The Century, 1885.)

To try and expound on the form of Incrementalism as characterized by institutions being a “necessary evil” in order to establish some salvific principle in society, it might be helpful to give a historical example of this in practice before describing something more contemporary. The Abolitionists against chattel slavery in 19th century America, after years of faithful immediatist preaching centered on moral suasion unto an evangelical solution to the problem of institutionalized oppression began to falter and stumble in the face of reactionary violence against their efforts. Coupled with the exhaustion following what must have seemed like so much wasted effort in preaching repentance to an audience overpopulated with spiritually dead “christians,” many abolitionists abandoned their Biblical ideology and instead sought to concentrate their efforts in overtaking the power centers of American society. Some still may have called themselves abolitionists but, while hijacking the term, their efforts began in revolve around pushing legislation to criminalize chattel slavery, or the creation of political parties to expand federal authority in order to oppose slavery and polygamy. Comfortable moderates could then justify voting for political candidates with “abolitionist sentiments” without being accused of holding radical abolitionist views like the importance of the Gospel and the obligation of seeking His Kingdom instead.

Lewis and Arthur Tappan, for instance, founded the Liberty Party in 1840 with James Birney. The Tappans were businessmen from New York, and very wealthy ones, revealing that their propensity for a more “winsome” institutional approach to addressing slavery (and rejection of the more prophetic message of the abolitionists) was compatible with their high-society caste full of delicate, potential donors whose palates leaned towards the allure of placating for political powers. To further excuse this sentiment, Birney, an anti-garrisonian, was a career politician and former slaveholder from Alabama, revealing a conflict of interest against relying on moral suasion to combat slavery (at least the kind that required repentance) which would have hindered the conversion of other slaveholders to his incrementalist cause and damage his political careerism in the public eye. Eight years after the Liberty Party was initiated, and losing traction, it merged with the Whig Party to form the Free Soil Party, demonstrating both the ineffective nature of political expediency and the need for more civil power and influence to be politically and  socially relevant. None of these parties hold much relevance to effecting posterity individually, demonstrating the self-eating nature of institutionalism, being drowned in historical obscurity. However, after a decade of political failure and ideological compromise, the Republican Party was eventually formed in 1854 by this persistent, desperate evolution and finally became an effective bastion of tyranny demonstrating just how good intentions are used to pave the way to Hell.

HitlerNotException

The continued compromise of political enthusiasts actually allowed a professing anti-slavery party to elect a pro-slavery candidate to office through Abraham Lincoln. We have written about how his sentiments and policies were persistently in favor of slavery (both corvee and chattel) elsewhere, but perhaps it is beneficial to repeat them here because they pertain to the effects of incrementalism as a nourishment for tyranny and oppression. To highlight this schizophrenia of a pro-slavery candidate in a compromised “anti-slavery” political party one needs to look no further than his inaugural address and his later letter to Horace Greeley. The former makes reference to the Corwin Amendment which can be read about here.

“I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. Holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

“If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

In addition to Lincoln’s consistent disregard for chattel slaves, his tyranny was no stranger to the subterfuges of economic warfare against the entire population of southern states, and when they retaliated against this tax slavery (which demanded the continued existence of chattel slavery in the agricultural colonies to offset the costs of imperialist tariffs), Lincoln committed to literal militaristic aggression. Surely the incrementalist’s desire for political power and the moral corruption that comes with it does not need to be described in detail concerning the barbaric atrocities of the Civil War. In order to get their way, however, incrementalists might profess some sort of pietistic moralism, conceptually limiting their thirst for power to minarchism, but their actions always tend more towards something like the Reign of Terror, assuaging their own consciences as they live by the sword of human institutionalism, pretending that “God wills” an excuse for their bloodlust.

FrenchRevolutionDieBySword

On the subject on the Civil War though, there might be a worthwhile reason to demonstrate the utter hypocrisy that the anti-garrisonian “abolitionists” maintained through the Republican Party. The criminalization of chattel slavery was always and expressly meant to be a procedure to undermine Southern states and restore its tax slaves to the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation, for instance, only declared “liberty” for the slaves in the Confederacy, as in only the territories which formally rebelled against the Union. Excluded from this announcement were all the slaves in the states that never emancipated themselves from Union enrollment: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. Incrementalism loves compromise, even if its participators call themselves “abolitionists.” They do not call sin “sin” unless it is only against those who will not join their Towers of Babel in their endeavor to enslave all of mankind. If there is any doubt that this is their endeavor, then it is necessary to examine the 14th amendment which paved the way to replace chattel slavery of some inhabitants in the United States with corvee slavery of all inhabitants in the United States, namely through Birth Certification and Social Security Enrollment. Before the Civil War,

“No private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of Constitution. The constitution it is true, is a compact, but he is not a party to it. The states are party to it.” (Supreme Court of Georgia, Padelford, Fay & Co. vs Mayor & Alderman, City of Savannah, 14 Ga. 438,520 [1854])

While the administrations of state governments were subject to the centralizing authority of the Constitution, individual residents were free from its bureaucratic oversight. However, after the ratification of the post-Civil War amendments,

“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)

Birth Registration Document: The Social Security Administration (SSA) may enter into an agreement with officials of a State… to establish, as part of the official birth registration process, a procedure to assist SSA in assigning social security numbers to newborn children. Where an agreement is in effect, a parent, as part of the official birth registration process, need not complete a Form SS-5 and may request that SSA assign a social security number to the newborn child.” (20 C.F.R., section 422.103)

This process, a direct result of Incrementalism through the Republican party, grants Employee Identification numbers to every person born and naturalized to the United States, under the authority of its central Union government. Corvee bondage (slavery characterized by income tax and tribute on one’s labor) is the most common form of slavery condemned in the Bible. However, it is compromising “christians” that made civil bondage a necessary civil staple of the American Dream in their satanic theonomy. This is because, while Incrementalism hacks at the branches of evil, instead of striking at its roots, it is actually pruning the wicked tree, enabling it to bear stronger wicked fruit. When engaging in human civil government as a “necessary evil,” it can only ever produce more evil, just as every other deal with the devil can only ever give the devil the lion’s share of the benefits of the deal.

After working out the false gospel of human civil government as it related to nourishing itself on the false promises of Incrementalism in history, it is necessary to express a few examples of this hollow worldview in contemporary warnings. For instance, many libertarians and fans of freedom value political power to work out their salvation from political power. Anyone with common sense automatically sees this as a foolish, self-defeating tautology where strongholds are pulling themselves down by their own bootstraps. However, most people who convince themselves that they love freedom, including many professing christians, have already been given over to a reprobate mind to frequently commit to that which is inconvenient in their search for convenience. They are endeavoring to traverse, without a guide, the mire of their own judgment, and untangle, by their own understanding, the Gordian Knot that binds themselves and their neighbor.

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The idea of invading manmade institutions, to be “a cog in the machine,” comes from the sentiment that “cogs sometimes make machines run better,” and is nothing short of “friendship evangelism” with tyranny. But introducing “better cogs” into tyrannical machines fails to recognize that these always just “turn in circles, wear out, and get replaced.” Of course, the sentiment even fails to acknowledge the ontological purpose of these machines is to be a tyrannical steamroller, constantly being resurrected by incrementalists throughout human history to oppress mankind (as if manmade authority could even exist without tribute, taxation, or inflation) that makes men cry out to God for liberation from this human meat grinder (of, by and for the people) in repentance towards executing the weightier matters of the Law in the Immediatism of personal responsibility and networked adhocracy. These machines are a judgment on those who raise up these machines, those who benefit from their operation at the expense of their neighbor, and those who look to them for salvation from starvation, violence, or any other consequence for sin by some form or combination of either sloth or covetousness.

To elect a man into authoritative office, no matter how “righteous,” libertarian or minarchist his gospel, is to confess that some slavery is necessary to effect much liberty. His salary does not exist without the corvee bondage of taxation. Say, for a non-existent and purely theoretical exception to this reality that you could elect a man into authoritative office whose salary is funded entirely by donation or by some trust fund or by some peripheral employment: Those who count your vote, the manufacturing of the ballot, the voting booths themselves, the property taxes of the building in which you voted, the payment of its utility bills, and every facet of the entire industry of democratic elections are maintained by the corvee bondage of taxation; not to mention the legislative, executive, and judicial death machines that carry out the “righteous,” libertarian, and minarchist policies of this exceptional person who could even (very doubtfully) get into authoritative office. Attempting to start with “a little institutionalism” sows the seed that produces a wicked tree of outright oppression and tyranny. The tree cannot bear any other kind of fruit. Its nature cannot be changed. The only favorable possibility is to let it whither and die and prevent yourself from planting the seed to begin with. Even if you plant it in “self-defense,” the blows with which you defend yourself are never concentrated onto those who have offended you, rather they make collateral damage out of every single person who pays taxes to fund your “self-defense.”

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“But when a new generation arises and the democracy falls into the hands of the grandchildren of its founders, they have become so accustomed to freedom and equality that they no longer value them, and begin to aim at pre-eminence; and it is chiefly those of ample fortune who fall into this error. So when they begin to lust for power and cannot attain it through themselves or their own good qualities, they ruin their estates, tempting and corrupting the people in every possible way. And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.” (Polybius: The Histories [composed at Rome around 130 BC] Fragments of Book VI, p289 See also Loeb Classical Library edition, 1922 thru 1927)

In light of these facts, it should be concluded explicitly that an endeavor like the Libertarian Party, or other theonomist and reconstructionist schemes, are evil. Their proponents know they are evil, and this fact is not absent from their tickets. Anybody who supports, donates to, pledges to vote for members of these parties, or involve themselves in peripheral political action committees, all invariably agree that they belong to the “lesser evil,” and so cannot deny being evil. They say they sincerely value the compromise of praying to tyranny to tyrannize themselves less and their neighbor more in order to make it happen. Their endeavors may legitimize bondage over their fellow man, but somehow those endeavors can possibly lead to more liberty as if their actions exist in a vacuum without direct, indirect, political, social, or economic consequences. However, the fact remains that giving human civil government permission to exercise authority over your neighbor, whether in the pursuit of liberty, justice, or provision, gives your neighbor the reciprocal right and entitlement to look to human civil government to provide for them anything it is willing, and at your expense. Tyranny sets the same hooks for all men, and baits them with the very flesh of those who get caught by them. The allure of democracy is mob rule, and the ontological nature of mob rule is incompatible with individual liberty and prosperity. The more you struggle against your bondage by using your bondage to be less bondage, the more you legitimize and justify and welcome your bondage. This is the act of kicking against the goads. The more you fight against it, the worse it will get, and your fate as a society of compromise, covetousness, and tyranny will only be ushered in sooner. You will experience the weeping and gnashing of teeth inherent to the moral and fiscal bankruptcy of a collapsing society.

“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. Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.” (Isaiah 28:13-19)

The only solution is to reject political authority altogether, to quit idolatry cold turkey, and to turn around and Seek first the Kingdom of God (which allows no authoritarian institutionalism) and His Righteousness (which forbids the legalism of man-made bureaucracy, replacing it with the natural Law of personal responsibility.) Theonomists, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists will attempt to promise that their idolatry in authoritarianism is somehow their version of seeking the Kingdom of God, but scripture condemns this excuse as the Doctrine of Balaam, Korah, and the Nicolaitans, citing a warning about the leaven of the Pharisees: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

“The dogma that all governments of the world are approvingly ordained of God, and that the powers that be in the United States, Russia, in Turkey, are in accordance with His will, is not less absurd than impious. It makes the impartial Author of human freedom and quality unequal and tyrannical. It cannot be affirmed that the powers that be, in any nation, are actuated by the spirit or guided by the example of Christ, in the treatment of enemies: therefore, they cannot be agreeable to the will of God: and, therefore, their overthrow, by a spiritual regeneration of their subjects, is inevitable…

As every human government is upheld by physical strength, and its laws are enforced virtually at the point of the bayonet, we cannot hold any office which imposes upon its incumbent the obligation to do right, on pain of imprisonment or death. We therefore voluntarily exclude ourselves from every legislative and judicial body, and repudiate all human politics, worldly honours, and stations of authority. If we cannot occupy a seat in the legislature, or on the bench, neither can we elect others to act as our substitutes in any such capacity.” (William Lloyd Garrison. Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by the Peace Convention, Held in Boston in 1838)

ForceLowMoralityEinstein

One very popular example of conciliatory and innocuous form of Incrementalism in the face of chattel slavery in 19th Century America was the concept of Colonization. Similar to the Trail of Tears endeavor to emigrate native populations from polite society and segregating them into Oklahoma territory, Colonization also sought to placate institutionalized oppression by inventing a peripheral solution: the colonization of Liberia by removing black populations from the United States and sending them “back to Africa.” This gradual emancipation was an imitation of an 18th century British endeavor to deport London’s “black poor” to the Sierra Leone which had been supported by the British government. In both cases, the endeavor was attractive to those who had no desire to actually oppose slavery in any meaningful way and give lip service to its amelioration while actually perpetuating its existence. Socialist institutions of Empire could invest in this practice of carting off “undesirable members of society” to a “backwoods” continent in the effort to “civilize Africa” and bring it under the imperialist jurisdiction of those who are willing to “free” some members of their society in order to enslave the whole world through that imperialism. It was the Immediatism of the abolitionists that harshly opposed the concept of Incrementalist colonization, and demonized it as a slaveholder’s scheme. Eventually, the incrementalists focused, not on emigration, but educational efforts for blacks in Liberia and in the United States, but never actually putting forth efforts into ending the practice of chattel slavery. The colonizationists eventually faded into historical irrelevance and are usually seen as an example of caution against adopting gradualist Incrementalism in light of the more efficacious abolitionist Immediatism.

“It was the custom in that day to inveigh against immediatism as ‘impracticable.’ ‘You cannot,’ said our opponents, ’emancipate all the slaves at once; why, then, do you propose so impossible a scheme?’ Our reply was, that slaveholding being a sin, instant emancipation was the right of every slave and the duty of every master. The fact that the slaveholders were not ready at once to obey the demands of justice and the requirements of the Divine Law militated not against the soundness of the doctrine of immediatism or against its power as a PRACTICAL WORKING PRINCIPLE. The minister of the Gospel does not cease to proclaim the duty of immediate repentance for sin because he knows that his message will not be immediately heeded. It is his duty to contend for sound principles, whether his auditors ‘will hear or forbear.’ He dares not advise or encourage them to delay repentance for a single hour, though he knows that in all probability many of them will do so until their dying day.” (Johnson, O. “William Lloyd Garrison And His Times.” Boston: Houghton, Mifflin And Company, 1881.)

A more contemporary example of this gradualist spirit that comes from a place of compromise and placating shame is the political shift towards the emancipation of State governments from the Federal government, as if fifty bastions of civil bondage and institutional oppression are better than one, more central one, or as if it is a blessing for the Lernaean Hydra to have more mouths by which to consume mankind. In theory, the idea that advocating for State Sovereignty as a dissolution of federal bondage is actually germinating the heirloom seeds harvested from the fruit of the wicked tree of federal bondage. In other words, the nature of the problem remains in the premise of its solution, only on a smaller scale. The principle is the same, only the degree is different. The purpose of advocating for “state’s rights” is essentially to figuratively take civil bondage back in time to when it was less oppressive or insoluble without eliminating it altogether. It is to make corvee slavery more palatable and comfortable and manageable without ever taking it off the exact same course of destruction that those enslaved complain about today. In a few generations, “this theory of liberty” will progress toward the exact same level of tyranny as is now demonstrated, owed to the inevitable inertia of the worldview behind it. Only now there will be 50 bastions of tyranny. However, these are the problems behind just the theory itself. It is still beneficial to look at the implications of its practice.

HydraIncrementalism

When contrasted against a cursory understanding of civics, the orthodoxy of “freeing the States” is impossible to implement in a practical orthopraxy. Rather it is an absurdly illogical idea owed to the fact that the people are not even citizens of the State governments, but rather the Federal government. The covenants they have made have not been with the State gods, but the federal gods. As mentioned above, the incrementalist approach to chattel slavery in the United States in the 19th century ushered in a universal application of corvee slavery onto every individual in every state, removing their political jurisdiction from State governments, making them property and merchandise of a Federal civil system.

“So, by declaration of the 14th Amendment, all persons born from that point forward, and all naturalized people, had just become citizens (i.e. subjects) of the United States Government, obviously without their knowledge (babies) or understanding (the Negroes). The Federal Government had just reached past the jurisdictional boundaries of the state and county lines and claimed all its babies and all Negroes.

In Section 2, it then states that only males 21 years of age who are citizens of the United States may be allowed to vote in Federal and State elections. That means that only those men who willingly claimed U.S. citizenship on voter’s registration cards (though they didn’t realize the implications) were also brought in as subjects of the Federal Government.” (Lyon, L.C., 2021. The Day Our Country Was Stolen. [online] Outpost-of-freedom.com)

Prior to the Civil War, it was not uncommon for American inhabitants to be citizens of State governments rather than slaves under a federal jurisdiction. Freeing the States from Federal oppression was (while still ideologically incrementalist) a popular idea that had teeth, and the States had no legal or political issue with abandoning the Union. It was only when those governments absconded with Federal property in their exit that they experienced pushback from the United States corporation through military retaliation The Union already desired to go to war with Southern States, but it was the attack on Union property that served as the legitimate catalyst for the Civil War. The imperialist aggression of the government of South Carolina against Fort Sumter is just one example of this principle of the Federal government having property in the states looking to free themselves from the Federal government.

“Fort Sumter was covered by a separate cession of land to the United States by the state of South Carolina, and covered in this resolution, passed by the South Carolina legislature in December of 1836:

‘The Committee on Federal relations, to which was referred the Governor’s message, relating to the site of Fort Sumter, in the harbour of Charleston, and the report of the Committee on Federal Relations from the Senate on the same subject, beg leave to Report by Resolution:

‘Resolved, That this state do cede to the United States, all the right, title and claim of South Carolina to the site of Fort Sumter and the requisite quantity of adjacent territory, Provided, That all processes, civil and criminal issued under the authority of this State, or any officer thereof, shall and may be served and executed upon the same, and any person there being who may be implicated by law; and that the said land, site and structures enumerated, shall be forever exempt from liability to pay any tax to this state.

Also resolved: That the State shall extinguish the claim, if any valid claim there be, of any individuals under the authority of this State, to the land hereby ceded.'” (Mackey, Al. “Who Owned Fort Sumter?Student of the American Civil War, 14 Apr. 2013.)

In a more contemporary setting, the Federal government has since increased its interests in State boundaries, to an insurmountable extent, to include national parks and forests, institutions and edifices, highways and seaboards and, most importantly, sovereignty over every single individual with a birth certification and social security number (including those belonging even to the legislators, executives, and judges of state governments), and every single piece of property that is characterized by a legal title. To attempt to free the states unto their own sovereignty at this point is attempt something cartoonish: to give those governments control over nothing at all while their governors, legislators, and judges all belong as corvee slaves to the Federal government along with each and every inhabitant of each and every state. The freedom of the people would be just as impossible to obtain after the completion of this action as before it was undertaken. It would amount to nothing other than hitting rubber with a hammer or running on a treadmill. It would amount to an illusion of progress, mistaking motion for action and committing to a sense of catharsis without ever doing anything productive. This highlights the absurdity of Incrementalism, valuing conciliation and supplication to authoritarianism while pretending to combat it, paying lip service to an imagined just cause but only ever professing a moral opinion to cover up the absence of moral action.

“Should the numerous petitions to Parliament be ultimately successful; should the prayer for gradual emancipation be granted; still, how vague and indefinite would be the benefit resulting from such success. Should some specific time be appointed by government, for the final extinction of colonial slavery, that period, we have been informed from high authority, will not be an early one. And who can calculate the tears and groans, the anguish and despair; the tortures and outrages which may be added, during the term of that protracted interval, to the enormous mass of injuries already sustained by the victims of West Indian bondage? Who can calculate the aggravated accumulation of guilt which may be incurred by its active agents, its interested abettors and supporters? Why, then, in the name of humanity, of common sense, and common honesty, do we petition Parliament, year after year, for a gradual abolition of this horrid system?—this complication of crime and misery? Why petition Parliament at all, to do that for us, which, were they ever so well disposed, we can do more speedily and more effectually for ourselves?” (Heyrick, Elizabeth. Immediate, Not Gradual Abolition: Or, an Inquiry into the Shortest, Safest, and Most Effectual Means of Getting Rid of West Indian Slavery. Knapp, 1838.)

It is the predictable argument of the Incrementalist to justify these compromises by saying, “Well, we are forced to pay our taxes regardless, we might as well endeavor to further the idea that they are used to make sure we pay fewer taxes and to work towards Liberty (make Hell less hot.) Also, the taxes that would pay for these things are ones we’ve paid already, so no new taxes are being extracted from our neighbor to pay for them.”

To this, Immediatism warns that to justify the utilization of taxes is to justify the covetousness that enables them. It is to express entitlement to the socialist system, and further the ouroboros cycle of greed and punishment and greed and punishment that describe the cause and effect of covetousness and taxation. Not to mention, the currency involved in taxation is not characterized by wealth, but debt notes. The whole financial-political system is in debt. The taxes (unpaid labor) you sacrifice to the system go to pay the interest of the boons, benefits, politicians’ salaries, and policy changes borrowed against you and enjoyed by your parents and grandparents who made you collateral for them. Likewise, the boons, benefits, politicians’ salaries, and policy changes that you enjoy are borrowed against the taxes (unpaid labor) of your children and grandchildren whom you sell into the civil bondage of subject citizenship through birth certification, social security enrollment, marriage licensing, and any other covenant you make with the false gods of human civil government. So, what is the Immediatist’s alternative to these solutions?

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44)

Immediatism says “be perfect.” This is impossible for a people who look to oppressors for a better world, and their cold, calculating, impersonal, bureaucratic system to achieve it. For those that curse, hate, despitefully use, and persecute you by the institutional power of human civil government, your injunction is to return to them love, blessings, good doings, and prayer by the more effective power of direct, personal responsibility. This is the only way to break the cycle of institutional civil war crimes inherent to socialist societies. This character of forgiveness and repaying evil with good is the only way to end this social feud lasting from generation to generation. It does not allow for “less” of a sense of entitlement from the self-defeating system of ouroboros, it disallows entitlement altogether. The same goes for institutionalized retaliation against evil, which is often euphemized by Theonomists, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists as “resisting the evildoer,” and “safeguarding our culture from evil people.” Twisted scripture aside, these excuses only confess that their proponents have no discipline to receive a proverbial blow on the cheek while confronting a culture strictly through the efforts of adhocratic, freewill association, to be in the world, but not of its “apt, harmonious arrangement, constitution, order, and government.” It is simply impossible to confront evil with evil, to resist evil by being evil, and use worldly wisdom to stymie worldly people. These who seek office are publicans (tax collectors) and only love those who agree with them and their purpose for the power centers. They cannot forgive those who exercise authority over them to some purpose with which they disagree. This necessarily continues the feud and social war whose carnal weapons consist of institutional power.

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:9-15)

“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:34-35)

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)

Lord'sPrayer

The Lord’s Prayer, often truncated to decorate coffee mugs, interior design, bookmarks, and throw pillows, is actually a succinct condemnation on Incrementalism and a salient prescription of Immediatism. To describe the civil Father of the Christian as being in Heaven is to supplant the legitimacy of the civil fathers of the earth. To hallow His name is to undermine the authority of elected officials. To seek his Kingdom is to be ex-patriated from any other kingdom. To anticipate His will is to confess to not needing the wills of political candidates. To pray for the providence of a heavenly Father for daily bread is to refuse the socialist “free bread” of Benefactors who exercise authority (And if God is faithful to be the sole provider of daily bread, then we have no right to ask from any other god protection, law and order, and justice—the Heavenly Father is just as efficacious to deliver those for true believers in His Kingdom as well). To ask from that Father forgiveness for squandering the birthright of your Dominion Mandate in subjecting your capital, equity, allodium, and liberty to the coffers of subject citizenship, you admit that you must forgive those who have taken advantage of these deposits to receive benefits at your expense by also no longer receiving entitlements from their socialist provision. To ask God to lead you away from the temptation of eating at the tables of rulers is to ask Him to redeem you from the evil of their socialist societies. But Christ warns multiple times, that if you do not forgive your debtors, God will not grant you salvation.

This is the reciprocal nature of civil bondage. If you take the socialist benefit, you will incur the authoritarian wrath. If you collect social security, fatten your heart by food stamps, send your children to public school, continue to elect ruling men into authoritarian office for whatever tax-funded boon or privilege you can get, or eat any other “food sacrificed to idols,” then you have not forgiven your debtors for doing these very things at your own expense. Rather, you are living by the double-edged sword of institutionalism and eventually dying by it too. Only by repenting of your covetous appetite, and putting a “knife to your throat” in refusal to eat of the socialist benefits can you say that you do not “live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Only then will God forgive you, and redeem you to follow the Perfect Law of Liberty which governs a Kingdom of freemen who provide for each other out of faith, hope and charity rather than contracts, entitlements, and taxation.

If the picture has yet to be made clear, then it must be explicitly said that Immediatism says that repentance must be an urgent and immediate rejection of sin while Incrementalism says that repentance can happen in stages or increments, as though it were possible to continue to commit a sin, but only partially, diminishing it over time until it is theoretically not practiced at all. This idea is a rejection of Jesus‘ injunction to “Go, and sin no more.” For instance, Immediatism says that drug abuse is a sin issue and that its repentance means quitting cold turkey. Incrementalism says not to call it drug abuse, but rather drug addiction, and that it is a disease, and therefore a healthcare issue that must be treated over time, firstly by replacing controlled substances with legalized alternatives provided by a lucrative industry, then incrementally lowering the dosage as time progresses. Incrementalism, therefore, does not treat sin as severely as it should be treated if it is to recognize it as sin at all. Immediatism says “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29) Incrementalism says “If your eye causes you to sin, squint. Or wink. Or wear an eyepatch. Because it is better to covet your neighbor’s house a little bit than it is to lose your entire eye.” Immediatism says “And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:30) Incrementalism says “If your right hand is offensive, trim your nails. Then try cutting off one finger at a time, but don’t cut it off entirely. It’s better to steal some of your neighbor’s livelihood than it is to not have a whole hand.”

To further the notion that the Bible consistently teaches the Immediatist position, perhaps it is beneficial to look at one of its most famous recorded events. When the Israelites were in their civil bondage in Egypt after generations of making Pharaoh their provider, protector, lawgiver, judge, father, god, and savior, they eventually learned to recognize the oppression and tyranny chosen by themselves when they followed the broad path generations prior. They had to learn the importance of Immediatism when they no longer could receive the free bread provided by Pharaoh. Instead, they had to glean the fields of straw themselves and provide bread for each other out of charity and mutual sustenance. They still had corvee obligations to Pharaoh however, but endeavoring to form a free society independent of Egyptian bureaucracy enabled them to cry out to God for liberation. And because of their repentance, God heard them:

“And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:5-8)

MakeEgyptGreatAgain

God then gave to Moses the most quintessential Immediatist demand to preach to Pharaoh: “Let my people go.” This message was repeated by Moses consistently, without compromise or modification, despite Pharaoh’s repeat refusal of an Immediatist solution, and his attempts at Incrementalist counter-offers. He tried to compromise with Moses, suggesting that the Israelites could “Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land” (Exodus 8:25), as if the Israelites could serve two masters, or as modern Incrementalists suggest, “Obey the laws of the land only so far as they don’t contradict God’s Law.” Moses‘ Immediatist message remained: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh’s next compromise was “Only ye shall not go very far away” (Exodus 8:28), as if he could grant the Israelites an illusion of liberty, but not too far out of reach in case he changed his mind later. But Moses’ Immediatism did not wane: “Let my people go.Pharaoh eventually attempted another Incrementalist compromise: “Go now ye that are men” [but not] “your little ones” (Exodus 10:8-11), as he was comfortable letting his adult tax-slaves go, but required a new generation to work his fields and provide his economy. Moses’ Immediatist message did not acknowledge this compromise: “Let my people go.” Pharaoh’s last proposal, after nine arduous plagues, still reflected his tenacity for incrementalism: “Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.” (Exodus 10:24), as if it were reasonable to free his civil citizens without their personal property, creating a necessity to return to him for provision in the face of starvation and poverty. But Moses’ response still rejected this desire for compromise: “Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.” (Exodus 10:26)

“[Garrison] seems to have understood—this boy without experience—he seems to have understood by instinct that righteousness is the only thing which will finally compel submission; He seems to have known it at the very outset, taught of God, the herald and champion, God-endowed and God-sent to arouse a nation, that only by the most absolute assertion of the uttermost truth, without qualification or compromise, can a nation be waked to conscience or strengthened for duty. No man ever understood so thoroughly—not O’Connell, nor Cobden—the nature and needs of that agitation which alone, in our day, reforms states. In the darkest hour he never doubted the omnipotence of conscience and the moral sentiment.” (Phillips, Wendell. “Eulogy of Garrison. Remarks of Wendell Phillips at the funeral of William Lloyd Garrison.” 1884. Boston, Lee and Shepard.)

If the faithless Fanarchists, Theonomists, Reconstructionists, Dominionists, Libertarians, Minarchists, and Fauxbolitionists of contemporaneity were to recognize that their social, financial, and political circumstances emulate those of the Israelites in Bondage to Egypt, they would be forced to declare that Moses‘ obstinate “all or nothing” strategy was nothing short of foolishness and pride, if not inaction. Their own habits and worldly wisdom advise that Moses should have taken what he could get and betrayed his ideal of liberty for the baby steps of compromise, placating for the tide of tyranny and believing on Pharaoh’s deceptive and empty promises. But the reliable character of Moses could not be one to make concessions in self-deceiving blindness. “There are honest people in the world, but only because the devil considers their asking prices ridiculous.” (Peter S. Beagle) Rather, Moses trusted on the promises of an immutable God and placed his faith in the fact that righteousness will be rewarded, even miraculously, by the Author of Liberty and any action that sacrifices that faith on the altar of compromise would forfeit his right to any liberty obtained through that compromise. If “duty is ours, and the results belong to God,” then “the time for justice is always now.” It is unsatisfactory to demand for “some justice now and some justice later, and even more justice in some distant future,” but rather that the God of freemen demands “Let my people go before your man-made institutions are ruined by a supernatural force of judgment and righteousness laying waste to your entire civil society of debt, oppression, and idolatry.” Only right action, undiluted, bears good fruit. The injunction of Immediatism is intrinsic to the Abolitionist worldview, not just in the creation of a free society, but also in its preservation. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing… If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” (John 15:5-10)

TenCommandments

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Heaven, as given to Moses after the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian civil citizenship, is a framework for Immediatism to strengthen and nourish their freedom and the freewill bonds of their association. It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” It is incrementalist to say “Give us a king to judge us.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… or bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” It is incrementalist to say “allow us to make a golden calf out of our collective wealth, forming a central bank to prop up socialist institutions that compel our service to them.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.” It is incrementalist to say “surely we can call ourselves God’s chosen people while going under the power of false gods we’ve elected to rule over us.” It is immediatist to say “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It is incrementalist to say “it is okay to borrow against the future today, to go into debt and take our rest now while we work twice as hard to pay the interest of this loan tomorrow.” It is immediatist to say “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” It is incrementalist to say “allow us to outsource our parents’ care to the socialist security institutions of Corban and their retirement centers.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not kill.” It is incrementalist to say “let us take a man’s life by living at the expense of his livelihood through institutional force and violence.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It is incrementalist to say “perhaps we can still practice political infidelity by making other rulers our providers and protectors, to accept the socialist baubles of civil lovers.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not steal.” It is incrementalist to say “but taxation is necessary for a civilized society.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” It is incrementalist to say “money does not have reflect just weights and measures, it can be anything so long that it is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in our socio-economic context.” It is immediatist to say “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house…” It is incrementalist to say “but he doesn’t have an inherent right over his family and property, he should be regulated and taxed to pay for that regulation.” In each instance where God’s Law is challenged by incrementalist excuses, the people have endeavored to codify their compromises into institutional barbarism and cannibalistic poverty. But God’s immediatist injunctions against human civil government and its necessary systems of taxation and inflation are a warning against the self-destruction of such morally compromised societies.

“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” (Isaiah 10:1-4)

To summarize: Incrementalism self-germinates its seed of self-destruction and irrelevance to posterity. It says that “it is the ability to compromise that makes a man noble.” But this is a rejection of common sense and a bastion of personal hypocrisy. It necessarily pays lip service to moral opinions while consistently practicing immoral action. Philosophically, it justifies the existence of immorality by degrees, proposing to offer a “half-life” solution to injustice and sin. If you can do a half the sin tomorrow that you’ve done today, and half of that half the following day, and half of the third day’s sin on the fourth day, and so on and so forth, you’re still always left with sin on your itinerary. No amount of sin, tyranny, or bondage halved will ever amount to none. Incrementalism is perpetuity, and a worldview only justifiable by careerists who “convert a public problem into a personal career and rescues himself from obscurity, penury, or desperation. These men work with a dedication that may appear to be selfless so long as the problem is insoluble.” Incrementalism makes problems insoluble as an exercise of pretense. If the problem went away, so would their sense of heroism and “humanitarian” self-aggrandizement. The problem mocks them in response: “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren’t you, huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.

Immediatism, on the other hand, takes no prisoners, and parleys with no tyranny or the self-defeating behaviors that beg for its existence. It refuses to compromise with falsehood, pragmatic excuses, conciliatory whingeing, and accommodating mewling. These attitudes inherently confess that power rightfully belongs to politicians and false gods in human civil government: “Pretty please, do for us what we are too morally weak and lacking in integrity to do for ourselves.” But uncompromising men are easy to admire for a reason. Men of direct action have always been the engine on which human history relies, to propel it from bondage to liberty. It says that the Ship of State should be sunk by a wave of good intentions, moral suasion, and righteous action in a prophetic display of repentance, because that which can be destroyed by the truth demands to be destroyed by the truth. It says that those who live by the power of taxation are slaveholders over those subjected to taxation, and that it is better to lose this livelihood than it is to perpetuate this dominion of man for one more day, or even one more hour. Immediatism says that the only way to see this occur is to seek first the Kingdom of God, rather than any kingdom of men, and to seek God’s righteousness which has the power to nullify human institutions, rather than any self-righteousness of self-defeating salvation.

If sanity is not statistical, then the truth cannot be discerned by the “conventional wisdom” of the multitude who value Incrementalism to justify their cowardice with worldly philosophy. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) God says to be perfect, to cease from sin, and to not serve two masters. This is the way of Immediatism.

“The conception of abolition as a sacred vocation helps illuminate the immediatists’ intemperate style and their radical stance toward existing ministerial and evangelical institutions. Abolition in a very precise way was a form of evangelicalism and they were its evangelists. Their mode of persuasion was identical in tone, structure, and epistemology to the address that any evangelical preacher worth his salt would use to break down a sinner’s resistance to Truth. Slavery was sin and as sin had to be relinquished and fought against, just as in a revival a sinner had to repent immediately and turn his energies against sin. Indeed, for the abolitionist activist to insist on anything else was unthinkable. Gerrit Smith put it very explicitly when he challenged Lyman Beecher‘s refusal to adopt immediatism while still avowing that slavery was evil. “Now if I were standing by,” Smith wrote, “whilst you were laboring to bring a fellow sinner to repentance, and, instead, of countenancing your solemn and urgent exhortation, you should relieve his pressed conscience by telling him, not yet, you would not likely to number me amongst the advocates of the doctrines of Biblical Repentance.” The immediatists similarly refused to compromise their stance when opponents insisted that their denunciation of Christian slaveholders as vile sinners and their charge that Christians who did not accept immediatism had leagues themselves with the devil underminded Christian progress retarding revivals, dividing churches, and destroying benevolent enterprises. The abolitionist stance was essentially an ante- (rather than anti-) institutional one. The doctrine that slavery was sin and hence had to be condemned and renounced was the antecedent principle against which they judged any idea, action, or institution. This they could not mute their rhetoric or agitation out of loyalty to existing ministerial or evangelical institutions. In effect, they now inhabited a different ministry, one which might be ideological and abstract but which was nonetheless as clear in its imperatives as the most carefully prescribed ministerial routine.” (Fellman, M. (1981). Antislavery reconsidered: New perspectives on the Abolitionists. Louisiana State University Press.)

IncrementalismStateSovereignty

What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?

What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?

What follows is a Speech by Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in his hometown of Rochester, New York on July 5, 1852 to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. He was invited to give his thoughts on the 76th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. His speech subverts the expectations of patriotism by condemning the institution of chattel slavery in the United States. While we disagree with his tacit approval of Constitutionalism and the necessity of the American war for “independence,” Douglass nevertheless makes salient points about American hypocrisy:

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable—and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here today is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say, I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. I am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young. Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown . Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But, your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would, certainly, prove nothing, as to what part I might have taken, had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day, plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right, against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger, as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present ruler.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so, than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day, were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it. Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change, (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the second of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

[We] solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be [totally] dissolved.

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, therefore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history —the very ring—bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day—cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness.

The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime.

The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too—great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country, is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defense. Mark them!

Fully appreciating the hardship to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep the corner-stone of the national superstructure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even Mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interests nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, unfolded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence.

I remember also that as a people Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait—perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans, and can be had cheap will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and his cause is the ever-living now.

Trust no future, however pleasant, Let the dead past bury its dead; Act, act in the living present, Heart within, and God overhead.

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchres of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men, shout —”We have Washington to our father.”—Alas! that it should be so; yet so it is.

The evil that men do, lives after them, The good is oft’ interred with their bones.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But, such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, lowering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens; above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see, this day, and its popular characteristics, from the slave’s point of view. Standing, there, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible, which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery—the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be fight and just. But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia, which, if committed by a black man, (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgement that the slave is a moral, intellectual and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws, in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, their will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and cyphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood and stained with pollution is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employments for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is past.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelly to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival. Take the American slave-trade, which, we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year, by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states, this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government, as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words, from the high places of the nation, as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade, as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the laws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our doctors of divinity. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish themselves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass without condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh-jobbers, armed with pistol, whip and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field, and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-chilling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man, with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the center of your soul! The crack you heard, was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard, was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow the drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shocking gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves, the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woolfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming hand-bills headed “Cash for Negroes.” These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners. Ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number have been collected here, a ship is chartered, for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep, still darkness of midnight I have been often aroused by the dead heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains, and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror. Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit, I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity, on the way to the slave markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Is this the land your Fathers loved, The freedom which they toiled to win? Is this the earth whereon they moved? Are these the graves they slumber in?

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason & Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women, and children as slaves remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the Star-Spangled Banner and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your lawmakers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there are neither law, justice, humanity, nor religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side, is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world, that, in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America, the seats of justice are filled with judges, who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding in the case of a man’s liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenseless, and in diabolical intent, this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe, having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were not stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance, and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise and cummin” —abridge the fight to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church, demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal! And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to solicit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old Covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door, and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox, to the beautiful, but treacherous queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country, (with fractional exceptions), does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy, is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith.” But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, Welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything—in preference to the gospel, as preached by those divines. They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation—a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday school, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds; and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared—men, honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land, have, in utter denial of the authority of Him, by whom the professed to he called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example or the Hebrews and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, they teach “that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.”

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher of Brooklyn, Samuel J. May of Syracuse, and my esteemed friend [Rev. R. R. Raymond] on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in England towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating, and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and restored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high[ly] religious question. It was demanded, in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, and Burchells and the Knibbs, were alike famous for their piety, and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable instead or a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria, and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and bodyguards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation—a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against her oppressors; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare, before the world, and are understood by the world to declare, that you “hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens! I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretence, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad; it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing, and a by word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. It fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement, the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet, you cling to it, as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that the right to hold and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic. Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped to palter with us in a double sense: And keep the word of promise to the ear, But break it to the heart.

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest imposters that ever practiced on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape. But I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length – nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq., by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which, the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon, as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but, interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gateway? or is it in the temple? It is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slave-holding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can anywhere be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation, for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, common-sense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of slavery is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a fight to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this fight, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tell us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion. Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation, which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world, and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are, distinctly heard on the other.

The far-off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen, in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it.

God speed the year of jubilee The wide world o’er When from their galling chains set free, Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee, And wear the yoke of tyranny Like brutes no more. That year will come, and freedom’s reign, To man his plundered fights again Restore.

God speed the day when human blood Shall cease to flow! In every clime be understood, The claims of human brotherhood, And each return for evil, good, Not blow for blow; That day will come all feuds to end. And change into a faithful friend Each foe.

God speed the hour, the glorious hour, When none on earth Shall exercise a lordly power, Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower; But all to manhood’s stature tower, By equal birth! That hour will com, to each, to all, And from his prison-house, the thrall Go forth.

Until that year, day, hour, arrive, With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive, To break the rod, and rend the gyve, The spoiler of his prey deprive- So witness Heaven! And never from my chosen post, Whate’er the peril or the cost, Be driven.

The Obligation

The Obligation

“It appears to us as a self-evident truth, that, whatever the gospel is designed to destroy at any period of the world, being contrary to it, ought now to be abandoned.” (William Lloyd Garrison. Declaration of Sentiments Adopted by the Peace Convention, Held in Boston in 1838)

The fourth tenet of Abolitionism is one that describes a sense of personal responsibility that is unified in scope and nature among all professing Christians regardless of age, sex, race, culture, or preferred churchian denomination. This is because the Weightier Matters of God’s Law, as recalled by Christ, do not offer room for truancy for any individual, nor deferred responsibility unto civil or faux-ecclesiastical institutions. Plainly, it is the duty of every person that takes Christ’s name to repent of taking it in vain and actively seek His literal Kingdom in starting or joining an abolitionist society, to be adhocratically yoked together with other true believers in an organized, global network that practices a daily ministration of freewill offerings, seeks justice, loves mercy, and corrects oppression within its ever-growing civil Kingdom. All professing Christians have the ability and duty to make effective Abolitionist Ideology in their daily lives, and to center their lifestyles around the Gospel of God in a proactive way. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

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The vast majority of professing christians claim to love God and love their neighbor as themselves, but they do not keep God’s commands and follow Christ’s instructions, nor do they build their neighbor up to love and good works, strengthen the hand of the poor and needy, bring justice to the fatherless, or plead the widow’s cause. They are more content to fatten their hearts in the day of slaughter under false gods, while outsourcing these responsibilities to their socialist bureaucracies that offer social programs and authoritarian administrations which pervert these weightier matters. An easy excuse to justify not being our brother’s keeper is to imagine that he is someone else’s problem, and to raise up compartmentalized organizations and industries of employment to preemptively dismiss him as someone else’s problem, or rather to make him the problem of collective society through tax-funded benefits or interdependent and specialized examples of careerism in a socialist economy. This slothful and covetous attitude to dismiss the plight of one’s neighbor was just as common in the first century as it is today, especially among those who professed to be God’s chosen people.

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

In order to justify himself to God, this lawyer imagines that his liturgical, innocuous, and vapid superstitious “religion” is the correct benchmark for his obedience. He has obtained the right formal education, holds the right theological positions, goes to temple on the convenient days, labels himself among God’s chosen people, and ticks any other positional box on the checklist labeled “orthodoxy.” He belongs as a citizen to a specific civil society, is a patriot to those who share that citizenship, and understands who his political enemies are. He pays his taxes. He performs his designated role of employment to help maintain his society. He does what is expected of him without much fuss, and little aspiration to rethink the legitimacy of these concepts. Clearly, when confronted with the truth claims of Christ’s preaching that demolishes these presuppositions in convicting him, he seeks to paint Christ into a corner with some real elementary theological rhetoric.

But Christ, with a little bit of common sense, demolishes the lawyer’s worldview in order to contrast it against the spirit of God’s commands. The parable of the Good Samaritan reveals that God does not so much care about one’s profession, philosophical or “theological” positions, ethnic or political affiliations, or whether they honor Him with their lips. What God does care about is static when contrasted against these things and is characterized by whether one obeys His commands. Clearly, this is irrelevant to whether one can trace their lineage through some “Jewish” pedigree or belongs to a civil society that claims that “God blesses” it out of sheer wishful thinking.

In fact, the first greatest commandment, that every individual is obligated to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind” is inherently a political one, declaring that God alone should be your God, preventing you from serving more than one master by raising up other gods, or civil rulers who call themselves Benefactors, but exercise authority by maintaining their socialist providence towards society through bureaucratic force and taxation. The Israelites were once expected to perform this obligation by learning to reject Pharaoh’s political administration over their provision, protection, and essentially their whole adoptive Egyptian society, and to turn back to God to fulfill that position for them exclusively. They did do that, and God rewarded them with salvation from their civil bondage in Egypt which was characterized by a twenty percent income tax. The Jews under the Pax Romana faced a similar choice, to either repent of their sloth, and covetousness for Rome’s provision, and to make God their sole provider, protector, and civil Father again, or to continue in their idolatry and remain among Caesar’s civil citizens. Thousands of Jews did choose to be counted in Christ’s Kingdom at Pentecost, but many of them, maybe including this lawyer, decided to continue to be Romans. It should be expressed that the Kingdom of Heaven, like the kingdoms of the world, does not permit or bar entry based on one’s ethnic or genealogical affiliation: Concerning the man in Christ’s parable who was beaten and robbed, it was his Jewish compatriots who both had upstanding “religious” and legal positions in their shared society that ignored their neighbor. However, it was the conventional political enemy of all three, the Samaritan, that went out of his way to sacrifice his time, energy, and purse to restore the man to full health. God merely loves those who love Him by loving their Neighbor as God intended, without being a “respecter of persons” or valuing the outward aspects of any individual.

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This is the purpose of the second greatest commandment, another obligation of every professing believer: to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Without practical application or scripturally consistent insight, the phrase becomes just another empty platitude. The example of the Good Samaritan, however, reveals that God expects us to commit to the personal responsibility of direct action on behalf of our neighbor in need, not relegating him to civil bureaucracies or social programs maintained by centralizing institutions. All of scripture communicates that God blesses private religion and condemns public religion, and the actions of the parable’s protagonist are in harmony with that notion. The priest and the Levite determined the victim to be “someone else’s problem” to be processed outside of their own, personal sense of mercy, and therefore to become a burden on society as a whole through institutionalized care. It is necessarily true that a culture characterized by careerist institutionalism and compartmentalized “professional” services and responsibilities fosters hardened hearts in individuals towards their neighbors. When everyone benefits from a centralized system of service, nobody becomes the benefit themselves out of freewill love and social virtue. They just pay for it with their taxes. It is for this reason, for example, that motorists are quick to continue past stranded people and broken down vehicles on the highway, citing that surely tax-funded roadside services will be along shortly to take control of the situation. This sentiment is prevalent among civil slaves of socialist societies, allowing each other to become dependent on food stamps, public schooling, local police precincts and firefighters’ associations, and any other institutional bedrock to love their neighbor for them, all at the expense of their own unpaid labor.

The two greatest commandments, the obligations of every soul, are so closely related that Scripture actually often equals the direct, intentionally personal love of one’s neighbor with the love of God Himself:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

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Perhaps it would be prudent to express and expound on a few examples of obligations that Scripture gives for those called by God’s name. For instance, what are the weightier matters of God’s Law which are so intrinsic to the duty of the Christian worldview? It can be argued that Christ’s examples in the above passage succinctly surmise one of them: Mercy, which is a synonym for Assistance, being one of the two modes of Abolitionist Ideology. The other weightier matters are just as intrinsic to the Christian worldview.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23)

It is the duty of every professing Christian to be familiar with the Law of God by which to have a baseline to pass good and proper judgment as it pertains to keeping God’s Kingdom reflective of God’s Law. This judgment comprises the other mode of Abolitionist Ideology: Agitation, which is the willingness to rebuke sinners in their sin, and keep stumbling believers righteous so that they may remain in good standing in their congregations. Those congregations are connected by an organized system of welfare comprised of freewill Assistance, or mercy. It is the weight of faith that makes these other two matters possible. Its confidence and probity lead the faithful to be loyal to the source of the Law, and therefore unaffiliated with other lawgivers and their worldly kingdoms. Most saliently, those without good works will be recognized as those who have no faith. All believers are faithful to that in which they place their faith.

“What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:14-17)

It cannot be estimated that the obligation tenet allows for the utilization of political power, as if magistrates in authoritative civil positions are obligated to use their socialist positions to “love their neighbor” as a collectivist, and tax-fueled expression of society as a whole. It is this kind of twisting of scriptural injunction and Biblical sentiment that Christ explicitly condemns when He confronts Pharisaical political office.

“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:9-13)

Corban was a socialist security scheme, promising the people that the elderly would be taken care of so long as all the people were enrolled by contract into a bureaucratic civil society. That care would be paid for with public benefits by force through taxation. It is this relationship to society that absolves individuals from taking direct care of their biological, aging parents, because that responsibility has now been foisted upon society as a whole. This dishonoring of one’s father and mother is not the only example of Corban usurping the obligations of one’s personal responsibility to the weightier matters, however. The people also ceased doing justice and correcting their neighbors, having relied on the civil magistrates to police society through their bureaucratic legalism and capital punishments. The concept of personal responsibility towards “strengthening the hand of the poor and needy” was equally perverted by outsourcing this idea to social welfare schemes through applying for civil benefits. And in many societies, the personal responsibility to teach each other, especially children, is outsourced to pagan institutions of tax-funded public education, perverting sound Biblical curriculum in the process.

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“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:22-27)

It should be stressed here that the doing of the word is narrowly associated with the personal responsibility intrinsic to the society model of adhocracy defined by the Kingdom of God, and not the externalization of social virtues to pagan institutions in every other kingdom. To make children subject citizens of civil fathers in human civil government through birth registration is to render them orphans to their natural fathers. To marry women to civil institutions though marriage certification is to make them widows to their wouldbe husbands, by making marriage a three-party contract with the State. But the major takeaway at the end of the first chapter of James’ letter, is that it is the obligation of every believer to take care of these orphans and widows while remaining unstained from the “world.” This is the same world that Christ declares his “Kingdom is not of” in the first place, addressing Pilate’s political administration under Caesar and his one world government of top-down ecclesial bureaucracy known as the Pax Romana. The definition of that word for world is: “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.” Simply put, Christ’s declaration that Pilate had no jurisdiction over Christ’s Kingdom to judge the allegations of the Pharisees against him, is echoed in James’ declaration that Christ’s people must perform the weightier matters without being under “worldly” jurisdictions, or utilizing their socialist and authoritarian infrastructures. “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3) Going under the political power of ruling men is something that scripture always condemns as evil, even going so far as likening the sacrifice of another man’s livelihood for the funding of institutional services to murder and bloodlust which leads to making the members of society slothful, ignoring their own wickedness, distracted by their own oppressive leisure.

“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:15-17)

“Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.” (Jeremiah 5:25-28)

“Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.” (Deuteronomy 24:17-22)

It is the remembrance of salvation from the subject citizenship of civil masters that should inspire mankind to properly keep the weightier matters out of personal responsibility as free souls under God within the jurisdiction of His Kingdom. When they lived under taxation, they were the oppressed who were ensnared and trapped into subject citizenship for socialist welfare and perverted justice while their masters grew rich and fat upon the hierarchy of their pagan society. When they were liberated into God’s Kingdom, they were to love their neighbors as themselves, and treat orphans, widows, and sojourners as they wanted to be treated while under human rulers.

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“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:15-18)

There are no different expectations for the performance of justice as there are for the administering of mercy. It is still the obligation of every believer to rebuke, correct, and chastise one’s neighbor rather than outsourcing that necessity to socialist institutions and bastions of legislative, executive, or judicial perversion. It is the Christian prerogative to reprove such works of darkness without partaking with them:

“Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:7-11)

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? The LORD’S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable?” (Micah 6:8-10)

“Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.” (Jeremiah 22:3)

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

A believer who is slothful in being a preservative agent of righteousness within the Kingdom of Heaven will be cast out from the Christian civil society and must go back under the rule of men and “trodden under the foot” of their institutions. This is echoed in the fact that Agitation is one of the modes of Abolitionist ideology. It is that willingness to declare the Perfect Law of Liberty to a society heading towards moral and fiscal bankruptcy that is expressed as a “light of the world.” The early Christians were baptizing former Romans into their civil society, convincing them by the good works that come with obeying God’s Law. The Christian Kingdom was growing in prosperity and population the entire time that the Roman kingdom was waning in the darkness of late-stage empire. But these good works were renewed at every available opportunity through the personal responsibility towards holding each other accountable within the Kingdom of God. 

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Often this injunction to “assemble” together is twisted by churchians to refer to church attendance on Sunday mornings where the assembling consists of sophistry, sing-alongs, and maybe some potluck interaction. In the first century, however, the principle of assembling into abolitionist societies was a political endeavor to maintain a free society, separated from Roman subjugation and its civil enrollment. It was the obligation of every believer, as commanded by Christ, to be organized into adhocratic congregations of ten families.

“And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down.” (Luke 9:11-15)

“He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” (Mark 6:38-44)

This command was not a one-time event in order to display a miracle of multiplied providence. It was a model for a free society that the early Christians practiced and organized themselves after, calling it the Kingdom of Heaven, and it was a promise of prosperity if they were to obey this obligation. In order to have their own kingdom, they needed to have natural, adhocratic political units (Abolitionist Societies) so that they could efficiently “break bread from house to house” in their daily ministration, as performed by their servant ministers, and to expect God to multiply their freewill offerings as Providence for those within His Kingdom. It was effective for these five-thousand elders, or patriarchs, to congeal their families in this multitude gregariously, first by fifties, then by hundreds, until each congregation was formed by ten families in a decagon, and each decagon served by its own minister who also acted as a connection point to other ministers of other decagons. The purpose of insisting on referring to congregations as decagons in this context is to give an etymological reference to explain why these servant ministers were called deacons: who are servants of ten families. One synonym for deacon is tithingman, which is also a servant of ten families. A tithe is a freewill offering given by one elder to a minister based on his character, and service to the patriarch’s family. As such, it is one-tenth of the total freewill offerings a good minister should expect to receive, to sustain him as needed.

“To this day, at least among the Jews, all it takes to form a synagog is ten elders! Ten men, rather. They constitute enough for one ruler, and without any rabbii called they constitute a synagog and the elder who was chosen by the ten heads of household conduct the services. That’s the way it was. The apostles as they went out established, Paul for example, church after church in one place after another and he appointed and ordained elders, and he moved on.” (Rushdoony, R. J. The church under god’s law. RR323A2 – The World Under God’s Law.)

It is unfortunate that Rushdoony makes the same common error as most churchians in confusing the role of “pastor” for the term of “elder,” but in overlooking this persistent mistake, it’s easy to see the common thread concerning the pattern of “ten.” Pastors, or ministers, were the called-out servants of society, though definitively not “rulers.” Elders were the “heads of household,” referring to the oldest man, or patriarch, in each extended family. They could be considered rulers in a free society, but only over their own house and collection of capital, equity, and allodium in addition to their use by those within his filial jurisdiction.

The term for “company” used by Christ is hijacking the Greek Symposium which was a culturally significant assembling of men in Ancient Greece for the purpose of having friendly discussions over drinking and banqueting. The idea that each company in the above passage had their own banquet “table,” separated from the tables of other companies stresses the intimate pattern of God’s society where there are ten families per congregation. The benefits of the Symposium in ancient Greece included keeping its members honest and candid, where its hard discussions in friendly settings promoted lasting virtue in its attendants. Likewise, the sumposion in the relevant passage is partially derived from “pino” which refers, “figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it unto life eternal.

The term for “rank” in the passage, from the Greek prasia, refers to a garden bed, which is separated by dividers to isolate kinds of vegetables. The Hebrew idiom, from which it is derived means the same thing: “they reclined in ranks or divisions, so that several ranks formed, as it were separate plots.” Clearly, the connotation of “rank” does not refer to hierarchy or authority, but is about an adhocratic way to network small groups of citizens into a free society gregariously, specifically by tens, then fifties, then hundreds… and as such could ensure an efficient way to account for everyone enrolled into the Kingdom of God. This pattern was indispensable during Pentecost when thousands of Jewish patriarchs accepted Jesus Christ as the King over their families and were baptized for them into His Kingdom. This method of adhocratic organization was effective and efficient to compartmentalize them into new congregations so that they could be enrolled into the daily ministration of charity performed by their called-out servant-pastors.

ObligationAbolitionistSociety

It is absurd and self-defeating to expect to perform the weightier matters without seeking and belonging to a society based on this Kingdom model. This way of political organization and the weightier matters are inseparable conceptually and ontologically, because only in a fractal network is a society reliant on the personal responsibility of every man, woman, and child to the proliferation of God’s Law without perverting justice, mercy, or faith. Instead of political parties and bastions of bureaucracy, righteousness is maintained by family members and their called-out servants. Socialist compulsion is replaced by freewill tithing. Civil contracts are replaced by faith. Covetous entitlements are replaced by hope. Taxation is replaced by charity. To reiterate the point more succinctly: Abolitionist Societies networked together across the planet, in accordance with God’s Law, keeping the weightier matters, free from subject citizenship to the civil administrations of human rulers is the exclusive definition of the Kingdom of Heaven. This pattern for political affiliation in a free society is the obligation of every believer, lest they take God’s name in vain.

If you are curious as to what a society might look like that has long forgotten the value of personal responsibility and scriptural obligation to God’s model for society, then you only need to look at the current state of affairs in any given pagan society characterized by Egyptian bondage:

For instance, when your culture is starving for nobility of character and moral action, it obsesses over entertainment showcasing, say, superheroes. Instead of doing hard things, it worships fictional depictions of those who do, living vicariously through their mythical exploits and feats of character and moral excellence.

More nefariously, it is quick to believe the institutional propaganda that agents of institution are themselves worthy of hero worship. These priests and priestesses of their respective pagan temples, from policing agents and firefighters, or doctors and nurses, or celebrity pastors and careerist philanthropists are gatekeepers; unquestioning respect for their profession is necessary to be members-in-full-standing of our socialist culture at large. Part of the institutional propaganda to galvanize this brainwashed respect is carefully repeated in pithy cheerleading: “Support our troops.” “Back the Blue.” “Support Healthcare Heroes.” “They are on the frontlines.”…

The reality is that, not only is true heroism incompatible with any example of careerism, but these institutionalists pervert in practice the very ideals they profess to hold. They are each pillars of oppression and deceit and barbarism in their own specific ways, but they unanimously have one truth with which they are in contradiction: heroism is about who you are as a person of self-sacrificial integrity, not what you do for a living as a cushy job with guaranteed income.

Heroism is a lifestyle of honor and compassion reflected in a person’s character, and not a costume of combat boots, scrubs, and badges. Heroes do not slay dragons for a paycheck. Bounty hunters do. Heroes do not rescue princesses for money. Delivery boys do. Heroes do not live off of guaranteed income provided by tax funds extracted from their neighbor by force as is common in a socialist society. Extortionists do. “Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” (Peter S. Beagle)

Real heroes serve, not merely call themselves servants (public or otherwise) while they exercise authority or hold rank. Real heroes sacrifice their wealth and comfort in order to better serve people of their own ambition rather than collect a salary for their deeds. Real heroes maintain lifestyles in contradiction to institutionalism and inspire others to do the same. Real heroes lay down their very lives for their friends, and not just put on a uniform for them. Real heroes sacrifice everything to provide liberty to their neighbor, even in the face of retribution from the “heroes” of institution who come to crucify them. It is the obligation of every believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to emulate Him in being a real hero.

GoodPeople

Come-Outerism: The Duty of Secession from a Corrupt Church by William Goodell

Come-Outerism: The Duty of Secession from a Corrupt Church by William Goodell

What follows is a historically relevant precedent for an apologetic in favor of the idea that it is the obligation of every professing abolitionist to confront and agitate professing christians on the grounds of their being derelict in their responsibilities towards the weightier matters of God’s Law, their sloth in failing to seek God’s Kingdom, and how their distracting rituals in their government-owned buildings are not safe spaces to shield them from the harsh truth that they take God’s name in vain.

While Goodell provides a tacit logical proof in support of a continued grass-roots approach towards repentance, revival, and obedience to God, we recognize that some of his presuppositions are inaccurate: specifically, he is mistaken about how Scripture defines a “church” and how it does not refer to a musty building with sing-song and sophist rituals, or even to a fellowship of believers, but to the network of ministers who sustain their congregations of families in a daily ministration of their charity. If Christians sought the Kingdom of God as they should, and kept Heaven’s political model for society, then their adhocratic accountability would entirely remodel what we call “Christianity.”

Anyway, the pamphlet is long enough without needing too thorough of an opening disclaimer:

NEW YORK:

AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY,

142 NASSAU STREET.

1845.

James G. Birney has proved that the “American Church is the Bulwark of American Slavery,” and Stephen S. Foster that “the American church and clergy are a Brotherhood of Thieves.” Having thus shown the American church to be corrupt, we present our friends with another link in the chain of argument, from the hand of William Goodell of Utica, being his well-known Essay on the “Duty of Secession from a Corrupt Church.”

The American Anti-Slavery Society is frequently charged with being opposed to all church organizations. The charge has been again and again both denied and refuted. Those who care to know our views in regard to the churches of the country and the course we urge our members to adopt, will find them clearly defined in the following pages. Though we differ on other points, on this Mr. Goodell and ourselves are entirely agreed.

The very head and front of our offending

Hath this extent — no more. W. P.

DUTY OF SECESSION FROM A CORRUPT CHURCH.

Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’ — Rev. xviii. 4.

Our Protestant commentators tell us that by the ‘Babylon‘ of the Apocalypse, we are to understand a CORRUPT CHURCH, and that the proclamation which John heard in heaven — ‘Come out of her, my people’ is to be regarded as a divine admonition to all faithful Christians, warning them to secede from such a church, as from the Anti-Christ, doomed to perdition, at the brightness of the Savior’s appearing. It is true they suppose, that the corrupt church, particularly intended, is the church of Rome; but it is nevertheless equally true that their construction of the passage involves and is founded upon the principle, that whenever and wherever a church, (however distinguished, once, by the divine presence and favor) becomes corrupt and apostate, it is the duty of all true Christians connected with it, to secede from it, because it has thus apostatized, and is become corrupt. It has never been doubted that the church of Rome was once a true church, and the reason always given for coming out of her is her apostacy and corruption.

Nor is it pretended that the Romish church is the only corrupt, apostate, anti-Christian church that the world has yet seen, and that is now to be found. The Greek church has commonly been considered by Protestants to be essentially on the same foundation with the Romish. And both in Old England and New England, the founders of our present churches and denominational arrangements have repeatedly gone through the process of ‘gathering churches out of churches’ (Cotton Mather’s prediction concerning the churches in New England.), on the same principle. The Puritans derived their name from their efforts to secure, in this way, a pure church. And if it be true, as it doubtless is, that secessions have often been made on lighter grounds than the alleged apostacy, and anti-Christian character of the church seceded from, that fact only places in a still stronger light the universal recognition, by Protestants, of the duty of seceding from an anti-Christian church. Indeed, to deny that duty would be equivalent to renouncing the Protestant faith, and would require our return to the Romish communion.

Our commentators, moreover, do not commonly construe the Babylon of the Revelations to mean exclusively the Romish church, nor do they confine the application of the command, in the text, to the Protestant reformers, nor to the duty of seceding from the Romish communion. Thomas Scott says, expressly:

‘This summons concerns all persons in every age; they who believe in Christ, and worship God in the spirit, should separate from so corrupt a Church, AND FROM ALL OTHERS THAT COPY HER EXAMPLE of idolatry, persecution, CRUELTY and TYRANNY, and avoid being partakers of her sins, even if they have renounced her communion, or else they may expect to be involved in her plagues’.

In describing, still further, the anti-Christian practices, on account of which the Romish church, and ‘all others that copy her example,’ should be renounced, and separated from as corrupt and anti-Christian, the same writer adds:

‘Not only slaves, but the souls of men, are mentioned as articles of commerce, which is the most infamous of all traffics that the demon of avarice ever devised, but by no means the most uncommon. The sale of indulgences, dispensations, absolutions, masses and bulls, hath greatly enriched the clergy and their dependants, to the deceiving and destroying the souls of millions, and thus by feigned words they made merchandize of them ‘, nor has the management of Church preferments and many other things, been any better than trafficking in human souls; and it would be gratifying if we could say that this merchandize has been peculiar to the ROMISH anti-Christ.’

Again, in his ‘Practical Observations‘ on the chapter, the same commentator says:

‘Too often INJUSTICE, OPPRESSION, fraud. avarice or excessive indulgence are connected with extensive commerce, and to number the persons of men with beasts, sheep and horses, as the stock of a farm, or with bales of goods, as the cargo of a ship, is, no doubt, a most detestable and unchristian practice, fit only for Babylon the Great.’

And, after alluding again to those who ‘traded in the souls of men,’ in the way of ecclesiastical traffic in cures and benefices, he adds:

‘How fervently should we then pray that God would raise up reformers, who may contend as firmly, as perseveringly, and as successfully, against this vile merchandize, as some honorable and philanthropical persons have against the accursed slave trade. For, when Christ shall come again, to drive the buyers and sellers out of the temple, he will have much to do with other places besides Rome’

Again:

‘But the vengeance of Heaven is coming upon Rome, not for gestures, garbs and ceremonies, though multiplied, ridiculous, and of bad consequence in themselves, but for idolatry, ambition, OPPRESSION, CRUELTY to the people of God, imposture, AVARICE, LICENTIOUSNESS and spiritual TYRANNY. These are the sins, which have reached to the heavens, the iniquities which God remembers, and the evils FOR WHICH we must STAND ALOOF from her communion, and that of ALL OTHERS THAT RESEMBLE HER, or we shall be involved in their destruction.’

Thus we have Scott’s authority for identifying the abominations of a pro-slavery Protestant church with those of the church of Rome — for applying the warning voice of the text to the former as well as to the latter — for insisting that cruelty, tyranny, injustice, oppression, the trafficking in the ‘souls of men,’ the numbering of the persons of men with beasts, sheep and horses — with bales of goods — are preeminently among the iniquities, a participation in which makes a church (however once favored and spiritual) an anti-Christian church — ‘the evils for which we must stand aloof from her communion, and that of all others that resemble her, or we shall be involved in their destruction.’

It was a flagrant outrage upon self-evident and fundamental morality on the part of the Romish church, that arrested the attention of Luther, and convinced him that such a church could not be the true church of Christ That sale of indulgences to commit crime was nothing different, in character, from the tacit consent of the American churches in general, and with few exceptions, that those to whom they extend religious fellowship, and with whom they voluntarily sustain ecclesiastical relations, may continue to practice abominations equal to any conceived or provided for by the customers of John Tetzel: and this is true, whether commercial, political, ecclesiastical or social advantages constitute the purchase money pocketed by the churches. The common complaint, that the agitation of the subject disturbs and endangers the churches, and hazards their peace, sufficiently attests this.

But are our commentators right in teaching the duty of secession from a corrupt and anti-Christian church — a church guilty of cruelty, tyranny, oppression, avarice, injustice — a church that trafficks in slaves, in bodies and soul of men — a church that consents to, or tolerates, or licences such abominations among its allies and supporters? And were the Protestant Reformers right, in acting upon this same principle of secession from such a corrupt church?

In maintaining the affirmative of this question, we shall endeavor, first to explain, and then prove and illustrate, the duty of secession from an apostate church.

I. FALLACIOUS CREDENTIALS.

The discussion before us requires a clear understanding of what is meant by a corrupt, or apostate, or anti-Christian church. In order to this, it may be well to notice a few things, very commonly relied upon as evidences or credentials of a sound Christian church, which, on reflection, will be found to be no evidences at all; being common to true churches and to many of those that have apostatized.

1. HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS.

Many persons seem to take it for granted, that their church must be a true church, because it was founded by the authority of God, and by wise and good men, or because it consisted of good men, at the time of its organization or at some past period of its history — because it was founded on the true model, was enriched with divine influences, was abundantly favored with effusions of the Holy Spirit, and was remarkably instrumental in the conversion of sinner and the spread of the true religion.

Many of the descendants or successors of the Puritans seem to reason in this way. So do many of the followers John Wesley. At least, they evidently feel thus, if they would not adventure to frame an argument upon the assumption. On the same principle, other sects boast the apostolical succession of their ministers and bishops. The Romanists, by the same rule, prove their church to be the true church, and all seceders from it to be schismatics. And the Pharisees could defend themselves in the same way, again the scathing denunciations of the Messiah, who reproved them for their oppressions, by boasting, ‘We have Abraham for our father!’

This method of proving a church to be a true church of God, will never become plausible until it is made to appear that men, whose forefathers or predecessors were righteous, were always righteous themselves, or that God will accept men for the righteousness of their progenitors or predecessors, whatever their own characters may be. But it is a method which will probably continue in use, so long as anything else besides the exhibition of present good fruits and of sound Christian character shall be made a test either of church membership, or of the character of an assembly or church.

2. RITUALS — OBSERVANCES.

Either with or without a reference to the historical documents of their sect, many persons seem to claim a Christian character for their respective churches, on account of their present adherence to a scriptural church polity — regular organization — regular ordained pastors— exact and scrupulous observance of positive institutions — rites— ceremonies — ordinancesbaptismssacrificesfastsfeastssabbaths — meetings — prayersworship.

One sect is founded and supported on the simple ground of its supposed scriptural accuracy in respect to water baptism — another on the ground of its supposed observance of the precise day originally designated as the Sabbath — another on the ground of its rejecting outward rites and observances altogether. Partizans of these and other religions sects not unfrequently manifest their reliance on these circumstances, in estimating the Christian character of their church or sect. Tell them wherein their church or sect has openly violated the fundamental principles of a sound Christian morality — trampled upon the crushed poor, or neglected to plead faithfully in their behalf— alas! they know it all — they confess it all — they lament it all. They are even loud, perhaps, in their complaints of these delinquencies; they have been so, for many years, and they see no prospect of a change for the better. But they cannot think of seceding from their sect or church. Oh! no! That would be the sin of ‘schism.’ Why so? Because they think their church is, after all, a true Christian church, and they thus judge, because their definition of a church of Christ obliges them to give the Christian name to all the churches that they regard as having been scripturally constituted and regularly organized and governed, and who maintain in their purity and integrity the scriptural observances and rituals of religion.

If this sort of credentials can prove a church to be a true church, then the Pharisees, in Christ’s time, and their fathers in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah, could have readily proved themselves to constitute the true church of God. The first and fifty-eighth chapters of Isaiah, and the seventh of Jeremiah, will show in what estimation God regards credentials of this sort, when separated from a practical regard for the oppressed and the crushed.

3. AN ORTHODOX CREED.

But when, in addition to their historical and ritual credentials, the members of a church can point to their correct orthodox creed, they often seem to think that the evidence is complete, and that no dereliction of duty towards the oppressed can prove that such a church is not a true church of Christ.

A profession of correct Christian principles is a very good thing, but it is only a profession, after all, and professions without practice will avail nothing to prove Christian character, either in an individual or in a church. The creed of a church is its profession — and if it be a correct creed, it is a profession of sound principles — nothing more. These principles or ‘doctrines’ are ‘according to godliness.’ — They furnish the grounds, the reasons, the motives for a correct Christian practice. If truely loved and obeyed, a correct Christian practice and a sound Christian character will be the result. An intelligent profession of these principles amounts to an intelligent promise to perform all the duties of religion; and therefore a church covenant is appended to the church creed. But what if the promise is habitually and constantly broken, at vital points, instead of being performed? Will the promise avail instead of the performance? If so (but not otherwise) a correct orthodox creed may prove the Christian character of a church that neglects and refuses to plead for the Lord’s poor! Till then, it will be true that the orthodox creed of such a delinquent church will be its condemnation, instead of its security. It will be the sure evidence of its guilt It will testify that (unless the creed were stupidly adopted, without a consideration even of its meaning) the church has sinned and is sinning against its known and recognized principles of duty, and must therefore be doubly condemned. The orthodox Pharisees, on this account, were more pointedly condemned by the Savior than the heretical Sadducees, who made lower professions. The grossly heretical churches of our own day, that do not plead for the oppressed, have sinned against less light, and probably contracted less guilt, and become less intolerably odious and offensive in God’s sight, than many of the churches that rely on the evangelical creeds to screen them from censure on account of their practical derelictions. They do less dishonor to God, to Christ, to Christian principles — to the very principles in the distinctive profession of which they glory; and on the loving reception of which human salvation depends. When God rises to judgment, the churches that ‘hold the truth in unrighteousness’ must drink a double portion, and drain the cup of trembling to the last dregs. Far be thy feet, Christian reader, from the threshold of such churches then! In that day it will be seen that the positive institutions of Christianity and the revelations of a sound Christian faith, in their integrity and purity, were talents put into the hands of the churches, to be improved; and that if buried and disregarded, they will prove swift witnesses against them.

4. MISSIONARY ZEAL — EFFORTS TO CONVERT SOULS — RELIGIOUS EXCITEMENTS.

These are often regarded as the sure signs that a church is, of course, a true Christian church, and no exhibitions of its inhumane CRUELTY and its CONTEMPT or fundamental MORALITY will reverse the decision! All this betrays an utter ignorance or forgetfulness of true religion itself— of the things wherein it essentially consists. ‘This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.’ The ‘pure religion’ of James — of the ‘golden rule’ — of the two great commandments on which ‘hang all the law and the prophets,’ seems to have no place even in the conceptions of those who rely on such tests.

Equally regardless are such men of the facts of the world’s history and of its present spiritual condition. The Pharisees could compass sea and land to make one proselyte. In their devotions, they were sufficiently vociferous and earnest, breaking out, as by irrepressible impulse, at the very corners of the streets. They were by no means the cold-hearted, stiff, dull, phlegmatic formalists that some men picture them to be. Paul regarded himself as having been exceedingly mad, absolutely insane, with the prevalent enthusiasm of the sect, before his conversion. The same spirit composed the atmosphere of the Romish church, at the very period when its spiritual despotism and its manifold corruptions were engendered and ripened into giant maturity. The present mummeries and superstitions of that church are but the skeletons, the shells, the monuments of its ancient enthusiasm, fanaticism, mysticism and rhapsody. (See Spiritual Despotism’ by the author of ‘Natural History of Enthusiasm— a work in which the rise of the Papal power is traced with a graphic pencil, and shown to have grown up, along with its absurd and blasphemous pretensions and dogmas, out of the rank soil of a spurious; religious excitement, in which reason and common sense were outraged, and the practical duties of life set aside, as unworthy the attention of the spiritually minded and devout.) To galvanize this skeleton into its former life and activity, to revive again and to restore the departed spirit of its now unmeaning rituals — the spirit of the most soul-stirring and wide-spreading enthusiasm the world oversaw — appears to be the object of Dr. Pusey, and the writers of the ‘Oxford tracts.’ And not a few of the most zealous among the English clergy, of the ‘evangelical‘ stamp, the patrons of ‘revivals,’ have been captivated by them, and drawn away to ‘wander after the beast, whose deadly wound’ is likely to be ‘healed ‘ by the process. If modern travellers may be credited, something of the spirit invoked by the Puseyists has been conjured up, in Popish countries, not infrequently, within the last century.

At Naples, in Sicily, in various parts of Italy, in Portugal, and in South America, there have been repeated religious excitements, among the Romanists, in our own day, the description of which casts into the shade — so far as excitement and intense emotion are concerned — the religious excitements of our own country. Whole cities have spontaneously thrown aside their secular avocations, for a succession of days, and in some cases for weeks, it is said. The population, en masse, have eagerly thronged the streets in procession, moved by alternate terrors and transports — sometimes wringing their hands in agony, dashing themselves headlong upon the pavements or into the mire, and imploring the intercession of the ‘Blessed Virgin’ for the forgiveness of their sins. Then receiving absolution from their priests with frantic gestures and clamorous exultations. But did these Romish ‘revivals ‘ bring forth the fruits of righteousness? Ah! that is the question by which Protestant as well as Romish revivals should be tested. What should be thought of revivals conducted by itinerating evangelists, who carry on, likewise, a traffic in men, women and children, during their revivals? Such things have been witnessed, and a prominent minister lately preached, in Baltimore, with a pair of handcuffs in his pocket, which, immediately after the sermon, he put upon a female slave, on ship board, to be transported to the South. And we have, all over the country, ‘revivals’ conducted by preachers who will not plead for the enslaved — nor listen to such a plea — nor suffer their church doors to be opened for one — by preachers in close fellowship and brotherly intercourse with the slave-buying preachers of the South (The editors of our northern religious newspapers, for the most part, are just as ready to record, in tones of gratulation, the revivals in the slave States, as any other; though they cannot be ignorant that the preachers are commonly slaveholders, and that the mass of the converts continue to be either slaveholders or slaves!), and making up a common purse with them, to send the gospel to the heathen! What shall we think of such efforts to convert sinners and to evangelize the world? Can such ‘missionary exertions and revival efforts,’ with the excitements growing out of them, prove that a church, though devoid of humanity, and trampling decent morality and common honesty under foot, is a true Christian church? If so, why may we not join with the clergy of Rio Janeiro and of Naples, in promoting revivals, and with the Jesuits in carrying the gospel to China? No revivalists have got up greater excitements. No Missionaries have been more enterprising, or have numbered a greater company of Converts. There is a philosophy that counts it a sign of a sickly state of religion to make nice metaphysical distinctions between true religion and false. The healthiest state of religion, it teaches, is that in which men are religious, without knowing why or wherefore — without understanding or inquiring wherein true religion consists. If this be sound philosophy, and if ignorance be, therefore, the mother of devotion, all we need is zeal and excitement, and we may venture to harmonize with all who exhibit quantum sufficit those qualities, without stopping to dissect, to analyze, to scrutinize either their character or their fruits. But if religion be a ‘reasonable service’ — if God invites us to ‘consider our ways’ — to ‘know what manner of spirit we are of — to ‘examine’ ourselves — to ‘try the spirits whether they be of God’ — to ‘beware of false prophets — to ‘take heed and beware of men’; — then the philosophy of unconscious, unknowing, undiscriminating, impulsive, mystic, unexplainable religious excitement should be tossed to the breeze or into the moonbeams; and manly reflection, and logical scrutiny, and homely common sense should be welcomed into the field of experimental religion, as well as of everyday business and demonstrative science. The missionary and revival claims of churches in league with oppressors will be understood and adjusted then.

Are we censorious, severe, profane or hostile towards revivals of pure religion, because we thus speak? Turn over the voluminous writings of our own distinguished American theologians, on this very subject. Examine what Edwards, and Bellamy, and Smalley, and Hopkins, and Emmons have written concerning religious revivals and conversions, and upon the necessity of discriminating between true false and the true. You shall there see, in substance, all we have here written, and much more, that we have not room to write. You shall learn from those unimpeachable witnesses, the abundant occasion there has been, in this country, to enter into discussions and discriminations of this sort. You shall be instructed that religious excitements are, (of themselves, and aside from the good fruits they produce,) no evidences in favor of either an individual or a church, being common to all the religions of the known world, the false as well as the true, the Romish as well as the Protestant, the Pagan as well as the Christian — that they are as common on the banks of the Ganges as on the Connecticut or the Hudson — that nothing short of practical good fruits and holy living can furnish any evidences of truly gracious affections, and that where love to God and man, and a filial discharge of the relative duties of life, are not exhibited, all religious emotions, and excitements, and transports, are worthless and vain. (To this very point, the closing part— the climax of ‘Edwards on the Affections’ is devoted, and the absurdity of the too prevalent notion to the contrary is shown up with the cool, latent, solemn, weighty irony for which the gigantic author is so remarkable. Edwards on the Revival contains much to the same purpose.)

An almost incredible amount of labor, (and by the ablest and most honored ministers of the country,) has been expended to expose the worthlessness of ‘revivals’ that do not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. And yet, after all, the ’well substantiated and unrebutted charge against a large‘ portion of the ‘American churches,’ that they are the very ‘bulwarks of American slavery,’ with all its abominations and its blood, is gravely met, forsooth, with the plea that these churches must not be charged with apostacy, because they are blessed with ‘revivals.’!

5. CONVERSIONS — PIOUS MEMBERS AND MINISTERS.

It will be pleaded, nevertheless, that there are, to some extent, true revivals of religion in the churches that stand aloof from the cause of the enslaved — at any rate, that some instances of true conversion take place in their midst, and that among their members and ministers they enrol many persons of undisputed piety, including a large portion of the active friends of the enslaved. How, then, it will be asked, can we come to the conclusion that they are not to be regarded as true churches of Christ? And how can we be called upon to abandon the churches which Christ has not abandoned, and whom be still visits with the converting and reviving influences of his Spirit? Answer, — Zecharias and Elizabeth, and many others of their day, were pious persons, and were converted, of course, in the bosom of the Jewish church. But the Jewish church, at that time, was, nevertheless, apostate, and as such, was doomed to be cast off speedily, and overthrown. And the multitude of converts, afterwards, under the preaching of John the Baptist, of Jesus Christ, and of their disciples, and even on the day of Pentecost, did not prove the Jewish church to be in a sound state, nor avert the catastrophe that followed. The great majority, including the leading and governing influences and officials, were corrupt, and, instead of repenting, filled up the measure of their iniquities, in the midst of these conversions and “revivals.” And so the Jewish Church, as such, was broken off for its unbelief.

The Romish church, in her worst state, could boast her truly pious members and ministers. True conversions, of course, took place in her bosom. Who doubts the piety of Thomas a Kempis, and Fenelon, and Massillon, and Bourdaloue — men whose writings are still read for edification and instruction by the best Protestant Christians? Luther and the reformers were converted while members of the Romish church. Was that circumstance a good reason why they should not repudiate and abandon her, as anti-christian? By this rule, the Protestant Reformation could never have taken place. For none would abandon the Romish church for her anti-christian character, before they were themselves converted, but as soon as they there converted, the rule we have under consideration would require them to regard the church wherein they were converted a true church, because of their conversion, and therefore it would be schismatic to secede.

It is commonly held that the true church was comprised for the most part within the Romish communion, until the time of the Reformation, when it ‘came out’ in accordance with the admonition of our text. Had they listened to the objection under review, they would, nevertheless, have remained. And when the Protestant secession took place, it was not on the principle that no true Christians were left behind, or that conversions there had utterly ceased to take place; but it was on the principle that the church, as such, the church as a body, the church as governed, was anti-Christian and corrupt.

The truth is, the converting grace and power of the Holy Spirit are not limited wholly to the churches and the communities that Jesus Christ regards as truly Christian — nor to the instrumentalities that true churches embody and wield in his service. God converted Abraham amidst the idolatrous worshippers in Ur of the Chaldees; but that did not prove the idolaters true worshippers, nor nullify the call to Abraham to come out from among them, and be separate. He converted Cornelius, and ‘in every nation, he that fears God, and works righteousness, is accepted of him.‘ Mahomedans and Hindoos, when converted at all, are converted before they secede from their anti-christian, ecclesiastical connections, but this does not prove that those connections are sacred, and divinely appointed. In short, the objection assumes a principle which would prove that the wide world itself is the Christian church, for it cannot be doubted that conversions sometimes take place in the world and without the employment of any direct instrumentalities by an organized church.

We conclude, then, that neither historical credentials, nor ritual observances, nor orthodox creeds, nor missionary zeal, nor religious excitements, nor real conversions, nor a minority of truly pious members and ministers, nor all of these combined, can prove a church, as a whole, to be a true Christian church.

II. DEFINITION OF A CORRUPT CHURCH.

What then do we mean by a corrupt church?

A church is not to he renounced as corrupt and anti-christian, merely because its members are not absolutely faultless — nor merely because it may contain some corrupt and wicked members, whose hypocrisy is undetected by their associates — nor because its faith and practice may be, in some measure, and in minor particulars, ‘defective and faulty.’

But a church becomes manifestly corrupt and anti-christian, whenever a majority of its members, or its leading and governing members, and officers, and influences, become so. A Christian church is an assembly or congregation of ‘faithful men’ An anti-christian church is an assembly or congregation of unfaithful men. The character of an assembly or church is nothing distinct from the character of the members of which it is composed, and the influence which, as a body, it exerts.

A professed Temperance Society ceases to be really such; when its members, or a majority of them, cease to be temperance men, and to exert, individually, and as a body, an influence in favor of true temperance. And so a professed Christian church ceases to be truly Christian, when its members, or a majority of them, cease to be so, and when, at vital points, they fail, either individually or collectively, to exert an influence in favor of righteousness, humanity and truth.

A church may prove itself corrupt and anti-christian, by its course, in either of the following particulars, viz:

By its renunciation of any of the fundamental truths of the Christian religion;

By trampling on humanity, or disregarding its essential claims;

By habitually violating the precepts of a sound Christian morality;

By becoming carnally minded, and covetous, instead of spiritually minded and benevolent;

By an absence of the spirit of Christ — or by ceasing to do his work — the work for which Christian churches were founded;

By despotic usurpations — and lording it over God’s heritage;

By willfully retaining ungodly and wicked men in their communion and fellowship: for ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump.’ (I Cor. v. 6 -13.) The church becomes responsible for, and is infected with the iniquity which it sanctions by its fellowship with the transgressor.

III. SECESSION. A REASONABLE AND INDISPENSABLE DUTY.

What good reason can anyone give for retaining a connection with a corrupt church — an anti-christian church — such a church as has been described? For what purpose should you remain? What obligation do you thus discharge? What divine precept do you thus obey? What heaven-appointed relation do you honor? It cannot be the relation between Christians and the church of Christ, for an anti-christian church is not His.

What is there to cling to, in remaining with such a church? Do you thereby fasten yourselves to the throne of the Eternal — to the great principles that form the pillars of the universe? Do you thereby cling to God, to Christ, to the Holy Comforter, the Reprover of Sin, the Revealer of Righteousness and Judgment to come? On the other hand, do you not weaken, if not sever, the cords that bind you to these, to the kingdom of heaven, by cherishing connections of so opposite and hostile a character? Ponder, carefully, a few of the reasons why you should secede from such an apostate church.

1. IT IS A SHAM CHURCH — A DECEPTION.

Its credentials are fallacious, its claims are not valid. It relies on its historical documents, its parchments, its rituals, its creeds, its professions, its partizan zeal, its proselytizing activity, its periodical or occasional excitements. It claims to be true, because there are true men who have not yet deserted it! It claims to be Christ’s church, because its iniquities have not yet wholly intercepted and quenched the overflowing streams of divine mercy, and driven away the Divine Spirit from all of its members, and from the entire human race! This is the full inventory of its fair claims. Here its appeal rests. Farther than this, it cannot honestly go. As for performing its abundant promises, as for preaching deliverance to the captives, executing judgment for the oppressed, pleading the cause of the poor, delivering the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, remembering them that are in bonds as bound with them, showing the people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sin, coming up to the help of the Lord against the giant crimes of the age, cleansing her own garments from the clotted gore of human victims —this. This is a work that she cannot pretend to have performed, to have commenced, to have desired, to have contemplated, at all! How worthless, then, are her claims! Such a church professes to be what it is not. It is a counterfeit, an imposition, a deceit, a sham. What right can any man have to cling to a deception, to say by his connection with it that he considers it a veritable reality, a thing of worth, and deserving veneration and confidence? Reader! If you believe such a church to be Christ’s church, you are deceived, and do dishonor the Savior, and the institutions he has founded. If you believe no such thing, and yet maintain a connection with it, you certify to an untruth, for your connection with it says to everybody that you consider it a true church.

2. CONNECTION WITH SUCH A CHURCH MUST BE SINFUL.

You cannot maintain a connection with a corrupt church without becoming partaker of her sins, and receiving of her plagues. So says the voice from heaven, which John heard, In Patmos. And conscience, and reason, and common sense testify to the same thing. In all human affairs, the principle now insisted upon is practically recognized.

3. GUILT OF ACCESSORIES.

All communities hold persons responsible for the crimes to which they are accessory, by giving countenance and support to the principals, or actual offenders. If a person merely looks on and sees the commission of a crime, but does nothing to prevent it, if he conceals it, or still associates with the wrong doers, thereby giving them the currency and support of his influence in society, and thus enabling them to continue and extend their injuries in the community, all men will hold such an individual responsible for the crimes of his associates; and, in most cases, the civil law itself will deal with him as severely as with the principal transgressors themselves.

If an organized society or association of any description commits a criminal act — if, for example, it authorizes the murder of one of its own members, or of any other person, whom it may deem an enemy or offender — if the murder be accordingly committed by the officers or committees of the society, or by volunteer executors of its will — an intelligent and right-minded community will hold each and every member of that society responsible for the crime, if they knew of it either before or after its commission, and did not do all in their power to prevent it, or to bring the criminals to justice. And, in case the society, as such, or its leading members, seek to shelter the criminals, or justify or apologize for the crime, or refuse to repent of its commission, the persons who still continue to remain members of such a society, will always be held more or less culpable or guilty, whatever protestations of their own personal innocence they may make. This weight of responsibility will rest on them, so long as they live, unless they withdraw their fellowship and support from the society or association that committed the crime, or sheltered the criminals. God has so framed the human mind, that men must, and will, of necessity, throw the blame of a society’s criminal acts upon the individual that continues to give the society his support. And God himself has abundantly revealed (as in the text) his own fixed and settled determination to do the same thing. On the same principle, the punishment of national sins falls upon the individuals, however humble their station, of whom the guilty nation is composed.

Suppose now, that, instead of the crime of murder, a society commits the crime of enslaving or imbruting their fellow-men, or of countenancing its members, or others, in that practice, what reason can be given why the same principle should not be applied? And suppose that society should call itself a church, a Christian church — a Presbyterian church — a Methodist church — a Baptist church — a Congregational church — can anybody tell why the same rule should not apply to the associated body, and to the members of whom it is composed? Will the sacredness of church institutions release them from the operation of those great moral laws by which God governs the universe? Such a thought would savor of blasphemy! It would contradict the express declarations of God. It is specially and emphatically in respect to a corrupt church that God says, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.‘ Of all the societies that ever existed among men, a professed Christian church is the association to whom the universal principle of holding the members responsible for the acts of the body, should be most faithfully applied. — For the nature of the organization, and of the objects it was designed to promote, gives prominence to individual accountability, and repudiates the doctrine of subjecting the conscience of the individual, or of the few, to the control of the many. The very business of this organized society, is to teach and exemplify human duty, and when it becomes itself a transgressor, and betrays its high trust, a ten-fold weight of obligation rests on the individual member to withdraw the support of his connection with the apostate body.

A church, like every other associated body, is nothing distinct from the individuals of whom it is composed. And their individuality is not to be destroyed or merged in the ‘corporation.’ To deny the duty of secession from a corrupt body, is to deny and reverse these self-evident axioms. It is to make the man the creature of the association. It is to nullify the command, ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.‘ It is, moreover, to deny, in effect, that accountability or guilt can pertain to associated action, for if these do not pertain to the individuals of whom the body is composed, they can exist nowhere, at all.

4. SECESSION IS REQUIRED BY COMMON HONESTY.

It cannot be consistent with honesty to remain connected with a corrupt and anti-christian church, especially with a church that will not protest against the dishonest robberies and thefts of slavery — a church that maintains fraternal fellowship with the robbers, which is ‘a companion of thieves, and a partaker with adulterers.‘ If there be any dishonesty in slavery, there is dishonesty in the churches that sustain it, and there is dishonesty in those individuals by whom such dishonest churches are knowingly sustained. To deny this, is to deny that men can he ‘partakers in other men’s sins.’ And it must he doubly dishonest to remain connected with such a church, when convinced that the church is anti-christian, apostate, corrupt. For such a church, as already noticed, is itself a deception, a counterfeit, a sham. And he that knowingly gives his countenance and endorsement to a deception, a sham, becomes himself a deceiver. He leads others, so far as his influence extends, to rely upon that which he is persuaded, in his own mind, is unworthy of confidence — to rely upon that upon which he is unwilling himself to rely — a plain breach of the command, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’

Suppose you should join with some of your neighbors in establishing a bank, the business of which, you suppose, is to supply the community with a sound circulating medium, a truly trustworthy currency, that may be depended on, a currency of intrinsic value, and, in reality, what it professes or purports to be. But, after a while, you discover that the main business carried on by the company or the directors, is to manufacture and put in circulation a spurious or counterfeit currency, of no real value, but which the people around you, relying on the reputation and standing of the company and its members, (including such men as yourself,) are ready enough to receive, and render an equivalent for, and pass from one to another. Some of them part with all they have to obtain it; they hoard it, and think themselves independent for life, while you know or suspect that they will find themselves bankrupt, whenever a scrutinizing eye, that of a creditor, perhaps, comes to be fastened upon it.

What would people think of you, if, with a full persuasion of all this, you should continue your connection with such a company? And what would you think of yourself? Would you ever suspect yourself of being an honest man? Or could you satisfy your own conscience, or vindicate your course to your neighbors, by merely declaiming against counterfeit money, and scolding, perhaps, at the directors, for making and passing it? Or could you satisfy yourself or your neighbors, by pleading that the company was regularly organized — that its officers were duly elected and commissioned — that the forms and etiquette suitable, or authoritatively prescribed for such companies, had been scrupulously observed — that they had been very active, zealous, indefatigable, in prosecuting their business, and in multiplying to the greatest possible extent, the specimens of their workmanship, acid in filling every nook and corner of the land or of the world with them? Would you maintain that, after all its delinquencies, it was, nevertheless, a true and trustworthy banking company, on the whole, because of these things, or because, in addition to them all, it had for a long time, in years past, very faithfully circulated a sound currency, and because, even now, a certain proportion of genuine and good money was to be found among its issues?

Would your remonstrance against the spurious emissions satisfy your own conscience, or your injured neighbors, so long as you continued your connection with the company, supported its cashier and clerks by your payments, met with the company at its festivals, enjoyed its warm fires and its sumptuous fare, pocketed your portion of the dividends, and discountenanced, by your example, the efforts of those who would leave the charter of the company taken away, for its malpractices, and the community warned against its deceptions?

The cases, to be sure, are not parallel, in all things, for parables, (as the old divines tell us,) ‘do not run upon all Fours’ — they do not, and cannot agree in all the minor traits of the picture. The finite cannot fully explain the infinite, nor things temporal shadow forth, perfectly, the things unseen and eternal. The loss of an estate, by counterfeit money, is a small matter, compared with the loss of the soul, by receiving, as trustworthy, a counterfeit and worthless religion. The man that makes and passes counterfeit money commits a small crime, and inflicts a light injury, in the comparison with him who gives currency to a spurious religion. A sham church is as much more mischievous and abominable than a sham bank, as the bankruptcy of the soul for eternity, is worse than pecuniary insolvency for life.

The difference between time and eternity, between gold and heaven, between dollars and holiness, is the measure of the different degrees of criminality between the adherent and supporter of a sham bank, and the adherent and supporter of a sham church. No wonder, then, that God says, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

If the keepers of a lighthouse, on the sea-coast, instead of maintaining a true light, should hold out a false light, calculated to deceive the mariner, and make him think himself on a remote and safe point of the coast, when, in fact, he was about running on a reef of rocks, all mankind would cry out against the inhumanity of the person who should continue to lend the keepers of that lighthouse his support, while he knew perfectly well the mischiefs they were doing.

5. COMMON HUMANITY REQUIRES IT.

But the church is set to be the lighthouse of the world, and a false church is a false lighthouse, and lures men to destruction. The man that knowingly supports such a church, is equally guilty with those whose character and teachings make it a false church. Nay, he is, oftentimes, more guilty than they, because he sins against more light.

The pro-slavery members and ministers of a pro-slavery church may really think it to be a true Christian church. But abolitionists belonging to such churches know better, or ought to know better, and cannot well plead ignorance in extenuation of their conduct, in supporting such false and mischievous moral lights. If the light that is in them be darkness, how great is that darkness!

6. DUTY TO THE UNREGENERATE.

Men who know not, experimentally, the truth and reality of religion, have a claim on us for truthfulness and fidelity in all our exhibitions of the religion we profess. Those exhibitions are most impressive that are made by our example. When they see us maintain a visible connection with a church, they have a right to infer that we regard it a true Christian church, and that the example there exhibited is, in our view, and in the main, and notwithstanding our complaints of some defects, a fair Christian example, a specimen of Christian conduct, an exemplification of the religion of Jesus Christ. But if the church is radically corrupt and apostate, then we hold up to them a false specimen of the Christian religion. If they rely on our truthfulness and fidelity, they will be led into fatal mistakes in respect to the nature of that religion. If they are disgusted with it, on account of its injustice and despotism, their rejection of it will be likely to involve their rejection of Christianity altogether, believing (as they must needs do, if they credit our testimony,) that injustice, pride and despotism are not inconsistent with the Christian religion. But if injustice, pride and despotism, be their besetting sins, and if they are intent on finding a religion that will allow them in the practice of these vices, then our testimony will embolden them to trust in the religion of a pro-slavery church, (and the more especially if we profess to be the earnest friends of the enslaved,) — but such a religion being a false religion, and not the religion of Jesus Christ, will do them no good, but bind them more firmly in the delusions of the grand deceiver of souls.

7. DUTY TO OUR FAMILIES.

Some abolitionists cannot bear to think of disconnecting themselves with the pro-slavery churches to which they belong, because, as they say, they want to take their families to some religious meeting on the Sabbath, and they know of no other place of public worship where they could attend. But the first question to settle is, whether slavery be a self-evident and aggravated sin, utterly inconsistent with the Christian religion, and whether an earnest advocacy of the claims of the oppressed be essential to the character of a true Christian, IF THIS BE THE TRUTH, THEN AN INCORRIGIBLE PRO-SLAVERY OR NEUTRAL CHURCH IS AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN CHURCH. And to educate your family in such a church, is to educate them in a false religion, which they must renounce before they can be saved; and the renunciation of which, as already observed, with the renunciation of the Bible itself! If you would do all in your power to shut up your children to the horrible alternative of either embracing a false religion, or else rejecting religion altogether, the most effectual way of securing the result will be, while you profess to abhor and loathe slavery, to educate them in a pro-slavery church to which you lend the sanction of your own membership and support.

Would you educate your children in the Romish church, or teach them to worship in a Mahomedan mosque, because you could get access to no other place of public worship?

You know you would not. And there are professed Protestant Christian churches in this country, whose errors are such, in your view, that you probably would not educate your families in their places of worship. But can they be more odious in God’s sight, or more dangerous to your children, than those professedly evangelical and orthodox churches, where the Lord Jesus Christ himself, (in the persons of his crushed poor, ‘the least of his brethren,’) is scornfully thrust into a corner, or out of doors, and where not a lisp must be uttered in his behalf?

8. DUTY TO THE CHURCHES — TO CHURCH MEMBERS.

We are bound to deal truthfully and honestly with the members of the churches with which we have connected ourselves. If we think them true Christians, and the churches true churches, then we ought to walk lovingly with them, and not pester them incessantly with ‘doubtful disputations’ concerning minor points in which we do not happen to be precisely agreed. Let them go their own way, and we will go ours, in respect to such things. But if the points on which we differ are manifestly vital points, in which the very pith and essence of true religion are, in our view, plainly involved, and if their course be exactly opposite to ours, it follows clearly that either they or we are fundamentally wrong, and that, on one side or the other, there must be a radical change, or else there can be no foundation left, upon which we can truthfully and honestly walk together, in the mutual recognition of each other as Christians. A solemn re-examination of their ground, must then become the duty of both parties. If, after such a review on our part, we still find ourselves unable either to change our opinions, or to conceive that the point at issue is otherwise than fundamental to true religion, then we are bound in common honesty and common humanity to acquaint our associates with the convictions to which we have arrived. And if they cannot be persuaded to review and to change their position, we are bound, as faithful men, to shape our conduct in accordance with the principles we profess, and separate ourselves from them.

9. COVENANT OBLIGATIONS.

Nothing short of this is demanded by the covenant obligations into which we enter, on joining ourselves to a church. — We then solemnly promise to watch over and admonish each other in love. If we see the members of the church astray, and that too on points essential in our view to human salvation, and do not warn them of their danger, their blood and our own broken vows will settle, together, upon our guilty heads. And no mere lip-service will suffice to the discharge of this duty, if our actions do not agree with our words; which they cannot, if we continue to sustain church relations with those whom we regard as having proved themselves by their practice to be deficient in the vital elements of sound Christian character, and whom we cannot reclaim.

10. OUR SINCERITY — INTEGRITY — AND USEFULNESS.

How can we secure the respect and the confidence of our neighbors, (whether church members or others) unless our faithfulness be exhibited, when the proper occasion presents itself, in the manner that has been described? We profess to believe, for example, that human rights are inalienable and self-evident — that chattel slavery is the most palpable and deadly violation of those rights — that its victims have a claim upon the prayers and exhortations of all men, especially of all Christians — that Christian character is, in fact, defined and moulded by the advocacy of their claims. Yet we continue by our church relations to certify, to endorse, as it were, the Christian character of those who notoriously neglect, and even contemn and deprecate the performance of that heaven-imposed duty! Here our acts are in direct contradiction to our words. And which will our neighbors believe? If our remonstrances and arguments and scripture quotations were beginning to make church members tremble and inquire, our fraternal recognition of them as Christians, at the communion table, and in other associated religious action, takes back again all we had said. Their consciences are relieved. They conclude we are insincere or mistaken, for they know we are inconsistent, and they are more and more disgusted with our apparent pertinacity and stubbornness in pressing upon them sentiments by which we ourselves will not practically abide, and which our actions show that we do not regard vital to Christianity, after all! Is it strange that, under such circumstances, a number of abolitionists, retaining church connections year after year with churches whom their professed principles should lead them to discard as anti-christian; have been dealt with by those same churches, and suspended and excluded, {not for their abolitionism — Oh! no! this is always disclaimed,) but for their disturbing the peace of the church, and annoying the members perpetually with their notions which they evidently hold as notions, merely, and not as principles, upon which their own lives are to be squared, and their ecclesiastical relations determined?

Abolitionists are evidently losing the public confidence, on account of their inconsistency in this respect, and especially are they losing their influence with the members of the churches to which they belong. Just as their reputation and influence were destroyed at one time by their adhesion to the political parties [All political parties in this country must sustain slavery; since all voters and office-holders, either by implied or express oath, agree to sustain the United States Constitution; and that is a pre-slavery instrument Abolitionists, therefore, should have nothing to do with any political party. — Note By The Editor.] that sustain slavery, so do they now suffer, in the same way, from their support of the churches that are equally subservient to the same wicked system.

Abolitionists who have seceded from their old political parties on account of their pro-slavery character, and yet cling to churches and ecclesiastical bodies of the same character, bring their sincerity, even in their political efforts, into suspicion, and diminish their strength, even in that favorite department of their activity.

11. DUTY TO THE SLAVE.

We cannot discharge our duty to the slave, while connected with a pro-slavery church, any more than we can while connected with a pro-slavery party in politics. The churches can no more be neutral than the political parties. And the churches not enlisted on the behalf of the enslaved, are as truly the props of the slave power, as any political party in the land, indeed, such churches furnish, to a great extent, the moral atmosphere in which the political vices of the country vegetate. (The legislature of the State of New York excused themselves from recommending the constitutional extension of the elective franchise to the colored people, because as they alleged, the Christian churches did not give them an equal place in their houses of worship, and seminaries of religious learning!) And the morals of the State can hardly be expected to be in advance of the Church. To support a pro-slavery church is to place our feet upon the necks of the crushed poor — and upon their mighty Avenger and our own Judge, who has declared that he will constitute them his representatives at the last day, and treat us according to our treatment of them. Of course, we must abandon such churches, if we would not ‘partake of their sins, and receive of their plagues.’

12. THE HONOR OF GOD — OF CHRIST — OF RELIGION — OF THE CHURCH.

All these require that Christians should secede from a corrupt church. Such a church professes to be a true Christian church — to exemplify true religion — to follow Jesus Christ — to do the will of our great Father in heaven. But all these professions are hollow and vain. Most manifestly is this the case with those churches that sympathize with oppressors, that will not plead for the oppressed — nor testify against a system of man-stealing, of theft, of forced concubinage, of impurity, of cruelty, of compulsory heathenism, of tyranny, and of blood. To endorse the pretensions of such churches, as true churches of Christ, is to dishonor, wrongfully, the institution of the Christian Church — is to belie the nature of true and undefiled religion — it is virtually to blaspheme Christ — it is to insult the God of purity, the Avenger of the oppressed. To say that these churches are his churches — that their religion is his religion — that their character is his character — is to say the very worst thing of him that can possibly be said. But to retain membership in these churches is to say that we do regard them as his churches. And to say that they are his churches is virtually to say that they bear in a good measure his moral image, and that the character they habitually exhibit is recognized by us as a reflection of his own!

Many who would deem it a sin and a disgrace to support a pro-slavery party in politics, or to vote for any pro-slavery man as a candidate for civil office, will nevertheless support a pro-slavery church, a pro-slavery religious sect, and pro-slavery teachers of religion; thus plainly declaring, by their acts, that they consider a political party a more sacred and holy thing than a church — that while they cannot endure the spirit of slavery in the former, they can very well tolerate it in the latter — that a man whose moral character does not qualify him to be a constable or a path-master, may nevertheless be a member, or even minister of a Christian church! What a practical insult to Christian institutions— to church and ministry — have we here! Can it be that such persons honor the church and ministry of Jesus Christ? One is almost tempted to suspect that they sympathize with those who would bring those divine institutions into contempt certain it is, that this is the natural tendency of their course. Nor will it remove the difficulty to plead that men may be entitled to a place in the Christian Church, yet nevertheless lack the information and clearness of vision requisite to the proper discharge of a civil office. Our teachers of religion, at least, should know as much, on great ethical questions, as our legislators, and magistrates, and constables. And besides, the question of supporting the old political parties and their candidates, is a moral question, and not a question of intellectual qualification, at all. The friends of freedom require of them no test but that which the nation itself has, long ago, declared to be self-evident, and made the foundation of the government. From President down to path-master, the candidates all acknowledge the ‘self-evident truth.’ Not a man of them is so stupid as not to know the difference between a man and a brute. And all the friends of freedom ask of them is to ACT in conformity with this knowledge.

Let them only do this — let them but ‘remember them that are in bonds as bound with them,’ and the ‘independent nominations‘ of abolitionists would be instantly abandoned. It is a MORAL disqualification, and NOTHING ELSE, that deprives them of anti-slavery votes. And yet this same moral disqualification is made no obstacle to the introduction of these same men into the Christian ministry and the Christian church! Very evidently, no community that permanently insists on a higher MORAL TEST in political life than in ecclesiastical life, will loner retain any affectionate reverence for the latter. The moral test must rise as high, at least, in religion, as in politics, in the Church, as in the political party. Otherwise, the moral test in political life cannot be maintained, and will be abandoned in despair. There can be no possible alternative, unless it be the utter DISGRACE and ABANDONMENT of church institutions, altogether. The problem whether an embodied political morality could long survive an embodied religion, is one which we need not now stop to discuss. Those who think l could, must already have arrived at the conclusion that churches are of little or no value — a conclusion that it will be impossible for those to avoid, who think to secure liberty by political action without their aid. Our ‘liberty party’ men may very honestly and very properly disclaim the anti-church doctrines that another class of abolitionists propagate. [This is intended by the writer as a reflection on those who are commonly known as ‘Garrison Abolitionists.’ But he overshoots the mark. That body have never maintained, as abolitionists, any ‘anti-church doctrines,’ other or different from those set forth by the writer himself in this tract; which they now and here republish as one of the best expositions of their views. If individuals have taught any other doctrines, the “class” he refers to, is not responsible, since it has never endorsed them. — Note by the Editor.] But they ought to know that no such disclaimers, however earnest and sincere, can do away the anti-church tendencies of an attempt (should it be made) to save a corrupt and sinking State without the aid of a purified and true church — a tendency from which their own minds could not long escape, though they may be insensible of it, now.

13. CHRISTIAN USEFULNESS

Requires that Christians should secede from corrupt churches. In such churches they are fettered and crippled, and prevented from doing the good they might do, as individuals, if connected with no church at all. But Christian churches were designed to enable Christians to do more good, by a connection with them, than they could do while standing alone. So long as true Christians remain connected with corrupt churches, they not only diminish their power, and curtail their opportunities of doing good, but all the good they do accomplish, and all the good fruits they exhibit, are made subservient to the honor and credit of a corrupt church, and are used up so to speak, in their service, instead of going to the support of a true church; just as Romanism has been strengthened by the adhesion of pious members, and as the Colonization Society, for a long time, deceived and sponged up, and turned into its own impure channel, all the anti-slavery feeling of the free States. In the same way, there are now scores and hundreds of pro-slavery churches, with pastors and officers of the same stamp, sitting like an incubus upon the poor slaves, and upon the cause of Christian freedom, that derive their main strength, or much, at least, of it, from the support of the professed friends of the enslaved. In multiplied instances, churches of that stamp (leaving pecuniary support out of the account) keep up a creditable appearance of being Christian churches, merely because there are abolitionists enough connected with them to carry on their prayer-meetings, conferences. Sabbath schools, Bible classes, and monthly concerts for them, while the majority, or the officials, content themselves, chiefly, with an attendance on the Sabbath day exercises; and with a magisterial supervision that shuts out the claims of the enslaved, erects the negro pew, forbids the use of the house for an anti-slavery meeting, refuses to read a notice, and snarls, perhaps, at the mention of the oppressed in a prayer.

14. TEMPTATIONS — APOSTACY

Evil communications corrupt good manners‘ in a meeting-house, and in a church, as well as everywhere else. ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ is a prayer that requires of the petitioner that he runs not wantonly into temptation, nor remain there, without necessity and without warrant How shall a Christian and a friend of freedom secure himself from the seductions that must beset him in a corrupt church — in a pro-slavery church? What necessity is laid on him to encounter this temptation? Or where is his warrant for so doing? What right has he to expect the divine protection while disregarding the injunction — Come out of her, my people. In what way can such a person be preserved from temptation and from apostacy, but by being induced to comply with this command?

If he continues to protest against slavery as a heinous sin, and against the support of it by the church, as inconsistent with her Christian character — and if (the church still retaining its position) he nevertheless continues his connection with it, and thus endorses its Christian character, then his acts contradict his professions, and he makes shipwreck of his fidelity in this way. The only alternative left him (short of secession) is the more common one of relaxing, modifying or suspending his testimony against slavery, defending his continued connection with the church by seeking out apologies for the church itself, and thus bringing his principles down to the low standard of his practice. Scores of prominent ministers, and thousands of active church members, once zealous in the cause of Christian freedom, have in this way, and for the sake of peace and quiet with their religious associates, and of maintaining a reputable standing among them, (and under the delusion of making themselves useful by this means,) relaxed their exertions in the cause of the oppressed, till their voices are no longer heard in their behalf, and they cease to identify themselves with their former fellow-laborers in the cause. This well known power of pro-slavery churches and ministers to neutralize first, and then silence, their anti-slavery members, constitutes altogether the most formidable obstacles with which the anti-slavery cause has ever had to contend, and the prolific parent of apostacy, in its varied forms. The recreancy of professed abolitionists in their political relations, may be chiefly charged to the delinquencies of the churches and ministry by whom their political ethics have been shaped; and little must that man know of human nature, or of human history, who should expect the purification of the State, without the purification of the Church.

As this power of a pro-slavery church and ministry is most effectual against freedom, so we know it is the power most relied upon by the conservators of oppression, both at the North and at the South. Such churches and ministers calculate, with certainty, upon the ultimate dereliction of the abolitionists whom they can retain in their connection. Hence their confident boasts and predictions, that ‘the excitement’ will speedily subside. And hence, too, their sensitive outcry against any, attempts at secession, on the part of those whom they stigmatize as ‘fanatics,’ ‘incendiaries,’ and ‘disorganizers,’ and whom they ought to have excommunicated as such, long ago, if they were sincere, and probably would have done, but for their encouraging prospects of success and progress in curing them of their sympathy for the enslaved. The Christian church was designed as an asylum into which men of integrity might run, in order to secure themselves from the evil communications and temptations that almost overwhelm them elsewhere. But when churches become the most effective tempters to transgression, it is high time for the people of God to ‘come out of them, lest they partake of their sins, and receive of their plagues.’

15. PERVERSION AND MISCHIEF.

And this suggests the general remark, that Christians are bound to secede from corrupt and apostate churches, because instead of answering the original ends of their institution and organization, they become, by their perverted use, the most effective of all possible or conceivable instrumentalities for destroying the cause of righteousness they were designed to promote, and for promoting the cause of unrighteousness they were intended to destroy. Universal church history may be cited as presenting one extended commentary on this remarks and those who shall come after us will read and perceive, in the records of our own age and nation, one of the most striking illustrations of the same truth. Common sense teaches us the absurdity of sustaining arrangements and wielding instruments that produce results directly opposite to those which they were intended to subserve, and which their supporters design to promote. To this, likewise, the sacred Scriptures agree. The salt that has lost its savor is to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. The well-arranged and highly cultivated vineyard, that instead of producing grapes, brought forth wild grapes, was to be trampled down and laid waste. (Isa. ch. v.) Of churches, as well as of individuals, it may be demanded — ‘If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness?‘ And the candlestick that cannot be made to diffuse useful light, is to be removed out of its place. To cling to a corrupt and perverted church organization is to sacrifice the end to the means. It is to idolize the instrument, instead of using it, nay, after it has become an instrument of evil instead of good. This is the essence of superstition, and the very way in which the worst superstitions are engendered, introduced and perpetuated.

16. CHURCH DISCIPLINE

The duty of secession from a corrupt church is the same thing, in essence, as the duty of maintaining gospel doctrine in a true church. In both cases, the pith of the matter is the separation of the good from the evil, and the evil from the good — that the faithful may be preserved from corruption, and that the apostates may be rebuked, and, if possible, reclaimed. In both cases, the duty devolves on each and every member of the church, and is not confined to majorities or to those in official stations. IT WAS AS COMPETENT IN LUTHER TO EXCOMMUNICATE THE POPE AND THE ROMISH CHURCH, AS IT WAS IN THE POPE AND THE ROMISH CHURCH TO EXCOMMUNICATE LUTHER.

17. DEFINITION AND OBJECT OF A CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Secession from an anti-christian church is demanded by the very definition, as well as by the object of a true church. ‘A church of Christ is an assembly of believers’ — ‘a congregation of faithful men.’ All, therefore, who honor and prize the Christian church, are bound to secede from a congregation of practical unbelievers — of unfaithful men. To do otherwise is to sin against the organization itself It is disorganization of the worst kind. It mixes good men with bad men in the church Just as they are mixed in the world, and thus it practically denies the distinction between the church and the world. Equally clear is it that no Christian can have a right to support a church, or remain connected with it, if the church does not promote the object for which Christian churches were originally founded. Christian churches were organized to separate God’s people from a wicked world — to embody their Christian example — to secure their mutual watch-care over each other — to maintain wholesome discipline — to act as a reformatory body —to instruct the ignorant — to rebuke and reclaim the transgressor. To support churches that fail to do these things, and that do the very reverse of them all — (churches that knowingly admit and retain the wicked within their enclosures, that exhibit an ungodly example, that strengthen the hands of the wicked, that oppose reformatory efforts, that stifle instructive discussion, that apologize for flagrant transgression) — to support such churches, we affirm, is to oppose the high and holy objects to which Jesus Christ instituted a church on earth.

18. CHURCH OR NO CHURCH.

In a word: the reasons for seceding from a corrupt and un-godly church are the same with the reasons for joining and supporting a true Christian church. For the one is the opposite of the other. No man can belong to, and support a true church and ministry, while he belongs to and supports an anti-christian church and ministry. All the time he retains a membership in a corrupt church, he neglects, of course, the duty of joining himself to, and supporting, and being supported by, a true Christian church. He does that which, if every other Christian should do, there would be no Christian church (as an organized visible body) on the earth, and there would be no organized churches, except corrupt, anti-christian churches, to be used for the conversion of the world. Whether the final triumphs of Christianity are to be achieved under such auspices, let those judge who have learned that ‘out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’

IV. HOW THE DUTY SHOULD BE DISCHARGED.

The duty of secession from a corrupt church implies, of course, that all proper and scriptural measures for its reformation have been kindly and faithfully, but unsuccessfully employed. Such a work as secession is not to be undertaken without counting the cost, nor without seeking counsel of God) in humble reliance upon the divine aid. No selfish or partizan feelings should be admitted or indulged. The too common practice of breaking up church relations in a pet, in a spirit of personal contention, with angry altercation and expressions of resentment, cannot be too pointedly condemned. Whenever churches are divided in this way, the seceders, though they may have the right on their side, (and though the deserted church may be never so corrupt,) can accomplish little or nothing in favor of the objects they would promote. Their bad temper and wrong conduct will be observed and perhaps magnified, and the moral effect of their testimony will be neutralized, if not destroyed. And when the excitement shall have subsided, they will discover, perhaps themselves, that they have acted passionately and rashly, and not in the spirit of Christ. Intelligent Christian principle, and a deliberate, conscientious, holy, disinterested regard to God’s glory and the good of mankind, having had little, comparatively, to do with their movements, do not now come to their aid, to sustain them in their new and trying position. They are thus exposed to the dangers of seduction and compromise; and, under given circumstances, will be likely to recede from their ground, and join affinity, either in church relations, or by associated religious effort, with the same corrupt churches from whom they have come out, or with some others of a similar description. Thus the cause of church reformation will be retarded, on the whole, instead of promoted, by their secession. On this subject, we cannot now treat as fully as its importance demands, but we may be certain that the true spirit of Christian reformation is evermore the spirit of holy love, of consecration, of humility, of prayer, and of a sound mind.

As a matter of form, it should be added that, whatever efforts may have been previously made to enlighten and reform a relapsed church, the final measure of secession should not ordinarily, if ever, be taken, without distinctly stating to the church in some formal way, by letter or otherwise, the grievances of which the parties complain, and stating also that unless those grievances are redressed, by a return of the church to the path of Christian duty, a division or secession must, of necessity take place. If this communication produces no salutary effect, the way will then be open for going forward in the work of secession, and of organizing a new church. This measure will cut off occasion for saying that the secession was irregularly made, and that it was a breach of the covenant obligations into which Christians enter, when uniting themselves to a church.

V. OBJECTIONS AND ANSWERS.

1. ‘Schism! schism!! schism!!!’

What! ‘Schism’ to come out of Babylon? If it be schismatic to be separated from the churches of Jesus Christ, then it is ‘schismatic ‘ to remain in an anti-christian church — not schismatic to come out from it.

2. ‘But we are too few and too feeble.’

In whom then, is your strength, your life? Is it in yourselves, or is it hid with Christ, in God? You had better not enter into or hold any church relations, until you learn that the strength of the church is in Jesus Christ — not in herself, nor in the number and reputable standing of her members. ‘Where two or three are met together, in my name,’ says the Savior, ‘there am I in the midst of them.’ And he says this with special reference to church organization and church action. [See Matthew xviii.1] If the real Christians belonging to a church are ‘too few and too feeble’ to constitute a church by themselves, how much more strength do they gain, in addition, by their connection with those who are not the people of God, and who oppose, instead of cherishing their aims? You would not, (would you?) maintain ecclesiastical connections with Belial, on account of the pecuniary strength he might afford you?

3. ‘But what if I cannot find “two or three” to come out of Babylon with me? Must I come alone?’

Yes, certainly, if you would not ‘partake of her sins and receive of her plagues.’ At Constantinople, at Rome, at Mecca, you would not ask whether you ought to stand alone, or stand with the enemies of the cross of Christ would you? Why, then, ask the same question in the State of New York, or in New England, or in Ohio?

4. ‘But we are conscious of a low tone of spirituality among ourselves, and do not feel competent to the task of organizing a new church.’

No wonder your spirituality is at a low ebb, and that you are chilled, almost to death, by the icebergs that embrace you. How are you to get warmth in such company? The slaves, it is sometimes said, are not yet prepared for freedom. But is slavery the school in which to prepare them? God commands you, to come out from among them, and be separate, ‘and he will receive you.’ This plain command you disobey, and excuse your disobedience by pleading that you have little spiritual life. Disobedience is not the way to gain spiritual vigor. The way to gain more spiritual strength is to exercise what you have. Then shall ye know, if ye follow on, to know the Lord. Ye are not straitened in him. Ye are straitened in your own selves. To obey is better than sacrifice. Let not obedience be deferred, because the fire on the altar burns dimly.

5. ‘But by separating from the church with which we are connected, we shall lose our influence with the members, and can then do them no good.’

How much good are you doing them, now? What progress have they made under your influence, during the past year? for the last five years? Is it you that are exerting an influence upon them or is it they that are exerting the influence upon you. The probability is, that you have lost your influence upon them, already, by your inconsistency, in maintaining a connection with a church that your professed principles require you to regard as anti-christian; and that no measure, except secession, on your part can give you any hold upon their consciences, or make them believe that you are sincere, and in earnest. The case must be so, if you have continued your connection with them for many months after the righteous cause they contemn had been fairly presented, or offered to be presented before them, and they had turned a deaf ear, or rejected the claim. If your duty in this respect has not yet been discharged, you should lose no time in discharging it, and not make the neglect of one duty your excuse for neglecting another. The claims of the slave have been distinctly before the nation for ten years. And the justice of the claim was declared ‘self-evident’ by the same nation, nearly sixty-seven years ago. It is the simple question whether a man should be made a chattel — a brute — and such a question need not perplex a Christian church, many weeks.

6. ‘Our secession would weaken and discourage those who, in the main, hold our views, but who cannot, at present, be persuaded to abandon their church.’

Answer. — They ought not be weakened and discouraged in a course of wrong-doing. Your example of obedience may encourage them to the discharge of the same duly. What if Luther had remained in a corrupt church, until he could have persuaded all whom he considered true Christians, to come out with him? and until he could thus persuade them without setting himself the example! (Will any suggest that the principles of Christian union are violated by leaving a corrupt church? Those principles, certainly, cannot require us to cling to such churches, nor to the corrupt portion of them. Such a union would be anti-christian union. And as to the sound portion of such churches, we cannot be bound to hold anti-christian connections, in order to remain with the seceders from such church will establish new ones on the principle of receiving all Christians, they will be guilty of no schism, and it will be no fault of theirs, if some of their brethren consent to a separation from, rather than quit a corrupt church, to go with them.)

7. ‘But secession, as a means of reformation, is without precedent Even Luther did not secede, till he was first thrust out of the church.’

Perhaps the church of England, the Puritans and other Dissenters, might furnish us with a precedent for secession, not to claim higher authorities, which our objector might be inclined to dispute. (What was it but secession when the Apostles organized new churches among the Hebrews and the Gentiles? Whenever the members of an old church organize a new one, are they not accounted seceders? But the Jewish church was a national church, from which the ancient prophets could not secede, as they might have done under the New Testament economy persons from its communion? What occasion or what meaning could there be in the command to ‘come out from a corrupt church, if we were to remain till we are thrust out?) But if the practice were without precedent, it would not be without command. The text is explicit — ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’ Suppose nobody had ever furnished us with a ‘precedent,’ by complying with the divine injunction, would that blot it out, or excuse our neglect of it?

8. ‘But we must wait till we are excommunicated for our faithful discharge of duty, before we secede.’

Who says so? Does God say it, in the text, or anywhere else? And what is the philosophy of the maxim? How can we faithfully discharge our duty, while our actions contradict our professions, and while we give our support to an anti-christian church? And suppose Satan should adopt the more cunning policy of not casting us out of his Babylon, at all? Must we remain there, and give it our sanction, until the mighty Angel from heaven takes it into his hand, and plunges it like a mill-stone into the sea, to be found no more at all? Shall we not be in danger of sinking with it, and of remaining in it, whether Satan ever gets ready to thrust us out of it, or no? What says the text? And what warrant have we for deferring to obey the divine mandate, until Satan chooses to give the signal for us to obey? Or will it be said that a church does not give evidence of being anti-christian until it excludes all pious persons from its communion? What occasion or what meaning could there be in the command to ‘come out’ from a corrupt church, if we were to remain until we were thrust out?

9. ‘But if the persons whom you call upon to secede from a corrupt church, be admitted to be Godly and righteous person, now, notwithstanding their present connections, (and to such only is the exhortation addressed,) how can it be made to appear that their quitting the church is necessary to their escaping the divine judgments? If they are Christians already, is not that sufficient? Will secession change their character? Will it make them more than Christians? Or will the Judge of all the earth destroy the righteous with the wicked?’

Imagine to yourself the righteous Lot, addressing this same plea to the angel that was urging his speedy flight from Sodom? What would you say to such an argument? Would it not occur to you that the righteous are scarcely saved? That persevering obedience to the divine commands is the only condition of their salvation? That in such obedience, the salvation of the Bible essentially consists?

But be it so, that good men may live and die in the bosom of a corrupt church, and escape final perdition, at last — what then? They may possibly do thus, because they are not aware of the corruption of the church, or because their duty to come out of it, has not been distinctly presented to them. If their ignorance be their excuse, can you make the same plea? Or are you content to do wrong, to support a counterfeit church, and thus destroy souls, so long as you can be persuaded that you are safe, yourself? Is this the religion that can preserve you amid the seductions of a corrupt church? Beware! It is a hazardous experiment, at best, and remember that severe chastisements and lamentable privations, short of final banishment, may punish your derelictions of duty.

10. ‘But we make a wide distinction between Christian fellowship and church connection. We do not extend Christian fellowship to corrupt churches, or to the corrupt portion of them. Our connection with these is merely nominal — it is a nonentity.’

But the church of the living God, to which you ought to belong, is no ‘nonentity’ — no counterfeit — no sham. And a vital connection with such a church and its members is not ‘merely nominal.’ What right, or what good reason can you have for maintaining a nominal connection with a nonentity’ — a sham? A ‘nonentity,’ too, that claims to be a true church of Jesus Christ? That is recognized, and honored, and confided in, as such, because, perhaps, of your ‘nominal’ connection with it? Of all shams, church shams are the worst, and from their sure doom, how shall their supporters be divorced?

To say that you maintain a connection ‘nominally,’ is to say that you maintain that connection ’by name, or in name only.’ (‘Nominally. By name, or in name only.’ — Webster’s Dictionary.) It is to say that you profess to maintain a connection which you do not maintain really! What right have you to make such a hollow profession? After all, are you quite certain that a connection is merely ‘nominal’? When Paul urged the Corinthian church to put away from themselves that wicked person, (I Cor. v.) he demanded, ‘Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?’ What if the Corinthians bad argued that the connection was a merely nominal one?

11. ‘But is not the kingdom of heaven likened unto leaven hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened?’

Yes, truly. And this parable was designed to illustrate the power of truth on the heart, or the power and progress of the gospel, or of a true church (remaining such) in converting the world. And mark! the leaven must be wholesome leaven, not saturated with poison! The figure is never used in the Bible to show that Christians must remain in a corrupt, anti-christian church, in order to restore it, nor has church history yet recorded the successful experiment. The old leaven of iniquity is always to be purged out of the church (1 Cor. v. 7.) — the very doctrine for which we contend.

12. ‘But the tares and the wheat must be permitted to grow together until the harvest.’

Where? In the church? Or in the world? Christ’s own exposition of the parable (Mat. xiii. 38,) informs us explicitly that the field in which the tares and the wheat are allowed to ‘grow together’ is ‘The world Nothing of the kind is said about the church. And those who apply to the church what Christ says of the world, very evidently take it for granted that there should be no distinction made between the church and the world; and no more church discipline maintained in the one than in the other! Disorganization follows, of course.

13. ‘But we cannot see into men’s hearts’ — ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ (Mat vii. 1.)

This text, as Scott justly observes, cannot forbid the exclusion from the church of such members as disgrace their profession — nor forbid Christians to withdraw from every brother that walks disorderly. In the same chapter, Christ bids us, ‘Beware of false prophets,’ and because we cannot see directly into men’s hearts, bids us know ‘the tree by its fruits.‘ Censorious and rash judgments alone are condemned. Some judgment of men’s character, we cannot but form and express.

14. ‘Does it not savor of Phariseeism to secede from churches, and call them corrupt?’

No. Not if the evidence of their corruption is plain and palpable — no more than it does to refuse the admission of openly wicked men into the church, in the first place — no more than it does to gather churches out of the world, in any case, (unless all are permitted to join that church, who desire it.)

GENERAL REMARK.

Of each and every one of these objections, and of many more, like them, it may be observed that, if valid, at all, they are equally so against secessions from all corrupt churches (the Romish, for example,) as well as from corrupt Protestant churches, in America. They likewise forbid all excommunications of unworthy members. They equally forbid all tests of church membership, particularly those predicated on evidences of Christian character. They involve principles which, if carried out, would disband all the church organizations in the world, except those (such as national churches for example,) that claim or welcome the entire community, good and bad indiscriminately, as their members. Above all, they are objections against the discharge of a plainly revealed Christian duty.

It will be understood that we advocate secession from anti-christian churches, with the view of organizing Christian churches in their stead. Of this work, we intend to treat in our next number. [With regard to the formation of new churches, abolitionists, as such have nothing to do. Their duty is performed, and their responsibility ends, when they have persuaded a man to disconnect himself from a pro-slavery body. His conduct after that, in relation to church organizations, must be left to himself and his own convictions. — Note by The Editor.]

The Rules

The Rules

“The fact that our task is exactly commensurate with our life gives it the appearance of being infinite.” (Franz Kafka)

Where does one begin? I assume this endeavor will be slow going and murky and even tedious. I do not have an office in which to shut myself to keep me from various disappointing distractions, and any effective amount of scotch may shed a hypocritical light on anything I have to say. On an embarkation like this one, an effort to express something greater than oneself, it seems to be ritualistic good form to invoke the muse. But this is not epic poetry like Homer or Milton or Shakespeare and I do not rightly know if the same rules apply to prose anyway, or even non-fiction. If there is a muse for the inspirations I would like to receive, she has not shown up yet (she has undoubtedly learned how to treat me by watching other women in my life), but like Ernest Hemingway says “The shortest answer is doing the thing.” And as Peter S. Beagle says, “If the Muse is late for work, you start without her.” I feel already as though what follows will contain a lot of quotes from various authors and other people of note. It may be important to say that I hope that what has attracted me to their expressions is similar to what may have attracted you to mine. As is articulated by Nietzsche, “Of all that is written I love only what a man has written with his blood… Whoever writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read but to be learned by heart.” And Robert Louis Stevenson iterates, “The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.” Maybe Mr. Stevenson would not mind if we borrowed a prayer of his to serve as our invocation to the muse:

“Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety, and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If it may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temparate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving to one another.”

If there is anything I could ever find praiseworthy in any human individual, it would be consistent sincerity. “There are honest people in the world, but only because the devil considers their asking prices ridiculous.” (Beagle) Sincerity is foundation, potential, greatness. We could learn a great deal from our domestic partnerships with our dogs. They wear their hearts on their fur, to make an idiom precise. And they are unfailing about it. It is naturally difficult for us to believe that any member of humanity that we have encountered, claiming to be sincere and forthcoming, lives up to the diagnosis. At least not without regular examples thereof. Periodic displays of generosity, counseling, leadership, and maybe even things miraculous go undervalued when we presume their bearers to be insincere. (Matthew 12:22-37, for example). Harmoniously, “All decent men must be hypocritical, if you assume that decency can’t exist.” (T.H. White)

We do not recognize sincerity in others because we have lost our enthusiasm to drum it up in ourselves. It is human nature to take things for granted, to submit to the distractions, to disremember where our passion should lie. “If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless.” (Moliere) Our forgetting of the importance of people is directly related to our unwillingness to fling ourselves straight into life. To partake in a little life-experience, to garner an education about the world or about ourselves. “I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.” (Henry David Thoreau) Instead, we accumulate things in our lives, we give our lives complication and attach to them accessories. Things unessential and cumbersome and distracting. We take our own souls for granted and the games we play take precedence over mental, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. “The man who has begun to live more seriously within begins to live more simply without.” (Hemingway) Life-experience leads to self-actualization which leads to the understanding of our fellow man. Essentially we become, for another individual, somewhere to lean when they are out of their depths. More and more members of each generation forget this, contented in their distractions, and the cumbrous concern and collective weight of the human condition falls on fewer and fewer shoulders. “The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.” (Robert Frost) We are comfortable in our unthreatening lifestyles, grasping at our diversions and showing all the efficacy of a lotus-eater. “Feasts must be solemn and rare, or else they cease to be feasts.” (Aldous Huxley) We call it a comfort-zone or a blind spot, but I think the Spanish, in the context of their most famous art-form, the bullfight, have a much keener word. Querencia. This is a safe-zone for the bull in the ring when facing down the matador. In us humans, it represents our bastions of complacency and selfishness. Our excuses for refusing to hit bottom and strip away all that is unnecessary and distracting in order to take up the mantle of our spiritual purpose. These places we feel the safest are the ones we will defend with the tenacity of denial, even if we have to bloody those we love the most when they desire the dismantling of these querencias. We will not give them up, this side of the grave, and will most likely take them there with us. For the drunk, it is the bottle. For the complacent, it is apathy. For the rebellious, it is pride. For the codependent (if you will excuse the term), it is placating in fear. Hemingway describes the Querencia perfectly well, and though the description is long, it may shed light on the tactics found in our human nature:

“Aside from the normal physical and mental stages the bull goes through in the ring each individual bull changes his mental state all through the fight. The most common, and to me the most interesting, thing that passes in the bull’s brain is the development of querencias. A querencia is a place the bull naturally wants to go to in the ring; a preferred locality. That is a natural querencia and such are well known and fixed, but an accidental querencia is more than that. It is a place which develops in the course of the fight where the bull makes his home. It does not usually show at once, but develops in his brain as the fight goes on. In this place he feels that he has his back against the wall and in his querencia he is inestimably more dangerous and almost impossible to kill. If a bullfighter goes in to kill a bull in his querencia rather than to bring him out of it he is almost certain to be gored. The reason for this is that the bull, when he is in querencia, is altogether on the defensive, his horn stroke is a riposte rather than an attack, a counter rather than a lead, and the speed of eye and stroke being equal the riposte will always beat the attack since it sees the attack coming and parries or beats it to the touch. The attacker must lay himself open and the counter is certain to arrive if it is as fast as the attack, since it has the opening before it while the attack must try to create that opening. In boxing Gene Tunney was an example of a counter-puncher; all those boxers who have lasted longest and taken least punishment have been counter-punchers too. The bull, when he is in querencia, counters the sword stroke with his horn when he sees it coming as the boxer counters a lead, and many men have paid with their lives, or with bad wounds, because they did not bring the bull out of his querencia before they went in to kill.”

Maybe what follows will be an easily avoidable dare. This is excusable in the bull, since the command is to die, albeit nobly. But the command for you is to live. To come out of your querencias and join the action. I know that all call-to-arms go largely unmet and most press-gangs are absconded from pretty easily, so I will not be colored surprised if it happens here en masse. Stevenson contradicts the assumption, however, “We must accept life for what it actually is – a challenge to our quality without which we should never know of what stuff we are made, or grow to our full stature.” So maybe somebody will learn what life is for and may duck from under the weight of fear; whether it is fear of work, fear of failure, fear of responsibility, fear of sorrow, fear of magic, or fear of poetry. ‘“All lives are composed of two basic elements,” the squirrel said, “purpose and poetry. By being ourselves, squirrel and raven, we fulfill the first requirement, you in flight and I in my tree. But there is poetry in the meanest of lives, and if we leave it unsought we leave ourselves unrealized. A life without food, without shelter, without love, a life lived in the rain—this is nothing beside a life without poetry.”’ (Beagle) It is my opinion that anybody who still enjoys literature, like people who throw themselves into life with desperate sincerity, and takes it to heart (like all things bloody and aphoristic) already has a head start on becoming well-rounded, dependable human beings. Heroes, if you will. Mountain movers. Shakers of foundations. The benefits of this kind of education is best expressed by T.H. White: “Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.” He also conveys: ‘“The best thing for being sad…is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then-to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”’ We all have purpose, and if nothing else will, fulfilling our purpose will bring us poetry. If we are to raise anchor and become people of purpose, naturally we have to learn a thing or two about moving upstream. We have to learn to develop character because little else will serve as a sufficient rudder.

So, if we must begin learning something, we might as well make good on our transaction and start now. It is not that I have anything new to offer the collective bank of human knowledge, nor is it that my savoir-faire has afforded me some special insight to the human condition. It is only because I consider myself sincere, that I say what I have to say. Sincere and sad, since fruits of wisdom (if you want to call these wisdom; I do not particularly find the term embedded in myself) are unfortunately coupled with sorrow, invariably. It has taken a long time and strenuous throes of reflection over personal life-experience to develop the following “rules”. They are more like observations about the nature (nurture?) of maturity and responsibility that grow from sincerity. Ideas to follow when we get unsure how to treat each other and ourselves. The fact that there are ten of them is no coincidence. They do not each correspond to one or more of the Commandments, I just get the impression that any advices for life, exceeding ten, would be overkill and tedious. Not that we will not reach that point anyway, I am sure. “When you’re good at something, there’s a demand for it.” I suppose it would be unwise (there is that word again) to impose a conscription on those of you who read this. I do not require obedience to any of the rules because I know how blissful commitment to ignorance can be. In any case, enslavement to ideals, no matter how beneficial, is best expressed by White: “There was just such a man when I was young—an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into storm troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people.” And so, for the sake of expediency (and availability):

Rule number one. Never let go of a good thing.

I can hear you think that this sounds like common sense. To which I would reply something to the effect of, “So should all the other rules.” Maybe, then, “a good thing” needs a proper definition. The good things challenge you to better yourself; they are good for you. They are good whether or not you feel good about them, and that is where you have to look and what you have to assess. Good things are not necessarily based on how you feel because emotions change and are duplicitous. I would wager that all of the negativity of human history is accounted for in the unchecked acting on emotions. A good feeling about a good thing is a bonus, but the heart should not take the reins. Not in decision-making. “The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.” (Napoleon Bonaparte) The things that build you up, keep you in check, and keep you anchored are the good things. Good things, including people, are not the things that placate for you or walk on eggshells around you while you are acting childish. They do not avoid the truth to spare your feelings because you do not grow that way. C.S. Lewis says that “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” Never let go of the things that demand growth from you. The good things will be there to protect you and hold your hand, but they will also teach you to protect yourself and encourage you to learn how to walk and fight and provide protection and encouragement for others. The good things will implore your progression down the right path even when you do not want to go. The good things will not let your self-hatred and self-pity get in the way of your mental, emotional and spiritual maturity. Speaking of self-depreciation:

Rule number two. Do not deny yourself regret, but do not devote yourself to it either. Addendum: The same should be said for catharsis.

“The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity.” (Lord Byron) It is part of human nature to hurt other people. And ourselves. We are always burning bridges and providing cases for our damnation. If you do not have room to regret your mistakes and atrocities then you do not plant the seeds to grow and learn from them. Ignoring your shame will only result in your repetition in the things that make you shameful. “After the first blush of sin comes its indifference.” (Henry David Thoreau) He also says “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” Regret is healthy for you. Every action you commit yourself to has ripples and consequences so far-reaching and unpredictable that no amount of forethought will prevent your conscience to come out completely unscathed. “I’m saying you’ve already done plenty of things to regret, you just don’t know what they are. It’s when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you’ve done, and you wish that you had it do over, but you know you can’t, because it’s too late. So you pick that thing up, and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, the world will spin without you, you really don’t matter in the end. Then you will gain character, because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.” (Roger Rueff) Regret is unavoidable, but we should use it in a healthy manner. Self-hatred is an easy and addictive trap to fall into. It feels good to beat ourselves up about the wrongs we have done. It makes us feel pious in a way, and it allows us to continue to feel bad without ever having to do any good. But as Aldous Huxley purports, “Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” Another drug to which we commit ourselves is catharsis. It is healthy when used appropriately, though. It is good to rage every once in a while because it has a similar nourishment as sleep. For the body and the mind. Only after confrontation can we reach understanding. Only after a tussle can we reach catharsis. Sometimes we have to accumulate a few scars for people to take us seriously. Just make sure you do not hurt anybody who does not deserve it, and make sure anybody you chew out is aware that you love them. Be aware that moments of catharsis should not be frequent lest they become addictive. Constant liberation is a form of running away from our problems and duties. It is like hitting rubber with a hammer; an illusion of progress. A cathartic lifestyle makes us busy and sidetracked. As Hemingway says, “Never mistake motion for action.” And as Thoreau says, “It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” In order to avoid drowning ourselves in regret or in the over-exertion of catharsis, we ought to take a look at the next rule:

Rule number three. Accept the consequences for your actions before committing to your actions.

This is a lesson in being decisive and resolute. “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.” (Frost) An indecisive character usually reflects one unmarked by courage. And, truth be told, courage comes with life-experience and knowledge of the world and it comes with trial and error. Any consequences that we may have witnessed can be catalogued in memory, and any future choice we have to make can be compared to these past consequences. Basically, learn from yourself and from other people. Every course of events in various circumstances follows the same pattern fairly consistently and that is part of the poetry of life. And so, with this knowledge, we must own our successes and mistakes before they happen. We are going to be held accountable for them after they come to pass, so we must show our resolution for accountability while planting the seeds. Maybe that means some of us should be less clumsy when it comes to decision-making. And especially when it comes to indecision-making. There is not so much grey in the world as people would like to believe, most of our crossroads will yield hues more black and white, and I have gathered that maybe some consequences are just hard to bear, which accounts for this desire to call them grey. It is acceptable, in my opinion, to complain about the difficulty of various responsibilities, but they should not dictate our deliberations to commit to them. Right is right, no matter how hard it is. And our fates, and our ideas about saving our own hides should not account in our heroism. It is true, as Albert Camus says, “There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” At least not in this life, but whose opinion are you really going to care about? Taking responsibility for your actions is no easy task. Most of the things worth committing to may take years to come to fruition and your road may be ugly and dangerous and you may not get any sleep as you go. You may not even get your desired end. “If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good, and the very gentle, and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.” (Hemingway) Keep in mind that the ends do not justify the means. The ends do not even justify the ends. But the means always justify the means. Even if you do not succeed in your endeavors, it should be enough that you do not lose your strength of character in your attempts. Or else you have already lost your right to your desires. But, “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” (Thoreau) We should choose the right course of action, despite how aggressive their consequences might be to ourselves or to those close to us. Because how are we to lead by example and teach others to do the right thing, come what may? To best clarify this question, all I can say is, when coupled with the other rules, it is easier to tell which actions are right and which are wrong.

Rule number four. See all the angles. Or see enough for everybody else to not know any better. Rule number four and a half. Play only the good angles, even though this is infinitely more difficult. (If you are prescient, you never have to evacipate.)

To be a good strategian, it is proper to understand how your actions will play out. To live a poetic life you will have to learn to direct the consequences of your actions merely by predicting which actions are best to be committed to. If you can understand the potential and probable outcomes for the choices you must make (or avoid) in any given circumstance, then you can understand which actions (or inactions) are best to choose in those circumstances. But even your consequences have consequences and so forth. Now, I am well aware that only one being in existence can truly see all the angles, but hyperbole makes for a good cattle-prod. “Forethought we may have, undoubtedly, but not foresight.” (Bonaparte) In order to see all the angles, we must gather as much information and place ourselves in as many people’s perspectives as may be involved. And in order to see more angles than other people, well, Hemingway has the remedy, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” It is best to keep our views of things fresh. Our first instincts incline us to view circumstances subjectively and selfishly. It is also beneficial, as heroes and dependable human beings, to also look at them from the shoes of others and also from an objective point of view, disregarding anybody’s stake in the circumstance. It seems like a lot of work, and not many were born with this gift, but there are tools in which to immerse yourself that provide development for such critical thinking. And with enough experience, you can see all the angles in any available circumstance simultaneously and almost instantly. Another way of describing the seeing of all the angles is looking at the whole picture. Yet another way to describe it is lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is a way of thinking that seeks a solution to an intractable problem through unorthodox methods or elements that would normally be ignored by logical thinking. This is a developmental tool that allows you to define the avenues your mind goes down while simultaneously discovering new avenues that may benefit its travels. It also helps to develop a superb memory. Deductive reasoning, when combined with sincerity is a basic contrivance of those successful in intrepidness. It will keep you pragmatic and resourceful and therefore dependable. “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” (Camus) For this reason, it is best to only play the good angles. Attempt to leave for posterity as small amount of evil as possible. Make your steps careful and precise and do not hurt anybody that does not deserve it. If you become proficient in seeing more and more angles, you can predict probable reactions from people. You can crawl around inside their heads and repair some the wires that have been disconnected by life, the world, and their own self-hatred. You can predict their thoughts and emotions and apprehensions and give them somewhere to lean. You can become a decent friend and a capable parent, and you can pass these traits along by your example. “There isn’t any formula or method. You learn to love by loving—by paying attention and doing what one thereby discovers has to be done.” (Huxley) Playing a good angle is about precision and accuracy. It will be a confident endeavor, and most importantly, it will be done with conviction. And maybe even consideration. “Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not by force.” (White) Playing a good angles also involve consistency, as will be shown in the next rule:

Rule number five. Never be unwilling to deal with a problem or right a wrong. Your negligence means the abandonment of your peers.

Fear of consequence is no excuse for negligence. Your fears and misunderstandings should never not be subject to confrontation. Without self-actualization, you are just like everyone else. And everyone else is banal. You may feel sorry for those around you who are struggling, but if this is all that is inspired in you, then you are useless to them. Maybe that is harsh and aggressive, but if you do not think that it is true then you do not love the ones around you who suffer. You have a level of control and capability in any encounter you find, whether or not you are in the middle of it. There is always a level of real help that you can commit to and pity does not stand on its own. Your friends and associates will perceive you as dead weight if all they can draw from you is negligent spectating while they are in the thick of their personal battles. I am sure you have careful denials and defense mechanisms if you are afraid to provide emotional and spiritual nourishment and comfort to your neighbor, but Leo Tolstoy sums them all up pretty nicely, “I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means —except by getting off his back.” There is a degree of self-sacrifice in contributing something worthwhile to the lives of the people around us. You have to be willing to give much, if not everything, in order to make some good in the world. “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” (Einstein) Nobody takes a leech or a mosquito seriously and only finds them an annoyance in their insincerity. So if you want to see real change and real progress and leave a real mark on the world before you die, you must lay your life down before it. The risk you run there contributes to your heroism. “Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” (Beagle)

Rule number six. Some things are not difficult to see, they are just hard to look at. It is good to know the difference.

Denial is unbecoming on any human being in any circumstance. Veracity, in essence, is something obvious, although it can be difficult to accept. “Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.” (Tolstoy) We have a natural knack for taking things for granted. It gives us an excuse for not fleshing a thing out and instead we look at it with all its embellishments and misdirection. “Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.” (Camus) We hinder our powers of observation and we drown out our curiosity in fear. We love a good ruse and we are very meticulous about the masks we wear. We express too much shame and are ever willing to conceal a part of ourselves, and over a long enough timeline, we become what we pretend to be. “Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” (Camus) And as is expressed by Beagle, “…no cat out of its first fur can ever be deceived by appearances. Unlike human beings, who enjoy them.” We commit to distractions to shelter us from the truths that we are unwilling to accept. We bury ourselves under them and make excuses for the covering of ourselves. It only takes a small degree of effort to see and understand the truth, and our determination to not be sincere in this effort is, at base, emotional. It is evidence of another querencia. “Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know.” (Huxley) Because knowing would require that we take up arms for it. And who wants that responsibility? So when things are hard to look at, it is best to muster up all the courage we have and face them head on. Consequences be damned. The truth must be got at, if nothing else. “The hardest thing to remember is that what we each really want is the truth of our lives, good or bad. Not rocking the boat is an illusion that can only be maintained by the unspoken agreement not to feel and in the long run it never really works. Let go of saving the boat and save the passengers instead.” (Kenny Loggins)

Rule number seven. The more things you know are true, the more responsibilities you have. A life marked by caprice reveals a tenacity for evasion.

If we do happen to lay down the masks and strip away the obscuration, then the truth that is left must be acted upon. It must be acted upon despite our emotional stake or the feelings of those around us. If we recognize truth, we must not let others be satisfied with skating by in ignorance of truth. In other words, putting everything on the table makes for healthy relationships. Caprice and coquetry are evidence of insincerity, particularly when a revelation and reckoning is involved or called for. “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” (Einstein) We ought not let such things slide from the people around us. And doing so, reveals a transparent lacking in desire for their good. It shows a lack of love, because disappointment is the sincerest form of affection. If we did not love someone then we would not care whether or not they hurt themselves or people around them. So if we are to not avoid the truth, then idly watching another living in denial is inexcusable hypocrisy. I am aware that a common response to calling somebody out on their self-degrading lifestyles yields a projection of, “do not judge me,” but silence is enablement and to condone a thing is also to pass judgment. Yet condemnation always gets a bad rap. Tolerance is the great virtue of postmodern thought. But condoning a thing is contributing to it, no matter how tired you are with dealing with it. “The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else do it wrong without comment.” (White) Again, silence is enablement. If this were not so, only one third of the angels would have been damned instead of two. Sitting on the fence to avoid confrontation is irritable to everybody in a conflict and it decreases the chances for any soldier to trust those who do so, especially if the conflict ends in their favor. This is indicative of a fair-weather relationship.

I know most of these rules are about negligence and inattention and disregard and non-commitment, but with the internet, television, games-mania, smart phones, bar-scenes, and all our other querencias, are you really surprised? The people who commit to harming themselves and the rest of us are fighters. Granted, to persist in a metaphor, they are closely akin to bulls in china shops. The people who want to see them free of their self-hatred and selfishness and see the lotus-eaters free of their apathy are also fighters. Maybe even matadors. The negligent are not fighters. They are more analogous to the steers who are present at the unloading of the bulls before the bullfight. They are not aggressive like the bulls, they simply want to make friends with them, personifying conciliatory behavior, and lead them into the corrals. However, they often take the grunt of the bulls’ aggression and are often gored and physically pay for it with their lives. So maybe with one more rule addressing the steers, I can be satisfied with my attempts at being thorough.

Rule number eight. Just when doing a bad thing is merely your other option, is doing nothing acceptable. “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” (Jean-Paul Sartre)

Now this is a different boat entirely than the boat that Mr. Loggins mentioned at the end of rule six. This boat is headed in the right direction, and this boat is what rescues the passengers when that other boat has been rocked. This boat has a precise purpose on a difficult course, and on which everybody on board is a member of the crew. Now nobody wants to do an inherently bad thing, but people will not complain much when given the option to do nothing to allay the causes or effects of a bad thing. But as Einstein posits, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” (And idle hands eventually become mutinous.) Spiritual non-violence is suicide when pitted against an intimidatingly strong will and the steers get gored all the same. “The middle of the road is where the white line is—and that’s the worst place to drive.” (Frost) Note that I am not describing survival here. I am not saying we should defend ourselves for the sake of ourselves because I believe martyrdom is the keenest way of leading by example. “Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.” (Kafka) Martyrdom, specifically, is neither doing a bad thing, nor is it doing nothing. So self-defense in these matters can be a form of retreat. It is pride in our self-importance and fear for our own hide. But neither are we to lay down and be consumed by the self-seeking and then cut our losses and lick our wounds. Placating for those who do wrong to or around us, as has been described, does not show love for them, but fear of them. We do not see them for what they are. When we first meet someone we love, we look over any of their imperfections in favor of how much we love them, and after they have disappointed us, we start to emphasize their flaws and forget about their good qualities. “We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love—first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.” (Camus) We find ourselves doing nothing in our disappointment and we give up and we forget about potential. We allow the disillusionment to make us dead weight and we forget about potential. We sabotage and complain and rock the boat and we forget about potential. We do nothing without realizing that doing nothing is doing a bad thing. “We are not what we are, nor do we treat or esteem each other for such, but for what we are capable of being.” (Thoreau) Instead of refining an individual, instead of pruning them, and demanding growth from them, we sit and do nothing and hinder those who have not given up on potential. We get in the way of those who row because capitulation seems like a good idea. We buckle under the weight because we take it personally and we do not lean on the others who row alongside us. “By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself.” (Kafka) And so we give up because we simply do not want to continue, reminiscent of the prodigal son’s older sibling.

Rule number nine. “So few people get what they want, and the ones that do aren’t really the lucky ones anyway… The lucky ones are the ones that do what they are meant to.” (Scott Spencer)

It is not enough to chase after your desires or follow through with your ambition. The people around us will always need our attention, faculties, and self-sacrifice. Anybody can live for themselves and chase their personal ambitions, and if they do not reach their goals, then they compromise their desires and spin their wheels for a few years and get complacent. They reach a dead end and berate themselves for it and do not pick up the pieces. If they succeed in their ambition, they will either find a new ambition to live vicariously through or they will sit themselves down and promptly say, “now what?” Lord Byron says, “Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world; whereas nothing rises quicker than dust, straw, and feathers.” Napoleon Bonaparte expresses the problem and implies an answer “The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.”; “Men take only their needs into consideration—never their abilities.” Meaning they focus more on their ability to receive and not their ability to give when they should be doing the opposite. Instead of giving what we can and doing what we are supposed to, we focus on what we can take, on what our self-entitlement will allow us. I suppose self-sacrifice is not a very agreeable idea which to commit oneself, and selfishness has come back into popular opinion as sort of an asset to have (though it never really left). Neither of these opinions will get us anywhere, at least not for long, and he who believes otherwise makes no effort to learn from natural history. Specifically, symbiosis and commensalism. Facility, everyone has, and facility naturally cannot exist without function. The natural function of any special ability that we may have is meant for the benefit of those around us, and as Einstein says, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Our capability is something deeper than artificial charity. When we give or when we do, it ought to come from the heart and for the salient benefit of the intended. “To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” (Douglas Adams) To give altruistically, not expecting or demanding anything in return, is still to commit a transaction. You are not giving something for nothing, but are receiving foundation, a sort of reference point, as you build your relationships with your peers. You gain a favorable reputation and you are leading by example. It does not take much sincere service for you to not be surprised when miracles happen around you and through you, and once you are past this point, you do not want to give up committing to them. Once you sacrifice yourself for the benefit of the people around you, once you dedicate yourself to the growth and development and stimulation and inspiration to those in need of these things, then you can know what it is like to receive them in turn, and appreciate them when you do. And, as C.S. Lewis says, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare” because “if you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Rule number ten. If you do not know what you want, you do not know who you are, and you end up with a lot you do not want. If you get your priorities straight, everything else will fall into place.

This is a foundational rule. So foundational, that I have placed it last so that it is most likely to leave an impression. Our desires tell us and others a lot about ourselves. They express for us the thoughts that soak up our time and the ideas to which we cling. Our desires define us. Our paths can be predicted just by looking at them. If we do not know what we want, and do not figure it out immediately, then we become stagnant, aimless, and confused. And then we can take no steps towards sincerity. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” (Thoreau) But of course, as Kafka states, “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.” You must dictate your desires with wisdom. The more you know, then the more you know what is important and your desires can be tuned accordingly. Your desires, if directed solely by your selfishness, reflects a sort of ignorance and fear of accountability. Instead, you ought to desire to be devoted to doing the right things. “The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.” (Huxley) Prioritizing in this way will open the door to a life, not led more easily, but more fully. Your successes and rewards will be more lasting and definite and complete. And your failures will be met with more support and resistance. Your solidity will only be matched by your pliability. Desiring to do the right thing will add force to your ambitions and resolve to your endeavors because when you realize that something is worth having, it is worth fighting for. And worth losing over. “Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) But be aware that you will not struggle alone. And you will not lose forever. “Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.” (Byron) It is easy to operate once you have your priorities figured out, it is just difficult to prioritize. Therefore, it is more important and essential to your growth. The need of it is concrete and the call for it is audible. If you make the right things your priority, if you place your needs before your wants and the needs of others before your wants and the wants of others, then your life is more easily directed and able to be juggled. You have less restriction and more room to breathe and move around a little. The road on which you travel, and hopefully on which you learn to lead, will be better paved and your footsteps will be better planted. The rain will still fall, but you will not sink into the mud of your own selfish ineptitude. And you will not drag others down with you. Most importantly, you will hold them up when they start to slip themselves. Your conviction will serve as illumination in the darkness and you can test any obstacles by it. And you will know greatness and magic and reward. And, dare I say, perpetual meaningfulness in your existence.

I do not believe everybody was cut out to be a leader, but I do believe everybody is meant to be in a progressive state of self-actualization. Tenaciously heroic, if you will. At least in their own social circles. A sincere life is one hard-led, especially in a society that calls for banality and cocktail parties. “There is an old saying that there is no country as unhappy as one that needs heroes.” (Beagle) Being an example is a daily, personal struggle, and as Carl Sandburg says, “Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes.” Maybe the key to a life marked by bravery is persistence. One thing that can be said about the dogged is that their epitaphs are never written in lies or embellishments; their histories are available for everybody to see, are they not? Everything on the table. In order to achieve our desired reputation we cannot take our aphorisms for granted. We must refresh their meanings from the perspective of every available human experience, whether it be true or fictional, anticipated or biographical. “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” (Thoreau)

It is true that steadfastness does not account for all parts of success. “I always say perseverance is nine-tenths of any art—not that it’s much help to be nine-tenths an artist, of course.” (Beagle) For the rest, we must rely on divine right and grace, if you believe in that sort of thing. Faith and leaps of faith are the ingredients needed for the true and real magic we long to see that make our lives worth leading. There are no miracles without them and life loses a lot of its flavor and luster in their absence. We are meant to do and be good things and most of the time, we shy away from them because we lack the courage to just simply accept them. One should never doubt the possibility of good news, no matter how small the probability of their being true. One can always think, with great conviction, of less probable miracles that have happened. Most miracles go unexpected. But that is our fault, not God’s. If we were more bold, we had learn to expect them. I am sure genuine boldness is a fruit of the Spirit. Even if it is a fruit best served fermented. In order to do the things people regard as miracles, you have to do a lot of self-sacrificial time, and it will not be pretty. Noah’s time at sea, Jonah’s time in the whale, or Christ’s time in the desert, are prime examples. “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.” (C.S. Lewis) In order to do the good things, you must be good too. Or at least try to be. Maybe obedient is a better word. You have to want to be good, at the very least. “Ah, mon cher, for anyone who is alone, without God and without a master, the weight of days is dreadful.” (Camus) You are allowed some relapses, but upon seeing the light of refinement and reformation, and experiencing some of the real magic found there, you ought not try to escape it again. “Don’t look back and don’t run. You must never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.” (Beagle) or “Running away will never make you free.” (Loggins) Everybody struggles, sure. But there are alleviations against this. A very keen and easy battle plan, if kept consistently, is to hold a fast and a vigil maybe once a year for the curses you carry. And if you are not at war with any part of your life, then you are not being very sincere and should keep a vigil and a fast for the purpose of unearthing the demons about which you should be fasting and vigilant. This will keep you grounded and anchored and all things beautiful. Twenty-four hours, once a year can be devoted to reclamation of your soul, even for the least capable of people. Today, on this date, happens to be the day I keep mine every year. (This is my attempt at avoidance of hypocrisy, not indiscreet, insincere piety.) T.H. White illustrates grandly the sincerity of this concept coupled with our purpose in gallantry:

‘“If I were to be made a knight,” said the Wart, staring dreamily into the fire, “I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, as Hob does with his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it.”

“That would be extremely presumptuous of you,” said Merlyn, “and you would be conquered, and you would suffer for it.”

“I shouldn’t mind.”

“Wouldn’t you? Wait till it happens and see.”

“Why do people not think, when they are grown up, as I do when I am young?”

“Oh dear,” said Merlyn. ‘”You are making me feel confused. Suppose you wait till you are grown up and know the reason?”

“I don’t think that is an answer at all,” replied the Wart, justly.

Merlyn wrung his hands.

“Well, anyway,” he said, “suppose they did not let you stand against all the evil in the world?”

“I could ask,” said the Wart.

“You could ask,” repeated Merlyn.

He thrust the end of his beard into his mouth, stared tragically into the fire, and began to munch it fiercely.”’

Maybe I should end it with this quote. I am sure you have gotten the idea by now and are tired of the long-windedness. Writing this all down has felt like what, I imagine, would be similar to passing a kidney stone. “An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.” (Einstein) But, what is one more body amongst foundations? And maybe now I can have a little of that scotch. “It is my right. A hero is entitled to his happy ending, when it comes at last.” (Peter S. Beagle)

If I am going to send you on your way, maybe unconvinced of the salience of my efforts, I may leave you with a little recommended reading. Most of the titles I have to offer are considered classics and as Thoreau says, “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.” Reading, itself, gives us an opportunity to pick the minds of great men who were inspired by their life experiences coupled by their creative faculties. It takes a great deal of self-sacrifice to record the conclusions found after much reflection and deliberation. The reason this is done is to share with the rest of us the fruits of hard-pressed labor. The best books, if read carefully, provide walkthroughs for life and relationships. “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.” (Huxley) When it comes to literature, I am of the express opinion that Franz Kafka hits the nail squarely on the head. It should also be applied to television and movies and music and hopefully the books I mention live up to his standards:

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

This novel expresses resolve to benefit the people around us that we love. It involves prime examples of intense self-sacrifice and efficient thinking in solving heavy problems. It displays true courage and patience and even redemption.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

This is the most educational novel I have read about the intricacies of life and purpose and revelations found therein. There is much valor and heroism contained in this fiction, and it provides infinite refreshing angles at which to look at life. It expresses the human condition almost wholly, and demands many return journeys into it throughout your life.

The d’Artagnan Romances by Alexander Dumas

Once started on The Three Musketeers, the trilogy ought not to be put down. Dumas provides the importance of gallantry and spirit and courtesy when met with various enemies. He expresses the need for good nature in our thickest battles and how hope should be tempered with ability and persistence. Most importantly, he shows the benefits of surrounding ourselves with good things and not letting them go despite life’s attempts to disrupt your pairing. There is also much critical thinking and looking at all the angles, which makes it indispensable.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

It is a shorter book on the list, but its saliency is noteworthy. It provides an alternative lifestyle to that of placating steers. It shows the importance of bravery and creativity when your surroundings call for banality. Even in the face of the consequences. It shows how the world will try to break you when you stand against it and demands that you do it anyway and with applaudable good nature.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

I am under the opinion that anything by Beagle is amazing and useful. His literature is riddled with aphorisms and heroism and the poetry of purpose. The Last Unicorn shows resolve in our tasks despite not always having a clear path by which to see. It also shows the importance of not letting go of the good things and that sometimes they are all we have. It gives a clear picture of tenacious sincerity and of remarkable intrepidness despite the ugliness of the odds.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A story of redemption, regret, and a call to not commit to defeatism. It deserves many repeat readings because it provides great insight to the human condition, especially in despondent conditions. It shows the importance of fleshing out the motives of those around us and of strategy. It expresses the satisfaction to be found in selflessly acting towards those that need it, without regard to our own hides. It shows what acts of faith may have in store for us in regards to reward and lives worth living. It reveals the need for courage in unsure actions despite ourselves and our selfish desires.

The Abolitionist Approach to Systemic Racism

The Abolitionist Approach to Systemic Racism

Societies that devolve into internal competitions of class, sex, creed, or race, are societies that have already been conquered by their own sloth and covetousness, exposing themselves to be no longer ruled by God. If they ever were. In short, these competitions begin and end as political footballs for false gods and their sensationalist talking heads. The goal of which is to manipulate and radicalize their civil slaves against each other to distract them from their common enemy: Institutionalism. It is necessary, in this divide and conquer strategy, to raise up villains from the masses, creating scapegoats out of comrades, and then to propagandize all of the duller points of revolution and regime change repeatedly until the social smokescreen is thick enough for these forked-tongue oppressors to get away with enacting legal policies that further their Satanic agendas over society, irrespective of class, sex, creed, or race. The popular but hypocritical conflagrations between young socialists and corporate “capitalists,” between feminists and “the patriarchy,” and between those who believe in the validity of modern American Islam and those who believe in modern American “christianity” are all worthy topics, but let us take the current “race war” in America as our example.

It is absolutely necessary to twist an issue of institutionalism into an issue of racism because, while the whole world knows that racism is wrong, nobody is yet ready to admit that institutionalism is wrong. But, in their effort to suppress the inherent malignance of civil and social institutions in favor of crying racism, institutionalists will become racists themselves.

For instance, the term “black community” is an inherently racist one. It demands notions of segregation and compartmentalization, as if there is a special and separate culture comprising only of people with dark skin, or a shared heritage based on skin color. But how black does one’s skin have to be in order to be eligible to be a member of the black community? Do both of their parents need to look black? Only one? Neither, so long as enough of their grandparents were black? How dark does their skin need to be, regardless of their lineage? Are albinic black children tallied amongst the community? You must see how racism becomes the answer to social ills when one refuses to look at the actual problem for them. Even talking heads on both sides of the problem are thinking and talking this way, as they are constituents of the same Hegelian Dialectic. They are two sides of the same plug nickel. In essence, the “black community” is just another Indian Reservation, a self-imposed ghettoization of an entire people group, and racism is not the only similarity between the two.

To dismiss the inherently racist idiom of denoted by the phrase “black community” and address the actual complaints underneath its use, it is necessary to understand that the racism of bureaucratic organizations against the “black community” is a correlative reality and not a causative one. Simply put, the police do not target people who identify themselves as members of a certain race due to the idea that law enforcement institutions are inherently racist, but because the overwhelming majority of the “black race” also identify as perpetual victims as a fundamental part of their culture owed to a twisted view of history. This will be explained shortly.

While the racial statistics about police brutality do not lie, neither do they express any ultimate answers for how to interpret the statistics. They only reveal what is. They do not reveal why. Police states are not innocent, by definition. Policing agents are necessarily socialists who receive tax dollars in order to maintain an occupation, thrive in their personal lives, and oppress everyone with which they come into contact. The police are an entire profession that exists by coveting their neighbors goods in order to exercise authority over them. It should be maintained that this does not just “lend itself” to corruption, it is corruption. Power corrupts because it is the seed of corruption. Institutionalism does not need an excuse to be oppressive, savage, cannibalistic, divisive, entitled, prejudiced, and demonic. It is those things inherently. But because men are not ready to admit that, they allow institutions to focus their destruction and damnation through various excuses. Sometimes it is through the pretext of “religion.” Sometimes it is through the pretext of nationalism. Sometimes it is through the pretext of political party. As we read in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, sometimes it is through the pretext of witchcraft that men in power oppress their fellow men. As we learn from the McCarthy trials, sometimes it is through the pretext of creed. And sometimes it is through the pretext of racism. But, invariably, these pretexts are always excuses and catalysts for the cause of barbarity intrinsic to authoritarian societies. They are curtains behind which the nature of Institutionalism hides. An oversimplified scapegoat makes for an easily distracted frontline of pawns. The pawns will raise up the institutions over themselves and then those institutions will eventually either provide for them scapegoats to oppress or incidentally become scapegoats themselves.

The idea that there is a systematized racism in the United states begins with its twisted history, most notably that it coincides with its myopic history of slavery. Despite the fact that slavery in America was not partial to race (130,000 white slaves were sold to the New World under the reigns of King James and Oliver Cromwell, black Africans were invariably sold to the old and new world by other black Africans, and 3,700 black Americans possessed 12,700 black slaves at the height of American Antebellum), racism was preached from every lectern in every American university (another institution) as a natural extension of Darwinism, which is now the driving presupposition of every institution in the United States including welfare, healthcare, military, and police.

But, as expressed, twisted history demands that one look at slavery through a racist lens, suggesting that oppression was the fruit of racism rather than a generic fruit of institutionalism. This narrative is especially popular within the “black community” who ascribe to their “black culture” and sense of “black identity,” a collective comraderie predicated on victimization, as if institutional oppression against some black people in ancient history demands the perpetual helplessness of all black people in the present day. This same cultural mentality is also present amongst the modern Native American community, resulting in ever-increasingly high statistics of poverty, drug addiction, crime, broken families, and dependency on socialism through familiar institutional snares. A victim mentality and the faux-martyrdom that comes with it lends itself to notions of entitlement and demands for reparation, for the exact same reason why tax slaves beg for social security benefits, or feel entitled to their tax returns or any other boon transacted against their “paying into the system.”

The thing about those who would be perpetual victims, complainers, lifelong martyrs, and anybody else who gives up on hard work, social virtues, personal responsibility, and community ethics in favor of the slothful whingeing about their own inability owed to some past trauma or oppression, is that which they believe about themselves comes true in self-fulfilling prophecy. The perpetual victim creates a power vacuum to be filled by oppression. They cry out to be made victims by holding onto a victim mentality. When they put themselves onto their crosses, they are praying to be nailed to them. And people in power, invariably bullies, are attracted like flies to those who cry out as though they were already bleeding. Those who have no respect for their fellow man will always oppress those demographics of society who have no respect for themselves. If you want the worst people of society, the institutionalists (in this case the American Brownshirts), to be prejudiced towards you, to profile you, and to basically hunt you, then act like their prey: identify yourself with being oppressed, or always struggling to make ends meet, or keep your neighborhoods at peace, while you also rely on the covetousness of institutionalized welfare through housing projects, or dependence on the socialist system designed to make you an oppressor of your neighbor through receiving benefits paid for by his taxes.

If you want to invite oppression into your communities, prey upon each other through theft, murder, and gangland organizations. If you want to show tyrants that you are easily conquered, do so by murdering your own children through abortion and birth control, or selling them into slavery through social security and public education for tax write-offs. Promote fatherlessness and broken homes. Strengthen the institutions by weakening the families. Be divided and conquered through competition for materialism. Forsake your abilities to provide for and take care of one another, and replace them with consumerism through sex, drugs, cheap alcohol, and self-destructive music and celebrity culture.

The root of oppression isn’t racism. It’s institutionalism. Institutionalism is just the monster of recompense that fills the vacuum created by a slothful and covetous culture that abrogates personal responsibility and replaces it with collectivist misery, and necessarily, dependency on institutions.

The solution has not changed since the creation of mankind: a people who love God also love their neighbors as themselves. They seek to serve their neighbors in adhocracy, in the weightier matters of justice, mercy, through faith, hope and charity. They promote strong families. They protect each other’s property. They keep each other free from civil citizenship under men who are in positions of power. They prefer to serve than to be served. They forgive their enemies because they know hatred and defeatism breeds self-hatred, and atrophy of virtue. They make their neighbors self-sufficient and economically independent, knowing that their neighbor will do the same to them in return. They do not compromise with or tolerate the sin of outsourcing these virtues to socialist institutions through public schooling, food stamps, police forces, or any other civil snare that allows tyrants to rule over them as soon as they take the bait. They certainly do not organize and divide themselves by race, because they know that all men are created by God and all men fall short of His glory. They repent and do hard things, including forgive and forget, and join together with the repentant, regardless of race, to enter into a righteous kingdom as a free society, making obsolete both oppression and the identity of victimhood that demands oppression.

Men, Our Most Critical Need

Men, Our Most Critical Need

The following sermon is lifted from the seventh chapter of This World: Playground or Battleground? by A.W. Tozer. Though he takes for granted modern christianity’s attachment to sophists behind pulpits and to labeling all of christianity “the church,” his sentiments ring true:

“The most critical need of the Church at this moment is men—the right kind of men, bold men. The talk is that we need revival, that we need a new baptism of the Holy Spirit – and God knows we must have both – but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Spirit.

We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances. Their only compulsion will come from within – or from above.

This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious acts out of mere custom, nor allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.

Much that the church—even the evangelical church—is doing today, it is doing because it is afraid not to do it. Ministerial associations take up projects for no higher reasons than that they are scared into it. Whatever their ear-to-the-ground, fear-inspired reconnoitering leads them to believe—or fear—the world expects them to do, they will be doing come next Monday morning with all kinds of trumped-up zeal and show of godliness. The pressure of public opinion calls these prophets, not the voice of Jehovah.

The true church has never sounded out public expectations before launching its crusades. Its leaders heard from God and went ahead wholly independent of popular support or the lack of it. They knew their Lord’s will and did it, and their people followed them—sometimes to triumph, but more often to insults and public persecution—and their sufficient reward was the satisfaction of being right in a wrong world.

Another characteristic of the true prophet has been love. The free man who has learned to hear God’s voice and dared to obey it has felt the moral burden that broke the hearts of the Old Testament prophets, crushed the soul of our Lord Jesus Christ, and wrung streams of tears from the eyes of the apostles.

The free man has never been a religious tyrant, nor has he sought to lord it over God’s heritage. It is fear and lack of self-assurance that has led men to try to bring others under their feet. They have had some interest to protect, some position to secure, so they have demanded subjection from their followers as a guarantee of their own safety. But the free man—never. He has nothing to protect, no ambition to pursue and no enemy to fear. For that reason he is completely careless of his standing among men. If they follow him—well and good. If not, he loses nothing that he holds dear. But whether he is accepted or rejected, he will go on loving his people with sincere devotion, and only death can silence his tender intercession for them.

Yes, if evangelical Christianity is to stay alive, it must have men again—the right kind of men. It must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and it must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made. God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of Israel in Egypt, and He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way.

And when the deliverers come—reformers, revivalists, prophets—they will be men of God and men of courage. They will have God on their side because they are careful to stay on God’s side. They will be co-workers with Christ and instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed and through their labors He will baptize others and send the long-delayed revival.”