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    Chapter 1

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    Chapter 2
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    Of the Book "What I Believe"--The Correspondence Evoked by it--
    Letters from Quakers--Garrison's Declaration--Adin Ballou, his
    Works, his Catechism--Helchitsky's "Net of Faith"--The Attitude
    of the World to Works Elucidating Christ's Teaching--Dymond's
    Book "On War"--Musser's "Non-resistance Asserted"--Attitude of
    the Government in 1818 to Men who Refused to Serve in the Army
    --Hostile Attitude of Governments Generally and of Liberals to
    Those who Refuse to Assist in Acts of State Violence, and their
    Conscious Efforts to Silence and Suppress these Manifestations
    of Christian Non-resistance.

    Among the first responses some letters called forth by my book
    were some letters from American Quakers. In these letters,
    expressing their sympathy with my views on the unlawfulness for a
    Christian of war and the use of force of any kind, the Quakers
    gave me details of their own so-called sect, which for more than
    two hundred years has actually professed the teaching of Christ on
    non-resistance to evil by force, and does not make use of weapons
    in self-defense. The Quakers sent me books, from which I learnt
    how they had, years ago, established beyond doubt the duty for a
    Christian of fulfilling the command of non-resistance to evil by
    force, and had exposed the error of the Church's teaching in
    allowing war and capital punishment.

    In a whole series of arguments and texts showing that war--that
    is, the wounding and killing of men--is inconsistent with a
    religion founded on peace and good will toward men, the Quakers
    maintain and prove that nothing has contributed so much to the
    obscuring of Christian truth in the eyes of the heathen, and has
    hindered so much the diffusion of Christianity through the world,
    as the disregard of this command by men calling themselves
    Christians, and the permission of war and violence to Christians.

    "Christ's teaching, which came to be known to men, not by means of
    violence and the sword," they say, "but by means of non-resistance
    to evil, gentleness, meekness, and peaceableness, can only be
    diffused through the world by the example of peace, harmony, and
    love among its followers."

    "A Christian, according to the teaching of God himself, can act
    only peaceably toward all men, and therefore there can be no
    authority able to force the Christian to act in opposition to the
    teaching of God and to the principal virtue of the Christian in
    his relation with his neighbors."

    "The law of state necessity," they say, "can force only those to
    change the law of God who, for the sake of earthly gains, try to
    reconcile the irreconcilable; but for a Christian who sincerely
    believes that following Christ's teaching will give him salvation,
    such considerations of state can have no force."

    Further acquaintance with the labors of the Quakers and their
    works--with Fox, Penn, and especially the work of Dymond
    (published in 1827)--showed me not only that the impossibility of
    reconciling Christianity with force and war had been recognized
    long, long ago, but that this irreconcilability had been long ago
    proved so clearly and so indubitably that one could only wonder
    how this impossible reconciliation of Christian teaching with the
    use of force, which has been, and is still, preached in the
    churches, could have been maintained in spite of it.

    In addition to what I learned from the Quakers I received about
    the same time, also from America, some information on the subject
    from a source perfectly distinct and previously unknown to me.

    The son of William Lloyd Garrison, the famous champion of the
    emancipation of the negroes, wrote to me that he had read my book,
    in which he found ideas similar to those expressed by his father
    in the year 1838, and that, thinking it would be interesting to me
    to know this, he sent me a declaration or proclamation of "non-
    resistance" drawn up by his father nearly fifty years ago.

    This declaration came about under the following circumstances:
    William Lloyd Garrison took part in a discussion on the means of
    suppressing war in the Society for the Establishment of Peace
    among Men, which existed in 1838 in America. He came to the
    conclusion that the establishment of universal peace can only be
    founded on the open profession of the doctrine of non-resistance
    to evil by violence (Matt. v. 39), in its full significance, as
    understood by the Quakers, with whom Garrison happened to be on
    friendly relations. Having come to this conclusion, Garrison
    thereupon composed and laid before the society a declaration,
    which was signed at the time--in 1838--by many members.

    "Boston, 1838.

    "We the undersigned, regard it as due to ourselves, to the
    cause which we love, to the country in which we live, to
    publish a declaration expressive of the purposes we aim to
    accomplish and the measures we shall adopt to carry forward the
    work of peaceful universal reformation.

    "We do not acknowledge allegiance to any human government. We
    recognize but one King and Lawgiver, one Judge and Ruler of
    mankind. Our country is the world, our countrymen are all
    mankind. We love the land of our nativity only as we love all
    other lands. The interests and rights of American citizens are
    not dearer to us than those of the whole human race. Hence we
    can allow no appeal to patriotism to revenge any national
    insult or injury...

    "We conceive that a nation has no right to defend itself
    against foreign enemies or to punish its invaders, and no
    individual possesses that right in his own case, and the unit
    cannot be of greater importance than the aggregate. If
    soldiers thronging from abroad with intent to commit rapine and
    destroy life may not be resisted by the people or the
    magistracy, then ought no resistance to be offered to domestic
    troublers of the public peace or of private security.

    "The dogma that all the governments of the world are
    approvingly ordained of God, and that the powers that be in the
    United States, in Russia, in Turkey, are in accordance with his
    will, is no less absurd than impious. It makes the impartial
    Author of our existence 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.

    "We regard as unchristian and unlawful not only all wars,
    whether offensive or defensive, but all preparations for war;
    every naval ship, every arsenal, every fortification, we regard
    as unchristian and unlawful; the existence of any kind of
    standing army, all military chieftains, all monuments
    commemorative of victory over a fallen foe, all trophies won in
    battle, all celebrations in honor of military exploits, all
    appropriations for defense by arms; we regard as unchristian
    and unlawful every edict of government requiring of its
    subjects military service.

    "Hence we deem it unlawful to bear arms, and we cannot hold any
    office which imposes on its incumbent the obligation to compel
    men 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
    honors, 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. It follows
    that we cannot sue any man at law to force him to return
    anything he may have wrongly taken from us; if he has seized
    our coat, we shall surrender him our cloak also rather than
    subject him to punishment.

    "We believe that the penal code of the old covenant--an eye for
    an eye, and a tooth for a tooth--has been abrogated by Jesus
    Christ, and that under the new covenant the forgiveness instead
    of the punishment of enemies has been enjoined on all his
    disciples in all cases whatsoever. To extort money from
    enemies, cast them into prison, exile or execute them, is
    obviously not to forgive but to take retribution.

    "The history of mankind is crowded with evidences proving that
    physical coercion is not adapted to moral regeneration, and
    that the sinful dispositions of men can be subdued only by
    love; that evil can be exterminated only by good; that it is
    not safe to rely upon the strength of an arm to preserve us
    from harm; that there is great security in being gentle, long-
    suffering, and abundant in mercy; that it is only the meek who
    shall inherit the earth; for those who take up the sword shall
    perish by the sword.

    "Hence as a measure of sound policy--of safety to property,
    life, and liberty--of public quietude and private enjoyment--as
    well as on the ground of allegiance to Him who is King of kings
    and Lord of lords, we cordially adopt the non-resistance
    principle, being confident that it provides for all possible
    consequences, is armed with omnipotent power, and must
    ultimately triumph over every assailing force.

    "We advocate no Jacobinical doctrines. The spirit of
    Jacobinism is the spirit of retaliation, violence, and murder.
    It neither fears God nor regards man. We would be filled with
    the spirit of Christ. If we abide evil by our fundamental
    principle of not opposing evil by evil we cannot participate in
    sedition, treason, or violence. We shall submit to every
    ordinance and every requirement of government, except such as
    are contrary to the commands of the Gospel, and in no case
    resist the operation of law, except by meekly submitting to the
    penalty of disobedience.

    "But while we shall adhere to the doctrine of non-resistance
    and passive submission to enemies, we purpose, in a moral and
    spiritual sense, to assail iniquity in high places and in low
    places, to apply our principles to all existing evil,
    political, legal, and ecclesiastical institutions, and to
    hasten the time when the kingdoms of this world will have
    become the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. It appears to us
    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. If, then, the time is predicted when
    swords shall be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning
    hooks, and men shall not learn the art of war any more, it
    follows that all who manufacture, sell, or wield these deadly
    weapons do thus array themselves against the peaceful dominion
    of the Son of God on earth.

    "Having thus stated our principles, we proceed to specify the
    measures we propose to adopt in carrying our object into

    "We expect to prevail through the Foolishness of Preaching. We
    shall endeavor to promulgate our views among all persons, to
    whatever nation, sect, or grade of society they may belong.
    Hence we shall organize public lectures, circulate tracts and
    publications, form societies, and petition every governing
    body. It will be our leading object to devise ways and means
    for effecting a radical change in the views, feelings, and
    practices of society respecting the sinfulness of war and the
    treatment of enemies.

    "In entering upon the great work before us, we are not
    unmindful that in its prosecution we may be called to test
    our sincerity even as in a fiery ordeal. It may subject us to
    insult, outrage, suffering, yea, even death itself. We
    anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation,
    and calumny. Tumults may arise against us. The proud and
    pharisaical, the ambitious and tyrannical, principalities and
    powers, may combine to crush us. So they treated the Messiah
    whose example we are humbly striving to imitate. We shall not
    be afraid of their terror. Our confidence is in the Lord
    Almighty and not in man. Having withdrawn from human
    protection, what can sustain us but that faith which overcomes
    the world? We shall not think it strange concerning the fiery
    trial which is to try us, but rejoice inasmuch as we are
    partakers of Christ's sufferings.

    "Wherefore we commit the keeping of our souls to God. For every
    one that forsakes houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father,
    or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for Christ's sake,
    shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting

    "Firmly relying upon the certain and universal triumph of the
    sentiments contained in this declaration, however formidable
    may be the opposition arrayed against them, we hereby affix our
    signatures to it; commending it to the reason and conscience of
    mankind, and resolving, in the strength of the Lord God, to
    calmly and meekly abide the issue."

    Immediately after this declaration a Society for Nonresistance was
    founded by Garrison, and a journal called the NON-RESISTANT, in
    which the doctrine of non-resistance was advocated in its full
    significance and in all its consequences, as it had been expounded
    in the declaration. Further information as to the ultimate
    destiny of the society and the journal I gained from the excellent
    biography of W. L. Garrison, the work of his son.

    The society and the journal did not exist for long. The
    greater number of Garrison's fellow-workers in the movement for
    the liberation of the slaves, fearing that the too radical
    programme of the journal, the NON-RESISTANT, might keep people
    away from the practical work of negro-emancipation, gave up the
    profession of the principle of non-resistance as it had been
    expressed in the declaration, and both society and journal ceased
    to exist.

    This declaration of Garrison's gave so powerful and eloquent an
    expression of a confession of faith of such importance to men,
    that one would have thought it must have produced a strong
    impression on people, and have become known throughout the world
    and the subject of discussion on every side. But nothing of the
    kind occurred. Not only was it unknown in Europe, even the
    Americans, who have such a high opinion of Garrison, hardly knew
    of the declaration.

    Another champion of non-resistance has been overlooked in the same
    way--the American Adin Ballou, who lately died, after spending
    fifty years in preaching this doctrine. Lord God, to calmly and
    meekly abide the doctrine. How great the ignorance is of
    everything relating to the question of non-resistance may be seen
    from the fact that Garrison the son, who has written an excellent
    biography of his father in four great volumes, in answer to my
    inquiry whether there are existing now societies for non-
    resistance, and adherents of the doctrine, told me that as far as
    he knew that society had broken up, and that there were no
    adherents of that doctrine, while at the very time when he was
    writing to me there was living, at Hopedale in Massachusetts, Adin
    Ballou, who had taken part in the labors of Garrison the father,
    and had devoted fifty years of his life to advocating, both orally
    and in print, the doctrine of nonresistance. Later on I received
    a letter from Wilson, a pupil and colleague of Ballou's, and
    entered into correspondence with Ballou himself. I wrote to
    Ballou, and he answered me and sent me his works. Here is the
    summary of some extracts from them:

    "Jesus Christ is my Lord and teacher," says Ballou in one of
    his essays exposing the inconsistency of Christians who allowed
    a right of self-defense and of warfare. "I have promised
    leaving all else, to follow good and through evil, to death
    itself. But I am a citizen of the democratic republic of the
    United States; and in allegiance to it I have sworn to defend
    the Constitution of my country, if need be, with my life.
    Christ requires of me to do unto others as I would they should
    do unto me. The Constitution of the United States requires of
    me to do unto two millions of slaves [at that time there were
    slaves; now one might venture to substitute the word
    'laborers'] the very opposite of what I would they should do
    unto me--that is to help to keep them in their present
    condition of slavery. And, in spite of this, I continue to
    elect or be elected, I propose to vote, I am even ready to be
    appointed to any office under government. That will not hinder
    me from being a Christian. I shall still profess Christianity,
    and shall find no difficulty in carrying out my covenant
    with Christ and with the government.

    "Jesus Christ forbids me to resist evil doers, and to take from
    them an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, bloodshed for
    bloodshed, and life for life.

    "My government demands from me quite the opposite, and bases a
    system of self-defense on gallows, musket, and sword, to be
    used against its foreign and domestic foes. And the land is
    filled accordingly with gibbets, prisons, arsenals, ships of
    war, and soldiers.

    "In the maintenance and use of these expensive appliances for
    murder, we can very suitably exercise to the full the virtues
    of forgiveness to those who injure us, love toward our enemies,
    blessings to those who curse us, and doing good to those who
    hate us.

    "For this we have a succession of Christian priests to pray for
    us and beseech the blessing of Heaven on the holy work of

    "I see all this (i.e., the contradiction between profession and
    practice), and I continue to profess religion and take part in
    government, and pride myself on being at the same time a devout
    Christian and a devoted servant of the government. I do not
    want to agree with these senseless notions of non-resistance.
    I cannot renounce my authority and leave only immoral men in
    control of the government. The Constitution says the
    government has the right to declare war, and I assent to this
    and support it, and swear that I will support it. And I do not
    for that cease to be a Christian. War, too, is a Christian
    duty. Is it not a Christian duty to kill hundreds of thousands
    of one's fellow-men, to outrage women, to raze and burn towns,
    and to practice every possible cruelty? It is time to dismiss
    all these false sentimentalities. It is the truest means of
    forgiving injuries and loving enemies. If we only do it in the
    spirit of love, nothing can be more Christian than such

    In another pamphlet, entitled "How many Men are Necessary to
    Change a Crime into a Virtue?" he says: "One man may not kill. If
    he kills a fellow-creature, he is a murderer. If two, ten, a
    hundred men do so, they, too, are murderers. But a government or
    a nation may kill as many men as it chooses, and that will not be
    murder, but a great and noble action. Only gather the people
    together on a large scale, and a battle of ten thousand men
    becomes an innocent action. But precisely how many people must
    there be to make it so?--that is the question. One man cannot
    plunder and pillage, but a whole nation can. But precisely how
    many are needed to make it permissible? Why is it that one man,
    ten, a hundred, may not break the law of God, but a great number

    And here is a version of Ballou's catechism composed for his


    Q. Whence is the word "non-resistance" derived?

    A. From the command, "Resist not evil." (M. v. 39.)

    Q. What does this word express?

    A. It expresses a lofty Christian virtue enjoined on us by

    Q. Ought the word "non-resistance" to be taken in its widest
    sense--that is to say, as intending that we should not offer
    any resistance of any kind to evil?

    A. No; it ought to be taken in the exact sense of our Saviour's
    teaching--that is, not repaying evil for evil. We ought to
    oppose evil by every righteous means in our power, but not by

    Q. What is there to show that Christ enjoined non-resistance in
    that sense?

    A. It is shown by the words he uttered at the same time. He
    said: "Ye have heard, it was said of old, An eye for an eye,
    and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you Resist not evil.
    But if one smites thee on the right cheek, turn him the other
    also; and if one will go to law with thee to take thy coat from
    thee, give him thy cloak also."

    Q. Of whom was he speaking in the words, "Ye have heard it was
    said of old"?

    A. Of the patriarchs and the prophets, contained in the Old
    Testament, which the Hebrews ordinarily call the Law and the

    Q. What utterances did Christ refer to in the words, "It was
    said of old"?

    A. The utterances of Noah, Moses, and the other prophets, in
    which they admit the right of doing bodily harm to those who
    inflict harm, so as to punish and prevent evil deeds.

    Q. Quote such utterances.

    A. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be
    shed."--GEN. ix. 6.

    "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to
    death...And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life
    for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for
    foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
    --Ex. xxi. 12 and 23-25.

    "He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And if
    a man cause a blemish in his neighbor, as he hath done, so
    shall it be done unto him: breach for breach, eye for eye,
    tooth for tooth."--LEV. xxiv. 17, 19, 20.

    "Then the judges shall make diligent inquisition; and behold,
    if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely
    against his brother, then shall ye do unto him as he had
    thought to have done unto his brother...And thine eye shall not
    pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
    hand for hand, foot for foot."--DEUT. xix. 18, 21.

    Noah, Moses, and the Prophets taught that he who kills, maims,
    or injures his neighbors does evil. To resist such evil, and
    to prevent it, the evil doer must be punished with death, or
    maiming, or some physical injury. Wrong must be opposed by
    wrong, murder by murder, injury by injury, evil by evil. Thus
    taught Noah, Moses, and the Prophets. But Christ rejects all
    this. "I say unto you," is written in the Gospel, "resist not
    evil," do not oppose injury with injury, but rather bear
    repeated injury from the evil doer. What was permitted is
    forbidden. When we understand what kind of resistance they
    taught, we know exactly what resistance Christ forbade.

    Q. Then the ancients allowed the resistance of injury by

    A. Yes. But Jesus forbids it. The Christian has in no case the
    right to put to death his neighbor who has done him evil, or to
    do him injury in return.

    Q. May he kill or maim him in self-defense?

    A. No.

    Q. May he go with a complaint to the judge that he who has
    wronged him may be punished?

    A. No. What he does through others, he is in reality doing

    Q. Can he fight in conflict with foreign enemies or disturbers
    of the peace?

    A. Certainly not. He cannot take any part in war or in
    preparations for war. He cannot make use of a deadly weapon.
    He cannot oppose injury to injury, whether he is alone or with
    others, either in person or through other people.

    Q. Can he voluntarily vote or furnish soldiers for the

    A. He can do nothing of that kind if he wishes to be faithful
    to Christ's law.

    Q. Can he voluntarily give money to aid a government resting on
    military force, capital punishment, and violence in general?

    A. No, unless the money is destined for some special object,
    right in itself, and good both in aim and means.

    Q. Can he pay taxes to such a government?

    A. No; he ought not voluntarily to pay taxes, but he ought not
    to resist the collecting of taxes. A tax is levied by the
    government, and is exacted independently of the will of the
    subject. It is impossible to resist it without having recourse
    to violence of some kind. Since the Christian cannot employ
    violence, he is obliged to offer his property at once to the
    loss by violence inflicted on it by the authorities.

    Q. Can a Christian give a vote at elections, or take part in
    government or law business?

    A. No; participation in election, government, or law business
    is participation in government by force.

    Q. Wherein lies the chief significance of the doctrine of

    A. In the fact that it alone allows of the possibility of
    eradicating evil from one's own heart, and also from one's
    neighbor's. This doctrine forbids doing that whereby evil has
    endured for ages and multiplied in the world. He who attacks
    another and injures him, kindles in the other a feeling of
    hatred, the root of every evil. To injure another because he
    has injured us, even with the aim of overcoming evil, is
    doubling the harm for him and for oneself; it is begetting, or
    at least setting free and inciting, that evil spirit which we
    should wish to drive out. Satan can never be driven out by
    Satan. Error can never be corrected by error, and evil cannot
    be vanquished by evil.

    True non-resistance is the only real resistance to evil. It is
    crushing the serpent's head. It destroys and in the end
    extirpates the evil feeling.

    Q. But if that is the true meaning of the rule of non-
    resistance, can it always put into practice?

    A. It can be put into practice like every virtue enjoined by
    the law of God. A virtue cannot be practiced in all
    circumstances without self-sacrifice, privation, suffering, and
    in extreme cases loss of life itself. But he who esteems life
    more than fulfilling the will of God is already dead to the
    only true life. Trying to save his life he loses it. Besides,
    generally speaking, where non-resistance costs the sacrifice of
    a single life or of some material welfare, resistance costs a
    thousand such sacrifices.

    Non-resistance is Salvation; Resistance is Ruin.

    It is incomparably less dangerous to act justly than unjustly,
    to submit to injuries than to resist them with violence, less
    dangerous even in one's relations to the present life. If all
    men refused to resist evil by evil our world would be happy.

    Q. But so long as only a few act thus, what will happen to

    A. If only one man acted thus, and all the rest agreed
    to crucify him, would it not be nobler for him to die in the
    glory of non-resisting love, praying for his enemies, than to
    live to wear the crown of Caesar stained with the blood of the
    slain? However, one man, or a thousand men, firmly resolved
    not to oppose evil by evil are far more free from danger by
    violence than those who resort to violence, whether among
    civilized or savage neighbors. The robber, the murderer, and
    the cheat will leave them in peace, sooner than those who
    oppose them with arms, and those who take up the sword shall
    perish by the sword, but those who seek after peace, and behave
    kindly and harmlessly, forgiving and forgetting injuries, for
    the most part enjoy peace, or, if they die, they die blessed.
    In this way, if all kept the ordinance of non-resistance, there
    would obviously be no evil nor crime. If the majority acted
    thus they would establish the rule of love and good will even
    over evil doers, never opposing evil with evil, and never
    resorting to force. If there were a moderately large minority
    of such men, they would exercise such a salutary moral
    influence on society that every cruel punishment would be
    abolished, and violence and feud would be replaced by peace and
    love. Even if there were only a small minority of them, they
    would rarely experience anything worse than the world's
    contempt, and meantime the world, though unconscious of it, and
    not grateful for it, would be continually becoming wiser and
    better for their unseen action on it. And if in the worst case
    some members of the minority were persecuted to death, in dying
    for the truth they would have left behind them their doctrine,
    sanctified by the blood of their martyrdom. Peace, then, to
    all who seek peace, and may overruling love be the imperishable
    heritage of every soul who obeys willingly Christ's word,
    "Resist not evil."


    For fifty years Ballou wrote and published books dealing
    principally with the question of non-resistance to evil by force.
    In these works, which are distinguished by the clearness of their
    thought and eloquence of exposition, the question is looked at
    from every possible side, and the binding nature of this command
    on every Christian who acknowledges the Bible as the revelation of
    God is firmly established. All the ordinary objections to the
    doctrine of non-resistance from the Old and New Testaments are
    brought forward, such as the expulsion of the moneychangers from
    the Temple, and so on, and arguments follow in disproof of them
    all. The practical reasonableness of this rule of conduct is
    shown independently of Scripture, and all the objections
    ordinarily made against its practicability are stated and refuted.
    Thus one chapter in a book of his treats of non-resistance in
    exceptional cases, and he owns in this connection that if there
    were cases in which the rule of non-resistance were impossible of
    application, it would prove that the law was not universally
    authoritative. Quoting these cases, he shows that it is precisely
    in them that the application of the rule is both necessary and
    reasonable. There is no aspect of the question, either on his
    side or on his opponents', which he has not followed up in his
    writings. I mention all this to show the unmistakable interest
    which such works ought to have for men who make a profession of
    Christianity, and because one would have thought Ballou's work
    would have been well known, and the ideas expressed by him would
    lave been either accepted or refuted; but such has not been the

    The work of Garrison, the father, in his foundation of the Society
    of Non-resistants and his Declaration, even more than my
    correspondence with the Quakers, convinced me of the fact that the
    departure of the ruling form of Christianity from the law of
    Christ on non-resistance by force is an error that has long been
    observed and pointed out, and that men have labored, and are still
    laboring, to correct. Ballou's work confirmed me still more in
    this view. But the fate of Garrison, still more that of Ballou,
    in being completely unrecognized in spite of fifty years of
    obstinate and persistent work in the same direction, confirmed me
    in the idea that there exists a kind of tacit but steadfast
    conspiracy of silence about all such efforts.

    Ballou died in August, 1890, and there was as obituary notice of
    him in an American journal of Christian views (RELIGIO-
    PHILOSOPHICAL JOURNAL, August 23). In this laudatory notice it is
    recorded that Ballou was the spiritual director of a parish, that
    he delivered from eight to nine thousand sermons, married one
    thousand couples, and wrote about five hundred articles; but there
    is not a single word said of the object to which he devoted his
    life; even the word "non-resistance" is not mentioned. Precisely
    as it was with all the preaching of the Quakers for two hundred
    years and, too, with the efforts of Garrison the father, the
    foundation of his society and journal, and his Declaration, so it
    is with the life-work of Ballou. It seems just as though it did
    not exist and never had existed.

    We have an astounding example of the obscurity of works which aim
    at expounding the doctrine of non-resistance to evil by force, and
    at confuting those who do not recognize this commandment, in the
    book of the Tsech Helchitsky, which has only lately been noticed
    and has not hitherto been printed.

    Soon after the appearance of my book in German, I received a
    letter from Prague, from a professor of the university there,
    informing me of the existence of a work, never yet printed, by
    Helchitsky, a Tsech of the fifteenth century, entitled "The Net of
    Faith." In this work, the professor told me, Helchitsky expressed
    precisely the same view as to true and false Christianity as I had
    expressed in my book "What I Believe." The professor wrote to me
    that Helchitsky's work was to be published for the first time in
    the Tsech language in the JOURNAL OF THE PETERSBURG ACADEMY OF
    SILENCE. Since I could not obtain the book itself, I tried to
    make myself acquainted with what was known of Helchitsky, and I
    gained the following information from a German book sent me by the
    Prague professor and from Pypin's history of Tsech literature.
    This was Pypin's account:

    "'The Net of Faith' is Christ's teaching, which ought to draw
    man up out of the dark depths of the sea of worldliness and his
    own iniquity. True faith consists in believing God's Word; but
    now a time has come when men mistake the true faith for heresy,
    and therefore it is for the reason to point out what the true
    faith consists in, if anyone does not know this. It is hidden
    in darkness from men, and they do not recognize the true law of

    "To make this law plain, Helchitsky points to the primitive
    organization of Christian society--the organization which, he
    says, is now regarded in the Roman Church as an abominable
    heresy. This Primitive Church was his special ideal of social
    organization, founded on equality, liberty, and fraternity.
    Christianity, in Helchitsky's view, still preserves these
    elements, and it is only necessary for society to return to its
    pure doctrine to render unnecessary every other form of social
    order in which kings and popes are essential; the law of love
    would alone be sufficient in every case.

    "Historically, Helchitsky attributes the degeneration of
    Christianity to the times of Constantine the Great, whom he
    Pope Sylvester admitted into the Christian Church with all his
    heathen morals and life. Constantine, in his turn, endowed the
    Pope with worldly riches and power. From that time forward
    these two ruling powers were constantly aiding one another to
    strive for nothing but outward glory. Divines and
    ecclesiastical dignitaries began to concern themselves only
    about subduing the whole world to their authority, incited men
    against one another to murder and plunder, and in creed and
    life reduced Christianity to a nullity. Helchitsky denies
    completely the right to make war and to inflict the punishment
    of death; every soldier, even the 'knight,' is only a violent
    evil doer--a murderer."

    The same account is given by the German book, with the addition of
    a few biographical details and some extracts from Helchitsky's

    Having learnt the drift of Helchitsky's teaching in this way, I
    awaited all the more impatiently the appearance of "The Net of
    Faith" in the journal of the Academy. But one year passed, then
    two and three, and still the book did appear. It was only in 1888
    that I learned that the printing of the book, which had been
    begun, was stopped. I obtained the proofs of what had been
    printed and read them through. It is a marvelous book from every
    point of view.

    Its general tenor is given with perfect accuracy by Pypin.
    Helchitsky's fundamental idea is that Christianity, by allying
    itself with temporal power in the days of Constantine, and by
    continuing to develop in such conditions, has become completely
    distorted, and has ceased to be Christian altogether. Helchitsky
    gave the title "The Net of Faith" to his book, taking as his motto
    the verse of the Gospel about the calling of the disciples to be
    fishers of men; and, developing this metaphor, he says:

    "Christ, by means of his disciples, would have caught all the
    world in his net of faith, but the greater fishes broke the net
    and escaped out of it, and all the rest have slipped through
    the holes made by the greater fishes, so that the net has
    remained quite empty. The greater fishes who broke the net are
    the rulers, emperors, popes, kings, who have not renounced
    power, and instead of true Christianity have put on what is
    simply a mask of it."

    Helchitsky teaches precisely what has been and is taught in these
    days by the non-resistant Mennonites and Quakers, and in former
    tunes by the Bogomilites, Paulicians, and many others. He teaches
    that Christianity, expecting from its adherents gentleness,
    meekness, peaceableness, forgiveness of injuries, turning the
    other cheek when one is struck, and love for enemies, is
    inconsistent with the use of force, which is an indispensable
    condition of authority.

    The Christian, according to Helchitsky's reasoning, not only
    cannot be a ruler or a soldier; he cannot take any part in
    government nor in trade, or even be a landowner; he can only be an
    artisan or a husbandman.

    This book is one of the few works attacking official Christianity
    which has escaped being burned. All such so-called heretical
    works were burned at the stake, together with their authors, so
    that there are few ancient works exposing the errors of official
    Christianity. The book has a special interest for this reason
    alone. But apart from its interest from every point of view, it
    is one of the most remarkable products of thought for its depth of
    aim, for the astounding strength and beauty of the national
    language in which it is written, and for its antiquity. And yet
    for more than four centuries it has remained unprinted, and is
    still unknown, except to a few learned specialists.

    One would have thought that all such works, whether of the
    Quakers, of Garrison, of Ballou, or of Helchitsky, asserting and
    proving as they do, on the principles of the Gospel, that our
    modern world takes a false view of Christ's teaching, would have
    awakened interest, excitement, talk, and discussion among
    spiritual teachers and their flocks alike.

    Works of this kind, dealing with the very essence of Christian
    doctrine, ought, one would have thought, to have been examined and
    accepted as true, or refuted and rejected. But nothing of the
    kind has occurred, and the same fate has been repeated with all
    those works. Men of the most diverse views, believers, and, what
    is surprising, unbelieving liberals also, as though by agreement,
    all preserve the same persistent silence about them, and all that
    has been done by people to explain the true meaning of Christ's
    doctrine remains either ignored or forgotten.

    But it is still more astonishing that two other books, of
    which I heard on the appearance of my book, should be so little
    known, I mean Dymond's book "On War," published for the first time
    in London in 1824, and Daniel Musser's book on "Non-resistance,"
    written in 1864. It is particularly astonishing that these books
    should be unknown, because, apart from their intrinsic merits,
    both books treat not so much of the theory as of the practical
    application of the theory to life, of the attitude of Christianity
    to military service, which is especially important and interesting
    now in these clays of universal conscription.

    People will ask, perhaps: How ought a subject to behave who
    believes that war is inconsistent with his religion while the
    government demands from him that he should enter military service?

    This question is, I think, a most vital one, and the answer to it
    is specially important in these days of universal conscription.
    All--or at least the great majority of the people--are Christians,
    and all men are called upon for military service. How ought a
    man, as a Christian, to meet this demand? This is the gist of
    Dymond's answer:

    "His duty is humbly but steadfastly to refuse to serve."

    There are some people, who, without any definite reasoning about
    it, conclude straightway that the responsibility of government
    measures rests entirely on those who resolve on them, or that the
    governments and sovereigns decide the question of what is good or
    bad for their subjects, and the duty of the subjects is merely to
    obey. I think that arguments of this kind only obscure men's
    conscience. I cannot take part in the councils of government, and
    therefore I am not responsible for its misdeeds.. Indeed, but we
    are responsible for our own misdeeds. And the misdeeds of our
    rulers become our own, if we, knowing that they are misdeeds,
    assist in carrying, them out. Those who suppose that they are
    bound to obey the government, and that the responsibility for the
    misdeeds they commit is transferred from them to their rulers,
    deceive themselves. They say: "We give our acts up to the will
    of others, and our acts cannot be good or bad; there is no merit
    in what is good nor responsibility for what is evil in our
    actions, since they are not done of our own will."

    It is remarkable that the very same thing is said in the
    instructions to soldiers which they make them learn--that is, that
    the officer is alone responsible for the consequences of his
    command. But this is not right. A man cannot get rid of the
    responsibility, for his own actions. And that is clear from the
    following example. If your officer commands you to kill your
    neighbor's child, to kill your father or your mother, would you
    obey? If you would not obey, the whole argument falls to the
    ground, for if you can disobey the governors in one case, where do
    you draw the line up to which you can obey them? There is no line
    other than that laid down by Christianity, and that line is both
    reasonable and practicable.

    And therefore we consider it the duty of every man who thinks war
    inconsistent with Christianity, meekly but firmly to refuse to
    serve in the army. And let those whose lot it is to act thus,
    remember that the fulfillment of a great duty rests with them.
    The destiny of humanity in the world depends, so far as it depends
    on men at all, on their fidelity to their religion. Let them
    confess their conviction, and stand up for it, and not in words
    alone, but in sufferings too, if need be. If you believe that
    Christ forbade murder, pay no heed to the arguments nor to the
    commands of those who call on you to bear a hand in it. By such a
    steadfast refusal to make use of force, you call down on
    yourselves the blessing promised to those "who hear these sayings
    and do them," and the time will come when the world will recognize
    you as having aided in the reformation of mankind.

    Musser's book is called "Non-resistance Asserted," or "Kingdom of
    Christ and Kingdoms of this World Separated." This book is
    devoted to the same question, and was written when the American
    Government was exacting military service from its citizens at the
    time of the Civil War. And it has, too, a value for all time,
    dealing with the question how, in such circumstances, people
    should and can refuse to eater military service. Here is the tenor
    of the author's introductory remarks:

    "It is well known that there are many persons in the United
    States who refuse to fight on grounds of conscience. They are
    called the 'defenseless,' or 'non-resistant' Christians. These
    Christians refuse to defend their country, to bear arms, or at
    the call of government to make war on its enemies. Till lately
    this religious scruple seemed a valid excuse to the government,
    and those who urged it were let off service. But at the
    beginning of our Civil War public opinion was agitated on this
    subject. It was natural that persons who considered it their
    duty to bear all the hardships and dangers of war in defense of
    their country should feel resentment against those persons who
    had for long shared with them the advantages of the protection
    of government, and who now in time of need and danger would not
    share in bearing the labors and dangers of its defense. It was
    even natural that they should declare the attitude of such men
    monstrous, irrational, and suspicious."

    A host of orators and writers, our author tells us, arose to
    oppose this attitude, and tried to prove the sinfulness of non-
    resistance, both from Scripture and on common-sense grounds. And
    this was perfectly natural, and in many cases the authors were
    right--right, that is, in regard to persons who did not renounce
    the benefits they received from the government and tried to avoid
    the hardships of military service, but not right in regard to the
    principle of non-resistance itself. Above all, our author proves
    the binding nature of the rule of non-resistance for a Christian,
    pointing out that this command is perfectly clear, and is enjoined
    upon every Christian by Christ without possibility of
    misinterpretation. "Bethink yourselves whether it is righteous to
    obey man more than God," said Peter and John. And this is
    precisely what ought to be the attitude to every man who wishes to
    be Christian to the claim on him for military service, when Christ
    has said, "Resist not evil by force." As for the question of the
    principle itself, the author regards that as decided. As to the
    second question, whether people have the right to refuse to serve
    in the army who have not refused the benefits conferred by a
    government resting on force, the author considers it in detail,
    and arrives at the conclusion that a Christian following the law
    of Christ, since he does not go to war, ought not either to take
    advantage of any institutions of government, courts of law, or
    elections, and that in his private concerns he must not have
    recourse to the authorities, the police, or the law. Further on
    in the book he treats of the relation of the Old Testament to the
    New, the value of government for those who are Christians, and
    makes some observations on the doctrine of non-resistance and the
    attacks made on it. The author concludes his book by saying:
    "Christians do not need government, and therefore they cannot
    either obey it in what is contrary to Christ's teaching nor, still
    less, take part in it." Christ took his disciples out of the
    world, he says. They do not expect worldly blessings and worldly
    happiness, but they expect eternal life. The Spirit in whom they
    live makes them contented and happy in every position. If the
    world tolerates them, they are always happy. If the world will
    not leave them in peace, they will go elsewhere, since they are
    pilgrims on the earth and they have no fixed place of habitation.
    They believe that "the dead may bury their dead." One thing only
    is needful for them, "to follow their Master."

    Even putting aside the question as to the principle laid down in
    these two books as to the Christian's duty in his attitude to war,
    one cannot help perceiving the practical importance and the urgent
    need of deciding the question.

    There are people, hundreds of thousands of Quakers, Mennonites,
    all our Douhobortsi, Molokani, and others who do not belong to any
    definite sect, who consider that the use of force--and,
    consequently, military service--is inconsistent with Christianity.
    Consequently there are every year among us in Russia some men
    called upon for military service who refuse to serve on the ground
    of their religious convictions. Does the government let them off
    then? No. Does it compel them to go, and in case of disobedience
    punish them? No. This was how the government treated them in
    1818. Here is an extract from the diary of Nicholas Myravyov of
    Kars, which was not passed by the censor, and is not known in

    "Tiflis, October 2, 1818.

    "In the morning the commandant told me that five peasants
    belonging to a landowner in the Tamboff government had lately
    been sent to Georgia. These men had been sent for soldiers,
    but they would not serve; they had been several times flogged
    and made to run the gauntlet, but they would submit readily to
    the cruelest tortures, and even to death, rather than serve.
    'Let us go,' they said, 'and leave us alone; we will not hurt
    anyone; all men are equal, and the Tzar is a man like us; why
    should we pay him tribute; why should I expose my life to
    danger to kill in battle some man who has done me no harm? You
    can cut us to pieces and we will not be soldiers. He who has
    compassion on us will give us charity, but as for the
    government rations, we have not had them and we do not want to
    have them' These were the words of those peasants, who declare
    that there are numbers like them Russia. They brought them
    four times before the Committee of Ministers, and at last
    decided to lay the matter before the Tzar who gave orders that
    they should be taken to Georgia for correction, and commanded
    the commander-in-chief to send him a report every month of
    their gradual success in bringing these peasants to a better

    How the correction ended is not known, as the whole episode indeed
    was unknown, having been kept in profound secrecy.

    This was how the government behaved seventy-five years ago--this
    is how it has behaved in a great cumber of cases, studiously
    concealed from the people. And this is how the government behaves
    now, except in the case of the German Mennonites, living in the
    province of Kherson, whose plea against military service is
    considered well grounded. They are made to work off their term of
    service in labor in the forests.

    But in the recent cases of refusal on the part of Mennonites to
    serve in the army on religious grounds, the government authorities
    have acted in the following manner:

    To begin with, they have recourse to every means of coercion used
    in our times to "correct" the culprit and bring him to "a better
    mind," and these measures are carried out with the greatest
    secrecy. I know that in the case of one man who declined to serve
    in 1884 in Moscow, the official correspondence on the subject had
    two months after his refusal accumulated into a big folio, and was
    kept absolutely secret among the Ministry.

    They usually begin by sending the culprit to the priests, and the
    latter, to their shame be it said, always exhort him to obedience.
    But since the exhortation in Christ's name to forswear Christ is
    for the most part unsuccessful, after he has received the
    admonitions of the spiritual authorities, they send him to the
    gendarmes, and the latter, finding, as a rule, no political cause
    for offense in him, dispatch him back again, and then he is sent
    to the learned men, to the doctors, and to the madhouse. During
    all these vicissitudes he is deprived of liberty and has to endure
    every kind of humiliation and suffering as a convicted criminal.
    (All this has been repeated in four cases.) The doctors let him
    out of the madhouse, and then every kind of secret shift is
    employed to prevent him from going free--whereby others would be
    encouraged to refuse to serve as he has done--and at the same time
    to avoid leaving him among the soldiers, for fear they too should
    learn from him that military service is not at all their duty by
    the law of God, as they are assured, but quite contrary to it.

    The most convenient thing for the government would be to kill the
    non-resistant by flogging him to death or some other means, as was
    done in former days. But to put a man openly to death because he
    believes in the creed we all confess is impossible. To let a man
    alone who has refused obedience is also impossible. And so the
    government tries either to compel the man by ill-treatment to
    renounce Christ, or in some way or other to get rid of him
    unobserved, without openly putting him to death, and to hide
    somehow both the action and the man himself from other people.
    And so all kinds of shifts and wiles and cruelties are set on foot
    against him. They either send him to the frontier or provoke him
    to insubordination, and then try him for breach of discipline and
    shut him up in the prison of the disciplinary battalion, where
    they can ill treat him freely unseen by anyone, or they declare
    him mad, and lock him up in a lunatic asylum. They sent one man
    in this way to Tashkend--that is, they pretended to transfer to
    the Tashkend army; another to Omsk; a third him they convicted of
    insubordination and shut up in prison; a fourth they sent to a
    lunatic asylum.

    Everywhere the same story is repeated. Not only the government,
    but the great majority of liberal, advanced people, as they are
    called, studiously turn away from everything that has been said,
    written, or done, or is being done by men to prove the
    incompatibility of force in its most awful, gross, and glaring
    form--in the form, that is, of an army of soldiers prepared to
    murder anyone, whoever it may be--with the teachings of
    Christianity, or even of the humanity which society professes as
    its creed.

    So that the information I have gained of the attitude of the
    higher ruling classes, not only in Russia but in Europe and
    America, toward the elucidation of this question has convinced me
    that there exists in these ruling classes a consciously hostile
    attitude to true Christianity, which is shown pre-eminently in
    their reticence in regard to all manifestations of it.

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