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power either to the maintenance and spread of slavery in America, or to the universal liberation of the negro slaves, and their elevation to civil and social equality with the whites. It is certainly very deplorable, that the present policy of the country toward slavery should appear to furnish the rebel states with a terrible proof in support of the main reason attributed to them for seceding; and that this proof should be created by the acts of the very party whose access to power offered the occasion of the revolt.
Posterity will judge whether apprehensions of the security of their slave property, was the cause of their secession; we think, and on several occasions have endeavored to show, that they were not in more than a slight degree, if at all. Posterity will, also, judge whether, if they were, the present policy of the federal government does not go far to prove their apprehensions may have been just—although the mode which they took to obtain security, was at once sinful and absurd ; while, if they were not, and the present national policy admits of some other explanation, posterity may well marvel that the safety of so great a nation could be supposed to depend on official acts, the effects of which no human being could calculate, and the power to perform which, loudly and everywhere denied, no man has attempted to demonstrate-further than by wild and incoherent assertions about “belligerent rights." No matter what was the actual state of the case—or of apprehension about it; the mode of security sought by the seceding states—as we have abundantly shown, was wholly without excuse; and that all the more, because there were not only other and adequate means, which were peaceful and regular, as we have also shown; but, because, the successful use of force, in the union, and under the constitution, in resisting illegal violence and wrong, no matter in what sacred name they might be used, remained to them, at the last extremity. Deeming it a necessary part of this inquiry to explain that aspect of the general subject, this paragraph was needful, in order to present the point with precision, before discussing it. Before proceeding to do so, we will merely add further: first, that the steadfast obstinacy with which the leaders of the secession party, and the first states that seceded, refused even to listen to counsel on this subject-proved how much more deeply
their purpose rested, than upon any mere apprehensions of danger which, by remaining, they might restrain-and at the end of four years, remove; and, secondly, that our conviction is unshaken, that if this distinction had been adopted, which rejects secession, and asserts the right of the citizen to armed and combined self-defense against illegal violence in the union and under the constitution - the country would have been saved from the miseries of the past two years, and from the perils of its present position.
Any just consideration of the passage of sacred Scripture which we have printed and expounded, in the former part of this inquiry, shows that the duties of each party therein set forth, have relations which are direct and mutual to the other parties, all of which are enforced by the responsibility of all the parties to God. This responsibility to God is not all-but it is supreme. It exceeds all power that is not divine, either to change or release it. Whosever duty it is to evangelize the world, to administer discipline in the Church of God, and to expound truth, duty, and faith unto eternal life; it is theirs, eminently, to expound and to press upon all men, everywhere, the nature and obligation of this responsibility, along with every other we owe to God. And all communities, all magistrates, and every citizen, in the exercise of every power by the first, in the performance of every act by the second, in the whole conduct of the third, are so far disobedient to God, and so far incur his displeasure, as they lose sight of this responsibility, or intentionally disregard it. By his providence in this world, and by his sentence in the day of judgment, God undertakes to see his glory and his dominion vindicated, and the wickedness of the disobedient punished and the obedience of the righteous abundantly blessed. Now, upon the mere statement of the case, in this aspect of it, no one can doubt that if the revealed will of God were obeyed, with a perfect heart by men, no difficulty could arise in the conduct of human affairs, beyond such as might temporarily occur through the natural ignorance or weakness of man. Moreover, it is manifest that taking our race as it is, while no man is allowed by God to do wrong with impunity-every man is allowed, nay is encouraged by God, to suffer wrong, to the whole extent that fidelity in his lot, and the keeping of a good conscience toward God and toward men, will permit, before he undertakes to redress himself or others. And, finally, it is clear that as there are limits beyond which our responsibility to God does not require us to endure grievous and intolerable wrong; so, also, there are requirements which may be made of us by the civil law, or the civil magistrate, which God absolutely forbids us to comply with ; as, for example, every human command which requires us to violate the command of God. We see, therefore, that by our responsibility to God, and by the express command of God, there are, at the least, two classes of cases, in the former of which passive obedience is not required, and in the latter of which it is forbidden. As to the form of the resistance, there is little choice left, in general, to the victim. Nor, as to the principle involved, does it make any difference, whether he perishes at the stake or triumphs on the field of battle. The grand principle we reach is, that both the doctrine of divine right as applied to the magistrate, and the doctrine of passive obedience as applied to the citizen are contrary to the Word of God, and incompatible with'the safety, the purity, or the progress of that divine institute which we call society. God, in ordaining positive institutions for a fallen and depraved race, has made the irregular and effectual application of force, drawn not from the existing government or magistracy, but directly from the bosom of society; a lawful and permanent resort for the safety both of society and the citizen, under the workings of intolerable institutions, laws, or magistracy. It is a very striking result; and discloses how much closer is the bond between society and the citizenthe two permanent elements—than the bond between either of them and the particular institutions or the particular magistracy—the two transient elements of what we call the state. And we venture to express our strong assurance, that whoever will carefully compare the statements of this paragraph, with the abundant teachings of the sacred Scriptures on this important topic, will find that all we have done is to give an imperfect summary, of sound and wholesome doctrine, too little understood. We do not see how the conclusion can be resisted, that while all attempts at the destruction of American society, and our national life, are contrary to the revealed will of God-as has been proved; it is, at the same time true, that
cases might arise in which armed opposition to particular laws, or a particular body of magistracy, would be permitted, or even required, by God; and that one element of that which is inexcusable, is that it begins by renouncing the Constitution and the Union—while one element of that which, in extremity, God approves, is that it occurs in the Union and under the Constitution, and for the greater security of both.
Let us then, for a moment, consider the other aspect of these duties, and the other responsibility of those who are charged with their performance. The magistracy—the government—the administration, are responsible; the citizen is responsible; society itself is responsible. They are every one responsible to both the others. Every magistrate is responsible to some magistracy above him: every citizen is responsible to every other citizen. All are responsible to the laws of the land--to the public sentiment of the nation-to the judgment of all other nations, and to that of coming ages. The duties are among the highest that belong to this earththe responsibility for their just performance, the widest and most varied that relates to time. But the immediate question is, when and to what extent can force be resorted to, according to the law of God—with regard to these mutual obligations, and this comparatively lower responsibility ? The answer may be given, briefly, and in some detail. Whatever human law may be executed at all-may, when resisted, be executed, according to the will of God, by whatever force is necessary thereto: it is the duty of the government to have this done: it is the duty of the magistracy to do it: it is the duty of society to take care that it shall be done: it is the duty of every good citizen, each in his proper place and degree, to encourage the doing of it, and when lawfully called thereto, to assist therein. We mean, both that the mutual obligations and responsibilities of all these parties oblige them to act in the manner stated, and that these mutual obligations and responsibilities being moral as well as civil in their nature, God requires their right discharge. If this were not so, the nature of civil society is subverted, the authority of the magistrate is at an end, and the very object of law as a rule of conduct is lost. Law that has no penalty—and gives no redress, is not law but advice; and penalties that are not, or can not be inflicted,--and redress that is never given--are mere expressions of opinion. The only possible sanction of all laws, against offenses of every description, is punishment; and the only meaning of redress by law, is the application of the force of the commonwealth, to compel the right it had commanded, and to undo or recompense the wrong it had forbidden. It seems to us, therefore, that no clearer duty was ever laid on a human being, than that laid on President Lincoln, to enforce the laws of the United States against the rebellious citizens thereof—and that laid on every good citizen to aid him in so doing. In the nature of the case, there can be but one rational ground of objection to this conclusion ; namely, that those rebellious citizens had the right, when driven to extremity, to resort to force and that they were driven to extremity. We admit that the citizen, when driven to extremity, has the right to resort to force and will explain that right presently. But we totally deny that these rebellious citizens were driven to extremity; and that they were not, is perfectly clear from their whole conduet. For they had it completely in their power, simply by remaining as they were, to have held for four years, the balance of power in both houses of Congress; and at the end of the four years, to have turned out of power the party which their own obstinate folly, or their preconcerted treason, brought into power--and whose advent to power they call, being driven to extremity. And, further, they not only refused to use any of the regular and ordinary means of security, which must be exhausted before any one can say he is driven to extremity ; but they refused to resort, if it should become necessary-to those powerful but unusual means of defense, in the Union and under the constitution, in which, long before they could have been driven to extremity, the mass of the American people would have taken sides with them, in any fair and reasonable claims they might advance. Moreover, no extremity whatever, could justify the ends for which they resorted to force. For we have abundantly proved, that human society, as such, is an ordinance of God, resistance to which he has forbidden and threatened with his high displeasure; and this was the very thing they attempted. Nothing less than the total destruction of our national life would satisfy