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Government and Rebellion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 24 pages of information about Government and Rebellion.

III.  What then, we ask, is the duty of all citizens when good government is assailed by rebellion?

Doubtless, one duty is to inquire whether they have in any way contributed criminally to the occasion or the causes of such rebellion; whether they have demanded too much of the disaffected, or encouraged a wrong spirit in them by coinciding with views leading to their present attitude; whether they have participated in any way with a policy calculated to irritate, to defy, to provoke honest minds to anger?  Whether as individuals, as Christians, they have been bitter and harsh, and vengeful, or are so now; and if they find any such spirit, it becomes them to repent, and school themselves into Christian charity and moderation.  But, notwithstanding any possible error in the past, the Christian citizen must consecrate himself to the defence of the government and its policy; for however, there is a distinction ordinarily between the two; in a crisis that involves a nation’s life, the policy which would save it, is the spirit of government and order.

The true Christian will pray, and speak, and write, and labor, and die for its success!  Will give assurance of his sympathy and support, and refuse to do any act that can be construed into comfort to the rebels.  He will encourage troops called to support the government, and its policy, giving them food, clothing, advice, BIBLES AND ARMS. He will rouse their patriotism, and call down on them the benediction of heaven.  This is the duty of ministers, and magistrates, of churches and individual Christians.  And if the rebellion continue, it is their duty to advocate and help to form armies of sufficient numbers and power to utterly subjugate the rebels, and, if they cannot otherwise be brought to submit, put an end to their existence.  That is what God did by the hand of Israel, to Korah and Absalom; and it is the legitimate issue, if needs be, of all successful resistance,—­of all defensive warfare.  To deny it, is to deny the right of self-defence.  It is to put a man in a position where he must love his enemy better than himself and children, which even Christianity does not demand, though it does enjoin forbearance, charity, and sacrifice.  To deny this is to condemn the principles of our Revolution, and to sanction the plunder and destruction of national property and being.

What, therefore, is our duty, now that rebellion actually rages against our mild, equal, good Government—­the best, on the whole, that the world ever saw? rebellion without cause; with no legitimate ground of offence; rebellion for the sake of a dark and demoralizing system, that has robbed half the nation of its conscience, and cursed it with an inveterate idolatry.  What is our duty?  What is mine as a citizen, a Christian, a minister of God—­as a man?  What is yours?  Plainly to ask, What have I—­either by demanding too much, not in abstract right, but in

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