Government and Rebellion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 28 pages of information about Government and Rebellion.
of God:  and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”  Despisers of government are enumerated by the Apostle as among the most flagitious of men.  There are statutes in almost every government which may not be absolutely right; some which may be oppressive.  These are to be distinguished from the principles, from the general bearing of a government, and endured for the good therein, or be rid of by constitutional and safe methods.  It is a duty of each subject and citizen to surrender some of his desires and preferences—­some of his convictions possibly—­for the general sentiment—­the comprehensive good; while he has the privilege of convincing by fair argument all others, and winning them to his views and measures if possible, without violence, without infringement of law.  It is not to be expected that every man should be absolutely satisfied with any government.  If he is called to yield only his share of personal interest and preference, for the sake of all the protection and blessing in which he participates in common with the state, his reason, his conscience, his patriotism will joyfully acquiesce; he will freely make so much sacrifice for the interests of the whole, knowing very well that every other citizen is likely to be under an equal sacrifice.  Natural, individual liberty, without law, is only barbarism.  Where every man is free to do whatever his worst passions prompt, there is in fact no freedom; there is tyranny; for the strong will subdue the weak, bone and muscle will govern mind and conscience.  In laws and governments men have their best thoughts; human law is likely to be better than human nature.  Men feel the need of restraint—­are convinced of the necessity of law.  They therefore make laws in self-defence; if thereby they would not restrain their own selfishness, they would restrain the selfishness of others; but that which is made a barrier to one bad subject is also a defence against all;—­thus men do restrain themselves by their defences against others.  Thus it is that, with healthful convictions, men may control diseased passion; with a right ideal is intimately joined a safe actuality; with good law, a comparatively good condition.  Even in the worst administration, and when the public mind is most demoralized, there may remain the purity of law; the sublime thought.  If the mind finds itself sinking into lawlessness and disorganism, and borne away by the pressure of evil, it can look upward, and, catching new energy from the unquenched light—­

    “Spring into the realm of the ideal.”

Our destiny is ideal.  We are on our way to the Unseen.  The ideal draws us upward,—­real now, to the spirits of just men made perfect—­to be real to us when we are perfect—­once ideal to them, as now to us.  We must keep above us the model of life and of law which we have not yet attained.  Let it never be dim.  It is a star shining through time’s night!  A banner waving from the throne of God.  It tells us of the goal.  It points out our futurity—­the altitude of our virtue, our exaltation, our bliss.

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Government and Rebellion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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