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´╗┐Title: Government and Rebellion
Author: Adams, E. E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Government and Rebellion" ***


A sermon delivered in the North Broad Street Presbyterian Church,
Sunday Morning, April 28 1861,


Rev. E. E. Adams.

Published by Request.


Government and Rebellion.

  An evil man seeketh only rebellion; therefore a cruel messenger shall be
  sent against him.--Prov. xvii. 11.

We have in these words this plain announcement--that Rebellion is a crime,
and shall be visited with terrible judgment. Solomon here speaks his own
convictions; God declares his thought, and utters his sanction of law.
This is also the expression of natural conscience,--vindicating in our
breast the Divine procedure, when the majesty of insulted government is
asserted, and penalty applied.

God never overlooks rebellion against his throne--never pardons the rebel
until he repent and submit. God does not command us to forgive our
offending fellow-men, unless they repent. "If thy brother trespass against
thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn to thee, saying,
I repent, thou shalt forgive him." God is in a forgiving attitude; so
ought we to be. But he does not _express_ forgiveness until the rebel
expresses penitence; neither are we under obligation to _pronounce_ an
enemy forgiven until he signify his compunction and sorrow, and desist
from his injurious conduct. If my child rebel against my law and my
rightful discipline, I am not allowed by the spirit of love to pursue him
with vengeance; neither am I bound by the law of God to release him from
the penalty of his sin, until he shall have exhibited signs of submission,
of sorrow, and of obedience. I may pity him, and cherish toward him the
_spirit_ of forgiveness; but for his own sake, for the order of the
household, and on account of my innate sense of justice, I must not
pronounce his acquittal, nor declare the controversy ended, until he shall
have satisfied my governmental authority, and the sentiment of justice
which both his own conscience and mine, constitutionally, and therefore by
necessity, cherish. And I do not see that Government can safely pardon a
rebel against its statutes, its honor and its common brotherhood, until
his rebellion cease; until he bow to law, confess his crime, and signify
his sorrow. I speak not of oppressive government, of iniquitous law; but
of _good_ government, of statutes healthful, humane, equal. Although in
the former case rebellion cannot be justified until every constitutional
measure has been resorted to for redress,--then, if redress be not given,
the voice of the people in all representative governments may legally
change oppressive for just laws, and oppressors for rulers who shall
regard the popular will. And in despotisms, when the people have the
_power_ to redress their wrongs, and to enter on a career of development
in mind and morals, in the arts of civilization,--when every other course
fails--"resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!" Man was not _made_ for
tyranny. He was not made for any form of government that crushes out his
intellect and his religious capabilities. He was made to be governed
morally; to be under righteous law; law which, while it restrains passion,
selfishness and crime, gives a man all the freedom that he is able and
willing to _use_ safely for himself, and for the commonwealth; all that is
consistent with individual development and the national good.

I am not one of those who believe that the voice of the people is, without
exception, the voice of God. It was not so at the Deluge, but quite the
reverse. It was not so when Israel clamored for a king--not in mercy but
in anger, God gave them their request. It was not so when Absalom stole
the hearts of the people, and stirred up rebellion against his father. And
yet, when a nation, independent of party, free from the excitements of
momentary interest, without the influence of ambitious leaders, under the
calm guidance of reason, history, and the spirit of the age,--rises
spontaneously against oppression, against iniquity, and _demands_ just
laws; rights for all; free thought, free speech, free labor, free worship;
when compacts are not violated; when moderation is maintained; when the
spirit of humanity is preserved,--_then_, I believe, "the voice of the
people _is_ the voice of God." I have no question that, in the great
principle, Cromwell and his puritan hosts were right in their
revolutionary action. I could never doubt that our fathers did a noble,
glorious, and Christian deed in throwing off the yoke of Britain, and
proclaiming a new government for themselves and their posterity. It was
right to contend and bleed for equal representation, for freedom of
conscience, and for an independent nationality in which these high ends
could be secured.

The first government of which we have account was a Theocracy--that is,
"the government of God." _He_ was the only King. He revealed the law,
appointed leaders, gave rules for worship, instruction and warfare. Thus
in the outset did he set up his claims among men. He established the great
precedent, which men ought to have followed, which the world has ignored;
but to which the thoughts and the will of the race shall ultimately
return. It is true _now_ that government, as such, is ordained of God. All
government, in its elemental authority, is a theocracy. All power is of
God; he ordains law. He originates the idea of civil compact. While,
therefore, the principles of governments among men may be defective, and
the administration wrong and hurtful, the great _fact_ of government is a
_Divine fact. Good_ government is _emphatically God's_ government--intended
to suppress evil, to promote holiness and happiness. "The powers that be
are ordained of God." "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth
the ordinance 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.

Our subject is GOVERNMENT AND MAN. We proceed to consider it in a
three-fold aspect, inquiring

    I. _What is good government?_
   II. _What constitutes rebellion against such government?_
  III. _What is the duty of each citizen when rebellion exists?_

I. _What is a good government_?

No citizen looks for an absolutely perfect form of nationality--of law.
But we have a right to ask for good government. We have been accustomed to
think that it depends more on administration than on principle; and the
line of the poet, "That which is best administered, is best," is a
proverb, to the sentiment of which we too freely yield. No doubt a
government with bad statutes and wrong laws, may be so administered as to
produce a tolerable degree of national comfort and development for a
season; while a Constitution perfect in its theories and principles, may
be so maladministered as to corrupt and distract, impoverish and
demoralize, a people. And yet, I agree with an old patriot of the past
century who said, "There is no foundation to imagine that the goodness or
badness of any government depends solely upon its administration. It must
be allowed that the ultimate design of government is to restrain the
corruptions of human nature; and, since human nature is the same at all
times and in all places, the same form of government which is best for one
nation is best for all nations, if they would _only agree to adopt_ it."

There is a deep thought in this remark. We often say, for example, "France
is not fit for a republican form of government," and it is true; but that
is _not_ to say, "A republican form of government is not fit for France,"
if the population would agree to adopt and preserve it. Man, in his
fallen state, is not fit for the holy government of God; but that holy
government is, nevertheless, the _only_ one that is fit for man as a moral
being; and it is man's ignorance and folly, his guilt and ruin, that he
does not adopt it. It is owing to the ignorance and wickedness of the
world that it is not fit for a representative government; and that all do
not choose Christ to be their King.

Were a score of the professional politicians of our land to frame a
Constitution for us in full accordance with their own schemes and choice,
we would soon find ourselves under an oligarchy of schemers, who cared for
the Republic only so far as to secure from it their own fame and
emolument. Were as many brokers or merchants to make and administer our
laws, without regard to other industrial interests, we should have an
oligarchy of trade. Were as many husbandmen, or mechanics, or lawyers, to
have full control of our legislation and government, we would have one
interest towering above all others, and true equalization, true
brotherhood, just representation, healthful nationality would be
impossible. Or, were we dependent on officers in the army or navy for our
government, legislative and administrative, we would be likely to have
many of our rights circumscribed. Were as many clergymen to frame a
Constitution, and administer laws, we might be under a crushing
priesthood. A government of mere scholars, poets or orators, would be only
a sublime dream. A Constitution of philosophies alone, would glitter with
abstractions beautiful, cold, grand as the snow-capt Alps, and as distant,
too, from the actualities of men! A government of mere gentlemen who have
nothing to do but think for slaves, to enjoy the chase and the
race-ground, to extol their pedigree, and traduce labor, and lead
retainers to war--would be a government for the few over the many, an
aristocracy of blood and privilege, of curled moustache and taper fingers;
but not a republic of patriots, of self-made men, of equal privilege and
just laws. It would be a return to semi-barbarism, to the age of Louis
XIV., or even of Charles I.

This is now the strong tendency in the Rebel States: even along our free
border, but below it, such is the system of representation, that a county
containing only about 3,000 inhabitants, sends as many representatives to
the legislature as another county of 30,000, and a single proprietor casts
as many votes as a whole commune. So much liberty of citizens is already
sacrificed to the chevalier, to the system of forced service.

But were a select number of experienced men, of true statesmen, embracing
different pursuits and professions, educated in different parts of the
world, and drawn together by grand national events,--statesmen born in the
age when liberty had its first grand revival, and was guarded by soberness
of thought, and tried by every variety and extent of sacrifice--by men who
had no professional, exclusive interest to provide for, but who expected
to fight and die for their convictions, who sought only to lay the
foundation of a nationality for future generations, and for the world; who
aimed at a healthful union of all popular interests, both among poor and
rich, among masters and dependents; who provided for freedom of action
under law; of worship and education, of commerce, agriculture, and the
arts; for the easy and equitable support of government,--for its
perpetuity indeed, infusing into it elements that appeal powerfully, both
to the self-interest and the patriotism of the citizens,--I say, were such
men, with such ends in view, by such sacrifice, to frame such a
government, containing the most delicate balance of interests, with strong
checks against the encroachment of any branch, either the legislative,
executive or judicial, giving all trades and professions, and all men, an
equal chance for excellence, influence, and honor; you would not hesitate
to pronounce that a good government, even though you might find slight
exception to some of its terms, though you might not interpret as others
do, all its constitutional phrases.

In view of the protection which such a constitution affords, especially if
it had been tested, for a period of eighty years, by all the inward strain
of domestic evils, and all the outward pressure of invasion; by the
influence of foreign envy, of intrigue, of hostility; by the debasing
power of disloyalty, the incompetency of rulers, and the general
degeneracy of human nature; I say, in view of all these untoward
influences, the government which could still retain its majesty and power,
still stretch its Aegis over every national and individual right--you
would pronounce the best, both for ruler and people, that ever blessed a
nation. And you would not hesitate to declare _that_ man a _traitor_, who
should attempt _to weaken_ and destroy it!

Now we pretend to say that _our_ government was thus formed by the
choicest wisdom and patriotism of the world, with the largest liberty in
view, under the restraint of law, giving equitable privilege to all its
citizens, and so balancing its different departments that they are
mutually a defence. We pretend to claim for our government the loftiest
purpose, the most comprehensive views, and the best practical results. We
claim for it justice, equality, and power. It does not stand out--a thing
distinct from the people and the states. It is not an objective power
only, but subjective; it is in every State and in every freeman. It is not
in machinery, which can be set in motion and work out certain results, as
if every part of it were iron or steel, and put into action by applied
heat; but in _men_, in minds, in hearts, in the family circle, in the
church, in every throb of patriotism, in every fibre of the husbandman and
the artizan, in the pastor's prayers, and the student's living thoughts.
It is in the _nation_ like latent fire, like a hidden life--evoked in time
of peril, and flashing along the telegraph, breathed in song, uttered in
oratory, thundered from the cannon's mouth, hung out in streaming banners
whose "every hue was born in heaven," felt in firm resolve, illustrated in
response to the call of country and of law. Where is our government? Not
at Washington alone. That is but its symbol. It is throughout all our
Loyal States. It is enthroned on the granite hills of New Hampshire, sends
its voice along the Alleghanies, and on the swelling floods of the
Mississippi, and spreads its wing over the children of the West, even to
the shores of Oregon. It lives in every cottage, and every mansion, and
has a throne in every true, free, noble, Christian heart.

That it is a _good_ government, you have only in imagination to blot from
the face of the earth whatever has grown up under its protection and
encouragement, by the will and the blessing of the Almighty, during the
fourscore years of its existence; level all the cities, sink the commerce,
prostrate the schools and churches, obliterate all the science, history
and thought it has fostered, quench the light of oratory, turn back the
wheel of improvement, and leave us at the opening of 1776; estimate all
the freedom of act, of utterance, of industry; reckon the sum of human
comforts, even of luxuries, it has brought to our hand. Look at all our
ships, our mechanism, our homes, our sanctuaries, our institutions of
morality, of mercy and of religion; our wealth, intelligence, order,
power; consider the elevation given to millions in the worst form of
civilization in the land, showing that such is the vitalizing force of our
national life, that even slavery here, bad as it is--and we know of
nothing worse as a system--lifts men above the natural license of savage
existence. Consider all this, and much more, that I may not stop to utter,
and you cannot--you _do_ not--no sane mind _can_ question the supreme
excellence--I had almost said the _divine_ excellence--of our
government. And if there were need of other proof, we have only to remind
you with what promptness the call of our noble Chief Magistrate was
answered from every free State--from the city and the hamlet; from the
bank, the bar, the press and the pulpit; from the workshop and the soil;
from the calm and comfort of home and ease and affluence, and from the
cottage of the poor, as if the pulse of the government were beating in
every vein, and the will of the Cabinet had its home in every bosom!
Strong men, young men, aged men, men of leisure, Christian men--all ready
to march under the stars and stripes, or to pour out their treasure for
others. Mothers and wives and sisters, with breaking hearts and tremulous
benedictions, bidding the heroes go--offering them on their country's
altar. Oh, it would not be thus but for the true manhood which our
government infuses into loyal citizens. It would not be so, but for the
Christianity it protects without dictation, and acknowledges without

II. We come now to the question, _What constitutes rebellion against good

There may be criminal rebellion even against a wicked and oppressive
government. The people may take the law into their own hands, and put to
death, or imprison their rulers, without _first_ having tried
constitutional methods of redress. But I speak of rebellion against _good_
government--such as we have already had in review. There is a difference
between insurrection and rebellion. The former is an act of a people or
population against a single statute, or against a portion of the
legislative enactments, without necessarily growing into warfare, or
revolt against the whole constitution and the laws. This may become
rebellion. There is also a difference between rebellion and revolution.
The latter, in a political sense, is a change, either wholly or in part,
of the constitution. This may be effected by argument and a peaceful
vote--by abdication, by a change of national policy in view of some new
relation, and by general consent, or by warfare. "The revolution in
England in 1688, was occasioned by the abdication of James II., the
establishment of the House of Orange on the throne, and the restoring of
the constitution to its primitive state."

Our revolution of '76, and onward, was not a rebellion; it was resistance
of oppression, of burdensome taxation without equal representation, and it
resulted in our distinct nationality.

The revolutions of France have been of a similar character; they have
sprung from oppression of the most severe and unnatural kind. This was the
fact, at least, in 1797 and in 1830. In 1848, when it was my lot to be in
the midst of it, the revolution arose from the selfish conduct of Louis
Philippe, who enriched himself and his family out of the national
treasury, and encouraged his sons in a course which was at war with
national precedent, with the commercial interests and democratic
individualism of the French; for with their imperial prestiges and tastes
they are extreme in their personal democracy.

But all these revolutions resulted in good to the people. Education,
public spirit, enterprise, labor, all the arts of civilization, and even
evangelical Christianity received a new impulse. Mind was opened and
enlarged; the people thought for themselves, and sighed for knowledge and
a better faith.

Revolution is going on silently, from year to year, in England. The
nobility yield by slow, almost imperceptible degrees, to the demands of
the people. It is by this process that the Government avoids the shocks
which startle Austria, France and Italy.

Such is the variety of honest opinion among men on all subjects; so
different are the degrees of information, and the opportunities of judging
with regard to the best measures of government; such a diversity exists in
the interests and abilities of a people,--that they may be good citizens
without being satisfied altogether with the constitution, or with those
who administer its laws. There will be different political parties. It is
the glory of a government that the people are allowed to think and vote as
they please, and to express their honest opinions. Perhaps with us,
expression is too free, especially in regard to public men and measures.
We may have diverse views and convictions, and yet feel and act loyally.
But men who endeavor by any influence or means to lessen the loyalty of
others, to alienate the love of the people from the government, and who
signify their own aversion, not by condemning a single statute and seeking
its lawful repeal, but by heaping abuse on the constitution and on those
who are chosen to administer the laws, by avowing their hostility to the
government and its policy, or their purpose to resist and war against
it,--are in a posture of rebellion. Those who, being in office, commanding
the arms and other property of the government, cause them to be removed so
as to weaken its power and strengthen those in actual rebellion, or who
are threatening the same; those who aid and comfort a population or
soldiery who are in a state of actual resistance, and finally, those who
do openly and avowedly renounce the authority of the government to which
they have sworn allegiance, or take up arms to attack its strongholds,
seize or destroy its property, or injure the soldiers and citizens who are
sent to protect it,--are in a state of rebellion against its laws and
against the commonwealth over which it holds the shield of its authority.

Korah was a rebel and a traitor, who having, by intrigue, inspired some
other leaders with the spirit of sedition, succeeded in drawing from their
allegiance to Moses and Aaron, a large number of the people, who came
together in a mob to demand a different administration. They were invited
to refer the matter to the Divine decision, but they stoutly refused,
accusing Moses of assumption, thus endeavoring to destroy his authority
over the nation. That was rebellion. Again, in the reign of David, his son
Absalom drew the people from their allegiance, then seized the reins of
government and pursued his father with an army. That was rebellion against
wholesome law, against the will of God.

Now we have the painful fact before us, that rebellion has sprung up
against our good government. Men in many quarters have secretly plotted,
and openly avowed hostility to our Federal Union. Eight of our States have
passed the Ordinance of Secession, four or five others are assuming an
attitude of hostility to the General Government, or refusing to comply
with the Executive, who calls on them to aid in the defence of the
Capital. This state of things has been preceded by acts of treachery on
the part of leading men in the States, by seizure of arms, money, and
public defences,--the property of the government. A new Confederacy is
formed, contrary to oaths and compacts, for the purpose of destroying our
Union, and giving perpetuity to slavery. It has attacked our forts,
adulterated our coin, stolen our arms, proclaimed piracy against our
commerce, set a price on the head of our Chief Magistrate, threatened our
Capital, and raised armies to exterminate, if possible, our nationality.
And all this it has done without one act of the Government to provoke such
procedure; without any oppression; without any threat; but in the face of
every honorable proposal on our part, after long and patient endurance of
their encroachment and plunders; even until foreign journals deride us for
our forbearance, and the rebels themselves insult our delay.

There are those who have compared this rebellion with our revolution of
'76. There could hardly be a wider distinction, both in principle and in
fact, than between these two movements. The Colonies, had been oppressed
by "navigation laws," intended by the British Parliament to crush out
their commerce for a whole century, from 1660 to 1775. Their weakness
during that period did not allow of resistance. They were taxed
oppressively, while they were not allowed a representation. This was in
violation of Magna Charta; for the government of Great Britain was
representative. Having been aided by the Colonists during the Seven Years'
War, in the subjugation of Canada, the Parent Government--without asking
taxation through the regular action of the Colonial Government--assumed
the right to tax our expanding commerce, and commenced a vigorous
enforcement of revenue laws. "Writs of Assistance" were issued, whereby
officers of the king were allowed to break open any citizen's store or
dwelling, to search for, and seize foreign merchandise; sheriffs also were
compelled to assist in the work. The sanctions of private life might, by
this act be invaded at any time by hirelings; and bad as it was in itself,
it was liable to more monstrous abuse. Then came the "_sugar bill_,"
imposing enormous duties on various articles of merchandise from the West
Indies, and greatly crippling Colonial commerce: then the infamous Stamp
Act, by which every legal instrument, in order to validity, must have the
seal of the British Government--deeds, diplomas, &c., costing from
thirty-six cents to ten dollars apiece: then the duty on tea; and,
finally, the quartering of soldiers on our citizens in time of peace, for
the express purpose of subjugating our industry and energy to the selfish
purposes of the crown.

It is enough to say, that the rebels against our Government have suffered
no oppression. They do not set forth any legal ground of Secession. The
government has done nothing to call out their indignation, or to inflict
on them a wrong. They have had more than their share of public office;
they have had a larger representation, in proportion to their free
citizens, than we have; they have been protected in their claims, even
against the convictions of the North; we yielding, as a political demand,
what we do not wholly admit as a Christian duty. We have assisted them by
enactments, by money, and by arms, in the preservation of a system at war
with our conscience, and with our liberties. We have paid for lands which
they occupy; and after all their indignities and taunts, and attacks on
our citizens, their plunders, and their warlike demonstrations, we have
been patient; and are even now imposing on ourselves restraint from the
execution of that chastisement, which many of their sober and awed
citizens acknowledge to be just, and which, if the call were made by the
Executive, would at once be hurled on the rebels by an indignant people,
like the rush of destiny.

Now, I grant, for I do not wish to make the matter worse than it is
against them, that in the North, individuals have demanded more than the
South were able, at once, to give. Some have pushed reform faster than it
would bear, faster than the laws of Providence would allow; but it was
honestly and conscientiously done. We have sometimes in our warmth,
uttered irritating words; but all this has been returned by blows, and by
savage vindictiveness. We have shown a willingness, of late, to yield some
things; to abide by the sense of the whole people; but these States are,
by their rulers, declared _out of the Union_, without appeal to the
people; they have commenced the war, and now they are regarded by the
whole world as in a state of rebellion, not of justifiable revolution.
They would submit to no method of adjustment that we could honorably
allow. They desired war, as they have been for years preparing for it, at
the expense of the Government, and in its service and trust, drawing their
life from the bosom which they now sting; and because freedom will no
longer bow, as it has done for a whole generation, to their will, they
rebel, proclaim a system of piracy, and threaten the subjugation of the
whole American people. It is a deep, and long determined treason, running
into the whole national life, and is become to ourselves a question of
_personal_ liberty.

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 the light
of present possibility--contributed towards this fearful condition? What
by my love of money, my sanction of oppression, my apologies for wrong, my
complaint against government, my support of wrong principles, my neglect
to vote and pray for the right, my boast of national greatness, my worship
of power and neglect of goodness, my forgetfulness of God? What by all
these, and more that I do not think of, have I done palpably, possibly,
toward bringing on this terrible crime against justice, humanity and law?
Then it is my duty to repent of all this and deplore it. It is also my
duty to strive against personal hatred and revenge, and to pray for my
country's enemies just as I would for my own, and _because_ they are my
own--not that they prosper in their rebellion, but that they repent and
find mercy, and acknowledge the authority against which they are at war.
It is our duty specially to pity and pray for the multitudes of good
citizens and their families, who cannot escape from among the rebels, and
who are in great jeopardy; men who love law and the Constitution, and the
whole country; who are either resisting, under the greatest pressure, the
evil that is upon them, or yielding through fear and force. We feel for
them; we call them our brothers. But it is also my duty and yours to
support our government--our administration; to pray for and sympathize
with our President and his Cabinet in their most trying posture, in the
midst of such perils, and with so meagre means for the moment, of
establishing order, and setting the nationality in permanent security. It
is our duty to report traitors to the police, that they may be lawfully
cared for; to help our militia and volunteers with every comfort and
defence; to hold up the arm of government so long as rebels remain.

This is _our_ country, bought with blood. It is second only to the
redemption which Christ purchased for us! And if we are called to contend
with principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places,
for the safety of our souls, surely we may contend with flesh and blood,
with rebels and traitors, to save this glorious inheritance from the gulf
of anarchy and the bonds of a lasting servitude. _War is terrible_, but
slavery and plunder and the silent gangrene of national dishonor, bribery
and perverted conscience are worse. The burst of a thunder cloud may break
down a forest of lofty pines, but the slow delving of the mole may
undermine a thousand habitations. The secret corrosions of the ship-worm
will sink a fleet.

This deep-working, inward ruin is appearing on the face of society. The
stupendous fact is, that from Baltimore, onward throughout the disaffected
States, the population is under the guidance of mad leaders, and exposed
to mob power. Thousands of good citizens are flying to us for protection;
thousands more forced into the war against the country, and other
thousands sighing and praying in secret that God will give success to our
arms and rescue themselves and their families from ruin. For these, as
well as for our liberties and honors are we summoned to war; it were a
crime to be inactive. The Bible is militant. Christianity is a warfare
with sin. Life is militant,--a perpetual fight with death. If our
blessings are worth praying for and praising for, they are worth
_fighting_ for, and if not to be otherwise secured, _must be fought for_.

I want this country to live! I want my children to grow up under its
shield! I want to see constitutional liberty mount above the obstacles of
ages, and rise higher and higher here, I want Italy to look toward us now
with hope! I cannot bear to hear the cry of shame that will come over the
Atlantic from the vineyards of France, from the glaciers of Switzerland,
and from the steppes of Russia, if we permit the walls of our blood-bought
inheritance to be broken down. For the sake of God, liberty, religion, all
over the earth, I want our flag to be honored abroad.

In the French revolution of '48, a deputation came to me to demand the
American church at Havre, for the purpose of holding a political meeting,
I refused. They intimated that it would be torn down. I had only to assure
them that I would plant our flag on it, and if they touched it with rude
hands, they would have to answer to our government. That was the last of
the matter. This power we must have still; and to secure this the whole
North and West must awake, and act--for the multitudes who in the Border
States demand our aid; for the thousands of laboring, suffering poor who
tremble beneath the glance of the proud chevalier; for the sake of our
education, our lands, our homes, our Christianity. We are sure that
success on our part now will demonstrate to the world the inherent power
of our nation. They cannot behold the united action and offering of
_nineteen millions_ in the free States--all animated with the spirit of
liberty, religion and law, and resolved to crush treason and rebellion at
any cost--without a deeper conviction of our real might, without a new
impression of the majesty that reposes in a people's will! All Europe
approves of this war; and struggling nationalities look with anxious
expectancy for the issue.

It is a war for government, for order. It is against the power and rage of
the mob, led on by ambitious men who are mad at the loss of power. There
is nothing more sublime than law; holding unseen the hearts and interests
of millions, protecting their rights, and giving them full, happy
development. Our flag represents law, liberty, sublime sacrifice, national
life. It is therefore right even for the Christian to fight for its
perpetuity. If I may defend myself and family, the nation is greater than
my family and myself; and calls more powerfully for my service. And this
war, entered on by necessity, and with the grand purpose of protecting
order and law, and rescuing a whole population from ruin, is inspiring in
its motive, and therefore elevating in its influence. We are consciously
better, nobler, in proportion as we forget ourselves in the sublime idea
of our nationality, and all that this nationality can do. When men fight
for plunder, or victory alone, they labor downward, they become brutish;
but a war for true liberty, for national life, for our homes and our
inheritance, and for the oppressed, is elevating, purifying. War is
terrible in itself, and in some of its consequences, but there is a bow on
the cloud. When the bolt has spent itself in the pestiferous air, all
nature is bright and glorious. With true discipline, soldiers are made
vigorous in body; they are also quickened in mind by the tactics and
incitements of warfare, they are ennobled by high motives, and may leave
the campaign better than when they entered it. Courage is awakened; love
of liberty and order inspired; benevolence increased; and loyalty exalted
by this war. What men bleed for they value. I have been delighted with the
eagerness with which many soldiers whom I have visited, listened to
Christian address, and received the word of God. It is a matter of
gratulation that but few arrests are made in our city in these days, not
because the police are less watchful, but because the debased portion of
the population are inspired with a better thought. It is also hopeful to
find, that many who entered our city as volunteers, or as drafted
soldiers, are actually being reformed from their evil habits, under the
greater strictness of camp discipline.

We are cheered also by the fact that the people generally are more earnest
than formerly in their attendance on divine worship; more solemn, and full
of feeling, and disposed to study the Bible, They need God. They look to
God. We all feel the Bible to be more than ever precious. Its solemn
prophecies are swelling into fulfillment. The day of God is approaching,
and the kingdoms of the earth are giving way for the coming of the Great

The feeling is, and ought to be, intense for the conflict. Let the
question be decided. Let half a million of freemen be called, when the
time shall indicate, to form a line of fire along the boundary that
separates Secession from loyalty. Let them take up their mighty march
through the revolted territory, if it will not otherwise submit, and
proclaim as they go, "Liberty throughout the land!" Let the flag that
waved over the suffering heroes of Valley Forge, and the conquerors of
Yorktown, wave forever on the Capitol, and over every village and subject
in the land! Nay, it must be so. We must bow, if we do not conquer. They
have proclaimed it. Come down, then, from the Northern mountains, and out
from the forests and the fields, ye sons of the Pilgrims, with your firm
force of will, and your achieving arms! Come up from the marts of
commerce, ye daring children of the Empire State, and ye firm hearts of
New Jersey and of Delaware! Come forth from the echoes of Erie, and the
shores of Michigan and Superior! Come from the free air of Western
Virginia and Ohio, from the loyal districts of Maryland, Kentucky, and
Tennessee! Come forth from the great West! and with them, go, ye strong
and true of my adopted State and City, who listened even in your cradles,
to the bell which gives out its tones over the birth-place of our
liberties! Go forth, and live the epic that future ages shall sing: be
yours the glory of _rooting this treason out_! And as they go, bless them,
aged fathers with tremulous voice! and mothers, bid them God speed! wives
and sisters and Christian hearts, load them with your gifts and your
prayers! And when they are gone, remember them at the home altar, and
bless God that your country does not want defenders; and when your tears
are dried up, and your cause is proclaimed triumphant, weep again tears of
joy as you clasp the returning heroes to your arms! Or, if they shall be
borne home to you wounded and worn in their country's service, be grateful
that your eye can watch over them, and your hand minister to their
necessities and griefs. Or finally, should they fall in battle, you will
have the consolation of knowing that they saved your country; that they
did something to consolidate its strength, and illustrate its glory
before the world. For we are destined to conquer,--and after this trial
the nation will come forth as gold. We need to suffer that we may value
our liberties. From the valley of tears arise notes of victory and
hallelujahs. Nations as well as saints, come up out of great tribulation.

                          "None die in vain
    Upon their country's war-fields! Every drop
    Of blood, thus poured for faith and freedom, hath
    A tone, which from the night of ages, from the gulf
    Of death, shall burst, and make its high appeal
    Sound unto earth and heaven."

The motto now is--"No compromise! _Submission_! Give up the leaders of
rebellion! Bow to law! Nay, more--no longer _ask_ us to protect your dark

But it is possible that, while we stir ourselves up to a fierce
belligerency against rebellion, and rush into hot condemnation of those
whom we once called "_brethren," we_ are rebels against God! Some of you
who are equipping for the war, and ready to take the field in defence of
your country and her laws, are in heart at war with holiness and God! You
may see in the fever of our whole population what men think of treason
against a good earthly government! See also in the commands of God, in the
life and death of Jesus, in the declared interest and anxious watchfulness
of angels, in the whole glorified army that shall attend the Great King
when he comes to set up his final assize,--what the Principalities and
Powers in Heaven think of your treason against the holy government of
Jehovah! Behold in the uplifted arm of Justice--hear in the voice of the
Judge, what shall be done to him who will not repent! Now the offers of
pardon are made through the death and sacrifice of Jesus. Repent; forsake
your sin; lay down your arms; retire from your rebellious attitude; and
from the throne of Mercy shall the fact be proclaimed, that _you_ are
pardoned and restored!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Government and Rebellion" ***

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