How Many Does It Take?
How many does it take to annul the commandments of God, and render
that lawful, which HE has forbidden? How many does it take to
metamorphose wickedness into righteousness?
One man must not kill. If he does it is murder. Two, ten, one hundred
men, acting on their own responsibility, must not kill. If they do,
it is still murder. But a state or nation may kill as many as they
please, and it is no murder. It is just, necessary, commendable and right.
Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads
of human beings is perfectly innocent.
But how many does it take? This is the question. Just so with theft,
robbery, burglary, and all other crimes. Man-stealing is a great
crime in one man, or a very few men only. But a whole nation can
commit it, and the act becomes not only innocent, but highly
honorable. So a whole nation can rob on the largest scale, and
perpetrate burglary on an entire city by martial power, without crime.
They can do all these things with impunity, and call on the ministers
of religion to say prayers for them.
Verily there is magic in numbers! The sovereign multitude
can out-legislate the Almighty, at least in their own conceit.
But how many does it take? Just enough to make a nation.
It did not take many thousands to make Texas a nation. Yet Texas,
especially after the battle of San Jacinto, was perfectly competent
to decree any of these things, and to make slavery, murder, &c.
absolutely meritorious. Whether any smaller number could nullify the
divine law, we leave to our great metaphysicians to determine.
Alexander the Great demanded of a pirate, by what right he infested
the seas. By the same right, retorted the pirate, that Alexander
ravages the world. How far was he from the truth?
Non-Resistance Tract No. II
Community Press, Hopedale