logo
friends

Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.
-- Micah 4:3-4

Home

About Friends of Adin Ballou

FAB Events

FAB Newsletter

FAB Essay Contest

Adin Ballou Biography

Walking Tour

Works by Adin Ballou

Works on Adin Ballou and Hopedale

Hopedale Town History

Picture Gallery

Bookstore

Chapter IV

Non-Resistance Not Contrary to Nature

The opposers of Non-Resistance with one voice confidently assert that it is contrary to the known laws of Nature, and therefore must be false, however plausibly defended from the Scriptures. It is the design of the present chapter to refute this confident assertion, and to demonstrate that Christian Non-Resistance is in perfect accordance with the laws of Nature considered in all their developments. I shall endeavor to do this with arguments sustained by numerous facts and illustrations drawn from real life.

Nature and the laws of nature

What is "Nature"? And what are "the laws of Nature"? These terms are in very common use with a certain class of persons. But they are more flippantly uttered than definitely understood. Doubtless they may properly be used with considerable latitude of meaning. In the present discussion, however, we must be definite and clear. I shall, therefore, take the term nature to mean the essential constituent elements, properties, qualities and capabilities of any being or thing. The aggregate of these is the nature of any being or thing, whether the particular being or thing considered be ever so simple, or ever so complex. Whatever, in or about a being or thing, is not an essential constituent element, property, quality or capability thereof, is not an absolute necessary of it. And what is not generally an absolute necessary of a being or thing, is not a part of its nature, but merely an incidental or factitious appendage.

Take human nature, as that particular division of Universal Nature which we must consider in this discussion. There are elements, properties, qualities and capabilities essential to the constitution of a human being. These are common to the race. W e may say of them in general that they are the absolute inherent necessaries of man - i.e. his nature. But there are many incidental and factitious elements, properties, qualities and capabilities in and about individuals and communities of the human race, which are the results of causes and circumstances, either temporary and transient in their operations, or ultimately removable by human efforts. None of these are the essential constituents of human nature. They may all be reversed or removed without annihilating or perverting nature. Let this be well understood.

Next, "the laws of nature." I understand the laws of nature to be those forms, modes, or methods according to which it necessarily operates in its various developments. When any tendency or action of nature is observed to be uniform under given circumstances throughout the sphere of our knowledge, we infer that a certain law or necessity governs it. Consequently, we speak of all things as governed by some law of nature. What to us is uniform and universal, or nearly so, we regard as the result of nature's laws - a certain necessity of tendency and development, which determines the form, mode, or method of its manifestation. These laws are at best but imperfectly understood, and are oftener talked about than well conceived of. They are only secondary causes in a vast chain, incomprehensible to finite minds, and which we vaguely trace to a Supreme First Cause - the Self-Existent Divine Nature - God.

What we can with any propriety assume to know of those indefinable somethings termed "the laws of nature," is only the uniformity and universality of their results within the narrow sphere of our observation. It becomes us therefore to be humble and modest in pronouncing on these laws. We know some things perhaps beyond possibility of mistake. Many other things we know partially and imperfectly; concerning which it is our besetting weakness to presume that we know a vast deal more than we really do. Of the great whole we know comparatively next to nothing. Of the whole, even of those natures concerning which we know most, we are extremely ignorant - as a few thousand years of existence and continued observation would no doubt convince us. But let us reason as well as we can from what we know, and learn what we may in the great future.

Self-preservation the first law of nature

It is reiterated that "self-preservation is the first law of nature." I grant it, and then what follows? "Self- defense against whatever threatens destruction or injury," says the opponent. I grant it, and what next follows? Generally, mutual personal conflict, injury, and, in extremities, death. Hence there are justifiable homicides, wars, injuries and penal inflictions. Nature impels them. Her law of self-preservation necessitates them. They are right in the very nature of things, and therefore non- resistance must be as wrong, as it is impracticable. It is contrary to nature, and cannot be brought into practice.

Let us examine these bold assertions. I have granted that "self-preservation is the first law of nature." Also that this law prompts to self-defense against whatever threatens destruction or injury. I also admit the fact that generally men, in common with the lower animals, fight, injure, and frequently slay each other in self-defense, or for something supposed to be necessary to self-preservation. In granting this last, I only grant that men are generally very foolish and wicked. For it remains to be seen whether this general method of self-preservation be the true method. Whether it be not a very bad method; whether it be not a method which absolutely defeats its own designed object; let us inquire.

If it be the true method, it must on the whole work well. It must preserve human life and secure mankind against injury, more certainly and effectually than any other possible method. Has it done this? I do not admit it. How happens it that, according to the lowest probable estimate, some fourteen thousand millions of human beings have been slain by human means, in war and otherwise? Here are enough to people eighteen planets like the earth with its present population. What inconceivable miseries must have been endured by these worlds of people and their friends, in the process of those murderous conflicts which extinguished their earthly existence! Could all their dying groans be heard, and their expiring throes be witnessed at once, by the existing generation of men; could their blood flow together into one vast lake, mingled with the tears of their bereaved relatives; could their corpses be seen piled up in one huge pyramid; or their skeletons be contemplated in a broad Golgotha, would it be deemed conclusive evidence that mankind had practiced the true method of self. preservation!! Would it encourage us still to confide in and pursue the same method? Would it suggest no inquiries, whether there were not "a more excellent way?" Should we not be impelled to conclude that this method was the offspring of a purblind instinct - the cherished salvo of ignorance - the fatal charm of deluded credulity - the supposed preserver, but the real destroyer of the human family?

If this long-trusted method of self-preservation be indeed the best which nature affords to her children, their lot is most deplorable. To preserve what life has been preserved at such a cost, renders life itself a thing of doubtful value. If only a few thousands, or even a few millions, had perished by the two-edged sword; if innocence and justice and right had uniformly triumphed; if aggression, injustice, violence, injury and insult, after a few dreadful experiences, had been overawed; if gradually the world had come into wholesome order - a state of truthfulness, justice and peace; if the sword of self-defense had frightened the sword of aggression into its scabbard, there to consume in its rust; then might we admit that the common method of self-preservation was the true one. But now we have ample demonstration that they who take the sword, perish with the sword.

Is it supposable that if no injured person or party, since the days of Abel, had lifted up a deadly weapon, or threatened an injury against an offending party, there would have been a thousandth part of the murders and miseries which have actually taken place on our earth? Take the worst possible view; resolve all the assailed and injured into the most passive non-resistants imaginable, and let the offenders have unlimited scope to commit all the robberies, cruelties and murders they pleased; would as many lives have been sacrificed, or as much real misery have been experienced by the human race, as have actually resulted from the general method of self-preservation by personal conflict, and resistance of injury with injury? He must be a bold man who affirms it. The truth is, man has stood in his own light. He has frustrated his own wishes. He has been deceived, deluded, betrayed, and all but destroyed, by his own self-conceited, evil imagination. He would not be taught of God. He would have his own way. He would be a fool, a spendthrift, a murderer and a suicide. Yet his Father still calls after him. He offers to make him wise, good and happy. He offers to teach him the true method of self-preservation. It is found in the non-resistance of Jesus Christ. But he is wretchedly wedded to his old idols, and will scarcely hear the voice of his only true friend. When he will hear, he shall live.

A demurrer of the objector

Judged of by its fruits, the common and much vaunted method of self-preservation, by injurious resistance, stands hopelessly condemned. "But," says the opponent, "you have judged it unjustly. You have charged upon it the destruction of fourteen thousand millions of human lives. It is not answerable for a tithe of all this. It is answerable only for the loss of life, &c. in cases of justifiable homicide, war, injury and penal infliction. All the rest is chargeable on the murderous wickedness of wanton aggressors. Nor do you give it credit for the lives it has actually preserved, and the injuries it has prevented." Answer. I do not charge injurious resistance with causing all these murders; but I do charge it with occasioning most of them, and above all with being no adequate preventive of them, with not being the true method of self preservation. It may have preserved many lives, and prevented much injury in particular cases, in certain localities, but what has it done on the whole - on the great scale? And what has it absolutely failed to do? It has absolutely failed to preserve human life to any great extent, and to give peace to the world. The whole world is in arms, after nearly six thousand years' close adherence to this method of self preservation. It costs the human race more to maintain the various means of this method, than for religion, government, and education together. There must be a delusion somewhere.

If there were no such method in operation, the worst that could happen would be the murders, oppressions, and cruelties of unprovoked aggression. These would be dreadful enough; but they would be nothing in comparison with the results heretofore experienced, and would gradually shrink away from the moral majesty of a renovated public sentiment. Besides, it must be remembered that justifiable homicide, war, injury, &c. are pleaded on all sides with equal earnestness. After a few passes with the sword, a few rounds of musketry, a few assaults and retreats, it is all self-defense - all justifiable homicide, violence and destruction. All parties are seeking only to conquer an honorable peace. One party has been wronged in point of honor, another in person, another in property, and another in imagination; all are standing on the defensive; all are for carrying out the first law of nature by the common method. There is no ultimate arbiter but the sword. Injury must be resisted with injury. There was a first aggression, but so many mutual wrongs have succeeded between the parties, that none but God can determine which is most culpable. This is the confusion which attends the operation of the general method of self-preservation. It professes to eschew all aggression, but invariably runs into it. It promises personal security, but exposes its subjects not only to aggravated assaults, but to every species of danger, sacrifice and calamity. It shakes the fist, brandishes the sword, and holds up the rod in terrorem to keep the peace, but constantly excites, provokes, and perpetuates war. It has been a liar from the beginning. It has been a Satan professing to cast out Satan, yet confirming the power and multiplying the number of demons which possess our unfortunate race. It does not conduce to self-preservation, but to self-destruction, and ought therefore to be discarded.

Analogy of the animals

But our opponent will not yield the point. "It is the nature," says he, "of all animals to fight for their lives and their rights. It is the nature of man to do so. He is a fighting character by the laws of his being. He always was so, and always will be, while there is aggression, assault and abuse in the world. When all men are willing to leave off giving just cause of injurious resistance, there will be peace; never before. You may make the common method of self-preservation good or bad, a blessing or a curse, better than nothing or worse than nothing; man will resist - will fight - will act out his nature, cost what it may."

Answer. Not so. You assume too much. Your argument goes too far. Can I not prove by your own reasoning that man is an aggressor, an assailant, an offender, a robber and a murderer by nature? He has been practicing all this aggression like some of the lower animals - the beasts and birds of prey - ever since the time of Cain. Is this a law of his nature, as well as the other? Because he always has done these things, will he, and must he forever continue doing them? You say injurious resistance, war and bloodshed will never cease till aggression cease! Will aggression ever cease? Can it ever cease? Is it not a necessary result of the laws of nature? What is the conclusion from such premises, but this - that man's nature obliges him to aggress and resist just as he does, and there is no hope that he will ever cease doing either.

None but an atheist ought to put forth such arguments. I deny that there is any law or necessity of nature obliging man to injure his fellow man, either offensively or defensively; any more than there is for his being a drunkard, offensive or defensive, to everlasting ages. He can cease to practice both. He can be cured of his war mania. He can be induced to abstain from committing injury by aggression, and also from committing it in the way of resistance. The question is, whether we shall preach non-resistance to the good, as well as non-aggression to the bad; or whether we shall insist only on non-aggression, leaving the comparatively good to resist injury with injury, so long as aggression shall continue.

The good wish the bad to reform. Will they return good for evil, and thereby hasten their reform? or will they return evil for evil, and thereby frustrate that reform? God has ordered the work begun and prosecuted from both ends at once: the bad to cease aggressive injury, and the good defensive injury. Which shall take the lead in the great work of reform? Shall the good wait till the bad cease from aggression, before they leave off inflicting injury in self-defense? Christianity says no. It bids them be "the salt of the earth," and "the light of the world," to suffer wrong rather than do wrong, "to overcome evil with good." Is this possible? Or is there some irresistible necessity in the laws of nature, compelling mankind to maintain an endless conflict of aggression and resistance? I deny that there is any such necessity.

Common method of self-preservation certainly false

It is plain from the foregoing discussion, that the general method of self-preservation by injurious and deadly resistance to aggression, is a false method; that it has failed; that it has defeated its own designed object; that it has constantly run into the very wrongs it aimed to prevent; that it has made a bad matter incomparably worse; that it is not the dictate of absolute nature, but a deplorable mistake of the human judgment as to ways and means; and that some other method must be substituted for it. It is equally plain that nature necessitates aggression as certainly as it does injurious resistance to aggression; that in fact it necessitates neither; and that non-resistance, as I have defined it, is no more contrary to nature than non-aggression. Both aggressive and resistant injury can be unlearned, abandoned, and forever eschewed, without annihilating or perverting any essential constituent, element, property, quality or capability of human beings. More than this, men brought up to that moral excellency will be more thoroughly and perfectly men than in any inferior state. Their whole nature, physical, mental, moral and religious, will then be more symmetrically and gloriously developed than now. If so, non-resistance cannot be contrary to nature. Nor, if embraced and carried into practice, will it fail to ensure the most universal and complete self-preservation. It will prove to be the true method demanded by that first great law of nature.

I now confidently proceed with the assertion that Christian Non-Resistance is in perfect accordance with the known laws of nature, and absolutely necessary to harmonize their developments by correcting the untoward influence of many evil circumstances under which they have heretofore acted.

Five great laws of nature considered

Let us bring into view the prominent laws of human nature. I will mention five of the most fundamental. They are self-preservation, social affinity, religious and moral obligation, rational harmony and progression. These may be pronounced universal and eternal.

Under the law of self-preservation, which is substantially identical with self-love, man instinctively desires to exist and be happy. He dreads death; he guards against injury; he endeavors to keep what good he already has, and in a thousand ways strives to acquire more. He is constantly prompted by this law to take care of himself, and ensure his supposed highest welfare. But the ways and means are neither dictated nor indicated by this law. These come from another law. Hence it not unfrequently happens that men ignorantly resort to ways and means of preserving and benefiting themselves, which frustrate their object, and even result in their destruction.

Under the law of social affinity the sexes unite, families are reared up, friendships contracted, communities, states and nations formed, and all the social relations, affections, sympathies, and bonds superinduced. Man is necessitated by this law to be a social being, and to share the good and ill of life with others. But this law does not necessarily teach him the best method of social action - the true ways and means of the highest social usefulness and enjoyment. Hence he often forms the most unsuitable connections, and contributes to uphold the most perverse social institutions. But a social being, for better or worse, he always was, and always must be.

Under the law of religious and moral obligation man confesses, worships, and serves a God; feels a sense of dependence gratitude and duty; is conscious that there is right and wrong in human conduct; that he can choose either, but that he is accountable for the choice he makes - for his use or abuse of ability possessed; feels guilty when he does what he supposes to be wrong, and approved when he does what he believes to be right. Hence arises a perpetual conflict between the lower and higher portions of his nature. The carnal or mere animal mind goes for unrestrained indulgence. The spiritual continually says, "Do right, refrain from all else, however ardently desired."

His propensities would run riot down the broad road to destruction. But his religious and moral sentiments connect him with God and eternity, and forbid him all sensual indulgence which can endanger his spiritual welfare. He must do the will of God; must deny himself; must do right at all hazards. He must not even preserve his life, or seek any good for himself by wrong doing. Thus is he checked, straitened, restrained, and disciplined. But even this law, grand and powerful as it is, does not at once acquaint him with the true God, nor with the true right and wrong - the perfect righteousness. Hence, millions have worshipped false gods, been superstitiously religious, and verily thought many things were right, which were in fact utterly wrong. Yet man always was, and always must be a religious and moral being, in some way, to some extent. He cannot escape from this law of his nature.

Next comes the law of rational harmony or consistency. This ever prompts men to delight in the harmony of things - the consistency and agreement of one thing with another - and of parts of things with their whole. He is uneasy, dissatisfied, disturbed, and restless on account of incongruities, contradictions, incompatibilities and hostilities, in himself, and all things around him. Hence his intellectual powers, and specially his reasoning faculties, are constantly on the stretch to detect and remove the causes of disturbance, the points of contradiction. If he can do nothing else, he finds fault, grumbles and complains about this or that presumed evil. If farther advanced, he becomes a reformer, and agitates the world. He may be a reformer in religion, morals, government, education, science, art, or whatever comes in his way, theoretical or practical. And if he cannot construct what ought to be, he will at least destroy or modify what ought not to be. This restless activity of the human mind comes from a deep, indefinable, irresistible desire to get rid of contradictions, and reduce things to harmony, to consistency. This is the great desideratum. Contradiction and inconsistency is the infallible indication of falsehood and wrong. For truth and right must be harmonious. They cannot involve contradiction and discord, where they alone exist. Here then is a universal, irresistible law of our nature. It has done much to correct and reform the errors ensuing from human ignorance and depravity. But it has an infinite deal more to do.

The fifth law is that of progression. This follows close on the heels of the others, or rather co-exists with them. It is this which impels man to aspire after something higher and better than the present. Hence he observes, imitates, learns, inquires, invents, hopes and perseveres, improves, progresses, and will forever progress amid new wonders, and with new achievements of mind, world without end. His nature will not permit him to become stationary.

These laws radically harmonious

Now all these fundamental laws of our nature must be radically agreeable to each other. There can be no essential incongruity or discord among them. And when they shall have had their perfect work, man must be a lovely and glorious being. The human family must be an affectionate, wise, holy, harmonious, happy family. Look at the legitimate results.

The law of self-preservation or self-love will secure its desired object, just when the law of social affinity makes every fellow human being a second self - a co-self - never to be injured. This will take place when the law of religious and moral obligation completely subdues the propensities to the sense of duty, attaches the soul indissolubly to the true God, and renders right identical with the absolute highest good. And this will be hastened by the intense workings of the law of rational harmony, which will detect and expose error, reform abuses, revolutionize false opinions, maxims, institutions, customs and habits, and bring to light in all things the most excellent way. There is a true God, and this law will never let man rest till he finds him. There is a real right and wrong, the eternal reality; and this law will at length bring all men to see and feel it. There is a consistency, an absolute harmony of things, and this law will turn and overturn till it be attained. All this is attainable under the law of progression. By this knowledge will be increased, light will be added to light, truth to truth, and triumph to triumph. Ignorance, error, folly, sin will be left behind. Improvement will follow improvement in all that needs improvement, till the jarring elements be reconciled, and one soft, sweet, supernal harmony consummate the happiness of the whole creation. This is the glorious result to which the declared will of God, the predictions of his holy prophets, and the prayers of saints through all past generations, have ever pointed, and do still look forward. Then will there be no war, no violence, no wrong, no sorrow.

All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.

There shall be none to hurt or destroy, for all the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God.

Non-resistance in perfect unison with these laws

Now, is the doctrine of Christian Non-Resistance contrary to these general laws of human nature? Is it contrary to the law of self-preservation? Does it propose to destroy or preserve life; to increase or diminish human injury; to make mankind more miserable, or to render them infinitely more safe, secure find happy?

It proposes the very thing which the law of self-preservation demands, viz: the universal inviolability of human life, now held so cheap and sacrificed so recklessly. Is this doctrine contrary to the law of social affinity? The very reverse. It stretches forth the hand of love to the children of men, and entreats them to consider themselves one great brotherhood; to refrain from murdering and persecuting each other, to love one another, to bear every thing of one another sooner than kill or injure each other. Is not this just what the law of social affinity demands?

Is the doctrine contrary to the law of religious and moral obligation? It is an integral part of the divine law, declared and exemplified by the Son of God. It is the keystone in the arch of moral obligation. And to fulfill it in practice is the highest obedience to God - the purest devotion to eternal right. It is putting duty before all things.

Is it contrary to the law of rational harmony? Surely not. It eschews all war, all violence, all injury, all social discord, all combating of wrong with wrong, evil with evil, and lays the only ample foundation, deep on the rock of principle, for the pacification and harmony of the world. If men would only restrain themselves from mutual injury, how soon would they be able to ascertain all important truths, and to correct all essential errors of theory and practice. But now, instead of discussion and argument, brute force rises up to the rescue of discomfited error, and crushes truth and right into the dust. "Might makes right," and hoary folly totters on in her mad career escorted by armies and navies.

Is our doctrine contrary to the law of progression? It is a striking fruit and proof of that law. It takes for granted that man has been a noisy, fretful, buffeted child long enough; that it is time for him to act like a reasonable being; that he ought to be, and can be governed by moral power; that he has been carnally minded long enough, and ought now to become spiritually minded; that he has quarreled, fought, and been flogged enough; that he is capable of acting from higher motives and better principles than resisting evil with evil, and that he can, if he will only try, "overcome evil with good," and thus approximate the angelic nature. It is emphatically a doctrine of glorious moral and spiritual progress - of progress from barbarism to Christian perfection.

Nothing can be more untrue, than that non-resistance is contrary to the laws of nature. It is in perfect accordance with them. It is only contrary to the false, foolish, perverse, self-defeating methods, ways and means by which man, in his ignorance and delusion, has heretofore attempted to execute the dictates of those laws. It is at war with man's ignorance, blind self-will, and vicious habits; but not with his welfare, nor the laws of his nature. As well might the inveterate drunkard, bound to the intoxicating cup by long confirmed habit, plead that total abstinence was contrary to nature. It is in fact this very cup which is contrary to his nature; and though often resorted to for preservation and invigoration, it has crowded him to the brink of an untimely grave. Still he clings to it as his life and health. Just so our drunkards of injurious resistance. They can depend on nothing so confidently as the means of deadly resistance for self-preservation and personal security. They imagine that if they were to renounce these, their lives, rights and happiness, would have no protection left. But they will one day learn better.

A law of universal nature: Like begets its like

I will now introduce another law of nature - a law of universal nature - and including, of course, human beings in its scope. It is this, that like must beget its like - physical, mental, moral, spiritual. Is non-resistance contrary to this law of nature? Does it beget its like? or does it beget resistance? This is a practical question, and will settle the dispute. Either the true spirit of non-resistance begets a corresponding spirit, or it begets a violent and pugnacious spirit. Which is it? Either the practice of non-resistance tends to disarm and relax the fury of the assailing party, or to encourage, excite, and confirm him in his attack. Which is it? If the latter, it is contrary to that law of nature which necessitates the generation of like by like. If the former, it harmonizes with that law. And if this be true, it is the very doctrine necessary to fill the world with peace. It is worth while then to ascertain the truth on this point.

Let me commence by asking if the very injury I am endeavoring to get discarded is not generated by injury? Why does the assailed person inflict injury on the offender? "To defend himself," it will be said. But why defend himself by doing injury to the other party? "Because that, and that only, will effect the object."

How is this certain? What puts it into the heart or the head of the assailed party to repel injury with injury? It is like begetting its like: injury suggesting, prompting, and producing injury. No better way is thought of or desired, than life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, blow for blow, force for force, injury for injury. I will do unto him as he hath done to me. It is good enough for him. He shall be paid in his own coin. He shall be taught better after his own fashion.

This is the feeling and language of the Resistant. Here is a proof that the disposition to injure begets a disposition to injure, and the act of injury induces a counter injury. What, then, will be the subsequent effect? If a man strike me violently, and I return the blow with equal or greater violence, will not my blow call for a third, and so on, till the weaker party cries "hold"? This is the law of nature. Does the opponent plead that the aggressor, being severely repelled, and knowing himself in the wrong, will retreat and learn to be civil? This will depend on which of the parties can strike the hardest, and injure the worst. If the aggressor be the stronger party, he will only fight the harder, till his antagonist is subdued. If, however, he be the weaker party, he will yield from necessity, and not from principle - retaining his impotent revenge in his heart, to fester there till a better opportunity. If justice or conscience have anything to do in restraining him, they would work much more mightily on his soul if the injured party should refuse to strike back at all. So the argument in this case turns wholly in favor of my doctrine.

General illustrations in common life

Let us now look into the common affairs of life, amid scenes familiar to common experience and observation. We see one man with very large combativeness and feeble counteracting predispositions. If this man meets with another of the same character, he is almost sure to fight, quarrel, or at least violently dispute. He is surcharged and throws off in all directions a sort of phreno-magnetic fluid of war. No sooner does he come in contact with another like himself, than they mutually inflame each other. He carries strife and debate and violence with him wherever he goes. Even many who are usually civil and peaceable are presently provoked into a combat with him. He magnetizes, to a certain extent, every susceptible being with whom he meets. If he can live peaceably with any, it is those only who from natural predisposition, or moral principle, are non-resistants towards him. These he will make uncomfortable; but by bearing with him, and suffering some abuse with patience, they can keep him comparatively decent, and may pass their lives near him without any serious outbreak. Who has not seen some such persons? And who does not know that such can never be cured by violence and injurious resistance? They may be beaten and bruised half to death over and over again, with no other result than to make them two-fold more the children of wrath than before. This kind of evil is not cast out, except by prayer, fasting and abstinence from violence.

Here is another man with overweening self-esteem. He is proud, haughty, disdainful and overbearing in all his ways. What happens when two such meet? Is there not a reciprocal inflammation of the irritable organs? Do they not mutually swell, defy, and repel each other? Each will accuse the other of the same fault, and denounce such haughtiness as intolerable, never once suspecting that it is a reflection of his own face in the other which seems so detestable. Suppose one of these characters to move among other persons ordinarily humble and unassuming. Let him treat them with marked neglect, scorn or indifference; and what will be the effect? Their moderate self-esteem will be excited. Their attitude will become more perpendicular. Their heads will poise backward, and they will begin to mutter, "He feels himself above common folks; but he shall know that others are something as well as himself. We are not to be looked down by his contempt." Whence this sudden rising of self-esteem in their minds? It has been begotten, or at least excited, by the over-charged battery of the magnetizer. Like produces its like.

Reverse the case. Suppose a person of great talents, wealth, or weight of personal influence. This character naturally commands great respect; but he is humble, unassuming and particularly respectful to all around: to the poor as well as the rich, the unlearned as well as the learned, all persons in the lower walks of life, as well as those in the higher. How is he beloved and esteemed by the majority of mankind? "He is not proud," says one. "He is not above anyone," says another. "I always love to meet him and be with him," says another, "because he is so kind, unassuming and friendly with everybody." Even the envious and grumbling are half disarmed when they come in contact with such a person. Like begets its like, as before.

Yonder is a man excessively given to acquisitiveness. He must always have the best end of a bargain. He must skin something from everyone with whom he has dealings, and is sure to get the half cent whenever he "makes change." He is never pleased but when he is feathering his own nest. Yet no man complains of tight people more than he. He seldom meets with a person who in his opinion is entirely willing to do unto others as he would be done unto. What is the difficulty? This man's selfishness magnetizes those with whom he deals. His acquisitiveness excites theirs, and they stand up for their own. They are not going to be shaved by him. They are determined not to indulge his rapacious avarice. They make it a point not to let him cheat them, filch away their property in a bargain, or extort it in the shape of usury. They even become tenacious about the half cent when they are settling with him. And many who would not otherwise stand for a trifle make it a point not to give him the least advantage. "Let us look out for old hunks," say they. The half cent is nothing, but he shall not have it. Like produces its like. Hence conflicts and resistance.

Reverse the character. Suppose a generous whole-souled man, always careful to give large measure and weight, always scrupulous not to exact more than his own, and always sure to throw the trifle into his neighbor's scale, rather than even seem to be small in his own favor. How many of the very same persons observed to be sharp and close with the acquisitive dealer, relax their vigilance, become indifferent about small matters, and even insist that they will not always take the half cent of a man so willing to yield it. Is not this nature in everyday life?

It is not so with a blackguard and a reviler. He assails a man with hard words, abusive epithets and reviling expressions. Unless the man be particularly on his guard, or naturally of a very mild disposition, or a well-principled non-resistant, he will be excited, and ten to one return a broadside as terrible as he has received. His teeth are set on edge, and his tongue is fired from beneath. He rails, abuses, reviles and curses too. But let the true Christian receive this storm of envenomed words, and they strike his shield of self-composure only to rattle for a moment like hailstones on its surface, and then fall harmlessly about his feet. A second and a third discharge succeed, but he still remains calm. The assailant is half vexed, quite confounded, and soon grows ashamed of himself. He either quits the field, or listens to reason, and perhaps is constrained to beg pardon for his rudeness. At all events, he never remembers his abuse of a calm, kind-hearted, firm-minded man, without peculiar mortification. And if every man who occupies a place in the better ranks of society would treat him in the same manner, he would ultimately be entirely cured of the bad humor about his tongue. So true is it that "a soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger."

These familiar workings of this law of nature ought to open the most unwilling eyes to the fact that non-resistance, instead of being contrary to nature, is in strict accordance with it. And if it is confessedly the object of good men to do away with violence, cruelty, murder, and all the great crimes which blast the happiness of humanity, they ought to know that it never can be done by rendering evil for evil - injury for injury. Like must produce its like, and unless we oppose the injuries of evil-doers with a disposition and treatment the very contrary of theirs, we shall only incite, confirm, and educate their evil hearts to worse and worse conduct. We shall only reproduce manifold the very evils we so strenuously resist. Though the injuries we do them are done only in resistance of aggression, still they follow the same law. They produce their like. They breed a fresh brood of injuries. If this be not strictly true in each individual case, it is true on the great whole. The effect will be produced, directly or indirectly, sooner or later.