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Human Government vs The Government of God (1800s Writing)



From the 19th Century Abolitionist newspaper "The Non-Resistant"


That Human Governments are opposed to the Government of God, and that true Liberty which is to be found only in the kingdom of God, will be obvious to all who will consider their origin and true character. They are vain attempts of man to establish an order of things by which those who live in rebellion against God, and in continual opposition to the principles of Truth and Love, may secure to themselves by physical force, that which can be found and enjoyed only by yielding to the influence and acting in accordance with these holy principles. They are the vain efforts of men to rival God, and live independent of his government, and this to make their wisdom answer better than the wisdom of God. Vain attempts of mankind, while determined upon living in open rebellion against the great moral Governor of the universe, to make laws by which, they may govern one another.


And what has been the influence of these efforts, and these laws? Have they ever had the effect to change men's characters ? Do they not always 'work wrath,' and increase crime in every community? Is it not sufficiently obvious, that legal penalties and outward restraints cannot produce inward purity and obedience? It is their natural and universal tendency to excite and redouble the strength of those very passions and propensities which they are intended to restrain.


Man was designed to be governed by a Law within himself; the Moral Law of God, implanted in his moral nature; engraven on his heart; or affections; and if he lives in rebellion against this Law, and thus sets at naught the government of God, he is not to be governed at all. If he will not be governed by God, he is not to be governed by his fellow men, who are equally rebels against God as he is himself. While men are rebels against God's government, they are in reality rebels against all government; for there is in reality but one government in the universe, and that is the government of God. All attempts to establish human government, are but so many rebellious combinations of men, which will be scattered and brought to naught.


All the attempted governments of men are unwarranted assumptions of power, without right or authority. Vain and impious efforts of men to set up substitutes for the perfectly wise, holy, and righteous government of God, which they are openly rebelling against, and thus to exalt their wisdom above the wisdom of God. Will it be said, that they all acknowledge allegiance to God, and his government? It is solemn mockery for them to make any such pretensions; since every man of them lives in continual rebellion against God, and his government.


Every individual who is living in violation of God's Law is living in open rebellion against God's government: the only righteous and real government upon earth. Every individual who is thus living without any government at all. And all the pretension he may make to being under a human government, is but a 'refuge of lies' a refuge to which he retreats to quiet the rebukes of his own conscience, and to secure and serve his selfish purposes.


Human governments are an invention of men, by which they are vainly endeavoring to live independent of God, and to exalt and aggrandize themselves by the toil and servitude of their more ignorant fellow men. What are the distinguishing characteristics of all the human governments upon earth, but pride and arrogance, iniquity and injustice? What is their history, but a history of wrongs and injuries? What is their standard of proceeding as invariably exhibited in their practice, but the principle that might makes right? What is their main spring to action, but self-interest, cupidity, and self-aggrandizement? What is their trust for defense and security, but physical strength military prowess mere brute force?


All human governments make it a point of honor to kill their enemies: and thus vainly strive to correct and overcome wrong with wrong. He has only to choose between tacitly assenting to be one of a confederacy which violates the principles of Truth and Righteousness, or preserve his individual integrity, his peace of conscience and liberty of soul, by speaking out fearlessly, and then going, if need be, cheerfully to prison or to death.

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