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OUGHT CHRISTIANS GO TO WAR?

Messrs. Editors :—The following query has been submitted for our consideration: If Christians are protected by the civil authority, as well as the sinners, is it just to require the sinners to do all the fighting to maintain civil government ? Allow me to answer this question in the language of one who has written recently on this subject: Is it wicked for a Christian to be a ruler? If it is, then it is wicked for a Christian to be a “minister of God;” for “ the Ruler” is “God’s minister.” But if it is not wicked to be “God’s minister,” then it is not wicked to participate in the use of “the sword for he bears not the sword in vain.” It is not wicked to be an avenger to execute wrath on him who does evil ;“for this is the duty of God’s minister.” On this account Christians are required to fear the power or authority in the hands of this minister. But he is not to be feared on this account only, but also “for conscience sake,” It is not a mere matter of expediency, but a matter of conscience also; yes, a matter of Christian conscience; for Christians are addressed in this law. The Epistle is addressed, not to the Romans, but “to the saints in Rome. ” When people become too religious to obey God, they are a little too religious. “As to the fact that Christians refused to do military duty for three hundred years after the Christian era, what of that, suppose it to be admitted? They may have been right or they may have been wrong in so doing. If the government was administered as a “ terror to evil doers and a praise to them who do well,” and they refused to support it, then they abandoned God’s minister and “ the ordinance of God.” But if the government not only refused to protect them, but became a terror to good works “ and a praise to evil-doers, then they were not only not bound to sustain it by their arms and their money, but the laws of Christ would forbid them though threatened with confiscation and death, to give any support to such rule. To give service or money to support such rule, would be treason against God. It would be to give support to a usurpation, the object of which would be to overthrow the government of God; for his government is established on exactly the opposite principles, It is a terror to evil-doers but a praise to them who do well. No matter whether such a government as this takes the form of a Democracy, a Republic, a limited or absolute Monarchy— whether it be a constitutional government or a government without a constitution— so long as it is administered on, such principles as above approved, it is from God, and Christians have no right to oppose it. To resist it is to resist the ordinance of God; and “ he who resists shall receive damnation.” It is no matter what form of government Christians live under, so long as it protects the good and punishes the bad. They have no right to revolutionize it. But when it protects the bad and maltreats the good, it ceases to be “ the ordinance of God;” and all good men have the right of revolution. For “there is no authority except from God;” and such government not being from God, is not an “authority,” and is therefore to be opposed, and, if possible, to be destroyed, that it may give place to “the ordinance of God, which may be lawfully defended by the sword.” Though good men are

not permitted to defend their religion by “the sword,” nor to redress their own personal wrongs, yet they are permitted to bear the sword in defense of civil government; and to refer their personal grievances to God, to whom vengeance belongs, and who will certainly repay. Rom. xii. 19.” JUSTUS.