Consistency with a Vengeance
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Master. I have covenanted to forsake all and follow him through good and evil report, until death. But I am nevertheless a Democratic Republican citizen of the United States, implicitly sworn to bear true allegiance to my country, and to support its Constitution, if need be, with my life. Jesus Christ requires me to do unto others as I would that others should do unto me. The Constitution of the United States requires me to do unto twenty-seven hundred thousand slaves the very contrary of what I would have them do unto me, viz: assist to keep them in a grievous bondage, one hour of which (Thos. Jefferson says) is fraught with more misery than whole ages of that which our forefathers rose in rebellion to resist. But I am quite easy. I vote on. I help govern on. I am willing to hold any office I may be elected to under the Constitution. And I am still a Christian. I profess on. I find no difficulty in keeping covenant both with Christ and the Constitution. I can both do and not do unto others as I would that they should do unto me. I don't believe in this Non-Resistance no-governmentism!
Jesus Christ requires me "to judge righteous judgment." My government allows slave-traders to carry on their traffic in the bodies and souls of men, all over the Southern States, and along the seaboard; but it hangs a man for bringing a negro slave from Africa. So great a crime is it to injure the profits of the domestic slave-trade, by prosecuting the foreign slave-trade! And I, being a Christian, cheerfully concur. I vote on; I help govern on; I profess on. I am braced up on the right and left hand by honorable slaveholding functionaries of my own choice, and with whom I am in good league. Together we pull the wires of political craft. Together we sit in judgment - honoring one man-thief, and hanging another at the yard-arm. This is "righteous judgment!" This is Republican Christianity! And so we wrap it up. We are for law and order at all hazards. Strange that any Christian should withdraw from such a glorious government - Freedom's last hope! But we have fallen on fanatical times!
Jesus Christ forbids me to resist evil doers by taking "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, blood for blood, and life for life." My government requires the very reverse, and depends, for its own self-preservation, on the halter, the musket and the sword, seasonably employed against its domestic and foreign enemies, Accordingly the land is well furnished with gibbets, prisons, arsenals, train-bands, soldiers and ships of war. In the maintenance and use of this expensive life-destroying apparatus, we can exemplify the virtues of forgiving our injurers, loving our enemies, blessing them that curse us, and doing good to those that hate us. For this reason, we have regular Christian Chaplains to pray for us, and call down the smiles of God on our holy murders. Thus Christ and Belial are brought into perfect concord.
I see it all; and yet I insist that I am as good a Christian as ever. I fellowship all; I vote on; I help govern on; I profess on; and I glory in being at once a devoted Christian, and a no less devoted adherent to the existing government. I will not give in to those miserable Non-Resistant notions. I will not throw away my political influence, and leave unprincipled men to carry on government alone. I am determined to lend them what little respectability I have, to keep them in countenance till they see fit to reform.
The Constitution says - "Congress shall have power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal," &c. I agree to this. I endorse it. I swear to help carry it through. I vote for men to hold office, who are sworn to support all this. What then, am I less a Christian? Is not war a Christian service? Is it not perfectly Christian to murder hundreds of thousands of fellow human beings; to ravish defenseless females, sack and burn cities, and enact all the other cruelties of war? Out upon these new-fangled scruples! This is the very way to forgive injuries, and love our enemies! If we only do it all in true love, nothing can be more Christian than wholesale murder! Why then shouldn't Congress have power to declare war; and why shouldn't we Christians delegate to them this power, and swear to back them up in exercising it at their discretion! Or why should not the Congress of a Christian people be empowered by their Constituents to issue letters of marque and reprisal? These letters are nothing but commissions to rob and kill people on the high seas, if they. belong to the nation with whom we are at war. And is not this Christian? If I take a letter of marque and reprisal, and go out in my well-manned, fast-sailing vessel in quest of booty, what harm is there in that? It may be I shall overhaul a rich Indiaman worth half a million. After trying their best to run away from me, perhaps the crew will resist me. But I will board, and cut nine tenths of them in pieces. Then I will just bring my prize into port, deliver up the pauperized widows, orphans, &c. to government, pay off my men, and settle down on an independent fortune. Is not this all Christian-like? Cannot I help build a meetinghouse, endow an academy, or a college, liberally contribute to send the gospel to the heathen, be a church member in good standing, and go to heaven through the merits of the atonement? Where is the infidel that doubts it? I go for the Union, the Constitution, republicanism, democracy, law, order, authorized war, legal robbery and murder - all in the name of Christ (the great Non-Resistant Redeemer) without a blush!