Our citizenship which begins in the heavens, as Paul expresses it, is above any citizenship that begins in flesh. The citizenship of the faithful in Christ Jesus over rides every thing else in its claims and obligations. "Jehovah has called us to His kingdom and glory" to which our allegiance is due primarily and absolutely. All that is not of this kingdom belongs to "the old Serpent, the Devil and Satan." God and Satan are the rival potentates claiming the allegiance of mankind. They are the "Two Masters" who cannot be served acceptably in concert. God will not divide His authority with Satan; nor will Satan consent to the supremacy of God. Satan is the god or power of this world, and gives its glory to whom he will; and demands that every man shall honor his flag, bray out his praise, and esteem it sweet and pleasant to fight and die for him. To lavish money, and to do battle for the things the flesh delights in, he glorifies as "patriotism;" and is ready to denounce all as "traitors" worthy of death and ignominy, who prefer to "obey God rather than man." His reasoning in support of his policy is specious. Should a man not fight for the power that protects him? Should he not defend the national altars and his fireside? If all were to refuse to fight what would become of the country? All this is well enough for those under the power of Satan. By all means let Satan fight for Satan if he would perpetuate his authority. But then we are not of Satan. We have been "turned from the power of Satan unto God" by the truth understood and believed. Our case is exceptional. Satan does not protect the Saints. He has prevailed against them, and only lets us alone because he does not know that we are of their class. We pray for Satan in authority, not that he may prosper in his wars and ambitions, but that he may let us alone, and allow us to "lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty." If he will only do this, the alternative of fight or imprisonment and death, will not be presented to us in the North or South, in the Old World or the New. True believers are neither traitors, rebels, nor tyrants; but law abiding submissionists under all governments, be they abolitionist or secessionist, republican or monarchical, imperial or papal, so far as their laws do not contravene the laws and principles of the gospel.
By what rule then are the saints to judge of these laws and principles as opposed to the laws and principles of the Devil and Satan; that is, of the flesh in its governmental organizations? In answer to this we affirm, that Christ Jesus is the rule. He is "the truth" that was incarnated or "made flesh" to show how all flesh is required to walk that would attain to consubstantiality with him and the Father; that is, "ascend to the Father," whom Jesus styled in his conversation with Mary, in reference to his brethren in general, "my Father and your Father; and my God and your God." -- John xx. 17.
Now, that Christ is the rule, or practical example, set before the saints of God, is proved by the following testimonies. In 1 John ii. 6, the apostle saith, "He that saith he abideth in Christ ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." John's authority for saying this was that of Jesus himself. "I am," said he "the light of the world so long as I am in it." (chap. ix. 5.) "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." -- John viii. 12. In these words, he commands us to follow him. This we can only do during his absence from this planet, by adopting his example as the rule of our conduct in the several relations of our social and political existence. John's fellow-disciple, Peter, reiterates the same principle of action in 1 Epist. ii.21; "If when ye do well and suffer, ye take it patiently this is acceptable with God. For even herunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follows his steps." Who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered he threatened not; but committed his cause to him that judgeth righteously." Paul also, "the teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth," points to Christ as the rule, and to his own conduct as far as it conformed thereto. "I beseech you," said he "be ye followers of me even as I also am of Christ" -- 1 Cor. iv. 16; xi. 1. Jesus is the head of the Body of Christ; the body therefore follows the will and action of the head. What a phenomenon it would be in the animal kingdom to see heads walking in one direction and bodies in another! Ezekiel did not see this in his "visions of the Elohim," or Mighty Ones of the Age to Come. "To the place whither the head looked they followed it." -- Chap. x. 11. This is the principle Jesus taught by precept and example. He "looked" in this direction; and all the true believers in this probationary state, which is a state of tribulation in which the saints are "prevailed against" by Satan "in church and state," they follow whither he taught, that when he appears in power, they may personally "follow him whithersoever he goes" -- Rev. xiv. 4.
The walk and conduct of Jesus, then, we regard as the rule for all true believers. If these desired to know that they should do in certain trying situations, let them seek to realize what he would do if so placed, and the answer found according to the word, is the course for them to pursue without regard to consequences. If there had been civil war in Judea in his day would Jesus and his apostles have enrolled themselves under the flag of either party? The teaching in James "to the Twelve Tribes," some thirty years after, is proof that they would not. "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." This shows that our civil war is not a fruit of righteousness, and therefore the righteous are interdicted from meddling with it. It is of the lusts of sinful men as were the wars and fightings in Judea that preceded the dissolution of the Commonwealth of Judah. "From whence come wars and fights among you?" said James to the "patriots" of the day. "Come they not hence even of your lusts, that war in your members?" Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet he have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Would James and his brethren have mingled in these wars and fightings? Assuredly not; for he condemned them as lustful contentions for the acquisition of the means of gratifying the lusts of the flesh. Satan would be very friendly to us if we would approve his policy. He would commend us for our "patriotism," and promote some of us to be his corporals, captains, and colonels, if we would only fall down and worship him, in unresisting acquiescing in his invitation to the enrol. Thus he would be our friend, and we should be his, and all things would go smooth for a time; and when peace came, if ever, and we escaped the slaughter of battle
No, dear reader, on both sides of Mason and Dixon's line we have no real concern or interest in the questions that agitate the intoxicated peoples of these States. The scriptures say, that they are all drunk and strongly deluded, believing a lie to their confusion and condemnation. See Rev. xvii. 2; xviii. 3; 2 Thess. ii. 10-12; Isaiah xxv. 7. They are now suffering a paroxysm of political delerium tremens; and those who join in with them on either side, must share in the divine displeasure against both factions. We belong to the land promised to Abraham and his Seed, and to the kingdom to be established upon it. Our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, were Syrians; and so are all who are their seed according to the promise. "The flesh profits nothing." According to this we are Gentiles of this or that country. What are their questions and ambitions to us? Their "patriotism" is the selfishness and superstition of the flesh, and all resolves itself into love of goods, chattels, and effects, vested interests, and cerebral magnetism. They are zealous for what they feel. If an object makes them "feel good" in the contemplation of it, they have a great and noisy zeal for it; but if they "feel bad" in view thereof, though ever so heavenly, they fight and war against it, and ask its destruction. This is the "patriotism" of North and South, and of all countries of the Gentiles, a brawling glorification of themselves, and the instincts and interests of their flesh, irrespective of the "righteusness of God."
There was none of what Satan terms "patriotism" in Jesus and his apostles, who are our example. When he foretold the dissolution of the divinely constituted government of Judea, he did not instruct his disciples to enroll themselves for the defence of the State against the Romans. But he told them to fly from the country. The reason was, his kingdom did not belong to that order of things, constitution, kosmos, or world; and therefore his servants were not to fight. They were to hold off after his example, till the time arrived for the kingdom to be set up. This time is not quite come. This is our time. Till then, if need be, we are to "take the spoiling of our goods with joy" in view of the recompense to follow. There is nothing in "the present evil world" that is worth a true believer's fighting for. Such an one would not fight to free the negroes, nor to keep them enslaved; but he would be quiescent, and contented to accept whatever might come as the result of the strife between "the potsherds of the earth;" and accept it too, as just that "ordained of God." Neither would he fight for "the free school system," nor for any other system approved or reprobated by Wide Awakeism, or its opposites. His principle is passivity, and to accept results so far as according to the word. Such as course as this, though, is condemned in toto by the flesh. But what of that? "The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and are contrary the one to the other." The very fact that the flesh condemns the course is presumptive evidence in the light of the word, that it is correct. "Walk in the spirit," says Paul, "and ye will not fulfil the lust of the flesh." To walk in the spirit is to walk as Jesus walked, who did not work the works of the flesh, among which are wars and fightings for mere human institutions and aspirations.
In view of the whole, then, we say to brother Packham, be not drafted into the devil's service. It is, however, no use fleeing to any other State of the Union, as the same liability exists in all. He might go to Canada. We should accept this alternative if disturbed. We replied by return mail to Brother Beazeley. Norfolk has since been blockaded. Our advice to the brethren there was, be not enrolled; go to prison rather. The authorities will perhaps soon get tired of feeding men in prison at the public expense while money is so depreciated. Fear not their threats. Unionist and Secessionist can go only so far in their violence as God permits, who will doubtless overrule the times for the good of his people, and his own glory.
May 10, 1861. EDITOR
|bray||1.To utter the loud, harsh cry of a donkey.|
A wave of Irish immigration in the 1840s and 1850s sparked the nativist policies of the American Party. Also known as the "Know Nothings," for their staunch denial of participating in anti-immigrant activities and secret societies, the group rallied under the slogan, "Wide Awake." Searches on the terms wide awake and know nothing, produce songs such as "Wide Awake Jordan," which describes a victory over "the mickeys of New Orleans" and "Wide Awake Yankee Doodle," which offers a variation on the "Original Yankee Doodle."( See History Web Site )
The Wide Awakes were pro-Lincoln and anti-slavery. (See Civil War Treasures )