Chapter 1►


CHRISTIAN
NON-RESISTANCE


IN ALL ITS IMPORTANT BEARINGS



ILLUSTRATED AND DEFENDED
BY
ADIN BALLOU



Whoso readeth let him understand



SECOND EDITION



ALSO
An Appendix In Two Parts By
WILLIAM S. HEYWOOD

Biographical Sketch of the Author
The Higher Patriotism



UNIVERSAL PEACE UNION
PHILADELPHIA, PA.
1910



WWW.NONRESISTANCE.ORG
OBERLIN, OHIO
2006




INTRODUCTION

by William S. Heywood


The Treatise upon Christian non-resistance, which is reproduced on the following pages, constituting the more essential part of the present volume, was first published in the year 1846, more than half a century ago.  It was at a time when a great wave of philanthropic thought and feeling seemed to be sweeping over the land and world, especially over the so-called Christian world, recasting and to some extent displacing previously existing conceptions of truth and duty, by bringing more distinctly to view the practical and humanitarian features of the Gospel of Christ, relegating to a subordinate place those of a merely speculative and dogmatic character so long dominant in the church, and demanding that the principles and spirit of the Gospel of Christ be uncompromisingly applied to human life in all its multiform phases, manifestations and relations – not only to private but to public concerns – concerns affecting alike personal character and conduct and also the character and conduct of communities, neighborhoods, townships, states, and nations, both in regard to forms of organization and modes of administration – to their attitude toward and treatment of each other under all possible conditions and circumstances.

The work was received with heartfelt approval and gratification by some of the foremost philanthropists and radical reformers of both this country and England, as expressed in numerous personal letters to the author and through the medium of the public press, and, when occasion permitted, was commended by them to the attention and favorable judgment of all lovers of truth and humanity whom their testimonies might reach.  Mr. Garrison, the distinguished leader of the anti-slavery movement in the United States, gave it most earnest greeting, at the outset, in the columns of his paper, The Liberator, as a brief extract from his pen will show: “We hail the appearance of this work with great satisfaction.  It treats of a subject more vital perhaps than any other that ever challenged the attention of mankind – vital to human safety, vital to the attainment and establishment of true liberty, vital to the prosperity of nations, vital to the reconciliation of a hostile world: a subject, too, grossly misapprehended by some, maliciously misrepresented by others, and clearly understood by very few.  It is such a work as we have long desired to see, and from the pen of one who is, in all respects, qualified to undertake it and carry it through in the best manner.

“We have no desire to deal in laudation, but simply to express our conviction of the value of the work and of the competency of Adin Ballou to state, illustrate and defend the great doctrine it inculcates.  With a mind strictly logical, and a spirit deeply imbued with gentleness and peace – aided by rare good sense, great self-possession, and a resolute disposition to be in the right – for right’ssake, he brings to his task the best qualities of both head and heart.

“The work is soberly and frankly addressed to the reason, conscience and higher sentiments of mankind – not to their propensities, passions and carnal ambitions and desires.  In the circulation of this little volume the friends of peace should take a lively interest.  At this particular crisis, when the spirit of war and violence is so madly raging in the land, its distribution, as far and wide as possible, is most earnestly to be desired.”

The book very soon arrested the attention and won the approbation of the more active friends of humanity in Great Britain, and two years later, in 1848, two widely known philanthropists of Edinburgh, Scotland, caused it to be republished for special circulation in the United Kingdom.  The English edition was a verbatim reprint of the original, with the exception of portions of two chapters relating to local political affairs, but which were without pertinence or force under a system of government differing from that of the United States.  The parties responsible for the re-publication of the book beyond the sea commended it to the favorable attention of its readers in the following language: “We have been impressed with the excellence of the matter contained in the work, and with the sound scriptural arguments of the talented author on the highly important question discussed by him; and we trust that the present edition will be generally acceptable to the friends of the peace cause.  We have carefully perused the volume, and, having weighed the sentiments which it contains, desire to express our firm conviction that they arc entirely in accordance with pure Christianity, evidently proceeding from a mind richly imbued with the spirit of love to God and man, desirous of promoting the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom on the earth.”

In the sincere belief, shared by a considerable number of the friends of universal peace, that the importance of the exposition of the doctrine of Christian non-resistance given by Adin Ballou in the work under notice is not over-estimated by the writers of the foregoing paragraphs, and that the work has in no proper sense “outlived its usefulness”; a new edition is now offered to the general public and urged upon the thoughtful and conscientious consideration of all well-wishers of their kind, with the well-assured conviction and most ardent hope that, by setting forth most clearly and uncompromisingly the essential barbarism and iniquity, not only of the great war system of the world and the death-dealing exploits of the battlefield, but of all forms of injurious and brutal force, under whatever pretext called into exercise between man and man, it will contribute much to the growth of that public sentiment which seems to be tending in the right direction, promising, as it does, to rise at an early day into an imperative demand for the entire abolition of war and of all the armaments and preparations for war of every kind and name, and prove to be, henceforth, as hitherto, an efficient instrumentality in promoting “peace on earth and good will among men” – a cause most dear to its author’s heart, to the advocacy and advancement of which he devoted much of his thought, energy and time during a long, active and eminently useful life.

It is to be presumed that among the readers of this volume there will be many who, while assenting to the general doctrine which it inculcates and admitting the principal points of the argument of the author in its support, will yet feel unable to agree with him in all the practical applications which he makes of it; especially in regard to political action under the provisions of a constitution and form of government claiming and exercising from time to time the power and the right to declare war and carry on the work of human slaughter; failing to recognize or allow that the responsibility involved in such action is so great and so inclusive as he assumes and maintains to be the case, nevertheless, it has been deemed wise and just to the author, in this new edition of his work, to reprint the original, verbatim, giving his views in full as they came from his pen, without excision or emendation, leaving the reader to make such qualifications or set such limitations, in the respects indicated, as in loyalty to his own highest conviction of truth and duty, he feels bound to do.  Supplementary to the subject-matter treated in the earlier pages of this work, constituting its characteristic feature, may be found an appendix in two parts; the first being a biographical sketch of the author, which will be of interest, no doubt, to those readers otherwise uninformed in regard to his earthly life and the manifold labors in which he was engaged, the other an address before the Universal Peace Union upon a theme concerning which there is great confusion and oftentimes much question, when considered in connection with the practical bearings of the doctrines of Christian non-resistance; the purpose of the address being to show that as “there are victories of peace no less renowned than those of war,” so is there a patriotism disassociated from all scenes of carnal strife enacted on the bloody, death-inflicting battlefield no less honorable and praiseworthy than that thus associated, as is so often the case – a love and service of one’s country, calculated to promote and secure, in an eminent degree, the highest prosperity, welfare, happiness and truest glory of a country; and yet strictly accordant with the principles and sentiments which this work is designed to expound, illustrate and apply to the various interests and activities of human life.




PREFACE


Here is a little book in illustration and defense of a very unpopular doctrine.  The author believes it to be as ancient as Christianity, and as true as the New Testament.  But it is a doctrine little understood and almost everywhere spoken against.  He therefore entreats his readers to divest themselves as much as possible of prejudice, and patiently examine what he has here written.  He does not expect everyone to be pleased with what he has presented in this volume, not even those who approve of it as a whole.  But he desires friends and opponents to be candid, just, and generous; to treat the work as they would have one of their own (on any important subject) treated.  He wishes no personal strain of panegyric from those who may think well of this treatise.  Let all glory be given to the Supreme Source of wisdom and goodness.  On the other hand, he hopes that those who may think ill of it will be manly enough not to condemn it merely on account of its authorship.  Let it be approved or condemned solely on its own intrinsic merits or demerits.

It is soberly and frankly addressed to the reason, conscience, and higher sentiments of mankind – not to their propensities and lower passions.  May it be read and responded to accordingly.  The honest inquirer will ask, “Is it in accordance with divine truth and righteousness?”  Search and see.  Perhaps the controversial critic will look for its errors, fallacies, inconsistencies, and assailable points.  If there are any such, let them be detected and exposed.  This ought to be done; but let those who undertake it prove themselves workmen that need not be ashamed.  Let them be sure that they understand the subject, that they understand precisely what is contended for in this work, and that they are competent to refute its fundamental positions by good and sufficient arguments.  It is so plain, discriminating, and unequivocal in the style of its statements and reasoning that serious misapprehension or misrepresentation of its meaning will hardly be excusable.  It does not court controversy, but if subjected to it, it will be entitled to fair and honorable treatment.

It is a book for the future rather than the present, and will be better appreciated by the public half a century hence than now.  But a better future is even now dawning and it is needed to help develop the coming age of love and peace.  A great transition of the human mind has commenced and the reign of military and penal violence must ultimately give place to that of forbearance, forgiveness, and mercy.  Such a work as this will meet a deeply felt want of many minds scattered up and down Christendom.  So strongly was the author persuaded of this fact by various indications, that he felt impelled by a sense of duty to prepare this manual as a supply for that want.  Providentially, the worthy friend, who assumes the pecuniary responsibility of its publication, generously came forward to facilitate the object, and thus by a concurrence of effort, it has made its appearance.  It is now sent forth on its mission of reconciliation.  The author feels a comfortable assurance that the blessing of the Most High God will accompany it wherever it goes, that it will diffuse light among many that sit in darkness, and promote in some humble degree that glorious regeneration of the world for which the good men of all ages have constantly prayed and hoped.


A. B., Hopedale, Mass., April 1846




TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


The first edition of Christian Non-Resistance was published in 1846, while slavery was still a blight upon this land.  Many of the specific examples used to illustrate various points are a bit dated, but the underlying theology, philosophy, and arguments are sound and timeless.  Sadly, Mr. Heywood’s stirring prophecy that “a way out of the encompassing darkness will be opened, and new light will in due time illumine the pathway of the Republic and gladden all our hearts” has yet to be realized.  America is still caught in a never-ending cycle of military intrigues and interventions, and has continued to develop weapons that I doubt Ballou or Heywood could have ever imagined, even in their worst nightmares.  Still, I am sure that they would be encouraged by the many large-scale successes that their non-resistant principles enjoyed in the 20th century.

I have made minor changes to grammar, archaic style, and words too far out of common usage, but have been careful to preserve the original sense of the text.  This transcription was made from a 1970 republication of the second edition, which appeared in 1910 and which contained numerous errors.  I may not have found and corrected all of them, and I offer my sincere apologies if I have missed some.  (In one spot, the second edition dropped an entire page from the text.)  Please bring any problems to my attention so that I can correct them.  

This transcription is under no copyright protection.  It is my gift to you.  You may freely copy, print, and transmit it, but please do not change or sell it.


T. L., Oberlin, Ohio, November 2006


 

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