Submitting to Government
Christ's followers are at peace with everyone and do not seek revenge or external change; rather they seek personal internal change. To them, the world is passing away and involvement in it is a waste of time. They are told to obey the laws of their governments and be submissive to their governments, no matter how oppressive they might be.
When you stop resisting government or its policies, or being concerned for who is doing what in government, you will be amazed at the freedom you will enjoy. The concerns of time are wasting; as I heard from the Lord while waiting on the Him, "You can spend your time trying to correct evil, or you can spend your time seeking me."
Failure to protest or resist government does not translate to support or endorsement of government or its policies,
it only preserves and demonstrates your commitment to follow peace with all men.
Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
If you protest, or resist the government, or its policies because you think you "have been called" to do so, please read the below passages from the New Testament which deny such activities. Remember, it is written that 'Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever.' After reading them, ask yourself the question, from where does "the call" originate? Is the call from the Spirit of Christ within you? If you think you are "called" to do something, I ask you: Where in the Bible does it speak of being "called," as you use it? Called is to be summoned or named. The Bible has not a single reference to "called" being something that God is requiring you to do, except to come to Him. When he wants you to do something, he gives you commands and orders; not a feeling, not a desire, not a door opening, not an inspiration, not a draw, nor a "call." This word is thrown around by some sects to justify anything anybody feels an inclination to do, as being "called." When you are led by God to do something, he tells you: 1) exactly what to do, and 2) exactly when to do it; he gives explicit commands or orders; any other way is not from Him.
What government could have been more oppressive than the Roman government that crucified Christ? And yet, we can read that never was a word of criticism or protest, much less seditious suggestions, spoken by Christ or the Apostles before or even afterwards. The Roman government was also constantly involved in wars and insurrections; but never did any of his followers utter a word of discontent with the government or its policies.
The Bible teaches Christians to stay uninvolved with the world, including any political activity, and to live at peace with their governments and all men. Below are reference from the Bible which support submission to governments. Let those who can hear, hear. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 13, tells all Christians:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing powers [authorities].
For there is no power but of God; the powers that exist are ordained by God.
The authorities which exist have been established by God.
Therefore whoever resists the authorities, resists the ordinance of God;
and those who resist shall incur damnation to themselves.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil works.
Do you want to be unafraid of the authorities? Do that which is good, and you will have their praise;
For he is the minister of God to you for good.
But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain.
For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon those who do evil.
Therefore you must be subject to them,
not only in fear of their wrath, but also for the sake of conscience.
Because of conscience, you also pay your taxes for they are God's ministers [servants],
attending continually to this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues: taxes to whom taxes are due,
custom to whom custom is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”
(Note: this submission to the rules of the world, does not extend to submission to a state imposed religion or religious rules that violate the explicit commands of God: to not swear, to assemble together, and to obey the voice of the Lord, when heard).
Peter says in 1 Peter 2:13-14
"Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to bring punishment and justice to those who do wrong, and to encourage those who do good service.
Even slaves are told to:
“obey your earthly masters in everything:
and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor,
but with sincerity of heart and reverence of the lord.”
Anyone who takes up arms is warned by Christ in the Revelation when he said,
"He that kills with the sword shall perish with the sword;
and here is the faith and patience of the saints." We know that wars and fightings proceed from the lusts of men,
out of which lusts the Lord has redeemed us,
and so out of the occasion of war.
We know that the devil is the author of wars, fighting, murder, and plots. (George Fox's letter below)
Our swords are broken into plough shares,
and spears into pruning hooks, as prophesied of in Mic 4:3
Therefore we cannot learn war anymore, neither rise up against nation or government with outward weapons.
Christ tells us:
“You have heard it said; An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,
but I say to you do not resist the evil man;
but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek,
then turn to him the other one too;
And, “if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, Let him have your coat too.”
And, “if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”
And, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
And, “for if you love only those who love you,
what reward can you have, for even tax collectors do that"
And, "whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment"
So Christ teaches us to love everyone, and to be as gentle as doves and lambs.
He teaches that violence is deplorable in his sight.
And in Mat 26:53, Christ said to those arresting him,
“Do you not know that I could now pray to my Father,
and he would immediately provide me more that twelve legions of angels?
But how then would scripture be fulfilled that it must come about this way."
Not only would scripture not be fulfilled, but his sacrifice for the world would not have been made.
He further qualifies why he doesn't resist his arrest and crucifixion
when he explains that he really was not of this world.
My kingdom belongs not to this world.
If my kingdom were of this world,
my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews,
but as it is, my kingdom is not of this world.
So Christ's kingdom is not of this world, and neither do his followers look to the earth for their rewards, but rather to heaven and to things above.
And Paul in 2 Timothy Chapter 2:4 says “a good soldier does not get entangled in civilian affairs; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.” Paul is speaking to Timothy, a fellow minister and teacher for Christ; and is telling him to stay out of affairs of the world, (including any political activity), but rather to be solely involved in the work for Christ’s kingdom, a spiritual kingdom that is not visible to this world.
Therefore his servants do not fight as he told Pilate, the magistrate who crucified him.
And did they not look upon Christ as a raiser of sedition? and did not he pray,
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?"
Here is what William Penn said about submitting to governments:
.. so faith and patience succeeded fighting, in the doctrine and practice of these people. Nor should they be obnoxious to civil government for this, since they cannot fight for it, they cannot fight against it... But though they were not for fighting, they were for submitting to government, and not only for fear, but for conscience's sake, where Government does not interfere with conscience, believing it to be an ordinance from God, and where it is justly administered, a great benefit to mankind. (taken from William Penn's Introduction to George Fox's Journal)
They obeyed all laws, except when a law conflicted with their duty to commands and understandings from Christ: refusing to swear, refusing to suspend their worship meetings banned by law, and refusing to pay government-decreed tithes to officially approved sects that claimed them within their geographic rights to receive tithes.
William Penn speaks from a time when thousands of "children of the light" were imprisoned, hundreds to their death, and never did they oppose the Government. Never did they assemble for any reason other than to worship or transact the business of the church, i.e. relieving suffering. It was a time of: bloody civil wars that brutally killed entire families, the oppressive government of Oliver Cromwell, several kings, many conflicting Parliaments, and severe persecution — including 13,000 being sent to prison, 1000 killed by injuries or imprisonment, and 200 sent to slavery. But there were no member's protests, other than letters and personal, courteous pleas as to the injustice of the persecutions — never a group of people demonstrating and protesting even their persecutions; much less some other policy of any of the many governments they faced.
The Apostle Paul supports his statement in Romans 13:3-5:
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
Any government should be so confident that they can ignore the true Christians within their society, confident that they would never raise even an argument against them, much less armed conflict, that they should be able to turn their exposed back to Christians, concentrating on other matters of their concern, without so much as a single anxious thought as to their security.
The early Quakers, when sufficiently mature as Christians, were sent to the market places to testify against lying, wasteful fashions, greed, sexual immorality, swearing, false prophets, etc., for which they were greatly persecuted. The later day Quakers, having forgotten what sin is, instead take to the streets to oppose their government's armed services — evidently concluding the only evil of man is to bear arms; in stark contrast to the warnings and definitions of evil in the Bible. Understand, they simply testified against sin in the markets, not testifying against people they saw sinning — they could not see greed, sexual immorality, lying, cheating, etc.
All who take to the streets for insurrection or even to criticize others on some social or political issue, beware — you are violating the commands of Christ and his example.
As a Christian, you are only allowed to criticize the actions of those who name themselves Christians. If that person is a member of your church, your are to warn him in a series of escalated warnings and appeals — which if he fails to repent of his actions, you are to disassociate yourself with them and shun him. But, you are not supposed to be critical of people outside of the "church;" as Paul says What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? ... God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside.. So, if you go out and confront people on some political or social issue, [even a protest for Peace, an oxymoron in itself], telling them they are practicing evil by whatever they are doing, you are guilty of censuring and passing judgment on those who do not serve God. (When you have sufficient Spirit of God within you, you may be prompted with words from God to pass judgment on someone else in particular; but that would not be you judging, that would be God. Just like Jesus did not judge himself: Of my own self, I can do nothing. I judge only as I hear; ...whatever I speak is just as the Father tells me to speak. ...the Son can do nothing of himself [by his own will]; but only does what he sees the Father do. .)
Even protests against the military are without any Christian precedent. Consider these four records:
1) John the Baptist, baptizing in the desert, telling people to Prepare the way of the LORD by repentance:
So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”
So he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force or accuse any man falsely, and be content with your wages.”
Also, note that for Luke 3:14, the King James (KJV) says: "Do violence to no man."
But the New King James contradicts the KJV saying: "Do not intimidate anyone."
And the New International contradicts the KJV saying: "Don't extort money."
The Amplified contradicts the KJV saying: Never demand or enforce by terrifying people."
The New American Standard contradicts the KJV saying: Do not take money from anyone by force."
So the King James is wrong. Unfortunately Robert Barclay, an early Quaker writer, who admitted at not having arrived at perfection, chose to defend the Quaker right to refusal to bear arms, based on "Do violence to no man." This later became the basis for the successive generations of Quakers incorrectly telling others that all armies were wrong. Yet remember, the Roman soldiers in Israel were the peacekeepers, the police. So John the Baptist was telling them to perform their duties, without oppressing anyone. They performed as the magistrate, who bears the sword against evil doers, to the benefit of those committed to good. They prevent criminal behavior. Clearly he saw nothing immoral in serving as a soldier; if he had thought so, he would have told them in no uncertain words to change jobs. He certainly had no difficulty addressing the Pharisees: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O GENERATION OF SNAKES, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come.
2) In his Journal, we have records of George Fox converting many soldiers to the Truth, but he never told any of them to find another job — that was left to Christ to decide when and if to communicate directly to them. From the Journal:
While I was yet in the house of correction, a trooper [soldier] came to me there and said that as he was sitting in the steeple-house listening to the priest, and exceedingly great trouble fell on him; and the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, 'do you not know that my servant is in prison? Go to him for direction.' So I spoke to his condition, and his understanding was opened. I told him that which showed him his sins, and troubled him for them, would show him his salvation; for he who shows a man his sin, is the same who takes it away. While I was speaking to him, the Lord's power opened him so that he began to have a good understanding in the Lord's truth, and to be sensible of God's mercies. He spoke boldly in his quarters among the soldiers, and to others, concerning truth, (for the scriptures were very much opened to him), insomuch that he said; 'his colonel was as blind as Nebuchadnezzar, to cast the servant of the Lord into prison.' Upon this, his colonel conceived a spite against him; and at Worcester fight, the year after, when the two armies lay near to one another, two came out from the king's army, and challenged any two of the parliament army to fight with them; his colonel chose him and another to answer the challenge. And when in the encounter his companion was slain, he drove both his enemies within musket shot of the town, without firing a pistol at them. This, when he returned, he told me personally. But when the fight was over, he saw the deceit and hypocrisy of the officers; and being sensible to how wonderfully the Lord had preserved him, and seeing also to the end of fighting, he laid down his arms.
George Fox was arrested, imprisoned, haled before courts, and escorted by men under arms many times throughout the Journal, but he never said a word to them about their bearing arms being evil.
There were many soldiers who turned Quaker and remained in the army. Many, like the one above, at a later point in their Christian growth, became unable to harm their fellow creatures, and requested leave of the unit or a job without fighting. That is a matter of individual conscience, after God has changed and taught each individual.
William Penn had heard Thomas Loe preach several times before joining the society. While in Ireland, he heard Loe preach again, and joined; having already attended several meetings in Ireland, a soldier came into one of the Quakers'
meeting and made great disturbance; at which William Penn went to him, took him by the collar,
and would have thrown him down stairs, except for
the interference of a Friend or two who requested
William to let him alone, telling him the Friends
were a peaceable people, and would not have any
disturbance made. This is hard evidence that early Quakers did not preach against war or outward peace, leaving it to individual conscience.
Further, at the time of almost throwing the soldier down the stairs in Ireland, Penn had not yet met George Fox. While recently convinced of the Truth, he went to Fox and asked him if he should continue to wear his sword. Fox answered, "wear it as long as you can." Afterwards, meeting Penn without the sword, Fox
said, "William, where is your sword?"
"Oh," said Penn, "I have taken your advice. I
wore it as long as I could." Fox had deliberately left it to Christ as to when to tell Penn to cease wearing his sword, of which he did cease.}
Fox's Letter to King Charles, the basis of the current Peace Protest Movement, denouncing the Quakers ever using armed force is below. Click to go and read it. Here Fox was not lecturing the King on using force, (except against the innocent); he was explaining how the King had nothing to fear from the Quakers using armed force. Notice one key line, which is totally ignored by those who use this letter, quoted out of context, as justification for their peace protests:
"This is a certain testimony unto all the world of the truth of our hearts in this particular,
that as God persuades every man's heart to believe, so they [too] may receive it."
Those who attempt to force others to put down their arms are trying to take the place of God, who must change a man's heart gradually, step by step, to where he could never even hit a man who slapped him in the face, much less take up arms against anyone created in the image of God. This change allows a man to love his enemies, which is impossible for anyone without a new heart and mind.
3) This is in harmony with the way Christ reacted to the soldiers he came into contact with also. Remember the Roman Centurion who the Jewish leaders asked Christ to help was greatly admired by Christ when he said: "I tell you, not even in [all] Israel have I found such great faith [as this]." That is a far cry from being critical of his occupation, which was freely disclosed without any fear of rebuke. Certainly Christ does not approve of war in general; but George Fox gave permission to the Quaker plantation owners to perform as lookouts to inform the authorities of the islands when bands of pirates were approaching the island for plunder, which resulted in armed repulsion of the invaders — a non-combatant military role.
The point being, just as the early Quakers did not attack soldiers or their military, neither should we. They were even given permission to aid defensive military action in a non-combatant role.
4) The great early Quaker, Isaac Penington wrote about Protection of the Innocent, (the principal function of government), where he said:
"I speak not this against any magistrates' or people's defending themselves against foreign invasions,
or making use of the sword to suppress the violent and evil-doers within their borders,
for this the present estate of things may and does require,
and a great blessing will attend the sword where it is borne uprightly to that end, and its use will be honorable;
and while there is need of a sword, the Lord will not allow that government, or those governors,
to want [lack] fitting instruments [swords] under them for the managing of it,
to wait on him in his fear to have the edge of it [of the sword] rightly directed." Isaac Penington -1661
(Penington, quoted out of context, is another favored justification for The Peace Protest Movement).
The modern Quakers have twisted the early Quakers' original defense of their personal refusals to bear arms into an excuse for a holy? attack on those who do bear arms, apparently falling to the world's wisdom that the best defense is a good? offense.
And such twists of logic always occur in small steps:
- An individual is convicted by Christ, so that his conscience will not allow him to bear arms against a fellow human being. Just as he must turn the other cheek, rather than take revenge when hit by someone.
- The individual starts telling others they must also not bear arms, not leaving the teaching to Christ, for what is not forbidden by scripture. Nowhere is war forbidden in scripture — as sometimes it is necessary to protect the innocent.
- The group makes it a rule for the church.
- The church then starts telling those outside the church that war is wrong.
- The church starts interfering in the business of the military, as part of their statement against war.
True religion is to visit the widows, the orphans, and to keep yourself unspotted from the world. Turn inward; make peace inside by receiving fully the Prince of Peace who gives you a peace that passes all understanding. Prize your time; you only have so many days on this earth. Seek the renewal of the inner man to the point that you are one with Christ and God, with the mind of Christ, and under his full control.
From George Fox's Letter 359
And keep out of the restless, discontented,
disquieted spirit of the world about the government:
for you know it as been always our way to seek the good of all,
and to live peaceably under the government,
and to seek their eternal
and happiness in the Lord Jesus Christ,
and to lay our innocent sufferings
who have suffered as lambs and sheep, and made no resistance,
but have "prayed for them that persecuted us,
and despitefully used
us, and hated us,"
according to the command of Christ.
If you are persecuted as a Christian, obeying the laws of your country, it will be to his glory, and great will be your reward in heaven. You can try to reason with oppressive governmental authorities, but you are not permitted to resist the government. The minute a group of Christians even starts discussing the resistance of their government or its policies, their meeting has crossed the line from worship to political action, thus betraying the spirit of love within Christianity, to be at peace with all men, including government employees or officials.
Despite the Christians being commanded to stay uninvolved with this world, which to them is passing away, they are under command to “as they see the day approaching, [ of the world ending with the personal return of Christ and his Kingdom to them] , assemble themselves together, so that they can encourage each other to practice love and good deeds.” . As in the early Quakers time, when a law was passed forbidding the assembly of more than five persons in other than the "state approved" religion, since the law is in direct conflict with a command of God, it was disobeyed then and should be disobeyed now. However, as did the Quakers, meetings should be in a regular place open to inspection; not secret, hidden, or under some pretext such as eating together. By being open, you show you have nothing to hide and declare you have no opposition to your government. If government officials show up, pray for them, welcome them, appeal to them, show them your peace and love to all men. Despite massive persecutions, in this manner the Quakers eventually prevailed, and the government persecutions eventually stopped.
Neither can the Christian contribute to any religious activity that violates their conscience, including a state imposed religion.
Nor can a Christian "swear" or take oaths , (i.e. in court to swear to "'tell the truth", implying they normally lie, which is inadmissible to those continually committed to the truth; neither can they claim the aid of God, the earth, the Bible, your head, or anything they are asked to swear by).
And of course, a true Christian has been changed so much that he or she cannot even hit another person, (the image of God), much less take up arms for fighting and killing. If drafted into the military, however, you can still submissively serve in some non-violent way. A true Christian's commitment to peace, instills a trust by the Christian's government that permits them to ignore them, confident of their commitment to peace and to never oppose them or resist them, however vulnerable the government becomes.
Finally, a Christian could never condone or ignore the unjust persecution of any group of its neighbors. This reasoning would apply to shielding Jews in Nazi Germany from deportation to death camps. Such laws that violate the universal human conscience, must be disobeyed; but even responsible governments would not be targets of Christian overthrow or sedition, or even protests by citizens of their countries. Pleas, yes. Organized protests, no.
For such denials and impositions on a Christian conscience, Christians throughout the ages have gone to prison and suffered torture or even death. This does not mean that Christians should take to the streets to protest; but rather, simply continue to meet together, fail to contribute to any state imposed religion, refuse to swear, and refuse to bear arms, whatever the consequences — even death.
And should a true Christian, (not a hypocrite, who professes Christ but does not possess Christ), following the orders of Christ be harmed by government officials, they are told to forgive them, and not seek revenge, for should they be harmed for their goodness, they will be recompensed in heaven.
But for those who do harm to his chosen peaceable people, they will have to answer to the Creator of all; vengeance is mine, said the Lord. It is a terrible thing to wrong the apple of the Creator's eye; it is a terrible thing to "fall" into the hands of the Living God. Persons responsible, if not the structure of the entire government, will be destroyed. If you are an official of government persecuting true followers of Christ for doing nothing but meeting to worship, beware, the Lord's arm will eventually stretch out against you; you will deeply regret your persecution of the innocent, who love all men and mean you and your government no harm.
From George Fox's Journal:
If all that profess themselves Christians walked in the spirit of Christ, and by it did mortify sin and evil, it would be a great ease to the magistrates and rulers, and would free them from a great deal of trouble, for it would lead all to “do unto others as they would have others do unto them," and so the royal law of liberty would be fulfilled. For if all called Christians walked in the spirit of Christ; by it to have the evil spirit and its fruits cut down in them, then, not being led by the evil spirit, but by the good spirit of Christ, the fruits of the good spirit would appear in all. For as people are led by the good spirit of Christ, it leads them out of sin and evil, which the magistrate's sword defends against and so would be an ease to the magistrates. But as people err from this good spirit of Christ, and follow the evil spirit, which leads them into sin and evil; that spirit brings the magistrate into a great deal of trouble, to execute the law upon the sinners and transgressors of the good spirit. That spirit, which leads people from all manner of sin and evil, is one with the magistrate's power, and with the righteous law. For the law was added because of transgression, and that spirit which leads out of transgression must be one with that law which is against transgressors. So that spirit which leads out of transgression is the good spirit of Christ, and is one with the magistrates in the higher power, and owns it and them; but that spirit which leads into transgression is the bad spirit, and is against the law, against the magistrates, and makes them a great deal of troublesome work. The manifestation of the good spirit is given to every man to profit from; and no man can profit in the things of God but by the spirit of God which brings to deny all sin and evil. It is said of Israel, Nehem.9. “The Lord gave them his good spirit to instruct them, yet they rebelled against it." If all people would mind this manifestation of the spirit which God has given to instruct them, it would lead them to forsake all manner of sin and evil, enmity, hatred, malice, unrighteousness and ungodliness, and to mortify it. Then in the spirit of Christ they would have fellowship and unity, which is the bond of peace; then would love and peace, which are the fruits of the good spirit, flow among all that are called Christians.
Here is a principal part of the current Peace Protest Movement's justification, the letter from George Fox to King Charles.
A declaration from the harmless innocent people of God, called Quakers, against all sedition, plotters, and fighters in the world; for removing the ground of jealousy and suspicion from both magistrates and people in the kingdom concerning wars and fightings.
Presented to the king the 21st day of the Eleventh month, 1660.
Our principle is, and our practices have always been to seek peace and ensue it;
to follow after righteousness and the knowledge of God;
seeking the good and welfare, and doing what tends to the peace of all.
We know that wars and fightings proceed from the lusts of men, (as James Chapter 4:1-3),
out of which lusts the Lord has redeemed us,
and so out of the occasion of war.
The occasion of war and war itself, arises from the lust,
(wherein envious men,
who are lovers of themselves more than lovers of God,
and desire to have men's lives or estates).
All bloody principles and practices we, as to our own basics, do utterly deny,
with all outward wars, strife, and fighting with outward weapons for any end,
or under any pretence whatsoever: this is our testimony to the whole world.
And whereas if someone should object and say:
"But although you now say, that you cannot fight nor take up arms at all;
yet if the spirit move you, then you will change your principle,
you will sell your coat and buy a sword, and fight for the kingdom of Christ."
To this we answer,
Christ said to Peter, "Put up your sword in its place;"
though he had said before, he that had no sword might sell his coat and buy one,
(to the fulfilling of the law and the scripture), yet after,
when he had bid him put it up, he said,
"He that takes the sword shall perish with the sword."
And Christ said to Pilate, “do you not know that I can now pray to my Father,
and he shall presently give me more that twelve legions of angels?"
And this might satisfy Peter, after he had put up his sword,
when he said to him, "He that took it, should perish by it;"
which satisfies us. Matthew 26:52-53.
In the Revelation it is said, "He that kills with the sword shall perish with the sword;
and here is the faith and patience of the saints."
So Christ's kingdom is not of this world,
therefore his servants do not fight as he told Pilate, the magistrate who crucified him.
And did they not look upon Christ as a raiser of sedition?
And did not he pray,"Forgive them?"
But thus it is that we are numbered among transgressors,
and among fighters, that the scriptures might be fulfilled.
That the spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable,
so as once to command us from a thing, as evil, and again to move unto it.
We certainly know and testify to the world,
that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth,
will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons,
neither for the kingdom of Christ nor for the kingdoms of this world.
First, because the kingdom of Christ, God will exalt, according to his promise,
and cause it to grow and flourish in righteousness,
"Not by might, nor by power, (of outward sword), but by my spirit, said the Lord" Zechariah 4:6.
So those that use any weapon to fight for Christ,
or for the establishing of his kingdom or government,
their spirit, principle, and practice in that we deny.
We earnestly desire and wait,
that (by the word of God's power, and its effectual operation in the hearts of men),
the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of the Lord,
and of his Christ;
and that he may rule and reign in men by his spirit and truth;
that thereby all people, out of all different judgments and professions,
may be brought into love and unity with God, and one with another;
and that all may come to witness the prophet's words fulfilled,
who said, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isaiah 2:4. Mich 4:3.
So we, whom the Lord has called into the obedience of his truth,
have denied wars and fightings, and cannot any more learn them.
This is a certain testimony unto all the world of the truth of our hearts in this particular,
that as God persuades every man's heart to believe, so they may receive it.
For we have not, as some others, gone about cunningly with devised fables,
nor have we ever denied in practice what we have professed in principle;
but in sincerity and truth, and by the word of God,
we have labored to be made manifest unto all men,
that both we and our ways might be witnessed in the hearts of all.
And whereas all manner of evil has been falsely spoken of us,
we hereby speak the plain truth of our hearts,
to take away the occasion of that offence,
that so we, being innocent, may not suffer for other men's offences,
nor be made a prey of by the wills of men for that of which we were never guilty;
but in the uprightness of our hearts we may,
under the power ordained of God for the punishment of evil doers,
and for the praise of them that do well,
live a peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For although we have always suffered, and do now more abundantly suffer,
yet we know it is for righteousness' sake:
"For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our consciences,
that in simplicity and godly sincerity,
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God,
we have had our conversation in the world." 2 Corinthians 1:12
which for us is a witness for the convincing of our enemies.
For this we can say to all the world, we have wronged no man,
we have used no force nor violence against any man,
we have been found in no plots, nor guilty of sedition.
When we have been wronged we have not sought to revenge ourselves;
we have not made resistance against authority;
but wherein we could not obey for conscience sake,
we have suffered the most of any people in the nation.
We have been counted as sheep for the slaughter,
persecuted and despised, beaten, stoned, wounded,
stocked, whipped, imprisoned, haled out of the synagogues,
cast into dungeons and noisy prisons,
where many have died in bonds, shut up from our friends,
denied needful sustenance for many days,
together with other the like cruelties.
And the cause of all these our sufferings is not for any evil,
but for things relating to the worship of our God, and in obedience to his requirements.
For which cause we shall freely give up our bodies a sacrifice,
rather than disobey the Lord;
knowing, as the Lord has kept us innocent,
he will plead our cause when there is none in the earth to plead it.
So we, in obedience to his truth, do not love our lives unto death,
that we may do his will, and wrong no man in our generation,
but seek the good and peace of all men.
He who has commanded us, "that we shall not swear at all," Matthew 5:34.
has also commanded us, "that we shall not kill." Matthew 5:21.
So that we can neither kill men, nor swear for or against them.
This is both our principle and our practice, and has been from the beginning;
so that if we suffer, as suspected to take up arms or make war against any,
it is without any ground from us;
for it neither is, nor ever was in our hearts, since we owned the truth of God;
neither shall we ever do it,
because it is contrary to the spirit of Christ, his doctrine, and the practice of his apostles;
even contrary to him for whom we suffer all things and endure all things.
And although men come against us with clubs, staves,
drawn swords, pistols cocked, and beat, cut, and abuse us;
we never resisted them, but offered them our hair, backs, and cheeks.
It is not an honor to manhood or nobility to run upon harmless people,
who lift not a hand against them, with arms and weapons.
Therefore consider these things, you men of understanding;
for plotters, raisers of insurrections, tumultuous ones,
running with swords, clubs, staves, and pistols, one against another;
we say, these are of the world, and have their foundation from this unrighteous world,
from the foundation of which the Lamb has been slain;
which lamb has redeemed us from this unrighteous world;
we are not of it, but are heirs of a world of which there is no end,
a kingdom where no corruptible thing enters.
Our weapons are spiritual, not carnal,
yet mighty through God to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin and satan,
who is the author of wars, fighting, murder, and plots.
Our swords are broken into plough shares,
and spears into pruning hooks, as prophesied of in Micah 4:3.
Therefore we cannot learn war any more,
neither rise up against nation or kingdom with outward weapons,
though you have numbered us among the transgressors and plotters.
The Lord knows our innocence in this,
and will plead our cause with all people upon earth at the day of their judgment,
when all men shall have a reward according to their works.
Therefore in love we warn you for your souls’ good,
not to wrong the innocent, nor the babes of Christ,
which he has in his hand, and tenders as the apple of his eye;
neither seek to destroy the heritage of God,
nor turn your swords backward upon such as the law was not made for, i.e. the righteous;
but for the sinners and transgressors, to keep them down.
For those are not peacemakers nor lovers of enemies,
neither can they overcome evil with good,
who wrong them that are friends to you and all men,
and wish your good and the good of all people upon earth.
If you oppress us as they did the children of Israel in Egypt,
if you oppress us as they did when Christ was born,
and as they did the christians in the primitive times,
we can say, "The Lord forgive you;"
and leave the Lord to deal with you, and not revenge ourselves.
If you say as the council said to Peter and John,
"You must speak no more in that name,"
and if you serve us as they served the three children spoken of in Daniel,
God is the same as he ever was, that lives for ever and ever,
who has the innocent in his arms.
Oh friends! Offend not the Lord and his little ones, neither afflict his people;
but consider and be moderate.
Run not hastily into things, but mind and consider mercy, justice, and judgment;
that is the way for you to prosper and get the favor of the Lord.
Our meetings were stopped and broken up in the days of Oliver,
under pretence of plotting against him;
in the days of the Committee of Safety,
we were looked upon as plotters to bring in king Charles;
and now our peaceable meetings are termed seditious.
Oh! that men should lose their reason, and go contrary to their own consciences;
knowing that we have suffered all things, and have been accounted plotters all along,
though we have always declared against them both by word of mouth and printing,
and are clear from any such thing!
Though we have suffered all along,
because we would not take up carnal weapons to fight against any,
and are thus made a prey upon because we are the innocent lambs of Christ,
and cannot avenge ourselves!
These things are left upon your hearts to consider;
for we are out of all those things in the patience of the saints,
and we know as Christ said, "He that takes the sword shall perish with the sword."
Matthew 26:52 and Revelation 13:10.
This is given forth from the people called Quakers,
to satisfy the king and his council,
and all that have any jealousy concerning us,
that all occasion of suspicion may be taken away, and our innocence cleared.
Postscript-Though we are numbered among transgressors,
and have been given up to rude, merciless men,
by whom our meetings are broken up,
in which we edified one another in our holy faith,
and prayed together to the Lord that lives forever,
yet he is our pleader in this day.
The Lord said, "They that feared his name spoke often together,"
as in Malachi; which were as his jewels.
For this cause, and no evil doing, are we cast into holes, dungeons,
houses of correction, prisons, (sparing neither old nor young, men nor women),
and made a prey of in the sight of all nations, under pretence of being seditious,
so that all rude people run upon us to take possession;
for which we say, the Lord forgive them that have done thus to us;
who does and will enable us to suffer;
and never shall we lift up hand against any man that does thus use us;
but that the Lord may have mercy upon them, that they may consider what they have done.
For how is it possible for them to requite us for the wrong they have done to us?
Who to all nations have sounded us abroad as seditious or plotters,
who were never plotters against any power or man upon the earth,
since we knew the life and power of Jesus Christ manifested in us,
who has redeemed us from the world and all works of darkness, and plotters therein,
by which we know the election before the world began.
So we say, the Lord have mercy upon our enemies,
and forgive them for what they have done unto us.
Oh! do as you would be done by; do unto all men as you would have them do unto you;
for this is but the law and the prophets.
All plots, insurrections, and riotous meetings, we deny,
knowing them to be of the devil, the murderer;
which we in Christ, who was before they were, triumph over.
And all wars and fightings with carnal weapons we deny, who have the sword of the spirit;
and all that wrong us, we leave to the Lord.
This is to clear our innocence from that aspersion cast upon us, "that we are seditious or plotters."
Added in the reprinting.
Courteous reader, this was our testimony above twenty years ago, and since then we have not been found acting contrary to it, nor ever shall; for the truth that is our guide is unchangeable. This is now reprinted to the men of this age, many of whom were then children, and does stand as our certain testimony against all plotting and fighting with carnal weapons. And if any, by departing from the truth, should do so, this is our testimony in the truth against them, and will stand over them, and the truth will be clear of them.
This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.