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[78] us, we may find ourselves graduated into some sphere in which we may really live and let live, and find in turn some new, inaccessible goal held up before us.

But it is a mistake to assume to behave in accordance with a rigid formula expressing a principle which is still too far beyond us. Garrison felt the full obligation of nonresistance. Whether he would have felt it in the case of an attack upon his wife or not, it is impossible to say; but we must not masquerade upon a plane to which we have not yet attained. I would not advise a man to act counter to his best instincts in such a case, but rather to endeavor to cultivate those instincts. We may be pretty sure that in such a case Jesus would not have killed the aggressor, but until we have his spirit we can hardly justify ourselves in adopting his method. The spirit of violence is an evil spirit, and it can only be effectually cast out by the spirit of love. If we have not that spirit of love which would render acts of violence impossible to us, it is futile to attempt to act as if we had, upon any preconceived intellectual theory of what we should or should not do. The doctrine of non-resistance is not a cold principle to be applied like the rule of three to a mathematical problem, but a living power of the soul. Avoid violence. Indulge in it as little as

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William Lloyd Garrison (1)
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