forgiveness instead of the slaughter of enemies is necessary to constitute one a Christian, they affirm that to hang, stab, or shoot enemies, under certain circumstances, is perfectly consonant with the spirit of Christ. Thus they make no distinction between the precious and the vile, sanctify what is evil, perpetuate crime, and honor what is devilish. They are cages of unclean birds, Augean stables of pollution, which need thorough purification. We affirm that this is not a question of sectarian theology, but of sound morality and vital godliness. As men who are conscious of guilt should not attempt to excuse themselves, so should they not countenance sin in others. If they are forced to exclaim, “Who shall deliver us from the body of this death?” let them not revile those who feel prepared to say from joyful experience, “There is now no condemnation to them which are1 in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death.” If a man has passed from death unto life, how much of death is attached to him? If he has crucified the old man with his lusts, how corrupt is the new? If he has the spirit of Christ, how can he have, at the same time, the spirit of Satan? If he has put on Christ, what of iniquity has he not cast off? Instead, therefore, of assailing the doctrine, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” let us all aim to establish it, not merely as theoretically right, but as practically attainable;2 and if we are conscious that we are not yet wholly clean, not yet entirely reconciled to God, not yet filled with perfect love, let us, instead of resisting the
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1 Rom. 8.1, 2.
2 ‘Then as I read these maxims [of the Sermon on the Mount] I was permeated with the joyous assurance that I might that very hour, that very moment, begin to practise them. The burning desire I felt led me to the attempt, but the doctrine of the Church rang in my ears: Man is weak, and to this he cannot attain. My strength soon failed. On every side I heard, “You must believe and pray” ; but my wavering faith impeded prayer. Again I heard, “ You must pray, and God will give you faith; this faith will inspire prayer, which in turn will invoke faith that will inspire more prayer, and so on, indefinitely.” Reason and experience alike convinced me that such methods were useless. It seemed to me that the only true way was for me to try to follow the doctrine of Jesus’ (Tolstoi's “ My Religion,” p. 6).
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