This brings us to the last point. We possess a number of Jesus’ sayings in which he directs his disciples to renounce all their lawful demands, and so forego their just rights. You all know those sayings. Let me remind you of one only: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” The demand here made seems to proscribe law and disorganise all the legal relations of life. Again and again these words have been appealed to with the object of showing either that Christianity is incompatible with life as it actually is, or that Christendom has fallen away from the principles of its Master. By way of reply to this argument the following observations may be made:—(i.) Jesus was, as we have seen, steeped in the conviction that God does justice; in the end, therefore, the oppressor will not prevail, but the oppressed will get his rights, (ii.) Earthly rights are in themselves of little account, and it does not much matter if we lose them, (iii.) The world is in such an unhappy state, injustice has got so much the upper hand in it, that the victim of oppression is incapable of making good his rights even if he tries, (iv.) As God—and this is the main point— mingles His justice with mercy, and lets His sun shine on the just and on the unjust, so Jesus’ disciple is to show love to his enemies and disarm them by gentleness. Such are the thoughts which underlie those lofty sayings and at the same time set them their due limits. And is the demand which they contain really so supramundane, so impossible? Do we not in the circle of our family and friends advise those who belong to us to act in the same way, and not to return evil for evil and abuse for abuse? What family, what society, could continue to exist, if every member of it were anxious only to pursue his own rights, and did not learn to renounce them even when attacked? Jesus regards his disciples as a circle of friends, and he looks out beyond this circle to a league of brothers which will take shape in the future and extend. But, we are asked, are we in all cases to renounce the pursuit of our rights in the face of our enemies? are we to use no weapons but those of gentleness? To speak with Tolstoi, are the magistrates not to inflict punishment, and thereby to be effaced? are nations not to fight for house and home when they are wantonly attacked? I venture to maintain that, when Jesus spoke the words which I have quoted, he was not thinking of such cases, and that to interpret them in this direction involves a clumsy and dangerous misconception of their meaning. Jesus never had anyone but the individual in mind, and the abiding disposition of the heart in love. To say that this disposition cannot coexist with the pursuit of one’s own rights, with the conscientious administration of justice, and with the stern punishment of crime, is a piece of prejudice, in support of which we may appeal in vain to the letter of those sayings, which did not aim at being laws or, therefore, at prescribing regulations. This much, however, must be added, in order that the loftiness of the demand which the Gospel makes may be in no way abated: Jesus’ disciple ought to be able to renounce the pursuit of his rights, and ought to co-operate in forming a nation of brothers, in which justice is done, no longer by the aid of force, but by free obedience to the good, and which is united not by legal regulations but by the ministry of love.