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Uddrag af Apology (1692)

Af Robert Barclay
efter udgaven på moderne engelsk af Dean Freiday.
Målgruppe: Gymnasiet / HF.


Robert Barclay blev 'overbevist' kvæker som 18-årig i 1666, en tid hvor kvækerne var i stærk modgang og led under forfølgelser. Derfor udgav han fra 1670 en række polemiske og forsvarsprægede skrifter, hvoriblandt Apologien (Forsvarsskriftet), skrevet på latin (Theologiæ Vere Christianæ Apologia). Her gennemgår han kvækernes holdninger til en række ting. Del A taler til den enkelte person, om åbenbaring, den Hellige Skrift, menneskets fald og forløsning i Kristus, retfærdiggørelse, fuldkommenhed, udholdenhed i troen. I del B drejer det sig om forkyndelse, andagt, dåb, nadverfællesskab, civil magt. I del C afhandler Barclay frugterne af kristne principper i tesis 15 om tomme og forfængelige skikke, herunder vold og krig. Overalt støtter Barclay sig til Bibelen, især Kristi lære, og kirkens egne klassikere. Derfor må man tage en mængde citater med i købet, når man vil læse ham.

The Fifteenth Proposition Concerning Salutations and Recreations, &c.

“§XV. Obj. But they object that it is lawful to war, because Abraham did war before the giving of the Law, and the Israelites after the giving of the Law.”
“Answ. I answer as before, 1. that Abraham offered sacrifices at that time, and circumcised the males: which nevertheless are not lawful for us under the Gospel.”
“2. That neither defensive nor offensive war was lawful to the Israelites, of their own will, or by their own counsel or conduct, but they were obliged at all times, if they would be successful, first to inquire the oracle of God.”
“3. That their wars against the wicked nations were a figure of the inward war of the true Christians against their spiritual enemies, in which we overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh.”
“4. Something is expressly forbidden by Christ (Matt. 5:34), which was granted to the Jews in their time, because of their hardness; and, on the contrary, we are commanded that singular patience and exercise of love, which Moses commanded not to his disciples. From whence Tertullian saith well against Marc., "Christ truly teacheth a new patience, even forbidding the revenge of an injury, which was permitted by the Creator." And (lib. de patien.) "The law finds more than it lost, by Christ's saying, Love your enemies." And in the time of Clem. Alex. Christians were so far from wars, that he testified that they had no marks or signs of violence among them, saying, "Neither are the faces of idols to be painted, to which so much as to regard is forbidden: neither sword nor bow to them, that follow peace, nor cups to them who are moderate and temperate," as Sylvius Disc. de Rev. Belg.”
“Obj. Secondly, they object that defence is of natural right, and that religion destroys not nature.”
“Answ. I answer, Be it so, but to obey God, and commend ourselves to him in faith and patience, is not to destroy nature, but to exalt and perfect it; to wit, to elevate it from the natural to the supernatural life, by Christ living therein and comforting it, that it may do all things and be rendered more than conqueror.”
“Obj. Thirdly, they object that John did not abrogate or condemn war when the soldiers came unto him.”
“Answ. I answer, What then? The question is not concerning John's doctrine, but Christ's, whose disciples we are, not John's: for Christ and not John is that Prophet whom we ought all to hear; and albeit that Christ said that "a greater than John the Baptist was not among men born of women," yet he adds that "the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he."v But what was John's answer, that we may see if it can justify the soldiers of this time? For if it be narrowly minded, it will appear that what he proposeth to soldiers doth manifestly forbid them that employment, for he commands them "not to do violence to any man, not to defraud any man,"9 but that they "be content with their wages."w Consider then what he dischargeth to soldiers, viz, not to use violence or deceit against any, which being removed, let any tell how soldiers can war? For is not craft, violence, and injustice, three properties of war, and the natural consequences of battles?”
“Obj. Fourthly, they object that Cornelius, and that centurion of whom there is mention made, were soldiers, and there is no mention that they laid down their military employments.”
“Answ. I answer, Neither read we that they continued in them. But it is most probable that, if they continued in the doctrine of Christ (and we read not any where of their falling from the faith), that they did not continue in them; especially if we consider that two or three ages afterwards Christians altogether rejected war, or at least a long while after that time, if the emperor Marc. Aurel. Anton. be to be credited, who writes thus: "I prayed to my country gods. But when I was neglected by them, and observed myself pressed by the enemy, considering the fewness of my forces, I called to one, and entreated those who with us are called Christians, and I found a great number of them: and I forced them with threats: which ought not to have been; because afterwards I knew their strength and force; therefore they betook themselves neither to the use of darts, nor trumpets, for they use not to do so, for the cause and name of their God, which they bear in their consciences." And this was done about an hundred and sixty years after Christ. To this add those words, which in Justin Martyr the Christians answer, that is, "We fight not with our enemies"; and moreover the answer of Martin to Julian the Apostate, related by Sulpicius Severus: "I am a soldier of Christ, therefore I cannot fight," which was three hundred years after Christ. It is not therefore probable, that they continued in warlike employments. How then is Vincent of Lérins and the Papists consistent with their maxim, "That, which always, everywhere, and by all was received," &c.? And what becomes of the priests with their oath, that they neither ought, nor will, interpret the Scripture but according to the universal consent of the Fathers, so called? For it is as easy to obscure the sun at mid-day, as to deny that the primitive Christians renounced all revenge and war.”
“And albeit this thing be so much known to all, yet it is as well known that almost all the modern sects live in the neglect & contempt of this law of Christ, and likewise oppress others, who in this agree not with them for conscience sake towards God, even as we have suffered much in our country, because we neither could ourselves bear arms, nor send others in our place, nor give our money for the buying of drums, standards, and other military attire: and lastly, because we could not hold our doors, windows, and shops close, for conscience sake, upon such days as fasts and prayers were appointed for to desire a blessing upon, and success for, the arms of that Kingdom or Commonwealth (under which we live), neither give thanks for the victories acquired by the effusion of much blood. By which forcing of the conscience, they would have constrained our brethren living in divers kingdoms, at war together, to have implored our God for contrary and contradictory things, and consequently impossible; for it is impossible that two parties fighting together should both obtain the victory. And because we cannot concur with them in this confusion, therefore we are subject to persecution. Yea and others, who with us do witness that the use of arms is unlawful to Christians, do look asquint upon us: but which of us two do most faithfully observe this testimony against arms? either they who at certain times at the magistrate's order do close up their shops and houses, and meet in their assembly, praying for the prosperity of their arms or giving thanks for some victory or other, whereby they make themselves like to those that approve wars and fighting? Or we, which cannot do these things, for the same cause of conscience, lest we should destroy, by our works, what we establish in words, we shall leave to the judgment of all prudent men?”
“Obj. Fifthly, they object that Christ (Luke 22:36), speaking to his disciples, commands them that he that then had not a sword, should sell his coat and buy a sword: Therefore, say they, arms are lawful.”
“Answ. I answer, some indeed understand this of the outward sword, nevertheless regarding only that occasion, otherwise judging that Christians are prohibited wars under the Gospel: among which is Ambrose, who upon this place speaks thus: "O Lord! why commandest thou me to buy a sword, who forbiddest me to smite with it? Why commandest thou me to have it, whom thou prohibitest to draw it? Unless perhaps a defence be prepared, not a necessary revenge, and that I may seem to have been able to revenge, but that I would not. For the law forbids me to smite again: and therefore perhaps he said to Peter, offering two swords, 'It is enough,' as if it had been lawful, until the Gospel time, that, in the Law, there might be a learning of equity, but in the Gospel a perfection of goodness." Others judge Christ to have spoken here mystically, and not according to the letter, as Origen upon Matt. 19. saying, "If any looking to the letter, and not understanding the will of the words, shall sell his bodily garment, and buy a sword, taking the words of Christ contrary to his will, he shall perish. But concerning which sword he speaks is not proper here to mention." And truly when we consider the answer of the disciples, "Master, behold, here are two swords," understanding it of outward swords; and again Christ's answer, "It is enough," it seems that Christ would not that the rest, who had not swords (for they had only two swords), should sell their coats, and buy an outward sword. Who can think that, matters standing thus, he should have said two was enough? But however it is sufficient that the use of arms is unlawful under the Gospel.”
“Obj. Sixthly, they object that the Scriptures and old Fathers, so called, did only prohibit private revenge, not the use of arms for the defence of our country, body, wives, children, and goods, when the magistrate commands it, seeing the magistrates ought to be obeyed: Therefore albeit it be not lawful for private men to do it of themselves, nevertheless they are bound to do it by the command of the magistrate.”
“Answ. I answer, If the magistrate be truly a Christian, or desires to be so, he ought himself in the first place to obey the command of his Master, saying, "Love your enemies," &c., and then he could not command us to kill them: but if he be not a true Christian, then ought we to obey our Lord and King Jesus Christ, to whom he ought also to obey: for in the Kingdom of Christ all ought to submit to his laws, from the highest to the lowest, that is, from the king to the beggar, and from Caesar to the clown. But (alas!) where shall we find such an obedience? O deplorable fall! concerning which Ludov. Viv. writes well (lib. de con. vit. Christ. sub. Turc.), by relation of Fredericus Sylvius, Disc. de Revol. Belg., p. 85: "The Prince entered into the Church, not as a true and plain Christian: which had indeed been most happy and desirable, but he brought in with him his nobility, his honors, his ARMS, his ensigns, his triumphs, his haughtiness, his pride, his superciliousness; that is, he came into the house of Christ accompanied with the devil, and which could no ways be done, he would have joined two houses and two cities together, God's and the Devil's, which could not more be done, than Rome and Constantinople, which are distant by so long a tract both of sea and land. ('What communion, saith Paul, is there betwixt Christ and Belial?') Their zeal cooled by degrees, their faith decreased, their whole piety degenerated, instead whereof we make now use of shadows and images, and, as he saith, I would we could but retain these!" Thus far Vives. But lastly, as to what relates to this thing, since nothing seems more contrary to man's nature, and seeing, of all things, the defence of oneself seems most tolerable, as it is most hard to men, so it is the most perfect part of the Christian religion, as that wherein the denial of self and entire confidence in God doth most appear, and therefore Christ and his apostles left us hereof a most perfect example. As to what relates to the present magistrates of the Christian world, albeit we deny them not altogether the name of Christians, because of the public profession they make of Christ's name, yet we may boldly affirm, that they are far from the perfection of the Christian religion; because in the state in which they are (as in many places before I have largely observed), they have not come to the pure dispensation of the Gospel, and therefore, while they are in that condition, we shall not say that war, undertaken upon a just occasion, is altogether unlawful to them. For even as circumcision and the other ceremonies were for a season permitted to the Jews, not because they were either necessary, or of themselves, or lawful at that time after the resurrection of Christ, but because that Spirit was not yet raised up in them, whereby they could be delivered from such rudiments; so the present confessors of the Christian name, who are yet in the mixture, and not in the patient suffering spirit, are not yet fitted for this form of Christianity, and therefore cannot be undefending themselves, until they attain that perfection: but for such, whom Christ has brought hither, it is not lawful to defend themselves by arms, but they ought over all to trust to the Lord.”

Her er et uddrag om vold og krig

Barclay gør først opmærksom på, at Kristus i én sammenhæng advarer mod edsaflæggelse og krig. Det påbud er blevet godtaget af mennesker i alle tidsaldre, ikke alene disciplene dengang, men også efter at de kristne var blevet talrige efter de første 300 år. Hvis, modsat, nogle faldt fra, afviste de begge bud samtidig. Nu, siger Barclay, hvor det evige evangelium er genoprettet, ser man de bud som evige og uforanderlige love, som hører til det kristne liv og dets fuldendelse af et kristent menneske.

Barclay henholder sig til Jesu Kristi bud i Mattæus 5 om at elske sine fjender, ikke sætte sig op mod det onde, men bede for dem der forfølger en. Hvordan, spørger Barclay, kan det forenes med at smække bøder og fængselsstraf, endda dødsdom på dem som ikke alene slet ikke forfølger en, men som bekymrer sig om éns evige og timelige velfærd?

Hvis man kan forlige disse modsætninger kan man også forlige Gud med Djævelen, godt med ondt, lys med mørke. Men det er jo indlysende umuligt. Derfor kan krig og hævn ikke forenes med kristen gerning. Prøver man det, bedrager man sig selv.

Tesis 15, afsnit 14: Krig lærer os at hade og ødelægge

Ikke desto mindre, siden der er nogle som overtræder dette bud af Kristus, måske uden at være klar over det, vil jeg kort påvise hvor meget krig modsiger hans forskrifter.

Krig er helt ulovlig for dem som vil være Kristi disciple.

Først siger Kristus at vi bør “elske vore fjender” (Matt.5:44), mens krig lærer os at hade og tilintetgøre dem.

Apostlen Paulus siger (Efes.6:12): “vor kamp føres ikke mod menneskelige fjender, men imod det Ondes overnaturlige kræfter.” Og han tilføjer i 2. Korinterbrev 10:4: “De våben vi bruger er ikke kun menneskeligt, men guddommeligt stærke.” Men krigsredskaber er de mest menneskeligt mulige: kanoner, musketter, spyd, sværd, og alt af samme slags.

Profeterne Esajas og Mika talte på samme måde: “De skal smede deres sværd om til plovjern og spydene til beskæreknive; en nation skal ikke løfte sværd imod en anden, ej heller oplære sig til krig igen.” De første kristne var helt imod krig, og de tidlige kirkefædre i de første 300 år efter Kristus hævdede, at de kristne ville opfylde disse profetier.

Kristus bebrejdede Peter, at han brugte sværdet, og sagde at alle som tager til sværdet skal omkomme ved det. Som Tertullian kommenterer: “Kristus afvæbnede alle soldater, da han afvæbnede Peter.”

Kristus opfordrer sine børn til, at de skal bære hans kors, ikke at de skal korsfæste eller dræbe andre. (Mark.8:34).

Den indvending høres, at selvforsvar er en naturlig ret, og at religion ikke ødelægger det naturlige. Men det ødelægger ikke det naturlige, at man adlyder Gud og forlader sig på ham både i tro og tålmod. Tværtimod ophøjer og forædler det vores natur at handle således. Således løftes vi fra det naturlige til det overnaturlige liv.

Det synes antageligt, at endnu to århundreder efter afviste de kristne stadig krig.

Kejser Markus Aurelius skrev, meget til hans ære, følgende:

“Jeg tilbad mit lands guder. Men da de forsømte mig, og jeg fandt at jeg var hårdt trængt af fjender og i ringe styrke, bad jeg også til en. Jeg henvendte mig også til dem som kaldes kristne, og jeg fandt et stort antal af dem. Så truede jeg dem, men det skulle jeg ikke have gjort, fordi jeg bagefter erkendte kilden til deres styrke. Derfor bruger de hverken pile eller trompeter; de afholder sig derfra på vegne af deres gud, og i hans navn, og dette bærer de i deres bevidsthed.”

Dette skrev han omkring år 160 efter Kristus.

Det svar som kristne gav, når man opfordrede dem til at gå i krig, optegnes af Justinus Martyr: “Vi kæmper ikke mod vore fjender“. Martin (af Tours) svarede kejser Julian Apostata: “Jeg er en Kristi soldat, derfor kan jeg ikke slås.” Dette svar blev afgivet ca 300 efter Kristus. Det virker ikke, som om officererne fortsatte deres krigsarbejde!

I Lukas 22:35-36 siger Jesus: “Når jeg sendte jer ud uden pung eller bagage, manglede I da noget?” - “Nej,” svarede de. Kristus opfordrer dem da til at sælge kappen og købe sig et sværd.

Dette tages af nogle til indtægt for at våben er tilladte. Men da han sagde til Peter, da denne kunne fremvise to sværd: - “Det er nok,” kan sådan noget have været lovligt indtil evangeliets tid, men i evangeliet skal der være opfyldelse af godhed. Kristus kan ikke have talt andet end symbolsk, ellers ville han have opfordret alle til at væbne sig.

I Kristi rige skal alle adlyde hans love - fra den højeste til den laveste, fra kongen til tiggeren, fra Cæsar til klovnen.

Det virkelig vanskelige argument er imidlertid at der er intet mere imod den menneskelige natur end at afvise at forsvare sig. Men siden dette er svært for mennesker, er det et af de fineste punkter i kristen tro. Det kræver selvfornægtelse, og at have fuld tillid til Gud.

Vore dages kristne er stadig en blanding af nyt og gammelt. De har endnu ikke fundet frem til en tålsomt lidende ånd, som kan danne dem til den form for kristendom. Derfor kan de ikke lade være med at forsvare sig selv, indtil de når den grad af fuldkommenhed. Men det er ikke tilladt dem, som Kristus allerede har bragt ind i den tilstand, at forsvare sig med våben. De, af alle mennesker, bør have fuld tillid til Gud.

Barclay udtrykte samme holdning som kvækersamfundet i 1660 i dets erklæring til kong Charles II:

“Vor grundsætning er, og vor gerning har altid været, at søge fred, og følge den op, og at udøve retfærdighed og kendskabet til Gud, idet vi tilstræber det gode og velfærden, og at gøre det som fører til fred for alle. Alle blodige grundsætninger og handlinger afviser vi fuldstændigt, sammen med alle ydre krige, strid, og kamp med ydre våben, til hvilket som helst formål, eller under noget påskud, og dette er vort vidnesbyrd for hele verden. Den Kristi Ånd som vi ledes af, er ikke omskiftelig, så den befaler os at gå fra en sag som ond, og så igen at gå ind i den; og vi véd med vished, og vidner om det for hele verden, at den Kristi Ånd som leder os til al Sandhed, aldrig vil føre os til at kæmpe og kriges med noget menneske med ydre våben, hverken for Kristi Rige, eller for denne verdens kongeriger.”

Kvækerne holder stadig fast ved ånden i den erklæring.

Oversat og kommenteret af Hans Aaen 2004.


Works of Robert Barclay : Apology for the True Christian Divinity
Proposition 15: Concerning Salutations and Recreations, &c.
Barclay, Robert: Forsvar for den Sande Christelige Theologi, som den kundgiøres og prædikis af det Folk som, af Foragt, kaldis Quækere Skreven paa Latin og Engelsk og siden oversat paa Tydsk, Hollandsk, Fransk, Spansk, og nu paa Dansk. - London : T. Sowle Raylton, 1738.
[Haves: Det kongelige Bibliotek].
An Examination of a Book Entitled Barclay's Apology in Modern English Edited by Dean Freiday by Larry Kuenning


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