PAMPHLET BY NOYES PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 1849
1 The Bible predicts that the Kingdom of God will come on earth. Dan. 2 :44, Isa. 25:6-9.
2. The administration of the will of God in his kingdom on earth will he the same as the administration of his will in heaven. Matt. 6:io, Eph. 1 :10.
3. God's plan at the beginning of the Christian era was not to establish immediately his kingdom on earth, but to march an isolated church through the world, establish the kingdom in the heavens, and prepare the way for the kingdom on earth by giving the Gentiles the Bible and religious training. Hence the Apostolic Church was directed to submit to "the powers that be." But at the end of the "times of the Gentiles" God will call his church to break in pieces the powers that be and take their place.
4. The institutions of the Kingdom of God are such that a disclosure of them in the apostolic age would have been inconsistent with God's plan of continuing the institutions of this world through the times of the Gentiles. Hence the Bible must not be asked to lead us into the institutions of the Kingdom of God step by step, but only to point the way, consigning us to the specific guidance of "the spirit of wisdom and revelation."
5. In the Kiugdom of God marriage does not exist. On the
other hand there is no proof in the Bible nor in reason that the distinction of sex will ever be abolished. Matt. 22 :29-30.
6. In the Kingdom of God the intimate union that in the world is limited to the married pair extends through the whole body of communicants; without however excluding special companiouships founded on special adaptability. John 17:21.
7. The situation on the day of Pentecost shows the practical tendency of heavenly influences. "All that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, as every man had need."
Communism on the day of Pentecost extended only to goods, it is true. But the same spirit that abolished property in goods would, if allowed full scope, abolish property in persons. Paul expressly places property in goods and property in persons in the same category, and speaks of them together as ready to be abolished by the Kingdom of God.
The Communism of the day of Pentecost is not to be regarded as temporary and circumstantial. The seed of heavenly unity fell into the earth and was buried for a time, but in the harvest at the second coming of Christ it was reproduced and became the universal, eternal principle of the invisible church.
8. The abolishment of appropriation is involved in the very nature of a true relation to Christ. Appropriation is a branch of egotism. But the grand mystery of the gospel is vital union with Christ, which is the extinguishment of egotism at the center.
9. The abolishment of worldly restrictions on sexual union is involved in the anti-legality of the gospel. It is incompatible with the perfected freedom, toward which Paul's gospel of grace without law" leads, that a person should be allowed to love in all directions, and yet be forbidden to express love except in one direction.
10. The abolishment of marriage is involved in Paul's doctrine of the end of ordinances. Marriage is a worldly ordinance. Christians are dead to the world by the death of Christ. The same reasoning which authorized the abolishment of the Jewish ordinances makes also an end of marriage.
11. The abolishment of the Jewish ordinances was the "offense of the cross" in the apostolic age. It brought the church into collision with the civil as well as the ecclesiastical authorities, compelled Christians to die substantially to the world at the outset, and exposed them to constant persecution and the hazard of literal death. If Christ and the unbelieving world are as hostile to each other now as ever (which is certainly true), the cross of Christ must have a development today as offensive to the Gentiles as the nullification of the Sinai law was to the Jews. Where then shall the death-blow of the flesh fall in the Gentile world? We answer, on marriage. That is a civil as well as religious ordinance, common to all Christian sects. The nullification of marriage in the modern world will be just such an offense of the cross as the nullification of the ordinances of Judaism was in the apostolic age.
12. The plea that marriage is founded in nature will not bear investigation. Experience testifies that the human heart is capable of loving more than one at the same time. It is not the loving heart but the green-eyed claimant of the loving heart that sets up the one-love theory.
13. A system of Complex Marriage will open the prison doors to the victims both of marriage and celibacy: to the married who are oppressed by lust, tied to uncongenial natures, separated from their natural mates; to the unmarried who are withered by neglect, diseased by unnatural abstinence, or plunged into prostitution by desires that find no lawful outlet.
14. The Kingdom of God on earth is destined to abolish death.
15. The abolition of death is to be the last triumph of the Kingdom of God. Christ cannot save the body until he has "put down all [present] authority and rule," and organized society anew. It is true that, since life works legitimately from within outward, the social revolution ought not to be commenced until the resurrection power is established in the heart. The shell ought not to be broken until the chick itself is strong enough to make the breach. Yet in the order of nature the shell bursts before the chick comes forth. Just so the breaking up of the fashion of the world must precede the resurrection of the body.
16. The chain of evils which holds humanity in ruin has four links: first, a breach with God; second, a disruption of the sexes, involving a special curse on woman; third, oppressive labor, bearing specially on man; fourth, death. The chain of redemption begins with reconciliation with God, proceeds to a restoration of true relations between the sexes, then to a reform of the industrial system, and ends with victory over death.
It was the special function of the Apostolic Church to break up the worldly ecclesiastical system and reopen full communication with God. It is the special function of the present church, availing itself first of the work of the Apostolic Church by union with it and a re-development of its theology, to break up the worldly social system and establish true sexual and industrial relations.
From what precedes it is evident that no one should attempt to revolutionize sexual morality before settlement with God. Holiness, communism of love, association in labor, and immortality must come in their true order.
17. The amative branch of the sexual relation is favorable
to life. The propagative branch is expensive of life. The problem that must be solved before redemption can be carried forward to immortality is to secure the benefits of amativeness while reducing the expenses of propagation to what life can afford. This can be done through Male Continence.
18. Sexual shame is factitious and irrational. The moral reform that arises from the sentiment of shame attempts a hopeless war with nature. Its policy is to prevent pruriency by keeping the mind in ignorance of sexual subjects, while nature is constantly thrusting those subjects upon the mind. The only way to elevate love is to clear away the false, debasing associations that usually crowd around it, and substitute true, beautiful ones.
19. The foregoing principles furnish motives for Association. They develop in a larger partnership the same attractions that draw and bind together a marriage partnership. A Community home, where love is honored and cultivated, will be as much more attractive than an ordinary home as the Community outnumbers a pair.
These principles also remove the chief obstruction to Association. There is a strong tendency to crossing love even in marriage. Association inevitably increases this. A confederation of contiguous states with custom-house lines around each is sure to be quarrelsome. The only way to prevent smuggling and strife in such a confederation is to abolish ctistom-house lines from the interior, and collect revenues by one customhouse line around the whole. The Shakers avoid this stumblingblock, but they sacrifice the life of society in securing its peace.
20. Association to be valuable must be not mere compaction of material but community of life. A congeries of loose particles cannot make a living body; ~o more can a congeries of loose double particles. Just so in Association individuals and pairs as well as all larger combinations must be knit together organ-
ically and pervaded by one common life. Association of this kind will be to society what regeneration is to the individual, a resurrection from the dead. Bible Communism, as this kind of Association may properly be called, demands the surrender not only of property and conjugal interests but of life itself to the use of the whole. If this is the "grave of liberty," as the Fourierists say, it is the grave of the liberty of war, which has done mischief enough to deserve death; and it is the birth of the liberty of peace.
21. In Bible Communism excessive labor will be done away. Labor is excessive or not according to the proportion between strength and work. Bible Communism increases strength by placing the individual in an organization which receives life from its source and distributes it with the highest activity. It reduces work by reducing the needed amount of food, raiment and shelter. As society becomes vital and refined, drawing its best nourishment from happiness, the grosser kinds of food, especially animal food, will go out of use, and the fruits of trees will become staple. Woman's dress will be simple and beautiful and nearly the same as man's. Buildings too will be more compact, and much labor now expended in accommodating egotism and exclusiveness will be saved.
In Bible Communism labor, no longer excessive, will become naturally attractive. Loving companionship will contribute to this result. When the partition between the sexes is taken away, when fashion follows nature in dress and vocation, men and women will mingle like boys and girls in their employments, and labor will become sport.
22. We can now see our way to victory over death. Reconciliation with God opens the way for reconciliation of the sexes. Reconciliation of the sexes excludes shame, and opens the way for Bible Communism. Bible Communism increases strength, diminishes work, and makes work attractive. Thus
23. The men and women who are called to usher in the Kingdom of God will be guided not merely by theoretical truth, but by direct communication with the heavens, as were Abraham, Moses, David, Paul. This will be called a fanatical principle. But it is clearly a Bible principle, and we must place it on high above all others as the palladium of conservatism in the introduction of the new social order.
We hereby notify all that we neither license nor encourage any one to attempt the practice of this theory without clear directions from the government in the heavens. No movement in these matters can be made safely in the way of imitation, nor on the mere ground of acquaintance with the theory of the new order. Other qualifications besides theory are required for the construction and handling of a locomotive, and much more for the management of such tremendous machinery as that of Bible Communism. Whoever meddles with the affairs of the inner sanctuary without true spirituality securing inspiration will plunge himself into consuming fire.
Chapter 15: Withdrawals from the Corporation | Contents