Source: The Code of the Spirit
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The Sixth Law”
Author(s): Hoopes, Wilford L.
Publisher: Sherman, French and Company
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1911
Pagination: 73-83 (excerpt below includes only pages 81-83)
|Hoopes, Wilford L. “The Sixth Law.” The Code of the Spirit. Boston: Sherman, French, 1911: pp. 73-83.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination (religious interpretation).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Jesus Christ; William McKinley.|
From title page: The Code of the Spirit: An Interpretation of the Decalogue.
From title page: By Wilford L. Hoopes, a Priest of the Episcopal Church.
The Sixth Law [excerpt]
There is a familiar way of thinking
about the power of Christ which helps a man to be a murderer before he knows
it. Christ being now identified with the power behind the visible world is thought
to be saying to men, “Be good or I will kill you. Once you had the 
power to kill me. But now I have the power to kill you.” Against that thought
men instinctively and properly rebel. Unhappily, however, counting this threat
a true index of Christ, they refuse to follow Christ; they shut the Savior out
of their minds; and, therefore, they impair their own quality and their effect
upon the public life. But the truth to-day is exactly as it was before. Christ
says always to men, “Be good, be Christian, or you will kill me.” Unless men
are saviors, saviors of life, in their own souls and in their influence, they
must kill out the ennobling Christliness which is the only salt and savor of
their own manhood as it is of our Christian civilization. It is the crucifying
of the Son of God afresh which is the social danger. Where that murderous will
is, there is degeneracy in life,—a shrinkage in liberty, in endeavor, in culture,
But who is the guilty one? We say without hesitation that others besides Czolgosz were guilty of President McKinley’s murderous death. We say, having forgotten the Roman soldiery, that Christ died at the hands of his own murderous brethren not one of whom touched a hammer or a nail. For it is from remote causes that murderous crime has its start. As you follow backward the path of influences you see all alongside the way, the ruin of some of the graces of life, the work of wanton, scorn-  ful destruction. Finally you reach the heart and mind of a man or a woman presumably respectable, who secretly defied this sixth of the laws of God. He or she defied it and under that influence life began to sicken, although it appeared then prosperous and ruddy. No one decides deliberately to grow up to be a cutter of a neighbor’s throat. But unless a man obeys this law in its positive and moral sense, he is likely to be far more guilty. “Thou shalt be a savior of the life of men” is the law. And only by walking in its spirit can we keep our hand guiltless both of our neighbor’s blood and of that nail and cross which kill the Christ who is within every man born into the world.