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One day as Confucius and some of his disciples were going past T'ai Mountain they noticed a woman weeping over a newly made grave. Wondering what relative she grieved for, Confucius bade one of his followers ask her the cause of her sorrow.
"My husband's father was killed here by a tiger," she explained, "and so also was my husband. And now my son has met the same fate." “Why then,” asked the disciple, “do you not leave this place for a safer abode ?"
The weeping woman replied: "I do not leave because here, at least, there is no oppressive government."
When the disciple returned to the group and told his story, Confucius said: "Remember this, oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger."-THE RIGHTS WE DEFEND, Williams, p. 13.
The Wages of a Slave
In the year 9 A. D. two brothers, Hermann and Flavus, were sent to Rome to study military methods. When their period of training was over, Hermann returned to his native forests to train his people in the Roman ways of war; Flavus stayed in the southland as one of the Emperor's guard.
As the legions of Augustus swept northward, the clans which fought under Hermann found that they could more than hold their own against the invader. However, they had to defeat the Romans in several battle before Teuton independence was complete. And in one of these battles Hermann found that he was facing a Roman company commanded by his brother Flavus.
On the eve of the battle the brothers talked across a river. Hermann noticed that his brother wore a patch over one eye. Flavus explained that he had lost the eye in the service of the Emperor.
"And what has been your recompense?" asked Hermann.
"I have received an increase in pay, a military chain, an ornamental crown, and honors," answered Flavus.
Hermann said scornfully: "They are the wages of a slave cheaply purchased."-GREAT MOMENTS IN FREEDOM, Lansing, p. 81.
"Why Didn't They Ask for My Kingdom?”
Continued demands upon King John for reform were slighted and evaded until an aroused populace marched on London, captured the arrogant King, and penned him up on an island in the Thames. There, at the insistence of his barons and nobles, he was forced to sign the Magna Carta.
The angry prisoner placed his signature and seal on the document. Then, as the happy barons left, the King fell to the ground in rage, gnashing his teeth and breaking to pieces small sticks which came into his hands as they opened and closed in fitful frenzy. "Why," he cried, "when they were asking, didn't they ask for my Kingdom also?”— GREAT MOMENTS IN FREEDOM, Lansing, p. 176.
He Refused To Bow
Austria, conqueror of Switzerland in the fourteenth century, believed in keeping the Swiss reminded of their fate. In the village square of Altdorf, for example, they placed a hat on top of the flagpole. All were ordered to bow to this, since it symbolized the power of the Austrian Emperor. But William Tell refused to bow.
"Thou shalt shoot an apple from the head of thy son," was the decree of the local authority for this affront to Austrian power. Tell's only other choice was certain death for both himself and his son.
The son was stood against a tree. William Tell shot and his aim was true. But he held another arrow in reserve. He confessed to the local governor what it would have been used for if he had missed and harm had come to his son.
“I would have shot you with this other arrow,” he said, "and believe me, I should not have missed you."-GREAT MOMENTS IN FREEDOM, Lansing, p. 109.
"What I Do, I Do Freely for Liberty"
"There seems no reason that our colony should be too precipitate in changing the present mode of government," said John Jay when the move for independence was being discussed. "I would first be well assured of the opinion of the inhabitants at large. Let them be rather followed than driven on an occasion of such moment."
To check on the feelings of the populace, Jay employed an investigator. When he reported to his employer on the results of his survey, Jay offered him the money that had been agreed upon. "Sir," he said, "I cannot take it. The country has need of every dollar to prosecute the war. I can work; I can get my living. Never mind any
money for me. What I do, I do freely for liberty."-HISTORIC AMERICANS, Brooks, p. 147.
A Good Listener
In an unpretentious brick house in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson wrote and rewrote what was later to be called The Declaration of Independence. As he finished the final draft, he heard a knock at the door.
"Come in," he said, wearily but cheerful.
The caller was Benjamin Franklin.
"Well, Brother Jefferson," he asked, "is the fair copy made?" "All ready, Doctor. Will you hear it through once more?"
"As many times as you wish," said the elderly statesman. "One can't get too much of a good thing, you know."
After Jefferson had finished reading it Franklin sat back and beamed. "That's good, Thomas!" he exclaimed. "That's right to the point; that will make King George wince. I wish I had done it myself."-HISTORIC AMERICANS, Brooks, p. 101.
"We Do Not Wish To Molest You . . ."
St. Augustine, who came to England as a Christian missionary, met King Ethelbert on the Isle of Thanet in 597 A. D. Although the King could not accept Christianity himself, he addressed St. Augustine and his fellow-workers in the following words:
"Because you have come hither as strangers from a long distance, and what you yourselves believe to be true and good you wish to impart to us, we do not wish to molest you. Nay, we are anxious to receive you hospitably, and we will give you all that is needed for your support. Nor will we hinder you from joining all whom you can to the faith of your religion."-ENGLAND'S VOICE OF FREEDOM, Nevinson, p. 27.
"We Shall Light a Candle"
Because they would not bow to the crowned heads of their country in matters of religion, Bishop Latimer and Bishop Ridley were burned at the stake on October 16, 1555.
As they were led to the stake, Bishop Latimer smiled to all about him, but Ridley was dragged along, quaking with terror. When the flames leaped up around them Latimer called to the horrified Ridley: "Be of good comfort Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as, I trust, shall never be put out."-HISTORY OF ENGLAND AND GREATER BRITAIN, Cross, p. 239.
No Man Shall Interfere
When Massachusetts prevented Roger Williams from practicing the religious principles in which he believed, he fled to Rhode Is There he founded a colony in which any religion, or no religion an wil, would be tolerated. Civil authorities would tend only to CTI problems.
"The straining of men's consciences by the civil power." he it clared, "is so far from making men faithful to God or man, that it is a ready way to render them false to both."
One of the men who came down from Boston to live in the new Colony, aptly called "Providence," was Joshua Verein. For twelve months he did not attend any church services whatever. Williams wwid nothing.
But one day it was found that Joshua Verein had beaten his wife because she went to church. This was something which came under the jurisdiction of the civil authority; a man was interfering with the religious freedom of another person.
It made no difference to Roger Williams that this other person was the wife of the man who beat her. Joshua Verein was banished
from the colony,--LIFE OF ROGER WILLIAMS, Easton, p. 243.
Masterpiece Written in Jail
When the Act of Uniformity was passed in 1660 John Bunyan, the son of a poor tinker who followed that trade himself and preached "on the side," found that the law made his preaching illegal. But he felt that the law was unjust. He continued to preach to the hundreds who came to hear him until he was arrested and thrown into the Bedford jail.
For twelve years he languished there; making tagged laces for his own support, preaching to his fellow-prisoners, and writing several books, among which was one entitled Grace Abounding.
Upon being freed, he went back to his preaching. He was warned; refused to desist; and was again taken into custody. It was during this second term in jail that he wrote the book which was to become one of the religious masterpieces of all time: Pilgrim's Progress.ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS, p. 897.
"We Must Give the Liberty We Ask"
One day William Penn, who was bringing people to America in order that they might be free to follow the tenets of Quakerism, took a friend to the outskirts of London to view an unusual sight.