A. T. JONES c.1895
DIVINE RIGHT OF THE
INDIVIDUALITY IN RELIGION
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMPLETE
ALONZO TREVIER JONES
the right of Individuality
even in Religion,
and in Religion above all,
the new Nation dared to set the example of accepting
in its relations to God the principle first divinely
ordained of God in Judea." -- Bancroft.
Individuality In Religion.
5 -- Religion
is "the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner
of discharging it."
is "the state of being exempt from the domination of
others, or from restricting circumstances. In ethics and
philosophy, the power in any rational agent to make his
choices and decide his conduct for himself, spontaneously
and voluntarily, in accordance with reasons or motives."
liberty, therefore, is man's exemption from the domination
of others, or from restricting circumstances: man's freedom
to make his choices and decide his conduct for himself,
spontaneously and voluntarily:
in his duty to his Creator, and in the manner
of discharging that duty.
God has created man, in the nature of things the first of
6 -- is that to God; and the first of all duties could
be nothing but duty to God.
a time when there was only one intelligent creature in the
universe. He was created: and his relationship to his Creator,
his duty to his Creator, is the only one that could possibly
be. That is the first of all relationships that can possibly
be. Therefore it is written that "the first of all
the commandments is, Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God is
one Lord: and Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength."
there is of any soul is first due to God; because it all
came from God. This, therefore, is the first of all commandments,
not because it is the first one that was ever given
by spoken word, or that was ever written out; but because
it is the first that could possibly be. And this because
it is the expression of the first principle of the existence
of any intelligent creature. The princi-
7 -- ple was there, inherent in the existence of the
first intelligent creature, in the first moment of his existence;and
there the principle abides eternally, unmodified and unfading.
though that is the first of all possible relationships,
and the first of all duties; though that relationship and
duty are inherent in the very existence of intelligent creatures;
yet even in that inherent obligation, God has created every
intelligent creature free -- free to recognize that
obligation or not, free to discharge that duty or not, just
as he chooses.
it is written: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve."
"Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Thus it is absolutely true that in religion -- in the duty
which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging
it -- God has created man entirely "exempt from the
domination of others and from restricting circumstances;"
has made him free
8 -- "to make his choice, and decide his conduct
for himself, spontaneously and voluntarily." Thus religious
liberty is the gift of God, inherent in the gift of rational
service as to God that is not freely chosen by him who renders
it is not service to God. There can be no virtue
in it; there can be none of God in it. Any service rendered
as to God that is not freely chosen on the part of him who
renders it cannot be of God; because "God is love":
and love and compulsion, love and force, love and oppression,
never can go together. Therefore any duty, any obligation,
anything, offered or rendered as to God that is not of the
individual's own freely chosen choice, can neither be of
God nor to God. Accordingly when the Lord created whatever
creature -- angel or man -- in order that that creature
should be happy in the service of God, and in order that
there should be virtue in rendering service or worship to
9 -- created him free to
choose to do so. And this is individuality,
and the divine right of it.
created man free. When man by sin was separated and lost
from that freedom, Christ came to restore him fully to it.
The way of God and of Christ, therefore, is the way of liberty.
And the work of God through Christ with mankind in the whole
history of the world has been to make plain this way and
to give to man the absolute assurance of this "soul
liberty" which is the only true liberty. Whom the Son
makes free is free indeed.
the Scriptures there are given distinctly and clearly six
specific lessons on this subject of religious liberty --
the liberty of the individual soul against the domination
of man and combinations of men in the powers of the world.
Each of these lessons deals with the subject upon a distinct
and specific principle. And the six lessons, taken together,
10 -- cover completely the whole ground upon every principle.
We now purpose to take up for special study these six lessons
separately and in succession as given in the Scriptures.
The contest for religious liberty is not yet finished. Religious
liberty complete is not yet recognized, even in principle,
and much less in practice, even by the mass of Christians,
as it is made perfectly plain in the Scriptures.
Come, then, let us study and let us have, and let us study
that we may have, religious liberty complete, in principle
and in experience, as it is in the Scriptures of truth.
I -- AS
RELATED TO AUTOCRACY.
11 --In the nature of things there is no rightful room
for the domination of others in the life and affairs of
the soul of the individual person. This is peculiarly and
supremely the realm of God alone, who created man in His
own image and for His own glory; and who created each person
individually and personally responsible and answerable to
man, sinful and unruly man, has never been willing to allow
God to have His place in and with the soul of the individual
man; but has always been ambitious and ready to claim that
place for himself, and by every means and contrivance possible
to make this claim ef-
12 -- fective. History itself, as it relates to general
principles and not to details, is hardly anything else than
a succession of attempts upon the grandest possible scale
to make successful this arrogant claim of sinful and unruly
man in the place of God to dominate the souls of men. And
no grander demonstration that there is a divinity striving
hard to shape the destiny of mankind could ever be asked
or given than from the day of Abel until now is given in
the perpetual heroic assertion and maintenance of this perfect
liberty of the individual soul by the individual person
against the subtlest pretensions and mightiest combinations
of force and power that this world could possibly contrive.
From Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar and from Nebuchadnezzar until
now the course and energy of empire have been bent and exerted
to this one thing. And through all that time such splendid
individuals as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three
brethren, Paul, Wyckliff, Huss,
13 -- Militz, Matthias, Conrad, Jerome, Luther, Roger
Williams, and multitudes unnamed, and over all Christ Jesus,
by divine faith have sublimely stood alone with God,
absolutely alone so far as man is concerned, for the individuality,
and in that the liberty, of the soul of man; and for the
sovereignty of God alone in and over the realm of the soul.
Empire of Babylon embraced the civilized world, as the world
then was. Nebuchadnezzar was monarch and absolute ruler
of the empire. "Thou, 0 king, art a king of kings;
for the God of Heaven hath given thee a kingdom, and power,
and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of
men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the
heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee
ruler over them all." Dan. 2: 37, 38.
His own providential purpose God had made all nations subject
to the sway of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jer. 27:
1-13. In the form and system
14 --of government of Babylon the authority of the king
was absolute. His word was the law. In this absolutism of
sovereignty King Nebuchadnezzar assumed that he was sovereign
of the souls,
as well as the bodies, of the religious
life as well as the civil conduct, of those who
were subject to his power. And since he was ruler of the
nations he would be ruler in
the religion, and of
the religion, of the nations.
he made a great image, all of gold, about ninety feet tall
and nine feet broad, and "set it up in the plain of
Dura, in the province of Babylon." Then he summoned
from the provinces all the officials of the empire to the
dedication and the worship of the great golden image. All
the officials came, and were assembled and stood before
an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, 0 people,
nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound
of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer,
and all kinds of music,
15 -- ye fall down and worship the golden image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up; and whoso falleth not
down and worshippeth, shall the same hour be cast into the
midst of a burning fiery furnace." And as the instruments
of music sounded forth the grand signal for the worship
"all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell
down and worshipped the golden image." Dan. 3: 4-6.
in the assembly there were three young Hebrews who had been
carried captive from Jerusalem to Babylon, but who had been
appointed by the king, officials "over the affairs
of the province of Babylon." These neither bowed nor
worshipped, nor otherwise paid any particular attention
to the proceedings.
was noticed, and excited accusation before the king. "There
are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of
the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego;
these men, 0 king, have not regarded
16 -- thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the
golden image which thou hast set up." Verse 12.
the king "in his rage and fury" commanded that
the three young men should be brought before him. This was
done, The king himself now spoke to them personally and
direct: "'Is it of purpose, 0 Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden
image which I have set up?" The king himself then repeated
the command that at the sound of the instruments of all
kinds of music they fall down and worship, and if not, they
were to be cast "the same hour into the midst of a
burning fiery furnace."
the young men quietly answered: "0 Nebuchadnezzar,
we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it
be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from
the burning fiery furnace, and be will deliver us out of
thine hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto thee, 0
king, that we will not serve thy
17 -- gods, nor worship the golden image which thou
hast set up." Verses 14 - 18.
issue was now clearly drawn. The sovereign of the world's
power had personally issued his command direct to the three
individuals; and from them he had received answer as direct,
that they would not conform. This was conduct, and these
were words, such as the king in his absolutism of power
had never met before. There was therefore a personal as
well as an official resentment aroused in him; and be was
so "full of fury" that "the form of his visage
was changed against" the young men, and he commanded
that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than
usual; and that "the most mighty men in his army"
should bind the young men and cast them into the midst of
the roaring furnace.
was done. And the three men, "in their coats, and their
hosen, and their hats, and their other garments" fell
down bound "into the midst of the burn-
18 -- ing fiery furnace." But just then the king
was more astonished than ever in his life before. He was
fairly petrified "astonied" -- and "rose
up in haste" and to his counsellors cried out, "Did
not we cast three
into the midst of the fire?"
assured him that this was true. But he exclaimed, "Lo,
I see four
walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no
hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
the king went near to the mouth of the furnace and called
to the men by name and said, "Ye servants of the most
high God, come forth and come hither." And they "came
forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors,
and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered
together, saw these men upon whose bodies the fire
had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither
were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed
Nebuchadnezzar spake, and
19 -- said, blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego, who hath sent his angel and delivered his
servants that trusted in him, and
have changed the king's word, and yielded
their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any
god except their own God."
then, is the situation: The Lord had brought all nations
in subjection to the king of Babylon. By messages of His
own prophet He had commanded His people, the Jews, and these
three young men among them, to "serve the king of Babylon."
Yet these three had explicitly refused to serve the king
of Babylon in this thing which he had personally and directly
commanded them; and in this refusal the Lord himself had
most signally stood by them and delivered them.
it would be impossible more plainly to show that the Lord,
in commanding the people to be subject to the king of Babylon
and to serve him, had never either commanded or intended
20 -- that they should be subject to him or serve him
in the realm
this unmistakable approval of the course of the three men,
and this signal deliverance of them, the Lord made perfectly
plain to the king that his command in this matter was wrong:
that he had demanded a service that he had no right to require:
that in making him king of the nations the Lord had not
made him king in
the religion of the people: that in bringing
him to be head of all the nations, peoples, and languages,
God had not given him to be head of the religion of even
a solitary individual: that while the Lord had brought all
nations and peoples under the king's yoke as to their political
and bodily service, this same Lord had unmistakably shown
to the king that he had given no power nor jurisdiction
in any way whatever as to their soul's service: that while
in all things between nation and nation, and between man
and man, all peoples, nations, and languages had been given
21 -- him to serve him, and God had made him ruler over
them all; yet with the relations between each man and God
the king could have nothing whatever to do: and that in
the presence of the rights of the individual person, in
conscience and in worship "the king's word"
must change, the king's decree is naught:
that in this the king even of the world is only nobody,
for here only God is sovereign and all in all.
for the instruction of all kings and all people forever,
all this was done that day, and it was written for our admonition
upon whom the ends of the world are come.
AS RELATED TO THE SUPREMACY OF THE LAW.
22 --THE world-power and empire of Babylon passed away
forever; and another took its place -- the power and empire
of Medo-Persia. Here was another principle of government,
and here there is given to the world another lesson in religious
the Medo-Persian empire the principle of government was
different from that of Babylon.
as we have seen, was not only an absolute monarchy, but
an autocracy -- a one-man government, a one-man absolutism.
The word of the king was the law, and the law was changeable
as the will and word of the king might change. The king
was the source of the law; his word was the law for all
23 -- others; but as for himself there was no restriction
Medo-Persian government was an absolute monarchy also. There,
also, the word of the king was the law: but with this all-important
difference from Babylon, that when once the word of the
king had gone forth as the law, that law could not be changed
nor reversed even by the king himself. The king himself
was bound, even against himself, by his own word or decree
that had once become the law. The government of Medo-Persia,
therefore, was a government of
law; its principle was the
supremacy of THE LAW.
the head of the administration of the affairs of this empire
there were three presidents, of whom Daniel was first. Because
of Daniel's knowledge, integrity, ability, and general worth
in the administration, the king had it in mind "to
set him over the whole realm." This, becoming known,
excited the jealousy of the other two presidents and of
24 -- the princes; and they conspired to break him down.
sought, first, "to find occasion against Daniel"
concerning his conduct of the affairs of the empire. But
after long and diligent search, and the closest possible
scrutiny, they were obliged to cease their endeavor and
confess that "they could find none occasion nor fault;"
because "he was faithful, neither was there any error
or fault found in him."
said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this
Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law
of his God." But they could not find any occasion against
him concerning even the law of his God, until they themselves
had first created a situation that would render inevitable
the desired occasion.
long and exacting endeavor to
find some occasion or fault against him in
the affairs of the empire had convinced them of his absolute
devotion in loyalty to God. Through their investi-
25 -- gation they knew by experience that he could not
by any means be caused to swerve a hair's-breadth from the
straight line of absolute devotion to God. But this was
wholly an individual matter, in which there was no interference
with any man in any way whatever. And in his conduct in
relation to others and to the State, their own consciously
prejudiced investigation had demonstrated that it was actually
there being no possible ground upon which they could find
occasion against him even concerning the law of his God,
as circumstances and conditions were; and they, therefore,
being put to the necessity of actually creating such ground,
Daniel's unswerving devotion to God became the way over
which they would proceed. They therefore concocted
a scheme into which they drew all the officials of the empire,
and went to the king and said: -- "0 king, live forever.
All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the
princes, the coun-
26 -- sellors, and the captains, have consulted together
to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree,
that whosoever shall ask any petition of any God or man
for thirty days, save of thee, 0 king, he shall be cast
into a den of lions. Now, 0 king, establish the decree,
and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according
to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not."
king allowed himself to be caught by this very flattering
proposal of so large a number of the highest officials of
the empire, and he signed the decree. Daniel knew that the
decree had been framed, and that the writing had been signed
by the king. He knew that such was now the law of the empire
-- a law that could neither be waived nor altered. Nevertheless
he went to his house, and as his regular times of prayer
recurred, three times a day, he "prayed and gave thanks
before God, as he did aforetime." And his windows happening
to be open, the Imperial law had not enough place in his
27 -- mind or weight upon his attention to induce him
to take the precaution even to close the windows.
plotters expecting nothing but just this on the part of
Daniel, "assembled and found Daniel praying and making
supplication before his God." Then at sight of this
open disregard of the imperial law, they hastened to the
king and very deferentially inquired. "Hast thou not
signed a decree?" etc. The king answered, "The
thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians,
which altereth not." Then the plotters reported, "that
Daniel which is of the children of the captivity of Judah,
regardeth not thee, 0 king, nor the decree that thou hast
signed, but maketh his petition three times a day."
the king, when he had heard these words, was sore displeased
with himself," because he had allowed
himself to be so flattered as to be caught in such a trap
as that. "And he set his heart on Daniel to deliver
him." But the plotters
28 -- were ready with their plea of the supremacy and
integrity of "the law"; and to urge arguments
that it was "not a question of religion, but of
the law;" that to countenance disregard
and violation of "the law" was simply to undermine
all the government and make an open bid for a reign of anarchy,
and for the very dissolution of society itself: that they
were exceedingly sorry that such an excellent man as Daniel
should be thus involved, yet to allow such open disregard
of "the law" by one of such high standing and
reputation would be only all the worse; because this very
fact of the high standing and wide reputation of the one
who so openly disregarded "the law" would be only
the more encouragement to all people to do the same, etc.,
the king "labored till the going down of the sun to
deliver him." But through all that time and at every
turn, the king was met by the plotters with the plea, "The
law; the law." "Know, 0 king, that the law of
the Medes and Per-
29 -- sians is, that no decree nor statute which the
king establisheth may be changed." The supremacy of
the law bound the king himself: there was no escape: and,
though with greatest reluctance, "the king commanded
and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions."
king passed the night in fasting and in sleeplessness. But
very early in the morning he hurried to the den of lions
and "cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel . .
. 0 Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom
thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the
answered, "0 king, live forever. My God hath sent His
angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths that they have not
hurt me: forasmuch as before
innocency was found in me; and also
before thee, 0 king, have I done no hurt."
And therein the demonstration is made in perfection forever
that the person who disregards any law that touches
30 -- service to God
is innocent before God, and also does "no
hurt" to the king, nor to the State, nor to society,
nor to any principle of law or government.
of which in divine truth demonstrates again that no earthly
government can ever have any right or jurisdiction in matters
of religion: that is, in "the duty which we
owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it."
And in this
case there is the additional demonstration that no
government can ever of right incorporate
in the law provisions touching religion,
and then plead the supremacy and integrity of "the
law:" that "it is not primarily a question of
religion but only of
the law:" that "we are not asking for
religious observance, we ask only respect
for law." In the case of Daniel and the
"supremacy of the law of the Medes and Persians,"
the divine answer to all such pleas is that, nothing pertaining
to religion can ever of right have any place in the law.
right of perfect individuality in
31 -- religion is a divine, and therefore an absolutely
inalienable, right. And to make religious observances or
prohibitions a matter of the law, does not affect the free
exercise of this divine right. The fulness of the right,
and the perfect liberty of its exercise, abide ever the
same, even though religion be made a matter, and a part,
of the law. And when religion or religious observance or
prohibition is fixed in the law, even though the law be
as supreme and inflexible as that of the Medes and Persians,
the divine right and perfect liberty of individuality in
religion then extends
to the law that incorporates the religion,
and such law is simply no law. The subterfuge of enforcing
religious observances or prohibitions under cover of "the
supremacy and integrity of the law," instead of taking
away or in any way limiting the divine right and perfect
liberty of individuality in religion, simply reacts to the
extent of actually sweeping away all ground of claim for
"the supremacy and integrity of the
32 -- law"-- in actually nullifying the specific
law in the case.
civil law is rightly supreme in the realm of things civil,
but in the realm of things
religious it simply has no place at all.
In the presence of the divine right of individuality in
religion as relates to autocratic government, illustrated
in King Nebuchadnezzar, the
king's word must change.
the presence of the divine right of individuality in religion
as relates to the supremacy and inflexibility of the law,
illustrated in the government of the Medes and Persians,
any law that touches or contemplates religion is simply
no law at all.
realm of religion is the realm of God. In that realm God
alone is Sovereign, and His will is the only law. And in
that realm the individual stands alone with God, and responsible
to Him alone.
III -- AS
RELATES TO CHURCH AND STATE.
33 -- By most remarkable facts and unquestionable experiences,
in the case of King Nebuchadnezzar and the three Hebrew
young men, there was made plain forever the divine truth
and principle that with the religion of the people no monarch
can of right have anything to do; that in the presence of
the right of individuality in religion, the king's word
corresponding facts and experiences in the case of the Medo-Persian
government against Daniel there was made plain forever the
divine will and truth and principle that with the religion
of the people no law, nor any government by means of law,
can of right have anything to do -- that in the presence
of the free exercise of individuality in religion,
34 -- any law touching religion is nothing; and every
individual in absolutely ignoring and disregarding such
law is "innocent" before God, and also does "no
hurt" to government, to law, or to society.
two examples and the principles which they illustrate cover
every phase of earthly government as such: and so make plain
the great and vital truth that religion, with its rites,
institutions, and observances, is totally excluded, and
is to be totally exempt, from the cognizance of earthly
government of whatever phase or form: that religion, with
all that is incident to it, pertains to the individual alone
in his personal relations to God.
there is another means by which man has sought to dominate
man in the realm of religion, that is by means of
the Church through
called out from the world and separated from the world unto
God, are His church in the world. When God
35 -- had called His people out of Egypt they were first
"the church in the wilderness;" and afterward
in the land of Canaan they were the church there.
their stiffness of neck, hardness of heart, and blindness
of mind, they sadly missed God's great purpose for them
as His church. Yet in His goodness and mercy God "suffered
their manners in the wilderness," and in the land from
age to age. Thus through randy vicissitudes that people
had continued as the church till the time when Christ the
Lord came to dwell on the earth: and through all that time
this church was heir to most glorious promises of a widespread
kingdom and dominion.
the time when Christ came to the earth as man, the dominion
and power of Rome held the people of that church in stern
and cruel temporal subjection, and they longed for the promised
Deliverer to appear. This Deliverer had been abundantly
promised, and at last
36 -- He came. But the high ones of the church had allowed
their worldly ambition to hide their eyes from the spirituality
of the kingdom and dominion that had been promised; and
they looked for, and had taught the people to expect, a
political and temporal deliverer who should strike off the
yoke of Rome, break her power, and exalt the church of the
chosen people to a position of power and dominion over the
nations, corresponding to that which for so long had been
held by the nations over them.
Jesus first appeared in His public ministry, these high
ones of the church went with the crowds that flocked to
hear Him, listened with interest, and hoped that He would
fulfill their expectations. But when they saw the interest
and enthusiasm of the multitude reach the point where "they
would come and take Him by force to make Him a king";
and when they saw that Jesus, instead of accepting the honor
or encouraging the project, "withdrew Himself from
37 -- them"; in this they also saw that all their
ambitious hopes of deliverance from the dominion of Rome,
and of exaltation over the nations, were utterly vain so
far as Jesus was concerned.
by this time the influence of Jesus with the people had
become so widespread and so strong that the church-leaders
saw that their power over the people was very rapidly vanishing.
Instead of seeing fulfilled or sanctioned their ambitious
plans and hopes for worldly power and dominion, they saw
with dismay that what power and influence they did have
with the people was most certainly undermined: and this
by a man risen from the greatest obscurity, who came from
a town of the meanest reputation, and who was at most only
a private member of the church! Something must be done,
and that very soon, to preserve their own place and dignity.
It was manifestly too late to think of commanding Him not
to preach or teach: by this time
38 -- they knew full well that not only He but the multitudes
themselves would pay no attention to any such prohibition.
But there was a way out -- a means by which to maintain
their place and dignity, and to assert their power over
Him and the people. In their opinion of themselves and their
position it was a very easy thing to make their place and
dignity identical not only with the position but with the
very existence of the church and even the nation itself.
Accordingly they concluded, "If we let Him thus alone
all men will believe on Him and the Romans shall come and
take away both our place and nation." And "from
that day forth they took counsel together for to put Him
to death." John 11: 47, 53.
subject as they were to the Roman authority, it was not
lawful for them to put any man to death. Therefore, to effect
their purpose they must get control of the governmental
or civic authority. It mattered not that this
39 -- authority, was Roman; and it mattered not that
this Roman authority they hated above all other earthly
things, and could not by any possibility willingly recognize:
all this must be forgotten in the presence of the awful
alternative of seeing vanish their place and dignity and
power in the church.
the church the Pharisees and the Herodians stood at opposite
poles. The Herodians were so called because they were the
party and partisans of Herod. They were the apologists of
Herod in his position of king of Judea. But as Herod was
king only by the direct appointment of Rome, and was seated
and maintained as king by the power of Rome, for any one
to be a partisan and an apologist of Herod was to be even
more a partisan and an apologist of Rome.
Pharisees were the exclusively righteous ones of the church.
They were the extreme church party. As such they were the
conservators of the purity
40 -- of the church, the representatives of the truest
loyalty to God and the ancient dignity of the chosen people.
As such they were the extreme and most uncompromising dissidents
from Rome, and from all that was of Rome or that was in
any way connected with Rome.
the Pharisees, as the exclusively righteous ones and the
chiefest in dignity, were the most fixedly set against Christ,
and took the lead in the counsels and plans to destroy Him.
And to accomplish their purpose to put Him to death, they
must have the cooperation of the secular power, which was
Roman only. Therefore to accomplish their purpose against
Jesus, they would glaze their hatred of Rome, and would
use for their purpose against Jesus that very power of Rome
of which they were by profession the extreme disputers and
means by which at one stride they would both cross this
gulf to Rome and make sure of the secular
41 -- power, was to pool issues with the Herodians.
The Herodians, as being only less opposed to Jesus than
were the Pharisees, were ready for the alliance. By this
alliance the political party would be at one with the Pharisees,
and the political influence and power of that party would
be at the command of the church leaders. This would make
sure to them the use of the soldiery, which they
must have if they would be really secure in their open movements
alliance was entered into, and the conspiracy was formed:
"And the Pharisees went forth and straightway took
counsel with the Herodians against Him, how
they might destroy Him."
Mark 3: 6. " Then went the Pharisees and took counsel
how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent out
unto him their disciples with the Herodians," "spies,
which should feign themselves just men, that they might
take hold of His words, that so
they might deliver Him unto the power and
42 -- authority
of the governor." Matt. 22:15, 16; Luke
20:20. And that governor was Pilate
when finally the time came, at that awful midnight hour
when Judas, "having received" a band of men and
a captain and officers, "with swords," came upon
Him in Gethsemane, it was "the band and the captain,
and the officers," who, at the direction of "the
chief priests and Pharisees," took Him and bound Him.
having so taken Him they led Him to Annas first. Annas sent
Him to Caiaphas, and Caiaphas sent Him to Pilate, the governor,
the Roman. Pilate sent Him to Herod, who "with his
men of war" set Him at naught and mocked Him and arrayed
Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him again to Pilate. And
when Pilate would have let Him go, they rung their final
political note and plea of
loyalty to Caesar and Rome, even above the
loyalty of Pilate the Roman himself, "If thou let this
man go thou
43 -- art not Caesar's friend. Whosoever maketh himself
a king speaketh against Caesar."
made his last appeal, "Shall I crucify your King?"
only to be answered with the words expressive of their final
abandonment of God, and of their completest unity with Rome,
"We have no king but Caesar. Crucify Him. Crucify Him.
And they were instant with loud voices. And the voices of
them and of the chief priests prevailed."
the mightiest crime and the loudest crying sin in all the
history of the universe was committed, and was made possible
as it was committed, only by the union of church and State
-- only by the church in control of the civil power, using
that power to make effective her wicked will and purpose.
that awful fact alone is all-sufficient to blast with perpetual
and infinite condemnation, and to consign to eternal infamy,
all such connection any-
44 -- where forever. And with such a record in the very
first instance of the thing, it is not at all strange that
this same thing of union of church and State -- the church
in control of the secular power -- should have proved and
must ever prove, the chiefest curse to men and nations wherever
found in all after times.
true it is, and so completely demonstrated, that "secular
power has proved a Satanic gift to the church."
IV -- AS
RELATED TO THE CHURCH ITSELF.
45 -- We have seen that no monarchical government has
any right to enforce or require any religious observance;
and that when any such power does so, the right of individuality
in religion is supreme, and the monarch's word must change.
have found also that no government in which the law is supreme
has any right to put into the law of the realm any statute,
decree, or provision touching religion; and that when such
a thing is done, the right of individuality in religion
remains supreme, and innocency before God, and perfect harmlessness
before the government, the law, and society, is found in
him who disregards such law.
have found that the church has no right to control the civil
46 -- the execution of her will or the furtherance of
her aims; and that when she does so a connection of crowning
iniquity is formed, only a Satanic gift is in the possession
of such church, and the right of individuality in religion
is still supreme and to be freely exercised.
is yet another combination by means of which domination
of man in religion has been sought: this is the church
itself, within itself -- the church as relates to the
membership of the church. And upon this, whether in principle,
or in facts of remarkable experience, the Scripture is no
less explicit than in any other of the examples given on
has been already related how that Israel when delivered
from Egypt was first "the church in the wilderness"
and afterward in the land of Canaan; and that this same
Israel in the days of Christ on earth, though in spirit
and substance far short of God's ideal for them,
47 -- yet in fact was still the church in direct descent.
official organization of this church was also still in fact
the same in direct descent. The priesthood -- the chief
priests, and the high priest -- in order and in succession,
were the direct continuance in succession of the order established
by the Lord through Moses in the wilderness. The official
council of the church -- the Sanhedrin -- was also in its
idea and form descended from the seventy elders appointed
by the Lord through Moses in the wilderness. Thus in the
days of Christ on earth, the whole order of Israel, -- the
priesthood and the great council, -- was in form and in
fact directly descended from the divine order established
by the Lord through Moses in the wilderness; and was just
as truly the church in descent from the church in the wilderness.
the apostles of the Lord and the original disciples of Jesus
were all, with-
48 -- out exception, members of that church. They took
part equally with others in the services and worship of
that church. They went to the temple and into the temple,
with all the others to worship at the regular hours; and
they taught in the temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:12). And the
people were glad to have it so, and the approval of God
in great power was upon them all.
those apostles and disciples had learned something and knew
divine truth that the high ones of the church did not know
and would not recognize: and knowing this they would tell
it. Therefore they preached Jesus and the resurrection,
and salvation through Him, and that there is no other way
-- that very Jesus of whom the official order and organization
of the church had "now been the betrayers and murderers."
Therefore this official order and organization of the church
assumed the office and prerogative of deciding that those
49 -- vate church-members should neither preach nor
teach this truth that they knew to be the truth.
the priests and the temple authorities arrested Peter and
John and put them in prison, when they had gone up to the
temple at the hour of prayer, and the lame man had been
healed through faith in the name of Jesus, and Peter had
preached to the assembled wondering people. Then the next
morning all the official order and organization of the church
-- the rulers, the seventy elders, the scribes, the priests,
and the high priest -- gathered together and had Peter and
John brought and set in the midst, and demanded of them
what authority they had to be preaching: "By what power,
and by what name, have you done this?"
Peter "filled with the Holy Ghost" made answer.
The whole assembly "marveled" at the boldness
of these two only common and illiterate
50 -- members of the church in the presence of that
official and august body; "and they took knowledge
of them that they had been with Jesus." Peter and John
were remanded outside the council, while the council "conferred
their conference they decided, "Let us straitly threaten
them that they speak henceforth to no man in this name."
Then they called in again Peter and John "and commanded
them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus."
But Peter and John answered immediately, "Whether it
be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you more than
unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things we
have seen and heard." In that answer so promptly given,
it seemed to that assembly that these mere common men and
private and illiterate members of the church would actually
convey the impression that it was possible for such as they
to be taught of God,
51 -- and to know from God,things that this whole assembly
of the highest officials and most learned ones of the church
did not know; and that they would pay no attention whatever
to the command of the council, but would go right ahead
regardless of all that the council might say or do or be.
Plainly enough in the view of the council such a
course could mean only every one for himself, an individual
independence that "would overthrow all order and authority."
an answer as that from such persons as those, to such an
official and dignified body as this: such an answer from
mere common persons to this august assembly: from mere private
members of the church to the regular assemblage of that
which for ages had been the highest official and divinely
appointed order in the organization of the church: could
not be considered by those officials as anything less than
arrant presumption, and the destruction of all order and
organization in the church.
52 --However, the council let them go with further charge
under heavy threat that they should so teach no more.
and John being let go went to the company of the other disciples
and "reported all that the chief priests and elders
had said unto them." And all the others, instead of
being in the least awed or made afraid by it, not only decidedly
approved what Peter and John had done, but were so glad
of it that "with one accord" they thanked and
praised God, asked Him to "behold the threatenings
of the church officials and grant to all of the disciples
boldness that they may speak thy word." And God witnessed
to their Christian steadfastness, "and the place was
shaken where they were assembled together; and they were
all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word
of God with boldness." "And believers were
the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women."
53 -- This open disobedience to the "authority"
of the church, this bold "disregard for established
order and organization" could not be allowed to go
on. Therefore all the apostles were next arrested
and imprisoned: for "then the high priest rose up,
and all they that were with him, and were filled with indignation,
and laid hands on the apostles and put them in the common
angel of the Lord by night opened the prison
doors, and brought them forth and said, Go, stand and speak
in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early
in the morning and taught."
same morning the high priest and they that were with him
"called the council together, and all
the senate of the children of Israel,
and sent to the prison" to have the apostles
brought before them to answer for all this "insubordination,"
"apostasy" and "opposition to
54 -- the organized work" of the church. The messengers
returned and reported that they found the prison securely
closed and the keepers on guard, but there were no prisoners.
But while those of the council were wondering what this
could mean, there came one saying that the men were "standing
in the temple and teaching the people."
were sent who arrested them all anew and brought them before
the council. The high priest demanded of them, "Did
not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in
this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your
apostles answered as before: "We ought to obey God
rather than man. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,
whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted
with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to
give repentance to Israel with forgiveness of sins. And
we are witnesses
55 -- of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey Him."
this bold persistence in the forbidden course the council
"took counsel to slay them." From actually murdering
the apostles the council was dissuaded by Gamaliel. Nevertheless,
the council called in the apostles again, and "had
them flogged" and then again "commanded that they
should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go."
apostles departed from the presence
of the council. But instead of being either awed or subdued
by the council or by what it had done, they were all only
glad again to be counted worthy to suffer stripes and whatever
other disgrace from the official organization of the church
for teaching what they saw and knew to be the truth. And
notwithstanding that it was "all the senate of the
children of Israel," that is, all those who
composed the official organization of the church that had
so treated them
56 -- and had repeatedly commanded them not to preach
at all nor teach the things which they were both preaching
and teaching, "never for a single day, either in the
temple or in the private houses, did they discontinue teaching
or telling the good news of Jesus the Christ."
by plain facts of remarkable experiences under God it is
demonstrated that above all officialdom of priesthood, council
and senate of any church, the
right of individuality in religion, in faith, and in
teaching, stands supreme. By this unquestionable
Scripture account it is demonstrated that no church assembly
or council or senate has any authority or any right to command
or call in question any man of even the church's own membership
concerning what he shall teach or preach. *
-- "As relates to conduct, in
matters of 'trespass' or 'fault' of any member, divine instruction
and direction are given to the church precisely how to proceed:
and this word is to be faithfully followed in letter and
in spirit and in the spirit of meekness to 'gain' and to
'restore' such an one, never to judge, to condemn, or to
cast off. But as relates to faith the church has
no divine instruction and therefore no right of procedure
-- 'not for that we would have dominion over your faith:'
'Hast thou faith? have it to thyself' before God:' 'Looking
unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher
57 -- By the inspired record in this case, it is demonstrated
-- Just as certainly as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar
and the three Hebrews it is divinely shown that no monarch
can ever of right command anything pertaining to religion;
-- Just as certainly as in the case of the
law and government of Media and Persia, it is
divinely shown that no government can ever of right make
any law touching religion;
-- Just as certainly as in the case of the church of
Israel against Christ it is divinely shown that no church
officialdom can ever of right use the civil power to make
effective her will or to further her aims;
-- Just so certainly in this case of the church of
Israel against the apostles and disciples of the Lord, it
is also divinely shown that no church, no council, senate
or other collection or association of officials or others,
can ever of right command any member even of her own com-
58 -- munion in anything pertaining to what he shall
believe or not believe, or what he shall teach or not teach.
four cases presented in the Scriptures are perfectly parallel:
in every case the power that attempted domination in religion
was directly opposed and exposed
by the God of Heaven, and was thus divinely
shown to be absolutely in the wrong; and in each case the
right of individuality in religion was divinely demonstrated
to be eternally right.
each of the four cases a distinct principle is involved
and illustrated: in the fourth no whit less than in each
of the preceding three. As certainly as Nebuchadnezzar was
wrong in commanding worship; as certainly as the law of
Media and Persia was wrong in prohibiting worship; as certainly
as the church of Israel was wrong in using the civil power
to execute her will against the Lord Jesus; so certainly
that same church was wrong in prohibiting any member of
the church from teaching or
59 -- preaching the truth which he knew from the the
Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.
as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar the principle is that no
monarch may ever of right do as that monarch did; as in
the case of the law of the Medes and Persians the principle
is that no law may ever of right be similar to that law;
as in the case of the church organization using the civil
power against Christ, the principle is that
no church and no church order or organization
or officialdom may ever of right use the civil power in
any way whatever; just so in the case of the church of Israel
against the apostles, the principle is that
church order, or organization or officialdom,
may ever of right do in any way similar to what in its officialdom
that church did.
Gamaliel's counsel to that church senate that day was right
then and is right forever, and it is divine instruction
to every church assembly, council, and
60 -- senate, forever: "Let
If the preaching or the work be only of man or of human
origin it will come to naught of itself. And if it be of
God you cannot overthrow it whatever you do: and in that
case, in whatever you do to overthrow it you will be found
to be only fighting against God. This thing is in the realm
of God. It is subject to His jurisdiction alone. Leave it
there, and trust Him and serve Him for yourselves; and let
others alone to do the same themselves.
is also plain enough in the plain truth itself. For the
Holy Spirit is given to each individual to guide him "into
all truth." The truth of God is infinite and eternal.
Therefore it will always be true that there is still an
infinity and eternity of truth into which the Christian
is to be guided. In the nature of things it is impossible
for any other than the infinite and eternal Spirit to guide
any one into or in the truth of God. Therefore every soul
must be in-
61 -- finitely and eternally free to be guided by the
infinite and eternal Spirit into this infinity and eternity
of truth. To say anything else than this is only to limit
the truth of God, and limit the mind's advancement in the
knowledge of truth and of God; and is to put an effectual
estoppel upon all possibility of progress. Imagine the condition
of mankind and the world today, if the principle espoused
by that church of Israel had been recognized and her commands
obeyed by the apostles and disciples of the Lord! But the
crowning iniquity of saying anything else than this, is
that it recognizes, sanctions, and establishes a mere human
tribunal in the place of the eternal Spirit, and clothes
a clique of sinful men with the prerogative of that infinite
and eternal Spirit, as the guide into and in all truth.
as plain as all this is in the simple manifestness of the
truth of it, it is deplorably true that from the close of
the apostolic period unto this hour, there has
62 -- not
been, and there is not now, a single church "organization"
or denomination in the world that has not espoused the identical
principle, taken the same position, and done the like thing,
as did that Jewish church in the case of the apostles. And
today there is not a denomination in the world, even to
the very latest one that has risen, in which there is in
any way recognized the right and the freedom of each individual
member of the denomination to be led of the Spirit of God
into truth and to the teaching and preaching of truth that
officialdom does not know or chooses not to countenance.
And when any member is so led and does teach and preach
the truth that he knows by the Spirit and Word of God, immediately
the denominational officialdom is awake, and its machinery
in motion, and in the very spirit, and in the very way,
of the officialdom and machinery of the Jewish church, he
is forbidden to teach or preach any more in
63 -- that name. And if, as did the apostles, he disregards
such action and command, and ceases not to teach and to
preach Jesus in the truth and the way that he knows, then
he, as were the apostles, is persecuted and driven out.
this is, precisely and alone the cause of there being three
hundred and sixty-five or more denominations in the world.
is there never to be any end to this wicked thing? Will
the time ever come, or must it never come, when there
will be among Christians the recognition of the fundamental
Christian principle of the right of individuality and liberty
in faith and in guidance into divine truth? Will the time
ever come, or must it never come, when there will be a company
of Christians in the world who will recognize that the Holy
Spirit is the Guide into all truth, that will recognize
the right and the liberty of that Spirit to guide, that
will recognize the right and the liberty of each Christian
64 -- guided into all truth by that Spirit of truth,
and that will recognize the liberty of each Christian to
hold, to teach, and to preach any and all truth into which
by the Spirit of truth he may be guided?
it time that such a thing should be? Isn't it time that
the Christian principle should be recognized, that such
a condition should prevail among Christians? Even the
world has learned the principle that the monarch
and the autocrat must recognize the full and perfect right
of individuality and liberty in religion. Even the world
has learned that
the law must recognize the full and perfect
right of individuality and liberty in religion. Even the
world has learned that the church must not control
the civil power to cause her will to prevail,
but must recognize the full and perfect right in the field
of persuasion, and therefore must recognize the free and
perfect right of individuality and liberty. And now must
it be that the Church herself will never
learn that she must recognize
65 -- the free and perfect right of individuality and
liberty in faith, in the Spirit, and in the truth? Isn't
it high time that the Christian church should be learning
to recognize in its perfect genuineness the fundamental
principle of her
own origin and very existence? And if it must
be so that no denomination will ever learn or recognize
this fundamental principle of her own origin and existence,
then is it not doubly high time that individual
Christians shall everywhere recognize and practice
constantly this fundamental principle of
their own origin and existence as Christians,
as well as the fundamental principle of the origin and existence
of the Christian church?
so it shall be and will be. The God of individuality and
of liberty will not allow that the divine principle and
right of individuality and liberty in faith and in truth
which He has wrought so wonderfully and so constantly through
all these ages to make plain and to maintain shall be forever
beaten back and
66 -- pressed down, unrecognized and misrepresented
by the Christian church and by Christian people. No; this
truth, this splendid truth, that is the fundamental and
the crowning truth in and to the very existence of the Christian
church and of Christianity itself -- this divine truth will
yet win and hold forever its own divine place before the
world and in
the church. For those who espouse this divine
and fundamental truth of the Christian religion and church
will themselves be now and forever, as in the beginning
they were, the true Christian church in the world, and will
compose that "glorious Church" which Christ, who
gave Himself for the Church, will "sanctify and cleanse
with the washing of water by the word," in order that
at His glorious appearing "He might present it to Himself
a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such
thing, but holy and without blemish."
upon this whole story of the church of Israel against the
67 -- there stands out with transcendent meaning a truth
that is worthy of the most solemn consideration by every
Christian: this truth is, --
which until that time had been the true church, called and
preserved by the Lord, then and there ceased to be the
true church at all; and that which this church despised,
and forbade, and persecuted, and cast out,
became itself the true church.
so it is forever. John 9:34-38.
V -- AS
68 -- From the Scriptures it is plain that the divine
right of individuality in religion stands supreme in the
presence of autocratic monarchy; in the presence of any
decree, statute, or law, of any government; in the presence
of the church in control of the civil power; and in the
presence of the church itself, even within the membership
of the church.
is just one other possible relationship -- that of the
individual to the individual. But when it is
plain and positive by the word of God that no autocracy,
no government of law, no church in control of civil power,
and no church within the circle of its own membership, has
any authority, jurisdiction, or right, in matters religious
in the presence of the supreme and absolute right of the
individual, then it is certain that
69 -- no
individual can ever have any authority, jurisdiction,
or right over another individual in things religious.
this is plain in itself it is well to study at least some
of the Scriptures on this, as well as on each of the other
phases of this subject.
is the gift of God, and to the individual. Jesus Christ
is both the Author and the Finisher of faith. This
being so, it lies in the nature of things that never by
any possibility in righteousness can anybody but Christ
have any authority, jurisdiction, or right, respecting the
exercise of faith which is the vital element of religion.
Christ being both the Author and the Finisher of faith,to
Him alone belongs the sole sovereignty and jurisdiction
in all things relating to faith and to the exercise of faith,
which is religion.
the Scriptures say, "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself
before `God." Rom. 14: 22. Faith being the gift of
God, and Christ being the Author
70 -- and the Finisher of it, it is impossible for any
one to owe to any but God in Christ any responsibility in
matters of faith or the exercise thereof, which is religion.
And this is the ground and surety of complete individuality
the word of God stands written to individual believers forever,
"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not
to doubtful disputations": not to judge his doubtful
thoughts; not for decisions of doubts; not to "judge
him"; not to "despise him"; "for
God hath received him." Rom. 14: 1-3.
let there be noted forever, and forever regarded, that the
reason, divinely given, as to why no Christian can ever
"dispute" with or "decide" for or "judge,"
or "despise" another, is that "God hath received
hath received him" therefore, "receive
hath received him" upon
faith, therefore, "receive ye"
him upon his faith.
though he be "weak in the faith,"yet "God
hath received him"; therefore, even though he be
still "weak in the faith," "receive ye him."
though he be "weak in the faith," it is "the
faith" in which he is weak. And in that faith and by
that faith he is saved. That faith is the gift of God, given
to save the soul; and whosoever is in that faith, even though
he be weak, has the salvation of God which is by faith.
Of that faith, Jesus Christ is the Author and the Finisher;
and whosoever is in that faith has Christ working in him
to finish the blessed work of that faith unto the eternal
salvation of the soul. That faith, the individual is to
hold unto God
the giver of it, and in Christ, the Author and Finisher
of it. The faith being the gift of God through Christ, he
who has it, has it only unto God in Christ; and in
that faith his responsibility is solely to God in Christ.
72 -- Therefore, "him that is weak in the faith
receive YE, . . . for God hath received HIM." God being
the giver of "the faith" through Christ, the Author
and Finisher of faith, the responsibility of every one "in
the faith" is to God in Christ. Therefore, "him
that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful
disputations, not for decisions of doubts," not to
"despise him," not to "judge him"; for,
since "God hath received him" "in the faith,"
and since "in the faith" he is responsible to
God only, "Who art thou that judgest another man's
servant?" Verse 4. This is impossible in righteousness
even though he be a man's
servant; how much more, when he is God's servant, received
and accepted of God "in the faith?"
then, art thou that judgest God's servant, received of Him
"in the faith?" "To his own Master he standeth
or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able
to make him stand." And when "God hath received"
73 -- faith" one whom you and I will not
receive "in the faith," then, where shall we
appear? The question is not then between us and him, but
between God and us. Our difference is then with God, and
we have entered into judgment with God. But when we enter
into judgment with God over His having received "in
the faith," one whom we will not receive "in the
faith," then it is certain that we cannot stand in
that judgment; because we ourselves are not "in the
when God will hold up, and will make to stand "in the
faith," him whom you and I will not receive him, whom
you and I will not hold up nor try to make to stand, then
that one is altogether safe with God "in the faith."
And even though he be "weak in the faith," yet
God is able to hold him up and to make him stand, and "he
shall be holden up" and made to stand by God who has
received him "in the faith" of which God is the
giver, and Christ the Author and Finisher. And as for you
74 -- and me, in all this matter, "let him that
thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
item that demonstrates the perfect individuality of man
in things religious, follows immediately the words already
quoted, thus: "One man esteemeth one day above another:
another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully
persuaded in his own mind." Verse 5.
Scripture does not say that all days are alike; but
only that some "esteemeth
every day alike." The Scriptures are perfectly
plain upon the truth that all days are not alike:
that there is a day that God has made peculiarly his own,
and for man's eternal good has set it apart from all other
days. That day is "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God."
though this is true by the word of God, yet as to the observance
or non-observance of that day the word of the Lord explicitly
declares, "Let every man be
75 -- fully persuaded
in his own mind." And in this declaration
he has again confirmed the perfect supremacy and absolute
right of individuality in religion.
by the way, this item touches a matter that is everywhere
rife today: the matter of the compulsory observance of a
sabbath or day of rest. But in all things pertaining to
the observance or regarding of a day, the word of God to
all people is, "Let every man be fully persuaded in
his own mind. He that regardeth the day regardeth it unto
the Lord: and he that regardeth not the day to the Lord,
he doth not regard it." Verse 6.
day regarded or observed
not to the Lord is not truly regarded or observed
at all; for then there is nothing in it truly to regard.
It is God who has selected, distinguished, and set apart,
the day. The observance of the day pertains, therefore,
to God; and lies only between God and the individual in
faith and conscience. Therefore any observ-
76 -- ance of a sabbath or rest day enforced by law,
by statute, by police, by court, by prosecution, or by persecution,
is, in the first instance, a direct invasion of the province
of God and of the realm of faith and conscience in the individual;
and in the second instance is not even the observance of
the day, and never can be, because it is not of persuasion
in the mind.
has appointed his own chosen and sanctified day to be observed;
that is true, He calls upon all people to observe it, that
is true. But in the observance or regarding of this day,
the word of God thus explicitly declares that it is wholly
an individual matter: "Let every man be fully persuaded
in his own mind." And when any man is not fully
persuaded in his own mind , and therefore does not observe
the day to the Lord, his responsibility for this is to God
alone, and not to any man, nor to any set of men, nor to
any law, or government, or power, on earth.
77 -- Following this item there is made an appeal in
behalf of the recognition of perfect individuality in religion
-- this in view of the awful fact of the judgment of Christ
and of God. This appeal runs thus: "But why dost thou
judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother?
for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.
For it is written, "As
I live, saith the Lord, every knee
shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Verses 10, 11.
one of us must stand before the judgment seat of Christ
and of God, there to be each judged by Him.
How then can it be possible ever in righteousness, that
one of us can be called to be judged by another, or by any
or all others, in the things of religion? that is, in the
things in which we are to answer at the judgment seat of
no. "One is your Master, even Christ,
and all ye are brethren." And, "He that speaketh
evil of his brother,
78 -- and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the
law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou
art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one
Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art
thou that judgest another?" James 4 :11.
that there is to be a judgment-seat of Christ and of God
where all must appear, each to answer for "the deeds
done in the body" -- this is one of the mightiest guarantees
of perfect individuality in religion, and one of the strongest
possible pleas for the recognition of it by every soul always.
the whole thought and truth of perfect individuality in
religion is splendidly summed up, and powerfully emphasized
as well as clearly expressed, in the inspired conclusion,
then every one of us shall give account of HIMSELF to GOD."
79 -- IN
the case of the church of Israel against the members of
that church who chose to believe in Christ and to teach
the truth concerning Him, the principle is made perfectly
plain that no church has any authority, jurisdiction, or
right, in, over, or concerning, the faith or the teaching,
of any individual member of that very church itself. Acts
4 and 5; 2 Cor. 1:24.
is another remarkable scripture that not only illustrates
this total absence of authority, jurisdiction, or right,
of any church, but also makes plain some additional principles
of the great truth of religious liberty.
notable scripture is the one that, contains the words of
Jesus when the spying Pharisees and Herodians came to Him
with their crafty question, "Is it
80 -- lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?"
With the tribute money in His hand, Jesus said: "Whose
is this image and superscription? they say unto Him, Caesar's.
Then saith He unto them, Render, therefore, unto Caesar
the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that
are revealed two persons -- God and Caesar: two powers --
the religious and the civil: two authorities -- the divine
and the human: two jurisdictions -- the heavenly and the
earthly: and only two, to whom, by the divine instruction,
is anything due or to be rendered by men.
is a jurisdiction and an authority a power and a right,
that belong to God. There is also a jurisdiction and an
authority, a power and a right, that belong to Caesar.
these are totally distinct realms. There is that which is
Caesar's; this is to be rendered to Caesar, not to God.
There is that which is God's; and this is to be
81 -- rendered to God, not to Caesar. It is to be rendered
to God alone and direct. ]It is not to be rendered to Caesar,
nor to God by
there was, and ultimately there will be, only one realm,
only one jurisdiction, only one authority, only one power,
only one right -- that of God alone. 1 Cor. 15: 24-28.
sin had never entered there would been any other realm,
nor any other jurisdiction, authority, power, or right,
than that of God alone. And even when sin had entered, if
the Gospel had been received by each and every individual
ever coming into the world,
then there would never have been any realm
or jurisdiction, authority, power, or right, other than
that of God alone. Eph. 1: 7-10; Col. 1: 20-23.
not all will receive the Gospel; and so not all will recognize
the sovereignty, the jurisdiction, the authority, the power,
and the right, of God. Not recognizing God's kingdom, will,
82 -- pose, and power, which is moral and spiritual,
and which makes moral and spiritual all who do recognize
it, these then, being sinful, fail to be even civil. Therefore
there must be in the world a jurisdiction and a power that
will cause those to be civil who will not be moral. And
this is the State, the civil power, Caesar; and this its
reason of existence.
the nature of things there are only the two realms and the
two jurisdictions: the moral and the civil, the spiritual
and the physical, the eternal and the temporal; the one
of God, the other of Caesar. There are these two realms
and jurisdictions, and NO MORE. And there simply cannot
of right be
any more. One of these is God's realm and jurisdiction.
The other is Caesar's.
since by the divine word these are the two, and these
two are the only
two that there can possibly be, then it follows
absolutely and exclusively that to the
church there is neither kingdom nor dominion,
realm nor juris-
83 -- diction, nor
is there any place for any.
It is therefore perfectly plain that ,without assumption
and usurpation no church can ever have any kingdom or dominion,
any realm or jurisdiction. The church is not Caesar's; and
without assumption and usurpation it is impossible for the
church to exercise any of the jurisdiction of Caesar. The
realm and jurisdiction of Caesar -- the State, the civil
power -- is wholly of this world. The church with all that
is of it, is "not of this world." It is therefore
impossible for the church without assumption and usurpation
ever to occupy the realm of Caesar, or to exercise any jurisdiction
in the things of Caesar, which things are wholly of this
being so of the church as relates to Caesar, how much more
is it true of the church as relates to God! The church
is not Caesar and cannot be Caesar. Much more the church
is not God and cannot be God. And has not Inspiration set
forth in such unsparing terms
84 -- as "the man of sin," "the son of
perdition," "the mystery of iniquity," "sitting
in the temple of God, showing himself that
he is God," THAT CHURCH that has thought
to be the kingdom and hold the dominion, to occupy the realm
and exercise the jurisdiction, of
God. Is anything other than
that needed to make perfectly plain the truth
that for any church to assume that to her
it belongs to be the kingdom and hold the dominion, to occupy
the realm and exercise the jurisdiction,
of God, is the very ultimate of arrogancy,
assumption, and usurpation.
it is asked, is not the church the kingdom of God? -- Yes,
it is -- provided
that by the term "the church" is meant
only the divine conception of the church as expressed in
the divine word -- "the fulness of Him that filleth
all in all." When only
that is meant in the use of the words "the
church," then it is indeed the kingdom of God. But
when by the "church" is meant some human
p 85 -- conception, some religious sect or denomination,
some earthly "organization," then it is not
true of any church ever in this world that it is the kingdom
suppose that such a thing as that were really the church,
and therefore the kingdom of God; even so, it would still
be true that in order for such to be in deed the kingdom
of God, it could be so only by God's being king there. And
where God is king, he is king and Lord of all in all. God
is never, and can never be, king in a divided kingdom. He
never does, and never can, share His dominion with another.
Will any one claim or imply that there can in truth and
in fact be a kingdom of God without God's being in truth
and in fact king, there; and king in all that is there?
No, God must be king there or else it is not in truth the
kingdom of God. He must be king and Lord of all and in all
that is there, or else it is not in truth and in fact the
kingdom of God. The realm
86 -- must be occupied by Him, the jurisdiction must
be exercised by Him, the principles must be His, the government
must be of Him, the image and superscription must be His,
and all this exclusively, or else it is not in truth and
in fact the kingdom of God.
soul and spirit of man, as man is in the world, as the world
is, is in intent and by right the kingdom
of God. And so to wicked and unbelieving Pharisees, Jesus
said, "the kingdom of God is within you." But
in lost mankind that kingdom is usurped and that realm is
occupied by another. The usurper is on the throne, exercising
jurisdiction that enslaves, debases, and destroys. Thus,
while in intent and by right the kingdom is God's, yet in
truth and in fact it is not God's but another's. Yet let
the lost and enslaved soul only welcome God into that alienated
realm to occupy His own place on that usurped throne, and
to exercise true jurisdiction there, THEN will that soul
87 -- and life in truth and in fact, as well as in intent
and of right, be the kingdom of God. And even then it is
the kingdom of God in truth only as God is king in all and
over all to that
soul. And so it is with the church.
Church OF GOD is indeed the kingdom of God: it is "the
fulness of him that filleth all in all:" it is composed
only of those who are His. And He is king and sole ruler
in this His kingdom. The jurisdiction in this realm is His
alone; the principles of the government, and the authority
and the power of the government are His alone. And every
citizen of the kingdom owes allegiance to Him alone: and
this direct, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Every inhabitant
of that realm is subject to His jurisdiction alone: and
this direct, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Every member
of this church, which is His kingdom, is inspired and actuated
by the principles which are His alone and from Him alone;
and is governed by the authority and
88 -- power of Him alone; and this all direct from Him,
through Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Thus all who are of
the Church of God in truth, which is the kingdom of God,
render to God
all that is of the heart, of the soul, of the mind, and
of the strength. These also render to
Caesar the things that are Caesar's -- tribute,
custom, honor, in his place. Rom. 13:5-7.
again it is perfectly plain and certain that neither between
God and Caesar, not yet along with them, is there any
party, power, realm, or jurisdiction, to whom any man is
to render anything. There is no command nor obligation from
God to render anything to any kingdom or dominion, to any
power or jurisdiction, but that of God and that of Caesar,
-- these two
only. There is no image and superscription of
neither is there place for any.
this is only to say that without God, and without God in
His place as all in all, any church is simply nothing.
89 -- And when such church attempts to be something,
she is only worse than nothing. And in either case nobody
can ever owe anything
to any such church.
the other hand, when the church is truly with God; and when
He is truly to her all in all; she is truly of the kingdom
of God. And yet even then the the kingdom, the dominion,
the realm, the jurisdiction, the authority, and the power,
are all God's
NOT HERS: so that all that is owed or rendered is
to God, not to the church. Thus it is strictly
and literally true that never in any case is anything owed
or to be rendered by anybody to the church, as such.
thus again it is emphasized that there are just two persons,
two realms, two jurisdictions, two authorities, two poweres
to whom anybody can really owe or render anything -- God
and Caesar: these two and no more, and no other.
requires, therefore, that the church to be true to her calling
90 -- place in the world, shall be so absolutely devoted
to God, so completely swallowed up and lost in God, that
only God shall be known or manifested, wherever and in whatsoever
she is or is to do.
the very spirit of Christianity this is certainly true.
For this is exactly the calling and attitude of individual
Christians in the world -- to be so absolutely devoted to
God, so completely swallowed up and lost in Him, that only
God shall be seen in all that they are : "God manifest
in the flesh." And the church is composed only of individual
Christians. Also the church is "the body of Christ;"
and Christ is God manifest, to the complete emptying, yea,
the very annihilation, of self.
And this is the mystery of God.
just here is where the church, both before Christ and after
Christ, missed her calling,and her place: she aspired to
be something herself,
It was not enough for her that God should be all
91 -- in all. It was not enough for her that the kingdom
and the dominion, the realm and the jurisdiction, the authority
and the power, the word and the faith, should all be God's
and only God's. She aspired to kingdom herself; to realm
and jurisdiction of her own; to authority that she
could assert; to power that she could wield; to a
word that she
could speak; and to a "faith" that she
satisfy this ambition and to make tangible this aspiration,
she rejected God and assumed and usurped the kingdom and
the dominion, the realm and the jurisdiction, the authority
and the power, that belonged to both God and Caesar. And
so being herself neither God nor Caesar, but only a self-constituted
and self-exalted interloper, her blundering confusion of
things only multiplied iniquity and deepened the curse upon
such precisely is the charge that God lays against her in
each age and in
92 -- both testaments. The glory and the beauty, the
honor and the dignity, the authority and the power, the
sweet influence and divine attractiveness, that all were
hers and that were grandly becoming to her, because of
His dwelling with her and being in her --
these all she arrogated TO HERSELF and assumed to be OF
HERSELF. Read Eze. 16: 11-19. Rom. 1: 7-9; 2 Thess. 2: 2-3;
Rev. 17: 1-6.
God gave to her the true and divine
faith that could be "spoken of
throughout the whole world," upon this she assumed
that HER faith was to be the faith of the whole world, and
so took it upon herself
to assign and to dictate "the faith" for
the whole world, and to maintain that "the faith"
which she dictated was the true and divine.
God gave to her His
word in such perfect purity to speak, that
when she should speak it would be as the voice of God, upon
this she exalted herself to the claim that HER voice was
93 -- voice of God, and that the word which she
chose to speak was the word of God because
God gave to her such perfection of
truth that her very speaking of that truth
was to speak with all authority, upon this she assumed for
herself that SHE had authority to speak; and therefore that
when she should speak, all must obey because it was she
God bestowed upon her such measure of his power that
even the devils were subject to that power and must obey
God, upon this she assumed that to HER belonged the power;
and even the power to compel all men and nations in all
the world to be subject to
and to obey her.
in all things she actually thought it a thing to be grasped
and held fast, "a usurpation to be meditated, to be
equal with God." But the time has come when every person
and everything that would be the church or of the church,
must never more think it a
94 -- thing to be seized upon, a usurpation to be meditated,
to be equal with God; but must think only of how the church
shall empty herself, and make herself of no reputation,
and take upon herself the form of a servant, and humble
herself, and become obedient unto death, even the death
of the cross; and all this in order that GOD may be made
manifest in His own person and Spirit in her: and
through her to the world.
time has come when no church should any more call men to
herself but to
Christ only. The time has come when the church
herself must be most of all interested in making it manifest
that there is no third kingdom, realm, jurisdiction, or
power; but only the two -- God and Caesar; and when she
must ever urge upon all people the divine instruction, "Render
therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and
unto God the things that are God's."
time has fully come when the church in all things must let
95 -- mind be in her that "was also in Christ Jesus,
" that will not think it "a thing to be
grasped, to be equal with God;" but that will completely
in order that God may be revealed: the living and
true God, and He all in all. He, only King and Lord of all
in the church and to the church, and that church "the
fulness of Him that filleth all in all."
enough have both states and churches usurped the authority
of God, and have assumed to reign in the place God. Now
the time has fully come when there should be, yea when there
be heard on
earth the grand words of the glorious voices
in heaven: "We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty,
which art, and was, and is to come; because Thou hast taken
to Thee thy great power, and
VII -- RECAPITULATION.
96 -- WE have now traced in the Word of God the principle
of the divine right of individuality in religion, as that
principle is applied and illustrated as relates to autocracy,
to government of the supremacy and inflexibility of law,
to the union of Church and State, to the church itself,
and to individuals.
let no one think that all this is only a series of studies
in ancient history, nor yet that it is a study of principles
and Scriptures only as such: though on either ground the
study would be amply justified. However, it is nothing of
the kind. It is a study of principles which in one phase
or another are fully as alive and active today as ever.
And the day is yet to be, and that not far distant, when
the whole series of illustrations covered in these studies
97 -- again be alive and active, and all at once, as
truly and to the like purpose as each was in its place and
day is coming, and is not far distant, when autocracies,
governments of the supremacy and the inflexibility of the
law, unions of church and State, and churches as such, will
all be standing unitedly, and bent as from one mind, to
compel submission and uniformity in religion; and to crush
out every suggestion of individuality in religion and every
kind of right of it.
is particularly in view of what is soon to come that these
studies have been published. All these things written in
the Scriptures were set down there by the Spirit of inspiration,
not only for the instruction of all people always, but,
particularly "for our admonition upon
whom the ends of the world are come." The mightiest
contest, and this upon the grandest scale, between the forces
of evil and the reign of righteousness that this world's
98 -- shall ever know, is yet to be. This mightiest
conflict is to be in the time when the ends of the world
are come. That time is even now at hand. For this reason
these lessons from the inspired record are all-important
view of the mighty pressure from all these sources and by
all these forces, that is soon to be put on every individual,
it is of the greatest importance that each individual shall
know for himself, and know by the surest possible evidence
-- to know by very certitude itself -- just what is his
place, his responsibility, and his right, individually,
in the presence of principalities and powers, and before
God and with God.
in these studies of the Scriptures we have discussed each
case from the point of view that these powers have no right
to assert or exercise any authority or jurisdiction in religion,
but that the right of individuality in religion is supreme
in the presence of all, the other side is equally true and
99 -- important, even if it be not even more important
-- that it is incumbent on the individual never to allow
any other than God to assert authority or jurisdiction in
religion without being openly challenged and absolutely
ignored: that in true allegiance to God and perfect loyalty
to the right, the divine right of individuality in religion,
shall be maintained. This every individual owes absolutely
to God, to the right, and to himself in God and for the
right. This principle each individual must
maintain or else prove disloyal to God, to himself as a
man before God, and to consent that the wrong shall prevail
instead of the right: in other words, to consent that the
wrong shall be the right.
is true, as the inspired record shows, that autocracy, as
illustrated in King Nebuchadnezzar; that government of the
supremacy of law, as illustrated in the Medo-Persian power;
that the union of church and State, as illustrated in the
Jewish church and the Roman
100 -- power united against Christ; that the church
as such, as illustrated in the church of Israel against
the disciples of Christ; has no right to assert authority
or jurisdiction in religion. It is equally, and even more
emphatically, true, that, to be at all loyal to God and
the right, or true to themselves and to their fellow men,
the three Hebrew young men, the man Daniel, the Lord Jesus,
and the apostles of the Lord, must absolutely disregard
every such assertion. In each case God's dominion was usurped.
In each case the right was being completely thrown over,
and the wrong established in its place. In such a case and
at such a time could any who knew God or cared for the right,
sit still and do nothing? Is allegiance to God, nothing?
Is loyalty to the right, never to be known? Shall the wrong
be recognized as having only the right to prevail? Shall
man never be true -- neither true to God nor to the right,
neither true to himself nor to his fellowmen.
101 -- It is true that Nebuchadnezzar was entirely out
of his place and did wholly wrong when he attempted to exercise
authority in religion; and the story is written to show
to all people forever that every autocracy is just as much
of place, and just as far wrong, when it presumes to assert
authority in religion. At the same time it is true, and
equally important to remember, that the three Hebrew individuals
openly and uncompromisingly disregarded that autocratic
assertion of authority in religion. And the story is written
to teach that all other individuals forever must do as did
those three individuals, if these too will be true to God,
to the right, to themselves, and to their kind.
is true that, notwithstanding its principles of supremacy
and inflexibility of the law, the Medo-Persian government
did wrong when it by its law entered the field of religion;
and the story is written to show to all governments and
people forever that every govern-
102 -- ment is equally wrong in entering by law the
field of religion. It is equally true, and equally important
to remember, that the individual, -- Daniel, -- did absolutely
and uncompromisingly disregard that law; and that the story
is written to teach all individuals forever that in all
like circumstances they must do as did that individual,
if they will honor God and the right and be true to themselves
and to their fellowmen.
is true that the Church of Israel did an enormously wicked
thing when she allied herself with the civil power in order
to make her will effective; and the story of it is written
to show to all the world forever that every church commits
the like enormity whenever, under any pretext whatever,
she seeks to control the civil power to make her will effective.
It is equally true, and equally important to recognize and
remember, that the One lone Individual Who was the object
of this wicked alliance of the church and State, would die
103 -- under it rather than to yield to it or to recognize
it in the slightest degree. And this is all written, that
every other individual to the world's end shall be ready
under like circumstances to do as did the Lord Jesus, in
order to be true to God, to the truth, true to himself,
and true to the human race.
is true that the church of Israel went out of the right
way, and did entirely wrong, when she assumed the authority
to decide what the members of that church should or should
not believe and teach; and the story of it is written to
make plain to all churches and people forever, that every
church is just as far from the right way, and equally wrong,
when she assumes any authority to decide what any member
of the church shall or shall not believe and teach. It is
equally true, and just as important to remember, that the
individual church-members there openly and uncompromisingly
refused to recognize any such authority to any extent or
in any de-
104 -- gree whatever. And this is written to teach to
all church-members forever that they must individually do
the like, if they will be true to God, true to Christ, true
to the right, true to themselves, and true to mankind.
three Hebrew young men did right when they refused to recognize
any right of autocracy in religion. Daniel did right when
he refused to recognize any right of civil government of
law in religion. The Lord Jesus did right when he refused
to recognize any right of the church through the civil power
to make effective her will. The apostles and disciples of
the Lord Jesus did right when they refused to recognize
any right of the church to decide or to dictate what they
should or should not believe and teach. In each of these
cases God openly and in mighty miraculous power made perfectly
plain to all that these individuals were right. By this
it is openly demonstrated not only that they were right,
but that they were
105 --right. And in each case the story has been written
out that all powers and people forever may know that such
course is divinely right. And whosoever will stand with
God as did each of these in his place, can know it.
is these individuals and such as these, who, in their day
and from age to age, kept alive in the world the honor of
God, who have kept alive the right in the world, who have
kept alive integrity and true manliness in mankind; yea,
it is just these and such as these blessed individuals
who have kept the world itself alive.
is not autocracies, nor governments of law, nor unions of
church and state, nor yet is it even churches as such that
have maintained the honor of God, that have held true to
the right, and that have preserved the integrity of man.
For all history with one voice testifies that all these
have done all that they could to undermine and break down
all individuality and integrity of man,
106 -- to obliterate the right, and to shut out God
from his own place in men and in the world.
it is not these, but the blessed INDIVIDUAL with God and
in God; it is those who have known and maintained the divine
right of individuality in religion; it is the Daniels, the
Christ, the Pauls, the Wyckliffes, the Luthers, who have
stood alone in the world and in the church, and against
both the church and the world -- it is THESE, who have maintained
the honor of God, who have kept alive the knowledge of God,
of the right and of the true, and so have kept alive the
now, and for the time to come when there is being pushed
forward among the churches and urged upon the world, denominational,
national, international, and world FEDERATION in religion
and of religion; when all this is aimed expressly to the
one end of asserting by autocracies, by governments of the
supremacy and inflexibility of
107 -- law by churches allied with and in control of
civil power, and by churches of themselves; when all these
shall work at once and together to the assertion and exercise
of absolute authority in religion -- in view of all this,
just now, as never before, it is essential to know, to proclaim,
and to maintain,
Divine Right of Individuality in Religion,
and Religious Liberty Complete.
VIII -- INDIVIDUALITY
THE SUPREME GIFT.
108 -- GOVERNMENT exists in the very nature of the existence
of intelligent creatures. For the very term "creature"
implies the Creator; and as certainly as any intelligent
creature is, he owes to the Creator all that he is. And,
in recognition of this fact, he owes to the Creator honor
and devotion supreme. This, in turn, and in the nature of
things, implies subjection and obedience on the part of
the creature; and this is the principle of government.
intelligent creature owes to the Creator all that he is.
Accordingly, the first principle of government is, "Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
109 -- This is pronounced by the Lord to be the first
of all the commandments. It of all the commandments because
it was the first one that was ever given; but simply because
it exists in the very nature and existence of every intelligent
creature, and so inheres in the nature of things as soon
as a single intelligent creature exists.
is, therefore, the first of all the commandments, simply
because it is but the expression of the inherent obligation
in the first relationship which can possibly exist between
creature and Creator. It is the first in the nature, the
circumstances, and the existence of created intelligences.
is the first of all the commandments in the
supreme and most absolute sense. It
inheres in the nature and the relationship of the first
intelligent creature, and stands as complete in the case
of that one alone as though there were millions; and stands
as complete in the case of each one in the succession of
110 -- ture millions as in the case of the first intelligent
creature, as he stood absolutely alone in the universe.
No expansion, no multiplication of the number of the creatures
beyond the original one, can ever in any sense limit
the scope or meaning of that first of all commandments.
It stands absolutely alone and eternally complete, as the
first obligation of every intelligent creature that can
ever be. And this eternal truth distinguishes
individuality as an eternal principle.
just as soon as a second intelligent creature is given existence,
an additional relationship exists. There is now not only
the primary and original relationship of each to the Creator,
for both owe equally their existence to the Creator, but
also an additional and secondary relationship of each
to the other.
secondary relationship is one of absolute equality. And
in the subjection and devotion of each to the Creator, in
the first of all possible relationships,
111 -- each of these honors the other. Therefore, in
the nature of things, in the existence of two intelligent
creatures, there inheres the second governmental principle,
mutuality of all the subjects as equals.
this principle is expressed in the second of all the commandments,
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." This
is the second
of all the commandments, for the like reason that the
first is the
of all the commandments: it exists and inheres in
the nature of things and of intelligences just as soon as
a second intelligent creature exists. And also, like the
first, this is complete and absolute the moment that two
intelligent creatures exist, and it never can be expanded
nor can it be modified by the existence of the universe
full of other intelligent creatures.
himself, alone, in his own individuality, is completely
subject and devoted first of all to the Creator; because
to Him he owes all. And in this
112 -- subjection and devotion to the Creator first
of all, each honors every other intelligent creature as
his equal: as equally with himself occupying his place in
the design of the Creator, and responsible individually
and only to the Creator for the fulfillment of that design.
Therefore out of respect to the Creator, to his neighbor,
and to himself, he loves his neighbor as himself. And this
second eternal truth, equally with the first distinguishes
as an eternal principle.
is original government. It is also ultimate government;
because these are first principles complete and absolute;
and because they eternally inhere in the nature and relationships
of intelligent creatures. And this government, which is
at once original and ultimate, is simply
self-government -- self-government in rationality
and in God. For it is only the plainest, simplest dictate
of rationality that the intelligent creature should recognize
that to the Creator he
113 -- owes all; and that, therefore, subjection and
honor are the reasonable dues from him to the Creator. It
is likewise a dictate of reason that, since his neighbor
equally with himself owes all to the Creator, his neighbor
must be respected and honored in all this as he himself
would desire to be respected and honored in it.
is also the simple dictate of rationality that, since these
have all been created, and in their existence owe all to
the Creator, this existence with all its accompaniments
in the exercise of abilities and powers should be ever held
strictly in accordance with the will and design of the Creator.
Because it is still further the simple dictate of reason
that the Creator could never have designed that the existence,
the faculties, or the powers of any creature should be exercised
contrary to His will or outside of His design. Therefore
it is the simplest, plainest dictate of rationality that
this original and ultimate government, which
114 -- is self-government,
is self-government under God,
with God, and
God. And this is truly the only true self-government.
God has created all intelligences absolutely free. He made
man, equally with other intelligences, to be moral. Freedom
of choice is essential to morals. To have made an intelligence
unable to choose would have been to make it incapable of
freedom, Therefore, He made man, equally with other intelligences,
free to choose;
and He ever respects that of which He is the Author the
freedom of choice.
in the exercise of this freedom of choice, an intelligence
chooses that his existence, with its consequent faculties
and powers, shall be spent strictly subject to the will
and within the design of the Creator, and so, indeed, with
the Creator and in the Creator, this is in the truest sense
strictly and truly self-
government. And when the service, the worship,
115 -- and the allegiance, of each intelligence is to
rendered entirely upon his own free choice, this reveals
on the part of God, the Supreme and true Governor, the principle
with the consent of the governed.
the divine government as it relates to both the Governor
and the governed, the Creator and the creature, is demonstrated
as well as revealed to be government of perfect freedom;
and of perfect freedom because of perfect
sin man lost his freedom and therefore his individuality.
But in the gift of Christ all was restored. "He hath
sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives." "Christ
suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might
bring us to God."
Jesus, therefore, came from Heaven unto the world to bring
back to man, and to bring man back to, what man had lost.
Individuality was the Creator's supreme gift. In the fall,
116 -- was lost. In the gift of Christ the
day that man sinned, the gift of individuality
was restored to man.
the long ages of sinful and imperial despotism from Cain
to Tiberius Caesar, men had been so continually and systematically
oppressed that they had been robbed of every vestige of
individuality. Then Christ came into the world in human
flesh as man, and through every phase of human experience
established the individuality of man upon its own original
and eternal basis. Matt. 25 : 15. Therefore, without Christianity
in its original and native purity there cannot be true individuality.
in the interests of despotism the very name of Christianity
was perverted. And through long ages of ecclesiastical imperialistic
tyranny men were again systematically robbed of every vestige
of individuality. In the Reformation, God again restored
men to Christianity and individuality. But Protestantism
117 -- hardened in forms and creeds; and every form
and denomination of Protestants has denied, and done all
that it could to destroy, Christian liberty and individuality.
And now, through denominational, national, international,
and federation and confederation in religion and of religions,
again ecclesiastical imperialistic despotism will work with
all worldly power, deceiving signs, and lying wonders, systematically
to rob man finally of every vestige of individuality.
Christianity in its supreme gift of individuality, as always
before, will now and finally triumph over all. Rev. 15 :
2, 3. And Christianity triumphing through individuality,
in the nature of the case, does it now as always before
only in and through the blessed individual: the individual
under God and with God, the individual maintaining in perfect
sincerity the Divine Right of Individuality in Religion,
and Religious Liberty Complete.
118 -- Individuality,
bear in mind always not individualism:
for it is distinctly and eternally an "ity";
never an "ism."
119 --Whence came Sunday Legislation?
is its origin? What is its character?
does it mean to the people of the States, of the United
States, and of the world?
questions are preeminently pertinent everywhere in the United
States today; for in the States and in the Nation, Sunday
legislation is universally demanded; before Congress and
State legislatures Sunday legislation is constantly urged.
for another reason these questions are not only pertinent,
but all important. That reason is that it is
through Sunday legislation that all the autocracies,
all the governments of law, all the unions of Church and
State, and all the churches as such, are to be
120 -- enlisted and combined under the pressure of denominational,
national, international, and world Federation of religion,
for the domination of the whole world in religion. The whole
movement for the federation of the world in religion, culminates
preeminently in the one thing of Sunday observance, and
this by law.
ORIGIN AND CHARACTER. -- The first legislation in behalf
of Sunday was that by Constantine; and it originated in
the church and was enacted solely upon the
initiative and the demand of
the bishops. This is certain, not only from
the provisions of the legislation itself, but also from
all the facts and circumstances of the legislation, and
from the whole history of the
time, as well as of the legislation.
first legislation on the subject was about the year A. D.
314, and included Friday as well as Sunday. And the intent
of the legislation was speci-
121 -- fically religious, for it provided and ordered
that on Friday and on Sunday "there should be a suspension
of business at the courts and in other civil offices, so
that the day might be
devoted with less interruption to
the purposes of ,devotion."
is Neander's paraphrase of the statement of Sozomen respecting
this first of all legislation in behalf of Sunday observance;
and it shows that the only intent of the legislation was
religious. But Sozomen's words themselves, as we have them
in English in Professor Walford's translation, really intensify
the religious character of the legislation. Here they are:
[Constantine] also enjoined the observance of the day termed
the Lord's day, which the Jews call the first day of the
week, and which the Greeks dedicate to the sun, as likewise
the day before the seventh, and commanded that no judicial
or other business should be transacted on
122 -- these
days, but THAT GOD SHOULD BE SERVED
WITH PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS." -- Sozomen's "Ecclesiastical
History," Book 1, Chap. VIII.
puts it beyond all question or contrivance that the intent
of the first legislation ever in the world in behalf of
Sunday as a day of cessation from certain business and other
common occupations was religious wholly and solely.
the second step in Sunday legislation, in the law of Constantine
issued A. D. 321, Friday was dropped and Sunday stood alone.
The scope of the law was now extended to include not only
courts and other State offices, but also the "people
residing in cities" and "such as work at trades."
And still the intent of it was unqualifiedly the same; for
Eusebius, one of the bishops who had most to do with the
legislation, says of it: --
[Constantine] commanded too, that one day should be regarded
as a special occasion FOR RELIGIOUS WOR-
123 -- SHIP."
-- Oration in Praise of Constantine, - Chap. I
when in A. D. 386 the scope of the legislation was made
universal and " civil transactions of every kind
on Sunday were strictly
forbidden," the same exclusively religious
character still attached to it; for "whosoever transgressed
was to be considered in fact, as guilty of
is not in any sense a civil,
but in every sense only a
Thus on the face of the legislation itself it is perfectly
plain that there was neither in it, nor about it, in any
way, any other than an exclusively religious intent. Yet
we are not left with only this evidence, all-sufficient
as it would be in itself. By the very ones who initiated
and promoted and secured the legislation, there is given
the positive assurance that the intent of the legislation
was exclusively religious, and specifically so. Again, Bishop
124 -- is the one who assures us of this, as follows,
referring to Constantine in this connection:
else has commanded the nations inhabiting the continents
and islands of this mighty globe to assemble weekly on the
Lord's day and to observe it as a festival, NOT indeed for
the PAMPERING OF THE BODY, BUT for the comfort
and invigoration of THE SOUL by instruction in
divine truth."-Ibid. Chap. XVII.
this is confirmed by the course of Constantine himself in
connection with the law. As the interpreter of his own law,
showing what he
intended that its meaning should be,
he drew up the following prayer
which he had his soldiers repeat in concert at a given signal
every Sunday morning:
acknowledge Thee the only God; we own Thee as our king and
implore Thy succor. By Thy favor have we gotten the victory;
through Thee are we mightier than our ene-
We render thanks for Thy past benefits and trust Thee for
future blessings. Together we pray to Thee and beseech Thee
long to preserve to us, safe and triumphant, our Emperor
Constantine and his pious sons." - Life of Constantine,"
Book IV, Chap. XX
If, however, there should yet be in the mind of any reasonable
person any lingering doubt as to whether the original Sunday
legislation was religious only, with no thought, much less
any intent, of its having any other than an exclusively
religious character, even such lingering doubt must be effectually
removed by the indisputable fact that it was by virtue of
his office and authority as pontifex maximus, and
not as Emperor, that the day was set apart to the
uses signified; because it was the sole prerogative of the
pontifex maximus to appoint
holy days. In proof of this there is the excellent authority
of the historian Duruy in the following words:
126 -- "IN
DETERMINING WHAT DAYS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS HOLY, and
in the composition of a prayer for national use, CONSTANTINE
EXERCISED ONE OF THE RIGHTS BELONGING TO HIM AS PONTIFEX
MAXIMUS, and it caused no surprise that he should do this."
History of Rome," Chap. CII, Part I, par. 4,
much for the exclusively religious origin and character
of Sunday legislation as it is in itself. Now what for ITS
INSPIRATION AND INITIATION.
original Sunday legislation was but a part of the grand
ambition and scheme of the popular church of the time through
politico-ecclesiastical connivance and intrigue with Constantine
to establish a "kingdom of God" on earth; and
this in the very thought and purpose of an earthly theocracy.
For there had in fact arisen in the church "a false
theocratical theory . . . which might easily result in the
formation of a sacerdotal
127 -- the
secular to itself in a false and outward way."
"This theocratical theory was already the prevailing
one in the time of Constantine; and "the bishops voluntarily
made themselves dependent on him by their disputes and by
their determination to make use of the power of the State
for the furtherance of their aims." - Neander.
the whole scheme of a human theocracy in imitation of the
original and divine one in the Scriptures, was definitely
worked out by the bishops; and
through Sunday legislation was made effective.
This is absolutely unmistakable and undeniable in the history
of the time. It is the plain thread-thought of the whole
ecclesiastical literature of the time; and stands crystallized
in Bishop Eusebius's "Life of Constantine."
The church was Israel in Egypt oppressed by the Pharaoh
Maxentius, and Constantine was the new Moses who delivered
this new oppressed Israel. The defeat of Max-
128 -- entius by Constantine in the battle of the Milvian
Bridge, and his drowning in the Tiber, was the overthrow
of Pharaoh in the sea, and his "sinking to the bottom
like a stone." After this deliverance of the new Israel
by this new Moses, the new Moses with the new Israel went
on to the conquest of the heathen in the wilderness, to
the full establishment of the new theocracy, to the entering
of the promised land, and to the saints of the Most High
taking the kingdom. Accordingly, by the new Moses a tabernacle
was set up, and a priesthood in imitation of the divine
original in the Scriptures was established. And still in
imitation of that divine original in the Scriptures, Sunday
was by law made the sign of this new and false theocracy,
as the Sabbath was and is the sign of the original, the
true, and the divine Theocracy. And
this was done with this direct intent;
for we have it so stated in the words of Bishop Eusebius
129 -- self who was one of the chief ones in the doing
of it. Here are his words: --
things whatsoever it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these
WE have transferred to the Sunday."
the scheme and system of things thus established was in
their thought the very kingdom of God on earth, is also
plainly and positively stated by Bishop Eusebius thus: --
as he is with a semblance of
he [Constantine] directs his gaze above and FRAMES HIS EARTHLY
GOVERNMENT according to THE PATTERN of that DIVINE
ORIGINAL, feeling strength in ITS CONFORMITY TO THE
MONARCHY OF GOD." "And by the appointment of the
Caesars fulfills the predictions of the prophets,
according to what they uttered ages before: 'And the
saints of the most High SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM.' "
"Oration," Chap. III.
Sunday observance established and enforced by imperial law,
130 -- sign of the new and false theocracy, in the place
and in imitation of the Sabbath as the sign of the original
and true Theocracy, was the means of making all the people
"fit subjects" of this new and false "kingdom
of God." Here are the words, still by Bishop Eusebius:
Emperor, ever beloved by Him, derives the source of imperial
authority from above." "That preserver of
the universe orders these heavens and earth and the celestial
kingdom, consistently with His Father's will. Even
so, our emperor, whom He loves, by bringing those whom he
rules on earth to the only begotten Word and SAVIOUR,
RENDERS THEM FIT SUBJECTS OF HIS KINGDOM." Ibid.
evidences demonstrate that the inspiration and initiation
of the original Sunday legislation was exclusively and specifically
ecclesiastical; and this all to the promotion of a grand
and subtle scheme of the bishops for the erec-
131 -- tion of "a
sacerdotal state" that should "subordinate
the secular to itself in a false and outward way";
and to make effective "their
determination to make use of the power of the State for
the furtherance of their aims."
by the evidence on these two counts -- 1. -- "The
Origin and Character:" 2. -- "The Inspiration
and Initiation,"of the original Sunday legislation
-- that the said Sunday legislation is specifically religious
and ecclesiastical, with every other thought and intent
specifically excluded, stands proven to a demonstration:
to a demonstration,
because it is the unanimous testimony of all the evidence
that can be brought in the case.
STANDS THE CASE NOW? -- The
exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical
character of the original Sunday legislation being a positive
fixture, the question next arises, Has Sunday legislation
ever lost that
132 -- exclusive and specific religious and ecclesiastical
of all, how could that character possibly be lost? That
being its native and inherent character; that being absolutely
the only character that it ever had; it is perfectly plain
that this character simply never could be lost. As certainly
as the thing survives at all, its native and inherent character
is there. Therefore, wherever, to the world's end, Sunday
legislation shall be found, its native and inherent religious
and ecclesiastical character inevitably attaches to it.
is true in the very principle and nature of the case. But
let us trace the thing historically and see how completely
the principle is manifested. The "sacerdotal State,"
in the erection of which the original Sunday legislation
was such a potent factor, did, all over Europe and for more
than a thousand years, "subordinate the secular to
itself," and did thus most despotically
133 -- "make use of the power of the State -- every
State -- for the furtherance of her aims." In all this
dismal time Sunday legislation was continued, and with no
pretense of any other than its original, native, and inherent,
religious and ecclesiastical character.
1533 Henry VIII divorced himself and England from the Pope
of Rome. But that was all: for, to what then and thus became
of England" Henry immediately stood as pope
in the place of the pope. By statute it was ordered that
the king "shall be taken, accepted and reputed the
only supreme head on earth of the church of England."
And in 1535 Henry assumed officially the title "On
earth supreme head of the Church of England." That
which was now the Church of
England was only that which before had been the
in England. "In form nothing had been
changed. The outer constitution of the Church remained unaltered.
134 -- And in this same unchanged system the original
papal Sunday legislation was continued, and has been continued
to the present day: and still with no pretense or suggestion
of anything else than as in its original, native, and inherent,
religious and ecclesiastical character.
England there spread colonies to America. In America these
colonies were established by English charters, and so were
but the extension here of the English Government. And in
strict accord with the English system, and in plain extension
of it, every colony established in America, except only
Rhode Island, had an established
religion: either in the form of "the
Christian religion" in general, or else, as in most,
in the form of some particular church.
in every one of these colonial religious establishments
in America, there was extended, and in some there was even
intensified, the Sunday legislation of the English system,
which was only the extension of the Sunday legis-
135 -- lation of the original Roman and papal system.
And still here, as always before in England and in Rome,
the Sunday legislation of the colonies in America was never
with any thought or purpose, or pretense, other than as
in its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical
these colonies cut loose from the government of Britain
and became free and independent States."
But still each of them was the same as before in its system
of established religion and Sunday legislation. Virginia,
however, immediately disestablished there the Church of
England and her religion; and as regards established religion
as such swept it all away by "An Act for Establishing
Religious Freedom." Yet on the statute books of the
now State of
Virginia there stood and remained unmodified the identical
Sunday legislation of the Colony
of Virginia, which was only the unmodified Sunday
136 -- legislation of the English Church - and State
- system, which was only the unmodified Sunday legislation
of the Roman and papal system in its old, original, native,
and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character.
the story of Virginia in this is substantially the story
of every other of the original Thirteen States; excepting
always Rhode Island. And the Sunday legislation of all the
States of the Union, after the original Thirteen, has been
only the extension, and practically the copying, of the
Sunday legislation of the original Thirteen States that
had it. And in this bad progress even Rhode Island has been
perverted and disgraced. And always this Sunday legislation
of the later States has been of the same original native
and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character of that
of the Colonies, of England, and of Rome.
from the original Sunday legislation of Constantine to the
137 -- day legislation in the United States, it the
same thing, to the same purpose, and of the same character
LEGISLATION UNCONSTITUTIONAL -- Then
came the formation of the National Government of the United
States with its total separation of religion and the State,
and its constitutional provision that "Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This principle
of the national Constitution with the preceding "Act
for Establishing Religious Freedom," in Virginia, has
been the guide in the formation of the Constitutions of
all the States of the American Union, after the original
Thirteen: and even the Constitutions, though not the legislation,
of the original Thirteen States have been materially shaped
by it. And so faithfully has this guidance been followed,
and so generally has the principle been
138 -- recognized throughout the whole American Union,
that, as summarized, the case stands thus: --
things which are not lawful under any of the American
Constitutions may be stated thus:
1. -- Any law respecting an establishment of religion.
2. -- Compulsory support, by taxation or otherwise,
of religious instruction.
3. -- Compulsory attendance upon religious worship.
4. -- Restraints upon the free exercise of religion
according to the dictates of conscience.
5. -- Restraints upon the expression of religious
are the prohibitions which in some form of words are to
be found in the American Constitutions, and which secure
freedom of conscience and of religious worship. No man
in religious matters is to be
139 -- subjected
to the censorship of the State
or of any public authority."
legislators have not been left at liberty to effect
a union of Church and State, or to establish preferences
by law in favor of any religious persuasion or mode
of worship. There is not complete religious liberty
where any one sect is favored by the State and given
advantage by law over other sects.
establishes a distinction against one class or sect is,
to the extent to which the distinction operates unfavorably,
a persecution; and if based on religious grounds, a religious
persecution. The extent of the discrimination is not material
to the principle; it is enough that it creates an inequality
of right or privilege." -- Cooley's "Constitutional
Limitations," Chap. XIII, par. 1-9.
Now, in view of these facts, provisions. And principles,
taking Sunday legislation for just what it unquestion-
140 -- ably is, -- exclusively and specifically religious
-- it is perfectly plain upon every principle that anywhere
and everywhere in the United States, and under all the Constitutions,
Sunday legislation is "a religious persecution,"
and is absolutely unconstitutional and void of itself.
it is unconstitutional has been admitted by both State and
United States Courts. The Supreme Court of Ohio said plainly
that "if religion were the sole ground of Sunday legislation,
it could not stand for a moment" under the Constitution.
And a United States District Court has remarked upon the
"somewhat humiliating spectacle of the Sunday Advocates
trying to justify the continuance of Sunday legislation
. . . upon the argument that it is not in conflict
with the civic dogma of religious freedom," when "It
surely is"; and says that "the potentiality
of the fact that it
is in aid of religion might be frankly confessed
and not denied."
141 -- And the latter court distinctly recognized it,
in the very word, as "persecution."
INVENTION AND FIAT. -- And yet all over the United States
Sunday legislation is held by courts to be constitutional!
How can this be? The answer is that it
is solely by judicial invention and fiat.
-- It is not by judicial construction or interpretation
of the Constitutions, but
wholly by judicial invention and fiat as to the
character of the legislation. That is to say:
By judicial invention and fiat an utterly new and foreign
character is given to Sunday legislation: and then upon
this new and foreign ground the legislation is held to be
constitutional. If this new and foreign ground were in truth
the original and native ground, even then the constitutionality
of such legislation would be open to question. But not in
any sense is the new and foreign ground true. It is a sheer
invention, and false both as to principle and to the facts.
142 -- This judicial invention and fiat of new and foreign
ground for Sunday legislation is the proposition that it
is for the physical benefit, for the promotion of
the health and for the restoration of the wasted
energies, of the people; that "it is for the protection
of labor," and so is constitutional "as a police
regulation" and a "purely civil rule"!
everybody who knows but the A B C of Sunday legislation,
knows full well that no Sunday law in the world was ever
enacted with any such intent, or for any such purpose, or
upon any such ground, as that; but that every Sunday law
ever in the world was enacted solely because of its religious
and ecclesiastical character, with every physical and civic
element specifically excluded.
State of Idaho is an illustration in point, and being the
very latest, is strictly pertinent. In the very spirit,
and with the very aim, of the bishops in the time of Constantine,
an ecclesiastical clique,
not of the State of Idaho, framed
143 -- for
Idaho a Sunday Bill and carried it to the legislature
of Idaho and got it enacted into the law of Idaho. And then
under a Constitution declaring that:
exercise and enjoyment of religious faith and worship shall
forever be guaranteed; . . . no person shall be denied any
civil or political right, privilege, or capacity on account
of his religious opinions; . . . nor shall any preference
be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of
Supreme Court of Idaho held that religious and ecclesiastical
statute to be "constitutional."
State of Washington is another illustration. The Constitution
of that State declares that
freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment,
belief, and worship shall be guaranteed to every individual,
and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property
on account of religion."
144 -- When in 1889 this constitutional provision was
framed, it was the unanimous intent of its framers that
it should exclude Sunday legislation equally with every
other form of religion in law. The writer of this book was
present with the committee of the Constitutional Convention
when that provision was framed. And I personally know that
such was the intent of the framers of it, because this very
subject of Sunday legislation was particularly considered
by the committee and it was held by the committee unanimously
that this constitutional provision as
framed would, as
exclude Sunday legislation. And yet under that Constitution
the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has held Sunday
legislation to be "constitutional."
Thus with Sunday legislation actually framed by ecclesiastics
with no other than religious and ecclesiastical intent,
and with constitutional provisions framed with direct intent
to prohibit it,
145 -- the courts by sheer judicial invention and fiat
make it "constitutional."
every such decision is plainly in open disregard of one
of the very first
principles, and of "the universally admitted
of judicial action -- the
rule, that "the intention of the lawmaker
is the law"; that "the law must be construed according
to the intention of the lawmaker"; and that "a
law can have no meaning beyond the intent of those who made
principle, that must ever,
in justice, guide in the construction of statutes
as well as constitutions,
is authoritatively stated as follows: --
court which should allow a change of public sentiment to
influence it in giving to a written constitution a construction
not warranted by the intention of its founders, would be
justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath
and public duty." -- Cooley, "Constitutional
146-- The principle applies with equal force to the
construction of a statute, as to the construction
of a Constitution.
And whether the change of sentiment which a court should
allow thus to influence it, be public and general or only
the private and personal sentiment and bias of the court
itself, the principle is the same and such court is equally
"chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath
and public duty." Yet this is precisely what has been
done by the courts when, by setting up an utterly new and
foreign meaning, they give to Sunday legislation a construction
not in any sense warranted by the intention of its founders
or its framers, anywhere in human history or experience.
PALPABLE SUBTERFUGE. -- Yet even this invention and
fiat of new and foreign ground for Sunday legislation, is
not allowed to exclude the original and native
religious ground of it. This invention, in
fact, is only the stalk-
147 -- ing-horse by which Sunday legislation as
religious can be brought in and made to stand
as "constitutional" under constitutional provisions
that absolutely prohibit it. For no sooner has it in each
instance been made "constitutional" as "purely
civil rule" than it is immediately given standing as
by the declaration that "the
fact that the legislation
is founded in religion" and is "the peculiar feature
of Christianity," "is nothing against it, but
rather is strongly in its favor." Thus, under Constitutions
prohibiting religious legislation, by a sheer sleight of
judicial legerdemain the feat is accomplished of making
"constitutional" legislation that is wholly religious
IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. -- But against it all there
still stands the abiding truth that Sunday legislation is
unconstitutional everywhere in the United States, because
of its religious character. The inventing of a
148 -- "civil
basis" for it in order to render it constitutional,
only leaves it still unconstitutional because of its original,
native, and inherent religious and ecclesiastical
character. In other words, when the Constitution guarantees
absolute freedom from all religious observances, restrictions,
by law required,
then any religious
character whatever attaching to any law renders
it unconstitutional for
Constitution is the supreme expression of the will of the
people in the government. And when that supreme will excludes
from legislation all things religious, then this supreme
will can not be evaded by the mere trick of inventing a
basis" for a religious
thing. By such trick every religious thing ever
heard of could be made constitutional and enforced upon
all: and the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom
would thus be turned into a tantalizing figment.
149 -- Therefore, instead of the "religious
ground of Sunday observance being nothing against, but rather
in favor of, Sunday legislation as a civil rule," the
truth is that this is the strongest possible objection against
it; so strong indeed that this alone nullifies it, whatever
might be its "civil" nature or necessity.
Supreme Court of California has well stated this principle,
as follows: --
Constitution says that 'the free exercise and enjoyment
of religious profession and worship, without discrimination
or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State.'
. . . The constitutional question is a naked question of
legislative power. Had the legislature the power to do the
particular thing done? What was that particular thing? --
It was prohibition of labor on Sunday. Had the Act been
so framed as to show that it was intended by those who voted
for it, as simply a municipal regulation; yet, if, in fact,
150 -- vened
the provision of the Constitution securing religious freedom
to all, we should have been compelled to declare it unconstitutional
for that reason. " - Ex-parte Newman.
principle is that it would be impossible for as much damage
to accrue to the State, to society, or to the individual,
through being deprived of a desired "civil
benefit, as must certainly accrue to the State, to
to every individual, through the infringement of religious
freedom, the invasion of the rights of conscience, and the
clothing of religionists with civil power.
IF CONSTITUTIONAL IT WOULD YET BE
WRONG. -- It
is undeniable then, that Sunday legislation is religious
and ecclesiastical, and, as such, and under whatever plea,
is unconstitutional and "a persecution" everywhere
in the United States. But even if it were constitutional
here, as it is in England and France and Spain and
151 -- Russia, it would still be wrong. As religious
and ecclesiastical, Sunday legislation is wrong of itself
and never can by any possibility be right.
Nebuchadnezzar, as against the three Hebrew young men, made
a law having a religious basis and character, But God taught
him and all kings and people forever, that it was wrong.
Medo-Persian government, as against Daniel, enacted a statute
of inflexible law having a religious basis and character.
But God taught that government and all governments and people
forever that it was wrong.
as for the church "making use of the power of the State
for the furtherance of her aims," which could not possibly
be with any other than religious intent -- that by this
slimy, serpentine, trick there was accomplished by the church
her "aim" at the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory,
sufficient demonstration to the wide universe and for eternity
that such combination and the
152 -- procedure under it is supremely and satanically
there is a higher law and a mightier Authority than any
of earth; that is the will and authority of God.
Religion is the duty which intelligences owe
to their Creator, and the manner of discharging that duty.
The religion therefore, of every soul stands only between
him and the Sovereign of the soul. Therefore, though Sunday
legislation were constitutional in every State or government
on earth, still, as being
religious, it would be altogether wrong; because
it is an invasion of the realm, and a usurpation of the
authority and jurisdiction, of God.
POSSIBLE GROUND FOR IT. -- There
are just two authorities to whom, as respects law or government,
anybody in the world is under any obligation to render anything.
These two are God and Caesar. Accordingly the Lord Jesus
declared this truth thus:
153 -- "Render therefore unto Caesar the things
which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
legislation and Sunday observance come from neither God
is not of God; for, as the evidence shows, in the very beginning
of it, it was set up as the sign of the false and human
theocracy of the
man of sin in the
place of God,
showing himself that
he is God, to supplant the Sabbath of the
Lord as the sign of the true and divine Theocracy in which
God Himself is God alone.
is not of Caesar: for, as the evidence shows, it was not
as Caesar -- the head of the
State, but solely as
pontifex maximus -- the head of religion,
that Constantine decreed Sunday to be a sacred day and established
its observance: and this under the inspiration and demand
Church" which is neither God nor Caesar.
since it is from neither God nor Caesar, but only from "the
154 -- through a heathen "head of religion,"
there is no obligation, no ground, and no room, for anybody
in the universe ever to render to anybody any observance
of it in any way whatever.
ULTERIOR PURPOSE. -- By every count in the indictment
then, it is demonstrated that the original, native, and
inherent character of Sunday legislation abides ever the
same -- exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical.
the ulterior purpose in Sunday legislation is likewise ever
the same. We have seen that in the original Sunday legislation
the ulterior purpose was "the formation of a sacerdotal
State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and
outward way"; and the making effective of "the
determination" of the ecclesiastics "to make use
of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims."
that is precisely the ulterior pur-
155- pose of it now. Congress and legislatures are constantly
besieged; legislators are persistently pestered, and even
threatened, by ecclesiastics now, as the imperial office
was then, always for Sunday legislation, and more Sunday
legislation. It matters not how much of such legislation
there may be already on the statute books, still the persistent
demand is that there shall be more, and more, and yet more;
and it is all dictated, when it is not actually framed,
by the interested ecclesiastics themselves, and in terms
more and more approaching the Inquisition, precisely as
by those other ecclesiastics at the first.
need not follow the subject further here. The evidences
here presented show conclusively that the character of Sunday
legislation is ever only exclusively and specifically religious
and ecclesiastical; that, therefore,
in the United States it is unconstitutional and
un-American; and that everywhere
it is un-Godly and anti-Christian.
End of Book. TOP