« FöregåendeFortsätt »
“As I read my Bible I fail to find any instance where Christ demanded or needed to elose places and stop games in order that He might have a hearing. Why? Simply because Christ knew that what He had to offer was of greater attraction than what other men had to offer. Christ did not have to insist that there should be a law against fishing, so that men would be compelled to follow Him instead of going fishing. The old traditions and laws enacted by the Jews were not appealed to by Christ, except by way of comparison. The Pharisees tried hard to make Christ confine His preaching and His teaching so that they might conform to their own laws and traditions, just as some of the good but misled folks of today are trying to make the teaching and the preaching conform to the blue laws of two hundred years ago; but I hope that the misguided folks of this day will also fail in maintaining those dead and obsolete laws. Christ, the great Teacher, gave His view regarding the Sabbath question: The
the church must ask the civil authorities to assist in making the world better, then the time is ripe for the church to become introspective and self-examining.
“I indorse the Sabbath day. It is the sweet boon for the working masses. But I object to any. thing that would make of the day other than a day on which people may worship God, whether that worship is sought in the church edifice, the home, the woods, or playground. Wherever the soul that is in tune will seek communion with God, He will be found.
“ The church must
Sabbath was made for man, and not man for remember that there are things which belong the Sabbath.' This statement is so clear and to Cæsar as well as those that belong to God.” comprehensive that it ought not need one word of interpretation.
Another writer on this issue in the “When I read a resolution of a religious Public Ledger, stressed this last point organization, censuring the mayor because he
more fully as follows: will not do just what the organization wants him to do, I cannot but wonder at their “No one can deny that the Sunday blue laws presumption. When the day has come when of 1794 were enacted for the sole benefit of a
religious sect or sects, but at the same time charge his civil duties, they are medwere contrary to the basic laws of our country, which granted civil and religious liberty. It
dling with the things that are none of has never been the prerogative of any civil
their business. Christ never commispower to enforce religious laws belief. sioned his church to sit in judgment True religion is false to itself when it appeals upon the rulers of civil government and to the civil arm for its observance. The
condemn them by civil proceedings. Founder of the Christian religion expounded the principles that underlie a truly spiritual
The church during the Dark Ages tried kingdom, and those that are the basic founda
this method; she issued interdicts and tion of civil government. He drew a sharp anathemas against civil rulers who reline of separation between the domain of the fused to do her bidding. But what was spiritual and the sphere of the earthly govern
gained in outward conformity was lost ment. Voluntary service is alone acceptable to God."
in spiritual power. The mission of the We agree with these men that there church is not to compel, but to beseech are things that belong to Cæsar and
men to be reconciled to God. The opinthings that belong to God, and that nei
ion of thinking men is well expressed by ther has the right to meddle with the
Benjamin Franklin: “When religion is affairs of the other. The church has no
good, it will take care of itself; when it right to interfere with the things that
is not able to take care of itself, and God belong to the civil authorities any more
does not see fit to take care of it, so that than the state has a right to regulate
it has to appeal to the civil power for and enforce the ritual of the church. support, it is evidence to my mind that When the churches of Philadelphia its cause is a bad one.” threaten to institute proceedings to im- Let us keep church and state forever peach the mayor because he fails to dis- separate in America.
C. S. L.
The Name of God in the Constitution
By George B. Thompson BRANCH of the National Re- the action of the government touching the form Association is sending out
Sabbath, the institution of the family, the circulars in which attention is public morality as affected by the liquor traf
religious element in education, the oath, and again directed to the need in America fic and other kindred evils; and to secure such of a “national regeneration,” and calling an amendment to the Constitution of the
United States as will declare the nation's alupon the clergy to preach on the subject,
legiance to Jesus Christ and its acceptance of “The Need of Christianity in National
the moral laws of the Christian religion, and so and International Life."
indicate that this is a Christian nation, and This is all good. But what the Na- place all the Christian laws, institutions, and tional Reform Association has particu- usages of our Government on an undeniably larly in mind is to secure national legis- legal basis in the fundamental law of the land.”
Quoted in “ American State Papers," p. 343. lation which will suitably acknowledge
The writer believes that there is need God in the Constitution and the Lord Jesus Christ as the ruler of the nation.
of regeneration in both the church and The aims of this association are set forth
the state. The symptoms of national dein the following article from its constitu
cay are world wide, and the spiritual tion:
power which ought to be seen in the
church is painfully lacking. But the “ The object of this society shall be to main. tain existing Christian features in the Amer
remedy for this is not the crutch of civil ican government, to promote needed reforms in power, but prayer, the indwelling Word,
and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. as this country, the foundation of whose governPutting the name of God in the Constitu- ment they were then laying, was to be the home tion will not in any way improve things.
of the oppressed of all nations of the earth,
whether Christian or pagan, and in full realizaMuch has been said about the name of
tion of the dangers which the union between the Deity being omitted from the Consti- church and state had imposed upon so many tution, making it, we are told, a godless nations in the Old World, with great unanimity document. But the name of God does
that it was inexpedient to put anything into
the Constitution or frame of government which not appear in certain books of the Bible.
might be construed to be a reference to any Are we to conclude that they also are religious creed or doctrine. godless documents!
“ And they further find that this decision There are strong organizations which
was accepted by our Christian fathers with stand ready, once our nation recognizes any religion or any particu
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES lar god, to seize the opportunity and seek to
Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an ESTAB
LISHMENT of RELIGION, BROHIBITING the pervert the govern
FREE EXERCISE there ment to their own ends. If the name of God should be inserted in the Constitution, the question would at once be raised as to which god, for there are gods many and lords many, and the agnostic and the Hindu, who have equal rights under the nation's fundamental law as it now stands, would ask if the Christian religion was to be given a preference. It was just such steps as the National Reform Association proposes that once lighted the
A Proposal to Subvert the Constitution fires of persecution, and darkened the earth for a thousand such great unanimity that in the amendments years.
which were afterward proposed, in order to
make the Constitution more acceptable to the The request to put an acknowledgment nation, none has ever been proposed to the of God in the Constitution was given States by which this wise determination of careful consideration by Congress in
the fathers has been attempted to be changed. 1874, and on February 18, the House
Wherefore, your committee report that it is
inexpedient to legislate upon the subject of Committee on the Judiciary reported the above memorial
, and ask that they be disin part as follows:
charged from the further consideration thereof,
and that this report, together with the petition, " That, upon examination of even the meager
be laid upon the table.”—“ House Reports," debates by the fathers of the Republic in the
Vol. I, 43d Congress, 1st Session, Report No. convention which framed the Constitution, they
143. ind that the subject of this memorial was most
The absence of the name of God from fully and carefully considered, and then, in that convention, decided, after grave delibera
the Constitution is not because its framtion, to which the subject was entitled, that, ers were godless men.
“ And, finally, the framers of the Constitu- drew the instrument, because it had no busition were, without exception, believers in God ness there. It was the purpose of the founders and in future rewards and punishments, from of our government to make it purely secular. the presiding officer, General Washington, who It was a mere federation or union of states was a communicant member of the Episcopal. for purely worldly purposes. It did not elaim Church, down to the least orthodox, Dr. Ben- to have any divine authority or sanction, but jamin Franklin, who was affected by the spirit only the consent of the people. It did not es of English deism and French infidelity, but tablish any religion, because it guaranteed enretained a certain reverence for the religion tire religious freedom. The name of God has of his Puritan ancestors. All recognized the no more business in the Constitution than it hand of divine Providence in leading them has in articles of copartnership, or in a promis safely through the War of Independence. Dr. sory note. A promissory note would not be a Franklin, in an eloquent and highly creditable whit more negotiable if it should contain a speech, proposed the employment of a chaplain recognition of God.' This should be really in the Convention, who should invoke the wis- true of the state government. Entire religious dom and blessing of God upon the responsible freedom requires it; for as soon as the word work of framing laws for a new nation.”— of God is recognized in the organic law of the “ Church and State," Schaff, p. 41.
state, there is the necessary implication that
the state has religious authority, and this is Concerning the omission of any ex- incompatible with absolute freedom of conplicit reference to the Deity, Schaff fur- science."
The effort put forth to place the name « The absence of the names of God and
of God in the Constitution is simply a Christ, in a purely political and legal docu- disguised attempt to unite church and ment, no more proves denial or irreverence than state. The words of Madison in his fathe absence of those names in a mathematical
mous memorial to the Virginia Assembly treatise, or the statutes of a bank or railroad corporation. The title "Holiness' does not
apply equally well here: make the Pope of Rome any holier than he is, “ Distant as it may be in its present form and it makes the contradiction only more glar- from the Inquisition, it differs from it only ing in such characters as Alexander VI. The in degree. The one is the first step, the other book of Esther and the Song of Solomon are
the last in the career of intolerance." undoubtedly productions of devout worshipers The Constitution of this great Repubof Jehovah; and yet the name of God does not occur once in them.
lic is not hostile to any religion. It sim“We may go further and say that the Con
ply leaves the citizens free to worship stitution not only contains nothing which is or not to worship as conscience may dicirreligious or unchristian, but is Christian in tate. Let no experiment be made at this substance, though not in form. It is pervaded
time upon our liberties. It was the by the spirit of justice and humanity, which
union of church and state that strengthare Christian. The First Amendment could not have originated in any pagan or Mohammedan
ened the hands of ecclesiastical butchers country, but presupposes Christian civilization during the Dark Ages, and well-nigh exand culture. Christianity alone has taught men tinguished the torch of liberty in the to respect the sacredness of the human per
world. Let the church, instead of looksonality as made in the image of God and redeemed by Christ, and to protect its rights and ing back to the days of persecution and privileges, including the freedom of worship, darkness for methods of reform, look to against the encroachments of the temporal
Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our power and the absolutism of the state."— Id.,
Bancroft, in “History of the Forma- MEN must be left free to live accordtion of the Constitution,” shows that this ing to the dictates of their own conomission of the name of God from the sciences, so long as in so doing they do Constitution was not an oversight, but not trench upon the equal rights of their that it was reverently left out for a wise fellow men. It were vain to attempt purpose.
more than this.
cannot enforce the divine law. Reli“ The name of God was not accidentally left out of the Constitution. It was most rever
gion and civil government should be kept entially left out of it by God-fearing men who separate.
By Calvin P. Bollman
HILE the Great War was in where pessimism exists with respect to organprogress, it was frequently and ized Christianity, writes Willian C. Allen in
the Herald of Gospel Liberty (Christian). In confidently predicted that the
a tour of New Zealand, Australia, and South world would never be the same again; Africa, including a trip to England, the writer that, as a result of the war, we should came into contact with church leaders, many have a “new,” a “chastened world.” of whom he heard refer to the spiritual death '
But instead of a new and chastened about them. In Cape Town, General Smuts, world, we find that we still have the same
premier of South Africa, who was the one
living statesman at the Paris Peace Conference old world with all its cross-currents of
to utter 'a genuine Christian manifesto on beconflicting interests, and personal, na- half of righteousness and forgiveness of foes, tional, and racial selfishness deepened. said to him:
Instead of being better, the world is “'I met in Paris many Americans at the rather worse than before the war, not premier of South Africa, who was the one alone spiritually, but in every way.
know how they feel. Never has there been
80 much hatred in the world — never have peoThat this is so, is recognized by many ple everywhere hated one another so much and is admitted, though reluctantly, by never has hatred been so great and so deep. men who had hoped otherwise. Under I know all about it. If the ministers of the the heading, “Spiritual Death' After gospel would cease preaching so much about the War,” the Literary Digest of Novem- personal salvation and think of the salvation
of the world, they would help deliver the world ber 6, published the following:
from the mess it is in; and not only save “Hatreds engendered by the World War flour. others but save themselves. The preachers ish everywhere with the vigor of vice, and every- should stop preaching theology, and with a