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“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." Leviticus 25:10.
FIRST QUARTER, 1921
The Christian's Attitude Toward Civil
By Padre Agostino da Montefeltro
Twould seem that after nineteen cen- Does it not rather secure its performturies of Christianity we might ance, as it invests authority with a sa
fairly assume that no further proofs cred character, making it appear like are required to establish its claim upon a reflected light of the heavenly authorthe world; but since, in these unhappy ity? and because it ennobles the virtue times, with an obstinacy quite unparal- of obedience, representing it, not as an leled, an attempt is made to revive the act of servility, but as a voluntary homprejudices and ancient hostility to reli- age paid to Him who is the source of gion, it only remains for us to take up the all order and authority? Whoever deweapons of the apologists of the primi- spises and tramples underfoot this, the tive times,-- Justinian, Tertullian, and first duty of every citizen, has no right Origen,- who proved to the pagan em- to the name of a Christian; because he peror that the precepts of the gospel is acting contrary to the example and were best calculated to make a good citi- precepts of Jesus Christ, contrary to the zen, and appealed to the evidence of teaching of the apostles, contrary to all facts, if throughout the imperial domin- that has ever been enjoined or ever will ions any subjects could be found more be enjoined, by the church. amenable to the law than the Christians. Look, first of all, at His example. In short, what is the first duty of a
From His cradle upward His life is an citizen! The first duty of a citizen is example of submission to authority and submission to the laws of the land — the law. His birth took place at Bethlehem, laws which maintain the order and har- because of the imperial decree " that all mony of the state, the laws which guard
the world should be taxed. ... And the rights of the subject, which protect
all went to be taxed, every one into the country against any infringement of his own city. And Joseph also went its greatness, its glory, and its liberty - up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazanything, in fact, which might threaten
areth, into Judea, unto the city of David, the life of the state. Well, I would ask, which is called Bethlehem; . .
; to be how can it be supposed that the Chris
taxed with Mary his espoused wife, betian religion could instigate any trans- ing great with child.” gression of this duty!
His birth is registered by the civil
authority: even He had His state as a * This article is excerpted from
citizen. He grew up in the continual preached in Rome about a third of a century ago by i Catholic priest. It is even more to the point observance of the laws of His country, now, when extreme Socialiam, Bolshevism, and the doctrines of the I. W. W. are demanding the setting a stirring example of loyal obedioverthrow not only of government but of Christianity as well.
ence. We know how, when the officers
of the tribute -moriey came to ask St. while His enemies hoped by their cunPeter, "Doth not your Master pay trib- ning to have worked His ruin, He, the ute? He saith, Yes, so well did he know Teacher of all mankind, defined with a his Master's careful observance of the single word the line of demarcation belaw. And, in fact, Jesus Christ, who tween the two duties which press so might have claimed exemption on two hardly with their double claims upon grounds — the ground of His divine or- each one of us. “Render,” He said, “to igin, and the ground of His poverty — Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and preferred instead to work a miracle, to to God the things that are God's.” Thus enable Him to fulfil the obligation to the He puts the rights of Cæsar in their
state. This was His example. His pre- proper and relative position to the rights cepts are equally clear as to the respect of God. for authority.
Next I would have you to observe the Hear His words. One day there came teaching of the apostles, which was alunto Him those who wished to entangle ways in perfect accordance with the exHim in His talk — there were many ample and precepts of their Master. such at Jerusalem — and they asked Judge for yourselves. “There is no Him, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to power but of God,” says St. Paul. Cæsar, or no?” The question was a “Whosoever therefore resisteth the very delicate one, also perilous; because, power, resisteth the ordinance of God." if the Lord Jesus had pronounced in He would have every one have his due. favor of the Roman authority, the Jews “Render therefore to all their dues : would have turned upon Him with in- tribute to whom tribute is due; custom dignation. If, on the other hand, He to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; had declared in favor of His fellow citi. honor to whom honor." A treatise on zens, He would have set Himself in op- the duties of a citizen might be aptly position to Rome. You see for your framed upon the injunctions contained selves the subtlety of the snare — how in St. Paul's divine epistles. malignantly it was contrived. But And St. Peter:
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of
Demand a National Sunday Law man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto NHE North Carolina Methodist them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that
Conference met Nov. 20, 1920, at do well. For so is the will of God, that with Rocky Mount, N. C., and passed well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance a resolution favoring a national Sunof foolish men."
day law to be passed by Congress, “to Can language be plainer or more dis- stop all Sunday trains, Sunday newstinct?...
papers, and Sunday mails, to close Listen to the words of the controversi. post offices, and to secure Sunday as a alists, especially those of Bellarmine, rest day for every Federal and interupon this subject : " And it is only when the
ROMA laws of the state are opposed to the divine laws — it is only then — that we, in obedience to the former teaching of the gospel, must not hesitate to confront our enemies, and call upon them to be our arbiters, as we say with the apostles of old:
We ought to obey God rather than men.' ” Acts 5: 29.
When the authorities command me to act contrary to the law of God, I do not obey. Will the authorities say that I am, on that account, a bad citizen! No; the authorities will, on the Ancient Gate of St. Paul, with Pyramid of Caius Cestius, Rome, Italy contrary, say I have done right.
state employee.” Other Southern MethThe second duty of a citizen is to love odist conferences have taken similar his country. Our country! Is there a action. Such a resolution would be heart that does not throb at the word ? very fitting when made applicable to The sentiment can be traced back to the the members of the Methodist Church, cradle of nations — everywhere through- as a matter of church discipline; but out the world. That word, in all its when the Methodist Church directs its majesty, with all its claim to veneration, resolution to Congress and desires to has been able to call forth the keenest, enforce church discipline upon all cititruest sympathy of mankind. It has in- zens of the United States, and have a spired the highest, holiest enthusiasm; civil penalty attached to the violation indeed, the love of our country is one of of a rigid church ritual, it is very apthose immortal affections which, like parent that the Methodist Conference those of family life, are innate; they has made a demand that is unwarranted can neither be taught, nor instilled into under American principles of governmen. Our native country must ever ment. Congress cannot accede to such command our love. ... The Chris- a demand without overriding the Contians were regarded as enemies of the stitutional guaranties of civil and reempire, for the sole reason that they ligious liberty. Is Congress ready to do would not worship the empire's gods. this?
The Church Threatens to Impeach the
Mayor of Philadelphia T
HE Ministerial Union and the In- take a policeman's club and drive people terchurch Federation of Phila- into the churches. I do stand for the
delphia, Pa., at a meeting of more things that are clean and decent in the than five hundred members and repre- community. My conscience is clear, and sentatives of various Protestant denom- I feel that I am doing what is right." inations in the Arch Street Methodist Many prominent persons of all profesChurch, on Oct. 25, 1920, in a resolution sions rallied in support of Mayor Moore, they adopted, threatened impeachment and resented the attacks the clergymen proceedings against Mayor Moore, if he were making on him. A major of the persisted in his refusal to enforce the United States Army wrote to the editor Sunday blue law of Pennsylvania en- of the Philadelphia Bulletin: acted in 1794.
“I have read of The mayor had
the bitter attacks
made on our mayor. permitted athletic
It seems that the games to be played
clergy are interested in the public parks
in other affairs than of the city on Sun
church work, and are day afternoons,
trying to stir up noise which action the
for publicity's sake. I
congratulate the may. clergymen resent
or of our city for his ed. They had the
courage in upholding players arrested,
the majority of the and the Park Com
citizens instead of the
minority.” missioners summoned to court to
A clergyman of show cause why
more liberal views they should not be
than his brethren en joined from per
wrote the following mitting the games.
to the editor of the In these cases the
Bulletin: Lord's Day Alli
“Sir: I am wonderance and the Minis
ing as to why certain terial Union, which
church men and re
ligious organizations instituted the pro
are trying to make an ceedings, lost out
issue worth the conin the decisions
sideration of serious handed down. As
persons out of some © Harris & Ewing a last resort, the
entirely harmless J. HAMPTON MOORE
sports or games on clergymen attacked
Mayor of Philadelphia
Sunday. I am a minthe mayor and
ister of the gospel. I threatened him with impeachment pro- was ordained in the Presbyterian Church, which ceedings before the city council.
I served for fourteen years, and then was pasThe mayor, fearless of their threat,
tor of a Congregational church for three years.
I always tried to present the truth as it is simply replied: “I hope the virtuous
taught in the Bible. I am surprised that there will not combine with the vicious in con
are still men today who would like to see the demnation of the government.
laws of 1794 enforced. No wonder there are mayor does not feel that it is his duty to complaints about empty pews at church services.