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April 2, 1894
“The Logic of Religious Legislation” The Bible Echo 9, 13, p. 103.
IF the principle be admitted that the state has the right to legislate in regard to religion, and to enforce religious observances, then no blame can ever be attached to the Roman empire for putting the Christians to death. Nor can it be admitted that such dealings with the Christians was persecution.BEST April 2, 1894, page 103.1
The enforcement of right laws can never be persecution, however severely the law may deal with the offender. To hang a murderer is not persecution. To hunt him down, even with blood-hounds, to bring him to justice, is not persecution. We repeat, therefore, that the enforcement of right laws never can be persecution.BEST April 2, 1894, page 103.2
If, therefore, religion or religious observances be a proper subject of legislation by civil government, then there never has been and there never can be any such thing as religious persecution. Because civil governments are ruled by majorities, the religion of the majority must of necessity be the adopted religion; and if civil legislation in civil things be right, the majority may legislate in regard to their own religion. Such laws made in such a case must be right laws, and the enforcement of them therefore can never be persecution.BEST April 2, 1894, page 103.3
“True Liberty” The Bible Echo 9, 13, p. 104.
JESUS CHRIST came into the world to set men free, and to plant in their souls the genuine principle of liberty,—liberty actuated by love,—liberty too honourable to allow itself to be used as an occasion to the flesh or a cloak of maliciousness,—liberty led by a conscience enlightened by the Spirit of God,—liberty in which man may be free from all men, yet made so gentle by love that he would willingly become the servant of all, in order to bring them to the enjoyment of this same liberty. This is freedom indeed. This is the freedom which Christ gave to man; for whom the Son makes free is free indeed.BEST April 2, 1894, page 104.1
In giving to men this freedom, such an infinite gift could have no other result than that which Christ intended; namely, to bind them in everlasting, unquestioning, unswerving allegiance to Him as the Royal Benefactor of the race. He thus reveals Himself to men as the highest good, and brings them to Himself as the manifestation of that highest good, and to obedience to His will as the perfection of conduct.BEST April 2, 1894, page 104.2