Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    1905

    August 15, 1905

    “Religious Liberty No. 1” The Watchman 14, 33 , p. 522.

    ATJ

    RELIGION is “the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it.”SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.1

    Liberty is “the state of being exempt from the domination of others, or from restraining 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.”SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.2

    Religious 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 manor of discharging that duty.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.3

    Since God has created man, in the nature of things the first of all relationships is that to God; and the first of all duties could be nothing but duty to God.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.4

    Suppose 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, O 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.” All 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 principle was there, inherent in the existence of the first intelligent creature, in the first moment of his existence.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.5

    Now, 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.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.6

    Accordingly 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 “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 existence itself.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.7

    Any 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 God, He created him free to choose to do so.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.8

    And freedom to choose to do so carries with it, and in it, freedom to choose not to do so. Therefore, when God says to all creatures, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” it is left to each creature in the universe to decide for himself in his own freedom what he will do; whether he will serve God or not. And when in that freedom he makes a wrong use of his choice, and chooses not to serve God, then, even then, mark it—even then, God, being God, does not persecute him, does not set him at naught, does not hunt him; he does seek him; yet not to pursue him, but, as it is stated in the parable of the one sheep that was lost away on the mountain alone, he goes to find him, and seeks him to bring him back.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.9

    Therefore note this truth: When God has made every creature perfectly free to choose to serve him, and in that, free to choose not to serve him—when that creature exercises his choice in the way not to serve God, even then God only loves him: for God is only love. The only disposition that God has toward him is to love him, and by every possible means to win him yet to the choice to love him and serve him. That is God, and that is religious liberty. A. T. JONES.SOWA August 15, 1905, page 522.10

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents