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

    September 19, 1905

    “Religious Liberty No. 6” The Watchman 14, 38 , pp. 602, 603.

    ATJ

    AFTER making plain in the fourteenth chapter of Romans the religious liberty of the other man, and the importance that every soul shall recognize this, next there is taken up the thought and the importance of “the powers that be” recognizing and respecting religious liberty.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.1

    Therefore it is written: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” That touches a question that is rife everywhere to-day; the question of compelling people to observe a certain day and in a certain way. But in the matter of observance of a day, the regarding of one day above another, God says to all people, “Let every men 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.” So you see any day regarded not to the Lord is not truly regarded at all: for there is nothing in it truly to regard. Therefore, since the observance of a day is a matter that pertains to God, and lies between God and the individual’s faith and conscience, any observance of a Sabbath or rest-day enforced by law, by statute, by police, judge, court, or prosecution, is an invasion of the province of God and the realm of faith and conscience in the first instance; and in the second instance, is not the observance of the day and never can be.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.2

    That repeats the original truth that is expressed in Genesis and all the way through the Book. The observance of a day, the observance of a Sabbath or a rest day, pertains to God: and to the relationship between God and the individual faith and conscience. God has appointed a day, that is true. He calls upon all people to observe that day, that is true. But in the original freedom in which he has created man, any man is free to choose not to do it just as he is free to choose not to believe his word.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.3

    And when any man chooses not to regard the day that God appointed, his responsibility for it is to God alone, and not to any man, to any set of men, to any legislature, or to any court on earth. therefore by the word of God all this campaign that covers the whole land, yes, covers all Christendom, that is seeking for law, more and more law, to compel the observance of a day, whether it be Sunday or any other day—even if it were the day that God has appointed—is a direct invasion of the province of God and of the realm of faith and conscience; and must be repudiated by every Christian; by every one who would respect the sovereignty of God and the freedom of faith and conscience—in a word, by every soul who would regard religious liberty.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.4

    Service to God must be chosen to be true and acceptable. When it is not freely chosen and is compelled, such compulsory and constrained service is only sin. As the leading church historian has expressed it, “The truth itself forced on man otherwise than by its own inward power, becomes falsehood.” Thus the truth cannot be forced upon men. For it to be to men the truth that it really is, it must be received upon their personal choice freely made: and when men simply cannot be compelled to obey the truth, much less should they be compelled to obey lies.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.5

    Another phase of this invasion of the province of God and of the realm of faith and conscience is the widespread and growing demand for the established teaching of religion in the public schools. Only the last spring this phase of the question was by an organized movement pressed at Washington City: and for a purpose this was done at the capital of the nation. Yet this that was done at Washington is but a part of a movement that is being conducted throughout the whole land. There is a national association that has gained a large place, that is organized expressly to get the government, whether state or national, committed to the established teaching of religion in the public schools. these things serve to make it plain that this subject of religious liberty is a living issue, and a very present truth.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.6

    But remember the definition of religion: “The duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it.” And from the Scripture and divine principles which we have studied, it is evident that when any nation, any state, any people or government, puts itself between man and God and undertakes to decide in the matter of religion and faith, and presumes to put upon man against his choice what some men say that the recognized religion shall be, then such is not religion at all: it is iniquity. Even though they may intend that it shall be the right religion, the Christian religion, yet when it is forced upon men, it is destroyed as the Christian religion. By such procedure men are separated from God: and a set of men have put themselves between man and God, have shut out God, and require that men shall render obedience to what they say is the faith. It is no longer having faith to thyself before God: but having faith to a set of men before the government.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.7

    Has not that been tried enough in the world for people in this age to have found it out? It is one of the most surprising things that people in this day and in this nation should act in all things just as if this were the earliest of all nations, instead of the latest. If the United States were the first nation on earth, and the people without any advantage of experience were feeling their way along, there might be some possibility of an excuse for the course that the people are taking to-day. But when the United States is the latest of all the nations, and has the benefit of all the experience of all the nations and countries form Nimrod down until this hour, then for the people of the United States to act as they are acting in this matter of national and enforced religion, just as if history had never occurred: and they with blinded eyes go crookedly on in opposition to all the lessons of human experience—that is a most puzzling thing.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.8

    Has not this identical thing been tried over and over in every nation from the time that Nimrod set up his kingdom, until now? Has not every nation, and every government from Nimrod until now tried to compel people to be religious? But were they ever made religious by compulsion? In every instance it has only increased iniquity, and has been sheer vanity from beginning to end.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.9

    And when Christianity came into the world, itself conceived in religious liberty, and preached religious liberty to the world, the perversion of it brought the Dark Ages and the great power of the papacy, and compulsory religion again. And when in the Dark Ages the papacy dominated all Europe and dictated the faith and compelled all to be religious—what did it bring?—It brought the worst system of iniquity, and the most widespread evil that was ever upon this earth.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 602.10

    Now this nation of the United States was founded upon principles drawn from the lessons of all the history of those preceding ages; and above all upon this principle of religious liberty, that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience. “And to judge for ourselves, and to engage in the exercises of religion agreeably to the dictates of our own conscience, is an inalienable right, which upon the principles upon which the gospel was first propagated and the Reformation from popery carried on, can never be transferred to another.”SOWA September 19, 1905, page 603.1

    That is what our fathers said who made this American nation. And because of this they put in the fundamental and supreme law, the provision that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for office or public trust under the government;” that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” and that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.” And that is religious liberty. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and their noble associates who laid the foundations of this mighty nation, laid that foundation firmly upon the eternal rock of true religious liberty: and this in view of the lessons derived from the prima facie evidence of all history.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 603.2

    And now, after this noble nation has continued thus for more than a hundred years, and has been a blessing to the world, in the enlightenment of the nations and all mankind upon the principles of liberty, of justice and right,—I say that when in the face of all this, men at the head of the church and high in the nation will shut their eyes and turn their backs upon all the lessons of history, and deliberately take a course to turn this nation back into the old path of religious despotism, this is beyond all powers of comprehension.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 603.3

    Friends and people all, let us open our eyes and look at things as they are, in the light of the truth as God has given it. Let us recognize God in his true place, and the freedom which he has given to every soul. And let us ever remember in behalf of all people that charter of religious liberty from God: “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth.” Let us all seek ever the true way of the love of God shed abroad in the heart for all people in the world; seeking by all means of loving-kindness and long-suffering to truly represent Him who introduced Christianity into the world with the divine watchword, “On earth, peace; good will toward men,” and thus be true representatives of true religious liberty. A. T. JONES.SOWA September 19, 1905, page 603.4

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents