DIVINE RIGHT OF THE INDIVIDUALITY IN RELIGION
OR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMPLETE
ALONZO TREVIER JONES
the right of Individuality
even in Religion,
and in Religion above all,
the new Nation dared to set the example of accepting in its
relations to God the principle first divinely ordained of God
in Judea." -- Bancroft.
A. T. JONES c.1895
p 5 -- Religion
is "the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of
Liberty is "the
state of being exempt from the domination of others, or from restricting
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."
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 manner of discharging
Since God has
created man, in the nature of things the first of all relation-
p 6 -- ships
is that to God; and the first of all duties could be nothing but
duty to God.
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, 0 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 princi-
p 7 --
ple was there, inherent in the existence of the first intelligent
creature, in the first moment of his existence;and there the principle
abides eternally, unmodified and unfading.
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.
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
p 8 --
"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.
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
p 9 -- created
him free to choose to do so. And this is individuality, and
the divine right of it.
man free. When man by sin was separated and lost from that freedom,
Christ came to restore him fully to it. The way of God and of Christ,
therefore, is the way of liberty. And the work of God through Christ
with mankind in the whole history of the world has been to make
plain this way and to give to man the absolute assurance of this
"soul liberty" which is the only true liberty. Whom the
Son makes free is free indeed.
In the Scriptures
there are given distinctly and clearly six specific lessons on this
subject of religious liberty -- the liberty of the individual soul
against the domination of man and combinations of men in the powers
of the world. Each of these lessons deals with the subject upon
a distinct and specific principle. And the six lessons, taken together,
p 10 --
cover completely the whole ground upon every principle. We now purpose
to take up for special study these six lessons separately and in
succession as given in the Scriptures. The contest for religious
liberty is not yet finished. Religious liberty complete is not yet
recognized, even in principle, and much less in practice, even by
the mass of Christians, as it is made perfectly plain in the Scriptures.
- Come, then,
let us study and let us have, and let us study that we may have,
religious liberty complete, in principle and in experience, as it
is in the Scriptures of truth. TOP
I -- AS RELATED TO AUTOCRACY.
p 11 --In
the nature of things there is no rightful room for the domination
of others in the life and affairs of the soul of the individual
person. This is peculiarly and supremely the realm of God alone,
who created man in His own image and for His own glory; and who
created each person individually and personally responsible and
answerable to Him alone.
Yet man, sinful
and unruly man, has never been willing to allow God to have His
place in and with the soul of the individual man; but has always
been ambitious and ready to claim that place for himself, and by
every means and contrivance possible to make this claim ef-
p 12 -- fective.
History itself, as it relates to general principles and not to details,
is hardly anything else than a succession of attempts upon the grandest
possible scale to make successful this arrogant claim of sinful
and unruly man in the place of God to dominate the souls of men.
And no grander demonstration that there is a divinity striving hard
to shape the destiny of mankind could ever be asked or given than
from the day of Abel until now is given in the perpetual heroic
assertion and maintenance of this perfect liberty of the individual
soul by the individual person against the subtlest pretensions and
mightiest combinations of force and power that this world could
possibly contrive. From Nimrod to Nebuchadnezzar and from Nebuchadnezzar
until now the course and energy of empire have been bent and exerted
to this one thing. And through all that time such splendid individuals
as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Daniel and his three brethren, Paul,
p 13 -- Militz,
Matthias, Conrad, Jerome, Luther, Roger Williams, and multitudes
unnamed, and over all Christ Jesus, by divine faith have sublimely
stood alone with God, absolutely alone so far as man is concerned,
for the individuality, and in that the liberty, of the soul of man;
and for the sovereignty of God alone in and over the realm of the
The Empire of
Babylon embraced the civilized world, as the world then was. Nebuchadnezzar
was monarch and absolute ruler of the empire. "Thou, 0 king,
art a king of kings; for the God of Heaven hath given thee a kingdom,
and power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children
of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven
hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them
all." Dan. 2: 37, 38.
In His own providential
purpose God had made all nations subject to the sway of King Nebuchadnezzar
of Babylon. Jer. 27: 1-13. In the form and system
p 14 --of
government of Babylon the authority of the king was absolute. His
word was the law. In this absolutism of sovereignty King Nebuchadnezzar
assumed that he was sovereign of the souls, as well as the
bodies, of the religious life as well as the civil conduct,
of those who were subject to his power. And since he was ruler of
the nations he would be ruler in the religion, and of
the religion, of the nations.
he made a great image, all of gold, about ninety feet tall and nine
feet broad, and "set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province
of Babylon." Then he summoned from the provinces all the officials
of the empire to the dedication and the worship of the great golden
image. All the officials came, and were assembled and stood before
herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, 0 people, nations, and
languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute,
harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music,
p 15 -- ye
fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king
hath set up; and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, shall the
same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace."
And as the instruments of music sounded forth the grand signal for
the worship "all the people, the nations, and the languages,
fell down and worshipped the golden image." Dan. 3: 4-6.
But in the assembly
there were three young Hebrews who had been carried captive from
Jerusalem to Babylon, but who had been appointed by the king, officials
"over the affairs of the province of Babylon." These neither
bowed nor worshipped, nor otherwise paid any particular attention
to the proceedings.
This was noticed,
and excited accusation before the king. "There are certain
Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon,
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, 0 king, have not regarded
p 16 -- thee:
they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou
hast set up." Verse 12.
Then the king
"in his rage and fury" commanded that the three young
men should be brought before him. This was done, The king himself
now spoke to them personally and direct: "'Is it of purpose,
0 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor
worship the golden image which I have set up?" The king himself
then repeated the command that at the sound of the instruments of
all kinds of music they fall down and worship, and if not, they
were to be cast "the same hour into the midst of a burning
But the young
men quietly answered: "0 Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful
to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve
is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and be will
deliver us out of thine hand, 0 king. But if not, be it known unto
thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy
p 17 -- gods,
nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Verses
14 - 18.
The issue was
now clearly drawn. The sovereign of the world's power had personally
issued his command direct to the three individuals; and from them
he had received answer as direct, that they would not conform. This
was conduct, and these were words, such as the king in his absolutism
of power had never met before. There was therefore a personal as
well as an official resentment aroused in him; and be was so "full
of fury" that "the form of his visage was changed against"
the young men, and he commanded that the furnace should be heated
seven times hotter than usual; and that "the most mighty men
in his army" should bind the young men and cast them into the
midst of the roaring furnace.
It was done.
And the three men, "in their coats, and their hosen, and their
hats, and their other garments" fell down bound "into
the midst of the burn-
p 18 -- ing
fiery furnace." But just then the king was more astonished
than ever in his life before. He was fairly petrified "astonied"
-- and "rose up in haste" and to his counsellors cried
out, "Did not we cast three men bound into the
midst of the fire?"
him that this was true. But he exclaimed, "Lo, I see four
men, loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have
no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
Then the king
went near to the mouth of the furnace and called to the men by name
and said, "Ye servants of the most high God, come forth and
come hither." And they "came forth of the midst of the
fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors,
being gathered together, saw these men upon whose bodies
the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither
were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed upon
p 19 -- said,
blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath
sent his angel and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and
have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that
they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God."
is the situation: The Lord had brought all nations in subjection
to the king of Babylon. By messages of His own prophet He had commanded
His people, the Jews, and these three young men among them, to "serve
the king of Babylon." Yet these three had explicitly refused
to serve the king of Babylon in this thing which he had personally
and directly commanded them; and in this refusal the Lord himself
had most signally stood by them and delivered them.
would be impossible more plainly to show that the Lord, in commanding
the people to be subject to the king of Babylon and to serve him,
had never either commanded or intended
p 20 -- that
they should be subject to him or serve him in the realm of religion.
By this unmistakable
approval of the course of the three men, and this signal deliverance
of them, the Lord made perfectly plain to the king that his command
in this matter was wrong: that he had demanded a service that he
had no right to require: that in making him king of the nations
the Lord had not made him king in the religion of the people:
that in bringing him to be head of all the nations, peoples, and
languages, God had not given him to be head of the religion of even
a solitary individual: that while the Lord had brought all nations
and peoples under the king's yoke as to their political and bodily
service, this same Lord had unmistakably shown to the king that
he had given no power nor jurisdiction in any way whatever as to
their soul's service: that while in all things between nation and
nation, and between man and man, all peoples, nations, and languages
had been given to
p 21 --
him to serve him, and God had made him ruler over them all; yet
with the relations between each man and God the king could have
nothing whatever to do: and that in the presence of the rights of
the individual person, in conscience and in worship "the king's
word" must change, the king's decree is naught: that
in this the king even of the world is only nobody, for here only
God is sovereign and all in all.
And for the
instruction of all kings and all people forever, all this was done
that day, and it was written for our admonition upon whom the ends
of the world are come. TOP
II -- AS RELATED TO THE SUPREMACY OF THE LAW.
p 22 --THE
world-power and empire of Babylon passed away forever; and another
took its place -- the power and empire of Medo-Persia. Here was
another principle of government, and here there is given to the
world another lesson in religious liberty.
In the Medo-Persian
empire the principle of government was different from that of Babylon.
we have seen, was not only an absolute monarchy, but an autocracy
-- a one-man government, a one-man absolutism. The word of the king
was the law, and the law was changeable as the will and word of
the king might change. The king was the source of the law; his word
was the law for all
p 23 -- others;
but as for himself there was no restriction of law.
government was an absolute monarchy also. There, also, the word
of the king was the law: but with this all-important difference
from Babylon, that when once the word of the king had gone forth
as the law, that law could not be changed nor reversed even by the
king himself. The king himself was bound, even against himself,
by his own word or decree that had once become the law. The government
of Medo-Persia, therefore, was a government of law; its principle
was the supremacy of THE LAW.
At the head
of the administration of the affairs of this empire there were three
presidents, of whom Daniel was first. Because of Daniel's knowledge,
integrity, ability, and general worth in the administration, the
king had it in mind "to set him over the whole realm."
This, becoming known, excited the jealousy of the other two presidents
p 24 -- the
princes; and they conspired to break him down.
first, "to find occasion against Daniel" concerning his
conduct of the affairs of the empire. But after long and diligent
search, and the closest possible scrutiny, they were obliged to
cease their endeavor and confess that "they could find none
occasion nor fault;" because "he was faithful, neither
was there any error or fault found in him."
these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except
we find it against him concerning the law of his God." But
they could not find any occasion against him concerning even the
law of his God, until they themselves had first created a situation
that would render inevitable the desired occasion.
Their long and
exacting endeavor to find some occasion or fault against
him in the affairs of the empire had convinced them of his absolute
devotion in loyalty to God. Through their investi-
p 25 -- gation
they knew by experience that he could not by any means be caused
to swerve a hair's-breadth from the straight line of absolute devotion
to God. But this was wholly an individual matter, in which there
was no interference with any man in any way whatever. And in his
conduct in relation to others and to the State, their own consciously
prejudiced investigation had demonstrated that it was actually beneficial.
Thus there being
no possible ground upon which they could find occasion against him
even concerning the law of his God, as circumstances and conditions
were; and they, therefore, being put to the necessity of actually
creating such ground, Daniel's unswerving devotion to God became
the way over which they would proceed. They therefore concocted
a scheme into which they drew all the officials of the empire, and
went to the king and said: -- "0 king, live forever. All the
presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the coun-
p 26 -- sellors,
and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute,
and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask any petition
of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, 0 king, he shall
be cast into a den of lions. Now, 0 king, establish the decree,
and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law
of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not." Dan. 6:6-8.
The king allowed
himself to be caught by this very flattering proposal of so large
a number of the highest officials of the empire, and he signed the
decree. Daniel knew that the decree had been framed, and that the
writing had been signed by the king. He knew that such was now the
law of the empire -- a law that could neither be waived nor altered.
Nevertheless he went to his house, and as his regular times of prayer
recurred, three times a day, he "prayed and gave thanks before
God, as he did aforetime." And his windows happening to be
open, the Imperial law had not enough place in his
p 27 -- mind
or weight upon his attention to induce him to take the precaution
even to close the windows.
expecting nothing but just this on the part of Daniel, "assembled
and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God."
Then at sight of this open disregard of the imperial law, they hastened
to the king and very deferentially inquired. "Hast thou not
signed a decree?" etc. The king answered, "The thing is
true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth
not." Then the plotters reported, "that Daniel which is
of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, 0
king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition
three times a day."
king, when he had heard these words, was sore displeased with
himself," because he had allowed himself to be so flattered
as to be caught in such a trap as that. "And he set his heart
on Daniel to deliver him." But the plotters
p 28 -- were
ready with their plea of the supremacy and integrity of "the
law"; and to urge arguments that it was "not a question
of religion, but of the law;" that to countenance disregard
and violation of "the law" was simply to undermine all
the government and make an open bid for a reign of anarchy, and
for the very dissolution of society itself: that they were exceedingly
sorry that such an excellent man as Daniel should be thus involved,
yet to allow such open disregard of "the law" by one of
such high standing and reputation would be only all the worse; because
this very fact of the high standing and wide reputation of the one
who so openly disregarded "the law" would be only the
more encouragement to all people to do the same, etc., etc.
Yet the king
"labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him."
But through all that time and at every turn, the king was met by
the plotters with the plea, "The law; the law." "Know,
0 king, that the law of the Medes and Per-
p 29 -- sians
is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be
changed." The supremacy of the law bound the king himself:
there was no escape: and, though with greatest reluctance, "the
king commanded and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den
The king passed
the night in fasting and in sleeplessness. But very early in the
morning he hurried to the den of lions and "cried with a lamentable
voice unto Daniel . . . 0 Daniel, servant of the living God, is
thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from
"0 king, live forever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath
shut the lions' mouths that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as
before Him, innocency was found in me; and also before
thee, 0 king, have I done no hurt." And therein the demonstration
is made in perfection forever that the person who disregards any
law that touches
p 30 -- service
to God is innocent before God, and also does "no hurt"
to the king, nor to the State, nor to society, nor to any principle
of law or government.
All of which
in divine truth demonstrates again that no earthly government can
ever have any right or jurisdiction in matters of religion:
that is, in "the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the
manner of discharging it." And in this case there is
the additional demonstration that no government can ever of right
incorporate in the law provisions touching religion,
and then plead the supremacy and integrity of "the law:"
that "it is not primarily a question of religion but
only of the law:" that "we are not asking for religious
observance, we ask only respect for law." In the case
of Daniel and the "supremacy of the law of the Medes and Persians,"
the divine answer to all such pleas is that, nothing pertaining
to religion can ever of right have any place in the law.
The right of
perfect individuality in
p 31 --
religion is a divine, and therefore an absolutely inalienable, right.
And to make religious observances or prohibitions a matter of the
law, does not affect the free exercise of this divine right. The
fulness of the right, and the perfect liberty of its exercise, abide
ever the same, even though religion be made a matter, and a part,
of the law. And when religion or religious observance or prohibition
is fixed in the law, even though the law be as supreme and inflexible
as that of the Medes and Persians, the divine right and perfect
liberty of individuality in religion then extends to the law
that incorporates the religion, and such law is simply no law.
The subterfuge of enforcing religious observances or prohibitions
under cover of "the supremacy and integrity of the law,"
instead of taking away or in any way limiting the divine right and
perfect liberty of individuality in religion, simply reacts to the
extent of actually sweeping away all ground of claim for "the
supremacy and integrity of the
p 32 -- law"--
in actually nullifying the specific law in the case.
The civil law
is rightly supreme in the realm of things civil, but in the
realm of things religious it simply has no place at all.
, In the presence
of the divine right of individuality in religion as relates to autocratic
government, illustrated in King Nebuchadnezzar, the king's word
In the presence
of the divine right of individuality in religion as relates to the
supremacy and inflexibility of the law, illustrated in the government
of the Medes and Persians, any law that touches or contemplates
religion is simply no law at all.
The realm of
religion is the realm of God. In that realm God alone is Sovereign,
and His will is the only law. And in that realm the individual stands
alone with God, and responsible to Him alone. TOP
III -- AS RELATES TO CHURCH AND STATE.
p 33 -- By
most remarkable facts and unquestionable experiences, in the case
of King Nebuchadnezzar and the three Hebrew young men, there was
made plain forever the divine truth and principle that with the
religion of the people no monarch can of right have anything to
do; that in the presence of the right of individuality in religion,
the king's word must change.
facts and experiences in the case of the Medo-Persian government
against Daniel there was made plain forever the divine will and
truth and principle that with the religion of the people no law,
nor any government by means of law, can of right have anything to
do -- that in the presence of the free exercise of individuality
p 34 -- any
law touching religion is nothing; and every individual in absolutely
ignoring and disregarding such law is "innocent" before
God, and also does "no hurt" to government, to law, or
These two examples
and the principles which they illustrate cover every phase of earthly
government as such: and so make plain the great and vital truth
that religion, with its rites, institutions, and observances, is
totally excluded, and is to be totally exempt, from the cognizance
of earthly government of whatever phase or form: that religion,
with all that is incident to it, pertains to the individual alone
in his personal relations to God.
But there is
another means by which man has sought to dominate man in the realm
of religion, that is by means of the Church through the State.
out from the world and separated from the world unto God, are His
church in the world. When God
p 35 -- had
called His people out of Egypt they were first "the church
in the wilderness;" and afterward in the land of Canaan they
were the church there.
stiffness of neck, hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, they
sadly missed God's great purpose for them as His church. Yet in
His goodness and mercy God "suffered their manners in the wilderness,"
and in the land from age to age. Thus through randy vicissitudes
that people had continued as the church till the time when Christ
the Lord came to dwell on the earth: and through all that time this
church was heir to most glorious promises of a widespread kingdom
At the time
when Christ came to the earth as man, the dominion and power of
Rome held the people of that church in stern and cruel temporal
subjection, and they longed for the promised Deliverer to appear.
This Deliverer had been abundantly promised, and at last
p 36 -- He
came. But the high ones of the church had allowed their worldly
ambition to hide their eyes from the spirituality of the kingdom
and dominion that had been promised; and they looked for, and had
taught the people to expect, a political and temporal deliverer
who should strike off the yoke of Rome, break her power, and exalt
the church of the chosen people to a position of power and dominion
over the nations, corresponding to that which for so long had been
held by the nations over them.
When Jesus first
appeared in His public ministry, these high ones of the church went
with the crowds that flocked to hear Him, listened with interest,
and hoped that He would fulfill their expectations. But when they
saw the interest and enthusiasm of the multitude reach the point
where "they would come and take Him by force to make Him a
king"; and when they saw that Jesus, instead of accepting the
honor or encouraging the project, "withdrew Himself from
p 37 -- them";
in this they also saw that all their ambitious hopes of deliverance
from the dominion of Rome, and of exaltation over the nations, were
utterly vain so far as Jesus was concerned.
But by this
time the influence of Jesus with the people had become so widespread
and so strong that the church-leaders saw that their power over
the people was very rapidly vanishing. Instead of seeing fulfilled
or sanctioned their ambitious plans and hopes for worldly power
and dominion, they saw with dismay that what power and influence
they did have with the people was most certainly undermined: and
this by a man risen from the greatest obscurity, who came from a
town of the meanest reputation, and who was at most only a private
member of the church! Something must be done, and that very soon,
to preserve their own place and dignity. It was manifestly too late
to think of commanding Him not to preach or teach: by this time
p 38 -- they
knew full well that not only He but the multitudes themselves would
pay no attention to any such prohibition. But there was a way out
-- a means by which to maintain their place and dignity, and to
assert their power over Him and the people. In their opinion of
themselves and their position it was a very easy thing to make their
place and dignity identical not only with the position but with
the very existence of the church and even the nation itself. Accordingly
they concluded, "If we let Him thus alone all men will believe
on Him and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and
nation." And "from that day forth they took counsel together
for to put Him to death." John 11: 47, 53.
as they were to the Roman authority, it was not lawful for them
to put any man to death. Therefore, to effect their purpose they
must get control of the governmental or civic authority. It mattered
not that this
p 39 -- authority,
was Roman; and it mattered not that this Roman authority they hated
above all other earthly things, and could not by any possibility
willingly recognize: all this must be forgotten in the presence
of the awful alternative of seeing vanish their place and dignity
and power in the church.
In the church
the Pharisees and the Herodians stood at opposite poles. The Herodians
were so called because they were the party and partisans of Herod.
They were the apologists of Herod in his position of king of Judea.
But as Herod was king only by the direct appointment of Rome, and
was seated and maintained as king by the power of Rome, for any
one to be a partisan and an apologist of Herod was to be even more
a partisan and an apologist of Rome.
were the exclusively righteous ones of the church. They were the
extreme church party. As such they were the conservators of the
p 40 -- of
the church, the representatives of the truest loyalty to God and
the ancient dignity of the chosen people. As such they were the
extreme and most uncompromising dissidents from Rome, and from all
that was of Rome or that was in any way connected with Rome.
But the Pharisees,
as the exclusively righteous ones and the chiefest in dignity, were
the most fixedly set against Christ, and took the lead in the counsels
and plans to destroy Him. And to accomplish their purpose to put
Him to death, they must have the cooperation of the secular power,
which was Roman only. Therefore to accomplish their purpose against
Jesus, they would glaze their hatred of Rome, and would use for
their purpose against Jesus that very power of Rome of which they
were by profession the extreme disputers and opposers.
The means by
which at one stride they would both cross this gulf to Rome and
make sure of the secular
p 41 -- power,
was to pool issues with the Herodians. The Herodians, as being only
less opposed to Jesus than were the Pharisees, were ready for the
alliance. By this alliance the political party would be at one with
the Pharisees, and the political influence and power of that party
would be at the command of the church leaders. This would make sure
to them the use of the soldiery, which they must have if
they would be really secure in their open movements against Jesus.
was entered into, and the conspiracy was formed: "And the Pharisees
went forth and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against
Him, how they might destroy Him." Mark 3: 6. "
Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle
Him in His talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with
the Herodians," "spies, which should feign themselves
just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they
might deliver Him unto the power and
p 42 -- authority
of the governor." Matt. 22:15, 16; Luke 20:20. And that
governor was Pilate the Roman.
And when finally
the time came, at that awful midnight hour when Judas, "having
received" a band of men and a captain and officers, "with
swords," came upon Him in Gethsemane, it was "the band
and the captain, and the officers," who, at the direction of
"the chief priests and Pharisees," took Him and bound
And having so
taken Him they led Him to Annas first. Annas sent Him to Caiaphas,
and Caiaphas sent Him to Pilate, the governor, the Roman. Pilate
sent Him to Herod, who "with his men of war" set Him at
naught and mocked Him and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent
Him again to Pilate. And when Pilate would have let Him go, they
rung their final political note and plea of loyalty to Caesar
and Rome, even above the loyalty of Pilate the Roman himself,
"If thou let this man go thou
p 43 -- art
not Caesar's friend. Whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against
his last appeal, "Shall I crucify your King?" only to
be answered with the words expressive of their final abandonment
of God, and of their completest unity with Rome, "We have no
king but Caesar. Crucify Him. Crucify Him. And they were instant
with loud voices. And the voices of them and of the chief priests
Thus the mightiest
crime and the loudest crying sin in all the history of the universe
was committed, and was made possible as it was committed, only by
the union of church and State -- only by the church in control of
the civil power, using that power to make effective her wicked will
And that awful
fact alone is all-sufficient to blast with perpetual and infinite
condemnation, and to consign to eternal infamy, all such connection
p 44 -- where
forever. And with such a record in the very first instance of the
thing, it is not at all strange that this same thing of union of
church and State -- the church in control of the secular power --
should have proved and must ever prove, the chiefest curse to men
and nations wherever found in all after times.
So true it is,
and so completely demonstrated, that "secular power has proved
a Satanic gift to the church." TOP
IV -- AS RELATED TO THE CHURCH ITSELF.
p 45 --
We have seen that no monarchical government has any right to enforce
or require any religious observance; and that when any such power
does so, the right of individuality in religion is supreme, and
the monarch's word must change.
We have found
also that no government in which the law is supreme has any right
to put into the law of the realm any statute, decree, or provision
touching religion; and that when such a thing is done, the right
of individuality in religion remains supreme, and innocency before
God, and perfect harmlessness before the government, the law, and
society, is found in him who disregards such law.
We have found
that the church has no right to control the civil power for
p 46 -- the
execution of her will or the furtherance of her aims; and that when
she does so a connection of crowning iniquity is formed, only a
Satanic gift is in the possession of such church, and the right
of individuality in religion is still supreme and to be freely exercised.
There is yet
another combination by means of which domination of man in religion
has been sought: this is the church itself, within itself
-- the church as relates to the membership of the church. And upon
this, whether in principle, or in facts of remarkable experience,
the Scripture is no less explicit than in any other of the examples
given on this subject.
It has been
already related how that Israel when delivered from Egypt was first
"the church in the wilderness" and afterward in the land
of Canaan; and that this same Israel in the days of Christ on earth,
though in spirit and substance far short of God's ideal for them,
p 47 -- yet
in fact was still the church in direct descent.
organization of this church was also still in fact the same in direct
descent. The priesthood -- the chief priests, and the high priest
-- in order and in succession, were the direct continuance in succession
of the order established by the Lord through Moses in the wilderness.
The official council of the church -- the Sanhedrin -- was also
in its idea and form descended from the seventy elders appointed
by the Lord through Moses in the wilderness. Thus in the days of
Christ on earth, the whole order of Israel, -- the priesthood and
the great council, -- was in form and in fact directly descended
from the divine order established by the Lord through Moses in the
wilderness; and was just as truly the church in descent from the
church in the wilderness.
And the apostles
of the Lord and the original disciples of Jesus were all, with-
p 48 -- out
exception, members of that church. They took part equally with others
in the services and worship of that church. They went to the temple
and into the temple, with all the others to worship at the regular
hours; and they taught in the temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:12). And
the people were glad to have it so, and the approval of God in great
power was upon them all.
But those apostles
and disciples had learned something and knew divine truth that the
high ones of the church did not know and would not recognize: and
knowing this they would tell it. Therefore they preached Jesus and
the resurrection, and salvation through Him, and that there is no
other way -- that very Jesus of whom the official order and organization
of the church had "now been the betrayers and murderers."
Therefore this official order and organization of the church assumed
the office and prerogative of deciding that those pri-
p 49 -- vate
church-members should neither preach nor teach this truth that they
knew to be the truth.
the priests and the temple authorities arrested Peter and John and
put them in prison, when they had gone up to the temple at the hour
of prayer, and the lame man had been healed through faith in the
name of Jesus, and Peter had preached to the assembled wondering
people. Then the next morning all the official order and organization
of the church -- the rulers, the seventy elders, the scribes, the
priests, and the high priest -- gathered together and had Peter
and John brought and set in the midst, and demanded of them what
authority they had to be preaching: "By what power, and by
what name, have you done this?"
Then Peter "filled
with the Holy Ghost" made answer. The whole assembly "marveled"
at the boldness of these two only common and illiterate
p 50 -- members
of the church in the presence of that official and august body;
"and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus."
Peter and John were remanded outside the council, while the council
"conferred among themselves."
In their conference
they decided, "Let us straitly threaten them that they speak
henceforth to no man in this name." Then they called in again
Peter and John "and commanded them not to speak at all nor
teach in the name of Jesus." But Peter and John answered immediately,
"Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you
more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things
we have seen and heard." In that answer so promptly given,
it seemed to that assembly that these mere common men and private
and illiterate members of the church would actually convey the impression
that it was possible for such as they to be taught of God,
p 51 -- and
to know from God,things that this whole assembly of the highest
officials and most learned ones of the church did not know; and
that they would pay no attention whatever to the command of the
council, but would go right ahead regardless of all that the council
might say or do or be. Plainly enough in the view of the council
such a course could mean only every one for himself, an individual
independence that "would overthrow all order and authority."
Such an answer
as that from such persons as those, to such an official and dignified
body as this: such an answer from mere common persons to this august
assembly: from mere private members of the church to the regular
assemblage of that which for ages had been the highest official
and divinely appointed order in the organization of the church:
could not be considered by those officials as anything less than
arrant presumption, and the destruction of all order and organization
in the church.
p 52 --However,
the council let them go with further charge under heavy threat that
they should so teach no more.
Peter and John
being let go went to the company of the other disciples and "reported
all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them."
And all the others, instead of being in the least awed or made afraid
by it, not only decidedly approved what Peter and John had done,
but were so glad of it that "with one accord" they thanked
and praised God, asked Him to "behold the threatenings of the
church officials and grant to all of the disciples boldness
that they may speak thy word." And God witnessed to their Christian
steadfastness, "and the place was shaken where they were assembled
together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they
spake the word of God with boldness." "And believers
were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women."
p 53 -- This
open disobedience to the "authority" of the church, this
bold "disregard for established order and organization"
could not be allowed to go on. Therefore all the apostles
were next arrested and imprisoned: for "then the high priest
rose up, and all they that were with him, and were filled with indignation,
and laid hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison."
But, lo! "The
angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought
them forth and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people
all the words of this life. And when they heard that, they entered
into the temple early in the morning and taught."
That same morning
the high priest and they that were with him "called the council
together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and
sent to the prison" to have the apostles brought before them
to answer for all this "insubordination," "apostasy"
and "opposition to
p 54 -- the
organized work" of the church. The messengers returned and
reported that they found the prison securely closed and the keepers
on guard, but there were no prisoners. But while those of the council
were wondering what this could mean, there came one saying that
the men were "standing in the temple and teaching the people."
sent who arrested them all anew and brought them before the council.
The high priest demanded of them, "Did not we straitly command
you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have
filled Jerusalem with your doctrine."
answered as before: "We ought to obey God rather than man.
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged
on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince
and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel with forgiveness
of sins. And we are witnesses
p 55 --
of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given
to them that obey Him."
At this bold
persistence in the forbidden course the council "took counsel
to slay them." From actually murdering the apostles the council
was dissuaded by Gamaliel. Nevertheless, the council called in the
apostles again, and "had them flogged" and then again
"commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus,
and let them go."
departed from the presence of the council. But instead of being
either awed or subdued by the council or by what it had done, they
were all only glad again to be counted worthy to suffer stripes
and whatever other disgrace from the official organization of the
church for teaching what they saw and knew to be the truth. And
notwithstanding that it was "all the senate of the children
of Israel," that is, all those who composed the official organization
of the church that had so treated them
p 56 -- and
had repeatedly commanded them not to preach at all nor teach the
things which they were both preaching and teaching, "never
for a single day, either in the temple or in the private houses,
did they discontinue teaching or telling the good news of Jesus
Thus by plain
facts of remarkable experiences under God it is demonstrated that
above all officialdom of priesthood, council and senate of any church,
the right of individuality in religion, in faith, and in teaching,
stands supreme. By this unquestionable Scripture account it is demonstrated
that no church assembly or council or senate has any authority or
any right to command or call in question any man of even the church's
own membership concerning what he shall teach or preach. *
* -- "As
relates to conduct, in matters of 'trespass' or 'fault' of
any member, divine instruction and direction are given to the church
precisely how to proceed: and this word is to be faithfully followed
in letter and in spirit and in the spirit of meekness to 'gain'
and to 'restore' such an one, never to judge, to condemn, or to
cast off. But as relates to faith the church has no divine
instruction and therefore no right of procedure -- 'not for that
we would have dominion over your faith:' 'Hast thou faith? have
it to thyself' before God:' 'Looking unto Jesus, the Author
and Finisher of Faith.'"
p 57 -- By
the inspired record in this case, it is demonstrated that --
Just as certainly as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar and the three
Hebrews it is divinely shown that no monarch can ever of right command
anything pertaining to religion;
Just as certainly as in the case of the law and government
of Media and Persia, it is divinely shown that no government can
ever of right make any law touching religion;
3. -- Just
as certainly as in the case of the church of Israel against Christ
it is divinely shown that no church officialdom can ever of right
use the civil power to make effective her will or to further her
Just so certainly in this case of the church of Israel against
the apostles and disciples of the Lord, it is also divinely shown
that no church, no council, senate or other collection or association
of officials or others, can ever of right command any member even
of her own com-
p 58 -- munion
in anything pertaining to what he shall believe or not believe,
or what he shall teach or not teach.
The four cases
presented in the Scriptures are perfectly parallel: in every case
the power that attempted domination in religion was directly opposed
and exposed by the God of Heaven, and was thus divinely shown
to be absolutely in the wrong; and in each case the right of individuality
in religion was divinely demonstrated to be eternally right.
In each of the
four cases a distinct principle is involved and illustrated: in
the fourth no whit less than in each of the preceding three. As
certainly as Nebuchadnezzar was wrong in commanding worship; as
certainly as the law of Media and Persia was wrong in prohibiting
worship; as certainly as the church of Israel was wrong in using
the civil power to execute her will against the Lord Jesus; so certainly
that same church was wrong in prohibiting any member of the church
from teaching or
p 59 -- preaching
the truth which he knew from the the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit
And as in the
case of Nebuchadnezzar the principle is that no monarch may ever
of right do as that monarch did; as in the case of the law of the
Medes and Persians the principle is that no law may ever of right
be similar to that law; as in the case of the church organization
using the civil power against Christ, the principle is that no
church and no church order or organization or officialdom may
ever of right use the civil power in any way whatever; just so in
the case of the church of Israel against the apostles, the principle
is that no church, and no church order, or organization
or officialdom, may ever of right do in any way similar to what
in its officialdom that church did.
counsel to that church senate that day was right then and is right
forever, and it is divine instruction to every church assembly,
p 60 -- senate,
forever: "Let them alone." If the preaching or
the work be only of man or of human origin it will come to naught
of itself. And if it be of God you cannot overthrow it whatever
you do: and in that case, in whatever you do to overthrow it you
will be found to be only fighting against God. This thing is in
the realm of God. It is subject to His jurisdiction alone. Leave
it there, and trust Him and serve Him for yourselves; and let others
alone to do the same themselves.
This is also
plain enough in the plain truth itself. For the Holy Spirit is given
to each individual to guide him "into all truth." The
truth of God is infinite and eternal. Therefore it will always be
true that there is still an infinity and eternity of truth into
which the Christian is to be guided. In the nature of things it
is impossible for any other than the infinite and eternal Spirit
to guide any one into or in the truth of God. Therefore every soul
must be in-
p 61 -- finitely
and eternally free to be guided by the infinite and eternal Spirit
into this infinity and eternity of truth. To say anything else than
this is only to limit the truth of God, and limit the mind's advancement
in the knowledge of truth and of God; and is to put an effectual
estoppel upon all possibility of progress. Imagine the condition
of mankind and the world today, if the principle espoused by that
church of Israel had been recognized and her commands obeyed by
the apostles and disciples of the Lord! But the crowning iniquity
of saying anything else than this, is that it recognizes, sanctions,
and establishes a mere human tribunal in the place of the eternal
Spirit, and clothes a clique of sinful men with the prerogative
of that infinite and eternal Spirit, as the guide into and in all
Yet as plain
as all this is in the simple manifestness of the truth of it, it
is deplorably true that from the close of the apostolic period unto
this hour, there has
p 62 -- not
been, and there is not now, a single church "organization"
or denomination in the world that has not espoused the identical
principle, taken the same position, and done the like thing, as
did that Jewish church in the case of the apostles. And today there
is not a denomination in the world, even to the very latest one
that has risen, in which there is in any way recognized the right
and the freedom of each individual member of the denomination to
be led of the Spirit of God into truth and to the teaching and preaching
of truth that the denominational officialdom does not know
or chooses not to countenance. And when any member is so led and
does teach and preach the truth that he knows by the Spirit and
Word of God, immediately the denominational officialdom is awake,
and its machinery in motion, and in the very spirit, and in the
very way, of the officialdom and machinery of the Jewish church,
he is forbidden to teach or preach any more in
p 63 -- that
name. And if, as did the apostles, he disregards such action and
command, and ceases not to teach and to preach Jesus in the truth
and the way that he knows, then he, as were the apostles, is persecuted
and driven out.
And this is,
precisely and alone the cause of there being three hundred and sixty-five
or more denominations in the world.
But is there
never to be any end to this wicked thing? Will the time ever come,
or must it never come, when there will be among Christians
the recognition of the fundamental Christian principle of the right
of individuality and liberty in faith and in guidance into divine
truth? Will the time ever come, or must it never come, when there
will be a company of Christians in the world who will recognize
that the Holy Spirit is the Guide into all truth, that will recognize
the right and the liberty of that Spirit to guide, that will recognize
the right and the liberty of each Christian to be
p 64 -- guided
into all truth by that Spirit of truth, and that will recognize
the liberty of each Christian to hold, to teach, and to preach any
and all truth into which by the Spirit of truth he may be guided?
Isn't it time
that such a thing should be? Isn't it time that the Christian principle
should be recognized, that such a condition should prevail among
Christians? Even the world has learned the principle that
the monarch and the autocrat must recognize the full and perfect
right of individuality and liberty in religion. Even the world
has learned that the law must recognize the full and perfect
right of individuality and liberty in religion. Even the world
has learned that the church must not control the civil power
to cause her will to prevail, but must recognize the full and perfect
right in the field of persuasion, and therefore must recognize the
free and perfect right of individuality and liberty. And now must
it be that the Church herself will never learn that she must
p 65 -- the
free and perfect right of individuality and liberty in faith, in
the Spirit, and in the truth? Isn't it high time that the Christian
church should be learning to recognize in its perfect genuineness
the fundamental principle of her own origin and very existence?
And if it must be so that no denomination will ever learn or recognize
this fundamental principle of her own origin and existence, then
is it not doubly high time that individual Christians shall
everywhere recognize and practice constantly this fundamental principle
of their own origin and existence as Christians, as well
as the fundamental principle of the origin and existence of the
And so it shall
be and will be. The God of individuality and of liberty will not
allow that the divine principle and right of individuality and liberty
in faith and in truth which He has wrought so wonderfully and so
constantly through all these ages to make plain and to maintain
shall be forever beaten back and
p 66 -- pressed
down, unrecognized and misrepresented by the Christian church and
by Christian people. No; this truth, this splendid truth, that is
the fundamental and the crowning truth in and to the very existence
of the Christian church and of Christianity itself -- this divine
truth will yet win and hold forever its own divine place before
the world and in the church. For those who espouse this divine
and fundamental truth of the Christian religion and church will
themselves be now and forever, as in the beginning they were, the
true Christian church in the world, and will compose that "glorious
Church" which Christ, who gave Himself for the Church, will
"sanctify and cleanse with the washing of water by the word,"
in order that at His glorious appearing "He might present it
to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any
such thing, but holy and without blemish."
For upon this
whole story of the church of Israel against the apostles,
p 67 -- there
stands out with transcendent meaning a truth that is worthy of the
most solemn consideration by every Christian: this truth is, --
That which until
that time had been the true church, called and preserved by the
Lord, then and there ceased to be the true church at all;
and that which this church despised, and forbade, and persecuted,
and cast out, became itself the true church.
And so it is
forever. John 9:34-38. TOP
V -- AS BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS.
p 68 -- From
the Scriptures it is plain that the divine right of individuality
in religion stands supreme in the presence of autocratic monarchy;
in the presence of any decree, statute, or law, of any government;
in the presence of the church in control of the civil power; and
in the presence of the church itself, even within the membership
of the church.
There is just
one other possible relationship -- that of the individual to
the individual. But when it is plain and positive by the word
of God that no autocracy, no government of law, no church in control
of civil power, and no church within the circle of its own membership,
has any authority, jurisdiction, or right, in matters religious
in the presence of the supreme and absolute right of the individual,
then it is certain that
p 69 -- no
individual can ever have any authority, jurisdiction, or
right over another individual in things religious.
is plain in itself it is well to study at least some of the Scriptures
on this, as well as on each of the other phases of this subject.
Faith is the
gift of God, and to the individual. Jesus Christ is both the Author
and the Finisher of faith. This
being so, it lies in the nature of things that never by any possibility
in righteousness can anybody but Christ have any authority, jurisdiction,
or right, respecting the exercise of faith which is the vital element
of religion. Christ being both the Author and the Finisher of faith,to
Him alone belongs the sole sovereignty and jurisdiction in all things
relating to faith and to the exercise of faith, which is religion.
the Scriptures say, "Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before
`God." Rom. 14: 22. Faith being the gift of God, and Christ
being the Author
p 70 -- and
the Finisher of it, it is impossible for any one to owe to any but
God in Christ any responsibility in matters of faith or the exercise
thereof, which is religion. And this is the ground and surety of
complete individuality in religion.
word of God stands written to individual believers forever, "Him
that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations":
not to judge his doubtful thoughts; not for decisions of doubts;
not to "judge him"; not to "despise him"; "for
God hath received him." Rom. 14: 1-3.
Please let there
be noted forever, and forever regarded, that the reason, divinely
given, as to why no Christian can ever "dispute" with
or "decide" for or "judge," or "despise"
another, is that "God hath received him."
hath received him" therefore, "receive ye"
received him" upon his
p 71 --
faith, therefore, "receive ye" him upon his faith.
he be "weak in the faith,"yet "God hath received
him"; therefore, even though he be still "weak in the
faith," "receive ye him."
he be "weak in the faith," it is "the faith"
in which he is weak. And in that faith and by that faith he is saved.
That faith is the gift of God, given to save the soul; and whosoever
is in that faith, even though he be weak, has the salvation of God
which is by faith. Of that faith, Jesus Christ is the Author and
the Finisher; and whosoever is in that faith has Christ working
in him to finish the blessed work of that faith unto the eternal
salvation of the soul. That faith, the individual is to hold unto
God the giver of it, and in Christ, the Author and Finisher
of it. The faith being the gift of God through Christ, he who has
it, has it only unto God in Christ; and in that faith his
responsibility is solely to God in Christ.
p 72 --
Therefore, "him that is weak in the faith receive YE, . . .
for God hath received HIM." God being the giver of "the
faith" through Christ, the Author and Finisher of faith, the
responsibility of every one "in the faith" is to God in
Christ. Therefore, "him that is weak in the faith receive ye,
but not to doubtful disputations, not for decisions of doubts,"
not to "despise him," not to "judge him"; for,
since "God hath received him" "in the faith,"
and since "in the faith" he is responsible to God only,
"Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" Verse
4. This is impossible in righteousness even though he be a man's
servant; how much more, when he is God's servant, received and accepted
of God "in the faith?"
Who then, art
thou that judgest God's servant, received of Him "in the faith?"
"To his own Master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be
holden up, for God is able to make him stand." And when "God
hath received" "in the
p 73 -- faith"
one whom you and I will not receive "in the faith,"
then, where shall we appear? The question is not then between
us and him, but between God and us. Our difference is then with
God, and we have entered into judgment with God. But when we enter
into judgment with God over His having received "in the faith,"
one whom we will not receive "in the faith," then it is
certain that we cannot stand in that judgment; because we ourselves
are not "in the faith."
And when God
will hold up, and will make to stand "in the faith," him
whom you and I will not receive him, whom you and I will not hold
up nor try to make to stand, then that one is altogether safe with
God "in the faith." And even though he be "weak in
the faith," yet God is able to hold him up and to make him
stand, and "he shall be holden up" and made to stand by
God who has received him "in the faith" of which God is
the giver, and Christ the Author and Finisher. And as for you
p 74 -- and
me, in all this matter, "let him that thinketh he standeth,
take heed lest he fall."
that demonstrates the perfect individuality of man in things religious,
follows immediately the words already quoted, thus: "One man
esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.
Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Verse 5.
does not say that all days are alike; but only that some
"esteemeth every day alike." The Scriptures are
perfectly plain upon the truth that all days are not alike:
that there is a day that God has made peculiarly his own, and for
man's eternal good has set it apart from all other days. That day
is "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God."
And though this
is true by the word of God, yet as to the observance or non-observance
of that day the word of the Lord explicitly declares, "Let
every man be
p 75 -- fully
persuaded in his own mind." And in this declaration
he has again confirmed the perfect supremacy and absolute right
of individuality in religion.
And, by the
way, this item touches a matter that is everywhere rife today: the
matter of the compulsory observance of a sabbath or day of rest.
But in all things pertaining to the observance or regarding of a
day, the word of God to all people is, "Let every man 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." Verse 6.
Any day regarded
or observed not to the Lord is not truly regarded or observed
at all; for then there is nothing in it truly to regard. It is God
who has selected, distinguished, and set apart, the day. The observance
of the day pertains, therefore, to God; and lies only between God
and the individual in faith and conscience. Therefore any observ-
p 76 -- ance
of a sabbath or rest day enforced by law, by statute, by police,
by court, by prosecution, or by persecution, is, in the first instance,
a direct invasion of the province of God and of the realm of faith
and conscience in the individual; and in the second instance is
not even the observance of the day, and never can be, because it
is not of persuasion in the mind.
God has appointed
his own chosen and sanctified day to be observed; that is true,
He calls upon all people to observe it, that is true. But in the
observance or regarding of this day, the word of God thus explicitly
declares that it is wholly an individual matter: "Let every
man be fully persuaded in his own mind." And when any man is
not fully persuaded in his own mind , and therefore does not
observe the day to the Lord, his responsibility for this is to God
alone, and not to any man, nor to any set of men, nor to any law,
or government, or power, on earth.
p 77 -- Following
this item there is made an appeal in behalf of the recognition of
perfect individuality in religion -- this in view of the awful fact
of the judgment of Christ and of God. This appeal runs thus: "But
why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught
thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of
Christ. For it is written, "As I live, saith the Lord, every
knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Verses 10, 11.
Every one of
us must stand before the judgment seat of Christ and of God, there
to be each judged by Him. How then can it be possible ever
in righteousness, that one of us can be called to be judged by another,
or by any or all others, in the things of religion? that is, in
the things in which we are to answer at the judgment seat of Christ.
No, no. "One
is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." And,
"He that speaketh evil of his brother,
p 78 --
and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the
law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law,
but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and
to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" James 4 :11.
Thus, that there
is to be a judgment-seat of Christ and of God where all must appear,
each to answer for "the deeds done in the body" -- this
is one of the mightiest guarantees of perfect individuality in religion,
and one of the strongest possible pleas for the recognition of it
by every soul always.
whole thought and truth of perfect individuality in religion is
splendidly summed up, and powerfully emphasized as well as clearly
expressed, in the inspired conclusion,
every one of us shall give account of HIMSELF to GOD." Verse
VI -- GOD AND CAESAR.
p 79 -- IN
the case of the church of Israel against the members of that church
who chose to believe in Christ and to teach the truth concerning
Him, the principle is made perfectly plain that no church has any
authority, jurisdiction, or right, in, over, or concerning, the
faith or the teaching, of any individual member of that very church
itself. Acts 4 and 5; 2 Cor. 1:24.
There is another
remarkable scripture that not only illustrates this total absence
of authority, jurisdiction, or right, of any church, but also makes
plain some additional principles of the great truth of religious
scripture is the one that, contains the words of Jesus when the
spying Pharisees and Herodians came to Him with their crafty question,
p 80 -- lawful
to give tribute to Caesar or not?" With the tribute money in
His hand, Jesus said: "Whose is this image and superscription?
they say unto Him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render, therefore,
unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things
that are God's."
Here are revealed
two persons -- God and Caesar: two powers -- the religious and the
civil: two authorities -- the divine and the human: two jurisdictions
-- the heavenly and the earthly: and only two, to whom, by
the divine instruction, is anything due or to be rendered by men.
There is a jurisdiction
and an authority a power and a right, that belong to God. There
is also a jurisdiction and an authority, a power and a right, that
belong to Caesar.
And these are
totally distinct realms. There is that which is Caesar's; this is
to be rendered to Caesar, not to God. There is that which is God's;
and this is to be
p 81 -- rendered
to God, not to Caesar. It is to be rendered to God alone and direct.
]It is not to be rendered to Caesar, nor to God by Caesar.
was, and ultimately there will be, only one realm, only one jurisdiction,
only one authority, only one power, only one right -- that of God
alone. 1 Cor. 15: 24-28.
If sin had never
entered there would been any other realm, nor any other jurisdiction,
authority, power, or right, than that of God alone. And even when
sin had entered, if the Gospel had been received by each and every
individual ever coming into the world, then there would never
have been any realm or jurisdiction, authority, power, or right,
other than that of God alone. Eph. 1: 7-10; Col. 1: 20-23.
But not all
will receive the Gospel; and so not all will recognize the sovereignty,
the jurisdiction, the authority, the power, and the right, of God.
Not recognizing God's kingdom, will, pur-
p 82 -- pose,
and power, which is moral and spiritual, and which makes moral and
spiritual all who do recognize it, these then, being sinful, fail
to be even civil. Therefore there must be in the world a jurisdiction
and a power that will cause those to be civil who will not be moral.
And this is the State, the civil power, Caesar; and this its reason
In the nature
of things there are only the two realms and the two jurisdictions:
the moral and the civil, the spiritual and the physical, the eternal
and the temporal; the one of God, the other of Caesar. There are
these two realms and jurisdictions, and NO MORE. And there simply
cannot of right be any more. One of these is God's realm
and jurisdiction. The other is Caesar's.
And since by
the divine word these are the two, and these two are the
only two that there can possibly be, then it follows absolutely
and exclusively that to the church there is neither kingdom
nor dominion, realm nor juris-
p 83 -- diction,
nor is there any place for any.
It is therefore
perfectly plain that ,without assumption and usurpation no church
can ever have any kingdom or dominion, any realm or jurisdiction.
The church is not Caesar's; and without assumption and usurpation
it is impossible for the church to exercise any of the jurisdiction
of Caesar. The realm and jurisdiction of Caesar -- the State, the
civil power -- is wholly of this world. The church with all that
is of it, is "not of this world." It is therefore impossible
for the church without assumption and usurpation ever to occupy
the realm of Caesar, or to exercise any jurisdiction in the things
of Caesar, which things are wholly of this world.
This being so
of the church as relates to Caesar, how much more is it true of
the church as relates to God! The church is not Caesar and
cannot be Caesar. Much more the church is not God and cannot be
God. And has not Inspiration set forth in such unsparing terms
p 84 -- as
"the man of sin," "the son of perdition," "the
mystery of iniquity," "sitting in the temple of God, showing
himself that he is God," THAT CHURCH that has thought
to be the kingdom and hold the dominion, to occupy the realm and
exercise the jurisdiction, of God. Is anything other than
that needed to make perfectly plain the truth that for any
church to assume that to her it belongs to be the kingdom
and hold the dominion, to occupy the realm and exercise the jurisdiction,
of God, is the very ultimate of arrogancy, assumption, and
But, it is asked,
is not the church the kingdom of God? -- Yes, it is -- provided
that by the term "the church" is meant only the divine
conception of the church as expressed in the divine word -- "the
fulness of Him that filleth all in all." When only that
is meant in the use of the words "the church," then it
is indeed the kingdom of God. But when by the "church"
is meant some human
p 85 --
conception, some religious sect or denomination, some earthly
"organization," then it is not true of any church
ever in this world that it is the kingdom God.
that such a thing as that were really the church, and therefore
the kingdom of God; even so, it would still be true that in order
for such to be in deed the kingdom of God, it could be so only by
God's being king there. And where God is king, he is king and Lord
of all in all. God is never, and can never be, king in a divided
kingdom. He never does, and never can, share His dominion with another.
Will any one claim or imply that there can in truth and in fact
be a kingdom of God without God's being in truth and in fact king,
there; and king in all that is there? No, God must be king there
or else it is not in truth the kingdom of God. He must be king and
Lord of all and in all that is there, or else it is not in truth
and in fact the kingdom of God. The realm
p 86 -- must
be occupied by Him, the jurisdiction must be exercised by Him, the
principles must be His, the government must be of Him, the image
and superscription must be His, and all this exclusively, or else
it is not in truth and in fact the kingdom of God.
The soul and
spirit of man, as man is in the world, as the world is, is in intent
and by right the kingdom of God. And so to wicked and unbelieving
Pharisees, Jesus said, "the kingdom of God is within you."
But in lost mankind that kingdom is usurped and that realm is occupied
by another. The usurper is on the throne, exercising jurisdiction
that enslaves, debases, and destroys. Thus, while in intent and
by right the kingdom is God's, yet in truth and in fact it is not
God's but another's. Yet let the lost and enslaved soul only welcome
God into that alienated realm to occupy His own place on that usurped
throne, and to exercise true jurisdiction there, THEN will that
soul and spirit
p 87 -- and
life in truth and in fact, as well as in intent and of right, be
the kingdom of God. And even then it is the kingdom of God in truth
only as God is king in all and over all to that soul. And so it
is with the church.
The Church OF
GOD is indeed the kingdom of God: it is "the fulness of him
that filleth all in all:" it is composed only of those who
are His. And He is king and sole ruler in this His kingdom. The
jurisdiction in this realm is His alone; the principles of the government,
and the authority and the power of the government are His alone.
And every citizen of the kingdom owes allegiance to Him alone: and
this direct, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Every inhabitant of
that realm is subject to His jurisdiction alone: and this direct,
in Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Every member of this church, which
is His kingdom, is inspired and actuated by the principles which
are His alone and from Him alone; and is governed by the authority
p 88 -- power
of Him alone; and this all direct from Him, through Christ, by the
Holy Spirit. Thus all who are of the Church of God in truth, which
is the kingdom of God, render to God all that is of the heart,
of the soul, of the mind, and of the strength. These also render
to Caesar the things that are Caesar's -- tribute, custom,
honor, in his place. Rom. 13:5-7.
Thus again it
is perfectly plain and certain that neither between God and Caesar,
not yet along with them, is there any third person, party,
power, realm, or jurisdiction, to whom any man is to render anything.
There is no command nor obligation from God to render anything to
any kingdom or dominion, to any power or jurisdiction, but that
of God and that of Caesar, -- these two only. There is no
image and superscription of the church, neither is there
place for any.
And this is
only to say that without God, and without God in His place as all
in all, any church is simply nothing.
p 89 -- And
when such church attempts to be something, she is only worse than
nothing. And in either case nobody can ever owe anything to any
On the other
hand, when the church is truly with God; and when He is truly to
her all in all; she is truly of the kingdom of God. And yet even
then the the kingdom, the dominion, the realm, the jurisdiction,
the authority, and the power, are all God's NOT HERS: so
that all that is owed or rendered is to God, not to the church.
Thus it is strictly and literally true that never in any case is
anything owed or to be rendered by anybody to the church, as such.
And thus again
it is emphasized that there are just two persons, two realms, two
jurisdictions, two authorities, two poweres to whom anybody can
really owe or render anything -- God and Caesar: these two and no
more, and no other.
therefore, that the church to be true to her calling and her
p 90 -- place
in the world, shall be so absolutely devoted to God, so completely
swallowed up and lost in God, that only God shall be known or manifested,
wherever and in whatsoever she is or is to do.
In the very
spirit of Christianity this is certainly true. For this is exactly
the calling and attitude of individual Christians in the world --
to be so absolutely devoted to God, so completely swallowed up and
lost in Him, that only God shall be seen in all that they are :
"God manifest in the flesh." And the church is composed
only of individual Christians. Also the church is "the body
of Christ;" and Christ is God manifest, to the complete emptying,
yea, the very annihilation, of self. And this is the mystery
And just here
is where the church, both before Christ and after Christ, missed
her calling,and her place: she aspired to be something herself,
It was not enough for her that God should be all
p 91 -- in
all. It was not enough for her that the kingdom and the dominion,
the realm and the jurisdiction, the authority and the power, the
word and the faith, should all be God's and only God's. She aspired
to kingdom herself; to realm and jurisdiction of her own; to authority
that she could assert; to power that she could wield;
to a word that she could speak; and to a "faith"
that she could dictate.
To satisfy this
ambition and to make tangible this aspiration, she rejected God
and assumed and usurped the kingdom and the dominion, the realm
and the jurisdiction, the authority and the power, that belonged
to both God and Caesar. And so being herself neither God nor Caesar,
but only a self-constituted and self-exalted interloper, her blundering
confusion of things only multiplied iniquity and deepened the curse
upon the world.
And such precisely
is the charge that God lays against her in each age and in
p 92 -- both
testaments. The glory and the beauty, the honor and the dignity,
the authority and the power, the sweet influence and divine attractiveness,
that all were hers and that were grandly becoming to her, because
of His dwelling with her and being in her -- these all she
arrogated TO HERSELF and assumed to be OF HERSELF. Read Eze. 16:
11-19. Rom. 1: 7-9; 2 Thess. 2: 2-3; Rev. 17: 1-6.
When God gave
to her the true and divine faith that could be "spoken
of throughout the whole world," upon this she assumed that
HER faith was to be the faith of the whole world, and so took it
upon herself to assign and to dictate "the faith"
for the whole world, and to maintain that "the faith"
which she dictated was the true and divine.
When God gave
to her His word in such perfect purity to speak, that when
she should speak it would be as the voice of God, upon this she
exalted herself to the claim that HER voice was the
p 93 -- voice
of God, and that the word which she chose to speak was the
word of God because she spoke it.
When God gave
to her such perfection of truth that her very speaking of
that truth was to speak with all authority, upon this she assumed
for herself that SHE had authority to speak; and therefore that
when she should speak, all must obey because it was she who
'When God bestowed
upon her such measure of his power that even the devils were
subject to that power and must obey God, upon this she assumed that
to HER belonged the power; and even the power to compel all men
and nations in all the world to be subject to her and to
Thus in all
things she actually thought it a thing to be grasped and held fast,
"a usurpation to be meditated, to be equal with God."
But the time has come when every person and everything that would
be the church or of the church, must never more think it a
p 94 -- thing
to be seized upon, a usurpation to be meditated, to be equal with
God; but must think only of how the church shall empty herself,
and make herself of no reputation, and take upon herself the form
of a servant, and humble herself, and become obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross; and all this in order that GOD may
be made manifest in His own person and Spirit in her: and
through her to the world.
The time has
come when no church should any more call men to herself but to
Christ only. The time has come when the church herself must
be most of all interested in making it manifest that there is no
third kingdom, realm, jurisdiction, or power; but only the two --
God and Caesar; and when she must ever urge upon all people the
divine instruction, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things
which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
The time has
fully come when the church in all things must let only this
p 95 -- mind
be in her that "was also in Christ Jesus, " that will
not think it "a thing to be grasped, to be equal with God;"
but that will completely empty herself in order that God
may be revealed: the living and true God, and He all in all. He,
only King and Lord of all in the church and to the church, and that
church "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."
have both states and churches usurped the authority of God, and
have assumed to reign in the place God. Now the time has
fully come when there should be, yea when there will be heard
on earth the grand words of the glorious voices in heaven:
"We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty, which art, and was,
and is to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee thy great
power, and hast reigned." Rev. 11:17. TOP
VII -- RECAPITULATION.
p 96 -- WE
have now traced in the Word of God the principle of the divine right
of individuality in religion, as that principle is applied and illustrated
as relates to autocracy, to government of the supremacy and inflexibility
of law, to the union of Church and State, to the church itself,
and to individuals.
let no one think that all this is only a series of studies in ancient
history, nor yet that it is a study of principles and Scriptures
only as such: though on either ground the study would be amply justified.
However, it is nothing of the kind. It is a study of principles
which in one phase or another are fully as alive and active today
as ever. And the day is yet to be, and that not far distant, when
the whole series of illustrations covered in these studies will
p 97 -- again
be alive and active, and all at once, as truly and to the like purpose
as each was in its place and day.
The day is coming,
and is not far distant, when autocracies, governments of the supremacy
and the inflexibility of the law, unions of church and State, and
churches as such, will all be standing unitedly, and bent as from
one mind, to compel submission and uniformity in religion; and to
crush out every suggestion of individuality in religion and every
kind of right of it.
It is particularly
in view of what is soon to come that these studies have been published.
All these things written in the Scriptures were set down there by
the Spirit of inspiration, not only for the instruction of all people
always, but, particularly "for our admonition upon whom
the ends of the world are come." The mightiest contest, and
this upon the grandest scale, between the forces of evil and the
reign of righteousness that this world's experience
p 98 -- shall
ever know, is yet to be. This mightiest conflict is to be in the
time when the ends of the world are come. That time is even now
at hand. For this reason these lessons from the inspired record
are all-important just now.
In view of the
mighty pressure from all these sources and by all these forces,
that is soon to be put on every individual, it is of the greatest
importance that each individual shall know for himself, and know
by the surest possible evidence -- to know by very certitude itself
-- just what is his place, his responsibility, and his right, individually,
in the presence of principalities and powers, and before God and
While in these
studies of the Scriptures we have discussed each case from the point
of view that these powers have no right to assert or exercise any
authority or jurisdiction in religion, but that the right of individuality
in religion is supreme in the presence of all, the other side is
equally true and no less
p 99 -- important,
even if it be not even more important -- that it is incumbent on
the individual never to allow any other than God to assert authority
or jurisdiction in religion without being openly challenged and
absolutely ignored: that in true allegiance to God and perfect loyalty
to the right, the divine right of individuality in religion, shall
be maintained. This every individual owes absolutely to God, to
the right, and to himself in God and for the right. This principle
each individual must maintain or else prove disloyal to God, to
himself as a man before God, and to consent that the wrong shall
prevail instead of the right: in other words, to consent that the
wrong shall be the right.
It is true,
as the inspired record shows, that autocracy, as illustrated in
King Nebuchadnezzar; that government of the supremacy of law, as
illustrated in the Medo-Persian power; that the union of church
and State, as illustrated in the Jewish church and the Roman
p 100 --
power united against Christ; that the church as such, as illustrated
in the church of Israel against the disciples of Christ; has no
right to assert authority or jurisdiction in religion. It is equally,
and even more emphatically, true, that, to be at all loyal to God
and the right, or true to themselves and to their fellow men, the
three Hebrew young men, the man Daniel, the Lord Jesus, and the
apostles of the Lord, must absolutely disregard every such assertion.
In each case God's dominion was usurped. In each case the right
was being completely thrown over, and the wrong established in its
place. In such a case and at such a time could any who knew God
or cared for the right, sit still and do nothing? Is allegiance
to God, nothing? Is loyalty to the right, never to be known? Shall
the wrong be recognized as having only the right to prevail? Shall
man never be true -- neither true to God nor to the right, neither
true to himself nor to his fellowmen.
p 101 --
It is true that Nebuchadnezzar was entirely out of his place
and did wholly wrong when he attempted to exercise authority in
religion; and the story is written to show to all people forever
that every autocracy is just as much of place, and just as far wrong,
when it presumes to assert authority in religion. At the same time
it is true, and equally important to remember, that the three Hebrew
individuals openly and uncompromisingly disregarded that autocratic
assertion of authority in religion. And the story is written to
teach that all other individuals forever must do as did those three
individuals, if these too will be true to God, to the right, to
themselves, and to their kind.
It is true that,
notwithstanding its principles of supremacy and inflexibility of
the law, the Medo-Persian government did wrong when it by its law
entered the field of religion; and the story is written to show
to all governments and people forever that every govern-
p 102 --
ment is equally wrong in entering by law the field of religion.
It is equally true, and equally important to remember, that the
individual, -- Daniel, -- did absolutely and uncompromisingly disregard
that law; and that the story is written to teach all individuals
forever that in all like circumstances they must do as did that
individual, if they will honor God and the right and be true to
themselves and to their fellowmen.
It is true that
the Church of Israel did an enormously wicked thing when she allied
herself with the civil power in order to make her will effective;
and the story of it is written to show to all the world forever
that every church commits the like enormity whenever, under any
pretext whatever, she seeks to control the civil power to make her
will effective. It is equally true, and equally important to recognize
and remember, that the One lone Individual Who was the object of
this wicked alliance of the church and State, would die
p 103 --
under it rather than to yield to it or to recognize it in the
slightest degree. And this is all written, that every other individual
to the world's end shall be ready under like circumstances to do
as did the Lord Jesus, in order to be true to God, to the truth,
true to himself, and true to the human race.
It is true that
the church of Israel went out of the right way, and did entirely
wrong, when she assumed the authority to decide what the members
of that church should or should not believe and teach; and the story
of it is written to make plain to all churches and people forever,
that every church is just as far from the right way, and equally
wrong, when she assumes any authority to decide what any member
of the church shall or shall not believe and teach. It is equally
true, and just as important to remember, that the individual church-members
there openly and uncompromisingly refused to recognize any such
authority to any extent or in any de-
p 104 --
gree whatever. And this is written to teach to all church-members
forever that they must individually do the like, if they will be
true to God, true to Christ, true to the right, true to themselves,
and true to mankind.
The three Hebrew
young men did right when they refused to recognize any right of
autocracy in religion. Daniel did right when he refused to recognize
any right of civil government of law in religion. The Lord Jesus
did right when he refused to recognize any right of the church through
the civil power to make effective her will. The apostles and disciples
of the Lord Jesus did right when they refused to recognize any right
of the church to decide or to dictate what they should or should
not believe and teach. In each of these cases God openly and in
mighty miraculous power made perfectly plain to all that these individuals
were right. By this it is openly demonstrated not only that they
were right, but that they were divinely
p 105 --right.
And in each case the story has been written out that all powers
and people forever may know that such course is divinely right.
And whosoever will stand with God as did each of these in his place,
can know it.
It is these
individuals and such as these, who, in their day and from age to
age, kept alive in the world the honor of God, who have kept alive
the right in the world, who have kept alive integrity and true manliness
in mankind; yea, it is just these and such as these blessed individuals
who have kept the world itself alive.
It is not autocracies,
nor governments of law, nor unions of church and state, nor yet
is it even churches as such that have maintained the honor of God,
that have held true to the right, and that have preserved the integrity
of man. For all history with one voice testifies that all these
have done all that they could to undermine and break down all individuality
and integrity of man,
p 106 --
to obliterate the right, and to shut out God from his own place
in men and in the world.
No, it is not
these, but the blessed INDIVIDUAL with God and in God; it is those
who have known and maintained the divine right of individuality
in religion; it is the Daniels, the Christ, the Pauls, the Wyckliffes,
the Luthers, who have stood alone in the world and in the church,
and against both the church and the world -- it is THESE, who have
maintained the honor of God, who have kept alive the knowledge of
God, of the right and of the true, and so have kept alive the world.
And now, and
for the time to come when there is being pushed forward among the
churches and urged upon the world, denominational, national, international,
and world FEDERATION in religion and of religion; when all this
is aimed expressly to the one end of asserting by autocracies, by
governments of the supremacy and inflexibility of
p 107 --
law by churches allied with and in control of civil power, and
by churches of themselves; when all these shall work at once and
together to the assertion and exercise of absolute authority in
religion -- in view of all this, just now, as never before, it is
essential to know, to proclaim, and to maintain,
Divine Right of Individuality in Religion,
and Religious Liberty Complete.
VIII -- INDIVIDUALITY THE SUPREME GIFT.
p 108 --
GOVERNMENT exists in the very nature of the existence of intelligent
creatures. For the very term "creature" implies the Creator;
and as certainly as any intelligent creature is, he owes to the
Creator all that he is. And, in recognition of this fact, he owes
to the Creator honor and devotion supreme. This, in turn, and in
the nature of things, implies subjection and obedience on the part
of the creature; and this is the principle of government.
creature owes to the Creator all that he is. Accordingly, the first
principle of government is, "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.
p 109 --
This is pronounced by the Lord to be the first of all the commandments.
It of all the commandments because it was the first one that was
ever given; but simply because it exists in the very nature and
existence of every intelligent creature, and so inheres in the nature
of things as soon as a single intelligent creature exists.
It is, therefore,
the first of all the commandments, simply because it is but the
expression of the inherent obligation in the first relationship
which can possibly exist between creature and Creator. It is the
first in the nature, the circumstances, and the existence of created
It is the first
of all the commandments in the supreme and most absolute sense.
It inheres in the nature and the relationship of the first intelligent
creature, and stands as complete in the case of that one alone as
though there were millions; and stands as complete in the case of
each one in the succession of fu-
p 110 --
ture millions as in the case of the first intelligent creature,
as he stood absolutely alone in the universe. No expansion, no multiplication
of the number of the creatures beyond the original one, can
ever in any sense limit the scope or meaning of that first of all
commandments. It stands absolutely alone and eternally complete,
as the first obligation of every intelligent creature that can ever
be. And this eternal truth distinguishes individuality as
an eternal principle.
as soon as a second intelligent creature is given existence, an
additional relationship exists. There is now not only the primary
and original relationship of each to the Creator, for both owe equally
their existence to the Creator, but also an additional and secondary
relationship of each to the other.
relationship is one of absolute equality. And in the subjection
and devotion of each to the Creator, in the first of all possible
p 111 --
each of these honors the other. Therefore, in the nature of
things, in the existence of two intelligent creatures, there inheres
the second governmental principle, mutuality of all the subjects
And this principle
is expressed in the second of all the commandments, "Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself." This is the second of
all the commandments, for the like reason that the first is the
first of all the commandments: it exists and inheres in the
nature of things and of intelligences just as soon as a second intelligent
creature exists. And also, like the first, this is complete and
absolute the moment that two intelligent creatures exist, and it
never can be expanded nor can it be modified by the existence of
the universe full of other intelligent creatures.
alone, in his own individuality, is completely subject and devoted
first of all to the Creator; because to Him he owes all. And in
p 112 --
subjection and devotion to the Creator first of all, each honors
every other intelligent creature as his equal: as equally with himself
occupying his place in the design of the Creator, and responsible
individually and only to the Creator for the fulfillment of that
design. Therefore out of respect to the Creator, to his neighbor,
and to himself, he loves his neighbor as himself. And this second
eternal truth, equally with the first distinguishes individuality
as an eternal principle.
This is original
government. It is also ultimate government; because these are first
principles complete and absolute; and because they eternally inhere
in the nature and relationships of intelligent creatures. And this
government, which is at once original and ultimate, is simply self-government
-- self-government in rationality and in God. For it is only the
plainest, simplest dictate of rationality that the intelligent creature
should recognize that to the Creator he
p 113 --
owes all; and that, therefore, subjection and honor are the
reasonable dues from him to the Creator. It is likewise a dictate
of reason that, since his neighbor equally with himself owes all
to the Creator, his neighbor must be respected and honored in all
this as he himself would desire to be respected and honored in it.
It is also the
simple dictate of rationality that, since these have all been created,
and in their existence owe all to the Creator, this existence with
all its accompaniments in the exercise of abilities and powers should
be ever held strictly in accordance with the will and design of
the Creator. Because it is still further the simple dictate of reason
that the Creator could never have designed that the existence, the
faculties, or the powers of any creature should be exercised contrary
to His will or outside of His design. Therefore it is the simplest,
plainest dictate of rationality that this original and ultimate
p 114 --
is self-government, is self-government under God,
with God, and in God. And this is truly the only true
God has created
all intelligences absolutely free. He made man, equally with other
intelligences, to be moral. Freedom of choice is essential to morals.
To have made an intelligence unable to choose would have been to
make it incapable of freedom, Therefore, He made man, equally with
other intelligences, free to choose; and He ever respects
that of which He is the Author the freedom of choice.
When, in the
exercise of this freedom of choice, an intelligence chooses that
his existence, with its consequent faculties and powers, shall be
spent strictly subject to the will and within the design of the
Creator, and so, indeed, with the Creator and in the Creator, this
is in the truest sense strictly and truly self-
government. And when the service, the worship,
p 115 --
and the allegiance, of each intelligence is to rendered entirely
upon his own free choice, this reveals on the part of God, the Supreme
and true Governor, the principle of government with the consent
of the governed.
Thus the divine
government as it relates to both the Governor and the governed,
the Creator and the creature, is demonstrated as well as revealed
to be government of perfect freedom; and of perfect freedom because
of perfect individuality.
man lost his freedom and therefore his individuality. But in the
gift of Christ all was restored. "He hath sent me to proclaim
liberty to the captives." "Christ suffered for sins, the
just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God."
therefore, came from Heaven unto the world to bring back to man,
and to bring man back to, what man had lost. Individuality was the
Creator's supreme gift. In the fall, this
p 116 --
was lost. In the gift of Christ the day that man sinned,
the gift of individuality was restored to man.
In the long
ages of sinful and imperial despotism from Cain to Tiberius Caesar,
men had been so continually and systematically oppressed that they
had been robbed of every vestige of individuality. Then Christ came
into the world in human flesh as man, and through every phase of
human experience established the individuality of man upon its own
original and eternal basis. Matt. 25 : 15. Therefore, without Christianity
in its original and native purity there cannot be true individuality.
But in the interests
of despotism the very name of Christianity was perverted. And through
long ages of ecclesiastical imperialistic tyranny men were again
systematically robbed of every vestige of individuality. In the
Reformation, God again restored men to Christianity and individuality.
p 117 --
hardened in forms and creeds; and every form and denomination
of Protestants has denied, and done all that it could to destroy,
Christian liberty and individuality. And now, through denominational,
national, international, and federation and confederation in religion
and of religions, again ecclesiastical imperialistic despotism will
work with all worldly power, deceiving signs, and lying wonders,
systematically to rob man finally of every vestige of individuality.
in its supreme gift of individuality, as always before, will now
and finally triumph over all. Rev. 15 : 2, 3. And Christianity triumphing
through individuality, in the nature of the case, does it now as
always before only in and through the blessed individual: the individual
under God and with God, the individual maintaining in perfect sincerity
the Divine Right of Individuality in Religion, and Religious Liberty
p 118 --
bear in mind always not individualism: for it is distinctly
and eternally an "ity"; never an "ism."
IX -- SUNDAY LEGISLATION.
119 --Whence came Sunday Legislation?
What is its
origin? What is its character?
What does it
mean to the people of the States, of the United States, and of the
are preeminently pertinent everywhere in the United States today;
for in the States and in the Nation, Sunday legislation is universally
demanded; before Congress and State legislatures Sunday legislation
is constantly urged.
Also for another
reason these questions are not only pertinent, but all important.
That reason is that it is through Sunday legislation that
all the autocracies, all the governments of law, all the unions
of Church and State, and all the churches as such, are to be
p 120 --
enlisted and combined under the pressure of denominational,
national, international, and world Federation of religion, for the
domination of the whole world in religion. The whole movement for
the federation of the world in religion, culminates preeminently
in the one thing of Sunday observance, and this by law.
AND CHARACTER. -- The first legislation in behalf of Sunday
was that by Constantine; and it originated in the church
and was enacted solely upon the initiative and the demand of the
bishops. This is certain, not only from the provisions of the
legislation itself, but also from all the facts and circumstances
of the legislation, and from the whole history of the time,
as well as of the legislation.
The first legislation
on the subject was about the year A. D. 314, and included Friday
as well as Sunday. And the intent of the legislation was speci-
p 121 --
fically religious, for it provided and ordered that on Friday
and on Sunday "there should be a suspension of business at
the courts and in other civil offices, so that the day might
be devoted with less interruption to the purposes of ,devotion."
Such is Neander's
paraphrase of the statement of Sozomen respecting this first of
all legislation in behalf of Sunday observance; and it shows that
the only intent of the legislation was religious. But Sozomen's
words themselves, as we have them in English in Professor Walford's
translation, really intensify the religious character of the legislation.
Here they are: --
also enjoined the observance of the day termed the Lord's day,
which the Jews call the first day of the week, and which the Greeks
dedicate to the sun, as likewise the day before the seventh, and
commanded that no judicial or other business should be transacted
p 122 --
these days, but THAT GOD SHOULD BE SERVED WITH PRAYERS AND
SUPPLICATIONS." -- Sozomen's "Ecclesiastical History,"
Book 1, Chap. VIII.
This puts it
beyond all question or contrivance that the intent of the first
legislation ever in the world in behalf of Sunday as a day of cessation
from certain business and other common occupations was religious
wholly and solely.
In the second
step in Sunday legislation, in the law of Constantine issued A.
D. 321, Friday was dropped and Sunday stood alone. The scope of
the law was now extended to include not only courts and other State
offices, but also the "people residing in cities" and
"such as work at trades." And still the intent of it was
unqualifiedly the same; for Eusebius, one of the bishops who had
most to do with the legislation, says of it: --
commanded too, that one day should be regarded as a special
occasion FOR RELIGIOUS WOR-
p 123 --
SHIP." -- Oration in Praise of Constantine, -
And when in
A. D. 386 the scope of the legislation was made universal and "
civil transactions of every kind on Sunday were strictly
forbidden," the same exclusively religious character still
attached to it; for "whosoever transgressed was to be considered
in fact, as guilty of sacrilege." --Neander.
is not in any sense a civil, but in every sense only a
Thus on the
face of the legislation itself it is perfectly plain that there
was neither in it, nor about it, in any way, any other than an exclusively
religious intent. Yet we are not left with only this evidence, all-sufficient
as it would be in itself. By the very ones who initiated and promoted
and secured the legislation, there is given the positive assurance
that the intent of the legislation was exclusively religious, and
specifically so. Again, Bishop Eusebius
p 124 --
is the one who assures us of this, as follows, referring to
Constantine in this connection:
else has commanded the nations inhabiting the continents and islands
of this mighty globe to assemble weekly on the Lord's day and
to observe it as a festival, NOT indeed for the PAMPERING
OF THE BODY, BUT for the comfort and invigoration of THE
SOUL by instruction in divine truth."-Ibid.
All this is
confirmed by the course of Constantine himself in connection with
the law. As the interpreter of his own law, showing what he
intended that its meaning should be, he drew up the following
prayer which he had his soldiers repeat in concert at a given
signal every Sunday morning:
Thee the only God; we own Thee as our king and implore Thy succor.
By Thy favor have we gotten the victory; through Thee are we mightier
than our ene-
mies. We render thanks for Thy past benefits and trust Thee
for future blessings. Together we pray to Thee and beseech Thee
long to preserve to us, safe and triumphant, our Emperor Constantine
and his pious sons." - Life of Constantine," Book
IV, Chap. XX
there should yet be in the mind of any reasonable person any lingering
doubt as to whether the original Sunday legislation was religious
only, with no thought, much less any intent, of its having any other
than an exclusively religious character, even such lingering doubt
must be effectually removed by the indisputable fact that it was
by virtue of his office and authority as pontifex maximus,
and not as Emperor, that the day was set apart to the uses
signified; because it was the sole prerogative of the pontifex
maximus to appoint holy days. In proof of this there is the
excellent authority of the historian Duruy in the following words:
p 126 --
"IN DETERMINING WHAT DAYS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS HOLY,
and in the composition of a prayer for national use, CONSTANTINE
EXERCISED ONE OF THE RIGHTS BELONGING TO HIM AS PONTIFEX MAXIMUS,
and it caused no surprise that he should do this." History
of Rome," Chap. CII, Part I, par. 4, from end.
So much for
the exclusively religious origin and character of Sunday legislation
as it is in itself. Now what for ITS INSPIRATION AND INITIATION.
Sunday legislation was but a part of the grand ambition and scheme
of the popular church of the time through politico-ecclesiastical
connivance and intrigue with Constantine to establish a "kingdom
of God" on earth; and this in the very thought and purpose
of an earthly theocracy. For there had in fact arisen in the church
"a false theocratical theory . . . which might easily result
in the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating
p 127 --
the secular to itself in a false and outward way."
"This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in
the time of Constantine; and "the bishops voluntarily made
themselves dependent on him by their disputes and by their determination
to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of
their aims." - Neander.
the whole scheme of a human theocracy in imitation of the original
and divine one in the Scriptures, was definitely worked out by the
bishops; and through Sunday legislation was made effective.
This is absolutely unmistakable and undeniable in the history of
the time. It is the plain thread-thought of the whole ecclesiastical
literature of the time; and stands crystallized in Bishop Eusebius's
"Life of Constantine." The church was Israel in
Egypt oppressed by the Pharaoh Maxentius, and Constantine was the
new Moses who delivered this new oppressed Israel. The defeat of
p 128 --
entius by Constantine in the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and
his drowning in the Tiber, was the overthrow of Pharaoh in the sea,
and his "sinking to the bottom like a stone." After this
deliverance of the new Israel by this new Moses, the new Moses with
the new Israel went on to the conquest of the heathen in the wilderness,
to the full establishment of the new theocracy, to the entering
of the promised land, and to the saints of the Most High taking
the kingdom. Accordingly, by the new Moses a tabernacle was set
up, and a priesthood in imitation of the divine original in the
Scriptures was established. And still in imitation of that divine
original in the Scriptures, Sunday was by law made the sign
of this new and false theocracy, as the Sabbath was and is the sign
of the original, the true, and the divine Theocracy. And this
was done with this direct intent; for we have it so stated in
the words of Bishop Eusebius him-
p 129 --
self who was one of the chief ones in the doing of it. Here
are his words: --
things whatsoever it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these WE have
transferred to the Sunday."
That the scheme
and system of things thus established was in their thought the very
kingdom of God on earth, is also plainly and positively stated by
Bishop Eusebius thus: --
as he is with a semblance of heavenly sovereignty,
he [Constantine] directs his gaze above and FRAMES HIS EARTHLY
GOVERNMENT according to THE PATTERN of that DIVINE
ORIGINAL, feeling strength in ITS CONFORMITY TO THE MONARCHY
OF GOD." "And by the appointment of the Caesars fulfills
the predictions of the prophets, according to what they uttered
ages before: 'And the saints of the most High SHALL TAKE
THE KINGDOM.' " "Oration," Chap. III.
And Sunday observance
established and enforced by imperial law, as the
p 130 --
sign of the new and false theocracy, in the place and in imitation
of the Sabbath as the sign of the original and true Theocracy, was
the means of making all the people "fit subjects" of this
new and false "kingdom of God." Here are the words, still
by Bishop Eusebius:
Emperor, ever beloved by Him, derives the source of imperial
authority from above." "That preserver of the universe
orders these heavens and earth and the celestial kingdom,
consistently with His Father's will. Even so, our emperor,
whom He loves, by bringing those whom he rules on earth to the
only begotten Word and SAVIOUR, RENDERS THEM FIT SUBJECTS
OF HIS KINGDOM." Ibid. Chap. II.
demonstrate that the inspiration and initiation of the original
Sunday legislation was exclusively and specifically ecclesiastical;
and this all to the promotion of a grand and subtle scheme of the
bishops for the erec-
p 131 --
tion of "a sacerdotal state" that should "subordinate
the secular to itself in a false and outward way"; and to make
effective "their determination to make use of the power of
the State for the furtherance of their aims."
the evidence on these two counts -- 1. -- "The Origin
and Character:" 2. -- "The Inspiration and Initiation,"of
the original Sunday legislation -- that the said Sunday legislation
is specifically religious and ecclesiastical, with every other thought
and intent specifically excluded, stands proven to a demonstration:
to a demonstration, because it is the unanimous testimony
of all the evidence that can be brought in the case.
THE CASE NOW? -- The exclusively and specifically religious
and ecclesiastical character of the original Sunday legislation
being a positive fixture, the question next arises, Has Sunday legislation
ever lost that
p 132 --
exclusive and specific religious and ecclesiastical character?
First of all,
how could that character possibly be lost? That being its native
and inherent character; that being absolutely the only character
that it ever had; it is perfectly plain that this character simply
never could be lost. As certainly as the thing survives at all,
its native and inherent character is there. Therefore, wherever,
to the world's end, Sunday legislation shall be found, its native
and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character inevitably attaches
That is true
in the very principle and nature of the case. But let us trace the
thing historically and see how completely the principle is manifested.
The "sacerdotal State," in the erection of which the original
Sunday legislation was such a potent factor, did, all over Europe
and for more than a thousand years, "subordinate the secular
to itself," and did thus most despotically
p 133 --
"make use of the power of the State -- every State -- for
the furtherance of her aims." In all this dismal time Sunday
legislation was continued, and with no pretense of any other than
its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical
In 1533 Henry
VIII divorced himself and England from the Pope of Rome. But that
was all: for, to what then and thus became "The Church of
England" Henry immediately stood as pope in the place of
the pope. By statute it was ordered that the king "shall be
taken, accepted and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the
church of England." And in 1535 Henry assumed officially the
title "On earth supreme head of the Church of England."
That which was now the Church of England was only that which
before had been the Catholic Church in England. "In
form nothing had been changed. The outer constitution of the Church
remained unaltered. "- Green.
p 134 --
And in this same unchanged system the original papal Sunday
legislation was continued, and has been continued to the present
day: and still with no pretense or suggestion of anything else than
as in its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical
there spread colonies to America. In America these colonies were
established by English charters, and so were but the extension here
of the English Government. And in strict accord with the English
system, and in plain extension of it, every colony established in
America, except only Rhode Island, had an established religion:
either in the form of "the Christian religion" in general,
or else, as in most, in the form of some particular church.
And in every
one of these colonial religious establishments in America, there
was extended, and in some there was even intensified, the Sunday
legislation of the English system, which was only the extension
of the Sunday legis-
p 135 --
lation of the original Roman and papal system.
And still here,
as always before in England and in Rome, the Sunday legislation
of the colonies in America was never with any thought or purpose,
or pretense, other than as in its original, native, and inherent,
religious and ecclesiastical character.
colonies cut loose from the government of Britain and became free
and independent States." But still each of them was
the same as before in its system of established religion and Sunday
legislation. Virginia, however, immediately disestablished there
the Church of England and her religion; and as regards established
religion as such swept it all away by "An Act for Establishing
Religious Freedom." Yet on the statute books of the now State
of Virginia there stood and remained unmodified the identical
Sunday legislation of the Colony of Virginia, which was only
the unmodified Sunday
p 136 --
legislation of the English Church - and State - system, which
was only the unmodified Sunday legislation of the Roman and papal
system in its old, original, native, and inherent, religious and
And the story
of Virginia in this is substantially the story of every other of
the original Thirteen States; excepting always Rhode Island. And
the Sunday legislation of all the States of the Union, after the
original Thirteen, has been only the extension, and practically
the copying, of the Sunday legislation of the original Thirteen
States that had it. And in this bad progress even Rhode Island has
been perverted and disgraced. And always this Sunday legislation
of the later States has been of the same original native and inherent
religious and ecclesiastical character of that of the Colonies,
of England, and of Rome.
Thus, from the
original Sunday legislation of Constantine to the latest Sun-
p 137 --
day legislation in the United States, it the same thing, to
the same purpose, and of the same character precisely.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL -- Then came the formation of the National
Government of the United States with its total separation of religion
and the State, and its constitutional provision that "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof." This principle of the national
Constitution with the preceding "Act for Establishing Religious
Freedom," in Virginia, has been the guide in the formation
of the Constitutions of all the States of the American Union, after
the original Thirteen: and even the Constitutions, though not the
legislation, of the original Thirteen States have been materially
shaped by it. And so faithfully has this guidance been followed,
and so generally has the principle been
p 138 --
recognized throughout the whole American Union, that, as summarized,
the case stands thus: --
things which are not lawful under any of the American Constitutions
may be stated thus:
1. -- Any law respecting an establishment of religion.
2. -- Compulsory support, by taxation or otherwise, of religious
3. -- Compulsory attendance upon religious worship.
4. -- Restraints upon the free exercise of religion according
to the dictates of conscience.
5. -- Restraints upon the expression of religious belief.
are the prohibitions which in some form of words are to be found
in the American Constitutions, and which secure freedom of conscience
and of religious worship. No man in religious matters is to be
p 139 --
subjected to the censorship of the State or of any public
legislators have not been left at liberty to effect a union of
Church and State, or to establish preferences by law in favor
of any religious persuasion or mode of worship. There is not complete
religious liberty where any one sect is favored by the State and
given advantage by law over other sects.
establishes a distinction against one class or sect is, to the
extent to which the distinction operates unfavorably, a persecution;
and if based on religious grounds, a religious persecution. The
extent of the discrimination is not material to the principle;
it is enough that it creates an inequality of right or privilege."
-- Cooley's "Constitutional Limitations,"
Chap. XIII, par. 1-9.
Now, in view
of these facts, provisions. And principles, taking Sunday legislation
for just what it unquestion-
p 140 --
ably is, -- exclusively and specifically religious -- it is
perfectly plain upon every principle that anywhere and everywhere
in the United States, and under all the Constitutions, Sunday legislation
is "a religious persecution," and is absolutely unconstitutional
and void of itself.
That it is unconstitutional
has been admitted by both State and United States Courts. The Supreme
Court of Ohio said plainly that "if religion were the sole
ground of Sunday legislation, it could not stand for a moment"
under the Constitution. And a United States District Court has remarked
upon the "somewhat humiliating spectacle of the Sunday Advocates
trying to justify the continuance of Sunday legislation . . . upon
the argument that it is not in conflict with the civic dogma
of religious freedom," when "It surely is";
and says that "the potentiality of the fact that it is in
aid of religion might be frankly confessed and not denied."
p 141 --
And the latter court distinctly recognized it, in the very
word, as "persecution." TOP
INVENTION AND FIAT. -- And yet all over the United States Sunday
legislation is held by courts to be constitutional! How can this
be? The answer is that it is solely by judicial invention and
It is not by judicial construction or interpretation of the Constitutions,
but wholly by judicial invention and fiat as to the character
of the legislation. That is to say: By judicial invention and
fiat an utterly new and foreign character is given to Sunday legislation:
and then upon this new and foreign ground the legislation is held
to be constitutional. If this new and foreign ground were in truth
the original and native ground, even then the constitutionality
of such legislation would be open to question. But not in any sense
is the new and foreign ground true. It is a sheer invention, and
false both as to principle and to the facts.
p 142 --
This judicial invention and fiat of new and foreign ground for
Sunday legislation is the proposition that it is for the physical
benefit, for the promotion of the health and for the
restoration of the wasted energies, of the people; that "it
is for the protection of labor," and so is constitutional "as
a police regulation" and a "purely civil rule"!
who knows but the A B C of Sunday legislation, knows full well that
no Sunday law in the world was ever enacted with any such intent,
or for any such purpose, or upon any such ground, as that; but that
every Sunday law ever in the world was enacted solely because of
its religious and ecclesiastical character, with every physical
and civic element specifically excluded.
The State of
Idaho is an illustration in point, and being the very latest, is
strictly pertinent. In the very spirit, and with the very aim, of
the bishops in the time of Constantine, an ecclesiastical clique,
not of the State of Idaho, framed
p 143 --
for Idaho a Sunday Bill and carried it to the legislature
of Idaho and got it enacted into the law of Idaho. And then under
a Constitution declaring that:
exercise and enjoyment of religious faith and worship shall
forever be guaranteed; . . . no person shall be denied any civil
or political right, privilege, or capacity on account of his
religious opinions; . . . nor shall any preference be given
by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship,"
Court of Idaho held that religious and ecclesiastical statute to
The State of
Washington is another illustration. The Constitution of that State
freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment,
belief, and worship shall be guaranteed to every individual,
and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property
on account of religion."
p 144 --
When in 1889 this constitutional provision was framed, it was
the unanimous intent of its framers that it should exclude Sunday
legislation equally with every other form of religion in law. The
writer of this book was present with the committee of the Constitutional
Convention when that provision was framed. And I personally know
that such was the intent of the framers of it, because this very
subject of Sunday legislation was particularly considered by the
committee and it was held by the committee unanimously that this
constitutional provision as framed would, as intended,
exclude Sunday legislation. And yet under that Constitution the
Supreme Court of the State of Washington has held Sunday legislation
to be "constitutional."
Thus with Sunday
legislation actually framed by ecclesiastics with no other than
religious and ecclesiastical intent, and with constitutional provisions
framed with direct intent to prohibit it,
p 145 --
the courts by sheer judicial invention and fiat make it "constitutional."
But every such
decision is plainly in open disregard of one of the very first principles,
and of "the universally admitted rule," of judicial
action -- the principle and the rule, that "the
intention of the lawmaker is the law"; that "the law must
be construed according to the intention of the lawmaker"; and
that "a law can have no meaning beyond the intent of those
who made it."
that must ever, in justice, guide in the construction of
statutes as well as constitutions, is authoritatively
stated as follows: --
which should allow a change of public sentiment to influence it
in giving to a written constitution a construction not warranted
by the intention of its founders, would be justly chargeable with
reckless disregard of official oath and public duty." --
Cooley, "Constitutional Limitations," p. 67.
p 146-- The
principle applies with equal force to the construction of a statute,
as to the construction of a Constitution. And whether the
change of sentiment which a court should allow thus to influence
it, be public and general or only the private and personal sentiment
and bias of the court itself, the principle is the same and such
court is equally "chargeable with reckless disregard of official
oath and public duty." Yet this is precisely what has been
done by the courts when, by setting up an utterly new and foreign
meaning, they give to Sunday legislation a construction not in any
sense warranted by the intention of its founders or its framers,
anywhere in human history or experience.
SUBTERFUGE. -- Yet even this invention and fiat of new and foreign
ground for Sunday legislation, is not allowed to exclude the original
and native religious ground of it. This invention, in fact,
is only the stalk-
p 147 --
ing-horse by which Sunday legislation as religious can
be brought in and made to stand as "constitutional" under
constitutional provisions that absolutely prohibit it. For no sooner
has it in each instance been made "constitutional" as
"purely a civil rule" than it is immediately given standing
as religious by the declaration that "the fact
that the legislation is founded in religion" and is "the
peculiar feature of Christianity," "is nothing against
it, but rather is strongly in its favor." Thus, under Constitutions
prohibiting religious legislation, by a sheer sleight of judicial
legerdemain the feat is accomplished of making "constitutional"
legislation that is wholly religious and ecclesiastical.
IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. -- But against it all there still stands
the abiding truth that Sunday legislation is unconstitutional everywhere
in the United States, because of its religious character. The inventing
p 148 --
"civil basis" for it in order to render it
constitutional, only leaves it still unconstitutional because of
its original, native, and inherent religious and ecclesiastical
character. In other words, when the Constitution guarantees absolute
freedom from all religious observances, restrictions, or provisions,
by law required, then any religious character whatever attaching
to any law renders it unconstitutional for that reason.
is the supreme expression of the will of the people in the government.
And when that supreme will excludes from legislation all things
religious, then this supreme will can not be evaded by the mere
trick of inventing a "civil basis" for a religious
thing. By such trick every religious thing ever heard of could
be made constitutional and enforced upon all: and the constitutional
guaranty of religious freedom would thus be turned into a tantalizing
p 149 --
Therefore, instead of the "religious ground of Sunday
observance being nothing against, but rather in favor of, Sunday
legislation as a civil rule," the truth is that this is the
strongest possible objection against it; so strong indeed that this
alone nullifies it, whatever might be its "civil" nature
Court of California has well stated this principle, as follows:
Constitution says that 'the free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship, without discrimination or preference,
shall forever be allowed in this State.' . . . The constitutional
question is a naked question of legislative power. Had the legislature
the power to do the particular thing done? What was that particular
thing? -- It was prohibition of labor on Sunday. Had the Act been
so framed as to show that it was intended by those who voted for
it, as simply a municipal regulation; yet, if, in fact, it contra-
p 150 --
vened the provision of the Constitution securing religious
freedom to all, we should have been compelled to declare it unconstitutional
for that reason. " - Ex-parte Newman.
is that it would be impossible for as much damage to accrue to the
State, to society, or to the individual, through being deprived
of a desired "civil benefit, as must certainly accrue
to the State, to society, and to every individual, through
the infringement of religious freedom, the invasion of the rights
of conscience, and the clothing of religionists with civil power.
EVEN IF CONSTITUTIONAL
IT WOULD YET BE WRONG. -- It is undeniable then, that Sunday
legislation is religious and ecclesiastical, and, as such, and under
whatever plea, is unconstitutional and "a persecution"
everywhere in the United States. But even if it were constitutional
here, as it is in England and France and Spain and
p 151 --
Russia, it would still be wrong. As religious and ecclesiastical,
Sunday legislation is wrong of itself and never can by any possibility
as against the three Hebrew young men, made a law having a religious
basis and character, But God taught him and all kings and people
forever, that it was wrong.
government, as against Daniel, enacted a statute of inflexible law
having a religious basis and character. But God taught that government
and all governments and people forever that it was wrong.
And as for the
church "making use of the power of the State for the furtherance
of her aims," which could not possibly be with any other than
religious intent -- that by this slimy, serpentine, trick there
was accomplished by the church her "aim" at the crucifixion
of the Lord of Glory, this is sufficient demonstration to
the wide universe and for eternity that such combination and the
p 152 --
procedure under it is supremely and satanically wrong.
Thus there is
a higher law and a mightier Authority than any of earth; that is
the will and authority of God. Religion is the duty which
intelligences owe to their Creator, and the manner of discharging
that duty. The religion therefore, of every soul stands only between
him and the Sovereign of the soul. Therefore, though Sunday legislation
were constitutional in every State or government on earth, still,
as being religious, it would be altogether wrong; because
it is an invasion of the realm, and a usurpation of the authority
and jurisdiction, of God.
GROUND FOR IT. -- There are just two authorities to whom, as
respects law or government, anybody in the world is under any obligation
to render anything. These two are God and Caesar. Accordingly the
Lord Jesus declared this truth thus:
p 153 --
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's,
and unto God the things that are God's."
and Sunday observance come from neither God nor Caesar.
It is not of
God; for, as the evidence shows, in the very beginning of it, it
was set up as the sign of the false and human theocracy of the man
of sin in the place of God, showing himself that he
is God, to supplant the Sabbath of the Lord as the sign of the true
and divine Theocracy in which God Himself is God alone.
It is not of
Caesar: for, as the evidence shows, it was not as Caesar --
the head of the State, but solely as pontifex maximus
-- the head of religion, that Constantine decreed Sunday
to be a sacred day and established its observance: and this under
the inspiration and demand of "the Church" which
is neither God nor Caesar.
it is from neither God nor Caesar, but only from "the church"
p 154 --
through a heathen "head of religion," there is no
obligation, no ground, and no room, for anybody in the universe
ever to render to anybody any observance of it in any way whatever.
PURPOSE. -- By every count in the indictment then, it is demonstrated
that the original, native, and inherent character of Sunday legislation
abides ever the same -- exclusively and specifically religious and
And the ulterior
purpose in Sunday legislation is likewise ever the same. We have
seen that in the original Sunday legislation the ulterior purpose
was "the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the
secular to itself in a false and outward way"; and the making
effective of "the determination" of the ecclesiastics
"to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance
of their aims."
is precisely the ulterior pur-
p 155- pose
of it now. Congress and legislatures are constantly besieged; legislators
are persistently pestered, and even threatened, by ecclesiastics
now, as the imperial office was then, always for Sunday legislation,
and more Sunday legislation. It matters not how much of such legislation
there may be already on the statute books, still the persistent
demand is that there shall be more, and more, and yet more; and
it is all dictated, when it is not actually framed, by the interested
ecclesiastics themselves, and in terms more and more approaching
the Inquisition, precisely as by those other ecclesiastics at the
We need not
follow the subject further here. The evidences here presented show
conclusively that the character of Sunday legislation is ever only
exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical; that,
therefore, in the United States it is unconstitutional and
un-American; and that everywhere it is un-Godly and anti-Christian.
End of Book --