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    1889

    April 1, 1889

    “Religious Liberty. The Relationship of Civil Government and Religion Defined” The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago) 18, 5 (6,365), p. 7.

    ATJ

    Professor A. T. Jones’ Lectures at the New Central Bible School

    The Bible and Declaration of Independence on a Legal Sabbath

    LEGISLATIVE RELIGION

    The first of a series of lectures “on the Relationship of Civil Government and Religion” was given Saturday night by Professor A. T. Jones in the chapel of the new Central Bible School, at Nos. 26 and 28 College place. Professor Jones is an impressive and enthusiastic speaker, and handled his subject with the earnestness of profound conviction. The chapel and adjoining rooms were filled to overflowing with absorbed listeners as he brought out principles to every man’s civil and religious rights. He opened his lecture by quoting the words of Christ found in Matthew 22:21: “Render, therefore, unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” He said: At the time our Saviour spoke these words Cesar was the embodiment of all the power of civil government in the world. There were scattered people on the outskirts of the jurisdiction of Rome, but they were known simply as barbarians and uncivilized. Rome represented all .... and state. He was the first one who ever declared this principle that divorces civil government and religion. The nations of the past had connected church and state. in Babylon and Medo-Persia, the king legislated concerning matters of religion, and Cesar himself was Pontifex Maximus, Supreme Pontiff, or Pope, and in him was vested the power to appoint fast days, etc.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.1

    It was through this very prerogative that Constantine, in the fourth century, made a law enforcing the observance of the venerable day of the sun. Not only in idolatrous nations was church and state united, but in Judea itself religion was made a matter of law, for the law of God was the law of the land. The government of Israel was a theocracy, a government of God. God spoke directly to the people through His prophets, and the king heard the word of the Lord from the prophet’s mouth.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.2

    BUT THE LORD HAS DECLARED

    that that order of government should be no more until Christ shall come.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.3

    David’s throne was to be established forever as the throne of the Lord, and Christ, as the seed of David, was to rule on the throne of David, his father. But in the time of Zedekiah concerning the kingdom the Lord said: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is, and I will give it to him.” It was overturned by three successive nations, and then Christ came. But it was to be no more before it was to be given to him whose right it is. Christ did not receive His throne on earth at that time. He says himself: “My kingdom is not of this world.”DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.4

    It is after the judgment, after the renewing of the earth that Christ takes His throne on earth, and until that time any system that tends to theocracy is a false system, and the establishment of a government of God on earth is a false theocracy, one made by man and not by God, and will only result in putting man in the place of God, and in the multiplying of iniquity.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.5

    The Declaration of Independence reads “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, andDIO April 1, 1889, page 7.6

    THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

    That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers ... that right without receiving an equivalent? We receive not merely nineteen times as much protection, but an almost incalculable protection. So it is with any ..., property and everything pertaining to my civil rights. But what equivalent can government make if I surrender my right to believe? It can render nothing. The New Hampshire Constitution says that among the inalienable rights the chiefest right is the right of conscience, because for its surrender no equivalent can be given. The rights of conscience are eternally inalienable; for a man can not be a man and surrender them. To fill up the measure of manhood man must maintain his right to fear and worship God according to the dictates of his conscience; therefore, no man can favor legislation in favor of the religion he professes without destroying his own right to be a man is exceeding his right. He takes away his own religious freedom when he consents to legislation thatDIO April 1, 1889, page 7.7

    FAVORS HIS OWN RELIGION

    We are Seventh-day Adventists, but there was a time when we were not. Some of us were Methodists, some Baptists, some Presbyterians, some of us were not connected with any church or religion. But more truth came to our attention and we changed our opinion. Suppose that while we were Methodists we had favored legislation establishing Methodism as the religion of our State, then when advanced truth came to us, and we changed out views, we would have been obliged to have opposed the very law that we had formerly formed. We would have found ourselves deprived of the right to think for ourselves, to worship according to our conscience by our own act. We would have said to the State, “You have the religion; we will tae it from you and surrender our right to think for ourselves.”DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.8

    You had a right to be a Methodist, or a Baptist, or not to be, just as you pleased. You have a right to keep the seventh day, or not to keep it, so far as civil government is concerned. You are responsible to God alone for your duty toward Him. As soon as you make a law that a certain day shall be observed as the Sabbath, you take away your right not to observe it.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.9

    RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

    as far as it has been understood, in the past has asserted my right to believe as I pleased. But true religious liberty does not stop at the assertion of my right. It asserts your right to believe as you please, and when men undertake to declare what I or you shall believe, or when I favor legislation that enforces what I believe, religious liberty is destroyed. I render to Cesar what does not belong to him. Civil government receives what is due to God alone, puts itself in the place of God, and degrades the principles of civil and religious liberty.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.10

    Before a large audience in the Mission Rooms in College placed last night Elder A. T. Jones spoke at length on this subject. His argument was to show that, as the Rev. Mr. Cook has said, “Sabbath observance can only be enforced as a day of worship,” and that as man can not give to a Sabbath the sanction that God put upon it, the result will be to enforce idleness (as men can not be forced to worship against their will). To compel men to be idle is to put a premium on crime. He showed clearly that the increase of crime on Sundays was not because of liquor, as that could be obtained any day, but because there were more idle men to engage in drunkenness and other crimes. He fully sustained the opening assertion that no State can safely institute a day of idleness.DIO April 1, 1889, page 7.11

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