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    April 5, 1889

    “Legalized Christianity in America” The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago) 18, 9 (6,369), p. 7.

    ATJ

    Elder Jones Cites Dr. Scaff on Legalized Christianity in the Fourth Century.

    The sixth in the series of lectures on the union of church and state was given at the Bible-rooms, No. 28 College place, last night by Elder Jones, the rooms being crowded to their utmost capacity. The speaker began by saying: “Last night I read from several authorities to show how Constantine gave gifts to the heathen in order to induce them to become Christians, and how by exempting cities from taxation, and by donations converted whole districts so that such a demoralizing influence crept into the churchs [sic.] that the members, who were practically half pagan and half Christian, abandoned themselves to all species of worldliness and licentious, corrupting folly, turning to their religion only in sudden danger, sickness, or near approach to death, when they took refuge in baptism. Then, as ever, when religion is professed simply for worldly interests, it resulted in hypocrisy. To legislate to force a religion upon the people is to raise up a nation of hypocrites, which will be simply ruin sooner or later. To establish a religion by law is to establish a papacy. If it be a Methodist faith it will beDIO April 5, 1889, page 7.1

    A METHODIST PAPACY

    So of any other form of faith, or if a national religion be established, it will be a National papacy, and, further, a religious despotism is certain to come from it. The speaker read also from Dr. Schaff, to show the effect of such legislation. In his words it would result in this: “The church became fashionable. When a religion becomes fashionable, it loses all the good it ever has. Nationalize a religion and you corrupt and degrade it. To Christianize people is to create a nation of hypocrites; worldly professors, to whom real piety will be unpopular. Dr. Schaff sets forth in strong language the gaudy apparel, luxury, and prodigality indulged in by the Christians of the fourth century, and afterwards from Milman’s Christianity, and then contrasted their extravagance, with the prevalence of the same follies of to-day. Schaff then shows that the genuine Christians were reproached by those Christian worldlings with “being righteous overmuch,” and also that the main effort among those nominal Christians was to obtain a church office, because all taxation was removed from such, the result being that many who were the least competent of proper became church officers, some bishops, who were continually engaged in contentions for supremacy, each one holding hisDIO April 5, 1889, page 7.2

    OFFICE FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

    So, the speaker said, it will be in our country when ministers, as politicians, devote their time to political wire-pulling, which will be a natural result of legislation on religious matters. Men will be made ministers because they are popular, and as a result they will have to play into the hands of those who elected them, and instead of preaching righteousness to the people they will preach only smooth things which will please their hearers. Further, as the majority will rule, worldly and wicked men will be made ministers and their wire-pulling will eventually be to obtain higher positions, so that men will enter the ministry solely, in some instances, to obtain preferment in large cities like New York, Chicago, etc., where the chief ministers may become the ruling power. Again, the speaker read from the same author to show that many were made bishops because they were so wicked and in order to prevent them harming the church through their power and influence. He also read from Bowers’ History of the Popes to show the bloody strife that resulted from the efforts of the bishops to exalt themselves, and to obtain wealth by legacies, donations, and gifts from the people, their extortions and intrigues becoming finally so scandalous that Constantine passed a law forbidding the clergy and church clerks receiving legacies orDIO April 5, 1889, page 7.3

    GIFTS OF ANY KIND

    The whole of the extracts read showed that more wickedness was carried on, in an aggravated form, under a Christian garb than had ever been known under paganism. Therefore, it is plain that, as history repeats itself, if our Nation will compel the people to become hypocrites, Christianity will degenerate until at last it will become so corrupt that our Nation will be swept from the earth exactly as Rome was before us.DIO April 5, 1889, page 7.4

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