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    March 24, 1892

    “Civil Government and God’s Law” The Present Truth 8, 6, pp. 90, 91.

    ATJ

    THE ten commandments are for the universe, the supreme standard of morals. They are the law of God, the supreme moral Governor. Every duty enjoined in the Bible—that is to say, every duty of man—finds its spring in some one of the ten commandments. To violate that law, even in thought, is sin. For, said Christ: “Ye have heard that it was said by them in old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery; but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” And again: “Ye have heard that it was said by them in old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:27, 28, 21, 22. And “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.” 1 John 3:15.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 90.1

    This is sufficient to show that the ten commandments deal with the thoughts, with the heart, with the conscience. By this law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20); in fact, the inspired definition of sin is, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. And, as already shown, the law may be transgressed by thinking harshly or impurely of another; it is immoral to do so.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 90.2

    But it is the government of God alone which has to do with the thoughts and intents of the heart, and with the eternal interests of men. Governments of men have to do only with the outward acts and the temporal affairs of men, and this without reference to any question of God or religion. The law of the government of God is moral: the laws of the governments of men are only civil.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.1

    The moral law is thus defined: “The will of God, as the supreme moral ruler, concerning the character and conduct of all responsible beings; the rule of action as obligatory on the conscience or moral nature.” “The moral law is summarily contained in the decalogue, written by the finger of God on two tables of stone, and delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.”PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.2

    This definition is evidently according to Scripture. The Scriptures show that the ten commandments are the law of God; that they express the will of God; that they pertain to the conscience, and take cognizance of the thoughts and intents of the heart; and that obedience to these commandments is the duty that man owes to God.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.3

    Says the scripture, “Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.4

    This quotation, with the ones above given from the sermon on the Mount, are sufficient to show that obedience to moral law, from the heart and in the very thought,—that this only is morality; which is therefore correctly defined as “The relation of conformity or non-conformity to the true moral standard or rule.... The conformity of an act to the Divine law.” The moral law being the law of God, morality being conformity to that law, and that law pertaining to the thoughts and intents of the heart, it follows that in the very nature of the case, the enforcement of that law, or the requirement of conformity thereto, lies beyond the jurisdiction and even the reach of, any human government.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.5

    Under the law of God, to hate is murder; to covet is idolatry; to think impurely of a woman is adultery. These things are all equally immoral, equally violations of the moral law; but no civil government seeks to punish on account of them. A man may hate his neighbour all his life; he may covet everything on earth; he may think impurely of every woman he sees—he may keep this up all his days; but so long as these things are confined to his thought, the civil power cannot touch him. It would be difficult to conceive of a more immoral person than such a man would be; yet the State cannot punish him. It does not attempt to punish him. This is simply because that with such things—with morality or immorality—the State can have nothing to do.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.6

    But let us carry this further. Only let a man’s hatred lead him, even by a sign, to attempt an injury to his neighbour, and the State will punish him; only let his covetousness lead him to lay his hand on what is not his own, in an attempt to steal, and the State will punish him; only let his impure thought lead him to attempt violence to any woman, and the State will punish him. Yet, let it be borne in mind that even then the State does not punish him for his immorality, but for his incivility. The immorality lies in the heart, and can be measured by God only. The incivility is in the outward action, and may be measured by men. It is not with questions of moral right or wrong, but with civil rights and wrongs that the State has to do.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.7

    The correctness of this distinction is further shown in the term by which government by men—State or national government—is designated. It is called civil government, and the term “civil” is thus defined: “Pertaining to a city or State, or to a citizen in his relations to his fellow-citizens, or to the State.”PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.8

    Thus it is plain that governments of men have to do only with men’s relation to their fellow-citizens, and not at all with their relations to God, which is again but to affirm that governments of men never can of right have anything to do with religion.PTUK March 24, 1892, page 91.9

    A. T. J.

    “Method in Their Madness” The Present Truth 8, 6, p. 92.

    ATJ

    “IF the Russian policy of persecution towards the Jews is deemed madness,” remarks the Observer, “there is apparently some method in the madness. According to the Vienna correspondent of the London Standard, M. Pobedonostzeff was asked by M. Poliakon, a well known Russian Jewish banker in St. Petersburg, whether it was true that the recent expulsion of Russian Jews was due to his initiative. Minister Pobedonostzeff replied that it was, and then went on to say: ‘I addressed a memorandum to the Czar, and that was the origin of the orders you refer to. In that memorandum it was pointed out how useful it would be to Russia if a considerable number, at least some thousands, of Jewish families could be converted to the Orthodox faith, and thereby assimilated to or absorbed in the Russian race. The best way to this and, it was urged would be to enforce the old decrees against the Jews, because the classes most wanted, like landed proprietors, manufacturers, first-class merchants, doctors, lawyers, and so forth, would rather be converted than to be driven out of their homes, and forced to reside within the Jewish pale. We Russians want new blood in our race, and none better could be found than that of the Jews, whose thrift, industry, soberness, domestic tastes, thirst for learning, and self-culture, whose instinct for trade, money making and money saving are just the qualities which we require, and which would come into our race by the infusion of Jewish blood. We can not amalgamate with the lower classes of Jews. But I can not observe any bad qualities in the better class of Jews, like you, M. Poliakoff, and we hope to retain them by conversion, if we only leave them expulsion as an alternative. All this was in my memorandum, and in an audience I had of the Czar, his Majesty directly expressed the hope that tens of thousands of the better class of Jews would embrace the Orthodox faith, and thereby become Russians.’ The scheme is certainly a bold one and the statesman who would thus boldly announce it is almost an anomaly. The views of M. Poliakoff on the subject would be interesting.”PTUK March 24, 1892, page 92.1

    A. T. J.

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