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The Rights of the People

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    THE ONE GREAT QUESTION NOW

    The conclusion of the whole matter the sum of all that has been said, or that can be said, on the subject, is that the principles of the Government of the United States as regards religion and the State, are no longer American, but Roman; no longer Protestant, but papal; no longer Christian, but antichristian. And the question now to be decided by every man, woman, and child in the nation is whether they will be American, Protestant, and Christian, or whether they will be Roman, papal, and antichristian. Every person is now absolutely shut up to the decision of this question. The very course of events will force every soul to the decision of this question-each one for himself. The people can no more escape this issue than they can get out of the world.ROP 244.1

    As the matter now stands, every person in the United States is shut up to just one of two things: Either to assent to governmental interpretations and interference in religious matters, or decidedly to protest against it; either to assent to that which has already been done, and to the like of which is to follow, to be plastered on, layer after layer, till the whole nation shall be groaning under the curse of a religious despotism equal to that of the Dark Ages, or else decidedly to protest against, and refuse any kind of assent to, that which has been done, which is being done, or any such that may follow in any shape whatever.ROP 244.2

    The historian of the Reformation has well remarked that “the establishment of a tribunal charged with the interpretation of the Bible, had terminated only in slavishly subjecting man to man in what should be most unfettered,-conscience and faith.”-D’Aubigne, Book XIII, chapter 6. Revolt from thisthing in the sixteenth century was the emancipation of mankind.ROP 245.1

    When the attempt was made, by means of a Supreme Court decision perverting the Constitution, to accomplish throughout the whole nation the enslavement of man to man in all his bodily interests-for even the slaveholder left free the conscience and faith of his slaves-uncompromising opposition to it was the emancipation of a whole race and the assured freedom of the nation.ROP 245.2

    And now, when by both these means-when by a Supreme Court decision perverting the Constitution, and the establishment of a tribunal charged with the interpretation of the Bible-this powerful attempt is made to bring about once more the enslavement of man to man in that which should be most unfettered, conscience and faith, nothing less than absolutely uncompromising opposition to this thing in every phase of it from beginning to end-can secure the liberty of the individual, of the nation, or of mankind.ROP 245.3

    And who can refuse uncompromisingly to oppose it? With the example of Christianity as it started in the world; of the Reformation as it arose in the sixteenth century; of the fathers who made this nation; of the opposition to, and not merely the reversal, but the annihilation of, the Dred Scott decision-with all this history and all these examples before us, which the conscience and better judgment of all men approve, how can any man hesitate to enlist all his energies of body, soul, and spirit, in uncompromising opposition to this monstrous evil so treacherously conceived and so powerfully maintained?ROP 245.4

    So much for the necessity of such opposition. But as this book is a study of the rights of the people, it will be proper here to set forth the rights by which the people, with courage, consistency, and righteousness, can inaugurate, and forever carry on, this uncompromising opposition.ROP 246.1

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