The Topeka Daily Capital, vol. 11- Contents
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May 8, 1889
“At Forest Park. The Church, the Body of Christ” The Topeka Daily Capital 11, 109, p. 4.
CAMPERS INCREASING IN NUMBERS AND THE EXERCISES GROWING MORE INTERESTING
The Citizens of Ottawa Flocking to Hear Elder Jones’ Evening Lectures—His Definition of “the Powers that be”—Synopsis of the Class Work, Lectures and Sermons—Visitors much Interested in the Book Tent—Mrs. E.G. White Expected soon.
Special Correspondence of the CAPITAL.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.1
FORREST PARK, OTTAWA, KAN., MAY 7. The high winds and dust made life at the opening of the meeting somewhat disagreeable, but the campers have now made their quarters more comfortable and the work of the institute in session is progressing favorably. Over 350 ministers, licentials, Bible workers, officers of churches and other teachers, with their families, are already on the grounds, and, with the visitors, fill the assembly room uncomfortably at most all the conventions. Nearly everyone carries tablets and pencils and full notes of all the class exercises and reports of sermons and lectures are taken, those attending being better able to do this now, because of the instruction received daily in the reporting class, to which all on the ground, nearly, now belong. Below we give reports of the day’s work.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.2
The second session of the institute class showed in an increase in membership and interest in those who attended. The subject of “Evils of Religious Legislation” was continued, the basis from which governments acquire their just powers, as elucidated in the lecture of the previous evening, was further discussed. It was demonstrated that no government has any right to interfere in any way with a man’s exercise of his religion, or to legislate in reference to it—even though a religion may necessitate the sacrifice of a human life. The state in such a case can prevent the human sacrifice because it is an uncivil act, and if committed can be punished for murder under the civil law forbidding murder, but it can not legislate to forbid the man from exercising his religion, or can his religion come into question in any court of law.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.3
The very party who argue for a Sunday observance law and its religious observance realize this fact, and in applying for a law ask for a civil observance of the day, as courts can not legislate on religious questions. It was further shown that governments can not afford to legislate upon Sunday laws because it binds men who do so to forever surrender their right to believe. That the great mistake made is that they fail to see man has no right to legislate in favor of what he believes as well as not to legislate against his belief or in other words that true religious liberty is the assertion of other people’s right to believe what they please. A man has no right, of course, to be an infidel, but he is responsible alone to God. If he chooses to be an infidel, he has, so far as government is concerned, the right to be one, or anything else he pleases. Sunday legislators assert their right to keep Sunday, but wish to force their neighbors to do so also, yet think they are asking for religious liberty, But if successful, this enforcement of their views upon others can be only tyranny or despotism. The W.C.T.U. wanted us to agree to help them get a Sunday law and then they would give us an exemption clause—that is, “you help us to fasten Sunday upon others, and we will exempt you,” but this would be toleration simply, not religious liberty.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.4
The Bible class that followed investigated the subject of Bible work. It being the object of these meetings to learn how best to carry Christ’s message to the world. The meeting was then taken in charge by Elder Shireman, the head of the mission at Kansas City, MO., and the class spent an hour in the discussion of the best methods to interest the world in seeking truths that are vital to our times.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.5
ELDER JONES’ ADDRES
The afternoon’s address was by Elder A.T. Jones, who called attention to Colossians 1:24, the subject being “The Church, the Body of Christ.” Next turn to Ephesians 1:22, 23, showing the church to be the body of Christ, He being the head. Now we are members of His body in being members of the church.1 Corinthians 12:27. Turn now to Ephesians 5:30, where it is more strongly stated, “Now, brethren,” he asked, “Is it a common thing to be a member of Christ’s body, His flesh, His bones?” Read from the twenty-third verse and the closeness of the connection between the church and Christ. Another passage: Ephesians 4:15, 16, compares the church and its members to the compactness of the members, joints and bones of a human body, all working in harmony under the guidance of one will, to do the work for which it was created. Again: Colossians 2:18, 19, follows out the simile to show the completeness and closeness of the union of the various parts. In Colossians 1:18, Christ is shown to be the head of the body, which is the church. Then 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, shows the harmony that should exist in the church, that all, working together in the place assigned to it, and all guided by the head, its purpose may be fulfilled, as it is stated in Romans 12:4, 5.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.6
In 1 Corinthians 11:12, Christ is head not only of the body, but every member of the body, every man. No man is the head of any other man, but Christ is head of everyone and all. Then how many of the members of the body can perform an intelligent action independent of the head? None then in the church of Christ and perform an intelligent action unless guided by the will of Christ. Then should not every member seek always to be utterly submissive to His will that all they do should be directed by the will of Christ? When such a condition prevails in the church there will never be any room for contention or division among its members. The unity that Christ intends should prevail, will prevail, and to such a condition the church must come, and will come soon, as there is work to be done, and done quickly, and the work cannot be properly done unless the church is harmonious.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.7
In 1 Corinthians 12:14 and onward we find that none should murmur whatever position they may be placed in, but each finding his place, should keep it, and perform his duty there, not seeking to work independently of others, but harmoniously and helpfully, one towards another, that the will of Christ may be done in the locality where the church may be. God has placed each member in his place, as it has pleased Him, to do, through each, in the place they occupy, the work He has to be done there, even the more feeble being necessary. We cannot slight the weak ones, but must bestow upon them more abundant honor. We clothe our body to adorn it and make it more pleasing to the eye, but the face being the expressive feature we leave exposed as it needs no adornment. All then, being united, all suffer and rejoice together. Further, if any member is injured, what part feels it the most? Is it not the head? Then when you or I cause pain to a member of the church who do we most hurt? Is it not Christ, the Head? Can we, then, if we love Christ, cause Him to suffer? “If we slight a weak brother, pass him by, refuse to pity him, the Lord will leave us, some day, to find out that there is, in us, as great a weakness as we despise,” says Mrs. White, “in the one we passed by.” Reading Hebrews 13:3 we find the same thought—that all suffer or rejoice together—so then if one member is exalted all should rejoice, aid and co-operate with him. If Christ’s will prevails this will be done. An envious man is unfit for any place, because “he who envies another confesses his own inferiority.” If one is occupying an inferior position acceptably he is following out the will of Christ as fully as if he occupied the most prominent position. When the church becomes harmonious, all church trials will disappear, and Christ will have only to make known His will and perform the work He has to be done in that place, in spreading abroad the truth, and saving souls in that locality.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.8
“At Forest Park. The Powers that Be and the Limitations Upon Them” The Topeka Daily Capital 11, 109, p. 4.
THE EVENING SERMO
The evening sermon was one of the regular series of the expositions of the evils of religious legislation, by Elder A.T. Jones who in opening said: “Tonight the subject is the powers that be and the limitations upon them. I call attention to Romans 13:1—assenting the powers that be to be ordained of God. This is a comment on Matthew 22:21 referred to last night. ‘Render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.’ By this expression the Savior recognized that those are things due civil government, but he did not define the limitation, yet Paul does do so. I will refer briefly to some portions of the chapter. The question before the Savior was the matter of tribute, so Paul speaks of the same rendering tribute to whom tribute is due. ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.’ Titus 3:1, 2 tells us to be subject to powers, to obey magistrates etc.; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 admonish us to pray for such officers; 1 Peter 2:13-17 urges us to submit ourselves to ordinances that we may be examples of well-doing to others. But do these Scriptures embrace everything, or is there a limit to it? Shall we obey when the commands are contrary to the precepts of God? Turn to Acts 4:17-21, and we find that the apostles, Peter and John, were brought before the Jewish council, and forbidden to preach Christ, they answered, ‘Whether it be better to hearken to thee, and not to God, judge you.’ Now verse 21 compared with Chapter 5:28, 29 shows that when they were released they went at once to teaching and performing miracles, were again arrested, and when asked if they had not been forbidden to teach, answered, ‘We ought to obey God rather than man.’ Very well, then the power given to government is limited, and when it conflicts with the commands of God is not to be obeyed.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.9
“Turning back to Romans 13, from verse 7 onward, we find this, that the limits of power of government is defined. Paul knew that there were ten commandments, yet after quoting five of them he says, ‘If there be any other commandment it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;’ he knew there were four others defining our love to God, summed up in this, ‘you shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might.’TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.10
“Now why did he not mention these four? Because he was writing on the powers that be, and that which pertains to the relations of man to his neighbor, and that governments cannot go beyond this limit—this is civil government, just as I defined it last night. The Lord, then, has set this limitation on civil government: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Now if we remember what Paul is writing about we see why the first four commandments are not mentioned—because they pertain to our allegiance to God, and have nothing to do with our duty towards civil government, and no government has a right to interfere with our duty to God. Paul is defining the limits of temporal power, and if a Christian obeys the commands of God, Cesar will never have a fault to find with him, (for Paul is writing to the Christian church at Rome, remember, and not to the government) so all Cesar would have to do with such a people would be to collect the tribute. The Constitution of the United States recognizes this principle.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.11
“In Jeremiah we find that Nebuchadnezzar was raised up by the Lord to destroy Jerusalem and take the Israelites captives in Babylon for seventy years at the commandment of the Lord. Numbers 3:26-29 shows that the Lord promises the Chaldeans shall take Jerusalem and carry the people captive. There are abundant evidences of all of this. Now then this king had been made the power to the children of Israel, by the Lord himself, yet when this same king tried to force the brothers of Daniel to worship an image of his creation, and upon their refusal were cast into the burning fire, yet the Lord himself rescued them. If, then the government, represented here by the king, was to be obeyed in all things, because ordained by God, why did the Lord rescue those who disobeyed, standing by them and sanctifying their disobedience? Is it not because the limit of the powers he is confined in many relations to his neighbor? But now let me turn to another phase found in the third commandment embodied in states forbidding the violation of this commandment. Now when the Lord tells us not to do a thing the only safe way is to obey unquestionably. No power then can legislate on the third commandment, yet in opposing such legislation it looks as though we were favoring blasphemy, and sanctioning it. Blasphemy is wrong in every phase of it, but it is a wrong that civil government can have nothing to do with, without involving other evils and opening the way for oppression and despot-ism. If governments can legislate on one commandment why cannot it legislate on all, and usurp all the privileges of God, establishing a theocracy on earth and shutting out God entirely? Legislation against murder, theft, and other crimes are not based upon the commandments of God. Nations legislated on such crimes before the commandments were known to them. Civil governments legislate on these matters independent of, and without reference to, the commandments. It is inherent in man to protect himself and his family against criminal attack. Enactments against crimes grow out of man’s relation to his neighbor, and not because the principles are defined in the commandments, and are not enforced as commandments of God, because it would force governments to go into the thoughts of man. Tomorrow night I shall consider the statues against blasphemy.TDC May 8, 1889, page 4.12