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    January 27, 1890

    “The Wickedness of Church and State Union” The Signs of the Times, 16, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the last number of the last volume of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES, in answer to a question, we showed how impossible it is that civil government should have anything to do with the moral law. The argument, in brief, was that the law is spiritual, and civil government cannot enforce spirituality, nor punish for the lack of this. In continuation of that line of thought, we wish to show the consequences that must necessarily result from carrying into practice the idea that it is the province of the civil government to enforce the divine law. We shall do this by making a few quotations. In the Senate document containing the hearing (December 13, 1889) before the Committee on Education and Labor, on the Sunday-Rest bill, we find on pages 65, and 66 certain statements made by Senator Blair, the chairman of the committee, and the author of the bill. He first asked Dr. Lewis the following questions:-SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.2

    “Suppose that human beings trying to live in accordance with the will of God, re-enact his law and write it in their statute-book; is it wrong for society to put in the public law the requirement of obedience to God and his law?”SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.3

    And then after a few words he proceeded to answer his own question in the following manner:-SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.4

    “The will of God exists. He requires the observance of the seventh day just as he prohibits murder; and so we re-enact his law, in making a law and enforcing it against murder, so all the States have enacted laws against the desecration of the Sabbath, going further or not so far, according to the various Legislatures.”SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.5

    Let the reader give particular attention to the idea advanced by Senator Blair, that human beings may re-enact the law of God. The same idea was advanced by Mr. Crafts in the Christian Statements of May 30, 1889. Said he:-SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.6

    “The laws of our statute-books that re-enact the seventh commandment are as distinctly biblical in their origin as the laws that re-enact a part of the fourth commandment.”SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.7

    In what position does this place civil government? The only answer that can be given is that it puts it in the place of God, and makes it at least equal with God. Nay, more, in putting it in the place of God, it puts it above God; for if the State re-enacts and enforces the law of God, supposing such a thing to be possible, it takes the law out of his hands, leaving him nothing to do, and requires men to give supreme allegiance to the State. This will be more apparent when we quote another statement made by Senator Blair, in the connection before referred to. Said he:-SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.8

    “Now the question comes right to this point: God having ordained the Sabbath, as you concede with all religious organizations, here is the national government, which alone can make that law of God operative in this sphere of national action. Why shall not the civil government, then, re-enact that conceded law of the Almighty and make it effective?”SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.9

    Do we not say truly that the National Reform idea, as voiced here by Senator Blair, puts the State in the place of God? He believes that national government alone can make the law of God effective. We say, with as much reverence as the subject will allow, that we cannot see what use those who hold such an idea can have for God. They have usurped his prerogative.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.10

    In the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians the apostle Paul describes a certain power, known as the “man of sin,” the result of the working of the “mystery of iniquity.” This power is described as opposing and exalting itself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, and claiming really to be God. It has generally been considered that this language is a description of the Papacy, and we believe that that interpretation is correct; but surely it describes nothing more accurately than a government which should attempt to do just what Senator Blair says this government ought to do. Therefore, everyone who believes this language of Paul to refer to the Papacy must admit that a government according to the National Reform idea would be nothing more than an image to the Papacy.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.11

    But there is another point to be noticed in this connection, and that is the inevitable result of putting such ideas into practice. If it were universally conceded that the civil government has the power and the right to re-enact and enforce the law of God, that would involve the conclusion that there is no more to the moral law than civil government can enforce. The result would be the universal prevalence of immorality, and immorality of the worst kind, insomuch as the individuals would suppose themselves to be acting in harmony with divine law.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.12

    For example, take Mr. Blair’s statement to the effect that as we re-enact the law of God in making a law and enforcing it against murder, so all the States have enacted laws against the desecration of the Sabbath. Suppose the National Reform scheme has become triumphant, and it is understood that the government takes the place of God, and enforces the divine law against murder, the result would be that any individual who did not in his envy and hatred toward his fellows go to the extreme of depriving them of life, would consider himself a moral man, although he might be full of hatred, malice, and envy. Take Mr. Craft’s idea that the State re-enacts the seventh commandment. It needs no argument to show that the State cannot punish man for vicious thoughts, or evil desires, or for any grade of licentiousness short of the overt act of adultery. But ministers and law-makers teach that the State enforce the seventh commandment; therefore the conclusion which the libertine would be warranted in making would be that he is a moral man if he abstains from violence. And so, when this National Reform idea shall be carried into effect, we shall have the State actually teaching vice and immorality.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.13

    Such a condition of things would be a union of Church and State in its fullest extent. The Dark Ages stand as the great example of the effects of the union of Church and State, yet all that was done then was the enforcement by civil government of what the church claimed was the law of God. We think that our friends can readily see from this that when the United States, or any other government, legislates concerning any one or the whole of the commandments, it effects just to that extent a union of Church and State; and the argument already given shows how dangerous to morality and pure religion is such a union. The state of morality will be just as much below the true morality as the power that pressures to enforce the law of God is below God. Are there any of our Christian readers who wish to see such a condition of things in the United States, or who will lend their influence to bring it about? E. J. W.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.14

    “Letter to the Hebrews. Chapter 9:1-7” The Signs of the Times, 16, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    (Lesson 19, February 8, 1890)

    1. What does the apostle say that the first covenant had? Hebrews 9:1.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.15

    2. Were these a part of that covenant? See Exodus 19:3-6; 24:3-8.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.16

    3. What is meant by ordinances of divine service? Ans.-Ceremonies of divine appointment. There is no divine service without divine appointment.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.17

    4. What is meant by a worldly sanctuary? Ans.-A sanctuary of the world, in distinction from the one in heaven.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.18

    5. Where is the only real sanctuary? Hebrews 8:1, 2.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.19

    6. What relation did the worldly sanctuary and its services sustain to the heavenly? Verse 5.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.20

    7. How many apartments were in the tabernacle? Hebrews 9:2, 3.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.21

    8. What were the two apartments called?-Ib. See note.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.22

    9. What was in the holy? Verse 2; Exodus 40:23-27.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.23

    10. What was in the holiest of all? Hebrews 9:4.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.24

    11. What was in the ark? Compare Exodus 25:31; 1 Kings 8:9. See note.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.25

    12. What was the cover of the ark called? Hebrews 9:5; Exodus 25:21.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.26

    13. Why was it called the mercy-seat? Ans.-It was there that mercy was dispensed. The sanctuary was God’s dwelling-place; the ark represented his throne; and from his throne he dispenses grace, or favor, or mercy. See Hebrews 4:16.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.27

    14. How often did the priests go into the sanctuary? Hebrews 9:5.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.28

    15. How often was there service in the most holy? Verse 7.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.29

    16. Why was this service performed?SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.30

    17. What alone is sin? 1 John 3:4.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.31

    18. What was the basis of the old covenant?SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.32

    19. What, then, was it that made it necessary for that covenant to have ordinances of divine service connected with it?SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.33

    20. Does the new covenant have ordinances of divine service? Hebrews 9:1. The word “also” indicates that it had already been shown that the second covenant had ordinances of divine service. This was done in chapter 7 and 8.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.34

    21. Then what must be the basis of the second covenant?SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.35


    Hebrews 9:1 is a text that hinders many from seeing that all of God’s blessings to man are gained by virtue of the second covenant, and not by the first. That text reads: “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” This, together with the fact that when men complied with these ordinances of divine service, they were forgiven (Leviticus 4), seems to some conclusive evidence that the old covenant contained the gospel and its blessings. But forgiveness of sins was not secured by virtue of those offerings; “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4. Forgiveness was obtained only by virtue of the promised sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:15), the Mediator of the new covenant, their faith in whom was shown by their offerings. So it was by virtue of the second or new covenant that pardon was secured to those who offered the sacrifices provided for in the ordinances of divine service connected with the old or first covenant.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.36

    Moreover, those “ordinances of divine service” formed no part of the first covenant. If they had, they must have been mentioned in the making of that covenant; but they were not. They were connected with it, but not a part of it. They were simply the means by which the people acknowledged the justice of their condemnation to death for the violation of the law which they had covenanted to keep, and their faith in the Mediator of the new covenant.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.37

    In brief, then, God’s plan in the salvation of sinners, whether now or in the days of Moses, is: The law sent home emphatically to the individual, to produce conviction of sin, and thus to drive the sinner to seek freedom; then, the acceptance of Christ’s gracious invitation, which was extended long before, but which the sinner would not listen to; and lastly, having accepted Christ, and being justified by faith, the manifestation of the faith, through the ordinances of the gospel, and the living of a life of righteousness by faith in Christ.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.38

    The Bible, to one who is in the habit of devotedly reading it, begets in the soul a consciousness that excludes all doubt as to its truth. To that consciousness it comes with a self-evidencing power that is both sufficient and conclusive. That man spontaneously believes, and really has not time, or taste, or place in his soul for doubts.SITI January 27, 1890, page 43.39

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