November 1, 1894
“RENDER therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This is the Christian and Protestant principle of separation of Church and State, after which the champions of religious freedom modeled the Constitution of the United States.
WHEN Jefferson, Madison, the Baptists, and certain Presbyterians labored for separation of Church and State in Virginia, and afterwards in the national Government, they understood they were making an image, in America, to the great Christian and Protestant principle of separation of Church and State; and that this separation and its concomitant, freedom of conscience, was in its every feature unlike the papal principle of union of Church and State and its concomitant, religious oppression.
TO show they believed all this we quote their words: “It is at least impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects which profess the Christian faith, without erecting a claim to infallibility, which would lead us back to the Church of Rome.” Again, “To judge for ourselves, and to engage in the exercise of religion agreeably to the dictates of our own consciences, is an inalienable right, which, upon the principles on which the gospel was first propagated, and the Reformation from papacy carried on, cannot be transferred to another.”
THUS it is seen that the framers of the American Constitution modeled our national Government upon the Protestant principle of separation of Church and State. It was made in the image of the Protestant, and not the papal, principle. The builders said it would continue to image the Protestant principle so long as it refused to legislate on the religious disputes between sects, and protected all in the right to judge for themselves, and to engage in the exercise of religion agreeably to the dictates of conscience. But should our lawmakers ever legislate, said they, on religious questions, by that act they would lead the nation back to the Church of Rome,—they would mold it into an image of the papacy. And now of the act of Congress closing the World’s Fair on Sunday, and the imprisonment of conscientious Sabbath-keepers in the several States under sanction of federal courts, we ask, whose image and superscription do they bear, Protestant or papal?
AND now shall Christians obey (“Obedience is the highest form of worship.” “To obey is better than sacrifice.”) these Sunday-law enactments which are imaged after the papal principle, both in dogma and practice, or shall they worship God by obeying him and keeping his Sabbath, they are of his power? Shall they worship the beast and his image by observing the papal Sunday enforced by laws which are made in the image of papal policy? “If any man worship the beast or his image or receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Revelation 14:9, 10.