November 16, 1899
WHEN the voice of the church is heard in the halls of legislation, it is silent in the courts of heaven.
CHRISTIANITY makes good men; and good men are the greatest need in all countries, at all times.
A LAW enforcing a religious observance, though it be a “dead letter,” is a seed from which may grow the tall tree of church-and-state union.
A RULE of “Christian citizenship” is that a man ought to vote as he prays: but earthly politics affords no chance for a vote that is up to the level of Christian prayer.
THE church will seek in vain for power to reform the world, outside of that “upper room” where the disciples are fitted to receive “power from on high.” There is no such room in the halls of state.
A LEGISLATURE may pass laws to enforce a command of God, but only God can give an adequate reason for obedience, or provide the power necessary to keep his law. Without God’s reason in God’s power, there can be no true obedience to him; and with these there can be no need of any aid from human power or wisdom.
THE reason why the world speedily went to the bad after the fall, is clearly stated in the first chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, and no Christian can have any doubt that the causes there assigned are the true ones. But there is given no hint that legislation could have reformed society after its lapse from right doing, or could even have stayed the tide of moral degeneration.
GOD would rather an individual should do wrong, than be forced to do right. There can indeed be no such thing as forced righteousness, for all righteousness must be of faith. And therefore no human law can command righteousness, and obedience to any human command is not righteousness according to the divine standard. Force is proper only in securing respect for personal rights.