January 28, 1892
THE State has nothing whatever to do with interpreting and administering the law of God. Every man must answer for himself to God; which would not be the case if the State was permitted to come between the individual and God. In that case men would be responsible to the State, and the State to God; there would be in that case no direct accountability to God; the citizen would inquire, what does the State say, and knowing and doing the will of the State, the individual would be free. But such is not the plan of God. He has ordained civil government to regulate the civil affairs of men, and in civil matters men are responsible to the State; but in morals, men are answerable alone to God. He is the only moral governor and his law is the only moral law.
THE State can not make laws touching religion on the plea of its own responsibility; and the citizens do not need such laws, because each one is personally responsible to another tribunal infinitely higher than the State, for his standing in morals. Then all that the State can do, is to make laws prohibiting any man, or any set of men, from interrupting others in the enjoyment of their peculiar form of worship. Any law violating this principle, would work gross injustice to the whole people.