“National Service to the Church” American Sentinel 13, 15, pp. 225, 226.

IT is the theory of the National Reform movement that the Government ought to serve the church. For years the leaders of this movement have been working to put the Government in a position where it would be subservient to the church,—that is, to the church as they represent it. And they claim to find Scriptural support for this theory. A recent issues of the Christian Statesman makes this statement:—

“We regard it as our imperative duty to warn this nation of the approaching judgments of the reigning Messiah, which history and revelation assure us follow quickly upon those nations which interfere with his messengers in the proclamation of his terms of peace. ‘The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee (the church) shall perish: yea, those nations shall be broken in pieces.’”

If disaster to the country should follow upon an outbreak of war with Spain, the Statesman would point to it as evidence of the wrath of God against the nation for its “secularism,” by which term is meant its refusal to “serve” the church.

It is true that the Scriptures do say of the church what is here quoted by the Statesman. The words are found in the 60th of Isaiah (v. 12). But it is equally true that no service to the church can possibly come [226] through an alliance with the powers of the earth. It would be well if every religious body now seeking such an alliance would study and pay heed to the language of the chapter in which these words are found.

The chapter sets forth a condition of exceeding glory and power, as being that to which in the will of God it is the privilege of the church to attain. All that the church desires or is seeking to-day in the way of success,—all that she can ask or even dream of—is here set before her as that which she may certainly have. There can be no doubt about it, for it is the promise of the Omnipotent. Here is power; here is glory; here is exaltation; here is influence; here is the “wealth of the Gentiles,” and the service of kings and of the nations. Does the church really want all this? Do those for which the Statesman speaks really want it? If they do, then let them by all means seek it in the appointed way.

That way is plainly set forth,—no less plainly than the glorious results which is brings. God says, “Arise, sine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” V. 1-3.

The SENTINEL is set to warn the people of the nation against the fast-forming alliance of church and state. But upon the authority of the plain word of the Lord, it can say to the church, Your privilege—and your duty—is to arise and shine with a glory that will be seen with wonder throughout the earth. “The glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!” But not so if you are seeking glory from an earthly source—through politics, or through legislation. The glory of the Lord upon you is that which marks you as separate from all that is of the earth.

It was the glory of God that shone above the camp of the ancient Israel when they were separate from all the nations—the “church in the wilderness.” It was the glory of God that appeared upon the top of Sinai when the mountain was set off from all the surrounding land and guarded from every earthly tread, save that of Moses and the chosen elders. It was the glory of God that filled the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, into which the high priest alone might enter, and that but once a year. And when the glory of the Lord is seen upon you, that will mark you as separate from the world—as set apart unto the service of God. And it will be seen upon you if you are thus separated, and only upon this condition.

Then “the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” You are not to go to the kings, but kings are to come to you, and that because of the glory of the Lord which they see upon you. You are not to be upon the level of the world or to travel with the world. It is in the order of God that his church should be above the world and ahead of the world—so far above and so far ahead of the world in all that is desirable that she will be the wonder of the world. But the church has never occupied her appointed and privileged place, save for a few brief intervals of time. Yet in those few brief intervals, the glory and success of the church was such as to be the marvel of succeeding ages.

Does the church, then, want the service of kings and of nations? It is for this that she is seeking. And she can have it, if she will so fully separate from the world that the glory of the Lord will be reflected upon her, in such measure as will astonish and draw the Gentiles and kings of the earth. She can have it by pursuing a course the farthest possible removed from that of seeking a union with earthly powers. She can have it—and only thus can it be had—by pursuing exactly the opposite course to that which is followed in the movement for National Reform.

Then “the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish,” as it is written: not because it refused to do your bidding, but because it set itself against God, and must meet the fate of all that fight against him.

If the church will turn her feet into the pathway of total separation from the world, the SENTINEL will be foremost to bid her “God speed.”

Share this: