June 9, 1898
IN the Decalogue, God addresses individuals only.
THE law is all right as a fence, but it is of no use as a walking-stick.
WHEN a nation tries to make itself Christian, it always makes itself anti-Christian.
NOT the Spaniards in Cuba, but the saloons in America, are the real curse of the Western hemisphere.
THERE is no person so dextrous that he can wield both the sword of steel and the “sword of the Spirit” at the same time.
IF professors of Christianity had never gone into politics, the professedly Christian Church would never have been responsible fore religious persecution.
“REVERENCE for law” does not go to the foundation of good government. Without reverence for right, there would be few laws in the land that were worthy of reverence.
TO say that the government is superior to the individuals who have formed it, is to say that the creator is inferior to the thing which he creates. But even God cannot create a thing superior to himself.
PUBLIC sentiment should not be confounded with Christian sentiment. Public sentiment may be manufactured by various expedients known to politicians and others; but Christian sentiment comes altogether from the Word of God.
THE question of how much rest a person needs, and when it should be taken, is one to be settled by the physicians and not by the preachers, if it is to be settled outside of individual preferences.
“CIVIC righteousness,” as defined by its advocates, is something altogether inferior to the righteousness which will count with God. It is, in fact, a counterfeit, and goes hand in hand with the counterfeit sabbath.
“EXCEPT your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees,” said Jesus Christ, “ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
What was the matter with the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees? Oh, it was all on the outside. It was all a matter of forms and ceremonies and respectable appearance. It was not a matter of the heart.
And this must be the case with all righteousness—so called—which is the product of civil law. The law cannot change the heart; it can affect only the outward deportment.
Reform by law can go no deeper than the outward deportment. But—to paraphrase the Saviour’s words—Except your righteousness shall exceed that of a pious and respectable outward deportment, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Or, in other words, Except your righteousness shall be greater than “civic righteousness” ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Civic righteousness-the righteousness of outward forms, of scrupulous regard for the letter of the law, and of pious look and demeanor—did not stand very high in the estimation of Jesus of Nazareth. And it does not stand any higher in his sight now than it did when he rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes. The only righteousness we want is that which bears the genuine stamp.