TWO or three weeks ago we mentioned the face of a leading Salvation Army man in Wichita, Kansas, making a campaign for the office of mayor of that city. We mentioned also some of the great things that he proposed to do in the way of reform if he should be elected, among which were the abolition of all plays and games of all sorts on Sunday; policemen to be requested to carry Bibles; ladies wearing bloomers to be fined five dollars for the first offense, and to be put ten days in jail for the second offense; the city to pay the street car fare of all who desire to attend church on Sunday; religious services to be held in the city hall on Sunday, all public officials expected to be present; the meetings of the common council to be opened and closed with prayer; a public library made up wholly of Bibles to be added to the library already existing; all stores except drug stores to be closed on Sunday; and all poor people to be supplied with drugs and medicines free of charge.
From this it will be seen that this candidate proposes to be thoroughly consistent too, because “he holds that every one is born with moral instincts, and would not go wrong did not opportunities beset one on all sides.”
That has been the religio-political reformer’s theory from the beginning. It is the theory upon which the papacy was built, and consistently enough is the characteristic of the building of the image to the papacy. It places outside of men all the responsibility for their wrong doing. So in order that all men may be perfectly good, all that is needed is to take away all opportunities for them to do anything bad. Now if that principle be correct then Satan himself can be made a saint by that process.
The truth is, however, that this principle is as false as any other one of Satan’s invention. By thus denying to men responsibility for any bad actions, men are also robbed of all virtue; because when men are good only by being deprived of the opportunity to be otherwise, all such goodness is altogether of a negative sort, an empty nothing.
Such is not Christianity. Such principles and such methods of reform never can come from God. The truth is that man is responsible, altogether responsible, for any wrong thing that he does. And recognizing this truth, the Lord extends to all men the virtue by which to love and choose the good, and the power to do the good in the face of all the opportunities to evil that this world of evil can present.
Such are the true principles and the true methods of reform. The principle and method of Satan can be carried out, and that “reform” wrought only by the power of the State. The principle and method of the Lord, and thus true reform, can be carried out only by the power of God. All who adopt the principle of Satan depend upon legislation and the power of the State. All who adopt the principle of the Lord depend upon the power of God.
The principle and method of Satan are fast developing in the United States, and this Satanic reform is being largely put into operation all over the land by means of the churches and religious organizations and combinations, etc., of the whole country. The Lord’s principle and method also are growing, and true reform is being put into operation by true Christians throughout the land. And it is time that every man should be intelligently looking at this matter, and choosing on which side he will stand: whether with Satan or with Christ. There is no middle ground. The enemy has come in like a flood. The Spirit of the Lord is lifting up a standard against him, and will put him to flight. This alone is the safe side.
A. T. J.