“Significant Facts” The American Sentinel 1, 9, p. 67.

September 1886

THE Christian Statesman reports that the Church of the United Brethren has put a National Reform preacher into the field, Rev. R. Rock by name, and will support him; and that a preacher, Rev. J. P. Mills by name, from the Methodist Episcopal Church, will enter upon the National Reform work, on the same terms, about Sept. 1, 1886.

The late General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church, by its Committee on National Reform, expressed its gratification “to learn that the presentation of the Christian theory of civil government by the advocates of National Reform, is educating the people to recognize that civil government is an ordinance of God; … that Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, is … the Ruler of nations, and has laid down in his word the fundamental enactments by which the enactments of our civil code are to be tested; and that this word ought to be recognized as the fundamental law of the Nation, and be incorporated into its very Constitution.” It regards “the continued advocacy of this Reform as imperatively necessary;” and by resolution commends “to the generous financial support of our people the secretaries and advocates of this movement.”

The Ocean Grove Assembly set apart Wednesday, July 21, as National Reform Day, which, say the Statesman, “will afford a fine audience of the best people, without effort or cost on the part of the friends of the cause.” Likewise the Chautauqua Assembly management granted the morning and afternoon sessions of Friday, July 23, to National Reform. This the Statesman correctly called “another magnificent opportunity for the presentation of the principles of the National Reform Association.”

Nor is this all. For more than a year the National Reform party has been specially and assiduously courting the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and it has succeeded in so far rhyming itself into these ladies’ favor that we are quite certain it will never reason itself out again. Joint conventions are now being held by the two bodies, and we see their vital union virtually consummated. Already in their joint convention held at Canonsburg, Pa., May 19, an address of welcome was delivered “by Mrs. Rev. J. F. Hill, in which the oneness of the two organizations was very ably set forth.” Miss Willard, Mrs. Woodbridge, Mrs. Bateham, Mrs. J. Ellen Foster, Mrs. West, and Mrs. Hoffman, are all Vice-Presidents of the National Reform Association. Mrs. Woodbridge made a straight-out National Reform speech both at Ocean Grove and at Chautauqua, on the occasions referred to above.

Besides this Mrs. Woodbridge was appointed by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, to carry to the Cleveland Convention of the Knights of Labor, last May, “the salutations of the Union, and a brief argument in behalf of the cause of temperance”; but the lady allowed her National Reform zeal to carry her beyond her appointed mission and she closed her speech to the Assembly with these words:—

“Thus would the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union join hands with the Knights of Labor in placing this ‘Government upon the shoulders of Him who is Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace,’ and in crowning Christ, our Lord, as the Ruler of nations.”

This the Christian Statesman pronounces a “cause for rejoicing,” and “an especial gratification to the friends of National Reform.”—See Statesman June 8, 1886.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has done noble work, in which we have rejoiced and should ever rejoice, while she kept in the line of her legitimate and chartered work. But just as soon as she proposes to sell herself to work the iniquity of lifting the National Reform party into power in its union of Church and State, and the establishment of its hierarchy in this country, then we are prepared to write of her, “The glory is departed.”

The Prohibition Party also is coming up to the work. The New Jersey Prohibition Convention, and that of Washington County, Pa., adopted resolutions which the Statesman says read like the resolutions of a National Reform Convention. The Maine Prohibitionists declare that “we aim, in a word, at the application of Christian principles to political life…. The application of Christian principles to polities would secure an equal voice, without regard to sex, in making laws which all must alike obey.” The Illinois platform declares that, “We reverently recognize the supreme authority of Almighty God…. We regard the Christian Sabbath as a boon so valuable to humanity, that the State cannot be true to its trusts which neglects to guard it from desecration.”

The Reformed Presbyterian Church, which from the beginning has borne the National Reform party upon her sides and dandled it upon her knees, contributed to the work last year “almost $7,000;” and at its late Synod, held at Rochester, New York, it recommended “that the sum of $10,000 be raised for the treasury of the National Reform Association, by the churches under the care of this Synod,” the coming year.

Besides all these distinct organizations, the churches, as such, almost all favor it; and the National Reformers are willing, if not anxious, to make advances even to the Catholic Church to gain her favor—and they will get it. Now we say: With the general breaking up of parties, and the casting about for new issues upon which to catch the votes of the multitude, let this movement be agitated for but a very few years at most, and then brought to a vote upon some one leading question under which can be veiled the real issue, and we should like to see the one who can show what is to hinder the success of the National Reform movement, and in that the union of Church and State with all that that involves as the ultimate result.

In view of these facts, which simply show the fast-growing power, and the wide-spreading influence of the National Reform movement, we submit to any candid mind whether the AMERICAN SENTINEL has not a mission, in its determined opposition to that movement. Do we not well to expose the fallacies, to lay bare the sophistries, and to uncover the insidious iniquity of this scheme of Church and State? Do we not well to call the attention of the American people to this menace to human liberty and human right? We know precisely what it is about which we are talking. We know exactly what we are doing. But we very much fear that the American people will not realize till it is too late, the danger that lies in the National Reform movement. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” but Americans have forgotten it. May God help the people to awake and be vigilant.

A. T. J.

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