THE oft asserted idea that social disorder and revolution are the outcome of non-recognition of God by the state, receives a rude shock from the facts of history. It is not generally known that the worst scenes of the French Revolution, which is so much pointed to as illustrating the results of national repudiation of God, followed hard on a formal recognition of God in the constitution adopted by the revolutionists; but such is the fact. The first two articles of that constitution read thus:—
“ARTICLE 1.—The French people acknowledge the existence of the Supreme Being, and the immortality of the soul.
“ARTICLE II.—It acknowledges that the worship most worthy of the Supreme Being is the practice of the duties of man.” (See Theirs’s “French Revolution,” Vol. III, p. 354.)
Just two days after the adoption of the constitution, June 10, rivers of blood began to flow from the deadly guillotine; and between June 10 and July 17, twelve hundred and eighty-five persons put their necks under its descending knife.
But did not a national convention at Paris repudiate belief in the Deity, and institute in its place the worship of reason? it may be asked. Yes, that is true; but that was before the adoption of the revolutionary constitution. When this document was drawn up, there was put into it a formal recognition of God; and under this constitution the terrible work of the Revolution went on to its greatest climax of horror. The streets of Paris ran red with blood, and this was after God had been put into the constitution!
Of course, there was no real putting of God into the constitution; but the very thing had been done which it is proposed to do with the United States Constitution, in order to avert national demoralization and disorder.
But in the light of the French Revolution, what good may be expected to result from a formal recognition of God by the state?
THAT government is the best government which leaves most freedom for the development of individuality, by the exercise of every useful faculty of the individual organism. And not the least among these is conscience.