“The Cure for Immorality” American Sentinel 11, 21, pp. 162, 163.

THE Willimantic (Conn.) Christian Endeavor Union, at a recent meeting adopted unanimously the following resolution:—

Resolved, that we earnestly entreat all good people in this part of the State, and more especially do we urge it upon the parents and young people connected with our churches and christian Endeavor societies, to refrain from giving, attending, abetting, or participating in card parties and dances, for the reason that the fruits of these things, when there are any fruits at all, are always evil, and the Master whom we serve has said that “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.”

As a method of combating immorality this is infinitely better than invoking the power of the civil authority to compel an outward show of regard for righteousness which is not felt in the heart, although, as the Outlook of May 9 remarks, mere “prohibitary and restrictive measures are of very little avail in promoting a pure life. Christ said,” it adds, “that when an unclean spirit is cast out of a man, and returning to him, finds the soul swept and garnished, he takes seven other spirits worse than himself and enters into him, and that the last state of that man is worse than the first.” What is necessary is a new tenant in the soul from which the devil has been cast out; and that new tenant must be the Lord Jesus Christ. But if mere resolutions to abstain from exercises tending to immorality cannot fortify the soul against evil, much less can the heart be purified by legal compulsion which has not even the consent of the individual to its operations. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh;” and out of and evil heart will flow an evil life, in spite of all that human power can do to prevent it.

No one, however, can well question the propriety of endeavoring, by precept and example, to induce people to forsake the ways of evil and walk in the path of righteousness; and when the appeal can be made upon the basis of God’s word, it will often take effect in the heart, since “the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word of God strikes conviction to the soul, repentance follows, and the heart is purified by faith.

And here is the difficulty with the efforts made to reform people so as to secure the better observance of Sunday; the appeal cannot be based upon Scripture, since Scripture does not sanction the claims of Sunday as a day of rest. Moral suasion in the matter is robbed of all its potency by this fact; and it only remains to secure Sunday observance by that method which knows nothing of faith or of the convicting power of God’s word,—namely, the force of the civil “law.” But the word of God does support the seventh-day [163] Sabbath; and this imposes an obligation upon all men which the civil “law” can neither strengthen nor counteract.

Let the churches and religious societies agitate as much as they will by precept and moral suasion, for such reforms as they may think the condition of society demands; no one can properly object to that. But it is proper to draw the line at those “reforms” which cannot be based upon the divine text-book of morality, and can only be realized through the operation of a force which has no power either to convict the soul or to purify the life.

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