February 13, 1889
THE National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Convention for 1888 passed the following resolution:—
Resolved, That Christ and his gospel as universal king and code should be sovereign in our government and political affairs, and that obedience to his law is the only path to political righteousness and peace.”
Is it true that Christ is a divine politician? Is it true that he is a political king? Is it true that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a political code? Is it true that political righteousness and peace are the objects of his law? It is not true. Not one of these things is true. The idea of the resolution is as far from the truth as anything could possibly be and not be downright blasphemy.
For the sake of illustration, let us put this resolution to the test. Suppose the gospel were adopted as the code of this land. It would then be the bounden duty of every court to act according to the code.
There is a statute in that code, which says, “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him.” Remember, they have resolved that this shall be the code in our Government. Suppose, then, a man steals a horse. He is arrested, tried, and found guilty. He says, “I repent.” “Thou shalt forgive him,” says the code, and the Government must conform to the code. He is released and repeats the act; is again arrested and found guilty. He says, “I repent.” Thou shalt forgive him. And if he does it seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turns to the court, saying, “I repent,” the court must forgive him; for so says that which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has resolved should be the governmental code.
It will be seen in an instant that any such system would be destructive of civil government. This is not saying anything against the Bible, nor against its principles. It is only illustrating the absurd perversion of its principles by these people who want to establish a system of religious legislation here. God’s Government is moral, and he has made provision for maintaining his Government with the forgiveness of the transgression. But he has made no such provision for civil government, and no such provision can be made. No such provision can be made and civil government be maintained. The Bible reveals God’s method of saving sinners against his moral Government; civil government is man’s method of preserving order, and has nothing to do with sin, nor with the salvation of sinners.
But that such a mixture would be destructive of civil government, is not all; it would be destructive of the gospel as well. For when the gospel of Jesus Christ is brought down to the low level of politics, and is made an element in political contests, it is destroyed; its whole spirit is perverted, and in a little while the profession of it is only used to sanctify all manner of ambitious scheming. The gospel of Jesus Christ, maintained upon the high plane where Christ has placed it, is the best thing the world ever saw or ever can see. But that gospel perverted, and degraded to the low level of human pride; made an instrument of worldly ambition, and used to sanctify human passions, human caprices, and political strife, becomes the worst evil that ever afflicted a people. The one is the mystery of godliness, worthy only of the supremest effort of the mind to understand, the most devout reverence of the soul to contemplate, and the constant, sincerest effort of the life to imitate. The other is the mystery of iniquity, worthy only of the eternal abhorrence of every intelligent creature.
In the face of the Saviour’s express statement that his kingdom “is not of this world,” the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union declares  that he “shall be this world’s king; yea, verily, THIS WORLD’S king;” king of its courts, camps, commerce, colleges, cloisters, and constitutions. It declares that this kingdom of Christ “must enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics.” The Union demands the ballot in the hands of women, in order to turn this Government into a theocracy, and have men “swear an oath of allegiance to Christ in politics, and march in one great army up to the polls to worship God.” With all this, their resolution to make him and his gospel the king and code in our government and political affairs, and obedience to his law the only path to political righteousness and peace, is strictly consistent. But the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union will have to go but a little farther in this direction before it will justly deserve the open and determined opposition of every person who has any regard for civil government, or any respect for Christian principles.
A. T. J.