THE Christian Citizen takes delight in repeating as certain truth that expression of Professor Herron’s—“Except the state believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it cannot be saved.” In view of this, we some time ago asked the Citizen to be so kind as to tell the people what the state is. It replies that “the state is just what we [the people] make it.”
This answer is true enough in its place; but it is in fact no answer at all to the question that was asked. Put the two sentences together.—
“The state is what we make it.” “Except the state believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it cannot be saved.”
The only logical or possible conclusion to be drawn from these statements is that “we”—the people—can, and indeed that “we” really do, make something which is capable of believing in Christ unto salvation.”
“We” it is who make this. And who are “we”?—The people—you and I and the other man. And what are we?—Simply mortal, dying, human beings, whose life is “a vapor,” and whose frame is but dust. Yet “we” by vote can make a thing having personality, intelligence, will, conscience, and which by faith can attain unto salvation. In other words “we” can create.
And that thing which “we” “make,” and which “is just what we make it” is “the state.” Now a proper question is, Who ever saw one of these personalities? Who ever knew one to be preached to, and to be persuaded to believe on the Lord Jesus and obtain salvation? If the editor of the Christian Citizen or Professor Herron were to start out to-morrow to find this personality which “we” have made that he might preach to it and persuade it to believe and be saved, where would he go? What would he do? Where would he begin?
Would he begin in his own town, and with his next-door neighbor?—He would not find there anybody but the “we” who it is said have made this other thing—the state—which is separate from ourselves, a distinct personality. But “we” are not the ones who are to be preached to and persuaded to believe and be saved; it is this other person which “we” have made—the state. Yet he would find nothing of the state there, separate from the “we,” to whom he might preach his new gospel.
Would he go then to Washington City to find this thing? Is so, where would he go when he arrived there? Where would he find the state there?—Ah! there, too, he would find this supposed state as vague, airy, intangible, and elusive a thing as it was in his own home town. He could find nothing there separate from the “we,” to whom he could preach his new gospel.
Yet there as well as at home the “we” would not be the one to whom this must be preached: it would still be this which “we” have made. But behold there the thing essential to be preached to cannot be found any more than at home.
Then what becomes of this new gospel of the Christian Citizen?—Oh, it is seen at once to be as vague, intangible, and elusive a thing as is the thing to which they propose to preach it. Apart from the individuals of a community or of a nation, there is no such thing as the state. So also the message “Except ye believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, ye cannot be saved,” can never be preached to any but the individual people who compose a community or a nation. Without the particular human individual, whom we meet everywhere, whom we see with out eyes, and to whom personally we speak, there is no such thing, and there can be no such thing, as the state. And without the particular human individual whom we meet everywhere, whom our eyes see, and to whom personally we speak, there can be no believing in the Lord Jesus to be saved.
The Christian Citizen has not yet answered our questions, What is the state? Will the Citizen please try again, and be more explicit and direct?
A. T. J.