Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Plea to America

A.A. Hodge, Popular Lectures on Theological Themes, pp. 284-287:

And if Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings, if he is really the Ruler among the nations, then all nations are in a higher sense one nation, under one King, one law, having one interest and one end. There cannot be two laws for Christians—one to govern the relations of individuals, and the other the relations of nations. We must love our neighbor-man as ourselves, so the Master says; therefore we must love our neighbor-man as our own. The rivalries, jealousies, antagonisms and cruel wars between nations are all hideous fratricidal contests and satanic rebellions against Christ our common King. How miserably small and narrow and selfish is the form of so-called patriotism which our poor children are taught is so great a virtue, in comparison with that holy, uplifting passion which comprehends all nations as inseparable parts of the one living universal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Suppose your enterprise in the great competitions of manufacture and trade surpasses theirs, and you grow rich and gild your palaces with the spoils of their poverty; suppose your sinews of war or your personal prowess and valor surpass theirs, and your empire grows great out of the ruins of their commonwealth,—what are you, after all, but the betrayer of your brother's peace or the destroyer of your brother's life and the disloyal render of the body of your common Lord? Alas, that we have yet to learn that the so-called code of honor among nations is just as mean and vulgar a thing as the code of honor among individuals!

And if Christ is really King, exercising original and immediate jurisdiction over the State as really as he does over the Church, it follows necessarily that the general denial or neglect of his rightful lordship, any prevalent refusal to obey that Bible which is the open lawbook of his kingdom, must be followed by political and social as well as by moral and religious ruin. If professing Christians are unfaithful to the authority of their Lord in their capacity as citizens of the State, they cannot expect to be blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in their capacity as members of the Church. The kingdom of Christ is one, and cannot be divided in life or in death. If the Church languishes, the State cannot be in health, and if the State rebels against its Lord and King, the Church cannot enjoy his favor. If the Holy Ghost is withdrawn from the Church, he is not present in the State; and if he, the only "Lord, the Giver of life," be absent, then all order is impossible and the elements of society lapse backward to primeval night and chaos.

Who is responsible for the unholy laws and customs of divorce which have been in late years growing rapidly, like a constitutional cancer, through all our social fabric? Who is responsible for the rapidly-increasing, almost universal, desecration of our ancestral Sabbath ? Who is responsible for the prevalent corruptions in trade which loosen the bands of faith and transform the halls of the honest trader into the gambler's den ? Who is responsible for the new doctrines of secular education which hand over the very baptized children of the Church to a monstrous propagandism of Naturalism and Atheism ? Who is responsible for the new doctrine that the State is not a creature of God and owes him no allegiance, thus making the mediatorial Headship of Christ an unsubstantial shadow and his kingdom an unreal dream?

Whence come these portentous upheavals of the ancient primitive rock upon which society has always rested? Whence comes this socialistic earthquake, arraying capital and labor in irreconcilable conflict like oxygen and fire? Whence come these mad nihilistic, anarchical ravings, the wild presages of a universal deluge, which will blot out at once the family, the school, the church, the home, all civilization and religion, in one sea of ruin ?

In the name of your own interests I plead with you; in the name of your treasure-houses and barns, of your rich farms and cities, of your accumulations in the past and your hopes in the future,—I charge you, you never will be secure if you do not faithfully maintain all the crown-rights of Jesus the King of men. In the name of your children and their inheritance of the precious Christian civilization you in turn have received from your sires; in the name of the Christian Church,—I charge you that its sacred franchise, religious liberty, cannot be retained by men who in civil matters deny their allegiance to the King. In the name of your own soul and its salvation ; in the name of the adorable Victim of that bloody and agonizing sacrifice whence you draw all your hopes of salvation; by Gethsemane and Calvary,—I charge you, citizens of the United States, afloat on your wide wild sea of politics, There Is Another King, One Jesus: The Safety Of The State Can Be Secured Only In The Way Of Humble And Whole-souled Loyalty To His Person And Of Obedience To His Law.

"I charge thee in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession, that thou keep the commandment, without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in its own times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power eternal. Amen" (1 Tim. 6 : 13-16).

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