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icathe Lord; as custom comme dedicated
son of Ner, ascer, and Saul
thee? In tithes and offerings.” If this did not effect the payment, the delinquent was left to the judgment of God. He allows no human dictation to enforce the payment of what is due to him.
Even the splendid and costly Temple of Solomon was built and furnished, as the tabernacle had been before it, by means of voluntary contributions. It was the invariable custom of David, during his forty years' reign, to dedicate all gifts, of which he received many of great value, to the Lord; as well as all the spoils of his enemies won in battle. But this custom commenced long before ; so that the charge or secretaryship of the dedicated things was one of the most important offices in the government. Among these treasures, were not only those “ which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands, and the captains of hundreds, and the captains of the host had dedicated, out of the spoils won in battle ;" but there was also “all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah had dedicated ; and whosoever had dedicated anything, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren." David alone had laid by "an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight, timber also, and stone,” besides a more private contribution of “ three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver." There is no proof that any Israelite was compelled to contribute to the building or to the furnishing of the Temple, or to the expenses of sustaining its worship; for there is nothing to indicate that Solomon's levy of thirty thousand men were not voluntary laborers and overseers.
Nor do the Christian Scriptures afford any support to this theory of Church and State. When Christ was asked to exert his authority to secure justice in a temporal matter, he refused, on the ground that he had not been appointed to any such duties. « Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you ?” Such duties were entirely disclaimed, as not belonging to his office, as a minister of religion. It is plain that Christ's office was not in this respect like that which Romish priests have undertaken to exercise in various parts of the world. His words before the bar of Pilate,-the only civil tribunal at which he ever stood,—fully settle this question : “My kingdom is not of this world.” One of the plainest possible inferences from this language is, that his ministers are not, as such, entitled to special rank or privilege in the kingdoms of this world.
Yet the professed ministers of Christ have sought, and secured to themselves, special privileges and immunities, in. most of the countries of Europe, from the time of Constantine onward. But what says impartial history of those govern ments which have been most under the control of the nominal ministers of religion? That with scarce an exception they are. the worst that have ever plagued mankind. Europe is groaning and struggling under the united oppression of kings and. priests. The lesson which we draw from the history of Church and State is, that religion and civil law, ministers of Christ and civil magistrates, are both necessary for the preservation of order, and the promotion of the temporal welfare of a nation, but that they should operate separately and independently. The preacher and the constable, the pastor and the policeman, are all the ministers of God for good to the people, but their duties are distinct, and cannot be advantageously united in the same person. If we may be allowed so to speak, they represent those two attributes in the Divine character-justice and mercy-which the feeble reason of man has found it so difficult to harmonize, and much more difficult to unite in one human being without the one destroying the other.
If then the minister possess the simple rights of a citizen, he is subject to all the responsibilities and duties of a citizen. But it is argued that he has special duties in respect to the politics of his time. I use the word politics in its largest American sense,—for we have an American Dictionary of the English language ;—not to signify mere party politics, but the practical ordering of public affairs in their bearings on the rights and temporal welfare of the people. Opinions and practices on this point are somewhat divided. Some ministers have left the pastoral office and the chair of Theology, to engage in the clamor and strife of politics. Others seem to be standing, like the angel in the Apocalyptic vision, with one foot on the tossing sea of politics, yet keeping an uncertain foothold on the land with the other, as if doubtful on which element to poise themselves. Some argue that the minis, ter's office is to do all sorts of good, in all sorts of ways, by means of moral influence, by the use of his voice and his pen.
They insist that it is his businesss to teach the people their duties on all subjects, especially such as have an intimate bearing on the public weal.
We all believe that civil government is for the good of the people, that it derives its authority from their consent, understanding, of course, that God 'requires all men to have
some sort of government, and that all citizens have equal rights in forming and directing their government. The minister then cannot be justly deprived of the universal right to vote in civil affairs, nor can he be absolved from the duty to exercise that right, in all ordinary cases. He has the natural right, too, like every other man, to give free utterance to his opinions on political as well as other subjects, but the manner of its exercise must be determined by other obligations and duties. Would the most earnest advocates of free speech on the part of ministers of the gospel, in political matters, speak out their own opinions so freely if in danger of forfeiting life, or even property, by so doing? But is not the minister bound to esteem his influence, which is his Lord's capital, more dear to him than property, or even life? This question does not depend on what the minister has a natural or constitutional right to do, but what is his duty, as a minister of Christ. It is true that neither Christ nor his apostles have left on record any precept or precedent enjoining on ministers or private Christians the duty of voting in civil affairs. But they had no occasion for it, as no republican governments were then in existence, nor have we, as republicans, any need of such precepts. The grand principle of the New Testament in respect to our civil duties is this: be faithful to every obligation belonging to a subject of the government under which you live. This is the law and the prophets. This would require us to vote for good men for office, but not to talk or preach on politics. No man can be certain that it is his own duty to harangue his neighbors on political questions, much less can know that it is the duty of his minister to do so. In Paul's most extensive and finished discourse, written to the capital city of the world, he brings within the compass of six short verses all he had to say about the duties of the Christian citizen, and the grounds on which they rest. We take the liberty to give what we understand to be his meaning : :
Let every one be obedient to the civil authorities. For there is no authority but from God: those actually existing are appointed by God. So that whoever resists the authority, resists the appointment of God; and they who resist will bring punishment upon themselves. For magistrates are not the terror of well-doing, but of evil-doing. Wouldest thou not fear the magistrate? Do well; and have the praise of it: for he is God's servant to thee for well-doing. But if thou do evil, be afraid, for he bears not the sword in vain; for he is God's servant, an executioner, for punishing the evil-doer. Therefore it is necessary to be obedient, not only because of
the punishment, but of conscience also. For the same reason, pay taxes; for while attending to this business they are God's servants.'
Such is the Christian rule of obedience to the civil power, which ministers are commanded, in the epistle to Titus, to inculcate on the people. Obedience was all that the readers of Paul and the hearers of Titus could render to civil government. Had he been writing to a church of American citizens, who, in addition to the universal duty of obedience to civil government, enjoyed the elective franchise, the logical counterpart of these instructions would have been after this manner: . Let every soul consider the right to vote as a sacred trust from God, to be exercised according to His will. For He has appointed it to promote righteous government among men. So that whoever neglects it, despises the arrangement of God, and will suffer evil consequences. Wouldest thou enjoy quietness and liberty ? Let thy voice and thy vote be for just laws and good men; for civil government is ordained to protect the good and restrain the wicked. Therefore sustain it faithfully by your vote, not only for your own good, but also for conscience' sake. For the same cause pay taxes and duties, for they who attend to these matters are God's servants and yours, waiting continually on the public service.'
If the apostle would give these directions to American Christians, he would say to their ministers : • Put the people in mind to uphold good government, to vote for good men, to be ready to every good work; to speak evil of no man,-not even if he belongs to the other party, or is the candidate of the other party,—to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing meekness to all men.'* Perhaps the venerable apostle might be thought rather too personal towards some politicians in our modern churches—possibly towards some ministers—for using such plain language. But that he would deliver a single address, or write one epistle, to hold up, or to show up, the Whig party or the Democratic party, the Free Soil party or the Liberty party, or their candidates, is very doubtful. Still less, if possible, is the probability that he would join the Abolition Society, or the Free Mission Society, or the Irish Repealers,—though before his conversion he would have been the very man to persecute them all,—and it is very certain that he would not take part with the advocates of domestic slavery, nor of ariy form of political despotism. The probability is, that he would employ himself in delivering addresses
* Tit. iii. 1, 2.
and writing articles to set forth Jesus Christ and him crucified, as really the most patriotic work he could engage in. He would not content himself with discoursing eloquently about the dignity, and the sublimity, and the glory of his doctrine, but he would unfold the doctrine itself, in all its bearings on the character, and interests, and destiny of man, and the purposes of God; and urge it on the immediate and earnest attention of his hearers and his readers, even with tears. Such speeches as these he would deliver to men of all parties, as the surest means of making them all good citizens, by converting them to Christ.
Such then is the political position of the Christian ministry in America. Ministers are simple citizens ; nothing more, either in law or in politics. They enjoy just that degree of consideration, influence, and respect, to which their talents, piety, and good sense entitle them, in the estimation of the people. The State gives them no official rank, or title, or emolument, nor does it subject them to any civil disabilities, or throw any obstacle in their way. Such things as tithes, church rates, or minister's tax, for their support, are obsolete ideas. Those who desire their services may obtain them, and pay for them or not, just as the parties can agree,—those who do not desire them, act accordingly, and pay nothing. The law merely enforces the payment of whatever is stipulated in contracts for ministerial services clearly entered into by ministers and people, on the common ground of contracts.
This brings up one more s political relation" of the ministry, not yet abolished. Yet it is a source of endless perplexities to ministers and to people. All sorts of troubles, at one time or another, have grown out of it. Parish disputes, hard words, heresies, village broils, and divisions more bitter and lasting than all the disputes about new and old divinities, new measures, church organs, lining psalıns and hymns, or even the employment of evangelists, may all be traced to the existence of this relation. If it could be abolished, at once and for ever, some think there would be no apple of discord left. But how to do it, is the question. The sagacity of our forefathers found a way to abolish all the rest; but this, which some men declare to be the most vexatious of all, still remains. And it seems likely to remain, since American ingenuity has been able to discover no method by which it can be done away. If it was a mere abstract relation, it might be more easily borne with, but alas! it comes directly home, as the saying is, 'to men's business and bosoms'; aye, worse than that, to their pockets. It is very common to hear ministers say,