The American Sentinel 13
The American Sentinel 13
January 6, 1898
“Editorial” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 1.
RELIGIOUS freedom is the soul’s Declaration of Independence. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.1
ONLY that which is purely secular can be truly non-sectarian. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.2
HE who would be like Christ, cannot make himself a judge of his brethren. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.3
“LORD, what shall this man do?” is a question the Saviour refused to answer. Nor will he answer it now. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.4
IF the Sabbath is the Lord’s day, why take it out of the Lord’s hands, and make it subject to state regulation? AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.5
HE who makes it his object to set other people straight, is very sure to set himself crooked in the attempt. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.6
IF the “Christian” state would want to join the Christian church, how could the Christian church consistently refuse? AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.7
THE modern “reformer” is willing to try almost any scheme for the reformation of his fellow-beings, except that of setting a good example. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.8
IT would be time well spent if a great many people in the country would learn the distinction between the terms “secular” and “godless.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.9
IT is the object of the civil law to keep men civil; but when a person undertakes to make men moral by civil law, he himself becomes most uncivil. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.10
AMS regards the “civil Sunday,” it is to be remarked that it is singular indeed that a secular institution should have sprung from a pedigree wholly religious. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.11
THE church should remember that when she is joined with one of the powers of earth, it will be proper for her to change her name. If she wishes to retain her name, she must remain single. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.12
“The ‘Infallible’ State” American Sentinel 13, 1, pp. 1, 2.
AT the late National Reform convention in Philadelphia, Rev. David McAllister, a leading exponent of National Reform ideas, spoke of a state as being “the infallible interpreter of and the active agent in applying moral law.” This he said was the conception and aim of the National Reform movement. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.1
Let us look for a moment at this “infallible” state. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.2
Where shall we find it? Where is there any record of on, or where is there one that claims to be infallible at the present time? AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.3
There is none; but Dr. McAllister doubtless does not claim that there ever was an infallible state or even that there is one in existence now. Yet the National Reform idea is that the state is to become “the infallible interpreter” of moral law. AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.4
But how is the state to become infallible? If it never was infallible in the past, and is not infallible now, how is it to acquire infallibility in the future? AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.5
Is it to acquire this by being made the “interpreter of an active agent in applying moral law”? AMS January 6, 1898, page 1.6
Can the National Reformers and their allies who would make it such, confer infallibility upon it? How can they if they are not infallible themselves? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.1
And if no person in the state if infallible, or can become infallible, how can the state, as representing the ideas and judgment of the people in it, become infallible? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.2
If all the people of the state, not one of whom is infallible, or a majority of them, were to decide that the state is infallible, would it therefore be infallible? If the National Reformers and their allies, all being fallible persons, were to declare that the state in carrying out their program is infallible, would it be infallible? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.3
No one person is infallible, of course; no individual in this country claims to be infallible. But when a large number of persons get together and speak with a common voice, is there not infallibility in it then? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.4
If you add fallibility to fallibility, can you not after a time get enough fallibility together to produce infallibility? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.5
That is just the idea which has come down to us from paganism and the Dark Ages. The old Romans said, “The voice of the people is the voice of God;” and the later representatives of Rome, assembled in ecumenical council in A.D. 1870, declared that the pope when speaking “ex-cathedra,” is infallible. Out of their fallibility came the pope’s “infallibility.” The idea of the infallibility of the voice of the people is twin with that of the infallibility of an ecumenical council; and the perfect similarity of the doctrine of the “infallible state” to these two, shows its close relationship with them and thoroughly pagan character. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.6
The “infallible state,” as the interpreter of morals, means simply a state pope. But if we are to have a pope, let it be Leo XIII. Certainly he will do as well as any. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.7
“What Is the State?” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 2.
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.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.1
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.— AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.2
“The state is what we make it.” “Except the state believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, it cannot be saved.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.3
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.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.4
“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. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.5
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? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.6
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. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.7
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. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.8
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. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.9
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. AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.10
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? AMS January 6, 1898, page 2.11
A. T. J.
“The Religious State” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 3.
NOBODY in this country is, professedly, in favor of a union of church and state; but there are a great many people here who say that the state ought to be religious. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.1
But how is the state to be religious without favoring a church? And what attitude will the church maintain toward the state when the latter professes religion? AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.2
Will the church stand off and forbid the state to come within her fold? How would it look for the Christian church to forbid a Christian to unite with her? AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.3
When therefore the state becomes Christian, how can the Christian church consistently close her doors against the state? AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.4
“The Proper Thing” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 3.
A CONTRIBUTOR to the Christian Herald a short time ago, writing from Washington, D. C., a historical and descriptive sketch of the church with President McKingley attends, took occasion to state as though it were a very remarkable thing, that when at church Mr. McKinley partakes of the communion, kneeling at the altar “with the humblest member” of the congregation. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.1
Why this should be considered by anybody as remarkable, is the point to which we would call attention. As a church member he who is the president, is but plain William McKinley. And as a church-member there is no distinction, in standing, between him and the humblest member. The only thing that could consistently be expected, then, is just what was seen, that in his place as a church-member he should receive the communion with the humblest member. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.2
But what is really expected by entirely too large a class of people is that when a church-member is elected president of the United States, or is chosen to some other position in the state or nation, he shall carry with him in the exercise of his privileges of church-membership all the distinction, dignity, and officialism that attaches to him as an officer of the state. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.3
Therefore they expect a governor of a State to be a governor in church and as a church member, and to be addressed as “Governor” by his church brethren; a judge of a court, they expect to be a judge in church as a church member, and to be addressed as “Judge” by his church brethren; and a president of the United States, they expect to be president in his place in church as a church-member, and to be addressed as “Mr. President” or “Your Excellency” by his church brethren. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.4
But this is altogether a mistake. It is nothing else than that insidious ever-lurking spirit of the union of church and state that is always begging for permission to manifest itself. No; though in the White House, or in the Capitol, or as commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, William McKinley is “Mr. President” or “Your Excellency;” yet in his place as a church member, he is only plain “Brother McKinley.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.5
The country is to be congratulated in that Brother McKinley recognizes this vital difference and so disappoints the aristocratic expectations of spectators, by kneeling at the altar and receiving the communion “with the humblest member.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.6
A. T. J.
“Loyalty to Country” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 3.
THE Boulder (Col.) News thinks that we do not believe in loyalty to the country in which we live, and as regards such loyalty says:— AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.1
“Being loyal does not mean that one must go to war whenever the call comes or that he must indorse all the abuses that may exist, or bad laws that may be enacted. He may devote himself to the country by removing those abuses, securing the change or repeal of bad laws, or in any way than he thinks would better the condition of the people.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.2
This is true; and we never meant to be understood as advocating anything to the contrary. This is the loyalty we believe in exactly. He who is loyal to God will be loyal to his fellow men; and this means loyalty to country in the best and truest sense. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.3
“That Flag Salute” American Sentinel 13, 1, pp. 3, 4.
WE did not imagine, when we devoted some space to the subject of the flag salute in our issue of November 25, that we were considering anything more than a local issue. But we were not long in discovering that we had touched a chord which awoke responsive echoes all over the country. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.1
This is very significant. The flag salute is neither local nor accidental. The Boulder incident is but the outcropping of an influence that is at work all through the land. Since noticing that, the news comes that the same salute is being practiced in the Iowa State Normal school, where the young people are trained in the art of teaching, the design being that the graduates as they go out to teach shall introduce the salute in their respective schools. In Pennsylvania the same influence is at work, and experiences similar to those in Boulder have already occurred. Thus the forces are gathering for an attack upon the principles of religious freedom in the public schools; and this will bring the test of loyalty to principle right home to parents everywhere. They will not need to wait till they shall be brought before the courts for breaking Sunday. AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.2
But who knew that all this was brewing in our midst? That is the question. Who knew that the enemy was quietly stealing a march upon the friends of freedom? Did you, reader, know it? And now that it is known, how do you feel about it? Will it pay to know what is going on in this great contest of the principles of liberty and of despotism? or is it the better way to wait and be confronted suddenly by the issue when you are not prepared to meet it? AMS January 6, 1898, page 3.3
You had not expected the issue to come in this way? Of course not; that is just the point. For you may be sure of this: the issues which you will be called to face in this contest will not come as you expect them to come. You must be prepared for them not as you expect them to come, but as you do not expect them. AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.1
WHEN the civil law undertakes to suppress immorality, it finds no logical stopping place short of the Inquisition. AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.2
“The Vital Question” American Sentinel 13, 1, p. 4.
THE Boulder (Col.) News says that in objecting to the flag salute in the public schools, the SENTINEL has made a mountain out of a mole hill. It says that we “totally misapprehend and misinterpret the spirit of the whole matter;” and this statement it explains by saying that the salute—“We give our heads and our hearts to God and our country”—“was not intended to be taken in a narrow, technical sense, not as a declaration of conversion or religion, but as a general expression of reverence for deity and loyalty to country.” AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.1
Now this salute consists of a statement so plain and simple that it had not occurred to us that it could be taken in a “narrow, technical sense.” When an individual says he gives his heart to God, we take the expression as meaning just what it says, with no thought of anything technical about it. How would it do as a defense in a breach of promise suit, to plead that although the defendant did say that he gave his hand and heart to the complainant, this was not meant to be taken in a narrow, technical sense, but only as a general expression of esteem? AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.2
But aside from this, it should be noted that the real point involved in this matter is not the question of what was meant by the originators of this salute. It is not the question of their motives in introducing it into the schools, or of what good they thought it would accomplish. Doubtless their motives were excellent; we do not question these in the least. Nor is it probable that they themselves saw in it any confession of religious belief; at least, it is quite possible that they did not. But the question is, What did they actually do? What does the flag salute actually require, and what is its real effect? AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.3
We are quite ready to believe that the authors of this salute did not know that their gun was loaded, and did not mean to shoot anybody. “I didn’t know it was loaded” is a very common excuse; but the question is, What was the actual result? Besides this, the mere question of what was intended sinks into insignificance. AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.4
The News goes on to say that the word “God” in the salute “does not necessarily mean the God of the Bible; it may mean the god of nature, or nature itself, as some put it—even the pagan’s god, if there should be a pagan in the schools.” Well, well! How many gods do the Boulder school authorities want the children to give their hearts to? How many different gods do they believe in themselves? Do they believe that all gods are on an equality, so that the children may with equal propriety be required to give their heads and hearts to any one of them? If not, which one do they mean shall be honored by this flag salute? These are points concerning which the public may well ask for explanation. AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.5
If the salute does not mean anything definite, or if it does not mean what it says, it would better be dropped for that reason alone. And if it does mean what it says, then it is a direct invasion of the domain of conscience, whether its authors intended it as such or not. AMS January 6, 1898, page 4.6