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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, November 07, 2008

Charles Hodge, Christianity, and Civil Government

"The demands of those who require that religion, and especially Christianity, should be ignored in our national, state, and municipal laws, are not only unreasonable, but they are in the highest degree unjust and tyrannical."
The following is from Charles Hodge's Systematic theology. Click on the title to see the chapter online at Reformed.org.

When Protestant Christians came to this country they possessed and subdued the land. They worshipped God, and his Son Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world, and acknowledged the Scriptares to be the rule of their faith and practice. They introduced their religion into their families, their schools, and their colleges. They abstained from all ordinary business on the Lord's Day, and devoted it to religion. They built churches, erected school-houses, and taught their children to read the Bible and to receive and obey it as the word of God. They formed themselves as Christians into municipal and state organizations. They acknowledged God in their legislative assemblies. They prescribed oaths to be taken in his name. They closed their courts, their places of business, their legislatures, and all places under the public control, on the Lord's Day. They declared Christianity to be part of the common law of the land. In the process of time thousands have come among us, who are neither Protestants nor Christians. Some are papists, some Jews, some infidels, and some atheists. All are welcomed; all are admitted to equal fights and privileges. All are


PART III. CH. XIX. -- THE LAW.

allowed to acquire property, and to vote in every election, made eligible to all offices, and invested with equal influence in all public affairs. All are allowed to worship as they please, or not to worship at all, if they see fit. No man is molested for his religion or for his want of religion. No man is required to profess any form of faith, or to join any religious association. More than this cannot reasonably be demanded. More, however, is demanded. The infidel demands that the government should be conducted on the principle that Christianity is false. The atheist demands that it should be conducted on the assumption that there is no God, and the positivist on the principle that men are not free agents. The sufficient answer to all this is, that it cannot possibly be done.

The Demands of Infidels are Unjust.

The demands of those who require that religion, and especially Christianity, should be ignored in our national, state, and municipal laws, are not only unreasonable, but they are in the highest degree unjust and tyrannical. It is a condition of service in connection with any railroad which is operated on Sundays, that the employee be not a Christian. If Christianity is not to control the action of our municipal, state, and general governments, then if elections be ordered to be held on the Lord's Day, Christians cannot vote. If all the business of the country is to go on, on that as on other days, no Christian can hold office. We should thus have not a religious, but an anti-religious test-act. Such is the free-thinker's idea of liberty.11 But still further, if Christianity is not to control the laws of the country, then as monogamy is a purely Christian institution, we can have no laws against polygamy, arbitrary divorce, or "free love." All this must be yielded to the anti-Christian party; and consistency will demand that we yield to the atheists, the oath and the decalogue; and all the rights of citizenship must be confined to blasphemers. Since the fall of Lucifer, no such tyrant has been made known to men as August Comte, the atheist. If, therefore, any man wishes to antedate perdition, he has nothing to do but to become a free-thinker and join in the shout, "Civil government has nothing to do with religion; and religion has nothing do do with civil government."

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