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Christian Patriotism






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Chapter XII

Origin of the State

It is certain that if the two greatest of all the commandments had always been observed by all men, there never could have been a State on the earth.

There would have been society, but no State. The government would have been altogether the government of God. God being the only King, the only Governor, on earth, even as in heaven.

There would have been society, but no State. The will of God would have been done on earth even as in heaven by men loving God with all the heart, and all the soul, and all the mind, and all the strength, and their neighbors as themselves. All would have been one united, harmonious, happy, holy family.

There is an essential distinction between society and the State.

Society is the union which exists between men, without distinction of frontiers - without exterior restraint - and for the sole reason that they are men.

The civil society or State is an assemblage of men subject to a common authority, to common laws, - that is to say, a society whose members may be constrained by public force to respect their reciprocal rights. Two necessary elements enter into the idea of the State: laws and force. - Janet, Elements of Morals, p. 143.

This distinction, however, though clear and easily evident, is seldom recognized. Indeed, it is not recognized at all by those who are anxious to secure the union of religion and the State.

Men did not observe these two "first of all the commandments." They would not love God with all their heart; they would not love their neighbors as themselves. They rejected God as their only ruler, their only sovereign, and became ambitious to rule over one another. And thus originated politics and the State.

The Scripture outlines the story:

When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.53

Romans 1:21-23,28

At first, men did know God. But they chose not to glorify Him, not to honor Him, not to give Him the first place in all their thoughts and actions. Knowing God, they did not like to retain Him in their knowledge.

The next step was that they became vain in their own imaginations. They professed themselves to be wise, of themselves. The consequence was that they became fools; and their foolish hearts were darkened.

In their vain imaginations they made gods of their own. And then to assist themselves in their worship, they made images of the gods which they had imagined.

The image was always the outward, tangible form of the god which they had already conceived in the imagination. Imagining is simply mental image-ing. The outward form of the god, whether it be the shining sun in the heavens or a hideously-shaped block of wood or stone, is only the outward form of the image-ing that has already been performed in the imagination.

Thus, from the knowledge of the true God, they went to the worship of false gods. From the light, they went into darkness. From righteousness, they went into wickedness.

This is the truth. And the records of the earliest nations witness to it. The earliest records - those of the plain of Shinar - witness that the people at first had a knowledge of the true God. The records of the next two of the earliest nations, Egypt and Assyria, bear witness to this same thing.

In all these places the earliest records testify that the gods were their first rulers and the real kings; while men, in the places of authority, were but the servants, the viceroys of the gods who were held to be the real kings.

For instance, one of the earliest records from Shinar runs thus: "To [the god] Ninridu, his King, for the preservation of Idadu, viceroy of Ridu, the servant, the delight of Ninridu." Another: "To [the god] Ninip the King, his King, Gudea, viceroy of [the god] Zirgulla, his house built." Another: "To Nana, the lady, lady splendid, his lady, Gudea, viceroy of Zirgulla . . . raised." - Empires of the Bible, chap. 6, par. 3, 4.

These are not only the earliest of the records that have been found in that land, but they themselves show that they are of the earliest records that were made in that land. And they clearly testify of a time when there were no kings amongst men. The gods were the kings; and the men in authority claimed only to be the viceroys of the gods who were held to be the real kings.

And all this testifies of a time further back, when the people knew and recognized God as the only king and rightful ruler of men. They show also that this knowledge of God was so recent, and still so strong upon the minds of the people, that men who stood in places of authority had not the boldness to assume the title of king, even though they held the power.

The records of Egypt and Assyria testify precisely to these same things. And at that time, also, there was no State. There was only society.

There came a time, however, when even this lingering knowledge of God as king and the only rightful ruler, was cut off; and the man himself assumed the full title and prerogatives of king.

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