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irretsa &e) worthy of the gospel of Christ.” All this is the appropriate work and sacred duty of Christ's ministry of instruction, of whatever sort it be, but peculiarly of all such as are officially set for the propagation and defense of the truth. Now, religious freedom in the true idea of it, is the right of that ministry (including in it, according to their various gifts, all of Christ's people) thus to give utterance to the whole of Christ's claims and the whole of his instructions, and the equal right of all concerned to hear, receive, and obey the same, without let or license from any civil power on earth. It is, that in the utterance and reception of all religious doctrine and obligation, in all the forms and ordinances of their worship, and all the applications and fullness of their instructions, there be an entire freedom from all prescriptions, and an entire exemption from all penalties of all civil powers. Such, in the only true import of it, is religious freedom; and the struggle for this has been, is, and is to be, The CoNFLict of the AGEs. In all time the civil power has sought to control the religion of its subjects. As a pure and spiritual faith could never intelligently submit to such direction, the result has been its persecution to banishment or death, or its gradual seduction, in the proffer of temporal advantages into alliance with or subserviency to the state. “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship,” has ever been the proffer and the price ; and too often, unlike her great Master, slow to detect the wiles of the arch enemy, and still slower to resist them unto death, even a true and comparatively pure faith has yielded to the adulterous embrace, with temporary gratification and glory, it may be, but with the sad and certain loss of all virgin strength, life and beauty at the last. Hence, in

all ages and lands, by the most natural and spontaneous affinities, degenerate and false religions have been and now are in alliance with or subserviency to the state. The terms of that alliance or subserviency are evermore, “Yield you supremacy and subserviency to me, and I will give support and defense to you; be you my prop and tool, and I will be your bread and sword.” Accordingly the great conflict which the friends of the true religion have had to maintain in all the past has been the conflict with degenerate or false religions entrenched behind the civil power, and summoning it at the approach of danger with setter, fire, and sword, to their defense. It was just here that a large portion of the long line of martyrs, named in the epistle to the Hebrews, of whom the world was not worthy, periled and laid down their lives. It was this that was the conflict of Egypt. A false religion entrenched behind the civil power outlawed the true, wrung from its votaries the right to worship in the land; flung their petition to go elsewhere to worship into their face with the contemptuous reply, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go 2 I know not Jehovah, nor will I let Israel go;” and finally unclenched its grasp of its victims only after its own gods had been abased before the power of the true, and a baptism of blood and wail of death had gone up into all the dwellings of the civil power that had sworn and assayed to defend it—“Yea (Ex. xii, 12) against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I AM the Lord.” It was the same conflict with the same elements that gave Hebrew fidelity in Babylon to hungry lions and hot flames. It was the like conflict of a degenerate faith, in like dependence on the civil arm, that stoned them that were sent to it, and killed the prophets, and in its mad thirst for righteous blood, filled up the measure of the fathers at the last, by the murder of its own true hope and real Lord. “I adjure thee,” said the high priest, “by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, thou hast said— I am. Verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see the Son of man on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven”— I am the Christ, and you shall yet see me, the Christ in humiliation, coming in the kingly estate of the Christ in glory. On that confession they condemned him, and hurried him to the civil power, and clamored for his death—“his blood be on us and on our children,” and stimulated the hesitating step of executive authority with the cry, “If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar's friend : whoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cesar.” The whole proceeding was Christ in conflict with a degenerate faith summoning the civil power to its aid, and obedient as the Son of man unto death, in the assertion and maintenance of his own supremacy as Son of God over all. And this conflict, in all its parts, Christ left in legacy for his disciples, when he sent them to all the world with his Gospel, giving them assurance not of his presence only, but that they should be as sheep among wolves, and should be delivered up to councils, and scourged in synagogues, and brought before governors and kings for his sake, for a testimony against them and the nations. Accordingly the commencement of their propagation of the Gospel was equally the commencement of this conflict in their persons. At once they were brought before councils and senates, and hurried to prisons. In the presence of all, they boldly questioned the prescriptions of the ecclesiastical and equally of the civil powers which forbade their speaking in the name of Christ—“Whether it be

right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye; for we can not but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” And when the angel of the Lord came and sanctioned their proceeding, and by miracle brought them out of prison, and gave them fresh charge to speak to the people, and they were again arrested, their calm and manly answer was, “We ought to obey God rather than men;” and straightway they preached Christ in his supremacy to the court itself; and though not released till they were beaten and re-commanded not to speak in his name, they went thence rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for him; and daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ; and hot persecution, scattering the disciples abroad, and going to distant cities with letters to seize men and women and drag them to prison, was the result. And what this conflict was in these at the beginning, it was in all the apostles and disciples in its continuance—in its nature always the same ; in its measure it was often more. Paul, in his maintenance of it, was in stripes above measure, in prisons frequent, in deaths oft; and go where he might, the Holy Ghost witnessed in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him; and finally, he, and all but one of the other apostles, as is supposed, laid down their lives for the faith—all being made conformable in their death, as in the sufferings of their life, to their Lord.

Of the manner in which they demeaned themselves in the maintenance of this conflict from time to time, we have on record many touching and sublime illustrations. One of these, as a specimen of others, was on this wise. Paul and Silas, having been commended by the brethren to the grace of God, took a circuit through Syria and Cilicia for the purpose of confirming the churches. On their way, they came to Troas. There, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia, saying, “Come over and help us.” The result was a conviction that the Lord had called them to preach the Gospel there, and their early arrival at Philippi, the chief city of the province. Being a Roman colony, it was under the Roman civil law. By that law, while many and various religions were allowed and established, no new religion could be introduced except by express consent of the civil authority. Tertullian says, that no god could be consecrated—set up as an authorized deity, unless approved by the senate ; and Cicero adds, that no person could have or privately worship any new or separate gods, except they were thus publicly allowed. The result was, that the Roman civil power, though very liberal in regard to the number and kind of religions it was ready to allow and authorize, as is the French at this day, claimed, nevertheless, the right, in all cases, to control the religion, and by consequence the religious instruction and worship of its subjects. To propagate any new faith, therefore, without its consent, was so far to deny its supremacy and set up another—it was to preach another king than Cesar. While at Philippi, Paul and Silas were assailed and annoyed in their labors by a certain maid, having the spirit of divination, or as the original is, the spirit of Python. This Python or Pythios was one of the names of Apollo, the Grecian god of the fine arts, supposed to be their inventor. He was also one of the gods, regularly recognized and authorized by the Roman law. He had an oracle at Delphi, which was probably in higher repute and more generally resorted to than any other at that time in the world. His priestesses, of whom the maid spoken of was one, claimed that the god himself, in spirit, dwelt in and spoke

through them; and the belief of this was very general in all parts of the Roman empire, and rich and splendid temples were every where erected for their service and in honor of the god. The Apollo worship and the Apollo priestesses were, of all others, popular favorites—the admired and cherished of Grecian and Roman refinement, luxury and pride. To call such a worship and such priestesses in question, therefore, and to take the crown from such a god, as well as all gods like him, and put it on the head of Jesus, the Nazarene, as Paul surely did, was just to fly in the face of the strongest popular hate, and the intensest popular contempt. And who so likely to give the most insulting and annoying expressions of it, as a priestess herself Accordingly she dogged them from street to street, to the place of prayer, crying after them, with the keenest and bitterest significancy, “ These men are the servants of the HIGHEST God, (roi beav toi. Sylotov) ! which show unto US the way of salvation s” —as if our religion, with its splendid temples,and exalted god, and inspired priestesses, and innumerable and refined worshipers, and state recognition were all nothing, and theirs, the religion of the crucified, alone were true!—a complete laughing to scorn, of course, of the apostles and of their religion and its author. And this she did many days, till Paul's spirit was stirred within him, and he saw the time and the occasion had come for testing the truth of the two religions, by testing the supremacy of their alleged authors or gods, when, turning to the maid, whose claim was that her god resided in and spoke through her, he said to the spirit, “I command thee in the name (by the authority) of Jesus Christ to come out of her : and he came out the same hour.” Just what happened to the maid, it is not important here to decide. It is enough to know that that happened, which demonstrated in the sight of all, and beyond contradiction, the absolute supremacy of Christ and his servants over the idol god and his, and by consequence the falsehood of the one religion and the truth of the other. The Pythonitic oracle was dumb and the gains of her masters gone, before the power of Christ and at the bid. ding of his servants. The only resource left was to raise the question of the supremacy of the civil power over the new religion and its author or god. It was this that had installed the prostrate god and his religion among the authorized gods and religions of the state. To this, as the last resort, the question must next be taken. At once Paul and Silas were seized and dragged before the magistracy, and the charge was “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans”—theirs is a religion and a god not authorized by the civil power | The result was, without a trial or the forms of it, many stripes, a prison and the stocks. At midnight, the prisoners sung and prayed; God interposed marvelously; the jailer and his household embraced the new religion, and when the day dawned, the magistrates, having had time for fuller information and some reflection, sent word, saying, “Let those men

o.” No-said Paul, to go out thus would be to admit that we have done wrong. That we deny ; and as Roman citizens, “beaten openly uncondemned,” we demand a fair trial, or an honorable discharge. And the magistracy came bending, and brought them out, and begged their departure from the city. That was enough : the point was carried. The supremacy of Christ, as against all religious pretenses to the contrary, and all civil prescriptions enforcing them, had been fully and signally maintained; and so, hav

ing seen the brethren, and exhorted and encouraged them to persevere, come what might, Paul and his companions proceeded on their journey. The same conflict awaited them every where. It carried Paul in bonds, some years after, to Rome; and though, in this case, there were not even legal grounds for the original arrest and charges, it was still the conflict of a degenerate faith, calling the civil power to its aid; and in it, in civil as well as other relations, Paul maintained the entire supremacy of Christ, and claimed, on his authority, as the highest of all authorities, the right to preach and propagate his religion, in the length and breadth of its worship and instructions, to every creature. And it was just this that he enjoined, with such sweet and winning emphasis, when he said to the Philippians—“Be your conduct citizenwise, worthy of the gospel of Christ; standing fast in one spirit; striving together, with one soul, for the faith of the gospel; in nothing terrified by your adversaries; having the same conflict which ye saw in me when I was with you, and now here to be in me at Rome; having, still more, the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, who, though in the form of God, and thinking it no robbery to be equal with him, made himself of no reputation, took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and now, by virtue of his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, is highly exalted, God having given him an authority, which is above every authority, that at the authority of Jesus, every knee should bow, whether of authorities in heaven or in earth or under the earth, and that every tongue should confess to his supremacy—" that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”” The revival, prosecution and completion of this conflict for Christ's supremacy, the world over, are the high demand and great work of the present and coming ages. What at this hour is the grand obstruction to the free propagation and ready reception of the Gospel among the nations 2 What hinders that it may not grapple at once, directly and in confidence of victory, with the dead formalisms and real idolatries of Christendom, and the sterner formalisms and grosser idolatries of Mohammedan and Pagan lands; and more than all, with the imbecile, debased, putrid and heathen animalisms of oppressed and enslaved millions in all lands, our own, though last, not least 2 Is it that the Gospel is no longer a match for them in a free and fair encounter 2 Is it that its healing efficacy is no longer equal to such hoary, complicated and inveterate maladies 2 Is it that its resources are exhausted—that there is no longer balm in Gilead, nor a physician there 2 no Prince and Savior on the throne, to lead captivity captive and give gifts to men 2 No: it is that, exist where and as they may, these things are ever wedded to or hedged around by the civil powers of the god of this world, so that touch and disturb them when and where you will, the fetter of civil authority is upon your limb ; or its fines, tortures, dungeons and banishments are around your property, liberty and person; or its halter, sword and fagot are about your neck, heart and body. It is that in lands where a pure and spiritual Christianity once triumphed most, Mohammedan delusion, by the arm of civil power, holds the scimitar over its head, while Armenian bankerism and Greek patriarchism and Roman pontificacy shake their nest of scorpions in its face, and bid it do its work, if it dare. It is that farther west, Lutheran formalism, in state alliance, hurls confiscation and banishment at all dissent in Sweden, and banishes harmless visitants, or imprisons devoted pastors in Denmark and Germany; while

the formalism of Popish and Protestant and even Evangelical Nationalism calumniates, persecutes and fines all spiritual independency in France; and that of Presbyterian and Episcopal state-churchism filches the pockets and lays civil disabilities on the persons of all honest dissent in “green Erin" and “the fast anchored isle”—refusing, in surpliced superciliousness and love of gold, to give a decent burial to sweet babes, not christened and seed “as the law directs,” and dooming even God's free Bible to the monopolizing exactions of the “King's printer, as by law established s” It is that yet farther west, even on our own free soil, so called, the civil power, emboldened by a formalism that silently acquiesces or openly justifies, and unawed by any spiritualism that has either faith or strength to stand in manly and apostolic resistance to it, locks the chain on prostrate millions, outlaws the Bible from them, and all religious as well as other instruction, except what it may prescribe or allow, and, with words of freedom on its lips, deals out on all assailants the stripes and personal indignities of Georgian, Tennessean, and even free-state lynch courts; or the fines, imprisonment and tortures of Maryland, Missouri and Florida arrest and incarceration ; or the murders of Alton martyrdoms, with the fires and yells of St. Louis negro-burnings—all made duly legal by the voice of the people and the official decisions of Judge Lawless! In a word, it is that now as ever, and here as every where, the bondwoman church, which “is born after the flesh,” persecutes and will persecute to the death, the freewoman church, which is “by promise, and after the Spirit;” while, more than all, the children of her that is free have, almost no where, the faith to hear what the Scripture saith—“Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond

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