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conscience must be enlightened by education, and to that end, it is the right and duty of the State to see to it that the training of the conscience in the common schools, as established by the State, be provided for. This is not an establishment of a State religion, but a provision against the overthrow of the State by ignorance and irreligion; a provision for the freedom and universality of instruction in regard to the sanctions of religion; the only safeguard of the vote, the only possibility of preventing demoralizing suffrage from becoming universal and demoralizing license;, the only possibility of preserving the State from destruction by the unenlightened and unrestrained passions of the people. The provisions for a religious education of the people, and the prohibition of any irreligious establishment, or any law respecting an establishment of irreligion, rest on the same foundation of the true and perfect freedom of the Government, and the people, under a CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD: the enlightenment and right training of which is the very first and most sacred obligation of mankind. If such obligation is not admitted, every generation is advancing to its own perdition. There is no more possibility of a free and happy existence without God, and a willing submission to his government, than there could have been in hell itself, under the wrath of such a flaming conscience as was burning in the bosom of Satan when he dared to say, Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven.
“Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair !
Few things are more amazing than the madness which seems to have fallen upon the American mind of supposing that there ever can be a quiet and well-ordered Government on earth of which the foundations are not laid in the Word of God, and in a conscience towards him, and a belief in the Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ as the “ Blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords forever.”
Does what is called Home Rule and Freedom from restraint mean an Empire of millions of mankind, constructed and built upon a combination of seventy persons, assuming and swearing that the one person among them, chosen by all their votes, is the only infallible personage in the world, appointed by God as his infallible vicar upon earth, and as such worthy to sit upon the papal throne, with power to forgive all men's sins, with the delegated authority of Jesus Christ, on the payment of a price in money to the Priest appointed to give universal absolution and pardon for every crime?
Such are the doctrines of the confessional, as a Priestal Receiver, sworn to secrecy, and bound by solemn oaths of allegiance to the Pope, as the infallible Vicar of Christ, for the care and teaching of all men's consciences on earth. And this is the most certain method of soul murder ever contrived by the god of this world for the supremacy of his despotism. His encyclical letters claim divine authority over all the governments and nations upon earth, and over all schools for the rising generations, to exclude the Bible from the knowledge of the children, to compel the priests to forbid them from ever reading it, or being instructed in it, or taught by it the invitation of the Lord Jesus to come unto him and be saved. The Romish Priesthood, by the shutting out of the light of Heaven and of Christ's mercy, are thus constituted the keepers of the consciences of all mankind, and can train the children as they please. In our own country the teaching of the Gospel is forbidden, and under such training it may become as much as a man's life is worth to maintain and practise the freedom of the Gospel, even in his own household.
For this is Anarchy, and nothing less, when the community are being taught that the Pope can forgive sin at his pleasure, and can save the soul from Purgatory and from hell by payment of a tax of pennies, as in the days of Luther, to purchase what are called Masses for the soul. And this is that blasphemous religion,“ that Man of Sin and Son of Perdition, opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Now such an exclusion of the Gospel from the education of our children may become the destruction of the souls of a whole generation.
For the leprosy of Romanism is both a pestilence that walketh in darkness and a destruction that wasteth at noonday: a palsying of the reason and the conscience of mankind and a destruction of the freedom of the human race.
Is there no need of an alarm sounded in behalf of our children, especially when it is proposed that the Church of the Roman Catholic Despotism be affectionately embraced by the Protestant churches themselves as being “the Ancient Mother of us all”?
It is now the judgment of Solomon, in his wisest earliest period of God's training, that is required against the Sword of the Harlot Give the living child to the loving and living mother. She is the mother of the child. God's own gift of maternal affection proves it. The parents, in my kingdom, shall be governed by God's Law of Love!
What, it is asked, is “the American doctrine of Civil Government”? The assumption is,“ that Civil Government should have nothing to do with the work of administering, sustaining, or teaching religion.” And what is true religion but that which is taught in the Gospels of Christ our Saviour, especially and lovingly for the little ones?
“We have in this country,” it is affirmed, “a system of secular governments established by the authority of the people, for secular and not for religious purposes ;” for the men and not the mothers.
“We have established an American doctrine on the subject of religion, considered with reference to the State ;” and “to carry out this doctrine fully, the work will go steadily forward until the last fragment of everything that partakes of the nature of State religion shall wholly disappear from our political and civil institutions."