Address to the National Society of Magna Charta Dames
The Barclay, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA
June 4, 1946
In Celebration of the 731st Anniversary of the Granting of Magna Charta
Instituted on March 1st, 1909, at the Capitol of the United States, in the City of Washington. An hereditary Order, it is directed by a Council and composed of women who are lineal descendants of one or more of the Barons of England who in or before the year 1215 rendered actual service toward securing, and who, after many defeats, finally did secure the articles of constitutional liberty, properly called the Magna Charta, from their sovereign, John, King of England, which he ratified and delivered to them "in the meadow which is called Runnemede between Windsor and Staines," on the Thames, above London, on the 15th day of June, A. D. 1215.
The National Society Magna Charta Dames held its thirty-seventh annual meeting at The Barclay in Philadelphia on June 4th, 1946, which was attended by more than two hundred members, their escorts and guests. This brilliant luncheon meeting was held in the attractive ballroom, and a more appropriate setting could not be found. The colors of the Society, red and gold were apparent in the decorations of the round tables, the ruby goblets and vases, the red and gold ribbon and the gorgeous flowers, which were the gifts of Mrs. Donner, Mrs. Hooper and Mrs. Henderson.
At the President's Table, seated in the following order, were:
Miss Margaret C. Merritt
Mrs. H. C. McClelland
Mrs. Thomas M. Waller
Mrs. John Leonard Eckel
British Consul General H. C. McClelland
Mrs. William H. Donner
Rev. Carl McIntire
Miss Alice Elizabeth Trabue
Mrs. Robert P. Hooper
Mrs. Eugene F. Marsh
Mrs. Carl McIntire
Mrs. Edward O. Troth
Mrs. Arthur M. Hopkins, Jr.
Mrs. William E. Lockwood, Jr.
Miss Elizabeth F. Washington
Responding to the President's request, Mrs. Wurts spoke as follows:
Here on the platform with Bishop Remington and Mr. McIntire I feel very much at home because my appearance on the platform with the clergy began at a very early age. My father was a clergyman. When I was about four years old, one Sunday morning in the congregation, I was for some reason alone, my mother not being present. I remember that as father preached, he suddenly seemed very far away and I was stifled with loneliness; so, successfully slipping from the pew, I went up to the pulpit and threw my arms around my father's knees, and instantly felt better. Father never stopped, went right on preaching as he put me in the choir stall behind him, and I was supremely contented. Ever since that day I have felt at home on the platform with the clergy.
It is always a great pleasure to present to others a man whose capacities and attainments are truly amazing. Brought up in the great expanses of Oklahoma, and educated in Missouri, Princeton and Philadelphia, our speaker is now:
The State's Responsibility Under God to Maintain Freedom
An Address by the Rev. Carl McIntire
Pastor, Bible Presbyterian Church, Collingswood, N.J.
Madam President, Descendants of the Magna Charta Barons,
British Consul-General, Friends and Fellow Americans:
It is rather strange for me to appear here in the presence of so many Dames. As I came into the reception room I met people from Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New York, and many other States, and one of the ladies said that she had six ancestors among the barons at Runnymede. I know very little about any of my ancestors. Out in Oklahoma, where I was brought up, people do not even have birth certificates! This is a most unusual experience, the only experience of its kind for me-the addressing of an assembly which traces its ancestors back to A.D. 1215.
Too, it is rather significant that you should invite a minister of the Gospel to address you. I am reminded of an experience I had recently in my own home. I had just finished telling a very interesting story, and my youngest daughter turned to her mother and said, "Mother, is Daddy telling the truth, or is he just preaching?"
I have come this afternoon to tell you the truth. I believe that the liberties that your ancestors won at Runnymede from King John find their validity and reality in the eternal truth of the living God. I believe, too, that America is in greater danger of losing her freedom today than at any time since the Declaration of Independence. We have just won a war to destroy the idea of the all-powerful State, but we are turning to an all-powerful State, another King John, to save us, to feed and to clothe us, to comfort and to pamper us, and to answer our prayers. We are raising up a generation that knows little of King John and the charter the barons forced him to sign, a generation that is willing to barter the most priceless privileges of freedom for a mere pittance of security. We are confused and dazed. We thought the peace would be easy to win. We cannot even get a peace conference, much less win the peace. The atomic bomb has produced a neurotic and uncanny fear in the minds of people every where and is driving us on, if we are not careful, toward a world totalitarianism. The world is too small to be two worlds and it is ideologically too divided to be one world.
Furthermore, who said it was the responsibility of the State to guarantee full employment for everyone? In contrast to all this is our theme, "The State's Responsibility Under God to Maintain Freedom." The authority for this statement is none other than the Almighty God Himself as He clearly reveals the powers and place of the State in His Holy Word.
Our founding fathers called God the Author of liberty. "Our fathers' God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing." They did not claim that they themselves had given birth to this idea of freedom. They believed that God had created man and that man was responsible to God. They also believed that God had ordained the State, and the State was responsible to God. In this relationship there stood out above everything else the divine law, the Ten Commandments. This law is the greatest charter of liberty that the world has ever had. It is the first bill of rights ever had. It is the first bill of rights ever promulgated, the most individualistic document that the world has ever seen. It is the Magna Charta of individualism. It is impossible to discuss the authority of the State without holding before us first the demands of God's law.
The Ten Commandments are addressed to the individual, and they protect the individual. Take, for example, the command, "Thou shalt not kill." God gives to every man the right to live. All the laws of our society that protect human life are based upon this divine law. Likewise the command, "Thou shalt not steal," recognizes the right of every man to own property in his own name. It is this command that forms the basis of our capitalistic system and our private enterprise way of life. But it is individual. It is into this picture that the State must fit. The State has no authority to encroach upon the liberty of the individual which God guarantees under His law. The State must respect the law of God as it concerns the individual. Only in honoring this law can it serve its true function and be truly free. Just as God made the creation for Himself and created man in His own image, so He has instructed in His Word that the State should serve the ends of God and be a champion of freedom for man. When men see this, they want this kind of State. When the State sees it, it will labor only for free men. In doing this there are certain things that the State must do and certain things that it must not do. In both of these spheres, one of action and the other of inaction, the State becomes an agent for freedom.
We frequently say, "Our society is built upon the Ten Commandments." So it is. The Ten Commandments are a social order. Any society built upon them will not be socialistic or communistic or totalitarian, but truly free. It should be noted especially here, however, that the laws of the State deal with the outward acts of the relation of man to man in society. The State cannot deal with the inward thoughts of man. Thus the command, "Thou shalt not covet," dealing primarily with the heart, the State cannot enforce or minister. The State must desist from action in this sphere in order to insure freedom of thought.
Likewise the commands that relate to the inner and direct relations of men to God the State must leave to God and to the individual. The State must desist from action in this sphere in order to honor the command dealing with the worship and service of God. Thus the State is limited; it cannot go into the heart of man. God alone can do that. And it cannot attempt to legislate God for the individual. God alone can guide and control this.
For a State to attempt to enter into these spheres is to destroy freedom for the individual. When the State attempts to legislate in the matter of man's heart and thought, it can do so or attempt to do so only by limiting man's speech and controlling what he hears and sees. Thus free speech and free press, free radio, and all related freedoms go out the window. God has kept the heart of man for Himself. When the State attempts to legislate in the matter of man's relation to God, it can do so, or attempt to do so, only by circumscribing man's freedom in the matter of religion. In both of these matters, the framers of the Constitution of the United States absolutely limited the State and protected the freedom of man as the law of God requires.
When the State refuses to regulate in the matters of heart and religion, it does so in order to maintain man's freedom. It is important now to see that when the State does regulate between man and man it does so in order that man might be free.
God is the one who made the laws for the liberty of His creatures and the State must bow before them. If it does, we shall have freedom; but if it does not, we shall have slavery in one form or another and in varying degrees, depending upon the degree or the amount of departure from the law. This, of course, puts the most stringent and binding limitations upon the State in the administering of the affairs of men. Thus in the truest possible sense the State becomes the servant of God. The law of God, which protects and exalts the individual, prohibits the State from hampering that individual within the sphere where God has so clearly made him responsible. This is only another way of expressing the popular premise; the State must be the servant of man, not the ruler of man. The Bible clearly teaches that there must be a society for the preservation of law and order in which man is to live. Law and order are for the purpose of preserving life and liberty.
In the days of Noah God declared, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed" (Gen. 9:6). The right of the State, therefore, to punish offenders and destroyers of a free society was divinely decreed. Jesus Christ also declared, "Render . . . unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21 ). A Caesar has certain God given power and in the exercise of this he must render an account unto God. Thus the State is bound just as much by God in its responsibility to Him as the individual is bound. Representatives, senators, governors, judges, the President, all public officials should know this and acknowledge it. This is all involved when the oath of office is taken with the hand upon the Bible.
If the State will recognize its place under God, it will have the blessing and favor of the Almighty. If it does not, God's favor will be taken away and there will be disaster and tyranny. Perhaps the finest exposition of this doctrine and the one with which we desire to deal today is found in the 13th chapter of Romans. This portion of the Scripture is exceedingly important today, for it was on the foundation of this truth that our forefathers fought for a free state.
The Apostle Paul opens this 13th chapter by saying, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." He is speaking here about the power of the State. The State has no power except that which is given to it by God. It therefore is responsible to Him. The State exercises all its power by His permission. God in His providence has brought into being each State in order that He might use it; and governments likewise, if they would please Him and serve His purpose, must operate under His law. When Paul tells us here that Christians must submit to the power of the government, he means, of course, lawful government. This will stand out more clearly when we consider other details of the passage.
The next verse reads, "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [or judgment]. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil." Here a distinction is being made between good and evil. This is the all-important distinction. "Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good." This is the great divide, the line of demarcation between freedom and democracy, and tyranny under communism, or any totalitarian system. What is the standard of good) We might say that is the sixty-four dollar question. Here is where the conflict centers in the United States at this very moment, in the battle between freedom and the radical elements whose ideology would take freedom from us. Good, in a free society, is one thing, while good, in a controlled or communist society, is the direct opposite.
If the State is to be "the minister of God to thee for good," is the State to determine that standard, or is God to determine it? Our answer is found in the phrase "the minister of God." God has already determined what He wants the State to do. The standard of that which is good in the judgment of the State must be what God Himself has judged good. This brings us back immediately face to face with the Ten Commandments. We cannot get away from them. No man can get away from the Ten Commandments if lie loves liberty. Neither can we let our State get away from them so long as we desire a State. When we observe these commandments and do that which is good, the Apostle tells us, we have no need to be afraid of the State. Why? Because the State should honor the same "good." In fact, we receive praise of the same. When, on the other hand, we steal, rob, kill, deceive, lie, bear false witness, and do other evil things, then, of course, it is the task of the State to be the minister of God. The Apostle continues, "But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil" (v. 4).
The State, upon the authority and as the representative of God, is here given the power to use the sword. This, of course, means police power. It also involves the whole concept of the nation going to war. So it is that the Bible teaches that on just and necessary occasions the Lord's people may take part in such conflict. In this the sword must be used for good.
We come now, however, to the most basic and fundamental question of all. In ministering this standard of good what does the State accomplish? Immediately we might reply, order and peace. But the answer goes far deeper than that. We have it in just one word - liberty. The greatest good the State can possibly furnish its citizens is freedom. There is no good above that or beyond it. This should be repeated again and again and again. If the standard of good is God's law, and this law spells freedom under law for man, the State is the provider, the guardian, the protector of man's freedom. The supreme good God wants the State to give man is liberty, the liberty that God's law provides. The State cannot create life. The State cannot make or give eternal life, but it can guarantee freedom for man to live and to serve the living God. This is its supreme and holy function.
The one service, the true function of the Stat, is not to provide food and clothing and shelter for its citizens but to guarantee freedom for its citizens to live and to rule. The Apostle Paul particularizes this matter of good to the individual. He said, "to thee for good." The "thee" is singular. The one must be protected against the many. The one must have his freedom with or without the many. There is no such thing as collective freedom. It is always individual freedom. It is not a case of the greatest good for the greatest number, which we so frequently hear today. That is a false totalitarian slogan. But it is the greatest good for the one, each one, and this therefore means for all.
Liberty is indivisible. To divide it is to destroy it; to add to it is to kill it. To separate liberty from the individual is to take from the individual the law of God. This same concept is the basis of our local self-government in America - free men in their own community administering their own government.
This notion of freedom, however, so clearly set forth in this marvelous passage in the Bible, comes into conflict with the whole notion of the State as involved in communism, fascism, and other totalitarian systems. In communism and its various sisters, the State determines that which is good. The State thus makes the standard of good by which it is to exercise its own police power. Instead of accepting God's standard, His law, the State casts aside God's law, and God Himself, and sets itself up as supreme. The communistic State in the social relations of men ignores all that God has taught concerning the rights of property. It destroys these rights. It gives us the community of property of communism, and turns away from God's law to enforce its own self-made and evil standards.
The State, instead of being a minister of God, becomes a minister of evil. Of course, its own idea it calls good, and in order to establish the good it must control the thought of men so as to receive apparent voluntary submission. In so doing, as in Russia, the civil liberty demanded by God's law vanishes. When the State' substitutes its own standard of good for the Ten Commandments, which deal with man's relationship to man, it does not hesitate to enter into the other sphere, where the Commandments restrict the State, and attempt to control the individual's mind and heart. Thus Russia, for instance, destroys all the precious liberty involved in free speech, free press, free exercise of religion.
The concepts of the two conflicting notions of good are before the world today. The good in a free society is liberty; the good in a communistic, collectivistic society is security. The good in a free society produces free men before God. The good in the communistic society produces slaves before the State. It is in this conflict between freedom and security that these two systems clash today on many battlefronts and in varying degrees. In our international relationships and also in our internal relationships both sides use the two words "liberty" and security," but they mean the exact opposite in their use of these words. If the State is going to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, charity for the people, and thus control or plan their economic life, it must control the people to these ends. This is one reason there is no essential difference between the principles of socialism and communism.
To control man's economy, man's life must be controlled, and to control man's life, man's thought must be controlled! Any State that attempts to control man's thought takes the place of God Himself over that man. So complete is this contrast and so real is the conflict between the ideas of freedom and the ideas of communism in the communistic state that the communistic state calls the free state sinful and wicked. In maintaining what it calls good, which is actually slavery, it is thoroughgoing in the destruction of all freedom. It is a battle between God and anti-god; between God and the god-state. The god-state becomes not the minister of God but the defier and the usurper of the true and living God.
Here is the heart of the world's tragedy and trouble today. Can the world exist, can it continue half free and half slave? Is it not too small for that now? Can the world find a compromise between God and anti-god? Can God and the god-state operate together peacefully? These are the realities of the present world situation, both internationally and nationally.
Considerably more light in the answer to a number of our questions is furnished us by Paul's further statement in verses 5 and 6 of Romans 13. He considers the very serious question of the right of revolution. "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." When Paul previously exhorted the Christian to be subject to the powers of the State, it was the kind of State that is described in the previous verses, "a minister of God." Now, he said, because the State is a minister of God. we must also be subject for conscience sake. This is magnificent. When the State, however, ceases to be a minister of God, when it demands of the people that which is contrary to God's law, then this matter of conscience enters in most specifically to determine our conduct under God.
For instance, let us say that the State commands a Christian to bow down and worship an idol. The Christian, for conscience sake, would refuse to do it, and no State that is truly a minister of God would demand such a thing from the individual. This applies with all its force to the Russian ideology and explains why literally millions of Christians have been slaughtered in Russia. For conscience sake they have said that the communist ideology in the destroying of liberty and the right of property of the individual was not of God.
The phrase, "for conscience sake," recognizes the right of every individual's conscience before God and the place of that individual in helping to determine what is right in the State. The whole notion of democracy, therefore, is involved. The State must commend itself to the consciences of men. If the State must be supported, corrected, and changed to coincide with the consciences of men, it means that the State is the servant of man, also that the State must be the protector of the rights of conscience among its people. If not, the people cease to be free, and the State becomes the lord of the conscience.
This leads us one step further. For the State to destroy or to permit any group within it to destroy the right of conscience among its citizens is first to make subjects, then slaves, and finally beasts out of free men. In a free State man has a conscience; in Russia conscience in a truly Christian sense does not exist. The reason we have the kind of State we enjoy today in America is that our founding fathers believed in these things as revealed in the 13th chapter of Romans. Those men who met King John believed in this concept of the State and freedom.
Our forefathers in this country justified the Revolutionary War, and we believe properly so, because they were being denied in an arbitrary autocratic fashion the rights of freedom of conscience.
There comes a time when the State that usurps authority which God has not given it must be brought to the bar of justice. God deals with that State. All the world is a witness to what God has done with Mussolini and Hitler.
In a nation such as ours it is the responsibility of the citizens in the exercise of their freedom to secure the correction of abuses and the changes which are for evil by the orderly process of democracy. In a nation like Russia, however, orderly democratic processes are impossible, and if any changes were ever to take place from within the nation there would have to be revolution. It is this revolution that Russia is constantly protecting herself against by her concentration camps and by her iron curtain.
The battle of men to obtain freedom of conscience is developed under different manifestations of government in various sections of the world. In England, under the King, liberty and these prerogatives were won. In America, under our republican form of government, our fathers secured freedom of conscience. These matters, of course, are in more or less degree represented in different forms and different divisions in other countries. The finest summary that I know of anywhere of the responsibility of the State under God for the freedom of conscience of the individual has been given to us in the Westminster Confession of Faith. "God, the Supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers."
The historic Christian church has been the custodian of this marvelous doctrine of the power and the limitation of the State. The expression, "the public good," is in complete harmony with the encouragement of those that are good and for the punishment of evil doers. The sphere of general welfare and public good are predicated upon the rights of property and the freedom of men. Since these are essential to our free society's existence, when the State takes property for the general welfare, it fully compensates the individual. Yet these ideas are under attack today as perhaps never before, for we are told that the public good involves the destruction of our property system, the private enterprise way of doing things, and the substituting of the tribunal, a collectivistic social structure.
In this passage from Romans, the Apostle Paul has set before us clearly the responsibility of the State under God to preserve freedom. Here is a divine warrant for the State. All of this applies most particularly to our American crisis. Unless these truths are recognized, America is headed for a State that will not be the minister of God but will take on more and more the nature of the Russian way of life. America 's mightiest hour of decision has been reached. The transition from one concept to another is just upon us. Shall we stand by the revelation of the Author of Liberty or shall we leave it? That is the one question facing America today.
If the task of the State is to be the minister of God and to maintain freedom, then the State itself must stay out of the sphere of the individual. It must not tramp upon his toes. It must not enter and become a part of the free competitive struggle of men. It must stay out of business, completely out of business. It must protect the individual in this sphere of his activity. Hence it must not compete with him and thus hinder or defeat him. Anything, therefore, that the State does to destroy man's freedom the State must turn away from. Thus the State, instead of encouraging its own strength in bureaucratic development of control, must despise such thoughts and flee from them. A bureaucratic and cumbersome State cannot help jeopardizing the freedom of its citizens. The State should keep taxes from destroying the people and their property. The way to do this is for the State to refuse to enter into activities and undertake responsibilities that would involve such taxation.
It is just here that the State in perilous fashion is encroaching upon the rights of free men today. If we continue, freedom will be destroyed by financial and economic restraint. Sound financial government, not spending more than it receives, is an essential of freedom. The present situation in America, with our overwhelming debt and increasing bureaucracy, is a menace on the part of the government to every free citizen.
Not only must the State protect the individual from itself, but the State must protect the individual from other individuals or other groups of individuals. The State must protect one group from destroying another. All monopolies which threaten freedom must be broken up by the State. We have anti-trust laws whose purpose it is to do this very thing.
The present labor crisis meets us at this turn. The State must help us here or we are going to lose our freedom and our land to some collectivistic order - an order which may be called the economic brotherhood, but which in effect will be the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It is the collectivistic principle in the labor movement today that has struck us with such disaster. Free men have a right under God to join voluntarily with other free men to bargain with their employer and also to strike if they choose. This we call collective bargaining, and it is an honest and true expression of freedom. But when labor steps forward and insists that its union be a closed shop and that no man ' can work unless he joins that particular guild, it grasps the force that binds men, their conscience, and their souls.
These closed-shop unions today find their strength only in the closed shop and they prate about the right to work while they deny the right of any man who will not submit to their own particular monopolistic scheme. Some of these unions go further in their efforts to deny the right to work than any industrial monopoly in our past history ever dared to go.
With the closed shop labor ceases to be a collective bargaining unit and becomes an instrument to restrict the consciences of men and to change our social order into a collectivistic state. Christian men, citizens of a free country who do not desire to join a union because of communistic leadership or for some other legitimate reason, have as much right in free America to the "equal opportunity" to work as any man who joins the union. The State must protect him. If the State is to be a minister of God for good, then the State must protect this man from the closed shop. Otherwise, it is monopoly and tyranny. The State should therefore outlaw the closed shop. If it does not, the closed shop will outlaw the free State before very long - and we are not very far from that point. This is exactly what is taking place before our very eyes.
Christian men are forced to join a union in order to work to live. They are compelled to picket and strike, to slow down, and to do other things against their own will before God. They have a right, the right of conscience, to say that they do not want to join the union. The closed shop enslaves labor; absolutely, literally, enslaves the laborer. The laborer may think he is getting gain but it is the gain of apparent security for the price of freedom in a free society.
This whole closed shop labor picture today comes in the most specific manner under the impact of the teaching of the Bible about the State being a "minister of God to thee for good." Under the setup of the closed shop a few labor leaders are able to determine what many of its members shall do. Instead of free labor being a bargaining unit, it becomes a weapon in the hands of its leaders for collective lawlessness.
The closed shop in Bloomfield, New Jersey, in the Westinghouse strike recently defied an order of the Court of Chancery limiting mass picketing. This is collective defiance of the law. It also defied the Governor of the State of >New Jersey who told the strikers to go back to work and to obey the order. This is revolution, not bloody yet, but revolution just the same. If the State is the "minister to thee for good," it should eliminate the conditions that enable the labor bosses to intimidate the public and to insult the President. The so-called general strike, the sympathetic strike, is not a collective bargaining unit but a collective coercion of the community and the State. It is rebellion against our free society and the Ten Commandments. The State has an imperative responsibility in such circumstances to act to preserve the freedom of every man; yea, to preserve itself. When the State refuses to protect its citizens from attack upon their liberty by a group within society, that group, having accomplished its end with individuals, immediately sets out to rule the State.
This applies all down the line. Politically, a majority rules, but the minority is protected by the rights of freedom. But in an economic control such as the closed shop, the situation is entirely different. The majority gives the minority no rights, for they take their jobs and their money in the check-off just the same by majority vote. They give the helpless man from whom they steal no right to keep his money. This is the identical principle of Russian communism and of socialism. The State is responsible for the protection of the property of its citizens against all forms of stealing and destruction. If the State is to be the minister of God, it must protect the laborer from the overwhelming power of the union.
Yes, we defend vigorously the right of free labor freely to organize. But such organization should be limited in its bargaining union to each unit of management. Freedom involves equality for all, management and labor alike. Because of difficulties with one management, labor should not be permitted to cripple another management over a dispute arising in the first shop. And, unless our State enters in to protect us here, we are headed for collective controls, collective management, collective almost everything.
If the State is to be a "minister of God to thee for good," then in ministering this good it must be impartial in its dealings with all groups and individuals. No particular group should be the favored child or the spoiled baby. God is no respecter of persons, says the Scripture. When the State ministers the law of God, can it be a respecter of persons? Not if it would please God, not if it would maintain freedom, not if it would give us happiness in our own freedom.
Impartiality and justice are involved in all that Paul says in Romans 13 as we have discussed it. All the restraints which the government puts upon one group it must put upon another group, just the same, and in the same degree, and with the same impartiality. All the restraints justifiable in a free society are the restraints which will keep it free. In our complicated society these restraints are increasingly necessary to keep each man free and with equal opportunity.
There are abuses of private enterprise and there are legitimate claims that laboring men have against management. All of these must be dealt with in the light of the commandments of Almighty God. But the remedy for them is not to throw away our present free system and embrace the collectivistic order. The solution for our problems rests in the hands of God-fearing Americans, men and women who love freedom, who love the Magna Charta, who love the Author of liberty, and who are going to use all their means to see that men are placed in power in the positions of government who fear God and are determined that the government shall be a minister of God to thee for good."
Our problems are basically religious. The Lord Jesus Christ declared, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." It is the freedom that He offers to men in the Gospel of His grace that enables men to love God and to want freedom. The Holy Spirit also is a most important factor, because Paul declared, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty."
The trouble with our world at the present time is that the ideology of Marxianism cuts across and intermingles with almost everything we attempt to do. It involves a concept of God, a concept of the State, a concept of man which are contrary to all that Paul has given in this particular passage. It centers in the power of the group rather than in the freedom of the individual. It is group solidarity, enforced solidarity, the closed shop, and the totalitarian unity of the same, which leads men astray.
Very few people have any idea that the teachings we have just expounded are contained in the Word of God. They have gotten away from the Bible, so far away that even to mention these principles is to bring a very strange response.
One Sunday recently, when I was preaching from this particular passage in Romans, one of the older, supposedly more experienced Christian men said, following the message, "I never realized that was in the Bible." The State must be supported by conscience, it must be maintained by conscience, and it must be changed by conscience. And each man who sits in a legislative chamber must vote according to his conscience, not according to the party whip or the ideas and policies of the controlling party. The conscience is responsible to God and the conscience must be enlightened and guided by God and God's law. It is the State therefore that also must be responsible to and regulated by the Almighty God's Word. When it is, society is free and men are happy; and when it is not, society is controlled and men are miserable.
Basically the battle of America and the battle which America faces at the present moment in the presence of unparalleled confusion and despair is the battle to preserve our republican form of government, to keep it the agent for freedom and to maintain it as "a minister of God to thee for good."