Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Christian and Politics

Good advice from John Angell James on The Christian and Politics:
(Written in 1837)

"The calm, dispassionate, charitable, and conscientious exercise of your political rights, without sectarian bitterness, and party animosity, in such measure as does not interfere with your own personal religion, and in such manner as does not wantonly injure the feelings of those who are opposed to you; which does not take you too much from your closet, your family, and your shop; if indeed you can thus exercise your rights, is quite lawful for you as professors. These rules and restrictions, however, must be imposed; for, without them, the subject will be sure to do you harm. A Christian must carry his religion into everything, and sanctify everything he does by it. "Whatever he does, he must do all to the glory of God." Everything must be done religiously, done in such a manner that no one shall say justly, "this is contrary to his profession." His politics must form no exception to this. Even in these he must be guided by conscience, and his conscience by the word of God. He must look well to his motives, and be able to appeal to the Searcher of hearts for their purity. If his attention to these matters, be such as to flatten his own devotional spirit, take him off from his religious duties, or diminish seriously the power of godliness and the vigor of faith; if it fills his imagination, make him restless, uneasy and anxious, disturbing the calmness of his religious peace and comfort—if it interferes more with his business than is good for his worldly prosperity, or with his family more than is consistent with his obligations to instruct and benefit them, if it injures his charity, and fills his bosom with ill-will and hatred to those who differ from him; if it leads him into political associations, and places him upon committees; if it make him looked up to as a leader and champion of a party; if it causes his pious friends to shake their heads and say, "I wish he were not quite so political," we may be very sure, and he may be sure too, that although it is not easy to fix with precision the boundary that separates right from wrong on this subject—he has passed the line, and is on dangerous and unlawful ground."
Read entire message at Grace Gems.

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