This comes from David Lipscomb’s Civil Government (pp. 134-135). Given our political season in this nation, perhaps the words of one our spiritual forefathers have some relevant advice. He wrote:
“THESE sayings of mine, refer to the sayings presented in this sermon [on the mount] of Jesus, which constitute the laws that must control the lives of his subjects, and must rule in his kingdom. They are given as principles to be practices, without which we are not and cannot be children of our Father which is in heaven. Yet the religious world of to-day both Protestant and Romish, believes these principles not applicable at the present day. The laws and the spirit of civil government are more looked to, to guide the church and regulate the lives of its members, than the teaching of the Bible. Indeed it is usually regarded that the church member may do any thing the civil law allows and what it allows is not to be prohibited in the church. This comes from the members of the church going into the civil governments, imbibing their spirit, adopting their morality and bringing them both into the church of Christ. A man cannot cherish in his heart two spirits, one to rule his religious life, the other to rule his civil life. He cannot adopt two standards of morality, one for his church life, the other for his political life.
- “A man cannot serve two masters, he will love the one, and hate the other, or he will cleave to one and despise the other.”
“That the political affairs, and the standard of general morality may be elevated by the affiliation, is possible, but the true spiritual life is destroyed by the affiliation.
“The antagonism between the principles laid down by Christ and those of civil government is so marked that in history, the statement, that they regulate their conduct by the sermon on the Mount, is equal to saying they take no part in civil affairs.
“The only people who claim to make the “sermon upon //135// the Mount” their rule of life, are the small religious bodies, who take no part in civil affairs. Some bodies of Quakers, Mennonites, Nazarenes and Dunkards, and individuals among the larger brotherhoods.
“But who can study the New Testament, the life of Christ, his teaching through his mission, the admonitions of the Holy Spirit speaking through the apostles and for a moment doubt, that Christ specially gave this sermon to regulate the hearts and lives of his followers. He gave it at the beginning of his ministry that all might understand the life, to which they were specifically called.”