"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VIII No.I Pg.64-65
June 1945

XI. The Benefits Of Civil Government To Mankind

T. B. Wilkinson

I want now to point out some of the benefits civil government has rendered to mankind, and how it has helped to build the civilization we prize so highly. I shall confine my remarks to things we could not have had without organized civil government, or if we could have had them without it, only in a state so imperfect as to render them of little value to us.

One of our greatest blessings is civil government itself. Without it the only alternative would be anarchy in which every man would be a law unto himself. In such a state man's only defense would be his own strength to overcome his enemies, and his life, liberty and property, would be at the mercy of an enemy stronger than himself. Without the restraints of law which only organized civil government can give man would be at the mercy of any stronger man who might covet his life, his liberty, his wife, or his property. Feuds and petty wars would be perpetual. Each forward move in civil government has tended toward the prevention of such feuds and petty wars, and the establishment of law and order among men.

All respect which we find among savages for the rights of civilized life can be traced to some former civilization, or to some near by civilization, which has been communicated to them. In a former chapter I pointed out how the civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, were communicated to the utmost parts of the world. And I could have pointed out how our own civilization is even now being communicated to backward races of the world even in a time of war.

Some of those backward races may be descendants of nations who once enjoyed the benefits of a high civilization, and a strong government. Through the fortunes of war, or from internal decay brought on by their own corruptions they lost their government and became a subject people. Gradually they fell into decay, and lost their civilization, and in time became savages and barbarians.

Civil government is responsible for our code of civil laws, and our entire system of jurisprudence. And it is through the same that civil conduct between citizens is regulated and they are able to live and work together in peace. Without this code of civil laws no one could be sure at all times what his rights were, or when he was acting within them. Civil law not only defines these rights, but provides means of enforcing them in a manner fair and equal to all citizens. Do we need this code of laws, and the machinery for enforcing them? Have they proved a blessing to humanity, and especially to the righteous? Are they a stumbling block to criminals who would rob and defraud his neighbor? If so we must thank civil government for them, for it was civil government which gave them to us.

Our public free schools, and system of free education for all, is one of our most cherished blessings. Without organized, cooperative, civil government we could not have them. Without them we would soon become an illiterate, ignorant race of people, and civilization would perish among us. No other conceivable system can be substituted for it, or do for us what it has done. Other systems have been tried, private schools, religious schools, family tutors, but all failed. The private school, no matter what its nature, can only serve the few.

The pope of Rome undertook to suppress public education and substitute religious schools in their place, but it brought on the dark ages. Rome still hates public education systems sponsored by the state, and does what she can to discourage them where she has power to do so. Where she succeeds the people degenerate into illiterate, ignorant slaves of a governing class of priests, clerics, and petty officials. Mexico was cursed by such influence until within recent years, and we need only go down there to find the effects of such a system.

Any government which stifles public free schools under the supervision of civil government is signing its own death warrant. Any government which encourages them, supports them, and builds them up, is building its own greatness. Our own government is all we need to prove this point. Our country owes more of its greatness to the educational system we have than any other one thing.

One of the most important contributions civil government has made to our civilization is the postal system. The handling and distribution of mail to all parts of the world is a gigantic task, entirely too big for anything short of the government itself. And what would our civilization be without it? Think of the millions of personal letters and communications handled by our postal system every day, and by night as well. While we sleep the letter we wrote yesterday is rushing on its way to its destination ready to be delivered in the morning's mail a thousand miles away. Then think of the millions of magazines, papers, parcels, books, and tracts, rushing to their destination thousands of miles away on the wings of the wind, and we see something of the importance of the postal system.

Can we over estimate the value of the spread of gospel truth through the postal system? It is just as important in the dissemination of knowledge of other kinds. But without cooperative, organized, civil government, we could not have this great blessing. And remember that it took civil government thousands of years to evolve and perfect our postal system as we now have it. Can you see some bad features to it? Some people can always see the bad in everything, but overlook the good. They would even be willing to sacrifice the good in order to destroy the bad. There is no good thing which Satan cannot use for evil. God created the tree of knowledge of good and evil for a good purpose, but Satan made it a source of evil.

Civil government has provided us with a monetary system, a medium of exchange, which nothing short organized civil government could handle. We find it a great blessing in every activity of life. Schools could not be maintained without it, commerce and trade by which we live depends upon it. The prosperity and well being of a people depend upon their monetary system, and it takes a strong, well organized, civil government to maintain a stable monetary system. In some countries they do not have such governments right now, and their money is practically worthless. They call it inflation for lack of a better term, but the real trouble lies in the government, and its stability. The currency of a country is measured by the stability of the government which is back of it. The currency of almost the entire world is now measured by the value of our own dollar. Our money is valuable because the government back of it is strong, and can redeem it dollar for dollar in any market in the world. It will be accepted at its face value for the necessities of life in any part of the world, and that is all of the value money ever has.

I could increase this list of the blessings which civil government has provided for us to most any length, but will let this suffice.

Now we have good brethren among us who claim that civil government is the mortal enemy of the church, and that the church was established in the world to up root and destroy them. They claim it has been engaged in a death struggle with them ever since Pentecost, and that some day it will succeed in destroying them. Not by carnal war, or carnal arms, they say—that is not the way the church is fighting civil government. They mean to do it by elimination, that is by conversion they mean to weed out of civil government all of its good men and women, and leave it to die, perish in its own corruption. Every man and woman they convert they would take out of civil government, teach them that it is their enemy, and they must touch not, taste not, handle not, the unclean thing.

Of course, if they should succeed in weeding out all of the best men and women civil government would gradually fall into the hands of bad men, and would gradually grow more corrupt. Civil government, they say, was invented by the devil for an evil purpose, it belongs to him now, and the church is duty bound to fight the devil and all of his institutions. The kingdom of heaven, or the church, was sent into the world to destroy them, they tell us, and the Christian is armed to fight against them, but mighty through God for pulling down the strongholds of the wicked one, and this means civil government. Civil government is Satan's visible kingdom in this world, according to their contention.

I have often wondered, in considering the arguments of these men, just whom we should thank for the many blessings I have just mentioned. If Satan is the author and inventor of civil government, and civil government has given us these blessings, and preserves them for us daily, should we thank the devil for them? How can we thank God for something the devil did for us? Should we thank the devil for the civil laws which protect us against the evils of designing men? Would Satan prepare laws which punishes his chosen agents for crimes which he inspired them to commit against God's chosen disciples? Would Satan prepare a code of laws which discourage crime of all kinds, and encourage righteousness?

Would Satan invent a civil government, and set men to rule in them, who have promoted and encouraged a civilization which enlightens men's minds, and in so doing enable them to see the value of right things? If civil government is responsible for our present civilization, and Satan gave us civil government, then Satan has given us our civilization. I have mentioned some of the things which this civilization means to us, our civil laws, with our courts and juries, our public schools with its free education for all citizens, our monetary system and its many blessings, our postal system with all of its blessings. Civil government not only gave them to us, but it is giving them to us right now, and we all accept them.

We are taught to pray for rulers, for what they can do for us, and have done. Why not pray for the devil, if he has done more for us than all the rulers combined? We are taught to render thanks for all good things, but should we not render the thanks to the one who gave us the good things? If we thank God for them we must admit that they came from him, and He used the devil and his civil government to bring them to us.