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Liberty of Conscience ( ) Restrict Liberty
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   Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
Liberty  of  Conscience
Related Phrase:  restrict liberty of conscience (below)   - -   Freedom of conscience
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 Freedom of will 
We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter his people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be more earnest prayer; and then let us work in harmony with our prayers.-- Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 713, 714.  {Christian Service, page 162.1}
 
 
"The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: `The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error -- a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.' The same pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized `those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,' also 'all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.'   Great Controversy, page 564.5
 
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance.  Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  Revelation 12: 17.   Great Controversy, page 592.3
 
 
With great caution and humility, yet with decision and firmness, he entered upon his work. "By the word," said he, "we must refute and expel what has gained a place and influence by violence. I would not resort to force against the superstitious and unbelieving." "Let there be no compulsion. I have been laboring for liberty of conscience. Liberty is the very essence of faith." Ascending the pulpit, he with great wisdom and gentleness instructed, exhorted, and reproved, and by the power of the gospel brought back the misguided people into the way of truth.  {4SP 148.2}
 
It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience.--Testimonies, vol. 5 p. 452.  {ChS 162.2}
 
"The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX., in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: 'The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience, are a most pestilential error--a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a State.' The same pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized 'those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,' also 'all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.'  {GC88 564.4}
 
Jacob's night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance from the hand of Esau (Genesis 32: 24-30), represents the experience of God's people in the time of trouble. Because of the deception practiced to secure his father's blessing, intended for Esau, Jacob had fled for his life, alarmed by his brother's deadly threats. After remaining for many years an exile, he had set out, at God's command, to return with his wives and children, his flocks and herds, to his native country. On reaching the borders of the land, he was filled with terror by the tidings of Esau's approach at the head of a band of warriors, doubtless bent upon revenge. Jacob's company, unarmed and defenseless, seemed about to fall helpless victims of violence and slaughter. And to the burden of anxiety and fear was added the crushing weight of self-reproach, for it was his own sin that had brought this danger. His only hope was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer. Yet he leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong to his brother and to avert the threatened danger. So should the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble, make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which threatens liberty of conscience.   Great Controversy, page 616.2
 
Steadily and surely the darkness of ignorance and superstition was dispelled by the blessed light of the gospel. Freed from Romish oppression, the nation attained to a strength and greatness it had never before reached. Sweden became one of the bulwarks of Protestantism. A century later, at a time of sorest peril, this small and hitherto feeble nation -- the only one in Europe that dared lend a helping hand -- came to the deliverance of Germany in the terrible struggle of the Thirty Years' War. All Northern Europe seemed about to be brought again under the tyranny of Rome. It was the armies of Sweden that enabled Germany to turn the tide of popish success, to win toleration for the Protestants, -- Calvinists as well as Lutherans, -- and to restore liberty of conscience to those countries that had accepted the Reformation.  Great Controversy, page 244.2
 
With great caution and humility, yet with decision and firmness, he entered upon his work. "By the Word," said he, "we must refute and expel what has gained a place and influence by violence. I would not resort to force against the superstitious and unbelieving." "Let there be no compulsion. I have been laboring for liberty of conscience. Liberty is of the very essence of faith."  {GC88 189.2}
 
"Let us reject this decree," said the princes. "In matters of conscience the majority has no power." The deputies declared that Germany was indebted to the decree of toleration for the peace which she enjoyed, and that its abolition would fill the empire with troubles and divisions. "The Diet is incompetent," said they, "to do more than preserve religious liberty until a council meets." To protect liberty of conscience is the duty of the State, and this is the limit of its authority in matters of religion. Every secular government that attempts to regulate or enforce religious observances by civil authority is sacrificing the very principle for which the evangelical Christians so nobly struggled.  {GC88 201.1}  {4SP 159.2}
The papists determined to put down what they termed “daring obstinacy.” They began by endeavoring to cause divisions among the supporters of the Reformation and to intimidate all who had not openly declared in its favor. The representatives of the free cities were at last summoned before the Diet and required to declare whether they would accede to the terms of the proposition. They pleaded for delay, but in vain. When brought to the test, nearly one half their number sided with the Reformers. Those who thus refused to sacrifice liberty of conscience and the right of individual judgment well knew that their position marked them for future criticism, condemnation, and persecution. Said one of the delegates: “We must either deny the word of God, or—be burnt.”—Ibid., b. 13, ch. 5.  Great Controversy, page 201.2   Read entire Chapter 11
 
 
Eleven years after the planting of the first colony, Roger Williams came to the New World. Like the early Pilgrims he came to enjoy religious freedom; but, unlike them, he saw -- what so few in his time had yet seen -- that this freedom was the inalienable right of all, whatever might be their creed. He was an earnest seeker for truth, with Robinson holding it impossible that all the light from God's word had yet been received. Williams "was the first person in modern Christendom to establish civil government on the doctrine of the liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions before the law."--Bancroft, pt. 1, ch. 15, par. 16. He declared it to be the duty of the magistrate to restrain crime, but never to control the conscience. "The public or the magistrates may decide," he said, "what is due from man to man; but when they attempt to prescribe a man's duties to God, they are out of place, and there can be no safety; for it is clear that if the magistrates has the power, he may decree one set of opinions or beliefs today and another tomorrow; as has been done in England by different kings and queens, and by different popes and councils in the Roman Church; so that belief would become a heap of confusion."-- Martyn, vol. 5, p. 340.   Great Controversy, page 293.1
 
The National Reform movement, exercising the power of religious legislation, will, when fully developed, manifest the same intolerance and oppression that have prevailed in past ages. Human councils then assumed the prerogatives of Deity, crushing under their despotic power liberty of conscience; and imprisonment, exile, and death followed for those who opposed their dictates. If popery or its principles shall again be legislated into power, the fires of persecution will be rekindled against those who will not sacrifice conscience and the truth in deference to popular errors. This evil is on the point of realization.  {5T 712.1}
 
Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendency, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which has been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery, and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed.  {GC88 563.1}
 
I was shown that your meetings are losing interest because God's Spirit does not attend them. The brethren and sisters are in complete bondage because of these two men. They dare not exercise their freedom and speak out their faith in the simplicity of their souls, for here is Brother J, with his cool, severe, critical eye, watching and ready to catch at any word which will give him a chance to exercise the faculties of his unbelieving mind. Between these two, the Spirit of God is grieved away from the meetings. When brethren manifest the spirit of the dragon, to make war upon those who believe that God has communicated light and comfort to them through the Testimonies, it is time for the brethren and sisters to assert their liberty and perfect freedom of conscience. God has given them light, and it is their privilege to cherish the light and to speak of it to strengthen and encourage one another. Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of His people to His word, to give them a clearer understanding of it.  {4T 245.3}
 
 
restrict  liberty  of  Conscience
 
Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers, have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. An example of this is given in the long-continued persecution of dissenters by the Church of England. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of non-conformist ministers were forced to leave their churches, and many, both of pastors and people, were subjected to fine, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom. Great Controversy, page 443.3
 
God has revealed what is to take place in the last days, that His people may be prepared to stand against the tempest of opposition and wrath. Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter His faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for their Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is no time now to allow our minds to be engrossed with things of minor importance. While men are sleeping, Satan is actively arranging matters so that the Lord's people may not have mercy or justice. The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience. We should search the Scriptures and be able to give the reason for our faith. Says the prophet: "The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."  {5T 452.1}
 
 
In every age God's chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad. Every disciple of Christ is to step into the ranks and carry forward the same work, knowing that its foes can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber.-- MB 33 (1896).  {2MCP 500.3}
In every age God's chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad. Every disciple of Christ is to step into the ranks and carry forward the same work, knowing that its foes can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. God means that truth shall be brought to the front and become the subject of examination and discussion, even through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated; every controversy, every reproach, every effort to restrict liberty of conscience, is God's means of awakening minds that otherwise might slumber.  {RC 366.4}
 
It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudiceby placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience.Testimonies for the Church 5:452. { ChS 162.2} 
 
A great crisis awaits the people of God. A crisis awaits the world. The most momentous struggle of all the ages is just before us. Events which for more than forty years we have upon the authority of the prophetic word declared to be impending are now taking place before our eyes. Already the question of an amendment to the Constitution restricting liberty of conscience has been urged upon the legislators of the nation. The question of enforcing Sunday observance has become one of national interest and importance. We well know what the result of this movement will be. But are we ready for the issue? Have we faithfully discharged the duty which God has committed to us of giving the people warning of the danger before them?  {5T 711.3}   Read more
 
 
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