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TRUTH vs. ERROR
A BRIEF FOR THE PLAINTIFF
STEPHEN D. WILLIAMS, LL.B.
A Member of the Detroit Bar
Published at the request of the Men's Bible Class of
DEARBORN BOOK CONCERN
Mr ID. Williams
My attention was first called to some legal aspects of the Bible by an address given on the illegality of the trial of Christ, a number of years ago, by Professor J. C. Knowlton, acting Dean of the Law Department of the University of Michigan. This caused me to wonder how the legal rules of evidence and construction would apply to the whole Bible. It occurred to me that, inasmuch as the Book was said to be the Law of God, such rules of evidence and construction ought to apply to it the same as to any constitution, statute, or legal instrument; that the severe tests to which the said rules have been put from time immemorial, and the universal favor with which they have met among the best minds the world has produced, ought to afford a safe standard by which to test the veracity of the Scriptures as an ancient document. I then decided to put this venerable instrument to such test, to the best of my ability. I accordingly prepared what might be called a brief on the subject. About that time, my friend, Mr. S. H. Meyers, assistant to the pastor of the First Presby
terian Church of Flint, Michigan, the Rev. H. D. Borley, invited me to make a series of addresses before the men's class of the church, and I decided to accept his invitation, and expound the brief I had prepared. A moot court was accordingly convened with the Hon. Mark W. Stevens, Circuit Judge, presiding, and Mr. Black, a prominent attorney, consented to take the other side, in a friendly way, to bring out the facts in the case. A bill in chancery was filed, under our methods of procedure, enjoining Mr. Meyers from teaching the Apostles' Creed, upon the grounds that he was teaching a false religion contrary to public policy, and the terms of the lease upon which he depended to supply him with a suitable room to teach in. An answer to the bill was filed, denying that the Apostles' Creed was false and its teaching against public policy, and alleging that it was true and conducive to the public good. This raised every question desired in order to give the matter a fair test. All the legal points that could be thought of were raised and passed upon by the circuit judge, who sustained our contention throughout. Many of the leading business and professional men of the city were present, and expressed their pleasure over the proceedings.
From this moot court trial came the title
"The Bible in Court." We afterwards enlarged upon this brief and delivered the addresses before the men's class of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Detroit, Mich., who requested their publication. They were recently given before the men's class of the First Presbyterian Church of Ashtabula, Ohio, and the request to have them published was repeated there. We hope that they may be read and passed along to help "the other fellow."
STEPHEN D. WILLIAMS.