The Bond of UnionWE have seen the organization and growth of the National Reform, or religious legislation, movement, until it has become, with but one element lacking, the most extensive religious combination that there could possibly be in this nation; and the one element that is lacking is the active co-operation of the Catholic Church. We have also seen that the National Reform Association has not only declared itself ready gladly to join hands with the papacy whenever she is ready, but has actually accepted a commission to find "if possible" a basis of agreement upon which the harmonious action of the two bodies can be secured. It must be evident even to the dullest comprehension, that if such a basis of co-operation should be secured, and if the point of agreement should become a political issue, there could be but one result -- the religious combination would overwhelmingly carry their point. Even now the Catholic Church is of no small consideration as a political factor.
Now as a matter of fact such a basis of agreement and co-operation has been found. And it is the demand for the national recognition of the Christian religion in the enactment and enforcement of a NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW. As early as 1881, "Rev." Sylvester F. Scoville, then and now a leading National Reformer, published in the Christian Statesman, of August 31, an article on the Sunday-law question, in which he said: --
"This common interest [''of all religious people in the Sabbath'' -- Sunday] ought both to strengthen our determinations to work, and our readiness to co-operate in every way with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. We may be subjected to some rebuffs in our first proffers, and the time has not yet come when the Roman Church will consent to strike hands with other churches -- as such; but the time has come to make repeated advances, and gladly to accept co-operation in any form in which they may be willing to exhibit it. It is one of the necessities of the situation."
In 1881, however, the National Reform movement did not possess sufficient influence to make it much of an item in the estimation of the papacy, and no definite response was made to this proffer to accept rebuffs at her hands, especially as it was openly announced that they were prepared to make repeated advances, and submit to repeated rebuffs. Rome therefore bided her time. She knows as well as they that "it is one of the necessities of the situation." She knows full well that without her consent they never can secure the religious legislation which they want, and she is determined, here as ever, to have all the tokens of surrender come from them. The author of this book personally knows a gentleman who, riding on a railroad in California in 1886, fell into conversation with a Catholic priest, and finally said to him, "What is your church going to do with the religious amendment movement? are you going to help if forward? are you going to vote for it?" "Oh," said the priest, "we have nothing to do with that. We leave that to the Protestants; we let them do all that. They are coming to us, and we only have to wait."
Rome therefore waited; and as she waited, the National Reform movement rapidly grew in influence, especially by its alliances. And when in 1888, by the organization of the American Sabbath Union the movement for religious legislation had become about as strong as it could be expected to grow on the so-called Protestant side; and when the Field Secretary and chief originator of that organization personally addressed to the head of the papacy in this country -- Cardinal Gibbons -- a letter asking him to join hands with them in petitioning Congress to pass the bill for the enactment of a national law to "promote" the observance of Sunday "as a day religious worship;" the Cardinal promptly announced himself as "most happy" to do so, in the following letter: --
"CARDINAL''S RESIDENCE, 408 N. CHARLES STREET,
"Baltimore December 4, 1888.
"REV. DEAR SIR: I have to acknowledge your esteemed favor of the 1st instant in reference to the proposed passage of a law by Congress `against Sunday work in the government''s mail and military service,'' etc.
"I am most happy to add my name to those of the millions of others who are laudably contending against the violation of the Christian Sabbath by unnecessary labor, and who are endeavoring to promote its decent and proper observance by legitimate legislation. As the late Plenary Council of Baltimore has declared, the due observance of the Lord''s day contributes immeasurably to the restriction of vice and immorality, and to the promotion of peace, religion, and social order, and cannot fail to draw upon the nation the blessing and protection of an overruling Providence. If benevolence to the beasts of burden directed one day''s rest in every week under the old law, surely humanity to man ought to dictate the same measure of rest under the new law.
"Your obedient servant in Christ,
"JAMES CARDINAL, GIBBONS.
Archbishop of Baltimore."1
And although in this particular instance the Cardinal spoke only for himself, the anxious zeal of these professed Protestants to secure an alliance with the papacy, hurried them into counting every Catholic man, woman, and child in the United States, under the census of 1880, as having actually signed the petition. This was done at the convention of the National Reform allies, held in Washington, D. C., under the auspices of the American Sabbath Union, December 11-13, 1888. In the announcements of the convention it had been stated that the church in which the convention was to meet would be festooned with the names of six million petitioners; but at the very beginning of the first meeting, it was stated that there were fourteen million of them. A question was sent up asking how the number could have grown so much larger so suddenly. Mrs. Bateham was recalled to the platform to answer the question, and when she answered it, the cause of such a sudden and enormous growth was explained by the fact that Cardinal Gibbons had written the above letter saying he was most happy to add his name to the others, and solely upon the strength of his name, seven million two hundred thousand Catholics were counted as petitioners.
Thus matters stood for about one year, until November 12, 1889, when the "Congress of Catholic Laymen of the United States" was held in Baltimore, "to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the American hierarchy. In that Congress there was a paper read by Mr. Manly B. Tello, editor of the Catholic Universe, of Cleveland, Ohio, in which it was said: --
"What we should seek is an en rapport with the Protestant Christians who desire to keep Sunday holy. . . . We can bring the Protestant masses over to the reverent moderation of the Catholic Sunday."
And the platform which was adopted as the result of the discussions in the congress, declared upon this point as follows: --
"There are many Christian issues to which Catholics could come together with non-Catholics, and shape civil legislation for the public weal. In spite of rebuff and injustice and overlooking zealotry, we should seek alliance with non-Catholics for proper Sunday observance. Without going over to the Judaic Sabbath, we can bring the masses over to the moderation of the Christian Sunday."
This was one of the "planks" of the platform which was "received with the greatest demonstrations;" and the whole platform was adopted "without discussion" and "without a dissenting voice." As all the papers that were read in the congress, as well as the platform, had to pass the inspection of the hierarchy before they were presented in public, these statements are simply the expression of the papacy in official response to the overtures which the so called Protestant theocrats had been so long making to the papacy. As was only to be expected, it was received by them with much satisfaction. The American Sabbath Union joyously exclaimed: --
"The National Lay Congress of Roman Catholics, after correspondence and conference with the American Sabbath Union, passed its famous resolution in favor of co-operation with Protestants in Sabbath reform. . . . This does not mean that the millennium is to be built in a day. This is only a proposal of courtship; and the parties thus far have approached each other shyly."
And in a temperance speech in a temperance convention in New York City, reported in the National Temperance Advocate, for May, 1891, Archbishop Ireland thanked God that "Protestants and Catholics" "stand together in demanding the faithful observance of Sunday."
When a union so long desired as this has been, has reached the stage of courtship, actual marriage cannot be very far off. Yes, that marriage is certainly coming; and like every other great feature of the papacy, it is contrary to nature -- one woman (church) marrying another in order that both may more readily form an adulterous connection with the State. And the fruit of the confused relationship will be just that which is pictured in the Scripture -- a hideous nondescript monster, breathing out persecution and death. Rev. xiii, 11-17.
Thus are the leaders of professed Protestantism in the United States joining heart and hand with the papacy, with the sole purpose of creating in this government an order of things identical with that which created the papacy at the first. It is most appropriate, therefore, that the bond of union which unites them in the evil work, should be the very thing -- the day of the sun -- by means of which the papacy secured control of the civil power to compel those who did not belong to the church to submit to the dictates of the church, and to act as though they did belong to it. It was by means of Sunday laws that the church secured control of the civil power for the furtherance of her ends when the papacy was made. It is appropriate that the same identical means should employed by an apostate Protestantism to secure control of the civil power for the furtherance of her ends, and to compel those who do not belong to the church to submit to the dictates of the church, and to act as those do who do belong to the church. And as that evil intrigue back there made the papacy, so will this same thing here make the living image of the papacy. Two things that are so alike in the making will as surely be as much alike when they are made.
What Rome means by the transaction is shown by a letter from Cardinal Gibbons upon the subject of the authority for Sunday observance, written but a little while before the "Congress of Catholic Laymen" was held. The letter was written to Mr. E. E. Franke, then of Pittsburg, now of Williamsport, Pa., and is as follows: --
"408 NORTH CHARLES ST., BALTIMORE, MD.,
"October 3, 1889.
"DEAR MR.FRANKE: At the request of His Eminence, the Cardinal, I write to assure you that you are correct in your assertion that Protestants in observing the Sunday are following not the Bible, which they take as their only rule of action, but the tradition of the church. I defy them to point out to me the word `Sunday'' in the Bible; if it is not to be found there, and it cannot be, then it is not the Bible which they follow in this particular instance, but tradition, and in this they flatly contradict themselves.
"The Catholic Church changed the day of rest from the last to the first day of the week, because the most memorable of Christ''s works was accomplished on Sunday. It is needless for me to enter into any elaborate proof of the matter. They cannot prove their point from scripture; therefore, if sincere, they must acknowledge that they draw their observance of the Sunday from tradition, and are therefore weekly contradicting themselves. Yours very sincerely,
"M. A. REARDON."
This shows that it is as a Roman Catholic, securing honor to an institution of the papacy, and thus to the papacy itself, that Cardinal Gibbons has indorsed the national Sunday law movement; and that it is as Roman Catholics doing the same thing, that the laity and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States have accepted the proffer of the professed Protestant combination for political purposes, and have joined hands with this combination in its aims upon the institutions of the country.
The Cardinal understands what he is doing a great deal better than the associations for religious legislation understand what they are doing. And further, the Cardinal understands what they are doing a great deal better than they themselves do. His letter also shows that those who sign the petition for a Sunday law, as the Cardinal did, are honoring the papacy, as the Cardinal does.
What Rome means may be seen not only by this letter, but by the history of the original movement as given in Chapter XIII of this book. The Cardinal and the rest of the hierarchy know just how the original movement worked and accomplished what it did. All these facts are familiar to them, and they are glad to see this perfect pattern of the original so strongly supported and so persistently urged. They are indeed glad to join hands with it, and to be married to it, for it is in spirit and in truth only a part of that of which they themselves are a part.
This is what Rome means by it; and what those professed Protestants mean by it will be clearly seen by the evidences which will now be presented. We have seen that the American Sabbath Union originated in a petition to the Methodist Episcopal General Conference, from Sunday-law organizations already existing in the States, and that one of the strongest of these was the Illinois Association, which originated in the Elgin Convention of 1887. In that convention "Rev." W. W. Everts, D. D., then of Chicago, since deceased, made a speech in which he said: --
"This day is set apart for divine worship and preparation for another life. It is the test of all religion."
This clearly shows that the object of those who are working for Sunday laws is wholly religious; that the legislation which they seek is religious legislation; and that they are thus endeavoring to secure the power of the State to further their own aims. The Sabbath is indeed set apart for divine worship and preparation for another life; but the observances of divine worship, and the preparation of men for another life, are committed by Jesus Christ to the church. The State cannot of right have anything to do with religious observances, and it is impossible for the civil power to prepare men for another life. Therefore, as this work belongs wholly to the church, and as the church wants to use the civil power for this purpose, it follows that these church leaders of our day, like those of the fourth century, are determined to make use of the power of the State to further their own aims.
"It is the test of all religion," says Dr. Everts. Then what can ever the enforcement of it be but the enforcement of a religious test? That is precisely what it is. Again the same speaker said: --
"The people who do not keep the Sabbath have no religion."
Let this be admitted, then the antithesis of it must also be admitted: the people who do keep the Sabbath have religion. Therefore this demand for laws to compel men to keep the Sabbath, is only a demand for laws to compel people to have religion.
Again Dr. Everts said: --
"He who does not keep the Sabbath, does not worship God; and he who does not worship God, is lost."
Admitted. Therefore this demand for laws to compel men to keep the Sabbath, is only a demand for laws to compel them to worship.
Nor is Mr. Everts alone in this. Joseph Cook, in the Boston Monday lectureship of 1887, said: --
"The experience of centuries shows that you will in vain endeavor to preserve Sunday as a day of rest, unless you preserve it as a day of worship."
And when the American Sabbath Union was asked the question, "Could not this weekly rest-day be secured without reference to religion?" the answer of the Union many times repeated and published, was as follows: --
"A weekly day of rest has never been permanently secured in any land except on the basis of religious obligation. Take the religion out, and you take the rest out. Greed is so strong that nothing but God and conscience can keep him from capturing all the days for toil."
As it is only on the basis of religious obligation that the weekly rest can be secured, when laws are demanded enforcing a day of weekly rest, it is plain that such laws must rest upon a religious basis only, enforcing a religious obligation, and so cannot be anything else than religious laws.
Again: as taking the religion out of the day takes the rest out, it follows that religion is essential to the rest; that if religion is not in it, there is no rest in it. Therefore, when laws compel men to take the rest, in so doing they compel men to take religion. When laws compel men to recognize and use the day as one of rest, such laws do compel the recognition and use of the day as one of religion.
And again: as nothing but God and conscience can preserve the day from greed, it follows that such laws are expected to perform the part of God and the conscience. And as the State is to enact and enforce the laws, it follows that the State is required to put itself in the place of God, and deal with the consciences of men. The demand for such laws does demand that the State shall invade the realm of conscience, and rule there in the place of God.
This is yet further shown by other official declarations. In the Washington, D. C., convention, December 11-13, 1888, the president of the American Sabbath Union said: --
"You have to say yes or no, whether you will stand by the decalogue, whether you will stand by the Lord God Almighty, or whether you will turn your back upon him. The work, therefore, of this society is only just begun. We would not put this work upon mere human reasoning, for all that can be overthrown by human reason: we rest it wholly on the divine commandment."
In the Sedalia, Mo., convention, May 23, 24, 1889, "Rev." John A. Brooks, in the speech before referred to, said: --
"If there is one thing that I want above another, it is a quiet Lord''s day. If there is one thing that I prize above another, it is the day consecrated to the worship of God, and the rest of his people upon this earth. If there is one thing I prize above another, it is that. And I enter my solemn protest against this desecration of this day. You and I as private citizens, answer, It is the business of the officers to lift up their hands to God, and swear that they will enforce the laws of this country and the Constitution of the United States and the State of Missouri as an officer of this great State. Why do n''t they do it? Why do n''t they do it? There are several reasons why, in my judgment, they do not do it. In the first place, the Christian people of this country do not raise such a protest as to compel them to do it, because you are silent upon these political questions; because the church of God has nothing to do with the political questions of this country. Yes, shame! shame! eternal shame that such a though should fall from the lips of such a man who calls himself a servant of the most high God. If the preachers would speak out on this question, I believe these officials would be more faithful than they are. And if we have not officers in power who will enforce the law, let us elect men who will enforce the law; and to do that let us kick out of the traces, and vote for men who are for truth and God and right, and let parties go to perdition, where they ought to go."
And in the same convention, "Rev." M. A. Gault, speaking for the whole National Reform combination, said: --
"Now we take the ground that governments should appeal to divine authority on this question; governments should say to the people, You must keep the Sabbath, and have the Sabbath''s rest secured to all classes, not merely because it is good for you, but because God says so; because there is a divine appointment behind this question. The point may be illustrated by the story of a man who had a melon patch, and who put up at one end of the patch the sign which reads as follows: ''Boys, don''t steal these melons: for they are green, and God sees you.'' That is, that farmer appealed to divine authority. He gave the boys to understand that they must not steal melons, not merely because it would injure them, but because God saw them. And in that way he reached their consciences. Well, that simple idea of the farmer expresses the philosophy that underlies this whole question. I believe that government can reach the conscience of the people. A man without a God is a man without a conscience; and a government without a God is a government without a conscience. A government has no right to enforce a law upon the conscience of man without recognizing the idea of a supreme being, the Almighty God, as revealed in Jesus Christ."
These plain and positive declarations of the chief leaders and the strongest representatives of the combination are sufficient to show that the movement is not and cannot be anything else than religious. Now, to the church and to her alone, God has committed the power by which alone religion can be promoted, religious obligations fulfilled, and religious observances secured: that is, by the persuasive power of the gentle influences of the Holy Spirit speaking to an abiding faith in Jesus Christ. This power belongs to the church of Christ. So long as any church has this power, she needs no other, and she will never ask for any other. But having lost the power to persuade men, she will invariably grasp for the power to compel them. It has ever been so, and it will ever be so. Therefore by this so widely prevalent movement on the part of the churches to secure the power of the State by which to promote religion and religious observances, it is proved that the professed Protestant church of the United States has lost the power of promoting religious observances by persuasion, and is grasping for the power to do it by compulsion. Having lost the power to do it by Christian means, she grasps for the power to do it by anti-Christian means. And this Sunday-law movement of the nineteenth century, as that in the fourth century, is only an effort on the part of the church to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of her aims.
If direct and positive proof is asked for upon this point, it is at hand in no less abundance than on any of the others which have been touched upon. The Elgin convention 1887, passed a series of resolutions, one of which runs as follows: --
"Resolved, That we look with shame and sorrow on the non-observance of the Sabbath by many Christian people, in that the custom prevails with them of purchasing Sabbath newspapers, engaging in and patronizing Sabbath business and travel, and in many instances giving themselves to pleasure and self-indulgence, setting aside by neglect and indifference the great duties and privileges which God''s day brings them."
As this was unanimously adopted by a large convention of the leading ministers and religious workers of the State of Illinois, we are compelled to believe it to be the truth. But what do they propose to do to rectify the practice and wipe away the "shame"? Do they resolve to preach the gospel earnestly, to be more faithful themselves in instructing and impressing the consciences of the people, by showing them their duty in regard to these things? -- Oh, no. They resolve to do this: --
"Resolved, That we give our votes and support to those candidates or political officers who will pledge themselves to vote for the enactment and enforcing of statutes in favor of the civil Sabbath."
Indeed! They are ashamed and sorry that professed Christians will not act morally and religiously as Christians ought to; therefore they will turn politicians, and trade off their votes and support for pledges of candidates and political officers to enact statutes compelling the professed Christians to act religiously by enforcing upon them a civil Sabbath! That is, those professed Christians will not obey what they believe to be a duty to God without being compelled to do so by the civil law. Then when they are compelled to do so by the civil power, they will call that obeying God! This is only to put the civil law in the place of the law of God, and the civil government in the place of God. Such is only the inevitable result of such attempts as this. It makes utter confusion of all civil and religious relations, only adds hypocrisy to guilt, and increases unto more ungodliness.
The Illinois Association is not the only that testifies to this. The Kings county (N. Y.) Sabbath Association, in its annual report for 1889, said: --
"The delivery of ice-cream after ten o''clock Sunday morning, has proven a source of annoyance to many sections of the city, and has disturbed public worship in many of our churches."
The report also states that the ice-cream dealers had been remonstrated with both by the Association and the police, but in vain. And the reason of this was given as follows: --
"We regret to state that many church people absolutely ignore their duty in these premises by requiring ice-cream to be delivered to them for their Sunday dinner. It is safe to say that many professedly Christian people require ice-cream dealers to keep their places of business open and scores of employees to do work on Sunday, contrary to law, besides requiring the services of horses and wagons, merely to gratify a selfish appetite, and serve mere personal gratification."
And the American Sabbath Union, by its Field Secretary, reported in the Christian Statesman Supplement, December 4, 1890, as follows: --
"I believe the chief difficulty is that in the Christian descendants the Puritans on both sides of the sea, conscience is no longer regnant, but indulgence reigns in its stead. Christians break the Sabbath chiefly because it seems pleasanter or more profitable to do so than to do right. Even church committees receive men into church membership who are doing needless work on the Sabbath, and intend to continue so doing, sanctioning the excuse that otherwise a salary will have to be sacrificed. That is, a man ought to do right except when it will cost him something. With such a fountain the subsequent Christian life cannot be expected to rise above the idea that the Sabbath is to be kept only when it is perfectly convenient to do so. [The preachers ought not to blame the people for that, for it is the preachers who have taught the people so. -- A. T. J.] Thus convenience has displaced conscience in thousands of Christians.
" ''What shall we do with our Presbyterian elders?'' said a pastor to me recently. ''One of my elders owns the motor line, and another the electric cars that carry the people to Sunday picnics and base ball. Half the railroads of the country, I believe, after abundant opportunity to inquire, are owned by men who are devoutly singing, ''O day of rest and gladness,'' in the churches, while their employees are toiling and cursing on their Sunday trains. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church is itself a stockholder in a liquor-selling, Sabbath-breaking railroad. Some commissioner should raise the question whether it ought not to follow the example of its illustrious adherent, Hon. Wm. E. Dodge, and refuse to share the ''wages of unrighteousness.'' Sunday camp-meetings, which the New England Conference calls'' the scandal of Methodism,'' are not yet wholly abolished, nor that other scandal, the use of Sunday trains by some presiding elders.
"In one of our great cities, a leading officer of a Congregationalist Church devoutly worships every Sabbath morning, while his employees indevoutly work, driving all over the city to furnish the people that necessity of life, ice-cream. One Easter Sabbath I looked into a post-office and saw those who had been learning of the spiritual resurrection in flowers and songs and sermons, with prayer-books and hymn books in hand, and one in a Quaker bonnet, getting their letters and bills and newspapers, so as to bury the risen Lord again.
"Taking a swift run from city to city, let us see who are the owners or controllers of the Sunday papers. In this first city a Baptist trustee, in this next a Methodist steward, in this next a Presbyterian elder, in this next the editors of both Sunday papers are Methodists, and so following.
"Who owns that little store that sells candies and cigarettes and firecrackers to little embezzlers on their way to Sabbath-school? -- A Covenanter, who is very particular that no one should call the Sabbath Sunday, but allows it to be heathenized in her own buildings rather than risk the rent.
" ''Judgment must indeed begin at the house of God,'' which means discipline. Candidates for the ministry and for membership should be examined as to their Sabbath observance, that they may start right, and then be admonished at the first open violation of their vows in this line. ''I commanded the Levites,'' said Nehemiah, ''that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates to sanctify the Sabbath day.'' "
From these evidences it appears that the churches are filled with people who have little respect for the rules or discipline of the churches to which they belong, and less respect for Sunday. These evidence likewise demonstrate that the main object of Sunday-laws is the enforcement of church discipline not only upon the church members, but upon the people who do not belong to the church at all. That is the secret of all the Sunday laws that ever have been. It was the object of the first Sunday law that ever was made. This lengthy extract from the chief worker for Sunday laws, shows that the logic of Sunday laws is that there are hosts of people in the church who profess to be what they are not, and therefore these laws are demanded in order that they may compel everybody else to be just what these are.
Of course, no one can justly blame anybody for not observing Sunday; indeed, it is far better not to observe it than to observe it. Yet every person has a perfect right to observe Sunday if he chooses, as also a person has a right not to observe it at all if he does not wish to. But when men professing to believe that the day ought to be observed, and professing to be observers of the day, attach themselves to a church whose rules require its observance, then it is not too much to insist that they ought to be honest enough to stand by their professions. And if they are not honest enough to be indeed what they profess to be, then when laws are obtained and enforced, compelling other people to act as they do, the only possible fruit of the enforcement of such laws can be but multiply hypocrites.
From the first sentence of the foregoing extract it appears that Mr. Crafts''s object is, by means of Sunday laws, to create in the church members sufficient conscience to lead them to do what their church obligations already require that they shall do.2 Because, he says, "in the Christian descendants of the Puritans, conscience is no longer regnant, but indulgence reigns instead." This, in fact, is the tone of the article all the way through. He complains against the Sunday newspaper because that by it "families are solicited all the week to violate conscience by announcements that the best articles are being held back for Sunday readers." But whether or not he expects Sunday laws to cultivate conscience where there is little, and create it where there is none, this much is certain: this statement shows as plainly as words can, that the intent of Sunday laws is that they shall have to do with the conscience of men.
This need of State laws to cultivate conscience where there is little, and create it where there is none, on the subject of Sunday observance, is caused by the absence of any command of God for its observance. The word of God alone speaks to the conscience, and where there is no command of God, there can be no appeal to the conscience. And these organizations that are so determined to have Sunday laws, know as well as Cardinal Gibbons does that there is no authority in the Scripture for Sunday observance. They know as well as he does that there is no other basis for it than tradition, and no other authority for it than the authority of "the church." The American Sabbath Union has issued a series of "Pearl of Days Leaflets," No. 3 of which is written by "Rev." George S. Mott, a vice-president of the Union, and is entitled "Saturday or Sunday -- Which?" In this leaflet, page 7, are the following words: --
"Our opponents declare, `We are not satisfied with these inferences and suppositions; show us where the first day is spoken of as holy, or as being observed instead of the seventh; we must have a direct and positive command of God.'' We admit there is no such command."
The Woman''s Christian Temperance Union likewise occupies the same position. Leaflet No. 3, of the Woman''s Christian Temperance Union, department of Sabbath observance, is a concert exercise on the fourth commandment for Sunday schools and "Bands of Hope." From this leaflet we copy following: --
"Question 5. -- Why do not still keep the seventh day for our Sabbath, instead of the first, or Sunday?
"Answer. --'' We still keep one day of rest after six of work, thus imitating God''s example at creation, and at the same time we honor and keep in memory the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who on the first day of the week rose from the dead, and thus completed our redemption.
"Question 6. If Jesus wished the day changed, why did he not command it?
"Answer. -- A command to celebrate the resurrection could not wisely be made before the resurrection occurred. He probably gave his own disciples such directions afterwards when ''speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.'' "
In 1885 the American Sunday-school Union issued a one-thousand-dollar prize essay on the Sunday question, written by "Rev." A. E. Waffle, who is now an ardent worker for Sunday laws. In this essay (pp. 186, 187) he plainly says: --
"Up to the time of Christ''s death no change had been made in the day." And "So far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not, however, give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath, and its observance on the first day of the week."
The American Sabbath Union leaflet above referred to, corresponds to this precisely, in that it says (page 5) that the observance of the first day of the week "grew up spontaneously in the apostolic age, and out of the heart of believers, and so became the Sabbath of the Christian era." And this, with a number of other things, is said by the same document (pp. 6, 7) to "furnish a reliable presumption that, during those years following the resurrection, the first day of the week was observed in a religious way."
And Dr. Herrick Johnson, speaking for the whole religio-political combination, before the United States Senate Committee, December 13, 1888, confirmed these statements in the following words: --
Mr. Johnson. -- "I think that no one who accepts the Bible doubts that there is one day in seven to be observed as a day of rest."
The Chairman. -- "Will you just state the authority?"
Mr. Johnson. -- "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy . . . . Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work."
Mr. Chairman. -- "Is there any other?"
Mr. Johnson. -- "There are references to this law all through the Bible."
The Chairman. -- "Now you come and change that Sabbath day to which the Lord refers."
Mr. Johnson. -- "That we hold was changed by the Lord himself."
The Chairman. -- "When did he do that, and by what language?"
Mr. Johnson. -- "There was a meeting for worship on the first day of the week, the day the Lord arose, and seven days after4 there was another meeting for the same purpose, and then it is referred to as the Lord''s day."
The Chairman. -- "After the change ?"
Mr. Johnson. -- "Yes, sir; after the change."
The Chairman. -- "It is base then upon two or three days'' being observed as days of religious worship after the resurrection."
Mr. Johnson. -- "Yes, sir."
Such, according to the official declarations of these organizations, is the origin and basis of Sunday observance. And as to the authority for it, they are equally explicit. "Rev." George Elliott, pastor of the Foundry Methodist Episcopal Church, Washington, D. C., is a representative of the movement. He has appeared twice before congressional committees as such representative. In 1884, he wrote an essay on the Sunday question, which took a prize of five hundred dollars. The essay, entitled "The Abiding Sabbath," is issued by the American Tract Society, and is recommended everywhere by the Woman''s Christian Temperance Union. In this book (p. 184), is the following statement: --
"It is not difficult to account for the complete silence of the New Testament so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath or definite rules for its observance are concerned. . . . The conditions under which the early Christian church existed were not favorable for heir announcement. The early church, a struggling minority composed of the poorest people, could not have instituted the Christian Sabbath in its full force of meaning. The ruling influences of government and society were against them."
And how the ruling influences of government and society were turned in favor of the Sunday, so that it could be and was instituted in its full force of meaning, the following extracts from pages 213 and 228 of the same book plainly show : --
"For the perfect establishment of the Christian Sabbath, as has already been observed,. there was needed a social revolution in the Roman empire. The infant church, in its struggle through persecution and martyrdom, had not the power even to keep the Lord''s day perfectly itself, much less could the sanctity of the day be guarded from desecration by unbelievers. We should expect, therefore, to find the institution making a deepening groove on society and in history, and becoming a well-defined ordinance the very moment that Christianity became a dominant power. That such was the case, the facts fully confirm. From the records of the early church and the works of the Christian Fathers, we can clearly see the growth of the institution culminating in the famous edict of Constantine, when Christianity became the established religion of the empire.
"The emperor Constantine was converted, and Christianity became, practically, the religion of the empire. It was now possible to enforce the Christian Sabbath, and make its observance universal. In the year 321, consequently, was issued the famous edict of Constantine, commanding abstinence from servile labor on Sunday."
As to the origin and growth of Sunday observance, and its culmination in the famous Edict of Constantine, these statements are strictly in accord with the historical facts. And that famous edict in which the Sunday observance movement culminated then, was issued solely at the request of the church managers in return for services rendered, and on their part was but the culmination of their grand scheme to secure control of the civil power to compel all to submit to the discipline and the dictates of the church. Therefore, by their own official and representative statements, we know that they know that Cardinal Gibbons states the exact truth when he tells them that it is the Catholic Church that has changed the day of rest from the seventh day of the week to the first, and that the original and only authority for Sunday observance is the authority of the papacy. This they know, and therefore they realize that their efforts are impotent to persuade the consciences of men in the matter of Sunday observance. Mr. Elliott himself has borne conclusive testimony to this in the same book above referred to (p. 263), as follows: --
"To make the Lord''s day only an ecclesiastical contrivance, is to give no assurance to the moral reason, and to lay no obligation upon a free conscience. The church cannot maintain this institution by its own edict. Council, assembly, convocation, and synod can impose a law on the conscience only when they are able to back their decree with `Thus saith the Lord."
To make Sunday observance only an ecclesiastical contrivance is all that he or anybody else has ever been able to do. That is just what these official statements of those organizations show that they know it to be. The only edicts they are able to show for it, are the edicts of Constantine and his successors, who in every instance did only the bidding of the church. These are confessedly the only authority by which they would lay the observance of Sunday as a law upon the consciences of men. They cite no "Thus saith the Lord" for the institution, nor for its observance. On the contrary, they confess that "there is no such command;" they confess that there is no command "enjoining the abandonment of the seventh day Sabbath and its observance on the first day of the week;" they confess "complete silence of the New Testament" so far as concerns any command to observe Sunday, or rules as to how it should be observed; they confess that they have only "presumption," and "probability," and a "spontaneous growth out of the hearts of believers," for its origin and basis, and the church as "a dominant power" issuing "the famous Edict of Constantine" for its authority. Therefore, by their own showing and upon their own confession, the observance of Sunday is of "no obligation upon a free conscience." Yet council, assembly, convocation, and synod have decreed that Sunday shall be observed by all; and as they are not able to back their decree with a "Thus saith the Lord," they are determined now, as those others were at the first, to back it with the Thus saith the State, and lay it as an obligation upon -- not free, but enslaved consciences, compelling men to do homage to the authority of the papacy.
All this is confirmed by positive testimony. It is church discipline that they propose to enforce by law. An important part of church discipline is church attendance and the forms of worship. This is, fact, the point of chief importance in all the Sunday-law discussions. They demand that the Sunday paper shall be abolished, because, as stated by Dr. Everts in the Elgin convention, --
"The laboring class are apt to rise late on Sunday morning, read the
Sunday papers, and allow the hour of worship to go by unheeded."
And Dr. Herrick Johnson, in the Illinois Sunday convention, in Farwell Hall, Chicago, November 20, 21 1888, said of the Sunday newspaper: -- "The saloon cannot come into our homes ; the house of ill-fame cannot come into our parlors ; but the Sunday paper is everywhere. It creeps into our homes on Sunday. It can so easily be put into the pocket, and taken into the parlor and read."
Then he named the matter with which he said the Sunday papers are filled, -- "crime, scandal, gossip, news, and politics," -- and said: --
"What a melange ! what a dish to set down before a man before breakfast and after breakfast, to prepare him for hearing the word of God ! It makes it twice as hard to reach those who go to the sanctuary, and it keeps many away from the house of worship altogether. They read the paper; the time comes to go to church; but it is said, `Here is something interesting; I will read it, and not go to church to-day.''"
The Sunday railway train must also be stopped, and for the same reason. In the speech above referred to, Dr. Johnson, speaking of the Inter Ocean Sunday news train, described how the people would flock to the station to see the train, and said : --
"In the Sabbath lull from politics, business, etc., the people would go to church were it not for the attraction of the Inter Ocean special train."
In the Elgin convention, Dr. Everts said : --
"The Sunday train is another great evil. They cannot afford to run a train unless they get a great many passengers, and so break up a great many congregations. The Sunday railroad trains are hurrying their passengers fast on to perdition. What an outrage that the railroad, that great civilizer, should destroy the Christian Sabbath !"
And "Rev." M. A. Gault, in the Christian Stateman, September 25, 1884, said : --
"This railroad [the Chicago and Rock Island] has been running excursion trains from Des Moines to Colfax Springs on the Sabbath for some time, and the ministers complain that their members go on these excursions."
And as expressing the sum and substance of the wishes of the managers of the whole national Sunday-law movement, "Rev." Dr. Briggs, in a Sunday-law mass-meeting held in Hamilton Hall, Oakland, Cal., in January, 1887, said to the State : --
"You relegate moral instruction to the church, and then let all go as they please on Sunday, so that we cannot get at them."
Therefore they want universal Sunday laws enacted, by which the State shall corral all the people on Sunday, so that the preachers may get at them. That is what they wanted in the fourth century. They got it at last.
It is not necessary to add any more statements; they are all in the same line. They all plainly show that the secret and real object of the whole Sunday-law movement is for the churches to obtain control of the civil power in order that they may enforce church discipline upon all the people. The Sunday train must be stopped, because church members ride on it instead of going to the church. The Sunday paper must be abolished, because the people read it instead of going to church, and because those who read it and go to church too, are not so well prepared to receive the preaching. The distribution of ice-cream on Sunday must be prohibited to protect from "disturbance" the worship of those churches whose members persist in "requiring ice-cream to be delivered to them for their Sunday dinner."3
Thus was it precisely in the fourth century, and in the making of the papacy. The people, even the church members, would go to the circus or the theater instead of to church ; and even if any went to both, it must be confessed that the Roman circus or theater was not a very excellent dish -- "What a melange !" -- to set down before a man to prepare him for hearing the word of God. The Sunday circus and theater could not afford to keep open unless they could get a great many spectators, and so break up a great many congregations. And as they hurried the spectators fast on to perdition, they had to be shut on Sunday, so as to keep "a great many congregations" out of perdition. It is exceedingly difficult to see how a Sunday circus in the fourth century could hurry to perdition any one who did not attend it ; or how a Sunday train in the nineteenth century can hurry to perdition any one who does not ride on it. And if any are hurried to perdition by this means, who is to blame : the Sunday train, or the ones who ride on it? Doctor Johnson''s complaint that the Sunday paper is worse than the saloon or the house of ill-fame, because these cannot get into the home, while the paper can be put into the pocket and taken into the home, is of the same flimsy piece. The saloon can be taken into the home, if a person will but put it into his pocket, and the house of ill-fame can be taken into the parlor, if a man will put it under his cloak ; and if the Sunday paper gets there by being put into the pocket, where lies the blame : upon the paper, or upon the one who puts it into his pocket? Right here lies the secret of the whole evil now, as it did in the fourth century : they blame everybody and everything else, even to inanimate things, for the irreligion, the infidelity, and the sin that lie in their own hearts.
Yet in the face of all this testimony and ever so much more to the same effect, and in the face of the whole history of the Sunday institution, they have the effrontery to present the plea that it is only a "civil" Sunday observance that they want to enforce !5 They therefore pass resolutions such as that by the Elgin convention, given on page 764, and adopt planks such as the following from the National Prohibition platform of 1887 : --
For the preservation and defense of the Sabbath as a civil institution, without oppressing any who religiously observe the same or any other day than the first day of the week."
None of those Prohibitionists, however, have attempted to explain just why, in their efforts to preserve and defend the Sabbath as a civil institution, they should refrain from oppressing only those who "religiously observe" Sunday or some other day. This betrays a lurking consciousness of the fact that such legislation is oppressive. It likewise reveals the utter impossibility of either defining or defending such a thing as a civil Sabbath. There is no such thing as a civil Sabbath, and these organizations mean no such thing as a civil Sunday. The whole subject is religious from beginning to end. There never was a law enacted, nor a single step taken, in favor of Sunday that had not a religious purpose and intent; and there can never be any such thing without such purpose; for the institution is religious in itself.
In this connection it will not be amiss to remember that it was altogether for "civil" reasons that Roger Williams was banished, that the Baptists and the Quakers were dealt with as they were by the New England theocracy; and that it was for the good of the State and to preserve the State, -- that is, for "civil" reasons, -- that the emperor Justin compelled all to be Catholics, and that the alliance was first formed with the church and such legislation enacted.6
Like the original Sunday-law workers, these now do not propose to be content with a little -- except at first. In a ministers'' meeting in behalf of Sunday legislation, held in San Diego, Cal., in September, 1888, it was stated that "too much must not be asked for at first. Ask just what public sentiment will bear, and when you get that, ask for more." And at the national capital, before the Senate Committee, April 6, 1888, and repeated in the same place, December 13 of the same year in behalf of a bill to enact a national Sunday law, Mr. Crafts, of the American Sabbath Union, said : --
"We will take a quarter of loaf, half a loaf, or a whole loaf. If the government should do nothing more than forbid the opening of the post-offices at church hours, it would be a national tribute to the value of religion, and would lead to something more satisfactory."
Then in telling what would be more satisfactory, he said: --
"The law allows the local postmaster, if he chooses (and some of them do choose), to open the mails at the very hour of church, and so make the post-office the competitor of the churches."
This same trouble was experienced in the fourth century also, between the circus or the theater, and the church. The church could not stand competition; she would be content with nothing less than a monopoly, and she got it, precisely as these church managers are trying to get it. More than this, they want now, as they did then, the government to secure them in the enjoyment of a perpetual monopoly. For said Mr. Crafts in the same speech : --
"It should not be possible for any postmaster in this country to run the United States post-office as a rival and competition and antagonist of the churches."
At another point in the same speech, Mr. Crafts referred to the proposed law as one for "protecting the church services from post-office competition." And in explaining how this could be done, he said : --
"A law forbidding the opening between ten and twelve, would accomplish this, and would be better than nothing; but we want more."
"A law forbidding any handling of Sunday mail at such hours as would interfere with church attendance on the part of the employees, would be better than nothing; but we want more than this.
He continues : --
"Local option in deciding whether a local post-office shall be opened at all on Sunday, we should welcome as better than nothing; . . . but we desire more than this."
How much more ? Still he continues : --
"A law forbidding all carrier delivery of mail on Sunday, would be better than nothing; but we want more than that."
And when will they ever get enough? It is precisely as it was when, at the request of the church managers, the emperor Constantine ordered "a suppression of business at the courts and other civil offices" on Sunday. That was an imperial tribute to the "value of religion," and led to "something more satisfactory" -- to the church managers.7
And when they shall have secured the help of the government in carrying their monopolizing ambition thus far, will they be content ? -- Not at all. Nothing short of a complete and perpetual monopoly will satisfy them. This is proved by Dr. McAllister''s words in National Reform Woman''s Christian Temperance Union convention at Lakeside, Ohio, July, 1887, as follows: --
"Let a man be he may, -- Jew, seventh-day observer of some other denomination, or those who do not believe in the Christian Sabbath, -- let the law apply to every one, that there shall be no public desecration of the first day of the week, the Christian Sabbath, the day of rest for the nation. They may hold any other day of the week as sacred, and observe it; but that day which is the one day in seven for the nation at large, let that not be publicly desecrated by any one, by officer in the government, or by private citizen, high or low, rich or poor."
It is not without cause they have written on their banners, "Always encouraged, NEVER SATISFIED;" for this has been the very spirit of the movement from the day that Paul saw the mystery of iniquity working, until now. There is much being said of the grasping, grinding greed of monopolies of many kinds; but of all monopolies on earth, the most grinding, the most greedy, the most oppressive, the most conscienceless, is a religious monopoly.
The Christian Statesman from its earliest days has ever insisted that --
"The observance of the Sabbath [Sunday] is an acknowledgment of the sovereign rights of God over us."
Then when they secure the law, it will be in their estimation, a national acknowledgment of the sovereign rights of God; and for any one to refuse to keep Sunday, will be treason. This, too, is plainly stated by them. In a great Sunday-law mass-meeting held in Chicago, March 3, 1889, in which Protestant preachers and Catholic priests united in demanding a National Sunday law, "Rev." J. Boring Gold said : --
"It should be understood first and last that this is America, not Europe, and the laws say expressly that no work, save that of necessity and charity, shall be performed on the Sabbath. The man who does not subscribe to the doctrine of Sabbath observance, is a traitor to his country, and should be treated as such."
As stated by a regular National Reformer, it is carried farther even than this. "Rev." W. M. Grier, of Due West, South Carolina, said in the Philadelphia National Reform convention, 1888 : --
"Every sin, secret or public, against God, is a sin against our country, and is high treason against the State."
Every sin, whether "secret or public," being "high treason" against the State, the State must punish it, even secret sin. But how shall the State discover secret sins, except by an inquisition? This again confirms the logic of Sunday laws, and of the theoretical theory of earthly government -- that the Inquisition is the inevitable consequence. These evidences are sufficient to demonstrate to the satisfaction of every reader that in its theory, tis principles, and its propositions, this movement a success, are in perfect likeness of that which made the papacy. There remains in this connection only the inquiry, What will be the practice of the thing should it succeed?
As the whole combination singly and together is wedded to the idea of a man-made theocracy, the practical effects of the movement, if successful, would seem to be sufficiently discernible from the examples that have been given in the papal, the Calvinistic, and the Puritan theocracies. This probability is greatly strengthened by the fact not only that it is such a perfect likeness of the papal theocracy, but that great pride is taken in appealing to the principles and practices of the Puritan theocracy. It was declared in the Washington, D. C., convention, December 11-13, 1888, that the object of the movement is to make Sunday "the ideal Sabbath of the Puritans." A favorite invocation of "Rev." M. A. Gault is that it might "rain Puritanism," all the way from six weeks to three months. Dr. Herrick Johnson, in his noted philippic against the Sunday newspaper, exclaims: "Oh, for a breath of the old Puritan !" And Mr. Crafts adopts as his own the words of another upon this point, to the following effect: --
"In the words of Dr. Lyman Abbott: ''We run up the Puritan flag, and emblazon on it the motto of a modern and modified Puritanism ; a State Christian, but not ecclesiastical; with faith, but no creed; reverence, but no ritual; a recognized religion, but no established church."
And to show how fully he means this, and to cap the whole longing for the Puritan ideal, he has invented and published the placard on the opposite page, which, after the manner of the ancient and unmodified Puritanism, is "to be hung on the breasts" of those not on conforming to the dictates of the preachers.8 Please observe that the impression which is plainly conveyed is, not that it should be, nor that it ought to be, but that it is "to be, hung on the breast of every person who buys postage stamps, provisions, cigars, clothing, or what not," on Sunday. At this rate, how long will it be before they will be proposing to paint hobgoblins and devils upon the hats and garments, and to brand with the letter S the foreheads, of those who do not keep Sunday? Neither the spirit nor the principle of this proposal is removed a single degree from that which did paint such devices upon the garments, and did brand the foreheads, of people in times past.
And the libelous thing is for sale by the hundred ! And why for sale, unless it is expected that they will be used? And how can it be expected that they will be used, unless it is first presumed that the American people are of so loathsome a disposition as willingly to engage in such an infamous undertaking? Such a presumption is an open insult to the civilization, and an outrage upon the Christian sentiment, of the American people. But it shows the disposition of the leadership of the national Sunday-law movement.
Having so explicitly declared their intentions in merely working for their much-desired laws, it were almost superfluous to inquire whether there will not be persecution, were it not for the singular apathy, and the overweening confidence, of the people generally with regard to the scheme. To ask the question, however, is only to ask whether they may be expected to use the power for which they are grasping, should they succeed in their designs. And to this it would seem to be a sufficient answer, merely again to ask, If they do not intend to use the power, then why are they making such strenuous efforts to get it? For an answer we might cite the reader to pages 722-726 of this book. But in addition to that, this question has been asked to themselves, and they have answered it. At the Lakeside, Ohio, convention, there was asked the following question: --
"Will not the National Reform movement result in persecution against those who on some points believe differently from the majority, even as the recognition of the Christian religion by the Roman power resulted in grievous persecution against true Christians?"
The answer given by Dr. Mc Allister is as follows: --
"Now notice the fallacy here. The recognition of Roman Catholic religion by the State, made that State a persecuting power. Why? -- Because the Roman Catholic religion is a persecuting religion. If true Christianity is a persecuting religion, then the acknowledgment of our principles by the State will make the State a persecutor. But if the true Christian religion is a religion of liberty, a religion that regards the rights of all, then the acknowledgment of those principles by the State will make the State the guardian of all men, and the State will be no persecutor. True religion never persecutes."
There is indeed a fallacy here, but it is not in the question; it is in the answer. That which made the Roman State a persecuting power, says the Doctor, was its recognition of the Catholic religion, "which is a persecuting religion." But the Roman Catholic religion is not the only persecuting religion that has been in the world. Presbyterianism persecuted while John Calvin ruled in Geneva; it persecuted while the Covenanters ruled in Scotland ;it persecuted while it held the power in England. Congregationalism persecuted while it had the power in New England. Episcopalianism persecuted in England and in Virginia. Every religion that has been allied with the civil power, or that has controlled the civil power, has been a persecuting religion; and such will always be the case. Dr. McAllister''s implied statement is true, that "true Christianity never persecutes:" but it is true only because true Christianity never will allow itself to be allied in any way with the civil power, or to receive any support from it. The National Reform Association does propose to "enforce upon all, the laws of Christian morality;" it proposes to have the government adopt the National Reform religion, and then "lay its hand upon any religion that does not conform to it;" and it asserts that the civil power has the right "to command the consciences of men." The whole Sunday-law movement does propose to enforce the observance of the Christian Sabbath, or the Lord''s day. Now any such thing carried into effect, as is here plainly proposed by the Associations, can never be anything else than persecution.
But Dr. Mc Allister affirms that the National Reform movement, if successful, would not lead to persecution, "because true religion never persecutes." The Doctor''s argument amounts only to this : The National Reform religion is the true religion. True religion never persecutes. Therefore to compel men to conform to the true religion, -- that is, the religion that controls the civil power, -- is not persecution.
In A. D. 556, Pope Pelagius called upon Narses to compel certain parties to obey the pope''s command. Narses refused, on the ground that it would be persecution. The pope answered Narses''s objection with this argument : --
"Be not alarmed at the idle talk of some, crying out against persecution, and reproaching the church, as if she delighted in cruelty, when she punishes evil with wholesome severities, or procures the salvation of souls. He alone persecutes who forces to evil. But to restrain men from doing evil, or to punish those who have done it, is not persecution, or cruelty, but love of mankind."9
Compare this with Dr. Mc Allister''s answer, and find any difference in principle, between them who can. There is no difference. The arguments are identical. It is the essential spirit of the papacy which is displayed in both, and in that of Pope Pelagius no more than in that of Dr. McAllister; and he spoke for the whole National Reform combination when he said it.
Another question, in the form of a statement, at the same time and place was this : --
"There is a law in the State of Arkansas enforcing Sunday observance upon the people, and the result has been that many good persons have not only been imprisoned, but have lost their property, and even their lives."
To which Dr. Mc Allister coolly replied : --
"It is better that a few should suffer, than that the whole nation should lose its Sabbath."
This argument is identical with that by which the Pharisees in Christ''s day justified themselves in killing him. It was said : "It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." John xi, 50. And then says the record: "Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death." Verse 53.
The argument used in support of the claim of right to use this power, is identical with that used by the papacy in inaugurating her persecutions; the argument in justification of the use of the power, is identical with that by which the murderers of Jesus Christ justified themselves in accomplishing that wicked deed; and if anybody thinks that these men in our day, proceeding upon the identical theory, in the identical way, and justifying their proceedings by arguments identical with those of the papacy and the murderous Pharisees, -- if anybody thinks that these men will stop short of persecution, he has vastly more confidence than the author of this book has, in apostate preachers in possession of civil power.
December 14, 1887, "Rev." W. T. Mc Connell, of Youngstown, Ohio (the same who originated and was made the head of the National Reform league for praying, "Thy kingdom come") published in the Christian Nation an open letter to the editor of the American Sentinel, in which he said: --
"You look for trouble in this land in the future, if these principles are applied. I think it will come to you, if you maintain your present position. The fool-hardy fellow who persists in standing on a railroad track, may well anticipate trouble when he hears the rumble of coming train. If he shall read the signs of the times in the screaming whistle and flaming head-light, he may change his position and avoid the danger; but if he won''t be influenced by these, his most gloomy forebodings of trouble will be realized when the express strikes him. So you, neighbor, if, through prejudice or the enmity of unregenerate hearts, you have determined to oppose the progress of this nation in fulfilling its vocation as an instrument in the divine work of regenerating human society, may rightly expect trouble. It will be sure to come to you."
Certainly it will. That is the spirit of the wicked scheme from the first effort ever made to secure a Sunday law unto this last. The editor of the American Sentinel, however, knew this full well before Mr. Mc Connell wrote that letter, because he was acquainted with facts by which the thing was actually demonstrated. Some of these facts will now be given.
It may be known to the reader that there is a considerable and constantly growing number of people in the United States known as Seventh-day Adventists, besides the denomination known as Seventh-day Baptists, who exercise the right to think for themselves religiously as well as otherwise, and to believe and decide for themselves as to what the Bible requires with respect to their duty toward God. They observe the seventh day as the Sabbath according to the plain reading of the fourth commandment, and quietly carry on their business on Sunday as on other days. These people are found in all the States and Territories of the Union, in numbers ranging from a few to several thousands in different places.
Until 1885 Arkansas had a Sunday law reading as follows: --
"SECTION 1883. Every person who shall on the Sabbath, or Sunday, be found laboring, or shall compel his apprentice or servant to labor or perform service other than customary household duties of daily necessity, comfort, or charity, on conviction thereof shall be fined one dollar for each separate offense.
"SECTION 1884. Every apprentice or servant compelled to labor on Sunday shall be deemed a separate offense of the master.
"SECTION 1885. The provision of this act shall not apply to steamboats and other vessels navigating the waters of the State, nor such manufacturing establishments as require to be kept in continual operation.
"SECTION 1886. Persons who are members of any religious society who observe as Sabbath any other day of the week than the Christian Sabbath, or Sunday, shall not be subject to the penalties of this act (the Sunday law), so that they observe one day in seven, agreeable to the faith and practice of their church or society."
In the session of the Arkansas Legislature of 1885, Section 1886 was repealed, by act of March 3. The object of those who secured the repeal of that section, was, as they said, to close the saloons. It was claimed that under cover of that section, certain Jews who kept saloons in Little Rock, had successfully defied the law against Sunday saloons, and that there was no way to secure the proper enforcement of the law without the repeal of that section. The legislature believed the statements made, and repealed the section as stated. But when the act was secured, and was framed into a law, not a saloon was closed, nor was there an attempt made, any more than before, to close them. Not one of the saloon-keepers was prosecuted. And in Little Rock itself, during the session of the legislature of 1887, when the law was in full force, up to the time of the restoration of the repealed section, the saloons kept their doors wide open, and conducted their business with no effort at concealment, the same as they had before the act was passed. But, so far as we have been able to learn by diligent investigation, from the day of its passage, the law was used for no other purpose than to punish peaceable citizens of the State who observed the seventh day as the Sabbath, and exercised their God given right to work on Sunday.
With but two exceptions, all the arrests and prosecutions were of people who observed the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath. And in these two exceptions, those who were held for trial were held without bail, -- simply on their own recognizance, -- and the cases were both dismissed ; while in every case of a Seventh-day Adventist, the least bail that was accepted was $110; the most of them were held under bonds for $250, and some for as high as $500. There was not a single case dismissed, and in all the cases there never was a complaint made of that which was done having disturbed the worship or the rest of any one. But the indictments were all for the crime of "Sabbath-breaking" by the performance of labor on Sunday.
If there had been arrests of other people for working on Sunday, in anything like the numbers that there were of seventh-day observers, had the law been enforced upon all alike, then the iniquity would not have been so apparent; or if those who were not seventh-day observers, and who were arrested, had been convicted, even then the case would not have been so clearly one of persecution. But when in all the record of the whole two years'' existence of the law in this form, there was not a solitary saloon-keeper arrested, there was not a person arrested who did not observe the seventh day, with the two exceptions named, then there could be no clearer demonstration that the law was used only as a means to vent religious spite against a class of citizens guiltless of any crime, but only of professing a religion different from that of the majority. Nothing could be more clearly demonstrated than is this: that the only effect of the repeal of that exemption clause was to give power to a set of bigots to oppress those whose religion they hated.
If anything was needed to make the demonstration more clear, it is found in the method of the prosecutions: Mr. Swearingen and his son were convicted upon the testimony of a witness who swore that the work for which he was convicted was done on a day which proved to be seventeen days before the law was enacted, thus by its enforcement making the law ex post facto. The Constitution of the United States forbids the making of ex post facto laws. But when a law not being ex post facto in itself, is made so by its enforcement, it would seem that something ought to be done to enlighten those courts upon that subject; yet even this would certainly be vain, because religious bigotry knows no such thing as enlightenment. On the other hand, several cases were tried and the men convicted and fined after the law was repealed, but for work done before.
In almost every case the informer or the prosecuting witness, or perhaps both in one, was a man who was doing work or business on the same day, and often with the very persons accused; yet the man who kept the seventh day was convicted in every instance, while the man who did not keep the seventh day, but did work or business with him who was prosecuted, was left entirely unmolested, and his evidence was accepted in court to convict the other man.
For instance: Millard Courtney, who was the prosecuting witness against both J. A. Armstrong and F. N. Elmore, took a man with him to where these men were working, and there made a contract for roofing a school-house; and yet this man''s evidence convicted these two men of Sabbath-breaking at the very time at which he was doing business with them.
J. L. Shockey was convicted of Sabbath-breaking in the first instance upon the testimony of D. B. Sims, who was hunting stock when he saw Mr. Shockey plowing and in the second instance upon the testimony of P. Hammond, who went where Shockey was at work, and bought of him a Plymouth Rock rooster.
J. L. James, who worked in the rain for nothing, that a poor widow, a member of another church, might be sheltered, was convicted of Sabbath-breaking upon the evidence of a man who carried wood and chopped it up within seven rods of the man who was convicted by his testimony.
Wm. La Fever and his wife went to Allen Meeks'' house on Sunday to visit. They found Meeks planting potatoes. Meeks stopped planting potatoes, and spent the rest of the day visiting with them; and yet Meeks was convicted and fined upon the evidence of La Fever. And in the second case of this same Mr. Meeks, Riley Warren went to his house on Sunday, to see him about hiring a teacher for the public school. In the social, neighborly conversation that passed between them, Meeks incidentally mentioned that he had mended his wagon-brake that morning; and yet he was convicted of Sabbath-breaking by the evidence of that same Riley Warren.
Mr. Reeves''s boys were hauling wood on Sunday. In the timber where they got the wood, they met another boy, John A. Meeks, hunting squirrels. They joined him in the hunt, scaring the squirrels around the trees so he could shoot them. Then the squirrels having been divided between the Meeks boy and the Reeves boys, the Meeks boy was indicted, prosecuted, and convicted of Sabbath-breaking, upon the evidence of the father of those boys who were hauling wood, and who helped to kill the squirrels.
John Neusch, for picking peaches, was convicted of Sabbath-breaking on the evidence of one Hudspeth, who had gone to where he was picking the peaches, to plead for a Sunday peach thief, and who offered pay for the stolen peaches to shelter the thief. James M. Pool, for hoeing in his garden on Sunday, was convicted of Sabbath-breaking, on the evidence of a "sanctified" church-member who had gone to Pool''s house on Sunday to buy tobacco.
Thus throughout this whole list of cases, people who were performing honest labor on their own premises in a way in which it was impossible to do harm to any soul on earth, were indicted, prosecuted, and convicted upon the evidence of men, who, if there were any wrong involved in the case at all, were more guilty than they. It religious persecution could possibly be more clearly demonstrated than it is in this thing, we know not how anybody could ever ask to see an illustration of it.
Yet further note the methods of prosecution. In the case of Scoles, J. A. Armstrong was called before the Grand Jury. After repeated answers to questions in regard to Sunday work by different parties in several different lines of business and traffic, he was asked the direct question whether he knew of any Seventh-day-Adventists who worked on Sunday; and when in the nature of the case he answered in the affirmative, every one of the Seventh-day Adventists whom he named was indicted, and not one of any other class or trade. And in the second case of James A. Armstrong : although, when asked for the affidavit upon which Armstrong was arrested, the mayor said that A. J. Vaughn had called his attention to Armstrong''s working, and had said, "Now see that you do your duty," Vaughn testified under oath that he did not see Armstrong at all on the day referred to. Armstrong was arrested at the instance of the mayor and tried before the mayor, who acted as justice of the peace. This made the mayor, virtually, both prosecuting witness and judge; and the questions which he asked show that that was precisely his position and his own view of the case. Thequestion which he asked to each of the first two witnesses was, "What do you know about Mr. Armstrong''s working on Sunday, June 27?" This question assumes all that was expected to be proved on the trial. And then when the only witness whose word seemed to confirm the judge''s view of the case, was cross-questioned, the judge came to the rescue with the excellent piece of legal wisdom, to the effect that if the prisoner was innocent, he could prove it.10
The whole procedure is well described in the following extract from the speech of Senator Crockett in favor of the bill restoring the repealed clause. We cannot see how any lover of justice can fail to assent to the Senator''s opinion as expressed in the closing sentence.
"Let me, sir, illustrate the operation of the present law by one or two examples. A Mr. Swearingen came from a Northern State and settled on a farm in ____ county. His farm was four miles from town, and far any from baby house of religious worship. He was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and after having sacredly observed the Sabbath of his people (Saturday) by abstaining from all secular work, he and his son, a lad of seventeen, on the first day of the week went quietly about their usual avocations. They disturbed no one -- interfered with the rights of no one. But they were observed, and reported to the Grand Jury, indicted, arrested, tried, convicted, fined, and having no money to pay the fine, these moral, Christian citizens of Arkansas were dragged to the county jail and imprisoned like felons for twenty-five days -- and for what ? -- For what ? -- For daring, in this so-called land of liberty, in the year of our Lord 1887, to worship God.
"Was this the end of the story? -- Alas, no sir ! They were turned out; and the old man''s only horse, his sole reliance to make bread for his children, was levied on to pay the fine and costs, amounting to thirty eight dollars. The horse sold at auction for twenty-seven dollars. A few days afterward the sheriff came again, and demanded thirty-six dollars, eleven dollars balance due on fine and costs, and twenty-five dollars for board for himself and son while in jail. And when the poor old man -- a Christian, mind you -- told him with tears that he had no money, he promptly levied on his only cow, but was persuaded to accept bond, and the amount was paid by contributions from his friends of the same faith. Sir, my heart swells to bursting with indignation as I repeat to you the infamous story."
Nor did the unjust proceeding stop here. The Supreme Court confirmed the judgments which sanctioned these iniquitous proceedings, and it confirmed them under a Constitution which declares: --
"All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience; and no preference shall ever be given by the law to any religious establishment, denomination, or mode of worship, above any other."
The concluding portion of the decision reads as follows: --
"The appellant''s argument, then, is reduced to this: That because he conscientiously believes he is permitted by the law of God to labor on Sunday, he may violate with impunity the statute declaring it illegal to do so; but a man''s religious belief cannot be accepted as a justification for his committing an overt act made criminal by the law of the land. If the law operates harshly, as laws sometimes do, the remedy is in the hands of the legislature. It is not the province of the judiciary to pass upon the wisdom of policy of legislation. That is for the members of the legislative department; and the only appeal from their determination is to the constituency."
This decision of the Supreme Court is of the same piece with the prosecutions and judicial processes throughout. It gives to the legislature all the omnipotence of the British Parliament, and in that does away with all necessary for a Constitution. The decision on this principle alone is un American. No legislative power in this country is framed upon the model of the British Parliament in respect to power. In this country, the powers of every legislature are defined and limited by Constitutions. It is the prerogative of Supreme Courts to define the meaning of the Constitution, and to decide whether an act of the legislature is constitutional or not. If the act is constitutional, then it must stand, whatever the results may be. And the Supreme Court is the body by which the constitutionality or the unconstitutionality of any statute is to be discovered. But if, as this decision declares, the legislature is omnipotent, and that which it does must stand as law, then there is no use for a Constitution. "One of the objects for which the judiciary department is established, is the protection of the constitutional rights of the citizens."
So long as there is a Constitution above the legislature, which defines and limits its powers, and protects and guards the rights of the citizens, so long it is the province of the Supreme Court to pronounce upon the acts of the legislature. The Supreme Court of Arkansas, therefore, in this case, clearly abdicated one of the very functions for which it was created, or else subverted the Constitution of Arkansas; and in either case, bestowed upon the legislature the omnipotence of the British Parliament, which is contrary to every principle of American institutions. Nor is the State of Arkansas an exception in this case, for this is the usual procedure of Supreme Court in sustaining Sunday laws. They cannot be sustained upon any American principle; resort has to be made in every instance, and has been with scarcely an exception, either to the church-and-state principles of the British government, or to the British principle of the omnipotence of the legislative power. But American principles are far above and far in advance of the principles of the British government, in that they recognize constitutional limitations upon the legislative power, and countenance no union of Church and State; consequently, Sunday laws never have been, and never can be, sustained upon American principles.
That this indictment of the Supreme Court of Arkansas is not unjust, we have the clearest proof. The three judges who then composed the Supreme Court, were all members of the Bar Association of the State. In less than three months after this decision was rendered, the Bar Association unanimously made a report to the State on "law and law reform," an official copy of which we have in our possession. In that report, under the heading "Sunday Laws," is the following: -- "Our statute as it stands in Mansfield''s Digest, provides that ''persons who are members of any religious society who observe as Sabbath any other day of the week than the Christian Sabbath, or Sunday, shall not be subject to penalties of this act [the Sunday law], so that they observe one day in seven, agreeably to the faith and practice of their church or society.'' -- Mans. Dig., sec. 1886.
"This statute had been in force from ;the time of the organization of the State government; ;but it was unfortunately repealed by act of March 3, 1885. -- Acts 1885, p. 37.
"While the Jews adhere, of course, to the letter of the original command to remember the seventh day of the week, there is also in the State a small but respectable body of Christians who consistently believe that the seventh day is the proper day to be kept sacred; and in the case of Scoles vs. State, our Supreme Court was compelled to affirm a judgment against a member of one of these churches, for worshiping God according to the dictated of his own conscience, supported, as he supposed, by good theological arguments. It is very evident that the system now in force, savoring as it does very much of religious persecution is a relic of the Middle Ages, when it was thought that men could be made orthodox by an act of parliament. Even in Massachusetts, where Sabbatarian laws have always been enforced with unusual vigor, exceptions are made in favor of persons who religiously observe any other day in the place of Sunday. We think that the law as it stood in Manfield''s Digest, should be restored, with such an amendment as would prevent the sale of spirits on Sunday, as that was probably the object of repealing the above section."
Now the Arkansas Constitution says, "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences." This report of the Bar Association says,"In the case of Scoles vs. State, our Supreme Court was compelled to affirm a judgment against a member of one of these churches, for worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience."
The members of the Supreme Court being members of the Bar Association, in that report it is confessed that they confirmed a judgment against a man for doing that which the Constitution explicitly declares all men have a natural and indefeasible right to do. By this, therefore, it is demonstrated that the men who composed the Supreme Court of Arkansas in 1885, plainly ignored the first principles of constitutional law as well as the express provisions of the constitution which they were sworn to uphold.
One more consideration is worthy of note. The form of indictment in all these cases was the same as that printed in Appendix, page 878.
Thus the State of Arkansas declared that for a man to work quietly and peaceably on his own premises on Sunday, digging potatoes, picking peaches, plowing, etc., is against the peace and dignity of that state. This relegates honest occupations to the realm of crime, peaceable employment to the realm of disorder, and puts a premium upon idleness and recklessness. When any State or body of people declares it to be against the dignity of that State or people for a man to follow any honest occupation on his own premises on any day, then the less dignity of that kind possessed, the better it will be for all concerned. And when such things are considered as offenses against the peace of any State or community, that State or community must be composed of most exceedingly irritable people.
The fact of the matter is, -- and the whole history of these proceedings proves it, -- from beginning to end the prosecutions were only the manifestation of that persecuting, intolerant spirit that will always make itself felt when any class of religionists is can control the civil power. The information upon which the indictments were found, was treacherously given, and in the very spirit of the Inquisition. The indictment itself is a travesty of legal form, and a libel upon justice. The principle was more worthy of the Dark Ages than of any civilized nation or modern time; and the Supreme Court decision that confirmed the convictions, rendered by judges who stultified themselves within three months, is one which, as we have shown, is contrary to the first principles of constitutional law or constitutional compacts.
In January, 1887, a bill was introduced by Senator R. H. Crokett, restoring the repealed clause. Only two men voted against the bill in the Senate, and both these were preachers. One of them, a member from Pike country, was acquainted with many who observed the seventh day, several of whom were at that time under bonds. In private conversation, he confessed that they were all excellent people and law-abiding citizens. When the vote was taken by roll call, he asked to explain his vote, and the following note of explanation was sent to the clerk:"--.
""Mr. President. -- I desire to explain my vote. Believing as I do that the Christian Sabbath should be observed as day of worship, losing sight of this is to impede the progress of Christianity.