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    September 1887

    “Sunday Laws and Liberty” The American Sentinel 2, 9, pp. 67, 68.


    DR. CRAFTS asks a very important question, to which we should be very much pleased to have some Sunday-law advocate give a consistent answer. Here is his question:—AMS September 1887, page 67.1

    “But how is it consistent with liberty that those whose religion requires them to rest on the seventh day are compelled to give up public business and public amusements on the first day?”AMS September 1887, page 67.2

    In his answer he separates the Jews from other Sabbath-keepers, and says:—AMS September 1887, page 67.3

    “In the case of the Jews the case is not as difficult as many have thought. If he cannot do more business in five days in Great Britain and the United States than in six days elsewhere, he is free to remain elsewhere. If when he comes into Great Britain or the United States he finds by experiment that a ‘conscientious Jew cannot make a living,’ the world is all before him to choose where he will dwell.”AMS September 1887, page 67.4

    And so it appears that whether a man can be an inhabitant of the United States, is to depend altogether upon whether he will keep Sunday. Compel a man to stultify his conscience or leave the country; and yet the cause of all this has nothing to do with religion!AMS September 1887, page 67.5

    Rabbi Wintner, of Brooklyn, applied a touch-stone to this thing which in an instant proves its “true inwardness.” In reply to questions and proposals of Dr. Crafts, looking to the adoption, by the Jews, of Sunday instead of Sabbath,—AMS September 1887, page 67.6

    The Rabbi proposed “a compromise between Christians and Jews, by agreeing on ‘a neutral day in the middle of the week’ as a sabbath for all—showing that he is willing to give up Saturday and take some other common day, his national prejudice against the Christian first-day Sabbath being his only reason for preferring the third or fourth day to the first, a prejudice which of course the law cannot recognize.”AMS September 1887, page 67.7

    But why “of course”? If Sunday laws have relation simply to “health, education,” etc., cannot these be promoted just as well on Wednesday as on Sunday? If not, why not? Cannot the laboring man rest just as well on Thursday as on Sunday? And if the rest is to have no reference at all to religion, nor to the “religious aspect of the day.” then why is not the proposition of the rabbi eminently proper? You ask the Jew to give up the day which he observes; he only asks that you do likewise. He proposes to meet you half way; certainly nothing could be fairer, but “of course” it cannot be recognized. Oh, no, “of course” everything must be given up for Sunday, and every man’s conscientious convictions must be crushed out that Sunday laws may have free course to run and be glorified. And all this without any reference to the religious aspect of the day? Nay, verily! For the “opinion” of these people “is very decided for freedom [on Sunday] from anything that could shock a thoroughly Christian community.”AMS September 1887, page 67.8

    Of other seventh-day keepers, illustrated by his citation of the Seventh-day Baptists, he says:—AMS September 1887, page 67.9

    “So, also, the Seventh-day Baptists, being only one five-thousandth of the population, can hardly ask to have the laws changed for them.”AMS September 1887, page 67.10

    Why not, pray? Is it not just as proper for the seventh-day keepers to ask that the laws be changed in their behalf as it is for the Sunday-keepers to have those laws enacted in their behalf? Or is it true that all rights, civil and religious, human and divine, are summed up in the National Reform Sunday-law advocates?AMS September 1887, page 67.11

    Again:—AMS September 1887, page 67.12

    “It would not be reasonable for the Legislatures to compel the other ninety-nine-hundredths of the population who do not regard Saturday as a sacred day, to stop business for the few who do.”AMS September 1887, page 67.13

    True enough. But suppose that those who “regard Saturday as a sacred day” were the majority, then, according to the premises of Dr. Crafts, and the Sunday-law people generally, it would be reasonable for the Legislatures to compel all who did not so regard it, to stop business on Saturday. But will they admit the reasonableness of this logical conclusion from their own premises? Not for a minute. Suppose, for instance, that in the State of Ohio the Seventh-day Baptists, the Seventh-day Adventists, and the Jews were the majority. Then suppose that they should unite and secure the passage of a law compelling all the people of the State to rest on the seventh day (Saturday), what a roar of indignant protest would immediately arise from united Christendom! Such exclamations as “religious bigotry!” “Destruction of religious liberty!” “Violation of the rights of conscience!” etc., etc., to the end of the catalogue, would fill the air. And justly so, say we. But if the claims of the Sunday-law advocates be just, where would there be any wrong, where any injustice, in such an action? If it would be wrong for Saturday-keepers, when in the majority, to pass laws compelling Sunday-keepers to rest on Saturday, wherein then is it right for Sunday-keepers, when in the majority, to pass laws compelling Saturday-keepers to rest on Sunday?AMS September 1887, page 67.14

    And, too, in answer to all their protestations, they could say, Why, dear sirs, you need not make so much ado. This is no restriction of your rights; this is no invasion of your liberties. Your right to rest on Sunday still remains to you. You are at perfect liberty to refuse to work on Sunday. Our action is entirely “consistent with liberty.” We do not by this law compel you to keep Saturday religiously; this statute has “nothing to do with religion.” This does not compel you to go to church; you are at “liberty” to stay at home. This law has nothing to do with “the religious aspects of the day,” it only has relation to your “health,” to your “education,” to your “home virtue,” and to your “patriotism”! Now, reader, we ask you candidly, Is there in all the United States one person who regards Sunday as a sacred day, who would accept any such reasoning as that? And yet those who do so regard Sunday are the very ones who offer this reasoning (?) and expect us to accept it as conclusive, for the reason that they are the majority, and for that reason alone.AMS September 1887, page 67.15

    But if it be thus, as Mr. Crafts says, that “laws for protecting the worshiping day of the prevailing religion from disturbance, are then “vindicated,” who does not see that laws for the protection of the institutions of the prevailing religion are vindicated in the same way, whatever and wherever that religion may be? And then is not the Mohammedan, in his own country, fully justified in enacting laws compelling Christians to shut up their places of business, and rest on Friday, his Assembly day, and saying to them, in the words of Dr. Crafts, “If you cannot do more business in five days in Turkey or Arabia than in six elsewhere, you are free to go elsewhere. If you find that in Turkey or Arabia a conscientious Christian cannot make a living, the world is all before you to choose where you will dwell.” Every man who has the least conception of liberty will say that that would be oppression. Yet these same Sunday-keeping Christians, who would unanimously pronounce that oppression in Turkey, will do the same thing in America in behalf of Sunday, and call it liberty. And wherever a voice is raised against their action, it is immediately branded as the “brazen despotism of a loud and low minority,” even though the opposition be made by a majority of the inhabitants of a whole State, as in California in 1882. And for this these free citizens of the State of California are called by this Sunday-law champion, “this oligarchy of foreign liquor sellers.” Hear Him:—AMS September 1887, page 67.16

    “In California this oligarchy of foreign liquor sellers was actually allowed to repeal the Sabbath law, as a ‘league of freedom.’”AMS September 1887, page 67.17

    His application here to the “League of Freedom,” is as false as any of the other of his claims. The Rescue, the organ of the Good Templars, said of the Sunday plank in the Republican platform, that it was an “entire blank, acceptable to the League of Freedom, and entirely in their interests.” And Dr. McDonald, president of the Home Protection Association, said that he was “disgusted with the Sunday-law plank in the platform;” that it was “too treacherous and unsafe,” etc. And the Home Protection Association was the most active opponent of the League of Freedom. It “is a consummation devoutly to be wished,” that, while these folks strive so strenuously for their Christian Sabbath, they would show some respect for the Christian duty to “speak the truth,” and to “not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”AMS September 1887, page 68.1

    They were “actually allowed,” he says, to “repeal the Sabbath law.” “Allowed!” By whom? That Sunday law was repealed by virtue of an issue that was carried by a majority of 17,517 votes, in the State election. And the governor and other State officers who were “actually allowed” to be elected in that campaign, were also “actually allowed” to conduct the affairs of the State for four years. And by the same token, and on the same day, Secretary Folger was “actually allowed” to be beaten for the governorship of New York by a majority of about 200,000. We should not wonder if Dr. Crafts would one of these days volunteer the information that the people of the United States were “actually allowed” to abolish slavery! After this display of erudition, we are not at all surprised to find him, in the very next sentence, calling the repeal of that law an act of oppression. See:—AMS September 1887, page 68.2

    “This oppression of masses by margins must be stopped.”AMS September 1887, page 68.3

    So, then, a condition of affairs under which all people are at liberty to keep the day as they may choose, without the slightest interference, is oppression. But if only a law could be enacted compelling all to keep the Sunday, under penalty of fine, or imprisonment, or confiscation of goods, or banishment, that world be LIBERTY. To quote his own words, it “leaves a man’s religious belief and practices as free as the air he breathes.” Yes, it does. As free as the air that was breathed in the Black Hole of Calcutta.AMS September 1887, page 68.4

    And in leaving “a man’s religious beliefs and practices” so free, “it only forbids the carrying on of certain kinds of business on a certain day of the week, ... in deference to the feelings and wishes” of a certain class. It therefore was no restriction whatever of the “religious beliefs and practices” of the apostles when the priests and Sadducees laid hands on them and put them in the common prison, and commanded them not to speak at all nor to teach in the name of Jesus. That was perfect religious liberty! And for the apostles to oppose the will of the majority as they did, was the “brazen despotism of a loud and low minority,” we suppose. Acts 4 and 5. The priests and Sadducees and the Council did not command them to not believe in Jesus and his resurrection. They did not command that they should not worship him. They only commanded that they “should not speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” The Sadducees were the “majority,” and as the preaching of the apostles disturbed their “thoroughly” Sadducean religion, “this oppression of masses by margins” had to be “stopped.” And thus might Dr. Crafts and the National Reform party justify every act of oppression, and condemn every work of reform that has ever been in the world.AMS September 1887, page 68.5

    A. T. J.

    “Some Facts about National Reform” The American Sentinel 2, 9, pp. 70, 71.


    THE Christian Nation of July 13, 1887, presents an argument to show that “National Reform is non-sectarian.” It presents “three facts” and then says:—AMS September 1887, page 70.1

    “The National Reform Association is not asking the nation to recognize Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, or any other ism.”AMS September 1887, page 70.2

    On this point of “any other ism” we have a word to say, and we shall say it, after the manner of the Christian Nation, by presenting a few facts—more than three—for the consideration of the people in general and of the Christian Nation in particular.AMS September 1887, page 70.3

    First fact. The first step that was ever taken, the first paper that was ever presented, in favor of the National Reform movement, or the organization of that association, was by a Reformed Presbyterian.AMS September 1887, page 70.4

    Second fact. Until within about the last three years, all the active public workers—the District Secretaries—of the National Reform Association have been Reformed Presbyterians, and all but three of them—Leiper, Weir, and Mills—are now Reformed Presbyterians.AMS September 1887, page 70.5

    Third fact. Both of the editors of the Christian Statesman—Dr. McAllister and T. P. Stevenson—are Reformed Presbyterians. Dr. McAllister is a professor in a Reformed Presbyterian College, and Mr. Stevenson is pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.AMS September 1887, page 70.6

    Fourth fact. Mr. John W. Pritchard, by whom the Christian Nation is “conducted,” is a Reformed Presbyterian; and for two years or more was the Reformed Presbyterian Synod’s “Financial Agent for National Reform.”AMS September 1887, page 70.7

    Fifth fact. Both the Christian Statesman and the Christian Nation are recognized church papers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, as well as organs of National Reform.AMS September 1887, page 70.8

    Sixth fact. The Reformed Presbyterian, for the month of January, 1870, published to the world an article by Rev. James Wallace, in which are the following statements:—AMS September 1887, page 70.9

    1. “This important truth of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the nations, was attained by our reforming and martyred Fathers in Scotland, ... and has been transmitted down to us sealed with their blood, and is the precious and peculiar inheritance of the Reformed Church, and distinguishes her from all the other evangelical churches in this and other lands. No other church professes to maintain this great principle in its practical applications.”AMS September 1887, page 70.10

    2. “The distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are and the only principles, of National Reform.”AMS September 1887, page 70.11

    3. “Now the Association for National Reform simply proposes to have these distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church adopted into the Constitution of the United States, annulling any parts of that Constitution that may be inconsistent with these principles.... The adoption of this Amendment into the Constitution would be the Government doing ... the highest honor to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the greatest benefit to our church.”AMS September 1887, page 70.12

    4. “The principles of National Reform are our principles, and its work is our work. National Reform is simply the practical application of the principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church for the reformation of the nation.” (The Italics are his.)AMS September 1887, page 70.13

    Seventh fact. These statements are confirmed by Rev. J. R. W. Sloane’s account of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, in the “Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia,” in which he says:—AMS September 1887, page 70.14

    “The more special and distinctive principle of this church, the one in which she differs from all others, is her practical protest against the secular character of the United States Constitution.... They take the deepest interest in that reform movement which has for its object the amendment of the United States Constitution in those particulars in which they consider it defective. Indeed, they feel specially called to aid in its success, at whatever cost or personal sacrifice.”AMS September 1887, page 70.15

    Eighth fact. The Reformed Presbyterian Synod of 1886 in its report on National Reform said:—AMS September 1887, page 70.16

    “It is ours to hold up the ideals of God, which have originated the National Reform cause.” And the Synod of 1885 said of National Reform, that “This is the tap-root of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.”AMS September 1887, page 70.17

    Therefore the sum of all this matter is—AMS September 1887, page 70.18

    THE UNDENIABLE TRUTH, that National Reform is nothing under heaven but Reformed Presbyterianism—and that in politics.AMS September 1887, page 70.19

    In view of these facts, the statement of the Christian Nation that “the National Reform Association is not asking the nation to recognize Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, or any other ism,” looks rather queer as a representation of truth. And all the more so as it is so exceedingly difficult to understand how it can be that the Reformed Presbyterian conductor of the Christian Nation does not know of these facts.AMS September 1887, page 70.20

    In proof of the “non-sectarian character of the National Reform creed” the Christian Nation proposes the fact that “the membership of the National Reform Association embraces representatives of almost every evangelical communion. Joseph Cook and Dr. Miner, Dr. Leonard and Bishop Littlejohn, Frances E. Willard and Julia McNair Wright, and thousands of others ... find room and welcome on the broad platform of National Reform.” But it proves nothing of the kind, because the “broad (?) platform of National Reform” is composed only of the narrow distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church,” and when these people of other communions step upon that platform, they in that adopt the distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and so far make themselves Reformed Presbyterians. And when they of other communions push the National Reform movement to a successful issue, they are only pushing to a successful issue the distinctive principles of Reformed Presbyterianism; they are only fixedly planting in the soil of our national affairs “the tap-root of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.”AMS September 1887, page 70.21

    The logic is perfectly easy. By their own words, we have the following syllogism:—AMS September 1887, page 71.1

    MAJOR: Reformed Presbyterianism “originated the National Reform cause.”AMS September 1887, page 71.2

    MINOR: “The distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are the principles, and the only principles, of National Reform.”AMS September 1887, page 71.3

    CONCLUSION: National Reform is only Reformed Presbyterianism. And when the National Reform Association asks the nation to recognize National Reform, it asks the nation to recognize Reformed Presbyterianism, and no “other ism.”AMS September 1887, page 71.4

    The Christian Nation ought to adopt some other form of denial. It might have better success in getting at the truth. A. T. J.AMS September 1887, page 71.5

    “As to a Religious War” The American Sentinel 2, 9, p. 71.


    A CORRESPONDENT asks the following questions:—AMS September 1887, page 71.1

    “What effect will the success of the National Reform have on the unbelievers at large? We heard one say that they would raise a little army and fight, before they would submit to the authority of a church. Another said he would get out his old shot-gun and ‘shoot down a few of them.’ Will there be enough of that spirit to bring on a religious war? A. R. S.”AMS September 1887, page 71.2

    As to the first question we can say that according to the words of the National Reformers themselves, the success of National Reform will “disfranchise every logically consistent infidel.” Notice particularly that it is only the “logically consistent” unbeliever who will be disfranchised. That is to say that though he be an infidel, if only he will silently submit to the dominance of National Reform ideas, or every openly, though hypocritically, favor the National Reform scheme, he will not be disfranchised. But if he shall be at all “logically consistent” and oppose the work or the rule of National Reform, or shall express his dislike of the National Reform government and its so-called “Christian features,” then, according to the words of the National Reformers, all such unbelievers must “go to some wild, desolate land, and stay there till they die.”AMS September 1887, page 71.3

    But if they refuse either to play the hypocrite, or “to go to some wild, desolate land,” and propose to resist, as these mentioned by our correspondent, then that brings up the alternative of the second question, upon which we can only say that we have no idea how much of this spirit of violent opposition there will be against National Reform. We know, however, that the question of a religious war all depends upon the opposition—the National Reformers are ready for it, and are coolly calculating the bloody chances. On this very subject the “Rev.”—mark it—the Rev. M. A. Gault, one of the most representative of National Reformers, says:—AMS September 1887, page 71.4

    “Whether the Constitution will be set right on the question of the moral supremacy of God’s law in Government without a bloody revolution, will depend entirely upon the strength and resistance of the forces of anti-Christ.”AMS September 1887, page 71.5

    Therefore, as the question of a religious war depends “entirely” upon the forces of resistance to National Reform, and as we have no idea how much forcible resistance there will be, we cannot form any estimate of the probabilities of the coming of a religious war. It may be that through the immense premium that National Reform will put upon hypocrisy, the forces of resistance will be, if not entirely vanquished, so far overcome as to avert a religious war. For be it distinctly understood that the AMERICAN SENTINEL proposes no violent nor forcible resistance to National Reform. Our opposition is, and ever will be, conducted strictly and entirely upon Christian principles. We unsparingly point out the evil of it, and warn our fellowmen against it; knowing the terrible nature of it, we persuade men to avoid it, and whether they will hear or whether they will forbear remains entirely with them. Should National Reform succeed in its designs, and establish its shameful rule, we shall offer no violent resistance. In things pertaining to God, however, we shall forever disobey it, and shall forever persuade others to disobey it. But it will always be a disobedience that consists in obedience to the commandments of God and the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will be disobedience without resistance. If others choose to resist it by force of arms, we are not responsible for that, and shall take no part in it nor encourage it. Our work now is to expose the essential iniquity of the thing, that it may not be slipped upon the nation unawares. And if, after all, it shall succeed, then our work shall still be to expose the iniquity of it, and to set the example of open, but non-resisting, disobedience to its Papal-political precepts.AMS September 1887, page 71.6

    A. T. J.

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