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    December 1887

    “The Christian Statesman Speaks” The American Sentinel 2, 12, pp. 90-92.


    THE Christian Statesman has found a voice at last, and to some purpose too, as will be seen. It says that the SENTINEL is published by the Seventh-day Adventists, and that—AMS December 1887, page 90.1

    “This people hold not only to the seventh day of the week as the true and only Sabbath, but to certain peculiar interpretations of the prophecies contained in the book of the Revelation. They believe themselves to be the witnesses who are to be slain in the period indicated by the sounding of the sixth trumpet, and the ground of this persecution is the observance of the seventh day.”AMS December 1887, page 90.2

    Oh-h-h-h-ho-oh! where did the Statesman learn that? It must have drawn very heavily upon its inner consciousness to have evolved such excellency of wisdom as that. We know something about the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventists, we have heard some of their preaching, and have read some of their books. When we read this in the Statesman, we went and got the very last book in which that people have printed anything on that subject, and that is in 1887, and we find that their view is, that the sixth trumpet ended in 1840, and that the prophecy concerning the two witnesses applies to the Dark Ages and the Papal persecutions. In view of this, the Statesman’s exposition of the belief of that people is grand! Howbeit, it does not speak very well for the Statesman’s knowledge upon the subject, and yet we think that the Statesman knows about as much on this subject as it does upon the principles of government and of law. We hope that the editor of the Statesman will read the SENTINEL some more, and try again.AMS December 1887, page 90.3

    Again the Statesman says:—AMS December 1887, page 90.4

    “Their apprehensions take on wild and excited forms, and many things seem to them significant which have no significance at all. For example, they believe that National Reformers are bidding for the support of the Roman Catholic Church.”AMS December 1887, page 90.5

    “They believe” this, says the Statesman. Well, why shouldn’t we believe it when the Statesman and the National Reformers say it. The Christian Statesman in an editorial, December 11, 1884, speaking directly of the Roman Catholics, said:—AMS December 1887, page 91.1

    “Whenever they are willing to co-operate in resisting the progress of political atheism, we will gladly join hands with them.”AMS December 1887, page 91.2

    Again, in the Christian Statesman of August 31, 1881, Rev. Sylvester S. Scovel, a leading National Reformer, and a vice-president of the National Reform Association, said that—AMS December 1887, page 91.3

    “This common interest ought both to strengthen our determination 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 Catholic 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.”AMS December 1887, page 91.4

    There is precisely what the National Reformers say on that subject, printed in the columns of the Christian Statesman itself, and yet, in the face of these things, the editor of the Statesman leans back and with an air of injured innocence gravely charges the SENTINEL with believing that National Reformers are bidding for the support of the Roman Catholic Church, and that this, among other things, the SENTINEL thinks significant, while it has “no significance at all.” Very well. If the Statesman’s editorial utterances and the official propositions of National Reformers “have no significance at all,” then perhaps we are to blame for believing that National Reformers are bidding for the support of the Roman Catholic Church. But then, we cannot see how we are so much to blame, either, for how should we know that what the Statesman and National Reformers say has “no significance at all”? We confess that it is a new thing in our experience with men and journals, to find that a paper with the pretensions of the Christian Statesman exists for the publication of things which have no significance at all.AMS December 1887, page 91.5

    We believe they signify exactly what is shown in these quotations. Notice the article in last month’s SENTINEL on the action of the Saratoga meeting in relation to the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps the editor of the Statesman will be telling us next that that action “has no significance at all.”AMS December 1887, page 91.6

    But we do not believe that these things have no significance at all. We believe the National Reformers are ready to do just what the Statesman said. We believe they are ready to join hands with the Roman Catholic Church whenever that church is willing, and will gladly join hands with them. We believe they are ready to co-operate in every way with their Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. We believe they are ready to make repeated advances, and to suffer repeated rebuffs, to gain the consent of the Roman Church to strike hands with them. We believe that when Rome is ready, they will gladly accept her co-operation in any form in which she may be willing to exhibit it. We do believe these things because the Christian Statesman and the National Reformers have said so. And we do not believe that these things “have no significance at all,” even though the Christian Statesman does say so. We know that it is “one of the necessities of the situation,” and that if the National Reformers are to win, they will have to win by the help of the religio-political intrigue of the Church of Rome. The Statesman may spend its time if it chooses in publishing things which it deems to have no significance at all, but to us these things have significance, and they have a deep significance also to the people of this nation, and the SENTINEL is going to point out their significance, and set it before the people just as long as the Statesman furnishes the material for us with which to do it.AMS December 1887, page 91.7

    Then, the Statesman quotes from the SENTINEL of July our statement of the prospects of the success of National Reform, in which we stated that the universal demand for Sunday laws is the issue upon which National Reform will be brought to a vote, and under cover of which the union of Church and State will be accomplished here. And upon this it says:—AMS December 1887, page 91.8

    “Sabbath laws have been a conspicuous feature in the American Government from the beginning, and have never led to persecution.”AMS December 1887, page 91.9

    This statement is on a par with the others that we have noticed, but, perhaps, like what the Statesman has said in other things, this may “have no significance at all.” But be that as it may, it is not true. It is true, to be sure, that Sunday laws have been a conspicuous feature in the early colonies and in certain places in the United States, from the beginning. But they have never been a feature of the American Government, because the American Government is forbidden by the Constitution to have anything to do with laws respecting religion or religious things. Neither is it true that these laws have never led to persecution. They led to persecution in New England, when, under them, men were compelled to attend church, and to have spies set upon their track to see how they conducted themselves at their homes or wherever they might happen to be staying, during Sunday. They have led to persecution in Pennsylvania not many years back; and within the last three years, yes, within the last two, they have led to persecution in Tennessee and in Arkansas, such persecution too as is a shame to civilization. But, undoubtedly, this is a thing which to the Statesman has “no significance at all.”AMS December 1887, page 91.10

    Then the Statesman mentions that in many States the keepers of the seventh day are exempted from penalties attached to Sunday laws, and says:—AMS December 1887, page 91.11

    “This exemption we have always approved and sustained, and shall seek to make universal.”AMS December 1887, page 91.12

    That is to say, “We will take these people under our charge, and will see that they have all that belongs to them, because we are the ones who have the power to grant it to them.” Oh, yes! Only the other day the whole of Ireland, the National League and all, was proclaimed under the Coercion Act. Some of the supporters of that Act tried to excuse themselves under the plea that they thought that the power of the Coercion Act was a good thing for the Government to have, but that they did not expect the Government to use it, and advised against its use. But Sir William Vernon Harcourt very aptly replied that such persons “ought to have known that to give the Tories a Coercion Act, with advice not to use it, would be like putting a tiger in a cage with a man, and enjoining him not to eat the man.” So say we to the purring pretensions of the National Reformers. They ask the people of this nation to surrender into their hands all the rights which they have under the present Constitution, kindly promising that they of their benevolence will generously bestow upon dissenters all the privileges that they ought to have. This is plainly shown in what follows.AMS December 1887, page 91.13

    Again says the Statesman:AMS December 1887, page 91.14

    “Our conflict is not with the keepers of the seventh day, but with national atheism and its upholders.”AMS December 1887, page 91.15

    Yes, that sounds very well. It is becoming quite fashionable lately in National Reform circles and conventions to pass resolutions something after this manner:—AMS December 1887, page 91.16

    Resolved, That the welfare of the community and the law of God require further safeguards for the civil arid Christian Sabbath, not inconsistent with the rights of those who observe the seventh day.”AMS December 1887, page 91.17

    These things look very pretty on the outside, and they sound very nice to those who are not well acquainted with National Re-form, but when it is understood what the National Reform idea is of the rights of those who observe the seventh day, then that puts a different face upon the matter entirely. That it may be seen just how these things stand, we quote from a National Reform speech by Rev. Jonathan Edwards, D. D., a representative National Reformer, in a National Reform Convention in New York City, February 27, 1873, which is still officially sent forth as National Reform literature.AMS December 1887, page 91.18

    After naming in order the atheist, the deist, and the Jew, Mr. Edwards says:—AMS December 1887, page 91.19

    “The Seventh-day Baptists believe in God and Christianity, and are conjoined with the other members of this class by the accident of differing with the mass of Christians upon the question of what precise day of the week shall be observed as holy.AMS December 1887, page 91.20

    “These all are, for the occasion, and so far as our amendment is concerned, one class. They use the same arguments and the same tactics against us. They must be counted together, which we very much regret, but which we cannot help. The first named [the atheist] is the leader in the discontent and in the outcry—the atheist, to whom nothing is higher or more sacred than man, and nothing survives the tomb. It is his class. Its labors are almost wholly in his interest; its success would be almost wholly his triumph. The rest are adjuncts to him in this contest. They must be named from him; they must be treated as, for this question, one party.... What are the rights of the atheist? I would tolerate him as I would tolerate a poor lunatic, for in my view his mind is scarcely sound. So long as he does not rave, so long as he is not dangerous, I would tolerate him. I would tolerate him as I would a conspirator. The atheist is a dangerous man.... Tolerate atheism, sir? There is nothing out of hell that I would not tolerate as soon. The atheist may live, as I said, but, God helping us, the taint of his destructive creed shall not defile any of the civil institutions of all this fair land! Let us repeat, atheism and Christianity are contradictory terms. They are incompatible systems. They cannot dwell together on the same continent.”AMS December 1887, page 91.21

    By this it is seen that the rights of the keepers of the seventh day are the rights of the atheist, that the rights of the atheist are the rights of the lunatic and the conspirator, and the toleration that he is to receive is the toleration that the lunatic and the conspirator receive, and that there is nothing out of hell that should not be tolerated as soon. In view of this, the Statesman’s word that “our conflict is not with the keepers of the seventh day, but with national atheism and its upholders,” is one of those things “which have no significance at all,” because the keepers of the seventh day are upholders of national atheism. Also, it is evident by this, that their nicely framed resolution on this subject is likewise one of those National Reform sayings “which have no significance at all,” because the keepers of the seventh day have no rights at all. It may be that they think they shall catch some of the keepers of the seventh day with such honeyed phrases, and they may think that they will even catch the SENTINEL, but we can tell them, Not much. We have read many times the sweetly-toned invitation, “Will you walk into my parlor? said the spider to the fly.” No, no, dear Statesman, it may all be that your utterances have no significance at all, but to the AMERICAN SENTINEL they have so much significance that we do not propose that the National Reformers shall slip their noose over the heads of the American people without the people being warned of it. Whether or not it be the rights of the keepers of the seventh day which are directly involved, is not the question. It is true that these are the particular class of Christians who are singled out by the National Reformers as the object of their tolerant attentions, along with other “atheistic” “lunatics” and “conspirators,” but as this is solely because they choose to differ from the opinions and aims of the National Reformers, it is evident that what is said of these by the National Reformers is equally applicable to everybody who chooses to oppose the work of national corruption which is carried on under the guise of National Reform. And as everybody ought to oppose the work, it follows that this question concerns everybody else just as much as it does those who keep the seventh day or those who keep no day.AMS December 1887, page 92.1

    Then, the Statesman asks:—AMS December 1887, page 92.2

    “Does the SENTINEL espouse the secular or infidel theory of government?”AMS December 1887, page 92.3

    The SENTINEL espouses the Christian theory of government; the theory enunciated by Christ: that man shall render to Cesar the things that are Cesar’s and to God the things which are God’s; the theory that so far, as man or civil government is concerned, the heathen, or the infidel, or the atheist, has just as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as the Christian has; the theory that under civil government any man has just as much right not to worship God as the Christian has to worship him; the theory that, though a man be a Christian, he is not thereby entitled to authority or lordship over other men’s consciences or rights; the theory that will reach all men by the power of truth, in love and persuasive reason, and not by the power of the sword or of civil law, in bitter persecution and oppressive force.AMS December 1887, page 92.4

    That is the theory of government which the SENTINEL espouses. Does the Christian Statesman agree with it? If not, why not? Come now, don’t dodge.AMS December 1887, page 92.5

    A. T. J.

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