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    REPLY

    Mr. Jones.—In answer to the question raised by Mr. Wood, that conscientious convictions do not require us to work on the first day of the week, one of the six working days, I wish to say,—NSLRLL 163.1

    First, we deny his right, as well as the right of the State, to assume the prerogative of deciding for us what the Bible teaches, or what our conscientious convictions do, or do not, require.NSLRLL 163.2

    Secondly, we deny the right of the State to cause us to lose the whole, or any part, of a day’s work out of every week. And I turn this point upon him as I turned it upon the others, Why have we not as much right to ask for a law compelling them to rest on the day that we keep, as they have to compel us to rest on the day which they keep? “The only thing they would lose is one more day’s work out of the week.” Then they could “have two Sundays instead of one, and be that much better off.” Why is it not as good for them as it is for us? Or is this a benefit reserved solely for those who do not keep Sunday? How this invades the Constitutional right of acquiring and possessing property, and does deprive us of property without due process of law, I have already discussed.NSLRLL 163.3

    Thirdly, upon this point I wish to read Judge Cooley’s opinion.NSLRLL 163.4

    Mr. Wood.—I referred to the Bible.NSLRLL 163.5

    Mr. Jones.—The Bible says, “Six days shalt thou labor.” While I do not insist that this is an absolute command that we shall actually work the whole six days, I do insist that it is a God-given permission, and therefore our God-given right, to work six days of every week. And we deny forever the right of the State to forbid us to do that which, to say the very least, God has given us the express right to do.NSLRLL 163.6

    As this is a matter of legislation and therefore of law, Judge Cooley’s opinion is of weight upon the subject. He says:—NSLRLL 164.1

    “The Jew [and the seventh-day Christian as well] who is forced to respect the first day of the week, when his conscience requires of him the observance of the seventh also, may plausibly urge that the law discriminates against his religion, and by forcing him to keep a second Sabbath in each week, unjustly, though by indirection, punishes him for his belief.”NSLRLL 164.2

    I have shown—NSLRLL 164.3

    Senator Blair.—He says “plausibly.” That word plausibly indicates that there are some counter views somewhere.NSLRLL 164.4

    Mr. Jones.—As to the exact sense in which he uses the word plausibly, of course we cannot tell without consulting Mr. Cooley himself; but I do not see why we should put the strongest meaning into the word, especially as farther on he shows that the argument of the Seventh-day keeper is unanswerable. I am inclined to think that the Judge uses the word there in the sense of fairly, rightly, or feasibly.NSLRLL 164.5

    Next he says:—NSLRLL 164.6

    “The laws which prohibit ordinary employments on Sunday are to be defendant, either on the same grounds which justify the punishment of profanity, or as establishing sanitary regulations based upon the demonstration of experience that one day’s rest in seven is needful to recuperate the exhausted energies of body and mind.”NSLRLL 164.7

    That is one of the pretended grounds of this petition for this national Sunday law; but the answer of the Supreme Court of California to that is this:—NSLRLL 164.8

    “This argument is founded on the assumption that mankind are in the habit of working too much, and thereby entailing evil upon society; and that, without compulsion, they will not seek the necessary repose which their exhausted natures demand. This is to us a new theory, and is contradicted by the history of the past and the observations of the present. We have heard in all ages of declamations and reproaches against the vice of indolence; but we have yet to learn that there has ever been any general complaint of an intemperate, vicious, unhealthy, or morbid industry. On the contrary, we know that mankind seek cessation from toil, from the natural influences of self-preservation, in the same manner and as certainly as they seek slumber, relief from pain, or food to appease their hunger.... If we cannot trust free agents to regulate their own labor, its times and quantity, it is difficult to trust them to make their own contracts. If the legislature could prescribe the days of rest for them, then it would seem that the same power could prescribe the hours to work, rest, and eat.”—Ex parte Newman, 9 Cal. 509, 518.NSLRLL 164.9

    And Judge Cooley’s answer to it is this:—NSLRLL 165.1

    “The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania have preferred to defend such legislation on the second ground rather than the first, but it appears to us that if the benefit of the individual is alone to be considered, the argument against the law which he may make who has already observed the seventh day of the week, is unanswerable.”NSLRLL 165.2

    Senator Blair.—But he also holds that for the general, the public good, Sunday laws are Constitutional.NSLRLL 165.3

    Mr. Jones.—Yes; and to be sustained upon authority. For the next sentence says:—NSLRLL 165.4

    “But on the other ground, it is clear that these laws are supportable on authority, notwithstanding the inconvenience which they occasion to those whose religious sentiments do not recognize the sacred character of the first day of the week.”NSLRLL 165.5

    It is something unusual for persons to undertake to answer an unanswerable argument. But Judge Cooley employs here the only means by which an unanswerable argument can ever be answered: and that is, “on authority.” That is the way the papacy has done it from the days of Pope Zosimus, A. D., 418, who, when asked for the reasons for certain of this arrogant actions, exclaimed: “So it has pleased the Apostolic See!” That was a sufficient answer to all inquiries, and even to unanswerable arguments.NSLRLL 165.6

    England fastened upon the American colonies the Stamp Act. Our fathers presented unanswerable arguments against it; but the Stamp Act, like Judge Cooley’s Constitutional Sunday laws, was supportable “on authority,” and that was enough. England proposed to enforce it. But our revolutionary fathers refused assent to any such method of answering unanswerable arguments. So we refuse our assent to Mr. Cooley’s answer to that which he himself pronounces an unanswerable argument.NSLRLL 166.1

    Senator Blair.—It does not follow that there is no unanswerable argument in support of Sunday laws, I take it.NSLRLL 166.2

    Mr. Jones.—There is the authority.NSLRLL 166.3

    Senator Blair.—There is authority for the Sunday laws. It does not follow because the Sunday laws are supported by authority that therefore there is no sufficient argument upon which to base them.NSLRLL 166.4

    Mr. Jones.—What authority is there for Sunday laws?NSLRLL 166.5

    Senator Blair.—That is what you have been discussing; but you seem to say that because Sunday laws are supported “by authority,” it is the only argument in favor of a bad law that there is authority for it. But there may be good authority for the Sunday law.NSLRLL 166.6

    Mr. Jones.—That is what is shown here, that there is no good authority for it when it unjustly punishes a man for his belief. There cannot be any good authority for unjustly punishing any man for anything, much less for unjustly punishing him for his belief.NSLRLL 166.7

    Senator Blair.—He does not say it is bad.NSLRLL 167.1

    Mr. Jones.—But it is bad. Is there any good answer to an unanswerable argument?NSLRLL 167.2

    Now, I propose to find out what authority there is for Sunday laws.NSLRLL 167.3

    I before referred to the decision of the Supreme Court of Arkansas, and have shown from a statement of the committee on “law and law reform,” of which the members of the Supreme Court were members, that decision was unconstitutional. I have shown that the principle upon which their decision rested was that of the omnipotence of parliament. In this, however, the State of Arkansas only followed the decisions of other States. In 1858, the Constitution of California said, in Section 4: “The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed in this State.” There was a statute passed by the legislature enforcing the observance of “the Christian Sabbath,” on the first day of the week. A Jew in Sacramento kept his store open on Sunday; he was arrested, convicted, and sent to jail. He sued out a writ of habeas corpus on the ground of “the illegality of his imprisonment by reason of the unconstitutionality of the law.” The majority of the court sustained the plea by decisions separately written, whose soundness, both upon Constitutional principles and upon the abstract principle of justice itself, can never be successfully controverted. Mr. Stephen J. Field, now Associate-Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was then a member of the California Court. He rendered a dissenting opinion, taking the same position as the Supreme Court of Arkansas as to the omnipotence of the legislature, and soberly maintaining that the term “Christian Sabbath” in the act was not a discrimination or preference in favor of any religious profession or worship. He declared that “moralists and statesmen,” “men of science and distinguished philosophers,” have pronounced the rule of “one day’s rest in seven” to be “founded upon a law of our race.” But he omitted to state what scientist or philosopher or moralist or statesman has ever pronounced upon what law is founded the rule of two days’ rest in seven for the man who chooses to rest some other day than Sunday!NSLRLL 167.4

    In his written opinion, Mr. Field said that he had found that in twenty-five States of the Union, Sunday laws had been held to be Constitutional. That this is so there can be no doubt. On this subject, as on that of blasphemy, which I have already noticed, the younger States, both in legislation and judicial decisions, have followed the example of the older States; these have followed the decisions of the oldest, and the oldest followed the example and the precedents of the colonies; and every one of the colonies had Sunday laws because every one had an established religions. These followed the precedents of the English system, which is wholly a church-and-state system. The church-and-state system of England severed itself from the papal rule when Henry VIII. renounced allegiance to the pope, and put himself at the head of the church of England in the place of the pope. The British system at that time was the papal system; the papal system was established by the mutual craft, flattery, and policy of Constantine and the ambitious bishops of his time, when the first Sunday law was enacted. This, in a word, is the genealogy of the Sunday laws of the United States. They belong with an established religion,—a union of church and state. And in this country they have been almost universally sustained, either upon the British principle of the omnipotence of parliament, or upon the church and state principles of the colonies, of the British government, and of the papacy.NSLRLL 168.1

    The law of Pennsylvania, sustained by the decision referred to by Judge Cooley, was virtually a colonial law, which was a part of the system in which nobody who did “not confess and acknowledge one Almighty God to be the Creator, upholder, and ruler of the world,” could be a citizen.NSLRLL 169.1

    The Supreme Court of New York sustains Sunday laws by at once declaring Christianity to be the established religion of that State. This is based upon Chief Justice Kent’s decision before referred to, which cited a law of the colony which declared that “the profanation of the Lord’s day was ‘the great scandal of the Christian faith.’” That decision of Judge Kent’s made Christianity the established religion of the State of New York, by citing the precedents of the papal institutions of modern Europe and the pagan nations of antiquity.NSLRLL 169.2

    This, again, proves Sunday laws to belong with established religions, with the union of church and state, finding their basis in papal and pagan institutions.NSLRLL 169.3

    In every statute book in America, with scarcely an exception, Sunday laws are found under the head of “offenses against religion,” This springs naturally from the colonial legislation, where each colony deemed itself the special guardian of God and of some particular form of religion.NSLRLL 169.4

    But according to the word of Christ, the civil power has nothing to do with either God or religion, nor with offenses against God or religion. Religion is defined by Webster as “the recognition of God as an object of worship, love, and obedience.” Another definition, given by the National Reform Association itself, is “man’s personal relation of faith and obedience to God.” Civil government has nothing to do with a man’s personal relation of faith and obedience to God. If he has no faith at all, and makes no pretensions to obedience to God, that is nothing to the civil government, so long as the man conducts himself civilly. Neither has civil government anything to do with offenses against God; the Lord himself can attend to that. A man is responsible alone to God for the offenses which he commits against God. Civil government has no business to establish a religion, and then make offenses against it criminal; nor has it any business to put itself in the place of God, and presume to declare that an offense against the governmental idea of God is an offense against God. How is the civil government to know whether an act offends God or not? The fact of the matter is, that just as soon as Sunday laws are investigated at all in the light of truth, or justice, or law it is found that they are inseparable from an established religion,—inseparable from a union of church and state.NSLRLL 169.5

    This is further shown by a mere glance at the British system, as set forth by Blackstone in his chapter on “Offenses against God and religion.” There “profanation of the Lord’s day” is classed with such things as “apostasy,” “heresy,” “reviling the ordinances of the church,” “non-conformity to the worship of the church,” “witchcraft,” “conjuration,” “enchantment,” “sorcery,” “religious imposture, such as falsely pretending an extraordinary commission from heaven,” adultery as an ecclesiastical offense cognizable by the spiritual court, and such confusion of civil and religious ideas as the punishment of drunkenness as an offense against God and religion. This is the company with which Sunday laws belong. The penalty for apostasy was, first, burning to death; this fell into disuse after a while. Then the penalty was that “for the first offense the offender should be rendered incapable to hold any office or place of trust.”NSLRLL 170.1

    At such legal nonsense as this the United States Constitution struck a death blow in the clause which declares that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this Government.” And by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, this Government utterly separated itself from the whole system of offenses against God and religion so long maintained by the British government, by the colonies, and even yet by many of the States, and which is characteristic of all church-and-state governments—governments of established religion—by declaring that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is sound American principle, and accords with the word of Jesus Christ. And the effort ought to be, throughout this whole nation, to lift the constitutions, the legislation, and the jurisprudence of the States up to the level of that of the national Constitution. But instead of doing that, and so carrying this whole nation bodily onward in the march of liberty, enlightenment, and progress, these people go about to bring down our national system of Constitution and laws to the level of that of the States, which is the level of that of the colonies, which is the level of that of the British system, which is the level that of the papacy, which is the system of paganism under cover of the Christian name.NSLRLL 171.1

    Dr. Elliott here to-day cited Edgar, Athelstan, and Alfred in support of Sunday laws. To be sure! And with equal force he can cite these and many others of the Dark Ages in support of tithes to the clergy, the supremacy of the monks in civil affairs, the “holy anointing” of kings by the pope, and for any and every other thing that belongs with the papal system. He can carry his Sunday-law precedents farther back than that: he can go back to the time of Theodosius and Constantine. He can find, and so can you or anybody else, that as Pontifex Maximus of the old pagan system, Constantine “had the plenary power of appointing holy days;” he can find that by virtue of this power, Constantine established the first Sunday-law of all time, in honor of the “venerable day of the sun,” whose special devotee he was; and also that, as “bishop of externals” of the new pagan system,—the papal,—which office he assumed by virtue of his political conversion to the political Christianity of his time, he played into the hands of the ambitious bishops by giving them in that Sunday law their coveted “use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims” to compel men to accept the decrees, and submit to the dictates, of the church. He, and all others, will find that this is the literal truth of the origin of Sunday laws.NSLRLL 171.2

    All this is supported by abundance of testimony of undoubted authority. So eminent a divine as Dean Stanley declares plainly that the retention of the old pagan name of “dies solis,” or Sunday, for the weekly Christian festival, “is owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects, pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the sun.’ ... It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the empire under one common institution.”NSLRLL 172.1

    This same mode of harmonizing paganism with Christianity was further illustrated by his imperial coins, bearing on one side the name of Christ, and on the other the figure of the sun god, with the inscription, “the unconquerable sun.” This confusion of pagan and Christian ideas and practices is what made the papacy, the union of church and state, and the confusion of civil and religious things, from which, with the exception of the government of the United States, the nations have not even yet freed themselves. This, sir, is the authority, and the only authority, for Sunday laws. Sunday has no basis whatever as a civil institution; it never had any. And the only basis it has, or ever had, as a religious institution is in that confusion of paganism and Christianity which made the papacy, with all that it is or ever was.NSLRLL 172.2

    As authority for Sunday, and as the basis of this legislation, Dr. Johnson here today appealed to the fourth commandment. The “American Sabbath Union,” now in session in this city, and which is working for the passage of this bill, likewise declares the basis of their whole movement to be the fourth commandment. It is proper, therefore, to inquire, What authority is there for Sunday laws, in the fourth commandment? As this is a question of legislation and of law, I shall examine it from the stand-point of law. Suppose, then, that this bill has become a law, and the courts in construing it take judicial cognizance of the fourth commandment as the basis of the law.NSLRLL 173.1

    Courts are guided by certain well-established rules in the construction of laws. According to these rules, what would be the result of the judicial construction of such a law upon the basis of the fourth commandment?NSLRLL 173.2

    1. “What a court is to do, is to declare the law as written.”NSLRLL 173.3

    The fourth commandment as written is as follows:—NSLRLL 173.4

    “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”NSLRLL 173.5

    That commandment as written says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Consequently, at the very first step the first day of the week, as declared in the bill, and as these people demand, would be completely shut out. But if any should innocently inquire, The seventh day of what? the commandment itself is ready with an explicit answer. It is the day upon which the Lord rested from the work of creation. In that work he employed six days, and the seventh day he rested, and that alone, as Dr. Johnson has said, established the weekly division of time. As those seven days formed the first week of time, the seventh of those seven was the seventh day of the week, and that is the seventh day fixed in the commandment. This is confirmed by the Scriptures throughout. The New Testament itself declares that the Sabbath is past before the first day of the week comes. Mark 16:1, 2, says:—NSLRLL 174.1

    “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.”NSLRLL 174.2

    Those people mentioned in this Scripture came to the sepulcher very early in the morning of the first day of the week; yet the Sabbath was past. This national Sunday-bill which is here under discussion proposes to secure the religious observance of the Sabbath on the first day of the week. But such a thing can never be done, because according to the scripture, the Sabbath is past before the first day of the week comes. It matters not how early persons may come to the first day of the week and its observance, they will be too late to find the Sabbath in it; because by the word of the Lord it is past before the first day of the week comes.NSLRLL 174.3

    This is made yet more positive, if need be, by the record in Luke 23:56 and 24:1, which says:—NSLRLL 175.1

    “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”NSLRLL 175.2

    Here it is declared that certain people rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment, and then on the first day of the week did what they would not do on the Sabbath day. This proves conclusively that the Sabbath day according to the commandment which these men cite, and which it is supposed that the courts will have to interpret when this becomes a law,—this proves that Sabbath day is the day before the first day of the week, and therefore plainly demonstrates that the seventh day named in the commandment is nothing else than the seventh day of the week. Therefore, if courts, in the interpretation of this commandment as the basis of a Sunday law, declare the law as written and as defined by the plain word of the Lord, they will have to declare that the seventh day of the week, and not the first day, is the Sabbath.NSLRLL 175.3

    2. “In the case of all law, it is the intent of the lawgiver that is to be enforced.”NSLRLL 175.4

    What, then, was the intent of the Lawgiver when the fourth commandment was given? Did the Lawgiver declare or show in any way his intention?—He did. When the Lord gave that law at Sinai he did not leave it to the people to interpret it to suit themselves, nor to interpret it at all. By three special acts every week, kept up continuously for nearly forth years, he showed his intent in the law. The people were fed by manna in their forth years’ wanderings. But on the seventh day of the week no manna ever fell. On the sixth day of the week there was a double portion, and that which was gathered on that day would keep over the seventh, which it could not be made to do at any other period, or over any other day in the week.NSLRLL 175.5

    By this means the Lawgiver signified his intent upon the subject of observing the day mentioned in that law; and keeping it up continuously for so long a time made it utterly impossible that his intent should be mistaken.NSLRLL 176.1

    Therefore, if the courts of the United States shall ever take judicial cognizance of the fourth commandment, which is held forth by these people as the basis and the authority for their movement, according to this rule, the seventh day of the week, and not the first day, will have to be declared the Sabbath.NSLRLL 176.2

    3. “When words are plain in a written law, there is an end to all construction: they must be followed.”NSLRLL 176.3

    Are the words of the fourth commandment plain words?—They are. There is not an obscure nor an ambiguous word in the commandment.NSLRLL 176.4

    Then, according to this rule, if ever that question becomes one of judicial cognizance in the courts of the United States, the seventh day of the week, and not the first day, will have to be declared to be the Sabbath. That is all that the courts can declare.NSLRLL 176.5

    Therefore, the conclusion of the whole matter thus far is that if our courts are to remain courts of law and are to be guided by the established rules for the construction of law, they never can uphold any law for the enforcement of the Sabbath or the Lord’s day on the first day of the week.NSLRLL 176.6

    Just here, however, another element comes into court, and that is the theological. The theologians step in right here and declare that the intention of the fourth commandment has been changed, and that now, instead of that commandment’s requiring the observance of the seventh day in remembrance of creation, it requires the observance of the first day of the week in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ. To reach this point they first declare that the phrase “the seventh day” in the commandment is indefinite; that it does not enjoin the observance of any particular day, but only of one day in seven. But such a construction is not only clearly in violation of established rules for the construction of law, but it involves an assumption of power on their part that can never be allowed. Admitting for argument’s sake that that phrase in the commandment is indefinite, it must be admitted that the Lord, when he wrote it, intentionally made it indefinite, because the Scripture says that when he had spoken these words, he added no more; he had nothing more to say on the subject. What he said then was final. If, then, that statement be indefinite, he intended it so, and no other than the Lord ever can, or ever has the right to, make it definite. But the theologians, just as soon as they make it indefinite to escape the obligation which it enjoins to observe the seventh day, then make it definite in order to sustain the supposed obligation to keep the first day of the week. Consequently, when they make it definite after having declared that the Lord made it indefinite, they assume the power and the prerogative to do what the Lord intentionally declined to do; and in that they put themselves above God.NSLRLL 176.7

    So much for their theological assumptions. Such a course is not only theologically an assumption of almighty power, but on the basis of law it is a violation of the rule which declares that—NSLRLL 177.1

    4. “No forced or unnatural construction is to be put upon the language of a statute.”NSLRLL 177.2

    To make the phrase “the seventh day” in that commandment indefinite, and mean any one day in seven and not any seventh day in particular, is nothing else than to put a forced and unnatural construction upon the language, not only of the commandment itself throughout, but on all the language of the Scriptures upon the subject of the commandment.NSLRLL 177.3

    Further, to make that commandment support the observance of the first day of the week in commemoration of the resurrection, is not only to put a forced and most unnatural construction upon it, but is a direct violation of that other rule of law which declares that—NSLRLL 178.1

    5. “A constitution [or statute] is not to be made to mean one thing at one time and another at some subsequent time when the circumstances may have so changed as perhaps to make a different rule in the case seem desirable ... The meaning of the constitution [or statute] is fixed when it is adopted, and it is not different at any subsequent time when a court has occasion to pass upon it.”NSLRLL 178.2

    As I have clearly proved, the meaning of the fourth commandment when it was given was that the seventh day of the week should be observed, and for the reason that God rested that day from the work of creation, and blessed the day and hallowed it. That Sabbath day for that reason was established before man had sinned, and before there was any need of the resurrection of Christ. If man had never sinned, the day would have been observed, for the reason given, in commemoration of the rest of the Creator from his work of creation. That being the meaning of the commandment when the commandment was given, that must be the meaning of the commandment so long as the commandment remains. And according to this rule it can never be made to mean anything else; although to the theologians who wish to have it so, the circumstances concerning the resurrection may seem to make it desirable.NSLRLL 178.3

    Here the question very pertinently arises, Shall the Congress and the courts of the United States adopt the wishes of the theologians, and, in violation of the rules of law, undertake to make the statute of God mean that which it was never intended to mean? In contemplation of this demand which is now made by the theologians, the words of Judge Cooley—“Constitutional Limitations,” p. 67—are worthy of consideration by Congress, as well as by the judges of the United States courts. He says:—NSLRLL 178.4

    “A court of legislature which should allow a change of public sentiment to influence it in giving to a written constitution a construction not warranted by the intention of its founders, would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty.”NSLRLL 179.1

    The theologians have given to the fourth commandment a construction which is not in any sense warranted by the intention of the Author of the Commandment. They come to the national legislature, and ask it to allow itself to be influenced by these theological sentiments in giving to that written constitution of the government of God, a construction which is not warranted by the intention of Founder of that constitution. As Judge Cooley says, such a thing done to a human constitution, an earthly statute, would be reckless disregard of official oath and public duty. But if this is true in the case of things wholly human and earthly, what should be thought of such an action with reference to the divine constitution, and heavenly law?NSLRLL 179.2

    Will the national legislature allow this theological sentiment to influence it to commit an act with reference to the constitution and laws of the living God, which, if committed with reference to the laws of men, would be reckless disregard of official oath and public duty? Not only do I ask, Is the national legislature ready to do this? but is it ready also by doing it to force the United States courts into the sanctioning of it in direct violation of the plainest principles of every rule for the construction of law? Is the national legislature ready to take the step which would turn all our courts of law into courts of theology? For such would be the only effect of the enactment of such a law as is here demanded by the theologians; because when the law comes to be interpreted by the courts upon the basis upon which the law is enacted, the first day of the week as the Sabbath can never be sustained by rules of law or by the principles of interpretation established in law. The only way it can ever be sustained is by principles established by the theologians and by theological distinctions, in total disregard of the rules of law; and the effect of it can be nothing else than to turn our courts of law into courts of theology.NSLRLL 179.3

    More than this, the Scriptures plainly and logically show the seventh day to be the Lord’s day. The actual expression, “the Lord’s day,” is used but once in the Bible, and that in Revelation 1:10, saying, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” But that text does not say what day of the week the Lord’s day is. Other texts in the Bible, however, speak on the subject in such a way as logically to show what day is meant by the expression, “the Lord’s day.” The Lord himself said, “The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28.NSLRLL 180.1

    The Lord also said, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” Here are two plain Scripture statements which may form the premises of a syllogism; thus:—NSLRLL 180.2

    Major: The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.NSLRLL 180.3

    Minor: The seventh day is the Sabbath.NSLRLL 180.4

    The only conclusion that can ever be drawn from these premises is,—NSLRLL 180.5

    Therefore, the Son of man is Lord of the seventh day.NSLRLL 180.6

    That conclusion is just as sound as these two statements of Scripture are, and the two statements of Scripture are as plain and positive on that subject as any two statements ever can be made. Forming another syllogism, of which the above conclusion shall be the minor, we have this:—NSLRLL 180.7

    Major: Whatever day it is of which the Son of man is Lord, is the Lord’s day.NSLRLL 181.1

    Minor: The Son of man is Lord of the seventh day.NSLRLL 181.2

    Therefore, the Lord’s day is the seventh day.NSLRLL 181.3

    This logic is unquestionable; this conclusion is just as true as the Scripture itself. Therefore, as surely as courts undertake the interpretation of any statute enforcing the observance of the Lord’s day, and enter upon an inquiry as to what day is the Lord’s day, they will, if logical, be brought face to face with the fact as demonstrated by the word of the Lord himself, that the seventh day, and not the first day, is the Lord’s day.NSLRLL 181.4

    But it will probably be said that the courts are not to enter upon the interpretation of Scripture; they are to interpret the law as it has been enacted, and as it is written; and the law as enacted says that the first day of the week is the Lord’s day, and that is as far as the courts can go. Suppose that be granted. Then that puts the United States Government into the place where it establishes an institution as the Lord’s and enforces its observance, which not only the Lord has not established, but which is directly contrary to the plain word of the Lord upon the subject of this institution and its observance.NSLRLL 181.5

    One or the other of these alternatives therefore the United States Government will be forced to adopt as surely as this bill or any one like it shall ever become a law. The Government will either have to become the authoritative interpreter of Scripture for all the citizens of the Government, or else it will have to put itself in the place of God, and authoritatively declare that observances established by the State and which it calls the Lord’s are the Lord’s indeed, although the word of the Lord declares the contrary. Is the United States Government ready to take either of these positions? Is the Congress of the United States ready to force the Government of the United States to the alternative of taking one or the other of these positions?NSLRLL 181.6

    The taking of either of these positions by the Government would be nothing else than for this enlightened nation, in this period of the nineteenth century, to assume the place, the power, and the prerogatives of the governments of the Middle Ages in enforcing the dogmas and the definitions of the theologians, and executing the arbitrary and despotic will of the church.NSLRLL 182.1

    Thus, from whatever point this subject of Sunday laws may be viewed, it plainly appears that aside from the papacy there is no authority whatever for Sunday laws, nor even for Sunday keeping; and that the only effect that a national Sunday law can ever have, will be only evil, and that continually. Let Congress now and forever decidedly and utterly refuse to have anything to do with it in any way whatever; and let all the people, instead of sanctioning a movement to bring the national legislation down to the degraded level of the States on this subject, put forth every effort to bring the legislation of the States up to that place where it shall be limited as the power of Congress is limited by the declaration of the national Constitution, that it “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”NSLRLL 182.2

    Now, in the name of law, Constitutional and statutory, moral and civil; in the name of enlightenment and progress; in the name of reason and the revelation of Jesus Christ, I seriously ask, Why should the people of such a nation as this, living under such a constitution as is our national Constitution, be asked to return to the papal system in the Dark Ages, which was only the inevitable outcome of the wicked scheme that was conceived in sin,—”the man of sin,“—and brought forth in iniquity,—”the mystery of iniquity,“—in the days of Constantine? Why should such a people as this, dwelling under the best Constitution and the most enlightened influences of all ages, be asked to return to the wicked system that characterized the Middle Ages?NSLRLL 182.3

    No, sir; the noble men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, when they established our Constitution, separated, as they supposed forever, this nation from all the wicked influences of the church-and-state systems of the colonies, of England, and of all other nations of all times. And under this Constitution, in true liberty, civil and religious, in genuine enlightenment and progress, this nation has deservedly stood as the beacon light of the world for a hundred years. Let this splendid nation ever still look forward and not backward; let it still hold its honored place before all the nations; and God forbid that by any such effort as is now being made in behalf of this Sunday law, this glorious nation should be brought down from her high place, and made to follow in the papal train.NSLRLL 183.1

    Gentlemen, no further argument is needed to show that the Sunday laws of all the States, and the principles of the decisions of the Supreme Courts which sustain them, are wholly wrong, springing from the papal principle of church and state, and supported by the equally un-American principle of the omnipotence of the legislative power. They are totally subversive of American principles. Yet Sunday laws have never been, and can never be, sustained on any other principle. And this is only to say that which is the sum of all this discussion: There is no foundation in justice, in right, or even in expediency, for any Sunday laws, or Lord’s-day laws, or Sabbath laws, UNDER ANY GOVERNMENT ON THIS EARTH.NSLRLL 183.2

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