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    REMARKS BY REV. A. II. LEWIS, D. D

    Dr. Lewis.—Mr. Chairman. The objection raised by Prof. Jones against the exemption in favor of Sabbath-keepers, seems to me wholly imaginary. So far as any Seventh-day Baptists are concerned, I know it would be impossible for any man opening a saloon on Sunday to present the excuse that he was a Seventh-day Baptist. A saloon-keeping Seventh-day Baptist is an unknown thing throughout their history of more than two centuries. Such a man could not obtain recognition, much less church membership, in any Seventh-day Baptist community or church. Nor do I believe from what I know of the Seventh-day Adventists, that such a case could occur in connection with that people. The possibility of any such deceitful claim could easily be guarded against by a provision requiring that in any case of doubt the one claiming to have observed the seventh day should be required to bring official certificate of his relation to a Sabbath-keeping church. Such a provision would end all difficulty.NSLS18 153.1

    REPLY

    Mr. Jones.—Mr. Chairman. It is certainly true that, so far, a saloon-keeping Seventh-day Baptist, or Seventh-day Adventist, either, is an unknown thing. But if Sunday laws are enforced with an exemption clause in favor of those who keep the seventh day, this would not be an unknown thing much longer. It is true, also, that such a man could not obtain membership in any Seventh-day Baptist or Seventh-day Adventist church. But what is to prevent the saloon keepers from organizing Seventh-day Baptist or Seventh-day Adventist churches of their own, and for themselves? What is to prevent them, or any class of business men, from organizing their own churches, electing their own officers, and even ordaining their own pastors, and calling themselves Seventh-day Baptists or Seventh-day Adventists? There is nothing to prevent it unless, indeed, the State itself shall take charge of all seventh-day churches and doctrines, and attend to their organization and the admission of members. This is precisely what was done before. In the days of the New England theocracy, Massachusetts enacted a law that,—NSLS18 153.2

    “For the time to come, no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic, but such as are members of some of the churches within the limits of the same.”NSLS18 154.1

    There were considerable numbers of men who were not members of any of the churches, and who could not be, because they were not Christians. These men then took to forming themselves into churches of their own. Then the next step for the authorities to take, and they took it, was to enact a law that,—NSLS18 154.2

    “Forasmuch as it hath bene found by sad experience that much trouble and disturbance hath happened both to the church and civill State by the officers and members of some churches, wch have bene gathered ... in an undue manner, ... it is ... ordered that ... this Court doeth not, nor will hereafter, approue of any such companyes of men as shall henceforthe ioyne in any pretended way of church fellowshipp, without they shall first acquainte the magistrates and elders of the greatr pte of the churches in this jurisdicon, with their intencons, and have their approbacon herein.”—Emancipation of Massachusetts, pp. 28-30.NSLS18 154.3

    By this, gentlemen, you will see that the enactment of this Sunday law, though the first step, will not be by any means the last step, and that in more directions than one. Their offer of an exemption clause is a voluntary confession that the enforcement of the law without one would be unjust; but if that exemption clause be embodied and maintained, the State is inevitably carried beyond its proper jurisdiction; and if the exemption clause is retained and not maintained in its strictness, the whole law is at once nullified. Congress would better learn wisdom from this prospect, and utterly refuse to have anything at all to do with the subject. The whole subject is beyond the jurisdiction of the civil power, and the civil power can do no better than to let it entirely alone.NSLS18 154.4

    But Dr. Lewis proposes to guard against all difficulty, by “requiring” every observer of the seventh day “to bring official certificate of his relation to a Sabbath-keeping church.” This would not end the difficulty; for, as I have shown, it would inevitably devolve upon the State to decide what was a genuine Sabbath-keeping church. But that is not the worst feature in this suggestion. If Dr. Lewis officially represents the Seventh-day Baptist denomination, and for the denomination proposes thus voluntarily to put himself and all his people on “ticket of leave,” I have no particular objection; that is their own business; yet it seems to me an extremely generous proposition, if not an extraordinary proceeding. I say they may do this, if they choose. But as for me and for the Seventh-day Adventists generally, not only as Christians, but as American citizens, we repudiate with scorn and reject with utter contempt every principle of any such suggestion. As citizens of the United States, and as Christians, we utterly and forever refuse to put ourselves upon “ticket of leave” by any such proposition.NSLS18 155.1

    NOTE.—That my argument at first was not so unfounded nor so “wholly imaginary” as Dr. Lewis supposed, has been conclusively demonstrated, even to himself, since this hearing was held. The “Pearl of Days” column of the New York Mail and Express, the official organ of the American Sunday Union, in March, 1889, grave the following statement from the Plainfield [N. J.] Times [no date]:—NSLS18 155.2

    “As a rule, Plainfield, N. J., is a very quiet city on Sunday. Liquor, provision, and cigar stores are closed by the enforcement of a city ordinance. If a resident wants a cigar, he will either have it given to him by one of the many pharmacists who refuse to sell on Sunday, or he will go to the two dealers who are allowed to open their places on Sunday because they observe Saturday as their Sabbath. Some time ago a man of Catholic faith, who had an eye to Sunday business in that line, became a regular attendant at the Seventh-day Baptist church. Eventually he asked to be admitted into the fellowship of the church. A member of the official board was advised that the applicant for membership was only working for business ends. He was closely examined by the church officers, and he finally admitted that he wanted to open a cigar store and do business on Sunday. The man appeared at the wrong place for aid in carrying out his mercenary purposes. He was not received into membership.”NSLS18 156.1

    It looks somewhat like the “irony of fate” that this thing should fall to they very people whom Dr. Lewis represented, and in the very town where Dr. Lewis himself lives.NSLS18 156.2

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