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    December 11, 1884

    “National Reform and the Chinese” The Signs of the Times 10, 47, p. 738.

    EVER since Congress passed the Chinese Restriction Act, the Christian Statesman has been in great tribulation, because of the great wrong committed by the nation in that piece of legislation. Now in this article we propose no discussion of the righteousness or unrighteousness of that act of Congress, or whether it was just or unjust in itself. Our controversy is with the Christian Statesman, on its own published propositions, all of which are editorial utterances, and therefore stand as authoritative principles of National Reform.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.1

    By act of Congress the importation, or emigration, of Chinese laborers was prohibited for a period of ten years. This act the Christian Statesman denounced at the time. The late political campaign has given occasion for it to renew its objections. In its issue of Sept. 25, 1884, among “the gravest moral evils, evils which threaten the very life of the nation,” “injustice to the Chinese” is one. In its issue of Oct. 23, 1884, it says that “the unchristian Chinese policy of the two great parties is part of the indictment which the better conscience of the country is charging upon them.” Again, in its issue of Oct. 2, 1884, we read: “The two leading political parties have vied with each other in displaying their readiness to exclude the Chinamen from our shores, and have declared for the policy of exclusion, in their respective platforms. This policy, on the other hand, is felt by large numbers of Christian men to be in violation of the natural rights of men, as well as contrary to the spirit and teachings of the religion of Jesus, and increases the dissatisfaction with which, on other grounds, these parties and their platforms are regarded.”SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.2

    Now what do the Statesman and the National Reform Party propose instead of this? We read: “We may not shut the door in the face of any one who wishes to come and dwell with us. No nation has the right to do this, even for the preservation of religious character.” “Make all men welcome to our shores, but give all men to understand that without Christianity we perish, we must maintain by all right means our Christian character. Inscribe this character on our Constitution... Enforce upon all that come among us the laws of Christian morality.”SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.3

    Let us analyze this position and see wherein it differs from the position of the political parties which it condemns. By the term “laws of Christian morality,” the Statesman means the ten commandments. With this definition then it says, “Enforce upon all that come among us the ten commandments.” Now “enforce,” according to Webster, means “to force; to constrain; to compel; to execute with vigor.” Therefore the Statesman says: “Force, compel, all that come among us to keep the ten commandments.” “Execute with vigor the ten commandments upon all that come among us.” But the second commandment forbids men to make, to bow down to, or to serve, graven images; and this bears with particular force against the Chinese, for they do make and worship graven images; so that it may fairly be said that of all the Chinese who should ever desire to come to this country, they would be, without exception, idolaters. Now when, by constitutional amendment, this shall have been declared a Christian nation, and notice shall have thus been given that all who come here will be compelled to keep the ten commandments, will that be a sufficient argument to induce the Chinese to abandon their idols that they may come here? Allowing all the wondrous efficacy that has been ascribed to National Reform, such could hardly be expected of it, for the Chinese are just as sincere in their worship, idolatrous as it is, as are the National Reformers in theirs; and it certainly will require something more than an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to convince them that their worship is wrong. So it is easy enough to tell what the Chinese will do when the time comes that they shall have to choose whether they will abandon their worship or come to the United States. With such an alternative they will never come to this country. Therefore the success of the National Reform policy will just as absolutely exclude the Chinese from this country as does the act of Congress which is now in force, and which is so unsparingly denounced by that party.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.4

    Now to show that the force that is given to their expressions, by the definitions before given, is not more than they intend, we give some more of their words on this subject. In the San Francisco Chronicle of September 24, 1884, appeared an account of a Chinese procession in that city, in honor of their god Llow Wong. In the Christian Statesman of October 30, 1884, under the caption, “Idolatry Publicly Tolerated,” the account is copied in full, and then commented on as follows: “The remedy lies, not in the exclusion of the Chinese from our shores, where they have from God a perfect right to come, but in the legal prohibition of their public idolatry, which they have from God no right to practice, and which no Christian Government ought to tolerate on its soil.” “Odious it is, offensive to Christian sensibilities, provoking the anger of Heaven against the nation which tolerates it. But ... the American people generally would doubtless be shocked by the suggestion that such open idolatry should be suppressed by law. But if this is, as claimed, a Christian nation, and if Jehovah is our God, why should the suggestion be considered as strange or impracticable?” It is plain, therefore, by their own declarations, that the Chinese cannot come to this country and bring their worship with them, and that, as we have seen, works the exclusion of the Chinese as effectually as any other means that could be employed. And all this must be done, it says, to “maintain our Christian character;” and this, too, after stating explicitly, as above, that “no nation has the right to do this even for the preservation of religious character.” The Statesman may talk of the servility of the political parties all it pleases, but if there ever was a political party that exceeded the National Reform Party in hollow pretense, or sham principle, we should like the Statesman to point it out.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.5

    There is another phase of this question. Suppose that while the United States refuses to “tolerate” the worship of the Chinese, they should refuse to “tolerate,” in their country, the worship of the Christians. Suppose that when this nation has “suppressed by law” the worship of the Chinese, they should retaliate and suppress by law the worship of the Christians. What could this nation do? Remonstrance would come with very poor grace from the nation that first committed the intolerance. And so the sword of National Reform would cut both ways; it would not only shut the Chinese out of this country, but would shut Christianity out of China.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.6

    Now let us draw a comparison between the action of Congress which the Statesman condemns, and the action of the nation which it would approve.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.7

    An act of Congress which excludes the Chinese. An amendment to the Constitution the effect of which will be the same.
    An act which excludes The Chinese for ten years. An act which would exclude them for all time.
    An act of Congress which might be repealed by any subsequent Congress. An act the effect of which would be the same, and which could not possibly be effected by less than three-fourths of the whole nation.
    An act which excludes only one class of Chinese—Laborers. An act which will exclude all classes of Chinese.
    An act which excludes only one class, and one nation for ten years. An act which, with one exception—Christians—excludes all classes of all nations for all time.

    Therefore, if the action of Congress and the political parties are by the National Reform Party to be condemned seven times, surely the National Reform Party itself must be condemned seventy times seven.SITI December 11, 1884, page 738.8

    A. T. JONES.

    “Notes on the International Lesson. Acts 20:7-15” The Signs of the Times 10, 47, p. 743.
    DECEMBER 28—Acts 20:7-15

    “AND upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.” This is counted, in the lesson, the “golden text;” but it is not only in this lesson that it is counted so, it is deemed of the “utmost importance” by all who keep Sunday, because of its being the only recorded instance in the New Testament of a meeting on that day. Now let us carefully and fairly examine the whole narrative and see what example there is in it in favor of Sunday keeping. And mark, if it be an example in one point, it is an example in every point.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.1

    WHEN was this meeting held? “Upon the first day of the week.” Who were they that composed the meeting? “The disciples came together,” and “Paul preached unto them.” For what did they come together? “Came together to break bread.” It is plain, then, that Paul and the disciples at Troas came together to break bread, on the first day of the week.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.2

    NOW there is another important question: What part of the first day of the week was it when they came together? “Upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread ... there were many lights in the upper chamber where they were gathered together.” And Paul “continued his speech until midnight.” This meeting therefore was in the night of the first day of the week. Now, according to the Bible, when does the day begin? Leviticus 23:27 says: “On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement.” Verse 32: “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest; .. in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” Deuteronomy 16:6. “At even at the doing down of the sun.” So, then, the tenth day of the month was from sundown on the ninth day till sundown on the tenth day. In other words sunset marks the beginning of a new day. This is strictly according to the order of God at the creation. Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” So far all was darkness. “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. Thus darkness being upon the earth and light following, darkness is naturally the first part of the day. “And the evening [darkness] and the morning, [light] were the first day.” Genesis 1:5.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.3

    THIS is confirmed in the New Testament. In Mark 1:21-28 we read of the Saviour teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. And in verses 29-31, that forthwith when they come out of the synagogue they went into Simon’s house and healed Peter’s wife’s mother of the fever; then in verse 32 it is written, “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.” They would not carry the diseased to him on the Sabbath, but just as soon as it was past, at the setting of the sun, they brought them all, “and all the city was gathered together at the door.” Dr. Clarke says: “The sick were not brought out to our Lord till after sunset, because then the Sabbath was ended.” See on Matthew 8:16. And as the Sabbath ended, so the first day of the week began, at the setting of the sun. These are Bible facts, and accordingly if a meeting is held in the night on the first day of the week, it must be held between sunset on Sabbath (Saturday) and sunrise on Sunday. Therefore this meeting at Troas was on what we now call Saturday night. It was impossible for it to be on any other night, and still be on the first day of the week.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.4

    WITH this agree many eminent commentators. Conybeare and Howson’s “Life and Epistles of Paul” says: “It was the evening which succeeded the Jewish Sabbath. On the Sunday morning the vessel was about to sail. The Christians of Troas were gathered together... The place was an upper room.... The night was dark. Many lamps were burning in the room where the congregation was assembled.” Professor Hackett says: “The apostle then waited for the expiration of the Jewish Sabbath, and held his last religious service with the brethren at Troas ... on Saturday evening, and consequently resumed his journey on Sunday morning.” Kitto says: “In fact, the Jewish civil day began, as it still does, not with the morning, but with the evening; thus the Sabbath commences with the sunset of Friday, and ends with the sunset on Saturday. Under this arrangement the night seems to have been regarded ... as belonging to and ushering in the day that follows.” He quotes from Tacitus “nox decree diem videtur,” i.e., night appears to lead the day. “Indications of this primeval order exist among many nations, and even we have ‘sevennight’ and “fortnight’ to signify seven days and fourteen days.” Prynne says of this meeting: “For my own part I clearly conceive that it was upon Saturday night, .. and not the coming Sunday night. Because St. Luke records that it was upon the first day of the week when this meeting was, therefore it must needs be on the Saturday evening, not on our Sunday evening, since the Sunday evening in St. Luke’s and the Scripture account was not part of the first, but of the second day, the day ever beginning and ending at evening.” So, then, it is a fact that this meeting at Troas was upon what is now called Saturday night.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.5

    PAUL preached till midnight, then Eutychus fell out of the window; Paul went down and restored him to life, came up again, and then they broke the bread. Mark, the bread was not broken till after midnight. And when he had broken the bread, and eaten, and talked till break of day, then he started “afoot” for Assos, twenty miles away, on Sunday morning.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.6

    BUT his eight companions on the voyage had already gone. “We went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos.” Verse 13. In fact, they were not at the meeting at all. Now let us read the narrative again, and to more easily get this point, we will italicize the distinguishing words. Begin with the fifth verse: “These [seven] going before tarried for us at Troas. And we [Paul and Luke] sailed away from Philippi ... and came unto them to Troas, ... where we [all] abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together ... Paul preached unto them ... and there were many lights ... where they were gathered together... And they brought the young man alive.” Notice, he says we abode at Troas seven days. He does not say that on the first day of the week we came together, but, “the disciples came together.” He does not say, Paul preached unto us, but, “Paul preached unto them.” He does not say, There were many lights where we were gathered together, but, where they were gathered together. He does not say we brought the young man alive, but, “they brought the young man alive.” But where were the “we?” what were “we” doing all this time? Ah! he tells us. “We went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos.” It is a fact, therefore, that Paul’s eight traveling companions were not at this meeting at all, but, instead, were aboard the ship sailing to Assos. And this was by the direction of Paul himself. “We sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul; for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene.”SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.7

    AGAIN, the record says they were at Troas on the “first day of the week.” The same record (verse 15) says that “the next day” they sailed from Mitylene “and come over against [or abreast of] Chios.” And this is proof positive that they went from Troas to Mitylene on the first day of the week, which makes fifty miles that Paul traveled, and seventy miles that his companions, by his appointment, traveled on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and sometimes called the “Christian Sabbath.” Once more: The “first day of the week” they went from Troas to Mitylene, about seventy miles; “the next day” they went from Mitylene to Chios, about seventy miles; “the next day” they went from Chios to Samos and Trogyllium, about seventy miles; and “the next day” to Miletus, about thirty miles, and from there Paul sent for the Ephesian elders (verses 13-17), all of which shows that they traveled just as far on the first day of the week as they did on any other day of which the record speaks. And that proves that Sapater, and Aristarchus, and Secundus, and Gaius, and Tychicus, and Trophimus, and Timothy, and LUKE, and PAUL considered the first day of the week as no more sacred than “the next day,” or “the next day,” or “the next day.”SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.8

    NOW if this be the account of how the first day of the week should be observed, then how much Sabbath observance is there about it? Just none at all. And if this be, as is claimed, the example of the observance of the first day of the week by the apostles and primitive Christians, then how many of them observed it as any more sacred than the other days of the week? Not one. A. T. JONES.SITI December 11, 1884, page 743.9

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