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    SINCE the foregoing pages went to press, events have transpired in Arkansas and Tennessee, going to show very clearly what the practical workings of the Sunday law will be whenever and wherever it may be secured.MANA 275.1

    It is but a short time since the attention of the people in some places in Arkansas, began to be called to the importance of observing the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath according to the fourth commandment of the decalogue, by the advocates of that faith. As converts to that view and practice began to appear, it excited strong opposition on the part of some, as it has in other places, and as truth has always done ever since error has endeavored to usurp control over the minds of men. How far the action which has since followed has been owing to this opposition, we do not say. We only state the facts, and leave the reader to draw his own conclusions.MANA 275.2

    In the winter of 1884-5, a bill was introduced into the Legislature of that State to abolish the clause in the existing Sunday law which exempted from its operation those who conscientiously observed the seventh day. Up to this time the laws of that State had been very just and liberal in this respect. But now a petition was presented that the exemption clause be stricken out, bringing all alike, without regard to their religious faith or practice, under subjection to the enactment to keep the first day of the week as the Sabbath. The petition claimed to have been called out by the fact that certain Jews in Little Rock, regarding the seventh day as the Sabbath, kept open stores and transacted their usual business on the first day of the week. Considering the fact that their places of business were open also on the seventh day, this brought them into unfair competition with the other merchants of the place. There was certainly no necessity for a change of the law to meet this difficulty; for the law exempted those only who conscientiously observed the seventh day; and these Jews, by keeping open places of business on the seventh day, showed that there was no such conscientious observance on their part, and consequently that they could not justly claim the exemption of the law. But ostensibly on this ground the petition was urged, and the repeal of the exempting clause secured.MANA 275.3

    What has been the result? We have not learned that the aforesaid Jews in Little Rock, or any other part of the State, have been molested; that railroads, hotel-keepers, livery men;, or those engaged in any like vocations, have been in anywise restrained. But those persons above referred to, who, from a Christian point of view, had commenced to observe the seventh day in preference to the first; who were not engaged in such business as brought them into competition with others; who, having conscientiously observed the seventh day, proposed to go quietly and industriously about their lawful business on the first day of the week, — these soon found that they were not overlooked. Warrants were promptly issued for the arrest of some five or six of these, one of them a minister whose offense was that he was engaged one Sunday in painting a meeting-house erected by his people.MANA 276.1

    The trial of these persons came off at Fayetteville, Ark., the first week in November, 1885. In making up the indictment, an observer of the seventh day was called in to testify against his brethren. The following examination substantially took place:—MANA 276.2

    “Do you know any one about here who is violating the Sunday law? — Yes. Who? — The Frisco railroad is running several trains each way on that day. Do you know of any others? — Yes. Who? — The hotels of this place are open and doing a full run of business on Sunday as on other days. Any others? — Yes; the drug stores and barbers. Any others? — Yes; the livery-stable men do more business on that day than on any other.”MANA 276.3

    As these were not the parties the court was after, the question was finally asked directly, “Do you know of any Seventh-day Adventists who have worked on Sunday?” Ascertaining that some of this class had been guilty of labor on that day, indictments were issued for five persons accordingly.MANA 277.1

    At the trail, the defendants employed the best counsel obtainable — Judge Walker, ex-member of the United States Senate. The points he made before the court were that the law was unconstitutional, —MANA 277.2

    First, because it was infringement of religious freedom, or the right of conscience, inasmuch as it compelled men to keep as the Sabbath a day which their conscience and the Bible taught them was not the Sabbath;MANA 277.3

    Secondly, because it was in infringement of the right of property, taking from seventh-day keepers one-sixth part of their time; and the time of a laboring man being his property, the law was in its nature a robber; and —MANA 277.4

    Thirdly, because it took away a right that God had given — the right to labor six days and to rest one.MANA 277.5

    All this was overruled by the judge, who charged that the law rested equally upon all, requiring that all men should rest one day, and that the first day of the week; which requirement rested alike on the Methodists, the Baptists, the Congregationalists, the Sabbatarians, the Jews, worldlings and infidels; and if our religion required us to keep another day, that was a price we paid to our religion, and with that the State had nothing to do. He ruled, moreover, that no one had a right to set up his conscience against the law of the land.MANA 277.6

    From these denials of the rights which the Author of their existence has given to all men — namely, their right to labor six days, and to rest on the seventh, and the right to obey God rather than man, when man’s requirements conflict with his, the counsel for the defendants of course took appeal; and the case went up to the supreme court of the State, to be tried in May, 1886.MANA 277.7

    After the argument of the counsel had been presented, the defendants, were given opportunity to speak for themselves, whereupon the minister before referred to occupied about forty minutes in presenting to the court a clear and concise argument from the Scriptures, showing the duty of all men to keep the seventh day and that alone. By-standers remarked that the spectacle of the minister of the gospel pleading in court from an open Bible for God-given rights which the laws of men denied him, was one not often witnessed since long by-gone days of religious intolerance and persecution.MANA 278.1

    One other case besides those of the observers of the seventh day — that of a hotel runner, came up for trial; but he was cleared in about five minutes, while the seventh-day keepers were convicted. Many think this case was thrown in merely as an attempted cover of the true spirit of the prosecutions, which came from professors of religion.MANA 278.2

    During the same time a similar work has been going on in Tennessee, where seventh-day views have of late been more extensively agitated. Eld. S. Fulton, of Springville, Henry Co., Tenn., writes that eight in that State have been prosecuted for Sunday labor. Three of the number have been convicted on a charge of “flagrant violation of the Christian Sabbath.” The charge was preferred by a professor of religion; but two of the men were quietly plowing in their fields a full half mile from the house of the one who lodged complaint against them. In these cases a fine of $20 and costs was imposed on each. Appeal has been taken to the supreme court of the State, which convenes in Jackson in May next (1886), the parties having meanwhile to give bail of $250 each for their appearance in court at the time.MANA 278.3

    In regard to the state of public sentiment in Tennessee on this question, Eld. F. writes:—MANA 278.4

    “Public sentiment is fast changing here in favor of Sunday legislation. Some seven years ago, a Mr. Thomason, a lawyer of Paris, Tennessee, in consulting with our brethren on the question of Sunday, claiming that they could not be harmed for it, as the constitution granted them that right. Since then, he has professed religion and joined the Presbyterian church, and now says that we must quit work on the Christian Sabbath or suffer punishment by law; and there is no avoiding it.”MANA 278.5

    Speaking of the trial, he says: “In the court room, the attorney for the defendant asked the question if Sunday was the Sabbath; and the judge ruled it out as not a proper question; neither would he permit a statement to be made why our brethren worked on Sunday. In his charge to the jury, it was easily seen that he was determined to have them punished. The jury had hardly left the room when they returned a verdict of ‘Guilty,’ and a fine of $20 and costs was imposed on each. Our brethren then appealed to the supreme court, in the hope that some justice may be shown them there.”MANA 279.1

    It is the opinion of some that the decision will be reversed in the higher court. A prominent lawyer whom Eld. F. has consulted gives his views of the case in the following letter, which we are permitted to lay before the reader:— “HUNTINGDON, TENNESSEE, Jan. 5, 1886. “ELD. SAMUEL FULTON, “Springville, Tennessee.Dear Sir,—MANA 279.2

    “Your letter of yesterday received and duly considered. In reply I have to inform you that I cannot furnish you with the opinion of the judges in Tennessee in relation to the statute under which members of your church are being prosecuted for working on Sunday, except in so far as the question has been before our supreme court. The constitutionality of our act of Assembly, making it an offense, punishable by a fine of $3. to work on Sunday, has never been passed upon by our supreme court. It has, however, been decided by our supreme court that it is not nuisance for a man to work on Sunday, and therefore not indictable. See 7th Baxter 95. In a later case the same court decided that ‘hunting or fishing on Sunday may be done in such a manner as to subject the party guilty to indictment for a nuisance.’ See I B. I. Law Reports, page 129.MANA 279.3

    “From what I have learned in relation to the prosecutions in Henry county, I would say that if our supreme court does not go back on the question decided in the case of the State vs. Lossy 7 Baxter page 95, before referred to, the case now pending on writ of error in said court will be reversed, remanded to the circuit court, and dismissed on the ground that to work on Sunday is not an indictable offense. But should the court overrule the case last mentioned, we may be able in that case to make the constitutional question; but inasmuch as I have not seen the record as made up, I cannot say positively. In the 7 Baxter case, the judge, delivering the opinion of the court, incidentally remarked that the defendant was guilty of violating the statute prohibiting work on Sunday, but that the offense was not indictable. The question of the constitutionality of the Sunday statute was not before the court in that case. It seems to me that if our Sunday laws, as against members of your church, can be sustained at all by the court, it must be on the ground that the legislature possesses the power to require the citizen to rest on any one day in the week, Sunday, Monday, or any other one of the seven. I know our courts, both State and Federal, have gone a great way in upholding certain legislation on the ground of the police power of the States. However, I don’t want to be understood as saying that the legislature possesses the power to pass the statute under consideration, as I have not had the time necessary to a proper investigation of the question. But I feel confident that if the question can have the consideration at the hands of courts that its importance demands, your people would be allowed to observe their Sabbath and to work the remaining six days of the week. I am, however, fearful that much prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance must be overcome before success can be predicted with confidence. “Very respectfully, * * * “MANA 280.1

    Still later reports from Eld. F. represent that the opposition there is growing still more active, and is becoming so persistent and bitter as to threaten serious injury to their work. Too many, under the most favorable circumstances, will quail before the opposition sure to be visited upon unpopular truth, in only a social point of view, from their friends and neighbors. But when, in addition to this, they are threatened with almost certain prosecution, fewer still will be found to yield to the voice of conscience, though they may be quite well convinced that the observance of the seventh day is in accordance with the Scriptures.MANA 281.1

    We do not apprehend that human nature in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania differs materially from human nature in any and all of the other States; and in every community there will be found plenty to oppress their neighbors in the matter of Sabbath-keeping, if once the law can be secured to give them that privilege.MANA 281.2

    The issue of these cases will be watched by many with great interest.MANA 281.3

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