Larger font
Smaller font
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    October 31, 1895

    “The ‘Reasons’ Then and Now” American Sentinel 10, 43, pp. 337, 338.


    BEFORE another number of this paper reaches the reader, at least two more Seventh-day Adventists will have been placed upon trial for their faith; one in Maryland, and other in Tennessee.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.1

    It is denied that the prosecution of these men is persecution, for “it is only enforcing the civil law.” “They are not fined, imprisoned, or worked in the chain-gang for their religion, but only for violation of civil law.” “They are left perfectly free to observe Saturday if they wish to do so, and they must respect our rights.” Such are some of the excuses offered for pursuing with the “law,” conscientious, upright men, whose lives are admitted to be above reproach.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.2

    It is not for the purpose of soliciting sympathy for Seventh-day Adventists that we state these facts, but to secure consideration of the principles involved. The contention that it is not religious persecution fails, in view of the facts as we have repeatedly given them to the public; for while Seventh-day Adventists are singled out and punished, frequently for the most trifling acts of unobtrusive private work, men who observe no day, or who at least frequently work on Sunday and do not observe the seventh day, are not molested. True, it would not make the “law” any better or justify its existence if all who violated it were prosecuted, but the purpose of its enforcement against Seventh-day Adventists would not be so apparent.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.3

    But, as before remarked, it is not for the purpose of exciting sympathy that we present these facts. It is that by seeing the evil of the practical workings of such “laws,” men may be led to examine the principles, to recognize the moral obligation resting upon every man to obey God regardless of consequences; and also to recognize the fact that there is an infallible standard of right and justice in all things. This perfect law of moral action is revealed in the Word of God, while in our civil relations this undeviating and perfect rule of action is written in the very law of our being.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.4

    This latter truth is expressed in the Declaration of Independence, in the words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.5

    This law of justice which, when obeyed, secures to every many civil liberty, is seen and recognized in proportion as the individual members of civil society recognize moral obligation; hence the largest measure of civil liberty is enjoyed in those countries that have most gospel light. Civil liberty is however incidental to, rather than the object of, the gospel. The purpose of the gospel is to bring men into harmony with God by writing the divine law in their hearts; 1Jeremiah 31:33. and this law being the “law of liberty” 2James 1:25. not only gives true liberty to every one who is conformed to it; but it leads such an one to award to his fellowmen everything which he claims for himself.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.6

    The underlying principle of Christianity is supreme loyalty to God and perfect recognition of the equality and rights of our fellow-creatures. The Scriptures sum up all human duty in two precepts: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;” and, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 3Matthew 22:37, 39. And again: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” 4Matthew 7:12. This is the perfect law, in obedience to which there is perfect liberty.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.7

    According to the pagan conception of the rights of man and of civil society, divinity inheres in the State; hence the maxim: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” This is a denial alike of a positive moral standard and of inalienable right. Under such a system toleration may exist, but liberty is impossible.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.8

    The Son of God came into the world to set men free, and to teach the divine truth that there is an absolute standard of right established by God himself; and that nothing which is contrary to that standard is of any binding force whatever, or imposes upon the most humble man any obligation at all.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.9

    In the familiar words of the Saviour, “Render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” the Lord declared the absolute independence of every man from every other man in everything pertaining to God; and it was to teach this doctrine that the followers of Christ were sent into all the world.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.10

    The doctrine was not new, for it was divine; and the same truth which our Lord taught, and which his disciples were commissioned to teach, was truth as soon as there was a moral creature in existence. The three Hebrews asserted their independence of human government in their relations to God when they refused to worship the golden image. 5Daniel 5:1-20. Daniel asserted the same principle when he disobeyed the king’s commandment and prayed to God three times a day as he had done aforetime. 6Daniel 6:1-22. But it was not until the gospel commission was given to the apostles that this doctrine was preached to the world in its fullness. And the preaching of this gospel of liberty was accounted treason against the State.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.11

    Paganism was so interwoven with the manners, customs and government of the people, that to introduce another religion was indirectly to attack the civil polity of Rome.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.12

    Even in the every-day-affairs of life, the Christian was compelled to run counter to the religious prejudices of his heathen neighbors. Gibbon says:—AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.13

    The Christian, who with pious horror avoided the abomination of the circus or the theater, found himself encompassed with infernal snares in every convivial entertainment, as often as his friends, invoking the hospitable deities, poured out libations to each others’ happiness.... Every art and every trade that was in the least concerned in the framing or adorning of idols, was polluted by the stain of idolatry.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.14

    The dangerous temptations which on every side lurked in ambush to surprise the unguarded believer, assailed him with redoubled violence on the day of solemn festivals. So artfully were they framed and disposed through the year, that superstition always wore the appearance of pleasure, and often of virtue.... On the days of general festivity, it was the custom of the ancients to adorn their doors with lamps and with branches of laurel, and to crown their heads with garlands of flowers. This innocent and elegant practice might have been tolerated as a mere civil institution. But it most unluckily happened that the doors were under the protection of the household gods, that the laurel was sacred to the lover of Daphne, and that garlands of flowers, though frequently worn as a symbol either of joy or mourning, had been dedicated in their first origin to the service of superstition. The trembling Christians who were persuaded in this instance to comply with the fashions of their country and the commands of the magistrates, labored under the most gloomy apprehensions from the reproaches of their own conscience, the censures of the church, and the denunciations of divine vengeance. 7“Decline and Fall,” Chap. XV., par. 15, 16.AMS October 31, 1895, page 337.15

    To transgress these time-honored social customs was more than simply to offend the religious sensibilities of the people. Any disrespect to the gods of Rome was disrespect to the Roman State, because the two were so closely connected. These pagan rights which were so interwoven with the lives of the people, were not merely religious, but they were civil institutions as well; hence, to become a Christian was to be arrayed not only against the religion of Rome, but against the Roman Empire. It was for this reason that pagan Rome persecuted the early Christians.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.1

    Such was the logic of paganism in the palmy days of the Roman Empire, and such the “justification” of intolerance in the American Republic in the closing decade of the enlightened 19th century. In his dictum in the King case in Tennessee, August 1891, United States Judge Hammond said of Sunday enforcement:—AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.2

    The courts cannot change that which has been done, however done, by the civil law in favor of the Sunday observers. The religion of Jesus Christ is so interwoven with the texture of our civilization and every one of its institutions, that it is impossible for any man or set of men to live among us and find exemption from its influences and restraints. Sunday observance is so essentially a part of that religion that it is impossible to rid our laws of it, quite as impossible as to abolish the custom we have of using the English language, or clothing ourselves with the garments appropriate to our sex. The logic of personal liberty would allow, perhaps demand, a choice of garments, but the choice is denied. So civil or religious freedom may stop short of its logic in this matter of Sunday observance. It is idle to expect in government perfect action or harmony or essential principles, and whoever administers, whoever makes, and whoever executes the laws, must take into account the imperfections, the passions, the prejudices, religious or other, and the errings of men because of these.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.3

    There is in this much of mere sentiment. But it was not for a theory merely that Rome pursued the Christians. Rome claimed to be supreme, to hold in her hands absolutely the destiny of every citizen. To become a Christian was to challenge the supremacy of Rome; it was to deny the authority that was claimed by the Roman State.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.4

    Thus what we call persecution in Rome was to the Romans, simply enforcing the law. From their standard they could pursue no other course. The emperors were under solemn obligation to their subjects to maintain unimpaired the authority of the Empire, and the better the emperors, the more regard they had for the government, the more conscientious in the discharge of their duties, the more intolerant they were toward those who challenged their authority.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.5

    The Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, was a man of spotless character. “This man,” says John Stuart Mill, “a better Christian in all but the dogmatic sense of the word, than almost any of the ostensibly Christian sovereigns who have since reigned, persecuted Christianity.” And why? Because as Mill says: “No Christian more firmly believes that atheism is false, and tends to the dissolution of society, than Marcus Aurelius believed the same things of Christianity.” 8“Mill on Liberty.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.6

    As a ruler Marcus Aurelius “deemed it his duty not to suffer society to fall to pieces; and saw not how, if its existing ties were removed, any others could be formed which could again knit it together. The new religion openly aimed at dissolving these ties; unless, therefore, it was his duty to adopt that religion, it seemed to be his duty to put it down. Inasmuch, then, as the theology of Christianity did not appear to him to be true or of divine origin,” “the gentlest and most amiable of philosophers and rulers, under a solemn sense of duty, authorized the persecution of Christianity.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.7

    But Christianity finally prevailed in the Roman Empire to the extent that Rome acknowledged the right of every man to freedom of conscience, and proclaimed such freedom to all. It was then that the papacy, though in its infancy, took from the world the liberty which had been won for it through the sufferings of the early Christians, and another system was established more intolerant, more despotic, even than paganism.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.8

    Through the Dark Ages this power held sway over the consciences of men. In the Reformation of the 16th century the true principle was again asserted; and to this the liberty of conscience which we enjoy to-day is due. But the high-water-mark of human liberty has been reached and already the ebb has commenced. Men are turning again to pagan maxims and methods. Again, to the State is assigned the place which belongs alone to God. “‘Law’ must be enforced whether right or wrong,” and “nothing isperseuciton which is authorized by ‘law.’”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.9

    Thus reasoned the pagans when endeavoring to stamp out Christianity because it opposed itself to the laws of the Roman Empire prior to the rise of Constantine; thus reasoned the papacy in the Dark Ages, and thus reasons the popular Christianity and so-called Christian civilization of to-day. And if the principles advocated in the 19th century in the United States are true, then all the persecution of the past stands justified, for is has only been the enforcement of civil law.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.10

    “Conscience in Politics” American Sentinel 10, 43, p. 338.


    POLICE COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT has written a letter to a leading representative of the “good government” political party in this State, in which, while expressing his admiration for the “conscience vote” in politics, he also affirms that this vote should pay due attention to “questions of expediency.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.1

    Mr. Roosevelt is a warm supporter of the fusion ticket, and asserts that the “good government” party, in running a separate ticket, furnishes an example of “the conscience vote gone wrong.” This vote ought in other words, to be given to the fusion party, because that is the only one that can hope to be successful against those who are deemed the enemies of political purity.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.2

    This brings up the simple but important question whether the voter’s conscience is to reform politics, or allow itself to be “reformed” thereby. It appears to us that any good conscience which has “fused” with the principles of the fusion platform, has suffered principles of the fusion platform, has suffered and downward “reform” quite equal in extent to the elevation it seeks to bring to the politics which it touches.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.3

    The reader will remember that this fusion platform advocates a Sunday which, while suppressing all “unnecessary” labor in the interests of public morality and health, admits of “orderly and harmless recreations,” and such a measure of freedom in the selling of beer, tobacco, and the necessaries of life as may be deemed not in conflict with the pursuance of religious exercises and devotions. We cannot see how any one who regards Sunday as a sacred day, can be blamed for inability to make his conscience fuse with this idea of Sunday observance.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.4

    Such facts clearly point out the necessity of keeping politics and religion entirely separate. If religion has any proper place in politics, then, in the issue which is now before the people, the conscientious voter must vote for such a degree of Sunday observance to be enforced by law as his conscience tells him to be right and in harmony with his convictions as to the character of the day. And he who believes Sunday to be a sacred day cannot, without violating his conscience, vote for the establishment of any observance which is not in harmony with that conception.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.5

    The truth is, that when religion is dragged into politics, the result is always a degradation of religion, and in very many instances, a degradation of the consciences of the voters. And this is certainly not the way to secure the purification and elevation of politics.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.6

    “Neither Incredible Nor Inconsistent” American Sentinel 10, 43, pp. 338, 339.


    THE bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, assembled at Minneapolis, Oct. 22, issued their “pastoral address,” in which, we are told, the chief points of interest are the references “to the massacre of Christian missionaries in China, and the Sunday observance law.” Concerning the latter the address says:—AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.1

    Recent events in some parts of our country compel us to call your earnest attention to a widely spread and determined attack upon the use and purpose of the weekly day of rest known at the beginning of the Christian era, as the Lord’s day. It is declared in the law of God to be his own day, and by the Saviour of man to be “made for man.” It is protected by a divine command and by the perpetual sanctity of a human right. Men may and ought to worship God every day, but for the greater assurance of this duty on day in seven has, with the formal sanction of all Christian civilization, been set apart for its due observance. This order cannot be disturbed without grave evils to the individual and the family, to society and to State.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.2

    It seems almost incredible that our modern life should be capable of bringing into play any powers of evils that could seriously threaten the existence of so divine and beneficient an institution. And yet the peril and disaster of such a menace confront Christian people in wide areas of the country. We exhort you, dear brethren, to meet this menace with unfaltering courage and resolute determination, and in no opportunity that may be presented to decline battle with the insatiate greed of the liquor traffic and the growing desire for popular pleasures and amusements, which with increasing boldness claim all days alike for their uses.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.3

    These words are, of course, spoken with reference to “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.” It is the growing disregard of this day as a religious institution that is viewed by these bishops as an occasion of alarm and an “almost incredible” feature of “our modern life.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.4

    Yet these bishops know very well that the day “declared in the law of God to be his own day, and by the Saviour of man to be ‘made for man,’” is not the first day of the week at all, but the seventh day. They know that God’s Word never calls the first day of the week the Sabbath, or a sacred day, or commands anybody to keep it. It is by the will and the wisdom of man that the reverence and honor due the seventh day of the week, and given to it by God’s people of old, have been transferred to the first day.AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.5

    Now, cannot these bishops, and all other people as well, see that there is nothing more “incredible” in this modern laxity of Sunday observance, then there was in the transfer of Sabbath obligations from the seventh day to a day never called the sabbath by divine sanction? Is it not plain that the same authority which can erect an institution, can also without blame, pull it down or set it aside? This is certainly true; and since Sunday as a religious institution rests wholly upon the will and wisdom of man, we fail to see any act of impropriety, or occasion for surprise, if by the same will and authority, as represented in the present generation, this institution is changed from a day of rest and religious devotions, to one of “popular pleasures and amusements.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 338.6

    We are presenting the case in accordance with the logic of the bishops’ position, and that of al those who observe Sunday as the “Christian sabbath.” We do not want the world, or any part of it, to disregard God’s holy day. No person can do this without suffering incalculable loss. But when we take the position that this day is the first day of the week, standing as we then do upon the will and authority of man rather than upon the Word of God, we thereby sanction the very thing which we would so earnestly seek to prevent.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.1

    If we would, without inconsistency, raise our voice against Sabbath desecration, we must do so from the standpoint of the word and authority of God alone.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.2

    “Maryland’s Pledge of Religious Freedom” American Sentinel 10, 43, p. 339.


    THIS pledge or guarantee of freedom to the citizens of Maryland in the practice of religion, is contained in Article 36 of the Constitution of 1864, which is now in force. That article declares:—AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.1

    That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice, unless under the color of religion any man shall disturb the good order, peace, or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil, or religious rights.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.2

    It would seem that such a declaration as this in the fundamental law of the State should constitute a bulwark of liberty behind which the citizen might, without molestation, quietly practice that form of religion which his conscience might dictate, even though his practice should be at variance with that of the majority of citizens around him. Certainly a constitutional guarantee of religious freedom is a meaningless thing if its design is not to protect those in the minority; for the majority have the power to protect themselves. And in all cases where the minority is sufficiently powerful to command the respect of their opponents, such a constitutional guarantee of protection would doubtless be of force; but in case the minority whose privileges are in question is very weak in numbers, so as to be most in need of protection, as is true of the Seventh-day Adventists in Maryland, it seems that the constitutional guarantee is without any force whatever.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.3

    In proof of this, we have but to cite the case of Mr. Faust, an Adventist shoemaker in Baltimore, who was arrested for working at his trade in his own house on Sunday, with closed doors, and so quietly that the arresting officer had to peep in at the window to discover that any work was being done. Mr. Faust was indicted by the grand jury, and is now awaiting the summons of the trial court.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.4

    The parties who instigated this persecution are themselves more worthy of indictment, according to the spirit if not the letter of the constitutional provision under consideration; for that expressly guards against injury to any citizens “in their natural, civil, or religious rights.” And the injury done in this case was no less grievous or less to be condemned because it was not done “under the color of religion.” It was religious prejudice and animosity that prompted the whole proceeding; and certainly no worse motive for infringing upon “natural, civil, or religious rights” could be found.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.5

    It is useless to deny that the Sunday work done by Seventh-day Adventists is the direct result of their religious views. They are religious people, believing in the binding obligation of the Sabbath, as well as of the other precepts of God’s law. Most of them, before becoming Adventists, were observers of the first day of the week, and such they would doubtless be to-day did they not believe the seventh day to be the Sabbath according to the testimony of God’s Word. That they now labor on the first day of the week, is in most cases due entirely to this change of religious belief.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.6

    Furthermore, as the SENTINEL has often stated, the Adventists see that it is impossible to sanctify the seventh day, as the Word of God commands, without making a separation between it and the other days of the week; and to do this, according to the directions of the fourth commandment, they must make that day, and that alone, the weekly day of rest. In other words, they must rest on the seventh day and treat the first day as a working day, after the example set by the Creator.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.7

    It is therefore from the free exercise of their religion, and from that only, that their disregard of the first-day sabbath arises. And the fundamental law of the State guarantees to them, in common with all others, freedom and security in this respect. There is nothing in ordinary, quiet, peaceful labor that is against “the good order, peace, or safety of the State.” Indeed, there is nothing that now menaces the interests of the State in this respect more than the fact that so many men are averse to honest labor, and are trying to get a living by some other means.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.8

    It is obvious that we have reached a time when even a constitutional guarantee is inadequate to afford the weak minority protection in the exercise of religion against the prejudice and bigotry of the majority. And this, coming upon the end of our one hundred years’ practice of the principle of liberty to all in the exercise of religious belief, constitutes a portentious and baleful sign of the times before us.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.9

    “Human Authority and Infallibility” American Sentinel 10, 43, pp. 339, 340.


    THE Christian Statesman, of Oct. 19, discusses the authority of the “powers that be” from what it conceives to be the Protestant standpoint, in contrast with the authority claimed by Catholics for the pope of Rome. The Statesman does not believe in the doctrine of papal infallibility, or in the infallibility of any man, State, or Church; nevertheless it claims that the State, aided by the counsel of the Church, has the right to speak in enunciation of the claims of the divine law as applied to human affairs, and command obedience thereto from every citizen.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.1

    Just what is to be gained by choosing a fallible State, counseled by a fallible church, as authority for determining the will of God, in preference to an “infallible” pope, the Statesman does not make clear. For our own part, if obliged to choose between the two, we would prefer the latter, since in that case, believing our authority to be infallible, we would not be continually harassed by the fear that it might, notwithstanding the wise counsel of the fallible church, be in the wrong. We would feel that in such a matter we could not afford to run any risks.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.2

    “The truly Christian State,” says the Statesman, “acknowledging as it will the ultimate authority of God and its own subjection to Christ and his law, will avoid many of the mistakes into which the nations of the world have almost constantly fallen. But it will give evidence in many ways of its fallibility. And yet in the midst of their errors of judgment in legislative enactments and governmental administration, the ‘powers that be’ may claim the true authority that comes from God in all they justly do for the maintenance of human rights.” Of course whatever is “justly” done by the State “for the maintenance of human rights” has the sanction of God. He has ordained them expressly for this purpose, and there is no dispute among any persons who believe in God upon this point.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.3

    But it is not true that the State has any right to speak as an interpreter of the divine will, or that any person is bound to obey it when it presumes so to do. The Statesman admits that there will be “errors of judgment in legislative enactments and governmental administration;” and this alone invalidates the Statesman’s position. For when the States makes one of its “errors of judgment in legislative enactments,” and commands its subjects to do that which is wrong, what course is the citizen to pursue? Is he to yield to the law of the State, knowing that the law of God commands him otherwise? for the law of God commands everything that is right, and prohibits all that is wrong.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.4

    So long as the State keeps within its God-appointed sphere, confining the exercise of its power to the maintenance of human rights, no good citizen will question its authority or desire to disobey its injunctions. But when it presumes to pronounce upon questions of religious duty, as set forth in God’s moral law, it touches upon that concerning which no fallible power has any right to issue a command. The plan of salvation would be a failure without an absolutely infallible authority to which every person is to be subject upon such points.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.5

    That authority is the Word of God, interpreted by the Spirit of God, given to every person in answer to the prayer of faith. “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,” and “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:10. Wherefore it is also written, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. We are to come to God, and not to any man or organization of men,—to the divine word, interpreted by the Spirit of God, and not to the fallible State directed by the counsel of the fallible church, for guidance in the pathway of righteousness. Every person may thus be infallibly guided in every point of moral obligation.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.6

    The State is altogether out of her sphere in attempting to act the part of a moral guide. The very means by which the State is constituted precludes it from any right in this respect, for the ballot, representing the opinion of the majority, can never in this wicked world where Christians are so sadly in the minority, determine the question of any person’s fitness for the position of dictator to his fellowmen on moral questions, whether he has the “aid” of the church’s counsel or not. Even were the majority of voters Christians, this would not help the matter, since the fallibility of human judgment would prevent any certainty that their choice would be the right one. And even could they unerringly select the very best man for their purpose, the fallibility of those same men would still constitute a fatal defect in the working of the plan. It would only be putting the best men in the place of God, and thus erecting a standard of moral authority infinitely below that which the need of the race demands.AMS October 31, 1895, page 339.7

    In other words, not the authority which commands men, but the individual commanded, must be responsible for any deviation on his part from the pathway of moral rectitude. God could not hold any person accountable for wrong doing while there was a possibility that the authority to which he had been made amenable might be itself in the wrong.AMS October 31, 1895, page 340.1

    According to the Statesman’s plan, “a wise State” would not “refuse to receive the aid that the church can give toward a better understanding of the divine criterion of national conduct.” In other words “the State would show its wisdom if, when some difficult question had to be decided in its counsels, and it was at a loss to know what was the requirement of the divine standard for nations, it would apply to the church of Christ for help in the interpretation of that perfect law.” This is precisely what the “wise State” did in the Dark Ages. Nor was the proceeding such a difficult and dangerous one then as it will be now; for there was none then to dispute with the church of Rome the tide of “Church of Christ,” while now the number of contestants would be almost legion. What church shall it be that shall be privileged to thus direct the State in matters which involve an interpretation of the divine law? Shall it be Catholic or Protestant? and if Protestant, which one of the many Protestant sects? Does any one suppose that this question can be settled without a bitter contest? “Old controversies will be revived and new ones will be added;” the cause of pure religion will be neglected, unscrupulous hypocrites will seek church connection for political ends, and the church will sink lower and lower until it will present a literal fulfillment of the prophetic words, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:2.AMS October 31, 1895, page 340.2

    And this terrible picture is actually erelong to be realized, in the consummation of the movements which are everywhere fast dragging the Church into politics. And at that time the call will be sounded, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.AMS October 31, 1895, page 340.3

    “The World’s ‘Christian’ Nations” American Sentinel 10, 43, p. 341.


    THE Apostle Paul, addressing the Christian Church at Corinth, wrote: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.1

    The Christian’s warfare is different in its weapons, its nature, and its results, from that warfare which is “after the flesh.” As the text declares, the Christian does not war “after the flesh,” yet his warfare is not one-sided and incomplete, but is directed against every foe that can oppose him. It is the only warfare that needs to be conducted in this world.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.2

    But it is not the kind of warfare that the world most generally sees and for which the greatest preparations are made, even by those who profess to be Christians; and in the light of the word of God spoken by Paul, how wickedly absurd appears the idea so commonly advanced by certain would-be reformers, that the leading civilized nations of the earth, which manifest a regard for religion, are Christian. By a mere comparison with pagan nations, it is plainly evident that the so-called Christian nations of our day are no more Christian in character than are those of “darkest Africa.” Such a comparison we find in the New York Sun of Oct. 25. The Sun says:—AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.3

    A delegate to the Convention of the American Board of Foreign Missions gave warning that if China were not speedily Christianized, she would endanger the civilized nations by raising vast hordes of fighters able to swoop down upon them. Brother Hyde does not seem to have thought of the fact that it is the Christianized nations of Europe which keep the vast hordes of fighters and do most of the fighting. In view of the armed millions and the many wars of the great powers of Christendom, we do not see how he can believe that the Christianization of China would prevent her from raising great fighting armies. When Christianized, she would probably want to keep up with European Christendom, in which case her armies would be larger than the combined armies of Russia, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and England,—all Christian countries.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.4

    The Ying Ping, or national army of pagan China, added the other Chinese armies, is smaller, in proportion to the population from which it is drawn, than the army of any of the Christian countries of Europe. The army needed in pagan India is small as compared with that needed in Christian Germany. Japan, since she adopted the customs of Christian nations, has raised an army far greater than she ever had before.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.5

    It is the Christian countries, not the pagan ones, that have set the example of maintaining gigantic military establishments. There have been ten times, or twenty, or a hundred times, more fighting and bloodshed in Christian Europe within the past century than in pagan China, though the population of China is probably greater than that of all Europe.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.6

    We do not see, therefore, how it can be supposed that the Christianization of China, if China after her Christianization shall follow the example of the Christian powers, is to prevent her from raising armies as big as Christian armies, and as savage on the field of battle as Christian armies.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.7

    The pagan races of continental Asia are far more peaceful than the Christian races of continental Europe.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.8

    The Christian English, French, Dutch and Spaniards have butchered untold numbers of pagan Asiatics. It is possible that the Christianization of the Asiatics might be the means of leading them to retaliate upon their Christian enemies in Europe. If China shall ever be Christianized, and shall then put in the field armed hordes equal to those of Christian Europe, and able to fight as hard and as long as the Christians, she will be the foremost military power in the world.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.9

    We suppose that the Sun here uses the terms, “Christian” and “Christianization” in sarcasm. But the trouble is that through the prevailing low conception of Christianity, mere civilization is mistaken for it by very many minds. The degree of civilization which prevails to-day is indeed largely due to the influence of Christianity, and civilization is very good so far as it goes; but it falls infinitely short of being Christianity itself.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.10

    The Scriptures tell us something about a real Christian nation. We learn from it that a Christian nation will be saved from earth in the kingdom of God. Speaking of the time when the Lord God will “swallow up death in victory” and will “wipe away tears from off all faces,” when his people will say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us,” the prophet says: “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth, may enter in.” Isaiah 26:1, 2. And, as we also learn from the Scriptures, the “truth” must be kept by each individual, for himself, in his own heart, to secure his entrance into the “strong city” of God’s salvation. So that the only “Christian nation on earth is the “nation” of those who, among all peoples and in all climes, keep the truth of God in their hearts.AMS October 31, 1895, page 341.11

    “Back Page” American Sentinel 10, 43, p. 344.


    THOSE who still uphold Sunday laws notwithstanding the use that is made of them to persecute conscientious observers of the seventh day, try to make much out of the fact that no effort is made to interfere with the latter in their seventh-day rest and worship. But, as is evident from the case of the Adventist arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for refusing to do road work, as commanded by the roadmaster on the seventh day, the same spirit which endeavors to force these people to rest on Sunday, also seeks to compel them to labor on the day which they regard as the Sabbath. It is in both cases simply the spirit of disregard of the consciences and rights of a class politically insignificant, and holding an unpopular religion. It is simply a fortuitous circumstance that determines how this disregard shall be expressed,—whether by compelling the Adventists to rest on the first day, or compelling them to work on the seventh.AMS October 31, 1895, page 344.1

    THE fact that Sunday is not kept by a part of the people, is regarded by certain others who do keep it, and with whose liberty to keep it no one thinks of interfering, as a “ruthless invasion of the very sanctuary of God by the destroying foot of the Philistine.” These are the words of a Paulist priest, Rev. Alexander Dole, but they voice the sentiment of those who are pushing the Sunday crusade. Yet these same ones, when the persecution of Seventh-day Adventists is under consideration, say that the religion of the Adventists is not interfered with at all by the Sunday laws, since they are left perfectly free to rest and worship on the seventh day. The Sunday-law advocates must not only be left perfectly free in the matter of their own Sunday observance, but others who do not believe as they do must observe it also, else there is “a ruthless invasion” of that which Sunday-keepers hold sacred; but a law which leaves everybody free to disregard the seventh day, and furthermore puts those who do observe it in the chain-gang for working on the first day, is no invasion whatever of that which is held sacred by the Adventists! If this be consistency, then consistency is not a jewel.AMS October 31, 1895, page 344.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font