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    June 1, 1899

    “Front Page” American Sentinel 14, 22, p. 335.


    THE law of man is a law of restrictions; the law of God is a “law of liberty.”AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.1

    THE civil authorities have no right to gather a tribute which belongs to God.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.2

    NO MAN is in any danger of losing the Sabbath so long as he maintains faith in God.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.3

    LAW and conscience are both essential in their places; but neither one can be substituted for the other.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.4

    A PERSON can be an observer of every law of man, and at the same time a violator of every law of God.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.5

    CHRISTIAN warfare means death to self; carnal warfare means death to whatever gets in the way of self.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.6

    SO LONG as a legislature cannot promulgate spiritual laws, so long will it be powerless to deal with spiritual evil.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.7

    THE best thing in the world needs only to be perverted from its proper use to become the worst thing. This is true of perverted religion, and religion is always perverted when it is joined with the compulsion of the civil power.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.8

    THE gospel provides that every man shall govern himself, and so declares that every man, civilized or savage, has the right to self-government and liberty.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.9

    SELF-GOVERNMENT is a demand of Christianity; hence self-government cannot be denied to a people without the assumption of a right to set bounds to the gospel.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.10

    THE man who is “compelled” to work on Sunday for fear of losing his job, is not a slave to his employer, but to his fears.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.11

    HE who loses life to preserve conscience, saves both conscience and life; but he who parts with conscience to preserve his life, has surrendered both.AMS June 1, 1899, page 335.12

    “Christ’s Laws and the Laws of Society” American Sentinel 14, 22, pp. 337, 338.


    HOW BAD could society in this country or elsewhere become and still be as good as the law of the land demands?AMS June 1, 1899, page 337.1

    Let us suppose society in a condition where the only attention paid to the demands of morality was such as the law of the land actually compelled the people to give. Nobody committed murder, yet everybody hated everybody else, and when one died everybody else was glad of it. Nobody stole anything, yet everybody coveted the possessions of his neighbors, and only the most sleepless vigilance made any possession safe. Nobody swore falsely against his neighbor, yet nobody had any regard for the truth. Nobody committed adultery, yet everybody wanted to; nobody doing anything for which the law could take hold of him, yet not a spark of love, not a grain of mercy, not a trace of principle, in any breast. Would such a condition of society be expressive of righteousness? Or of total depravity?AMS June 1, 1899, page 337.2

    We are led to make these reflections by such words as the following from the Union Signal:—AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.1

    “Christian citizens everywhere should give real honors to Christ, the king, by seeking to make his laws the laws of society. To that end, let individuals and deputations from churches and Christian societies, especially preachers’ meetings, called on senators and congressmen while they are at home for the holidays, and urge them to aid these reform movements.... Let us be willing, a few of us, to go to the next street, or the next town, to enlist our congressman actively on the side of sound morals.”AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.2

    To make Christ’s laws the laws of society, go and petition the legislature to put new enactments on the statute books! Are not our observations pertinent to the idea here expressed?AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.3

    Go and compel—if you can—the legislature of the state or nation to enact new statutes or strengthen old ones, in the interests of “sound morals.” Go as far as you please in getting the legislative bodies to make Christ’s laws the laws of society. Then, when you have all the statutes of this kind that could possibly be enforced, how much of Christ, how much of righteousness, by virtue of such statutes, will society have? Will it have any more, by virtue of those statutes, then it would in the describe condition of total depravity?AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.4

    If society observes every law of man, it is, from the standpoint of that law, a supremely good; and yet at the same time, as we have seen, it may be totally bad. Think of it, you who believe in the efficacy of civil enactments to make society good—you who believe the civil power can enact and enforce Christ’s laws. Consistency with this idea would force you to pronounce society really good when in reality it was totally bad. Can you not see that the idea involves something radically wrong?AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.5

    Of course, society could not become totally bad and still refrain from the violation of just civil laws. But this is not because of any power in human enactments. It is only the regard for justice, mercy, and truth—only the principle of love, which the Creator has implanted in the human heart, as a part of Himself, and which no legislative enactments could put into any heart—it is only this power that restrains society and holds it back from the pit of total corruption; and were this restraining power removed, all the statutes in the world would be powerless to prevent a universal carnival of crime and destruction. Society is bad, and it is getting worse, not from any fault of the legislatures, but because there is no power in legislative enactments to keep in men’s hearts the love of right which alone can keep society good.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.6

    All talk of legislation to enforce or preserve morality is worse than useless. Legislation cannot concern itself with morality as such, without becoming at once involved in hopeless difficulties. Legislation can enforce respect for rights, and it cannot go too far in this direction; but this is its only province. The invasion of rights necessitates some outward act of injustice, and with such acts, and such only, legislation can effectively deal. Guide legislation by the necessity of preserving rights, and all is clear and consistent; but attempt to make it satisfy the demands of morality, and at once justice is obscured and consistency is left behind.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.7

    Why is it that our friends of the W. T. C. U. cannot see the mistake calling for legislation to make Christ’s laws the laws of society? However, we know many of them do see and are protesting against it, and it is only justice to this body of Christian workers to believe that many more will see and protest against an idea so potent with mischief to the cause they have enlisted to serve.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.8

    “Totally Illegitimate” American Sentinel 14, 22, pp. 338, 339.


    IN considering the required obligation to observe Sunday, it will be a help to all concerned to know the origin of Sunday observance and the character of the obligation.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.1

    The only obligations that can properly rest upon men are from two sources and only two. These are defined in the words of Christ: “Render to Cesar the things that are Cesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” There is no obligation, therefore, resting upon anybody except such as originates in one or the other of these two sources. There are obligations which are due to Cesar. Cesar is the civil power, and every Christian, as well as every other man, is commanded by the Lord to be “subject to the powers that be.” There are obligations also which are owed to God alone, and in no way connected with any other power person.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.2

    Cesar and God are distinct authorities: obligations to these are distinct. Obligations to God are religious, and only religious; obligations to Cesar are civil, and only civil. All things, therefore, that are of obligation upon men, springs from one or the other of these two sources; and all things which come properly from either of these two sources, are of obligation upon all; and nothing else can be. For these two being positively defined by the Lord himself, as the obligations which come upon men, cover all.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.3

    Now, if the obligation to observe Sunday, came from the Lord, then it must be observed by all who recognize the Lord. But even then, the obligation would be due only to the Lord; and with it the civil power could not in any sense rightly have anything to do. If the obligation to observe Sunday sprung from the civil power, then it would have to be recognized by all, wherever the civil power so expresses itself. But, if Sunday observance crept in from a source apart from either of these authorities, then there can be no obligation upon any man to observe it; because its authority is out of bounds.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.4

    Now, it is not only recognized, but universally taught, whether by Catholic or Protestant, that Sunday observance originated with the church. There is no command of God for it. Its most ardent advocates recognize this and trace its origin to the church alone—as having originated in “apostolic example,” “the practice of the primitive church,” etc. etc. But the church is neither God nor Cesar. The church is of God, but it is not God. The church is joined to God; it is to obey God; it is the house of God; but whatever it is, it is not God. No more is it Cesar; it is altogether religious, not civil. Whatever government the church may have, it is ecclesiastical only, and never can be civil. Anything, therefore, which springs only from the church, being neither of God nor of Cesar, can never be of any obligation whatever upon any man. And Sunday springing confessedly from that very source, can never of right be of any obligation whatever upon any soul.AMS June 1, 1899, page 338.5

    But it may be said that there are Sunday laws, that these are laws of the state, and that these, requiring the observance of Sunday are from Cesar. Yes, there are Sunday laws, and these laws are nowadays enacted by the State—the civil authority; but whether there be any civil authority exercised in such legislation—whether they be of any authority as from civil power,—is altogether another question.AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.1

    What were Sunday laws in their origin? By what authority was the first Sunday law enacted? This must be understood in order to know what obligation there is in Sunday laws. Because, if the civil power of to-day borrows something altogether and fixes it in a law, that does not make the thing civil: that law is not a civil law, but an ecclesiastical one. And the State, in such an act, instead of acting properly in its civil capacity, abandons the realm of civics, and enters that of the ecclesiasticism; and this, of itself, would destroy all true obligation that might be claimed from such act as coming from the civil power.AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.2

    What, then, was the origin of Sunday laws? and of Sunday observance by law? It is well known that the first Sunday law that ever existed, was framed and issued by Constantine, at the solicitation of the church and in the interests of the church—the apostate church at that. Yet, even then the Sunday law did not proceed from Constantine as the emperor, but as supreme pontiff. True, the same man was both; but the offices of emperor and supreme pontiff, were distinct. Things which he could do as emperor, he could not do as supreme pontiff: things which he must do as supreme pontiff, he could not do as emperor. And one of the things which belong solely to the office of supreme pontiff, was “the plenary power of appointing holy days.” If the offices of emperor and supreme pontiff had been held by two men, one the emperor, and the other the supreme pontiff, it would have been the prerogative of the supreme pontiff alone to appoint holy days, even for the emperor’s recognition. And when the two offices were held by one man, the prerogatives of the two offices were distinct, and the one man exercising these prerogatives, must act as emperor and supreme pontiff, respectively and separately. And the appointing of days to be observed, was exclusively the prerogative of the supreme pontiff. Duruy on this point says plainly:—AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.3

    “In determining what days should be regarded as holy, and in the composition of a prayer for national use, Constantine exercised one of the rights belonging to him as pontifex maximus.”—History of Rome, chap. CII, part I, par. 4 from end.AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.4

    Now, the pontifex maximus was not the Cesar, nor was he God. True, he claimed to be, and he was regarded as, the representative of the gods; but he was not God. Therefore, Sunday observance, in a law coming from the emperor acting only as supreme pontiff, proceeds from neither God nor Cesar; and this, as in the origin of Sunday observance, coming from neither God nor Cesar, is out of bounds, and, consequently, never can be of any obligation upon any soul. For all that has been done since, whether in Sunday observance by the church, or in Sunday laws by the State, has been but copying and perpetuating these things from their origin, and cannot in any sense, change their character; because the origin fixes indelibly forever the character.AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.5

    “Render therefore to Cesar things that are Cesar’s; and to God the things which are God’s.” These “things,” only, are of obligation. All things from any other source are not, and cannot be of any obligation whatever upon any soul—and such are Sunday observance, and Sunday laws.AMS June 1, 1899, page 339.6

    A. T. J.

    “Re-naming the Declaration of Independence” American Sentinel 14, 22, p. 340.


    SPEAKING of the Declaration of Independence, the Outlook, exponent of imperialism, says that “it so happens, as a matter of fact, that this document says nothing whatever about self-government. Only one clause, and that a parenthetical one—the phrase ‘deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed’—can be interpreted to imply, even remotely, any doctrine of self-government, and this implication from this phrase is by no means a necessary one.”AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.1

    This is worthy of note as a sample of the assertions by which American imperialism is driven to seek justification, and of the lengths to which its defenders have gone in the repudiation of American principles.AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.2

    The Declaration of Independence was given to the world in general, and to Great Britain in particular, by the American Colonies, for the sole purpose of announcing that they had decided upon self-government, and of justifying themselves in that step. This is plainly affirmed by every American history that was ever written.AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.3

    The Outlook’s statement, therefore, amounts simply to the assertion that Jefferson and the signers of the Declaration were fools—they did not know enough to say what they meant. They meant to separate from British government, they meant to govern themselves; but in undertaking to announce this and justify it before Great Britain and the world, they said nothing at all about self-government, save to remotely hint at it, and even this was not necessary to be inferred from their words! How that document must have mystified the British parliament and the courts of Europe!AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.4

    But as plain matter of history, it didn’t mystify parliament or any European government in the least. Parliament never asked for an explanation of its meaning. Parliament simply redoubled its efforts to subdue the “insurgents.” And Benjamin Franklin well understood that parliament would hold no doubtful view of the Declaration’s meaning when it, at its signing, in reply to the remark by one signer that “We must all hang together,” he said, “yes; or we shall all hang separately.”AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.5

    But what new name with the imperialists give to this famous document? For if it says nothing about self-government, it was obviously no declaration of independence. For whoever heard of independence without self-government? How is an independent State governed if it does not govern itself? And when it was declared that the thirteen American colonies “are, and of right ought to be free, free and independent states,” what kind of government were they expected to have if not self-government? But the imperialists tell us at once what the “Declaration of Independence” ought to be called.AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.6

    Obviously, the doctrine of imperialism is in desperate straits for any means of justification before the American people. But it cares little for justification; it means to proceed in defiance of justification, as its nature is to do.AMS June 1, 1899, page 340.7

    “Back Page” American Sentinel 14, 22, p. 352.


    OBSERVERS of the seventh-day Sabbath do not hold that the fourth commandment obliges them to work six days out of the week, but they do hold that the commandment forbids them to show deference to any day of the week but the seventh.AMS June 1, 1899, page 352.1

    “IT is the law and the law must be enforced,” is the plea made in defense of prosecutions for Sunday work; and further, “The best way to destroy a bad or foolish law is to obey it.”AMS June 1, 1899, page 352.2

    If, then, a wicked statute can be enacted, it will be necessary to commit the wickedness of enforcing it before it can be set aside. Do reason and justice support such a view as this?AMS June 1, 1899, page 352.3

    If a law were passed affixing the death penalty to some trifling offense, would the courts feel bound to enforce it as the only thing that could be done with it? Would they feel bound to commit murder because “it is the law, and the law must be enforced”?AMS June 1, 1899, page 352.4

    Certainly not; and the plea that a bad law ought to be enforced simply because “it is the law,” or in order to get it repealed, is only sophistry. There is no justification for enacting such a law, and no justification for enforcing it after it has been passed. A bad law is injustice, and injustice is binding on nobody. An unjust law ought to be repealed at the first opportunity, and meanwhile be let severely alone.AMS June 1, 1899, page 352.5

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