Last File / Back to NSL Index / Next File

         File 4, pages 53-74

cure the evils of all this enforced idleness by more stringently enforcing more idleness throughout the whole nation, and by the national power.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 52.2}
    It may be answered that this reflects upon the wisdom of God in appointing a day of rest; but it does not. God appointed the Sabbath for a purpose; and that purpose is that men should remember him in his works of creation, and worship him as Creator.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 53.1}
    The intention of the commandment enjoining the observance of the Sabbath day, is the honor of God, and his worship as Creator. This worship and the religious sanctions which God has associated with the Sabbath, are considerations which will ever prevent the day from becoming a day of idleness of those who keep the Sabbath in obedience to him; and the worship of God and the religious sanctions which he has put upon the Sabbath, are the only things that ever can prevent the Sabbath from becoming a day of idleness. Those who advocate this Sunday bill well know this. This whole principle is embodied in that statement Dr. Crafts made to the Knights of Labor, that “if you take religion out of the day, you take the rest out.” The same principle is also apparent in the words of Joseph Cook, before referred to, that you will in vain endeavor to secure the enforcement of a day of rest unless you enforce it as a day of worship; and unless it be founded on religious reasons, it cannot be long maintained.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 53.2}
    Thus these men themselves confess the point which I here make: that it is only the religious sanctions and worship that can ever keep a day of rest from being a day of idleness, and of consequent wickedness. But it is only God who can furnish those sanctions; the State never can. Therefore, next step in the

proceeding on the part of those who are calling for this law is to have the State attempt to supply the religious sanctions which belong with the day of rest, and which only can keep it from being a day of idleness and a day of evil. But they know that the State has none of those religious sanctions; and they know that these will have to be supplied to the State by the church, and then the church will call upon the State, by its power, to force them upon the citizen.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 53.3}
    This is precisely what is proposed. Rev. Sam Small, in a sermon in Kansas City last winter, expressed the views of many more than himself, when he said:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 54.1}
    “I want to see the day come when the church shall be the arbiter of all legislation, State, national, and municipal; when the great churches of the country can come together harmoniously, and issue their edict, and the legislative powers will respect it, and enact it into laws.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 54.2}
    But any attempt to enforce religious observances only enforces hypocrisy and multiplies sin, because love for God is essential to every act of religious duty. For a man to tender obedience or homage to God when he has no love for God in his heart, only dishonors God, and does violence to his own nature. For anybody to obey God, or perform religious observances from interested motives, is sin; and for the State to exert its power in compelling men to act religiously, and pretend to honor God when they have in the heart no love for God, is only to force them into hypocrisy, and to compel them to commit sin, which, increased and multiplied by the exertion of national power, can end only in ruin, and that speedily.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 54.3}
    For as Mr. Buckle has most forcibly expressed it:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 54.4}

    “In this way, men being constrained to mask their thoughts, there arises a habit of securing safety by falsehood, and of purchasing impunity with deceit. In this way, fraud becomes a necessity of life; insincerity is made a daily custom; the whole tone of public feeling is vitiated; and the gross amount of vice and of error fearfully increased.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 55.1}
    Consequently, it is only at its own peril that the State can ever enforce the observance of a day of rest.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 55.2}
    More than this, for the State to allow itself to be dictated to by the church as is here proposed by Mr. Small, is to render the church superior to the civil power, which can end in nothing but a religious despotism, which is the worst of all despotisms. Thus by every line of reasoning that can spring from the subject, it is demonstrated that for the State to fix a day of compulsory rest can only end in evil. Therefore, my proposition is proved, that Sunday laws are not for the good of anybody.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 55.3}
    Further: as it is only the religious sanctions which surround a day of rest, that can prevent it from being a day of idleness, and consequently of evil; and as God only can supply these sanctions, it follows that to God only, can Sabbath observance be rendered. He only can command it; he only can secure it; and being a duty which can be rendered only to God, we are brought again directly to the command of Jesus Christ, to render unto God, not to Caesar, that which is God’s, which clearly forbids the State to have anything to do with Sabbath observance.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 55.4}
    This whole line of argument is fully sustained by the Sabbath commandment itself. That commandment says: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it

thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” [Ex 20:8-11.]  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 55.5}
    Here are the reasons: first, he rested on the seventh day; second, he blessed it and made it holy. That you may become tired is not given as a reason for doing no work on the seventh day. God does not say that on the seventh day you shall do no work, because if you should, you would overdo or break down your physical system. Nothing of the kind. Man’s physical wants are not referred to in the commandment. It says, Work six days, because the Lord worked six days; rest on the seventh day, because the Lord rested on the seventh day; keep that day holy, because the Lord blessed it and made it holy. It is the Lord who is to be held in view. It is the Lord who is to be exalted. Therefore the fourth commandment and its obligations have solely to do with man’s relationship to God. It is not man’s physical, but his spiritual, needs that are held in view in the Sabbath commandment. It is intended to be a day in which to worship God, —a day of holy remembrance of him, and of meditation upon his works. The day is to be kept holy. If it is not kept holy, it is not kept at all. When the State undertakes to demand the observance of the Sabbath, or Lord’s day, it demands of men that which does not belong to it, but which belongs only to God. When the State undertakes to secure the observance of the Sabbath, it undertakes that which, to it, is an impossible task, because holiness is not an attribute of civil government, nor has it either the power or the credentials

to promote holiness; and as has been already demonstrated, all that it ever can do in any such effort is to enforce idleness and put a premium upon recklessness, which, for its own welfare, the State can never afford to do. If the State undertakes to supply, from whatever source, the religious sanctions which alone can keep the day from being one of idleness, generating evil, it only enforces hypocrisy, and increases sin.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 56.1}
    Therefore I repeat, that by every logical consideration of the subject, I have sustained my proposition that Sunday laws are not for the good of anybody or anything in this world.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 57.1}
    Senator Blair. —Do you understand that this bill undertakes to make anybody worship God?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 57.2}
    Mr. Jones. —Yes, sir, I affirm that it does; and I will prove it by statements made by those who stood here to-day. But I have some other points to make first; and here I propose to introduce my historical argument. I want you all to see that in this way the papacy was made in the fourth century. I shall read all that I do read, perhaps, on this point, from Neander’s Church History, vol. 2, Prof. Torrey’s edition, Boston, 1852. I can only refer to it by the page. As I have related, the Roman empire was forced by the principles of Christ, to recognize the right of every man to worship as he chose. This right was recognized in the Edict of Milan, A. D. 312. But liberty of conscience trembled in the balance but a moment, and then the bishopric, with that ambitious spirit that developed the papacy, took up the strain, and carried forward that line of work which ended in the imperious despotism of the Middle Ages. I want you to see just how that was done, and you will then have no difficulty in seeing the tendency of the present movement.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 57.3}

    Neander says: —  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.1}
    “There had in fact arisen in the church a false theocratical theory, originating not in the essence of the gospel, but in the confusion of the religious constitutions of the Old and New Testaments, which . . . brought along with it an unchristian opposition of the spiritual to the secular power, and which might easily result in the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and outward way.” —p. 132.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.2}
    A theocratical theory of government tending to subordinate the secular to itself, was the scheme. In other words, the church aimed to make the ecclesiastical power superior to the civil power. These theocratical bishops made themselves and their power a necessity to Constantine, who, in order to make sure of their support, became a political convert to the form of Christianity, and made it the recognized religion of the empire; for says Neander further:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.3}
    “This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and . . . the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and by their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims.” —Idem.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.4}
    Out if that theocratical theory of government came the papacy, which did subordinate the civil to the ecclesiastical power, and that same spirit is to be guarded against to-day in the United States as much as in any other country.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.5}
    I want you to see that there is a theocratical theory underlying this whole scheme. Mr. Bateham has said that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union started this movement a short time ago, and that they had worked it up. What is their aim in civil

government? I quote from the monthly reading of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of September, 1886, —a monthly reading for all the local Unions throughout the country —the following:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 58.6}
    “A true theocracy is yet to come, and the enthronement of Christ in law and law-makers; hence I pray devoutly, as a Christian patriot, for the ballot in the hands of women, and rejoice that the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has so long championed this cause.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.1}
    A theocratical theory, you see, is behind this movement, and is again coming in to interfere in civil things, to establish a theocracy, and to subordinate the civil power at last, to the ecclesiastical.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.2}
    Senator Blair. —Do you think the question of giving the ballot to women is a religious question?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.3}
    Mr. Jones. —No. I only read this for the purpose of giving the proof that there is a theocratical theory underlying this, as there was that in the fourth century, so as to show the parallel.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.4}
    Senator Blair. —But the parallel seems to imply that the extension of the suffrage to woman is by divine appointment, and is the introduction of a theocratic form of government?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.5}
    Mr. Jones. —Yes, they want the ballot so as to make a theocracy successful.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.6}
    Senator Blair. —Therefore you would be against woman’s suffrage?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.7}
    Mr. Jones. —I would be against woman’s suffrage, or any other kind of suffrage, to establish a theocracy.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.8}
    Senator Blair. —But that is not the question. It is possible these women have misstated their own idea there.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.9}
    Mr. Jones. —No, because I have other proofs. Let me read them.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 59.10}

    Senator Palmer. —Do you suppose they intended there a practical theocracy?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.1}
    Mr. Jones. —I do, sir; but let me read further, and you will get their own words.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.2}
    Senator Blair. —If these women are trying to overthrow the institutions of the country, and are about to establish a sacerdotal State, we ought to know it.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.3}
    Mr. Jones. —That is true, and that is why I am speaking here; we want the nation to know it.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.4}
    Senator Blair. —These women need looking after, I admit.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.5}
    Mr. Jones. —They do in that respect, and there are many men concerned in the same business.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.6}
    Senator Blair. —Otherwise it would not be dangerous.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.7}
    Mr. Jones. —It would be dangerous anyway. A theocratical theory of government is dangerous anywhere. It is antichristian, as well as contrary to right and the principles of justice.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.8}
    Senator Blair. —Do you suppose that the government of heaven is a theocracy?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.9}
    Mr. Jones. —Yes, sir; but a civil government —a government of earth— is not.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.10}
    Senator Blair. —Then why is it dangerous?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.11}
    Mr. Jones. —Governments of earth are not dangerous when properly controlled.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.12}
    Senator Blair. —They only say that a true theocracy is yet to come. A millennium is supposed to be coming; perhaps they have reference to a millennium that we have not yet got, so that they will wait some years before they get it.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.13}
    Mr. Jones. —But I am going to read what kind of laws they propose to make to bring in the millennium.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.14}
    Senator Blair. —So far as you have read, you have not touched the question; for they say a true theocracy

is yet to come, and it may be they are looking to the coming down of the New Jerusalem, for the time of the new theocracy.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 60.15}
    Mr. Jones. —No, because no true theocracy can ever come through civil laws, or through politics, or through the ballot.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 61.1}
    Senator Blair. —That is not sure at all.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 61.2}
    Mr. Jones. —It is by the Scriptures.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 61.3}
    Senator Blair. —I do not know; I have read the Bible several times. But go on.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 61.4}
    Mr. Jones. —The government of Israel was a true theocracy. That was really a government of God. At the burning bush, God commissioned Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. By signs and wonders and mighty miracles multiplied, God delivered Israel from Egypt, and led them through the wilderness, and finally into the promised land. There he ruled them by judges “until Samuel the prophet,” to whom, when he was a child, God spoke, and by whom he made known his will. In the days of Samuel, the people asked that they might have a king. This was allowed, and God chose Saul, and Samuel anointed him king of Israel. Saul failed to do the will of God, and as he rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord rejected him from being king, and sent Samuel to anoint David king of Israel; and David’s throne God established forevermore. When Solomon succeeded to the kingdom in the place of David his father, the record is: “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father.” 1Chron. 29:23. David’s throne was the throne of the Lord, and Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king over the earthly kingdom of God. The succession to the throne descended in David’s line to Zedekiah, who was made subject to the king of Babylon, and who entered into a solemn covenant before God that he

would loyally render allegiance to the king of Babylon. But Zedekiah broke his covenant; and then God said to him:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 61.5}
    “Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Eze. 21:25-27; see chap. 17:1-21.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 62.1}
    The kingdom was then subject to Babylon. When Babylon fell, and Medo-Persia succeeded, it was overturned the first time. When Medo-Persia fell, and was succeeded by Grecia, it was overturned the second time. When the Greek empire gave way to Rome, it was overturned the third time. And then says the word, “It shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Who is he whose right it is? —“Thou . . . shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33. And while he was here as “that prophet,” a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the night in which he was betrayed he himself declared, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Thus the throne of the Lord has been removed from this world, and will “be no more, until he come whose right it is,” and then it will be given him. And that time is the end of this world, and the beginning of “the world to come.” Therefore while this world stands, a true theocracy can never be in it again. Consequently, from

the death of the Christ till the end of this world, every theory of an earthly theocracy is a false theory; every pretension to it is a false pretension; and wherever any such theory is proposed or advocated, whether in Rome in the fourth century, or here in the nineteenth century, it bears in it all that the papacy is or that it ever pretended to be, —it puts a man in the place of God.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 62.2}
    Now I will read another statement as to the purpose of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. It is from the annual address of the President of the National Union, at the Nashville convention, 1887. It is as follows;—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.1}
    “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, local, State, national, and world-wide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm, and that is that Christ shall be this world’s king;—”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.2}
    Senator Blair. —“Shall be.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.3}
    Mr. Jones. —“Shall be this world’s king.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.4}
    Senator Blair. —But you are a clergyman, and you read the Bible to us.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.5}
    Mr. Jones. —I am going to read a passage presently right on this point.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.6}
    Senator Blair. —Is it not in the same Bible that the time when Christ is to be the king, is the present?  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.7}
    Mr. Jones. —I am going to read a passage from the Bible in connection with this subject. Allow me to finish this extract:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.8}
    “The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, local, State, national, and world-wide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm, and that is that Christ shall be this world’s king; —yea, verily, THIS WORLD’S KING in its realm of cause and effect, —king of its courts, its camps, its

commerce, —king of its colleges and cloisters, —king of its customs and constitutions. . . . The kingdom of Christ must enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 63.9}
    That emphasizes “this world’s king.” Jesus Christ himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Then assuredly the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union stands against the words of Jesus Christ, in saying that he shall be this world’s king; and that that kingdom is to enter the realm of the law through the gate-way of politics. Jesus Christ has his entrance through the gate-way of the gospel, and not through politics.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.1}
    Nor did this purpose end with the Nashville National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union convention. The proposition was repeated by the New York national convention last summer, in the following resolution:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.2}
    “Resolved, That Christ and his gospel, as universal king and code, should be sovereign in our Government and political affairs.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.3}
    Well, let us apply the resolution. Suppose the gospel were adopted as the code of this Government. It is the duty of every court to act in accordance with the code. There is a statute in that code which says,—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.4}
    “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if the trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.5}
    Suppose, then, a man steals a horse. He is arrested, tried, and found guilty. He says, “I repent.” “Thou shalt forgive him,” says the code, and the Government must conform to the code. He is released, and repeats the act; is again arrested and found guilty. He says, “I repent.” “Thou shalt forgive him,” says the code.

And if he repeats the offense seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turns to the court, saying, : I repent,” the Government must forgive him, for so says that which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union has resolved should be the governmental code.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 64.6}
    Any such system as that would destroy civil government in twenty-four hours. This is not saying anything against the Bible, nor against its principles. It is only illustrating the absurd perversion of its principles by these people who want to establish a system of religious legislation here. God’s government is moral, and he has made provision for maintaining his government with the forgiveness of transgression. But he has made no such provision for civil government. No such provision can be made, and civil government be maintained. The Bible reveals God’s method of saving those who sin against his moral government; civil government is man’s method of preserving order, and has nothing to do with sin, nor the salvation of sinners. If civil government arrests a thief or a murderer and finds him guilty, the penalty must be executed, though the Lord does forgive him.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 65.1}
    The theocratical theory referred to seems to pervade the whole body, for the eighth district of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, at Augusta, Wis., Oct. 2-4, 1888, representing fifteen counties, passed this resolution:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 65.2}
    “Whereas, God would have all men honor the Son, even as they honor the Father; and,—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 65.3}
    “Whereas, The civil law which Christ gave from Sinai is the only perfect law, and the only law that will secure the rights of all classes; therefore,—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 65.4}
    “Resolved, That civil government should recognize Christ as the moral Governor, and his law as the standard of legislation.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 65.5}

    The law which Christ gave from Sinai is not a civil law; it is the moral law. But if that be a civil law, and this a civil government, what in the world does a civil government want with a moral Governor? These excellent women should be informed that civil government is based upon civil law, and has civil governors only. Moral government is founded in moral law, and has a moral Governor only. Any governmental theory that confounds these is a theocratical theory, which is precisely the governmental theory of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, as is demonstrated by these proofs. And any theocratical theory of government since Christ died, is the theory of the papacy.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 66.1}
    These extracts prove that the purpose of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is the establishment of “a practical theocracy.” Please do not misunderstand me here. There are none who have more respect or more good wishes for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, in the line of its legitimate work, than have we. We are heartily in favor of union, of temperance union, of Christian temperance union, and of woman’s Christian temperance union; but we are not in favor of any kind of political Christian temperance union, nor of theocratical temperance union. We sincerely wish that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union would stick to its text, and work for Christian temperance by Christian means; and not for Christian temperance by political means, nor for political temperance by theocratical means. I believe in Christian temperance. Not only do I believe in it, but I practice it. I practice Christian Temperance more strictly than the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union even preaches it. But believing in it as thoroughly as I do, and endeavoring to practice it as strictly as I believe in it, I would never

lift my hand nor open my lips in any effort to compel men to practice the Christian temperance in which I believe and which I practice. Christianity persuades men, instead of trying to compel them. By the purity and love of Christ, Christianity draws men instead of trying to drive them. It is not by the power of civil government, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, that Christianity secures the obedience of men and the practice of Christian temperance.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 66.2}
    The establishment of a theocracy is the aim of the prime movers in this Sunday-law movement, as it was also the aim of the church leaders of the fourth century. And what came of that movement at that time? I read again:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 67.1}
    “This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and . . . the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and by their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims.” —Neander, p. 132.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 67.2}
    This being their theory, which resulted in the determination “to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims,” the question arises, What means did they employ to secure control of this power? The answer is, They did it by means of Sunday laws.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 67.3}
    The first and greatest aim of the political church managers of that time was the exaltation of themselves; and second only to that was the exaltation of Sunday. These two things had been the principal aim of the bishops of Rome for more than a hundred years, when Constantine gave them a chance to make their schemes effectual by the power of the State. The arrogant pretensions of the bishop of Rome to secure power over the whole church, was first asserted in behalf

of Sunday by Victor, who was bishop of Rome from A. D. 193 to 202.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 67.4}
    “He wrote an imperious letter to the Asiatic prelates commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of Easter [that is, commanding them to celebrate it on Sunday]. The Asiatics answered this lordly requisition . . . with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors. Upon this the thunder of excommunication began to roar. Victor, exasperated by this resolute answer of the Asiatic bishops, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of his brethren, and excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome.” —Mosheim, chap. 4, par. 11.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 68.1}
    The one means by which these church managers secured from Constantine the use of the power of the State, was the famous edict prohibiting certain kinds of work on “the venerable day of the sun.” That edict runs thus:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 68.2}
    “Let all the judges and towns-people and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture, because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines, lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 68.3}
    This edict was issued March 7, A. D. 321. Only judges and towns-people and mechanics were to rest on Sunday; people in the country were at full liberty to work. But this did not satisfy the political managers of the churches for any great length of time. “The object of the first Sunday law,” says Sozomen, “was that the day might be devoted with less interruption

to the purposes of devotion.” And as the government was now a theocracy, it was only consistent that all should be required to be religious. Consequently, an additional Sunday law was secured, which commanded all people to do no work on Sunday.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 68.4}
    “By a law of the year 386, those older changes effected by the Emperor Constantine were more rigorously enforced, and, in general, civil transactions of every kind on Sunday were strictly forbidden. Whoever transgressed was to be considered in fact as guilty of sacrilege.” —Neander, p. 300.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 69.1}
    Then as the people were not allowed to do any manner of work, they would play, and as the natural consequence, the circuses and the theaters throughout the empire were crowded every Sunday. But the object of the law, from the first one that was issued, was that the day might be used for the purposes of devotion, and that the people might go to church. Consequently, that this object might be met, there was another step to take, and it was taken. At a church convention held at Carthage in 401, the bishops passed a resolution to send up a petition to the emperor, praying—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 69.2}
    “That the public shows might be transferred from the Christian Sunday, and from feast-days, to some other days of the week.” —Idem.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 69.3}
    History does not say whether or not this petition represented the names of fourteen million petitioners, the greater part of whom never signed it at all. History is also silent as to whether the petition was indorsed by anyone man who could be counted for seven million two hundred thousand men. But history is not silent as to the reason why it was necessary to send up the petition. The petitioners themselves gave the reason, and it was this;—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 69.4}

“The people congregate more to the circus than to the church.” —Idem, note 5.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.1}
    In the circuses and the theaters large numbers of men were employed, among whom many were church-members. But rather than to give up their jobs, they would work on Sunday. The bishops complained that these were compelled to work: they pronounced it persecution, and asked for a law to protect those persons from such “persecution.” The church had become filled with a mass of people, unconverted, who cared vastly more for worldly interests and pleasures than they did for religion. And as the government was now a government of God, it was considered proper that the civil power should be used to cause all to show respect for God, whether or not they belonged to a church, or whether they had any respect for God.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.2}
    The people, not being allowed to work, crowded the circus and the theater. They had no wish to be devoted; and as they were forced to be idle, a flood of dissipation was the inevitable consequence. Neander says of it:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.3}
    “Owing to the prevailing passion at that time, especially in the large cities, to run after the various public shows, it so happened that when these spectacles fell on the same days which had been consecrated by the church to some religious festival, they proved a great hinderance to the devotion of Christians, though chiefly, it must be allowed, to those whose Christianity was the least an affair of the life and of the heart.” —Idem.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.4}
    And further:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.5}
    “Church teachers . . . were in truth often forced to complain that in such competitions the theater was vastly more frequented than the church.” —Idem.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.6}
    And the church could not then stand competition; she wanted a monopoly. She got it, at last.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 70.7}

    This petition of the Carthage Convention could not be granted at once, but in the year 425, the desired law was secured; and to this also there was attached the reason that was given for the first Sunday law that ever was made; namely,—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 71.1}
    In order that the devotion of the faithful might be free from all disturbance.” —Idem, p. 301.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 71.2}
    It must constantly be borne in mind, however, that the only way in which “the devotion of the faithful” was “disturbed” by these things, was that when the circus or the theater was open at the same time that the church was open, the “faithful” would go to the circus or the theater instead of to church, and therefore their “devotion” was “disturbed.” And of course the only way in which the “devotion” of such “faithful” ones could be freed from all disturbance, was to close the circuses and the theaters at church time. Thus, and by this means, every reason for not being devoted was taken away from all the people. Then in the very next sentence Neander says:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 71.3}
    “In this way the church received help from the State for the furtherance of her ends.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 71.4}
    This statement is correct. Constantine did many things to favor the bishops. He gave them money and political preference. He made their decisions in disputed cases as final as the decision of Jesus Christ. But in nothing that he did for them did he give them power over those who did not belong to the church, to compel them to act as though they did, except in that one thing of the Sunday law. Their decisions, which he decreed to be final, were binding only on those who voluntarily chose that tribunal, and affected none others. Before this time, if any who had repaired to the tribunal of the

bishops were dissatisfied with the decision, they could appeal to the civil magistrate. This edict cut off that source of appeal, yet affected none but those who voluntarily chose the arbitration of the bishops. But in the Sunday law, power was given to the church to compel those who did not belong to the church, and who were not subject to the jurisdiction of the church, to obey the commands of the church. In the Sunday law there was given to the church control of the civil power, that by it she could compel those who did not belong to the church to act as if they did. The history of Constantine’s time may be searched through and through, and it will be found that in nothing did he give to the church any such power, except in this one thing —the Sunday law. Neander’s statement is literally correct, that it was “in this way the church received help from the State for the furtherance of her ends.”  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 71.5}
    The work, however, was not done yet. True, the bishops had secured the power of the State to take away from the people all excuse for not being religious; but from the beginning of the whole scheme, the people had no real wish to be religious. They had none of the spirit of devotion in their hearts; and although the State had forbidden them to work, and had shut the Sunday circuses and theaters, still the people would not be religious. The next step to be taken, therefore, in the logic of the situation, was to compel them; and the theocratical bishops were equal to the occasion. They were ready with a theory that exactly met the demands of the case; and the great Catholic Church Father and Catholic saint, Augustine, was the father of this Catholic saintly theory. He wrote:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 72.1}
    “It is indeed better that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment, or

by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected. . . . Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering, before they attain to the highest grade of religious development.” —Schaff’s Church History, vol. 2, sec. 27.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 72.2}
    Of this theory Neander remarks:—  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 73.1}
    “It was by Augustine, then, that a theory was proposed and founded, which . . . contained the germ of that whole system of spiritual despotism, of intolerance and persecution, which ended in the tribunals of the Inquisition.” —Church History, p. 217.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 73.2}
    The history of the Inquisition is only the history of the carrying out of this infamous theory of Augustine’s. But this theory is only the logical sequence of the theory upon which the whole series of Sunday laws was founded. The church induced the State to compel all to be idle for their own good. Then it was found that they all were more inclined to wickedness. Then to save them from all going to the Devil, they tried to compel all to go to heaven. The work of the Inquisition was always for love of men’s souls, and to save them from hell!.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 73.3}
    Allow me to summarize these statements from Neander: He says of the carrying into effect of the theocratical theory of those bishops, that they made themselves dependent upon Constantine by their disputes, and “by their determination to use the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims.” Then he mentions the first and second Sunday laws of Constantine; the Sunday law of 386; the Carthage Convention, resolution, and petition of 401; and the law of 425 in response to this petition; and then, without a break, and with direct reference to these Sunday laws, he says: “In this way the church received help from the State for

the furtherance of her ends.” She started out with the determination to do it; she did it; and “in this way” she did it. And when she had secured the control of the power of the State, she used it for the furtherance of her own aims, and in her own despotic way, as announced in Augustine’s Inquisitorial theory. The first step logically and inevitably led to the last; and the theocratical leaders in the movement had the cruel courage to follow the first step unto the last, as framed in the words of Augustine, and illustrated in the history of the Inquisition.  {1889 ATJ, NSLS18 73.4}
    That is the system with which Sunday laws belong. That is the theory upon which they are based. They have no other foundation. Mr. Elliott, who has spoken here in behalf of this bill, knows that there is no law in the Bible for keeping the first day of the week. I could read a passage from his own book, “The Abiding Sabbath,” page 184, in which he confesses “the complete silence of the New Testament, so far as any explicit command for the Sabbath, or definite rules for its observance, are concerned.” And everybody knows that the Old Testament does not say anything about the observance of the first day of the week as Sabbath. Everybody likewise knows that the Old Testament does not say anything about keeping the first day of the week as the day of the resurrection of the Saviour, or for any other reason. Dr. Johnson and others here this morning have said that the first day of the week was chosen because it was a memorial of the resurrection of the Saviour. It is the New Testament that tells about the resurrection of the Saviour. That is granted. Dr. Elliott confesses, and the American Tract Society publishes it, that there is “complete silence of the New Testament” in regard to it. Then what right have they


Back To Top

Last File / Back to NSL Index / Next File