The American Sentinel 11
The American Sentinel 11
January 2, 1896
“Retrospective and Prospective” American Sentinel 11, 1, pp. 1, 2.
WITH this number the AMERICAN SENTINEL enters upon the eleventh year of its publication. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.1
When the first number of the SENTINEl was issued, few, comparatively, even of its friends, realized the real necessity there was for such a paper, and very many thought that there was in this country no field for a journal devoted to the advocacy of religious liberty. But subsequent events have fully justified the existence of the SENTINEL, every year making the necessity for it more apparent than the previous one. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.2
The past year has been unusually eventful in the conflict between truth and error, between righteousness and unrighteousness, between soul-liberty and the bondage of sin. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.3
The year opened with persecution for conscience’ sake, actually in progress in Switzerland, in England, and in various parts of our own country, notably in Tennessee; and there has been no general abatement. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.4
Under color of the Swiss Factory Act, the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in Basel was closed some months since, the manager imprisoned, and the publishing work carried on there greatly crippled. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.5
The employés of this publishing house, instead of being protected by the operations of this “law,” have been greatly embarrassed and made to suffer hardship because of the loss of employment; and this seems the more inconsistent because Sunday is not as strictly observed in Switzerland as in some other countries. The plaza in front of the Imprimerie Polyglotte, the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house, is frequently the scene of Sunday military parades and athletic games; and on at least one recent occasion the reviewing stands were erected on Sunday. Nevertheless both the government and people of Switzerland have turned a dear ear to the prayer of the Seventh-day Adventists for simple justice. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.6
In England religious persecution, waged against the same people, has run about the same course. Here, as in Basel, it was carried on under color of the Factory Act; and, as appears from the statement which we take from the Daily Graphic, published upon page 4, 1 the greatest sufferers have been those whom the act styles “protected persons.” The facts, as set forth in the appeal of the Board of Directors to the Home Secretary, to which we have just referred, unmistakably stamp the action of the authorities in this instance as religious persecution. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.7
Intolerance in Our Own Land.
In our own country bigotry and intolerance have been no less pronounced. The first quarter of the year saw ten Seventh-day Adventists convicted and imprisoned in Rhea County, Tenn., upon the technical charge of “nuisance,” their offense being the performance of ordinary secular labor on the first day of the week. And this conviction was had notwithstanding the absence of all evidence that there was any disturbance other than the mental annoyance experienced by those whose bigotry and intolerance render them incapable of cheerfully awarding to others the exercise of rights which they demand for themselves. This persecution was a gross injustice not only to the imprisoned men and their families, but also resulted in cutting short a term of the Graysville Academy, to the great detriment of a number of students who were about ready to graduate. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.8
An appeal to the legislature of Tennessee for relief by repeal of the oppressive act was treated with contempt; and four months later eight Seventh-day Adventists, including several of the same individuals formerly imprisoned, were again convicted and imprisoned and worked in the chain-gang with common criminals. During the same time there were other similar cases of persecution in Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Ontario, and Manitoba. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.9
In both Illinois and Arkansas there is a clause exempting from the penalties of the “law” observers of the seventh day. But this provision has been overridden, notably in Illinois, and quiet, inoffensive, and in every respect law-abiding citizens have been haled before courts, and have been tried and unjustly convicted. And but for an appeal to the Supreme Court, now pending, these men would be suffering imprisonment at the present moment for the exercise of their God-given, constitutional, and statutory rights. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.10
And what has been the attitude of the people toward these persecutions? Largely one of indifference. This has been especially true in foreign lands. In London it is said by a high government official that the numbers concerned were too insignificant to justify any action looking to relief, by the government. 2 In this country, a considerable part of the secular press has spoken out nobly in defense of the rights of conscience, and in condemnation of tyranny. But a majority of the religious papers have been either silent or have given their voice in favor of restriction and oppression. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.11
With the single exception of the American Baptist Publication Association, the various religious bodies of this country, so far as they have spoken, have by resolutions not only indorsed the restriction of religious liberty, but have demanded the enactment and enforcement of still more stringent statutes calculated to bind as with a chain not only the bodies but the souls of men to the Sunday Juggernaut. With the details our readers are familiar. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.12
What Is Involved.
The law of God declares that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and commands in unequivocal language that it be kept holy. Not only so, but God appeals repeatedly to the facts set forth in that commandment as the ground of his rightful authority over all men, and also declares: “I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” 3 Thus the Sabbath is the sign of God not only as Creator but as re-Creator, or Saviour. AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.13
But in contradistinction to this the Catholic Church commands the observance of Sunday, to which she appeals as the badge of her authority to command men under sin. 4 And such has been her influence with the nations of earth that almost every civilized State on the globe has incorporated into its statutes the papal dogma of Sunday sacredness. So far is our country from being an exception to this statement, that it has stood forth so prominently in this respect that this institution is by many styled “the American Sabbath.” AMS January 2, 1896, page 1.14
Notwithstanding the fact that in 1829 and 1830 the Congress of the United States adopted the Sunday Mail Reports, written by Hon. Richard M. Johnson, in which it was declared that if the Sunday act then demanded “should be adopted, it would be difficult for human sagacity to foresee how rapid would be the succession or how numerous the train of measures which [would] follow, involving the dearest rights of all—the rights of conscience.” The Fifty-second Congress in its World’s fair legislation in 1893 took this dangerous step by interpreting the law of God, declaring in effect that the fourth commandment was not only binding upon all men and nations, but that it required the observance of the first day of the week. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.1
It is true that the Government has not been consistent in this matter, but it is plainly seen that the trend of public sentiment and of governmental policy is in the direction of showing greater honor to the Sunday institution; and in this the several States are not one white behind the General Government. In fact, most of the States have for many years been committed to the defense of the Sunday dogma. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.2
What of the Future?
What the present Congress will do it is of course impossible to tell; but indications are not lacking that it is ambitious to make a “reform” record. Already there has been introduced into both the Senate, and House, the joint resolution which we print on page 6; but even if adopted, this proposed amendment would add but little to what we already have in general orders, religious proclamations, the practice of employing chaplains, State and national statutes, and judicial decisions. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.3
Judge Brewer’s dictum of Feb. 29, 1892, that this is a “Christian nation,” while theoretically without force as law, has practically nullified that portion of the First Amendment which declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Being a “Christian nation,” it follows that the “Christian” religion is the religion of the nation, and that its institutions are to be protected because they are “Christian.” Such was probably the most potent argument (aside from threatened political boycott) 5 urged in behalf of the World’s Fair Sunday-closing clause. But be this as it may, the trend of events in this country and in the world cannot be mistaken. Everywhere the Papacy is being exalted either in its own proper character, or by the adoption of its institutions, dogmas and methods. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.4
But this occasions no surprise to the student of sacred Scripture, for it is plainly declared in Revelation 13:8: “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Papacy], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Obedience is the highest form of worship, and regardless of their profession, those who knowingly obey the command of the Papacy rather than the command of God, thereby worship the beast. It is the boast of Rome that “the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage [worship] they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Roman Catholic] church.” 6 AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.5
The Papacy and Its Image.
The beast, the Papacy, is a church clothed with civil power and therefore holding adulterous connection with the nations of the earth. One of the symbols by which it is represented is that of a lewd woman. (See Revelation 17:1-5.) It follows that any church forsaking the power of God and seeking the power of the State becomes papal in character, whether recognized as a part of the Papacy or not. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.6
Fourteen of the “evangelical” denominations of the United States, banding themselves together in the American Sabbath Union, 7 have sought and obtained civil power for the furtherance of their ends, and the enforcement of at least one of their dogmas, 8 namely, that of Sunday sacredness,—the dogma to which, in preference to all others, as we have shown, the Papal Church appeals as the symbol of her power to “command men under sin.” AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.7
In thus imitating the Papacy and receiving power from the State instead of from her Lord, the professed Protestant church of America has inaugurated an American papacy, an image as it were of the Papacy of the pope. And against the worship of this image as well as against obeying the Papacy itself, the Scriptures given the solemn warning of Revelation 14:9, 10. It is for the purpose of sounding this warning that the SENTINEL exists. We have never for a moment expected to prevent those things which are foretold in the Scriptures. Opposition may retard, but cannot finally avert that which the Word of God long since declared would come to pass. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.8
This country was settled and this nation established, we firmly believe, in the providence of God, that it might be an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, and that here a purer church might be maintained and greater liberty to preach the gospel be enjoyed than was possible in any other quarter of the globe. But these privileges have not been appreciated, and misguided men, ambitious for their own aggrandizement and mistaking ambition for religious fervor, have untiringly plotted for the overthrow of liberty of conscience in the suppose interests of the religion of Him who said to the impulsive Peter: “Put up thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.9
One after another of the constitutional guarantees of religious liberties have been and are being swept away, not indeed by direct repeal, but by legislation subtly inconsistent with our charters of liberty, State and national, and by practices equally at variance with the spirit of our free institutions, and scarcely less sophistical than the legislation referred to; and by judicial decisions based upon colonial history and royal charters rather than upon those guarantees of freedom of conscience by which the people of nearly every State have sought to make sure their liberties. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.10
The Sunday institution figures more largely in this assault on soul-liberty than any other papal dogma, because it is the test of loyalty to the Papacy, as the Sabbath is the test of loyalty to God. It is for this reason that we view with alarm every attempt to coerce men in this matter, and raise our voices in warning against every forward step which is taken in the exaltation of this man-made institution, this papal counterfeit of the Sabbath of the Lord. And so the SENTINEL will continue in the future to uncompromisingly oppose, as it has in the past, every step in the direction of a more perfect development of union of Church and State, which is bound up with and necessarily included in every statute and every judicial decision, and every governmental action designed in any way to either enforce upon the people the observance of any religious dogmas, or which prohibits in any manner the free exercise of religious faith. The nation may not hear, the great mass of the people may not pause, apostate Protestantism may not desist from her pursuit of civil power; but individuals will heed the warning and be saved in the kingdom of God. And to this end we labor. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.11
“Will the ‘Christian’ Nations Fight?” American Sentinel 11, 1, pp. 2, 3.
THIS is the question that is now agitating many minds in all parts of the civilized world, and no one is able to give it a conclusive answer. Two great “Christian” nations have had a serious falling out, and one of them has threatened the other with a possible settlement of their differences by force of arms. Both are standing upon their dignity, and announce that they are firmly resolved to maintain the same, by a careful avoidance of anything like a confession of being in the wrong. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.1
The situation was very generally discussed by leading clergymen in their Sunday sermons, Dec. 22, and a number expressed themselves strongly concerning the unchristian spectacle which would be presented in the event of war. The Rev. Dr. John Hall, of the Fifth Ave. Presbyterian Church, New York, said that “nothing would cause more malignant satisfaction to the devil than the possibility of strife between two such great Christian nations as ours, and that with which we are most closely associated by ties of blood and kindred interests.” Rev. Francis E. Mason, of Brooklyn notice that “the world is in a state of commotion and war. Even our own Congress, the Congress of an avowed Christian nation, is this moment considering the purchase of 2,000,000 rifles.” And the Rev. L. A. Banks, of the same city, alluding to the idea of a forcible annexation of Canada, which would be an inevitable outcome of hostilities, inquired: “Has a nation any more moral right to steal a State than a private citizen to steal an overcoat or a watch?” He might also with equal pertinency have inquired whether a nation has any more moral right than a private citizen has to kill people who stand in the way of its covetous or ambitious designs. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.2
It is pleasing to note that the leading clergymen of the country, with some exceptions, stand firmly for the maintenance of peace, and that the “sober second thought” of the people has turned largely in this direction. Still, as has been pointed out, a nation may be led into war against the wishes of the majority of its people. In the present case, it is evident that both in England and America the people almost universally deprecate the idea of war; but—there are certain things a “Christian” nation cannot sacrifice even to avert war. A “Christian” nation must at all costs maintain its dignity. A backdown,—a confession of being in the wrong, is not to be thought of on either side; at least not from any other motive than that of fear of the consequences. And here lies the danger. Have these two great “Christian” nations, through the action of their chief representatives, taken a definite antagonistic stand on the question of controversy? If they have, then war seems inevitable, notwithstanding the natural aversion of the people thereto; for must not a “Christian” nation fight rather than acknowledge itself in the wrong? Certainly—to voice the general sentiment—it must. AMS January 2, 1896, page 2.3
Hence both nations will await with anxiety the result of the commission to be appointed by President Cleveland to make an investigation which will settle the question of the duty of the United States. Meanwhile suggestions are being made by peace-loving people, of means which they think still open to this nation or to England to avoid a conflict without any loss of dignity. It is possible, and certainly devoutly to be hoped, that events may furnish such a solution of the difficulty. But in case they do not, and it remains either to confess or to fight, then these two “Christian” nations will lay hold of all the carnal weapons they can command, and kill, maim, burn, batter down, and in general do their best to disable each other, in order that their “Christian” dignity may be maintained! AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.1
Can we not see that all talk about this or any other nation being Christian, in a governmental sense, is nonsense? AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.2
“‘Practical Christian Sociology’” American Sentinel 11, 1, p. 3.
IN Dr. Crafts’ work, “Practical Christian Sociology,” referred to in our issue of Dec. 19, 1895, he makes this argument(?) for the first day of the week, to which he applies the names “Sabbath” and “Lord’s Day”:— AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.1
That first gospel, the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, and it should bruise his heel, pictures the promised Christ as a bruised Conqueror, a Saviour-King. The later prophecies painted the Coming One sometimes as a sufferer, sometimes as a sovereign, which led some of the Jews that were unable to conceive of a king as a voluntary sufferer to expect two Messiahs. At the birth of Christ two cries rang out together: “Unto you is born a Saviour.” “Where is he that is born King?” On the Mount of Coronation Jesus “spake of his decease.” When we recall the cross at the Lord’s Supper that very name should prompt us to look above his wounded feet and hands and side and brow, to the words above his head, “This is the King;” to which also points the word sacrament, whose original meaning is a soldier’s oath of loyalty to his king. These double pictures of the Saviour-King culminate in Revelation in the throne on which was a Lamb “as it had been slain.” “The gospel of our salvation” is also “the gospel of the kingdom,” the good news including not only pardon through Jesus the Saviour, but also protection and direction through Christ the King. AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.2
At the portals of that same book of Revelation, which is preëminently the book of Christ’s Kingship, stands the most impressive sign of his present earthly authority, “the Lord’s Day,” the profound significance of which in this connection I have never seen developed. One day in every week an invisible Lord commands us to halt in the most absorbing pursuits of our earthly life; in the pursuit of money and business: in the pursuit of pleasure; in the pursuit of politics and fame; in the pursuit of education; and we halt as a sign that we believe in that invisible Lord and are loyal to his law. There is no other sign of our faith and loyalty so impressive to a selfish world as this twenty-four-hour halt in our work every week at Christ’s command. The Lord’s day is therefore the “sign,” the ensign of our Lord Jesus Christ; its field of blue spangled with stars and sun; its stripes the black and white of night and day, and the many colors of sunrise and sunset; and this flag of Christ is carried round the world every week and is saluted by some in every land by the laying aside of tools and toil, in token of their loyalty to a living Lord. Breaking the sabbath, therefore, is tearing the flag of the government of the universe, and so an offense kindred to treason. We have forgotten all the murderers of the Revolution, but not Benedict Arnold, because an offense against a good government the calm verdict of history adjudges to be a greater wrong than any that can be done to individuals. Desecrating the Lord’s day, in addition to any wrong to workers or to society that it involves, is high treason to the Lord himself. 1 AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.3
With the first of these paragraphs we have no fault to find. The cross and the throne do indeed both appear in the Lord’s Supper. The words, “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come,” 2 point us not only back to the valley of humiliation, but forward to Mount Zion; and the eye of faith sees Christ not only as the Man of Calvary, the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” but beholds him coming again as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.4
But the second paragraph is as full of error as the first one is of truth. “The Lord’s day” truly stands “at the portals” of the book of Revelation “as the most impressive sign” of Christ’s authority, but that day is not Sunday, nor does it stand for civil authority exercised by self-appointed vicars of the Son of God. AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.5
The only Lord’s day known to the Scriptures of truth is the seventh day, “the Sabbath of the Lord,” kept by patriarchs, prophets, apostles, the holy women at the tomb, and by our Lord himself. That this day, honored alike by God and his people, is indeed the Lord’s day, is evident from Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13; and Matthew 12:8. The first of these texts says plainly: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God;” in the second, the Lord calls the Sabbath “my holy day;” while in the third, that same Lord, as the Son of man, styles himself “Lord even of the Sabbath day.” The conclusion is irresistible that the seer of Patmos was in the Spirit upon the day divinely sanctified and blest for man,—“the Sabbath of the Lord.” AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.6
But the Lord’s day of Revelation 1:10 is none the less the badge of Christ’s authority. Dr. Crafts himself says:— AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.7
When the laws and law principles of the Old Testament have been added to those of the New, we have not yet before us the complete law of Christ, which includes also the so-called “laws of nature,” “the Oldest Testament,” of which Christ is divinely declared to be the author. “In the beginning was the Word. The world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” Nor does it yet know Christ as its Creator. Although John three times declares that “the world was made by him,” and although the book of Hebrews twice declares the same; and although Paul in Colossians, which presents Christ as King of the Cosmos as well as King of the Church, proclaims that in him were all things created, and that with him all creation is filled, and that by him all things “hold together,” yet how seldom to a child’s curious questions about the great world does anyone answer “Jesus made it”! He is known as the author of “the new creation,” only—as Redeemer, but not as Creator. If the so-called “Apostles’ Creed,” which is partly responsible for the exclusion of Christ from the work of creation, is to be made truly apostolic, in view of the foregoing words of apostles we must change a word and say, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, our Lord.” Natural science, by its evidences of design, order, and progress, proves mind in nature; Scripture proclaims that mind to be “the mind of Christ,’ whom we disobey whenever we disregard a law written in our bodies as surely as if it were written in our Bible. 3 AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.8
Beyond all question Christ is the Creator. The Sabbath is therefore the Lord’s day because it is both the memorial of his work and of rest, the day he himself blest and sanctified, the day which he himself made for man before sin had doomed him to wearing toil,—and hence the day primarily designed not for physical rest but for spiritual rejoicing. AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.9
Nor is the Sabbath, the Lord’s day of the sacred Scriptures, simply the memorial of a finished creation and of divine rest. The Sabbath is a sign to every son of Adam,—separated from sin by redeeming grace,—of the divine power by which he is saved: “Moreover also I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” 4 As “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” 5 to bring order out of confusion, to transform chaos into beauty, so the same divine Spirit changes the stony heart to a heart of flesh, and from the chaos of sin brings forth the beauty of holiness, the spiritual “man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 6 “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 7 The power that redeems, that re-creates, is the same that in the beginning created the world from nothing, and that from darkness made light. And in every age and in both Testaments the Sabbath of the Lord, the Lord’s day, stands as the symbol of that power. AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.10
But the author of “Practical Christian Sociology” scorns the Lord’s day of the Scriptures and insists that another day shall represent the Lord’s power! He tramples in the dust “the ensign of our Lord Jesus Christ,” the standard which our Lord himself as Cretor ordained, whose “field of blue” he himself “spangled with stars and sun,” and whose “stripes the black and white of night and day, and the many colors of sunrise and sunset,” his own fingers painted; and in its stead he unfurls the flag of antichrist and demands that it shall be acknowledged as the standard of “the King of kings, and Lord of lords!” Ignoring the only divine command ever given to “halt as a sign that we believe in that invisible Lord and are loyal to his law,” our author demands for the counterfeit Lord’s day the honor due alone to the Sabbath of the Lord, the true Lord’s day, and declares that breaking this false sabbath, this man-made Lord’s day, is tearing the flag of the Government of the universe, and so an offense kindred to treason”! How dare any man so write? and what shall such an one answer when the Lord of the true Sabbath shall demand, “Who hath required this at your hands?” Are not such well described in these words of Holy Writ: “Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken?” 8 “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” 9 AMS January 2, 1896, page 3.11