The Home Missionary, vol. 1

The Home Missionary, Vol. 1 (1889)

1889

January 1889

“The Third Angel’s Message” The Home Missionary, 1, 1, pp. 1-3.

ATJ

DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS:—

The first special missionary Sabbath of the New Year has come, and it has fallen to me to address you once more on the third angel’s message. As I, with two others, was appointed by the General Conference to present our cause before the United States Senate Committee; and as a report is due to you, and as we know all are anxious to learn how we were treated, it has been thought best that I should make my report in this reading. HOMI January 1889, page 1.1

I reached Washington several days before the time when the National Sunday Convention was to be held. I went to the Capitol, and had about an hour’s conversation with Senator Blair. When I asked him to allow us a hearing, he told me that the Sunday petitioners were to have a second hearing during the Convention to be held, and he thought we had better divide the time with them. I told him that would not be fair, as it would be giving them two hearings to our half a one. Well, he said, he would let us know when their hearing was to be, and invited us to be there, and he would then appoint us a time. I spoke to several other members of the Committee, and they thought it only fair that we should have a full hearing. Bro. Haskell came and brought a letter of introduction to Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts. When we spoke to him, he went at once to Senator Blair, and asked him to give us a full hearing, and not to put us off “with the fag end of somebody else’s time.” He promised that he would. The time of the hearing of the Sunday petitioners was Thursday forenoon, Dec. 13, from 10 to 12 o’clock. Dr. Lewis, of the Seventh-day Baptists, was there, and was recognized as a representative of that denomination by the Sunday folks. In the Convention, when Mrs. Bateham, of the W.C.T.U., mentioned the opposers to the Sunday law, she said that first was “the very small sect of Seventh-day Baptists.” This she repeated before the Senate Committee. And both in the Convention and before the Committee, the Seventh-day Adventists had been totally ignored. Not even the name of our denomination had been mentioned. This we were glad of, rather than sorry for; because it left us wholly free to represent ourselves. But these National Reformers took Dr. Lewis in with them, to be heard among them. He was heard, too, but he gave his whole cause away by admitting the right of legislation upon the subject, and that it was proper for the majority to regulate what should be done on the day. He only asked for an exemption clause in favor of his people. HOMI January 1889, page 1.2

As soon as he was done speaking, Dr. Herrick Johnson arose, and said to Senator Blair that Dr. Lewis “had given himself away,” and that his admission had surrendered the whole question. Their hearing then soon closed, and Senator Blair turned to me and asked if we would be ready to go on if he should continue the sitting. I told him we could be ready as soon as I could go to my room and get my books and papers for reference. He then asked how much time we wanted. I told him, all we could have; that we had a good deal that was of importance to say. I told him that the other side had chosen wholly to ignore us while recognizing what they chose to call “the very small sect of Seventh- day Baptists;” that we were three times the number, and many times the force of the Seventh-day Baptists. I told them we had organizations in nearly all the States and Territories of the Union; that we had the largest printing-house in the State of Michigan; the largest printing-house on the Pacific coast; printing-houses in Basel, Switzerland; Christiana, Norway; Melbourne, Australia; and missionary stations in nearly all parts of the world. HOMI January 1889, page 1.3

This put a query into the minds of many present, and they looked at one another, as though they would inquire, “Why then did the Sunday petitioners mention the Seventh-day Baptists, and say nothing at all about you?” I told the Committee that we had seen on the instant that Dr. Lewis had given himself away, and that we did not propose to give ourselves away; that we proposed to go deeper into the subject than any of them had yet gone. He then asked me to get ready, and he would continue the sitting through the afternoon. I was soon ready, and was allowed to begin. HOMI January 1889, page 2.1

I began with the Bible principles as given by the Saviour in Matthew 22:21, and by Paul in Romans 13:1-8. I began to show the separation that the Saviour has made between religion and the State, and that the civil government has no right to legislate in regard to anything contained in the first four commandments. I had spoken about five minutes, when Senator Blair began a systematic course of interruptions, with questions, arguments, and counter-arguments, which he kept up steadily for an hour and a half. He would break me off with a question in the middle of a sentence; and when I attempted to answer his question, he would break me off in the middle of my answer. He argued directly in favor of a theocracy. He showed himself wholly a partisan throughout, and so much so that twice he grew quite warm over the subject. HOMI January 1889, page 2.2

In speaking to him as chairman, I necessarily had my back to most of the audience. But Brother Haskell could see them; and he said that in the first five minutes in which I was allowed to speak uninterruptedly, the argument was plainly making a strong impression; that every word was having a telling effect. It seemed that Senator Blair saw this, and determined to break it down if possible. His whole effort from that time onward seemed to be, by his interruptions and counter-arguments, to deaden as far as possible every argument that I attempted to make. He confessed, however, that our whole system of argument was logical throughout. I answered, “Of course it is.” HOMI January 1889, page 2.3

Among his many questions, he asked one which I was allowed to answer. He wanted to know whether we would join Dr. Lewis in asking for an exemption clause. I answered emphatically, “No, sir! we would not only not ask for an exemption clause, but we would not accept it if it were offered. We would oppose the law just as much with an exemption clause as without it. More than this, if they grant an exemption clause, it will be but a little while before they will have to repeal it. Because under universal Sunday law with exemption to observers of the seventh day, a lot of saloon keepers and other such unprincipled people will profess to be Sabbath keepers in order to keep their places open on Sunday for the Sunday traffic. It would not be long, therefore, till there would be too much business done on Sunday to suit the Sunday observers; and if the effort was to be made effective, they would be compelled to repeal the exemption clause.” HOMI January 1889, page 2.4

He turned to Mrs. Bateham, and asked her if she had thought of this. In her answer, she seemed not to have clearly caught my argument, and I asked to be allowed to repeat it for her especial benefit. Mr. Blair said, “Certainly,” that he would be glad to have it repeated. I then turned directly to her, and repeated it slowly, so that she could get it all. Then Mr. Blair said to her, “In the States, the only places that would be affected by this law would be the post-offices. You ask that the post-offices shall be shut to relieve the consciences of those who want to keep Sunday. Suppose the United States should hire Seventh-day Adventists to attend the post-offices on Sunday. This would relieve all who want to rest on Sunday, and so the post-offices could be kept open on Sunday without interfering with any body’s conscience; because these people have kept their Sabbath, and do not believe in keeping Sunday anyhow, and you propose to exempt them from the law.” HOMI January 1889, page 2.5

She replied, “Oh, we do not mean to exempt them from the law,—only from its penalty.” “Well,” said he, “if you exempt them from the penalty, you exempt them from the law, because law without penalty is of no force.” HOMI January 1889, page 2.6

I then stated that it was not at all through fear of their repealing an exemption clause that we rejected it, but from the principle of the thing. We rejected it because we denied the right of the State to legislate at all on the subject; and our either asking or accepting an exemption clause would be an admission that the State had the right to legislate on religious subjects, and that the majority have a right to rule in religious things. HOMI January 1889, page 2.7

When the Senator had kept up his interruptions for an hour and a half, he brought our hearing to a close. A member of Congress came in at the beginning to bear our argument, but Mr. Blair’s interruptions and partisanship disgusted him in a little while, and he left. We stood it for the whole hour and a half. He had put several questions to those of the Sunday side, but two or three times apologized to them, with the explanation that they must not think that because he asked questions, it was to oppose them, for it was not; it was only to get the matter more fully stated. But to us there was never an apology nor an explanation: to us there was plain, open opposition. And after our hearing was closed, he allowed a man on the infidel side to speak straight ahead for fifty minutes with only about two slight interruptions. HOMI January 1889, page 2.8

This experience was a perfect illustration of the statement made by Sister White in the first reading for the week of prayer, that we shall have to meet keen and critical minds, and be criticised by them. This is true, brethren, and I cannot tell you how thankful we were that the truth forced, even from Mr. Blair, the admission that our position is logical throughout. Brethren and sisters all, the time has fully come when we must every one become thoroughly acquainted with every point of our faith, so that we shall know it for ourselves. To this the Testimonies have been exhorting us more and more for the last two or three years. Shall we do it, brethren, so that when called to stand before councils, we shall be able to compel the respect of even the opposers of the truth? Or shall we neglect this work, and find the precious truth of God put to shame, and ourselves despised before our enemies? God has given us abundant opportunity; shall we improve it wisely and well? Why, brethren and sisters, we do not to the one-hundredth part, appreciate the blessedness of the truth which God has called us to study, to understand, and to give to the world. We ought to be the most grateful people on all the earth. HOMI January 1889, page 3.1

Just a word now about the petitions. Circulate them diligently everywhere and get every body that you can to sign them. Study hard so that you can present the matter in such a way as to win all to whom you present the petitions. The short time in which we have had this opportunity to agitate the subject, is already giving us favor everywhere among the most prominent classes. The best minds in the nation are being turned to the truth. Be not weary in such well doing. HOMI January 1889, page 3.2

Many questions have been asked as to how long we are to circulate the petitions. The answer is: Circulate them steadily and diligently until the image of the beast is formed; that is, until that against which they aim has been framed into the law. At the very least, we shall have but two or three more opportunities to be heard, and to present at the national capital our cause, with the petitions against the Sunday law and against the Amendment. We shall have these opportunities, and that of speaking before all the people besides. HOMI January 1889, page 3.3

Brethren and sisters, the time has come for every one of us to preach the third angel’s message as never before. Let there be neither check nor halt in circulating the petitions until every adult person in the United States has had opportunity to sign them, or until the image of the beast is made. Here is work to do, and the Master says, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” God has promised victory over the beast and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. And thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. A. T. JONES. HOMI January 1889, page 3.4