American Sentinel, vol. 5


American Sentinel, Vol. 5


January 2, 1890

“Front Page” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

It is in one sense with feelings of considerable regret that the SENTINEL finds it necessary to sever its direct connection with California. Personally our associates there have been of the very pleasantest. Dear friends are there whom we hold in ever grateful remembrance. Professionally our associations have also been of the pleasantest; and it is with the kindest remembrances toward our contemporaries, of Oakland and San Francisco, and especially the Times and the Tribune of Oakland, and the Examiner and the Alta of San Francisco, that the SENTINEL bids good-bye to the beautiful city by the Western Sea. Yet we all know that it was with the sole object of doing better service in the cause to which it is devoted that the SENTINEL made the change of location which it has made; and although we have been in our new quarters but a few days, we have already seen abundance of evidence of the propriety of the move that has been made. It is therefore with the best of courage that we enter anew upon our work with the beginning of this new year. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.1

It is stated that the new government of Brazil proposes to sever the connection that existed under the monarchy between the State and the Roman Catholic Church. But while Catholicism was the State religion all other sects were tolerated. The only distinction made between that and other sects was that other denominations were restricted to the use of houses of worship “without the exterior form of temples.” This was construed to forbid simply the erection of steeples and the use of bells. The appropriations for religious purposes in Brazil in 1887-88 amounted to $454,000. The same budget appropriated $280,000 for education. Neither of these sums was large, and certainly the Brazilian establishment was not very expensive, but the new government will do well to abolish it and let the churches support themselves, while the government looks after the schools. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.2

“The American Sentinel” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

With this number the AMERICAN SENTINEL enters upon the fifth year of its publication. Started at Oakland, California, January, 1886, as an eight-page monthly, it attained the first year to a total circulation of more than 136,000 copies; the second year of more than 255,000; and the third year of more than 600,000. This rapid growth showed a demand for the paper which seemed to the publishers to call for a more frequent issue. Accordingly, in January, 1889, it was changed to an eight-page weekly; and more than a million copies were printed and circulated within a year. The rapidly multiplying demands for national religious legislation rendered it essential that our place of publication should be nearer the centers of information. We are therefore established at No. 43 Bond Street, New York City, from which place the AMERICAN SENTINEL salutes its old acquaintances and introduces itself to its new ones. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.3

The SENTINEL exists for the purpose of opposing all manner of religious legislation, and every principle, effort, or movement, that tends in any way toward a union of religion and the State; and of maintaining in this opposition the principles announced by Jesus Christ and also embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.4

The SENTINEL is positively Christian. And as positively and decidedly as it is Christian, just so positively does it maintain that Christianity, to remain pure and powerful, must never be connected, as such, in any way with the State; and that the State, properly to fulfil its functions, must never have anything whatever to do with religion, as such, or with religious observances. With the Supreme Court of Ohio we hold that “united with government, religion never rises above the merest superstition; united with religion, government never rises above the merest despotism; and all history shows us that the more widely and completely they are separated the better it is for both.” And with Dr. Philip Schaff we hold that “secular power has proved a Satanic gift to the church, and ecclesiastical power has proved an engine of tyranny in the hands of the State.” And the SENTINEL occupies this position because it is Christian, and because its editors and publishers love Jesus Christ and the religion which he brought to the world. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.5

The SENTINEL maintains that civil government is an ordinance of God; that to the citizen it is supreme in civil things, for God has made it so by commanding Christians as well as all others to be subject to it; and that the authority of civil government is over only the civil relations of men, and does not extend at all to religious things. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.6

The Saviour, when asked whether it was lawful to give tribute to Cæsar or not, replied by stating a principle which is for all people and governments unto the end of the world-“Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” He separates forever that which men owe to God from that which they owe to civil government. Religious duties and observances men owe to God; civil duties and obligations they owe to the State. Christ has separated these things; and what God has put asunder let no man join together. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.7

Again, in Romans 13:1-10, every soul is commanded to be subject unto the higher powers, to pay tribute, to render to all thee dues; and then, after citing certain commandments which speak of the relation of men to their fellowmen, the Word says, “And if there be any other commandment commandment it is briefly comprehended in this saying, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’” This word covers all the field in which the duty of any man can be related to civil government. With the men who do the things there named no government can ever find any fault. But in the points named there is not embraced any of the duties which men specifically owe to God. Therefore, within the line of man’s relations to his fellowman, God has set the limit to the jurisdiction of civil government. Civil government never can go beyond that limit without trenching upon ground where God has forbidden it to go. God has separated the duties which man owes to himself from those which civil government may require; and what God has put asunder let no man join together. AMS January 2, 1890, page 1.8

Therefore the SENTINEL maintains that it is the natural and inalienable right of every man to worship or not to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience; and that he is responsible to God alone for the exercise of that right. With George Washington we hold that “every man who conducts himself as a good citizen is accountable alone to God for his religious faith.” Any interference with this right on the part of any person or power is as unwarranted as it is unjust. AMS January 2, 1890, page 2.1

The SENTINEL maintains that its principles, as thus set forth, are strictly in harmony with the original intent of the government of the United States under its Constitution. It was plainly declared by the framers of this government that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States;” that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” and that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” It is therefore not only as a Christian publication, but, per consequence, as a loyal American publication, that the AMERICAN SENTINEL proposes to disseminate its principles. AMS January 2, 1890, page 2.2

And the SENTINEL cordially invites the co-operation of all lovers of Christianity and of the American Constitution in the work to which it is devoted. AMS January 2, 1890, page 2.3

“Queer Ideas of Morals” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

In the Iowa Sunday-law convention, President Blanchard of Wheaton College, Ill., said: “I would rather swear for half an hour than buy a Sunday paper for half a minute;” and in the annual convention of the National W.C.T.U., one of the representative speakers said: “I am a Christian, yet I would rather tell a lie than to put on a corset.” It may be that both these persons are Christians according to their understanding of what Christianity is; but such statements as these certainly betray a serious confusion of ethical ideas. Yet these are the people who want the State to legislate on the subject of morals and religion, and to give legal force to their ideas of morals! When such people get control of legislation and of law their own narrow views and confused ideas of things become supreme, their will takes precedence of the will of God. Mr. Blanchard is the gentleman who some time ago announced that in this matter of religious legislation they are “the representatives of God!” With this idea the above quotations are consistent, because such has ever been the course of the self-appointed “representatives of God” in government and law. AMS January 2, 1890, page 2.4

“Pushing the Matter” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The following from the Minneapolis Journal of the 14th ult. is interesting reading. It shows about as plainly as anything we ever saw, the temper of the Sunday-law advocates. They are determined to succeed and will stop at nothing which promises to aid their cause. The Journal says:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.1

Within the past two weeks leading pastors of the city have been in receipt of a paper which outlines a plan whereby it is expected that better Sunday observance will be secured in Minneapolis. The Sunday newspaper, it will be seen from what follows, is the head and front of the offending. AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.2

This paper is in the nature of a solemn agreement made very binding, and it has already been signed by a large number of leading ministers of the city. The paper, or agreement, put into concise shape, is as follows:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.3

“In order to correct the misapprehension that there is any difference of opinion among the pastors of this city with reference to the enforcement of Sunday laws, we pledge ourselves to stand by one another in this. AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.4

“1. We believe in using every right endeavor to bring about an abridgement of Sunday work in the public as well as in the private industries. AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.5

“2. We are united in demanding persistently and continuously the enforcement of all the laws whatsoever that refer to Sabbath desecration. And this means the closing of Sunday theaters. AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.6

“3. We pledge ourselves to withhold all patronage from the Sunday newspaper both in the matter of subscription and advertisement and to persuade our people, in so far as possible, to take the same position. We do this believing that the Sunday newspaper is the head and front of all offending.” AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.7

The iron-clad agreement has been signed, as noted, by a large number of ministers of the city. But the signing of this manifesto is not all that has been done. The evening of the third Sunday in the month of January next has been selected as an occasion upon which the Sunday observance question is to have the biggest clerical shaking up in the history of the city. An elaborate plan has been prepared which, outlined, is as follows:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.8

A large number of hacks or carriages will be retained and held for duty. Each minister in the city will have one of these three points above noted assigned to him as a text for a short, pithy address. He will make this address in his own church, for instance, will then be driven rapidly to another church nearest at hand where he will repeat the address, and then he will go to another church and another until he has used up all the evening’s time. Another minister will have another topic and will follow the same plan, and still another the last topic. Thus divided up by threes the ministers will keep moving from one church to another all the evening, giving to each congregation as many addresses as possible and all of them red hot. The State organization, which has the matter of Sunday observance in hand, will soon issue the formal call for these meetings. It is the intention of the movers in this affair to attract immense audiences to the churches and to give them the most earnest and powerful talks on the subject that the ministers of Minneapolis can utter. Said a gentleman closely connected with the movement this morning:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.9

“We mean business. We are going to push this matter. You say that there is a leading orthodox pastor in the city, who, it is reported, likes to read the Sunday paper? All right, just let him refuse to sign this paper then. That’s all. Just let him refuse to sign such a paper, and see what effect it would have. I tell you he’ll have to come out of the rain.” AMS January 2, 1890, page 5.10

“Prohibition” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The American Standard remarks that “a good deal is said about hard times in Iowa, yet the State has just paid the last dollar of her debt, and taxes are to be reduced one-third. If the prohibition has accomplished this, it’s a big feather in the cap of prohibition.” Whether prohibition in Iowa has reduced taxation or not, it has done one good thing: it has demonstrated, not only there but in Kansas and the Dakotas, that all hope of prohibition is not bound up in the so-called Prohibition party. It has been demonstrated in those States that when public sentiment is educated up to that point the people will adopt prohibition regardless of parties. AMS January 2, 1890, page 6.1

“Notes” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

The field secretary of the American Sabbath Union is Rev. W. F. Crafts, of this city. Down at Washington City the other day, in a sermon on the Sunday-law question, he held up a backwards saw which he says he got at Nazareth, in Palestine, and which is emblematic of the course of certain leaders in the Sunday movement, and informed his audience that it was such a saw as that that Christ laid down “Saturday nights” at the close of his week’s work, and preparatory to his weekly rest on Sunday. And everybody knows, or ought to know, that Christ never worked on Saturday and never kept Sunday while he was in this world. Everybody knows, or ought to know, that Saturday was the Sabbath in Christ’s day; and that he rested instead of worked on that day. Sunday, we are informed by the theologians, is kept in memory of Christ’s resurrection; and it is hardly likely that he commemorated his own resurrection before that even occurred. Query: In that statement did Mr. Crafts manifest his own ignorance, or did he presume upon the ignorance of his audience? If the latter, was it honest? If the former, ought he not to learn before he takes it upon himself to teach? AMS January 2, 1890, page 7.1

It is announced from Rome that Monseigneur Satolli, who recently returned to Rome from this country, has assured the Pope that “the Washington government looks favorably upon the idea of having a duly accredited diplomatic representative at the Vatican.” There is little room for doubt that this is true. The cry of “rum, Romanism, and rebellion” defeated one candidate for the presidency in this country, and forewarned by that circumstance each presidential possibility is now determined that nothing of the kind shall happen in his case. But there is absolutely no reason why this country should have a representative at the papal court. The craft Leo desires it because it would be an acknowledgment from one of the greatest powers of earth that he is of right a temporal prince, and that he is unjustly deprived of his dominions. But that is something that this country has no right to acknowledge; nor would our officials so much as think of doing so were it not for the political influence exercised in this country by the minions of a foreign pretender to a usurped throne in Italy. AMS January 2, 1890, page 7.2

December 9-11, the American Sabbath Union held its first anniversary in this city. The attendance was about fifty. Papers were read, speeches were made, and eighteen resolutions were passed. One paper “prepared expressly for the occasion,” but not presented, was entitled “Some Lessons Learned During the Past Year.” If that paper was prepared by the field secretary we should like very much to see it or hear it read, especially if he gave an impartial account of certain things which we know that he learned. The Union decided to establish the headquarters of the field secretary in Washington City. This is in order that he may be on the spot to superintend the passing of the Sunday laws which they demand. AMS January 2, 1890, page 7.3

The statement of Dr. Schaff that Sunday laws are a connecting link between church and State is a truth that can be demonstrated by more than one line of argument embodying proofs as strong as Holy Writ. Wherever there are Sunday laws, therefore, there is a union of church and State. This is one great reason why the AMERICAN SENTINEL is so uncompromisingly opposed to Sunday laws. Any union of church and State is only evil, and any laws or governmental forms that comprise any connecting link between the two are wrong. AMS January 2, 1890, page 7.4

“Back Page” American Sentinel 5, 1.

E. J. Waggoner

No man can ever of right make his religion the basis of any plea for governmental favor, nor the ground of any complaint of governmental discrimination. If there is not enough good in the religion to pay him for professing it then there is not enough to pay the government for taking any legal notice of it in any way whatever. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.1

The basis of the State is the natural, its province is the temporal; the basis of the church is supernatural, its province is the spiritual. The church can never of right have anything at all to do with the State, and the State can never of right have anything to do with the church except as it has to do with any and all other bodies or corporations. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.2

Mr. Crafts, it is said, admits that Washington is now the most orderly and quiet city on Sunday of any city in this country. “Its greatest failure is in not having a Sunday law.” But why have such a law if without it better order is maintained than is had elsewhere with Sunday laws? Is not the real object to secure from Congress some acknowledgment of Sunday sacredness? So it certainly appears, and so we believe. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.3

We are indebted to a number of our exchanges for friendly and even complimentary mention upon the occasion of our removal from Oakland, Cal., to this city. We appreciate these notices, not only because they are a substantial benefit, but because they show that our work has not been lost upon our brethren of the press. We are glad to know that our efforts are appreciated, and that, in the final “tug of war” very many of the papers of the country will be found on the side of the liberty of conscience now guaranteed by our national Constitution. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.4

December 9, 1889, in the United States Senate, Senator Blair of New Hampshire introduced both the measures looking to religious legislation, which he had introduced in the Fiftieth Congress-the Sunday-Rest Bill, and the Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution by which the “principles of the Christian religion” shall be taught in all the public schools of the country. We have no space to notice them further this week but in our next we shall notice the Sunday bill in full and as soon as possible the proposed amendment also. It is announced that Congressman W. C. P. Breckinridge will soon introduce a Sunday bill in the House. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.5

The Sunday-law question is again before Congress. Very early in the present session several petitions were presented on the subject, some praying for the passage of a national Sunday law, and others protesting against any religious legislation what-ever. Sunday is a religious institution, and legislation concerning it is religious legislation. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.6

National Reformers are unhappy because President Harrison’s message to Congress contained no recognition of God. In this particular it is said to be unlike the messages of all preceding Presidents. The omission was probably due to an oversight, but it is possible that the President had the good sense to know that the Lord is not pleased with unmeaning complimentary allusions to him, and that he abhors the hollow mockery of official piety. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.7

The AMERICAN SENTINEL maintains the inalienable right of every man to profess any religion or none just as he chooses; but it denies the right of any association of religious people to compel those who are not religious to act as though they were, or to conform to any religious observance, or to recognize any religious institution. We likewise deny the right of the State to pronounce any religious or ecclesiastical institution a civil thing and by that means compel conformity to it. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.8

In a recent address before the New York Baptist Pastor’s Conference on “The Significance of the Roman Catholic Congress and an outline of the Roman Catholic Movement of to-day,” Rev. D. C. Potter, D. D., said:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.9

“That Catholic centenary congress in Baltimore was a jubilee, a Roman victory. Its first note was a paean, its last a doxology. Its voice was defiance, its grasp power, its purpose advance, and that, dare I say, irresistible. It evaded nothing, quibbled at nothing, but spoke out in a voice dominant and daring. The, Protestant church could stand on its platform with hardly a phrase change.” AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.10

This is all true, especially the last sentence. But why is the last true? Is it because Rome has changed? Nay, verily; “Rome never changes.” It is because the Protestant church, so called, has ceased to be truly Protestant. We live in evil times when a union between Protestants and Romanists for the purpose of moulding legislation in the interests of “religion,” as they put it, but really in the interests of the dominant churches, as such, is not only possible but when it is an accomplished fact. All “religious combinations to effect political objects are dangerous,” and this one is doubly dangerous because the Protestant church of to-day can stand on a Romish platform and with Romanists advocate a papal policy. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.11

In a recent informal talk before the W.C.T.U. of the District of Columbia Mrs. Bateham said that “the outlook for a Sunday law for the District is very hopeful. Everything is in good shape. Mr. Blair thinks thinks that there will be little opposition this year.” We believe that the Senator has reckoned without his host. There will probably be more opposition than he imagines. We are not prepared to say that Mr. Blair’s Sunday-law schemes may not eventually succeed; but we do feel sure of one thing, namely, that a Sunday-law shall not be foisted upon the American people without their being fully informed concerning the nature and tendency of all such measures. The heritage of civil and religious liberty received from the founders of the republic will not be surrendered without a struggle. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.12

Freethought, a liberal paper published in San Francisco, says:- AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.13

“Are not the Mormon Church, the Catholic Church, and all other churches perfectly consistent in claiming supreme power? If God is supreme and if the churches are the custodians of his word, why should they not speak with authority? That is the question.” AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.14

No church calling itself Christian is consistent in claiming supreme power. God alone has such power and he has never delegated it to any man or to any body of men. The church can of right, as a church, have nothing to do with earthly governments. The great Head of the church himself declared, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and his followers cannot go beyond his word without forfeiting the right to call themselves by his name. Christ gave but one commission to his church, namely, to go into all the world and make disciples; this the apostles did by persuading men, and that is as far as the authority of the church extends. Any church which claims more than this is not Christian, though it may be so called, but anti-Christian. God has promised this world to his people, that is, to the meek (Matthew 5:5), but he has not yet made them lords over it, much less has he authorized them to take it for themselves. The true Christian is a missionary, not a politician. AMS January 2, 1890, page 8.15