Sunday Legislation

4/11

HOW STANDS THE CASE NOW?

The exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical character of the original Sunday legislation being a positive fixture, the question next arises, has Sunday legislation ever lost that exclusive and specific religions and ecclesiastical character? SLOC 12.1

First of all, how could that character possibly be lost? That being its native and inherent character; that being absolutely the only character that it ever had; it is perfectly plain that this character simply never could be lost. As certainly as the thing survives at all, its native and inherent character is there. Therefore, wherever, to the world’s end, Sunday legislation shall be found, its native and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character inevitably, attaches to it. SLOC 12.2

That is true in the very principle and nature of the case. But let us trace the thing historically and see how completely the principle is manifested. The “sacredotal [sic.] State,” in the erection of which the original Sunday legislation was such a potent factor, did, all over Europe and for more than a thousand years, “subordinate the secular to itself,” and did thus most despotically “make use of the power of the State—every State—for the furtherance of her aims. In all this dismal time Sunday Iegislation was continued, and with no pretense of any other than its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character. SLOC 12.3

In 1533 Henry VIll divorced himself and England from the Pope of Rome. But that was all; for, to what then and thus became “The Church of England” Henry immediately stood as pope in the place of the pope. By statute it was ordered that the king “shall be taken, accepted and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the church of England.” And in 1535 Henry assumed officials the title “On earth supreme head of the Church of England.” That which was now the Church of England was only that which before had been the Catholic Church in England. “ln form nothing had been changed. The miter constitution of the Church remained unaltered.”—Green. SLOC 13.1

And in this same unchanged system the original papal Sunday legislation was continued, and has been continued to the present day; and still with no pretense or suggestion of anything else than as in its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character. SLOC 13.2

From England there spread colonies to America. In America these colonies were established under English charters, and so were but the extension here of the English Government. SLOC 13.3

And in strict accord with the English system and in plain extension of it, every colony established in America, except only Rhode Island had an established religion; either in the form of “the Christian religion” in general or else, as in most, in the form of some particular church. SLOC 14.1

And in every one of these colonial religions establishments in America, there was extended and in some there was even intensified, the Sunday legislation of the English system, which was only the extension of the Sunday legislation of the original Roman and papal system. SLOC 14.2

And still here, as always before in England and in Rome, the Sunday legislation of the colonies in America was never with any thought or purpose, or pretense, other than as in its original, native, and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character. SLOC 14.3

Presently these colonies cut loose from the government of Britain and became “free and independent States.” But still each of them was the same as before in its system of established religion and Sunday legislation. Virginia, however, immediately dis-established there the Church of England and her religion; and as regards established religion as such swept it all away by “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom.” Yet on the statute books of the now State of Virginia there stood and remained unmodified the identical Sunday legislation of the Colony of Virginia, which was only the unmodified Sunday legislation of the English Church-and-State system, which was only the unmodified Sunday legislation of the Roman and papal system in its old, original, native, and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character. SLOC 14.4

And the story of Virginia in this is substantially the story of every other of the original Thirteen States; excepting always Rhode Island. And the Sunday legislation of all the States of the Union, after the original Thirteen, has been only the extension, and practically the copying, of the Sunday legislation of the original Thirteen States that had it. And in this bad progress even Rhode Island has been perverted and disgraced. And always this Sunday legislation of the later States has been of the same original native and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character of that of the Colonies, of England, and of Rome. SLOC 15.1

Thus, from the original Sunday legislation of Constantine to the latest Sunday legislation in the United States, it is all the same thing, to the same purpose, and of the same character precisely. SLOC 15.2