“A Consistent Baptist” American Sentinel 10, 4, pp. 27, 28.

BY permission, we publish the following from a private letter received from Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author, with other works, of “The Baptist Church Directory,” a standard work among Baptists. Dr. Hiscox, as the reader will see, applies the great principle of religious freedom for which Baptists have contended so nobly, to the compulsory Sunday observance epidemic. It is difficult to find a person who is not avowedly in favor of religious liberty, but too many stop short in their logic. Especially is this true when the question of prosecuting Seventh-day Adventists and others for laboring on Sunday, is under discussion. Dr. Hiscox, like a consistent Baptist, consistently, scripturally, and courageously applies the principle to Sunday laws as well as to other matters:—

The “Baptist position,” in respect to the relation of religious and secular affairs, is this; there should be no union of Church and State, but an entire separation between them in all matters pertaining to the administration of religious affairs. They represent two kingdoms, with distinct spheres, and diverse functions, which cannot be united without injury to both. The State has no right of authority or of dictation in matters of faith and worship, which are questions of conscience and principle that lie between the individual soul and God. The State is bound to protect its citizens in the free exercise of their religious faith, without harm or hindrance, so long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. Christians should be good citizens, supporting the government which protects them, honoring the rulers and obeying the laws under which they live, so long as such laws are not contrary to the Word of God. The Church should sustain no organic relation to the State, and receive no patronage or support from it, since to do that would imply the right of supervision and dictation by the State. The support of religion belongs to those who profess it, and to allow fellowship and [28] accept patronage from the State, never fails to secularize the spirit and to corrupt the purity of the Church. The civil authorities have no right to enforce or demand any form of faith, any manner of worship, nor yet to establish by law or compel the observance of a Sabbath, or any religious institution. It has no right to force conformity, or to punish dissent. Baptists to-day are loyal to their traditions through all the past. What they have demanded, labored for, and suffered to secure, is not toleration, but liberty; liberty in all concerns of conscience and of faith. The enactment of civil laws for the control or the curtailment of religious liberty, or for the infliction of civil penalties for non-conformity and the exercise of religious liberty, is wrong, unjust, contrary to the spirit of the gospel and to the genius of Christianity. It is also in conflict with the spirit of the age, and that more intelligent and beneficent civilization which Christianity has developed.

We respectfully submit this consistent Baptist utterance to those Baptist papers which are defending the prosecution of seventh-day observers for refusing to observe the State Sabbath, and which are criticising the Examiner for denouncing these persecutions. [28]

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