THE Methodist missionaries, expelled from the Caroline Islands some years ago by the Spanish authorities, are demanding, through the State Department at Washington, the privilege of returning to the Islands. It is stated that the Secretary of State will shortly demand that the missionaries be permitted to return. Whether this will be granted or not remains to be seen; but if they are not permitted to return, it is stated definitely that Secretary Olney will take “most vigorous measures to bring about obedience.”
Our sympathies in this matter are wholly with the Methodist missionaries. There ought to be no part of the world where any man who conducts himself civilly, could not go and teach whatever religious views he might wish to teach, in a quiet and civil manner, to as many as would listen to him, without molestation; neither ought there to be any portion of the world in which every man could not practice freely in accordance with his faith, as long as in so doing he did not interfere with the equal rights of his fellow-men.
But we fail to see how Methodists can consistently demand that they shall be permitted to teach and to practice contrary to the law of the Caroline Islands. We believe that the Methodists in this country advocate the idea that Seventh-day Adventists “should obey the civil law until it is repealed, whether right or wrong;” and that they should not array themselves against the “laws” which require the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath. This being their position here, what right have they to demand that they shall be  permitted to teach and practice contrary to the statute-intrenched religion of the Caroline Islands?
The fact is, forever, that neither Methodists nor any other denomination obey the civil statutes which are contrary to their religious faith and practice. Methodists are right in insisting upon their right to return to the Caroline Islands, but they are wrong in insisting that Adventists ought to obey Sunday laws until they are repealed. The enforcement of Sunday laws in this country is exactly the same in principle as the enforcement of the laws of the Caroline Islands against the teaching and practice of the Methodists. It is just as legitimate and just as much the province of government to require Methodists to take off their hats to the host (a piece of bread), as it is borne through the streets, as it is to require all men to render homage to the Sunday institution by refraining from work upon that day.