WE give elsewhere in this paper under the head of “More Religious Persecution in Tennessee,” some account of the closing of the Graysville Academy through the enforcement of the Tennessee Sunday law. We hope that no reader of the SENTINEL will omit this article, for the facts given are intensely interesting, and everybody ought to be familiar with them. Especial attention is called to the judgment in the cases as rendered by the Court.
THE work done by the Adventists at Graysville was not of a noisy or offensive character, nor was it done in a manner that ought to have been offensive to anybody. Seventh-day Adventists are quiet, peaceable people, and are willing to go more than half way for the sake of peace; but they are not willing to surrender their consciences to anybody, hence the persecution which they are called upon to suffer.
FOR the Adventists to obey the Sunday law of Tennessee which demands that they shall keep Sunday, would be to render homage to an institution which is opposed to the Sabbath of the Lord. The law of God requires the keeping holy the seventh day. Not only does it forbid work upon the seventh day, but it clearly establishes a distinction between that day and all other days of the week; and this distinction all must respect who would obey the divine law. To keep two days would, to the Adventist, be the same as for the loyal soldier to pay equal respect to the flag of his country and to the banner of a rebel prince in rebellion against his sovereign. The Sabbath is set forth in the Scriptures as a sign that God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that he is the sanctifier of his people. The Sunday is set forth by the papacy as the badge or sign of its authority or power to change the law of God, and to command men under sin. To understandingly pay equal respect to these rival institutions is to prove disloyal to the God of heaven, and to put to an open shame Him who declared himself Lord of the Sabbath day. Seventh-day Adventists can go to prison, but they cannot deny their faith and their God.
THE names of the convicted Seventh-day Adventists now in jail at Dayton, Tenn., are: Eld. G. W. Colcord, Prof. I. C. Colcord, M. C. Sturdevant, William Burchard, Henry Burchard, Dwight Plumb, W. J. Kerr and E. S. Abbott. William Wolf was also convicted, but the costs were paid by his father who is not an Adventist, and he was consequently released.
CARDINAL GIBBONS’ official organ, the Catholic Mirror, published in its issues of September 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, 1893, editorials showing that there is no Bible authority for the Sunday Sabbath; that this institution rests wholly upon the authority of the traditions of the Catholic Church, and therefore the claims of Protestants “to any part therein” was declared “groundless, self-contradictory, and suicidal.”
Seventh-day Adventists have always taught that the Sunday Sabbath institution is a papal institution and the mark of the papal apostasy, and that this attempt change of the Sabbath is predicted in the Scriptures. Hence, when these articles appeared, Seventh-day Adventists published them with appropriate comments as a confession from papists themselves to the charges of the inspired prophets, and circulated more than half a million copies. They were also published in pamphlet form by the Catholic Mirror, and run through five editions.
Although the articles close with a defiant challenge to Sunday-keeping Protestants to reply, no society or denomination has attempted an official reply. However, what purports to be a reply has been issued by the “Advent Christian Publication Society,” a First-day Adventist organization. It is written by a Protestant Episcopal minister. Why he did not get his own people to publish his reply, and why the Sunday-keeping Adventists did not get one of their own member to write this document, is not stated in the pamphlet. However, we publish in this issue a reply to the so-called reply. It is written by one who has been suspended from the ministry by the First-day Adventist Church, for his belief in the divine obligation to keep holy the “Sabbath day according to the commandment.” It will pay you to read it.
PENNSYLVANIA is now the Sunday-law-convention storm center of the country. These conventions are manipulated by the Christian Statesman. In its issue of March 9, it publishes a set of resolutions passed at one of these conventions held at Altoona, Pa. One purpose of the conventions is to intimidate the Pennsylvania legislature into granting the Statesman’s demand for an increase of the fine for violating the Sunday-Sabbath from four dollars to twenty-five dollars. The following is a part of the resolution demanding this increase:—
That we approve the plan adopted by the Williamsport convention of petitioning the State legislature to raise the fine for violating the Sabbath law from four dollars to twenty-five dollars; and while we are opposed to rigid enforcement of this law against those who conscientiously keep Saturday as the Sabbath, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of other citizens and of the State itself, we regard their position and methods as allying them with infidels and other opponents of the Sabbath, as hostile to the government of the State and to the government of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This resolution is a most intolerant pretense to toleration, and was forced from the convention by charges that the Sunday-law movement would result in the persecution of Seventh-day observers. Passing by the charge that keeping and advocating the keeping of the same Sabbath which Jesus and his disciples kept, is “allying them [Seventh-day keepers] with infidels” and making them “hostile” “to the government of the Lord Jesus Christ,“—passing this self-contradictory charge, we come to the expressions “rights” “of the State itself” and “hostile to the government of the State.”
What do these expressions mean? They are explained by an editorial answer in the same issue, to a question regarding the burning of Servetus by John Calvin. The editor defends that fiendish transaction by saying that the book regarding the Trinity written by Servetus, was “an injury to the State as well as the Church,” and that “the sentence was pronounced and executed upon Servetus as an enemy to the stability, peace and welfare of the country.”
Let all seventh-day observers understand that their faithfulness in observing the “Sabbath day according to the commandment,” and their refusal to observe Sunday according to the commandment of the “man of sin,” the “mystery of iniquity,” the papacy, places them, in the minds of the Sunday-law crusaders of Pennsylvania, along with Michael Servetus, who was, in the minds of the priests of the established church of Pennsylvania, very properly burned over a slow fire, because he was “hostile to the government of the State.”