THE bill introduced into the Tennessee legislature by Mr. Hooper, to exempt from the penalties of the Sunday law, observers of the seventh day, was recommended for passage by the Judiciary Committee of the House by a vote of nine to four. Of course this bill is not what it should be; the Sunday law of Tennessee ought to be absolutely repeated; but it is gratifying to know that probably a majority of the members of the Tennessee legislature recognize the fact that the law is unjust. The educational campaign along religious liberty lines ought to be continued in that State.
JUST as we go to press news comes from Georgia of the release of J. Q. Allison, a Seventh-day Adventist, who, as we announced last week, was arrested for plowing his field on Sunday. Mr. Allison was tried May 15 and found guilty. However, the judge assessed only the costs, $22, with the alternative, in case of default of payment, of twelve months in the chain-gang.
When it was seen that Mr. Allison would not pay the fine, his Sunday-keeping neighbors besieged him with entreaties to pay it and not disgrace his family by going to the chain-gang. Mr. Allison thanked is friends for their interest in him, but explained that there was a principle involved which he could not afford to compromise.
When it was seen that Mr. Allison would not surrender, the sheriff started with him and other prisoners to Atlanta to sell him to the chain-gang contractors. However, when the train reached Austell, Mr. Allison’s home, the sheriff order him to get off and go home, but not to work on Sunday again, under the threat of the full penalty of the law. It was afterwards learned that the costs had been paid by unknown parties. We will give a detailed account of the trial in our next.
THE Converted Catholic for June, will contain an article exposing “Falsehoods Regarding Father Lambert, the Converted Redemptorist Priest,” who is now one of three Methodist ministers in charge of Coke Church, Kingston, Jamaica, W.I. It seems that no sooner was this ex-priest out of the country than Roman Catholic papers from Maine to Texas began to publish a statement that he had become insane and was an inmate of an asylum; adding that it was doubtless aberration of mind that led him to separate from the Catholic Church. The article referred to is a complete refutation of the story, which could have no other purpose than to destroy the influence of Mr. Lambert’s renunciation of Romanism.
THE Western Watchman (Roman Catholic), in its issue of May 9, copies from the London Standard what purports to be a quotation from the last will and testament of Pope Leo XIII. which he has sent to cardinals and heads of orders. The quotation reads thus:—
Even if the temporal power has not been attained, the papacy has arrived at a situation enabling it, when the opportune moment shall come, to dictate conditions, and the same calm, prudent line of action will conduce further to that end, if followed unaltered.
This “calm, prudent line of action” of the present pope, is deceiving many Protestants into the belief that the papacy has become converted, but at the “opportune moment,” they will be undeceived; but it will then be too late to retrieve the fatal mistake.
THE Sunday movement in France is being urged forward, not on religious grounds as in this country; oh, no! but on the so-called “civil” basis. The Sunday-Rest Association, organized four years ago, now has a membership of several thousand. Its aim is stated to be “to secure the reënactment of the law which prescribes the cessation of all work on the seventh day of the week.”
The only law “which prescribes the cessation of all work on the seventh day of the week” is the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, hence the aim of the association must be to secure the reënactment of the fourth commandment by the French Chamber of Deputies!
Of course, this view of the matter is a direct contradiction of the claim that the movement is being urged forward on “civil” grounds, but then in such things it does not do to be too particular; in the matter of enforced Sunday-rest, “civil” grounds means a civil law enforcing a measure of religious observance. It does not mean that the thing is done for civil reasons, that is, to protect material civil rights, or indeed civil rights at all, but only in response to a religious sentiment which demands practical recognition at the hands of the State.
THE Independent, of May 16, contains the following:—
We are very sorry to say that a bill has been introduced into the Florida legislature, in accordance with the recommendation of Supt. W. M. Sheats, making it a punishable offense for any school, public or private, in the State to allow white and colored students to be educated together, and also forbidding any white people to teach in the colored schools. And this shameful bill has been passed by the Lower House; and we do not know any reason why it is not likely to be carried through the Senate, and signed by the governor. We would expect something better if Dr. J. L. M. Curry were not abroad, so that his restraining influence will not be available. He has more than once prevented such injudicious legislation. There will be a chance for some minor martyrdom, if this law passes; for we cannot imagine that Christian people will be willing to obey it.
The Independent here recognizes the necessity of disobeying a law that interferes with Christian duty. Although we believe that the Independent is willing to recognize the right of the Seventh-day Adventist to disobey a Sunday law, yet there are many religious papers that will commend the violation of the proposed Florida law and at the same time apply the epithet “anarchist” to the conscientious seventh-day observer who disobeys a Sunday law.
THE spirit of the whole Sunday-law movement is well exemplified by the Christian Statesman, which has just published a “black-list” of the members of the Legislature of Pennsylvania who voted for the repeal of the special law making the fine for violation of the Sunday law $25 in Allegheny County instead of $4, as it is in the rest of the State. This list ought, however, to be regarded as a roll of honor, for such in reality it is; but under the leadership of the Statesman and papers of that ilk, the “Christian” people of Pennsylvania will doubtless be able to defeat for reëlection some of the men who had enough regard for correct principle to vote for the repeal of that hateful piece of special legislation,—legislation which could not be enacted under the present constitution of that State. But whatever may be the result to the men who favored repeal of the law, when legislators who vote for the cause of liberty are black-listed and called “enemies of the Sabbath,” and counted enemies of the State, what may seventh-day observers expect, who not only support the principles for which those men voted, but who live them out, even to open violation of the wicked law for which the Statesman is as zealous? How long will it be ere the Statesman, that recently attempted to justify the burning of Servetus, will demand the infliction of the severest penalties upon all who refuse to regard the counterfeit Sabbath?