“Back Page” American Sentinel 10, 23, p. 184.

IT is not the custom of the SENTINEL to credit its original matter, but since the first-page article closes with an original poem whose authorship may be desired by some of our readers, we will state that it was written by our acting assistance editor, Mr. A. F. Ballenger.

J. F. ROTHROCK, a Seventh-day Adventist of West Salem, Ill., was arrested May 20 and convicted of keeping his store open on Sunday. He was prosecuted under a city ordinance, there being no State-law forbidding open stores on Sunday. So great an interest was manifested in the case that the court adjourned to the opera house where Mr. Rothrock spoke in his own defense. We have not learned what further action was taken in the case, but presume it was appealed.

A SPECIAL telegram to the AMERICAN SENTINEL from Amory, Miss., under date of June 2, says:—

Nash fined one dollar and costs. Immediately paid by the people.

This means that “the people” are better than the law of the State. Mr. Nash is a Seventh-day Adventist colporter. He follows his business five days in the week, rests on “the Sabbath day according according to the commandment,” and on the first day of the week does around his home such work as needs to be done. He was arrested for hoeing in his garden on Sunday, and was tried upon the Sabbath. We do not know, but presume he was informed by the judge that the law in no wise interfered with his right to keep “his” Sabbath, but that he must keep Sunday also. But how would Sunday-keepers like a law that not only required them to observe a day for which they have no religious regard, but under which they were liable to be dragged into court on the day which they regard as sacred to rest and worship? Like the Baptist martyrs of New England, Mr. Nash refused to pay a single penny for exercising his God-given rights. Hence the payment of the fine and costs by “the people” who were not willing to see an honest man imprisoned for exercising his inalienable right of conscience.

AMONG the very few religious papers which have spoken out plainly in condemnation of religious persecution, the Examiner and National Baptist, of this city, stands forth preeminent. On another page we print an article from its editorial columns which ought to be read by everybody, and especially by those Baptists who either never knew or who have forgotten what their brethren of past generations suffered in defense of soul-liberty.

So far as our acquaintance with Sabbath-keepers qualifies us to speak,—and we have known thousands of them scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Lakes to the Gulf,—observers of the seventh day are, as a rule, considerate not only of the rights but also of the feelings of their Sunday-keeping neighbors. We know that no law is necessary to compel them to respect any right of their fellow-men in the matter of weekly rest and worship. Nor can we think that even the measure of Sunday restriction, which the Examiner would favor, is at all necessary.

The thousands of Sabbath-keepers to which we have referred, and besides this many other thousands, many of them in our large cities, who find no difficulty in observing the seventh day, while all the world around them is upon pleasure and money-making bent, prove that those who wish to do so can rest and worship while others are engaged in secular pursuits.

We have ample laws for the protection of both individuals and assemblies upon all days without special laws for Sunday. But if Sunday laws were restricted to the sphere indicated by the Examiner they would be much less objectionable than they now are. But we do not regard even that as necessary or even proper. Nevertheless, we say, all honor to our Baptist contemporary for its fearless championship of the freedom for which Baptists of past generations suffered fines, imprisonment, whipping, banishment, and death. Evidently, God is yet testifying of the gift of Roger Williams, and by his faith “he being dead yet speaketh.” [184]

Share this: