“Baptists and Sunday Statutes” American Sentinel 10, 29, pp. 227, 228.

THE following from a standard publication of the Baptist Church states clearly the position which that church has held from the days of Roger Williams, against a union of Church and State in general, and compulsory Sunday observance in particular:—

The duty of the civil magistrate in regard to the observance of the Lord’s day.

Christ said (John 18:36): “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Here Christ refuses to employ physical force. His kingdom is not of this world: and civil laws and [228] the force of the magistrate are not the means to promote its advancement. It is a kingdom of truth and love, because each man is a free moral agent under the government of God, he is accountable to God. This personal accountability to God carries with it the right of every man to decide for himself his religious belief and his worship. With these the State has no right to interfere. These rights of conscience are inalienable. For the protection of these, with other inalienable rights, States are organized, civil laws enforced, and magistrates elected. So far as religion is concerned, the sphere of the State is described in one word—PROTECTION….

However much we may deprecate the demoralizing tendencies of Sunday theaters and concerts, games and excursions, and the sale of candies and fruits and newspapers on the Lord’s day, still we ask for legal restraint upon such things only in so far as they may directly interfere with public religious worship. As Christians, we ask of the State only protection in the exercise of our rights of conscience; and we will depend alone upon the truth of God and the Spirit of God to secure the triumph of Christianity. With an open field and a fair fight, Christianity is more than a match for the world, because “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:25. The almightiness of the Eternal God is in the cross. Hence Christ said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”—“The Lords Day,” pp. 29-31, by D. Read, LL.D.; American Baptist Publication Society, 1420 Chestnut St., Philadelphia.

If the Baptist papers of the South would join with the Baptist Examiner, of New York and Philadelphia, in maintaining these principles, and in instructing their constituency therein, the persecutions of seventh-day observers in the South would be greatly diminished.

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