“Editorial” American Sentinel 12, 17, pp. 257-263.

April 29, 1897

WE are obliged to ask our readers to allow us briefly to review the position and work of the AMERICAN SENTINEL.

The reason for this will be made apparent presently, and, we think, will be sufficient to justify this request which we make.

The AMERICAN SENTINEL was established particularly to defend the American principle of separation of religion and the State: because the people who established this paper are Christians, and separation of religion and the State is Christian.

Primarily, of course, this was in the interests of Christianity. But as it is a fundamental principle of the national Government in defending and preserving this principle, in the nature of things this is in the interests of the State.

In other words, as this Christian principle of separation of religion and the State is the fundamental principle, the chief characteristic, of the national Government, and was intended to be so by those who established the Government, it is plain that to work as Christians for the maintenance of this great principle is, in every sense of the word, to work for the highest possible interests of the State.

The establishment of the SENTINEL, and its work in behalf of this Christian principle, was timely, as we then knew and as the great mass of the American people have discovered since: because there was a religious combination calling itself the National Reform Association, that was determined to subvert this principle of the Government, and, by whatever means would accomplish it, to carry the Government into a union of religion and the State, patterned exactly upon the system of the Dark Ages.

From the beginning we insisted, and we still insist, that for the American people to allow this religious combination to succeed in its endeavors would be to allow the setting up in this nation of an order of things that would be in the exact image of the papacy,—not merely because the papacy was the papacy, but because the papacy, with all the manifold evils inherent in it, was but the consequence of the disregard and subversion of the very Christian principle that is the fundamental principle of the Government of the United States. And for a [258] religious combination again to disregard this principle would be to start upon a course whose end could not be in any wise different from that which went before for the Christian principle is for ever the same, and the consequences of the disregard of it will be ever the same.

As disregard of this principle in the fourth century made the papacy, with all that it has ever been since, so the disregard of this principle in the nineteenth century must make the very likeness of the papacy in all its aspects. The papacy has been in history what it has been, not because the men who made it and have been connected with it were worse than all other men. The men who made the papacy, and who have ever been connected with it, have always been simply human beings, just like all other human beings. What the papacy has been in history is not because of the men, but because of the principles which actuated the men.

Take men from any place on the earth, and let them espouse the principles of the papacy, and the history of the papacy will be reproduced just as far as the men have power to do it. In all our discussions of the papacy our attacks have not been upon the men, as such, who were connected with it; but upon the principles which characterize it and which have caused the papacy to present to the world the history that it has.

Therefore, in pointing out that the success of the National Reform Association would produce in the United States the living image of the papacy, and insisting always that this must be the inevitable consequence, we have done so solely because that the principles which actuate the National Reform Association, and which that Association were determined to fasten upon the Government of the United States, are the identical principles that have produced the history that has been made by the papacy. It is the disregard of the Christian principle announced by the Lord for the guidance of the Church and the State as respects their attitude toward each other.

And in all this we have been maintaining the principle upon which the Government of the United States as founded. For those who made the nation, with its fundamental principle of separation of religion and the State said that “it is impossible for the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects that profess the Christian faith, without erecting a claim to infallibility which would lead us back to the church of Rome.” Whether they meant in this, to say that such a thing would lead the country back to the domination of the church of Rome itself, or whether they meant that it would lead back to the principles of the church of Rome in the hands of some other sect, is immaterial; because the distinction is so slight as to be indeed immaterial.

We have always said that ruin would come to the nation as certainly as this National Reform scheme should be allowed to succeed; because of the hypocrisy and general deviltry that by it would be made to prevail. We have pointed to the ruin that came upon the Roman empire as the consequence of just such a movement in the fourth century. It can never be too often repeated, and it must never be forgotten, that it was the “Christian Roman empire that perished under the barbarian raids of the fourth and fifth centuries. It was more than … years after the Roman empire had become “Christian” before the flood of barbarians broke upon the empire. It was more than ninety years before the barbarians invaded the Western empire. It was more than thirty years after the three emperors, by a special decree, which required “all subjects of the empire, of whatever … or name, to adopt the faith of the Catholic Church and assume the name of ‘Catholic Christians,’” and had then made the whole empire “Christian,” before any nation the barbarians fastened itself permanently upon Roman soil.

Thus all the evidence shows that it was the “Christian” Roman empire, and not the Pagan, that perished under the invasions of the barbarians of the North, and this because the so-called Christian empire was worse than ever the Pagan had been. For under the system of an established church, of enforced religious dogma, hypocrisy had been added to the natural cussedness that already prevailed: and even as Dr. Schaff has stated: “Nothing but the divine judgment of destruction upon this nominally Christian but essentially heathen empire could open the way for the moral regeneration of society.”

A like course can not be followed in the United States without reaching a like result. So that the success of the National Reform scheme of Christianizing the United States Government; of making this a “Christian nation” placing all Christian laws, institutions, and usages on a legal basis, and requiring respect to them as legal by all the people, would be the surest token of impending ruin. This is as certain as the law that “like causes probable like effects.”

But this evil is not, and cannot be, confined merely to the United States. We have pointed out that the influence of the United States Government, while it adheres strictly to the principles upon which it was founded, has been powerful to lead all the nations toward religious freedom; so that by foreign publicists this nation has been called “the classic land of religious liberty.” And when, under the influence and power of the National Reform combination, this country shall be led to the perversion of these principles, to the recognition of religion in national affairs, the influence of this perversion will be equally powerful to carry the other nations backward again to religious despotism, and thus the evil thing becomes world-wide. Then when “the divine judgment of destruction upon this nominally Christian but essentially heathen world” shall again fall, as surely it must fall, the destruction will be world-wide. And all nations will be involved in the evil, it will be impossible for the Lord to find on the earth any new nations by whom to sweep away this earth-breaking curse; and nothing more [259] but for him to employ the armies of heaven to accomplish the inevitable result, even as it is written:—

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations…. And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Joel 2:1, 2, 11.

And so, in the nature of things, the end of the world must come.

In view of all this, we have said, and we still say, that when the National Reform combination succeeds in its endeavor with respect to the United States Government, then the only safety, the only deliverance from certain ruin, for any man, will be to separate utterly from the whole wicked alliance, even as again it is written:—

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities…. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

Such, in brief, has been the position and work of the AMERICAN SENTINEL from the first number that was printed until this present issue. And such the position and work of the SENTINEL will continued to be, until the last number shall have been issued.

NOW we are ready to tell why it is that we have asked the indulgence of our readers while we should restate the position of the SENTINEL; and that is that the men who have been engaged in this evil work of subverting the Christian principles upon which the Government of the United States was founded, and in bringing about this system which, in its turn, can bring only this ruin,—these men are charging us with “sedition” and with “turning away the hearts of the citizens from the United States Government.”

One of these, in particular, out in the Western Reserve, is making specially prominent this charge. He was born and bred a National Reformer. He has been a leader in the National Reform movement even since June, 1887, when the National Reform convention held that year at Pittsburg appointed him as chief of their “prayer league,” to pray at noon every day for their religio-political “kingdom of God” to come on the earth.

This man is making himself now prominent as a special defender of the flag. It seems he carries with him a United States flag: and before his audiences enters against us the charge of “sedition,” of “turning away the hearts of citizens from the United States Government;” and thus, with “disrespect for the flag.” He gathers, if possible, a number of veterans of the late war, and puts them upon front seats; and then, by systematic misrepresentation both of us and his own position, he uses the arts of the demagogue to turn their love for the flag, into the fire of bitter hatred for those whom he has thus set before them as “seditions.” Then he caps his climax with drawing forth his flag and handing it to one of the veterans, and has him wave it while he himself leads the audience, or as many of them as he has succeeded in bamboozling, in giving a grand “Hip! Hip! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” for the flag. And this “Hurrah” for the flag is expected to be led with the spirit to “kick out of all loyal fraternities” every one of us who “teach sedition” and “turn away the hearts of the citizens from the United States Government.” The cut on the first page of this paper is a photograph of one of these scenes that he thus worked up not long ago out at Ellsworth, Ohio.

The trick in this is that our opposition to the National Reform movement, our warning against the iniquity and the ruin that must certainly come from the success of that movement, and our calling upon all people to keep themselves separate from the whole scheme and all its workings if they would escape the ruin that it must certainly bring,—this he takes and deftly turns so as to make it appear that it is all aimed against the Government itself.

In other words, all our opposition, and all our warnings, against the National Reform government, he takes up and so turns as to make it appear that they are all against the United States Government as it was originally founded: when the truth is, and as all fair readers of the SENTINEL know, that the very object of the [260] existence of the AMERICAN SENTINEL is to maintain the principles upon which the United States Government was originally founded, and in this, in the best possible way to preserve the integrity of the Government itself as it was originally founded, and as our fathers hoped it would forever remain.

And now these men who have removed the very foundation stone of the noble edifice erected by our fathers; and who are now diligently and zealously engaged in remodeling the whole structure so as to make it altogether another government, modeled upon the principles of the church of Rome which our fathers hoped particularly that we should forever escape,—these men are they who charge us thus with “sedition,” with “disrespect for the flag,” and with “turning away the hearts of citizens from the United States Government”!

It may not be amiss to give to our readers some of the specifications as samples of how this man “proves” against us his charge of “sedition.” There are three specific counts upon which he does this.

“First,” he says that we “arouse discontent against the United States Government, disturb public tranquility, etc., by teaching that the Bible identifies this Government with pagan Rome.”

Every reader of the AMERICAN SENTINEL knows that this is altogether a mistake. No such suggestion has ever been made by any Seventh-day Adventist. Our friend simply doesn’t know what he is talking about.

His “second” specification is that “they arouse discontent against the United States Government, disturb public tranquility, etc., by teaching that the Bible identifies the United States Government with the papacy.”

This is another mistake just like the one before. It simply is not true. We have never identified the United States with the papacy. We have never even connected it with the papacy, except in the way that we have pointed out in this article: that is, through the mischievous working of the National Reform scheme of which this man himself is now a zealous champion,—this scheme by which they, adopting the principles of the papacy, subvert the true and Christian principles of the Government United States, and thus establish here a system of things in the exact image of the papacy.

An image of a thing cannot be identified with the thing itself, except in its relations. This is the only way in which we have ever identified the United States Government with the papacy. And that we are not in any wise amiss in this part of it, will be evident to every one who will read the following statement of fact concerning the National Reform combination in its different stages.

August 31, 1881, these National Reformers published in their official organ the following words:—

“This common interest [‘of all religious people in the Sabbath’—Sunday] ought both to strengthen our determination to work, and our readiness to coöperate in every way with out Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. We may be subjected to some rebuffs in our first proffers, and the time has not yet come when the Roman Church will consent to strike hands with other churches—as such; but the time has come to make repeated advances and gladly to accept coöperation in any form in which they may be willing to exhibit it. It is one of the necessities of the situation.”

December 11, 1884, in their official organ, they published this:—

“Whenever they [the Roman Catholics] are willing to coöperate in resisting the progress of political atheism we will gladly join hands with them.”

In his Encyclical of 1885, Pope Leo XIII. addressed to Catholics everywhere the following words:—

“We exhort all Catholics who would devote candid attention to public matters, to take an active part in all municipal affairs and elections, and to further the principles of the church in all public services, meetings and gatherings. All Catholics must make themselves felt as active elements in daily political life in the countries where they live. They must penetrate wherever possible in the administration of civil affairs; must constantly use their utmost vigilance and energy to prevent the usages of liberty from going beyond the limits fixed by God’s law. All Catholics should do all in their power to cause the constitutions of States, and legislation to be modeled in the principles of the true church. All Catholic writers and journalists should never lose for an instant from view, the above prescriptions. All Catholics should redouble their submission to authority, and unite their whole heart, soul, and body, and mind, in the defense of the church.”

In an official report of a conference of leading National Reformers held at Saratoga, N.Y., August 14-17, 1887, the following occurs:—

“REV. DR. PRICE of Tennessee—‘I wish to ask the secretary, Has any attempt ever been made by the National Reform Association to ascertain whether a concensus, or agreement, could be reached with our Roman Catholic fellow-citizens, whereby we may unite in support of the schools, as they do in Massachusetts?”

“THE SECRETARY—‘I regret to say there has not … But I recognize it as a wise and dutiful course on the part of all who are engaged in or who discuss the work of education, to make the effort to secure such an agreement.’

“DR. PRICE—‘I rise to move that the National Reform Association be requested by this Conference to bring this whole matter to the attention of American educators and of Roman Catholic authorities, with a view to securing such a basis of agreement, if possible.’”

The motion was seconded, and adopted. In November, 1888, the then most prominent leader in the National Reform combination, by personal request, secured the coöperation of Cardinal Gibbons with them in urging upon Congress the enactment of a national law to “promote” the observance of Sunday “as a day of religious worship.”

November 12, 1889, at the Congress of Catholic laymen of the United States, the following statement was made:—

“What we should seek is an en rapport with the Protestant Christians who desire to keep Sunday holy. [261] … We can bring the Protestant masses over to the reverent moderation of the Catholic Sunday.”

At that time the American Sabbath Union was the leading element in the National Reform combination, and of this word of counsel of the Catholic laymen, the American Sabbath Union said:—

“The National Lay Congress of Roman Catholics, after correspondence and conference with the American Sabbath Union, passed its famous resolution in favor of coöperation with Protestants in Sabbath reform…. This does not mean that the millennium is to be built in a day. This is only a proposal of courtship: and the parties thus far have approached each other shyly.”

In 1892 the National Reform combination, in coöperation with the papacy in this country led by Archbishop Ireland, Archbishop Gross, and Archbishop Riordan, did, under threats of political perdition, secure from Congress legislation setting up Sunday as the Christian Sabbath in the place of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as it was read in Congress from the Bible, and as God spoke it from the top of Sinai.

All this is sober fact. And these references demonstrate that the National Reform combination did certainly for eight years, openly bid and work for the coöperation of the papacy in this country in bringing the United States Government under the domination of the religious power after the image of the original of the papacy itself. These facts demonstrate that by such means the National Reform combination did at last secure the coöperation of the papacy in its bad endeavor to subvert the original principles of the Government of the United States, and commit this Government to legislation in behalf of religion and in the service of the Church, exactly after the image of the papacy.

It is a fact also that, as the consequence of this very work of the National Reformers which they pride themselves has made this a Christian nation, the papacy has for four years been claiming as her rightful possession this nation as “a Catholic Christian nation.” And upon this there comes as a consequence the further fact that to-day there is brewing a contest between the National Reform combination and the papacy, over the question as to whether this is a Catholic “Christian nation” or a Protestant “Christian nation.”

And now, in the face of this undeniable history of which this man was a part he has the brass to stand up before a crowd of American people and charge us with [262] “teaching that the Bible identifies the United States Government with the papacy.”

If we had really been teaching this, it would have been teaching precisely what he and his fellow-workers were, in principle, both teaching and doing all these years.

And now, as he charges that such a thing is “sedition,” and as he and his fellow-workers have been for years doing their very best to accomplish just that thing, both in principle and in practice, while all these years we have been using our utmost endeavor to prevent the first step toward any such thing, it is as plain as A B C that his charge of “sedition” lies against himself and his fellow-workers above all other people, and not against us in any sense whatever. That is the truth.

His “third” specification is that “they are seditious in teaching that the Bible identifies the United States Government with the archrebel Satan, in opposition to truth and righteousness in the earth.”

To sustain this specification, he cites our teaching with reference to the beast brought to view in Revelation 13:1-11, of which it is said: “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” And, as it is plain from the context that the word “dragon” here refers to the devil, this is why he says that we teach “that the Bible identifies the United States Government with the archrebel, Satan.”

Here again he plays that trick of taking what we have said, and all we say, of the Government after it has been turned into a National Reform government, and making it apply to the United States Government as it was originally founded.

This scripture as above quoted, refers to the Government in both these phases. The United States Government as it was originally founded, is beautiful [sic.] described by the word of the Lord, as a beast coming up having two horns like a lamb. That is a correct description of the United States Government as it was originally founded, and as it stood, upon the principles which characterized it,—the two grand principles of civil and religious freedom: separation of religion and the State; no king, and no pope.

Of all the symbols used in the Word of God to illustrate earthly governments, this is the only one that is given the mild and gentle characteristics of the lamb. And this is the word which God has set down as descriptive of the United States Government as it stood in its original beauty, grounded upon the principle which God himself announced, the absolute separation of religion, and particularly the Christian religion, from the jurisdiction or cognizance of the State.

But an anomaly appears; a change occurs. This beast having two horns “like a lamb” comes to speak “as a dragon.” This refers to the change brought about through the working of this National Reform scheme. This anomaly marks the result of the National Reform subversion of the principles upon which the Government was founded, and its dragging the Government into an espousal of the principles of the papacy. In the first half of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, the papacy is represented under the symbol of a beast which has by no means the characteristics of a lamb; and which receives its power and its seat and its great authority from “the dragon,” which, in the twelfth chapter, is declared to be “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan.” The symbol then, having two horns like a lamb yet speaking like a dragon, shows that the original character of the Government becomes so changed that the spirit of Satan is manifested instead of the characteristics of a lamb.

Our teaching has always been, and it is yet, that the scripture statement that the beast had two horns “like a lamb,” is descriptive of the United States Government as it was originally founded. And it has been, our constant endeavor to keep the Government of the United States inseparably attached to these principles. Had this been done, benefits and blessings would from this nation have flowed forth to the nations of the earth beyond the highest dreams of the far-seeing, noble men who, under God, were instrumental in founding the Government as it was founded.

But the people of the United States, forgetting these principles, and losing sight of the high destiny and the wondrous privileges that God had set before them, have allowed these principles to be subverted, and have allowed the Government in its words and laws to be turned aside, so that already the oppressive, cruel voice of the dragon has been heard. And the same scripture goes on to tell how that this voice will yet further be heard in speaking, and causing that as many as do “not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

Under the deceptive workings of the National Reform principles, persecutions and cruelties after the very image of the system of the Dark Ages will yet be inflicted upon the people of the United States in pursuance of laws of the United States, and in direct coöperation and alliance with the papacy itself in the United States and in the world. And thus a further deception is wrought, and another suggestion of the scripture is detected, in that, while the symbol stands in outward appearance with the characteristics of a lamb, yet it speaks and acts with the spirit of the dragon; and, as it stands in this ambiguous position, is described in another place in the book of Revelation as “the false prophet.”

While pretending to represent the principles of liberty and truth, it actually is made to practice the principles of despotism and iniquity: and this change, which means so much to the people of the United States, and to all the world, and which is so vividly expressed in the Scriptures,—all this is brought about through the mischievous workings of the religio-political scheme of the National Reform combination of which this man has been for years, and now is, a prominent and zealous leader.

And now, after all this, in the presence of all the [263] which is only undeniable fact, this man in Ohio, this man, charges us with “sedition!

Free men, Christian men, of Ohio: free men, Christian men, of the United States: free men, Christian men, everywhere: judge ye between him and us on this question.

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