November 9, 1899
IN a very small and seemingly innocent act, one may indorse a very large and very evil principle.
WHEN the secular power puts forth its hand to mold and regulate that which is religious, must not the latter necessarily become more secularized than it was before?
THERE is “manifest destiny” enough for the American Republic in Asia, amidst its gathering whirlwind of political and martial strife, if that is the kind of destiny the Republic wants. And since an evil destiny is so manifest for the Republic in such a place, it is strange that intelligent Americans should counsel such a step.
LAWS are not designed to enforce rights upon the people, but only to protect people from molestation in enjoying their rights according to their own tastes and inclinations. Because every individual has a right to one day’s rest in seven, it does not follow that this right ought to be enforced upon anyone.
NO HUMAN authority can rightfully undertake to say how any question which involves religious truth is settled, or whether it is settled or not. Every individual has an unalienable right to decide for myself what is the revealed will of God; and this right amounts to nothing if he cannot act in harmony with his belief.
WE are told that men ought to rest one day in seven; and this is true enough. We are told that if one man rests while others do business, he will suffer financial loss; and we do not deny this. But there is something more than this involved in the question of Sabbath-keeping. There is always the additional fact that Sabbath-keeping is by command of God, and this question of what God has commanded is inseparable from the subject. It is of no use to settle the other questions while this one is left unsettled; and this one can be settled for each person only by his own conscience and the Word of God. And therefore, as no human authority can settle this question, and is all other questions in Sabbath-keeping hinge upon this one, it is clear that the whole matter of Sabbath-keeping is beyond the province of human authority, and must be left for each person to settle for himself.