“Obey the Law Until Repealed” American Sentinel 9, 50, pp. 393-395.

THE Lord says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” 191 Again, speaking of the seventh day, the Lord calls it “my holy day.” 192 Again the Lord says of the seventh day, “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” 193

Besides declaring that “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” the Lord of the Sabbath says, “Six days shalt thou labor,” 194 and calls these six days, “The six working days.” 195

Seventh-day Adventists believe the Lord. More, they obey him. They keep holy the seventh day, and commencing on the first day, they work on “the six working days.”

While thus obeying the Lord, the government, instigated by representatives of opposing religions, lays its heavy hand on them and says, You are guilty of “Sabbath-breaking,” 196 you “profane the Lord’s day” 197 contrary to law. Seventh-day Adventists protest that they have not profaned the Lord’s day, and read the words of the Lord, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” But the law of Tennessee 198 replies, “The Sabbath day” is “Sunday.” 199 Montana, 200 Vermont, 201 New Hampshire, 202 and Pennsylvania 203 agree with Tennessee, and say, “The Lord’s day” is “the first day of the week.” [394] Arkansas 204 and New Jersey 205 join the controversy and remark, “The Christian Sabbath” is “the first day of the week.” Colorado 206 puts it a little differently and asserts that “the Sabbath or Lord’s day” is “the first day of the week.” Florida, 207 Illinois, 208 Indiana, 209 Iowa, 210 Kansas, 211 and Wisconsin 212 in …, “The Sabbath day” is “the first day of the week.” Maine 213 is very definite, and says, “The Lord’s day” is “the first day of the week,” and “includes the time between twelve o’clock on Saturday night and twelve o’clock on Sunday night.” Massachusetts 214 does not say which day is the “Lord’s day,” but cheerily infers that it … “the seventh day,” and Virginia, 215 and West Virginia 216 in like manner infer that “the Sabbath day” is not “the seventh day.”

Minnesota 217 in explaining her position, … “The first day of the week being by general consent set apart for rest and religious uses, the law prohibits the living on that day of certain oaths…. A violation of the foregoing prohibitions is Sabbath-breaking.”

Missouri 218 agrees with Minnesota, and states that “no labor or perform any work;” “on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday,” is “Sabbath-breaking.” Nebraska 219 agrees with Missouri. Georgia, 220 Mississippi, 221 and South Carolina, 222 all agree that “the Sabbath day” is “Sunday,” and Tennessee adds that the seventh day is one of the “week days.”

Vermont 223 asserts that “any persons who, between twelve o’clock Saturday night and sunset on the following Sunday, exercises any business or employment” is guilty of “Sabbath-breaking.”

North Dakota and South Dakota 224 are still more emphatic, and say, “Doing servile labor on the first day of the week” is “Sabbath-breaking,” and one of the “crimes against religion.”

Seventh-day Adventists again look at their Bibles and notwithstanding all this testimony from human law, the law of God still reads, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.”

They appeal to the United States Circuit Court, but that court says it cannot interfere. And before they can get their case before the Supreme Court of the United States this tribunal of last resort decides unanimously that “this is a Christian nation,” and as one proof cites the very “Sabbath laws” 225 which oppress them and which declare that the first day of the week is the Sabbath day or the Lord’s day.

Closely following this decision the Congress of the United States, in violation of the Constitution, takes sides with the States and joins in declaring that “the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday” 226 is the Sabbath; a thing it had for a hundred years refused to do and which the United States Senate said if done would constitute “a legal decision of a religious controversy” 227 and lay the foundation for “that usurpation of the divine prerogative in this country which has been the desolating scourge to the fairest portions of the Old World.” 228

When in 1829 the Senate of the United States was petitioned to enact a law enforcing the observance of the “Sabbath or first day of the week,” the Senate answered by committee report: “With these different religious views [“the seventh day is the Sabbath” and “the first day is the Sabbath”], the committee are of the opinion that Congress cannot interfere. It is not the legitimate province of the legislature to determine what religion is true and what is false.” Notwithstanding these solemn warnings the Congress of the United States in 1892 took sides with the several States and with the Supreme Court in deciding that the claim that the first day of the week is the Sabbath is true and that the claim that the seventh day is the Sabbath is false.

After all this has been done the demand is made that Seventh-day Adventists, by the act of resting on the first day of the week, shall assent to, and thereby teach, the doctrine that the “first day is the Sabbath.” But with the States of the Union, with the Supreme Court of the United States, and with the Congress of the United States, declaring that the first day is the Sabbath, Seventh-day Adventists find that the commandment still reads, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.”

For their faithfulness to the law of God and their refusal to bow to the image—a counterfeit—of that law which men have set up, they are fined and imprisoned, and when let go are admonished in future to obey the laws of the State which declare that the first day of the week is the Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventists answer, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” 229 When let go, they continue to labor on the first day of the week in harmony with the law of God and in violation of the law of the State.

They are again arrested, fined, and imprisoned, and told by judges that the ought as good citizens to obey the laws of the State until they could secure their repeal. Prosecuting attorneys, prosecuting witnesses, the National Reform Association, the American Sabbath Union, State Sabbath Associations, popular churches, law and order leagues, and young people’s societies assume an air of patriotic loyalty to law, and in a chorus respond, Amen. But the Seventh-day Adventists answer, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” 230 And then the judge, whose province it is to judge according to the civil laws, leaves this judgment-seat and climbs to the throne of the Infinite, and usurps the “divine prerogative,” and judges the consciences of the accused, and tells them that there is no element of conscience involved in the question, that the law does not forbid them to keep the seventh day, but only requires them to observe the Lord’s day on the first day of the week, and that there is no element of conscience involved in refraining from labor on the first day of the week, and to contend that there is but a manifestation of fanatical stubbornness.

The charge of fanaticism and stubbornness is as old as religious persecution, and has been met by the reformers of all ages. There is a conscientious principle involved, and Seventh-day Adventists will continue to maintain their loyalty to God and give a reason for the hope that is within then with meekness and fear.

The observance of the Sabbath of the Lord, or the Lord’s day, is an act of religion, an act of worship. The Sabbath, or Lord’s day, is commanded by the law of God which Paul declares is “spiritual” and “holy.” When the State therefore attempts to compel men to observe the Sabbath, or Lord’s day, it undertakes to enforce obedience in spiritual matters. And as obedience in spiritual matters is worship, so to obey the Sabbath laws of the State is to worship the State. And the Seventh-day Adventist says to the State, in the words of Martin Luther to the Emperor Charles V.:—

God, who is the searcher of hearts, is my witness, that I am read most earnestly to obey your majesty, in honor or in dishonor, in life or in death, and with no exception save the Word of God, by which man lives. In all the affairs of this present life, my fidelity shall be unshaken, for here to lose or gain is of no consequence to salvation. But when eternal interests are concerned, God wills not that man shall submit unto man. For such submission in spiritual matters is real worship, and ought to be rendered solely to the Creator. 231

But what has the Government done in presuming to decide this religious controversy regarding the Sabbath and demanding obedience to its decision under penalty of fine and imprisonment? It has done just what the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Quakers, with Jefferson and Madison, said in their memorial to the Virginia legislature in 1776, denying the rightfulness of “the magistrate to adjudge the right of preference among the various sects that profess the Christian faith,“—it has erected “a claim to infallibility” which is papal in principle and can but “lead us back to the church of Rome.” 232 In deciding that the first day is the Sabbath, in favor of certain sects that profess the Christian religion, and against the position of another Christian body which holds that “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” it violates the great Protestant principle after which it was imaged by the hands of its founders, and is moulded in the image of the papacy which has always claimed the right to infallibly decide questions of faith and to enforce the decision by fines and imprisonment.

It is plain, therefore, that in attempting to compel Seventh-day Adventists to obey the government in the spiritual matter of Sabbath-keeping, which obedience is real worship, the attempt is made to compel Seventh-day Adventists to worship the image of the papacy.

But this is not all. The first day rival of the Sabbath of the Lord was not originated by the Government of the United States. As a so-called Christian institution the first-day Sabbath originated with the papacy, that power which Daniel said [395] would “think to change times and laws,” 233 and which Paul prophesied would “exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” 234 The papacy claims to be able to change the time of the Sabbath of the Most High in the face of the plain command of God.

On this point Cardinal Gibbons says:—

Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday, and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you ma read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. 235

A standard catechism of the Roman Catholic Church speaks thus plainly on the same subject:—

Question.—Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?

Answer.—Had she not such power she could not have … substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scripture authority. 236

Thus the church of Rome confesses that “the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week,” is the Sabbath, instead of the “seventh day,” originated with her. This is denied by some professed Protestants on the ground that Sunday was kept before the Roman Catholic Church was recognized as a distinct body. This does not alter the matter. “The mystery of iniquity,” which now assumes the name Roman Catholic Church, was at work in Paul’s day.

But it devolves on those who keep the first day as the Sabbath and who deny the claim of Rome as the author of Sunday observance, and who accept the Bible as infallible rule of faith, to find where the great Law-giver has abrogated the command to observe “the seventh day” and enacted a law enjoining the observance of the “first day.” But this they confess they cannot do. Here are some of their confessions.

The Protestant Episcopal Church says:

Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday?

None. 237

The Church of England says:—

There are some points of great difficulty respecting the fourth commandment….

In the first place we are commanded to keep holy the seventh day; but yet we do not think it necessary to keep the seventh day holy; for the seventh day is Saturday. It may be said that we keep the first day instead; but surely this is not the same thing; the first day cannot be the seventh day; and where are we told in Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day….

The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the Church, has enjoined it. 238

The Methodist Episcopal Church publishes this:—

This seventh-day Sabbath was strictly observed by Christ and his apostles previous to his crucifixion. Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16, 31; 13:10; Acts 1:12-14; 3:14, 42, 44; 17:2; 18:4…

Jesus, after his resurrection, changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week….

When Jesus gave instruction for this change we are not told, but very likely during the time when he spake to his apostles of the things pertaining to his kingdom. 239

Says Rev. Edward T. Hixcox, a Baptist minister, author of the “Baptist Manual,” in a recent address before a Baptist ministers meeting of New York City:—

There was and is a commandment to “keep holy the Sabbath day,” but that Sabbath-day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament,—absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week. I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is in my judgment the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people.

Space will not admit the introduction of a great mass of similar confessions from other professedly Protestant denominations.

And now, we ask, when a civil government transforms itself into an image of the papacy and commands men to obey its decrees in the spiritual matter of Sabbath-keeping, and attempts to compel men to observe the first day as the Sabbath, when God says, “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” and since the first day Sabbath is the Roman Catholic Sabbath, and since “such submission in spiritual things is real worship,” it follows that to obey such laws is to worship, not only the image of the papacy but the papacy itself, and this is just the view which Roman Catholics take of the question in the following quotation:—

Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage [worship] they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Roman Catholic] church. 240

But this is not all. Not only does the papacy claim the power to change the law of God; not only does it claim to have changed the Sabbath, the seventh day, to Sunday, the first day, but it puts forth this very change as a mark or sign of its power to command the obedience of men under penalty of sin. Here is the claim:—

Question.—How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

Answer.—By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.

Question.—How prove you that?

Answer.—Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin. 241

And now from all this it is clearly seen that when Seventh-day Adventists refuse to obey laws made to compel the observance of the first day as the Sabbath of the Lord, they refuse to obey or worship a power which by the very act of deciding which day is the Sabbath, and enforcing that decision upon them, transforms itself into an image of the papacy. They refuse also to obey or worship the papacy itself, which originated the Sunday rival of the Sabbath of the Lord. And, lastly, they refuse to receive, either with a willing mind or under the hand of compulsion, the Sunday institution which the papacy itself claims as the mark of its power.

And in thus refusing they are acting in harmony with the warning found in “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him to show unto his servants,” which says: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12.

This is the reason why Seventh-day Adventists cannot obey Sunday laws until they are repealed. To the statement that this position will bring them in conflict with every civilized government in the world, they answer that the Lord has predicted that the “kings of the earth and their armies” would rally to the support of this papal apostasy against those “who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” would rally to the support of this papal apostasy against those “who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” But blessed be his name, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” 242 marshals the “armies in heaven” for the defense of the faithful few who keep the commandments of God, and joins in battle with “the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies,” 243 and the “beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” 244 “And them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” 245

And the great controversy between truth and error, the battle of the ages, is ended.



191 Exodus 20:9, 10.

192 Isaiah 58:13.

193 Matthew 12:8.

194 Exodus 20:6.

195 Ezekiel 46:1.

196 Maryland Code of Public and General Laws, Vol. 1, Art. 27, sec. 247.


198 Code of Tennessee, 1884, chap. 11, sections 2015 and 2089.

199 In Tennessee law, “Sabbath day” and “Sunday” are used interchangeably, as in the laws of other States the “Lord’s day,” the “Sabbath day” and “Christian Sabbath” are used interchangeably with “the first day of the week,” or definitely designated by the term, “commonly called Sunday.”

200 Compiled Statutes of Montana, 1887, sec. 1408.

201 Revised Laws of Vermont, 1881, chap. 201, sec. 4315.

202 General Laws of New Hampshire, 1878, chap. 278, sec. 3 and chap. 5, sec. 1, of Acts of June Session 1887.

203 Laws of Pennsylvania, 1883, Vol. 2, p. 1517, et sep. 835, sec. 3, 5.

204 Acts and resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas, 1887, p. 12, sec. 1.

205 Revision of the Statutes of New Jersey, 1877, p. 1227, sec. 1.

206 Criminal code of Colorado, 1843, chap. 25, sec. 189; and chap. 64, sec. 18.

207 Laws of Florida, 1881, chap. 79, sec. 2.

208 Revised statutes of Indiana, 1888, sec. 2,000.

209 McLain’s “Annotated Code and Statutes,” 1888, vol. 2, chap. 12, sec. 5,438.

210 General statutes, vol. 1, 1889, sections 2,395 and 2,396.

211 Annotated statutes of Wisconsin, 1889, chap. 2, 310, sec. 4,593.

212 Revised statutes of Maine, 1882, chap. 134, sections 22 and 23.

213 General statutes of Massachusetts, chap. 28, sections 2 and 13.

214 General statutes of Massachusetts, chap. 58, sections 2 and 13.

215 Code of Virginia, 1887, p. 900, sections 3,799 3,800.

216 Code of West Virginia, second edition, 1887, chap. 142, sections 16 and 17.

217 General statutes of Minnesota, 1888, vol. 2, chap. 1, sections 221, 225.

218 Revised statutes of Missouri, 1889, vol. 1, chap. 47, sec. 3,852.

219 Compiled statutes of Nebraska, 1885, chap. 23, sec. 241.

220 Code of the State of Georgia, 1892, p. 1196, sec. 4,478.

221 Revised code of Mississippi, 1880, chap. 77, sec. 2,549.

222 Code of South Carolina, vol. 2, chap. 61, sec. 3,782.

223 Revised code of Vermont, 1881, chap. 201, sec. 4,315.

224 Compiled laws of Dakota, 1887. Under crimes against religion, sec. 6,341.

225 United States Supreme Court decision, Trinity Church case, Feb. 29, 1892.

226 Act closing the World’s Fair on Sunday, signed Aug. 5, 1892.

227 “American State Papers,” class 7, p. 225.


229 Acts 4:12.

230 Acts 5:29.

231 D’Aubigne’s History of the Reformation, Book VII, chap. 11.

232 Baird’s “Religion in America,” book 3, chap. 3, par. 11.

233 Daniel 7:25.

234 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

235 “Faith of Our Fathers,” p. 111.

236 “Doctrinal Catechism,” by Rev. Stephen Keenan, Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey: Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, 5 Barclay Street, New York, 1876, p. 174.

237 “Manual of Christian Doctrine,” p. 127; published by James Pott & Co., 12 Astor Place, N.Y.

238 “Plain Sermons on the Catechism,” vol. 1, pp. 334-336; by Rev. Isaac Williams, B.D., Late Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford: Longmans, Green & Co., 15 E. 16th St., N.Y., and 39 Paternoster Row, London, E.C.; also James Pott & Co., N.Y.

239 Binney’s “Theological Compend, Improved,” by Rev. Amos Binney and Rev. Daniel Steele, D.D.; Hunt and Eaton, New York; pp. 170, 171.

240 “Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-day,” by Mgr. Segur: Imprimatur, Joannes Josephus Episcopus, Boston: Thomas H. Noonan & Co., Boston, 1868, p. 213.

241 “An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine,” by Rev. Henry Tuberville: Imprimatur, the Right Rev. Benedict, Bishop of Boston; Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, 5 Barclay Street, New York, 1833, p. 58.

242 Revelation 19:16.

243 Revelation 19:19.

244 Revelation 19:20.

245 Revelation 15:2, 3.

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