“Persecution Long Expected” American Sentinel 10, 15, pp. 116, 117.

THE denomination, five of whose members are now in prison in Tennessee, has long expected to meet these persecutions. This expectation was based upon the “sure word of prophecy.” From the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Revelation and many other scriptures, they understood that there would come a time in the history of the United States when the leaders of the people would practically repudiate the great principle of religious liberty, and, papacy like, persecute those who dissented from certain law-enforced church dogmas, especially the doctrine of Sunday sacredness. These positions were taken and published to the world more than forty years ago.

At that time the principles of religious liberty were highly prized, and these predictions were ridiculed as the merest vagaries. However the church continued to teach them, and to declare that as the churches became more worldly and thereby divorced themselves from [118] the power of God, they would lose sight of the great principle of religious liberty and would seek the aid of civil law to force a recognition of the church by enforcing the observance of Sunday. It was thought that this was impossible because of the high importance which Americans attached to the principles of religious freedom. To this it was answered that the people, as they became farther removed from the scenes of the struggle for liberty, would lose its spirit in the effort for material gain. It was also declared that the churches, when transformed from poor, weak, struggling minorities, into rich, powerful, controlling majorities, they would forget the days of their affliction and the principles of liberty of conscience for which they strove, and would themselves turn persecutors.

There are a few who still contend for the principles of religious freedom for which their fathers fought. And these now bear testimony to the indifference to, or the repudiation of, the principles at one time so universally entertained.

The Examiner, before quoted, thus expresses its wonder and astonishment at this change of sentiment: “It is amazing how good people fail to understand what are the principles in this matter.” And again: “We wonder that the very stones do not cry out against such wicked travesties of justice: that Christian men do not lift up their voices in protest against this wicked perversion of religion, this insult to the name of Christ. And in particular, why do not Baptists whose fathers stood against the world for soul liberty, make themselves heard when these relics of medieval bigotry and persecuting intolerance are found in our free country?”

Surely a change has come over the people, and it is now impossible to stir them to a realization of the situation, and the sufferers do not hope for deliverance this side of the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven to reap the harvest of the earth. Revelation 14:14-16.

In the meantime Seventh-day Adventists bring no railing accusation against their persecutors. Their attitude toward all concerned is thus expressed in one of their publications:—

“Against those responsible for our persecution we bring no railing accusation. Against the honorable judges of the courts before whom our cases have been or may be tried, we speak no evil word. against prosecuting attorneys and prosecuting witnesses we harbor no resentment. Against grand jurors who have found indictments, and trial-jurors who have returned the verdict, “guilty,” we speak no word of condemnation; and for those professed Christians who have instigated these persecutions by making complaint against us, and who in most cases, have been ashamed to allow their names to be known, we have only thoughts of pity. To these we say that by our labor on Sunday, we have not infringed the natural or constitutional right, civil or religious, of any man. ‘We have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.’ 2 Corinthians 7:2. And to all concerned we say with terrible earnestness, Count well the cost before taking upon yourselves the awful responsibility of attempting to force upon us, by pains and penalties, the sign of allegiance to Rome and the mark of her power. Beware, ‘lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.’” Acts 5:39. [118]

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