“Seventh-day Adventists and the Authorities of Basle” American Sentinel 9, 35, pp. 278, 279.

AMS our readers are aware, for some time in the past the police authorities of Basle, Switzerland, have been endeavoring to compel H. P. Holser, the manager of the Seventh-day Adventists’ publishing house in that city, to suspend operations on Sunday. Mr. Holser has been arrested several times, and fines have been imposed and finally collected by the sale of his household effects; he refusing to pay voluntarily.

Subsequent to the seizure of his goods, Mr. Holser was again arrested, and August 16 he was fined 200 francs and sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment. If the fine is not paid, as it will not be, the term of imprisonment will be sixty-one days. Mr. Holser, who is a minister, writes thus to a brother minister in London, of his trial:—

Basle, August 18, 1894.


I had much more time than at former hearings, and could state our position more fully than ever, though not as fully as I should like. When I opened my Bible to read some passages, they did not seem to relish that sort of argument.

This being the sixth offense, they did not seem much inclined to hear from me. The president acted as uneasy as though he were sitting over a hornet’s nest; but as I had been shut off too soon at other times, I insisted on stating our position, and succeeded in getting much more time than on former occasions. After I made my plea the State’s attorney spoke, stating that the law was very plain, that I had been punished repeatedly and still insisted on working, instead of appealing to the higher authorities to settle the question as to whether the police authorities were doing us injustice, but instead had circulated a pamphlet in the city to bring the police authorities in disrepute. He would not advise imprisonment, for this would only be furnishing us an advertisement; but would propose a higher money fine—300 francs. He also stated that I seemed to be ignorant of the fact that the State had no creed! i.e. nothing to do with religion.

Time was then allowed me, in which I replied to the points which he made, showing that Sunday is a religious day, and if the religion were taken away, our difficulty would soon cease. Sunday is to be found only where Christianity is found. And when the French Revolutionists rejected so-called Christianity, they rejected the Sunday as a part of it. Also that our work in itself was not of a nature to disturb people if they were not influenced by religious prejudices. On the green in front of our house is ten times as much noise as our work makes; there is shooting, football, companies of soldiers drilling, and officers shouting, so that the little noise which we make is entirely drowned. Yet all this does not disturb people. This proves that it is not the noise that disturbs [279] people, but it is our religion; it is because we don’t believe as they do; and their being disturbed on such grounds is purely papal; and for us to yield to their demands under such circumstances would be the same as bowing to the papacy; God expressly warns us against doing this. So, although Sunday may be called a purely civil day, it does interfere with our religious rights. I intended to make more points, but the judge interrupted me, and closed the hearing. After having been out about ten minutes, I was called back to hear the sentence. The judge closed with the statement that if we did not stop work he would next order that the house be closed altogether.

The reports in the papers were quite fair. One point they made particularly clear, for which I am glad, and that is, we declared that we could never obey Sunday laws, as that was the same to us as obeying man rather than God.

And appeal has been taken to a higher court, and the result is awaited with interest. It is evident that the prosecution of Seventh-day Adventists for refusing to obey laws enforcing obedience to a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, is becoming world-wide. But this state of things is just what they have been expecting for more than forty years. They have declared that the governments of earth would attempt to cause all men to worship the papacy or a system made in the image of the papacy, and that this would be done by attempting to force all men to observe Sunday, the mark of Roman Catholic power. Events are multiplying on every hand showing the fulfillment of these predictions. These events have, for forty years, been expected through faith in the prophetic word of God, but it has been only recently that they have seen the persecutions which are a fulfillment. They have, for more than forty years, declared that the Sunday Sabbath was exclusively a Roman Catholic institution, and now in 1893, Cardinal Gibbons’ paper, the Catholic Mirror, comes forward declaring the “Christian Sabbath” (Sunday) to be the “genuine offspring of the Catholic Church,” without scriptural authority for its support; and further that the observance of it by Protestants who profess to take the Bible for their guide, is “indefensible, self-contradictory, and suicidal;” and further still, challenges the whole Protestant world to disprove its position.

For more than forty years Seventh-day Adventists have declared that Sunday laws were an attempt to enforce obedience to this Roman Catholic dogma, and now in 1894 a Roman Catholic member of the Canadian Parliament, in a speech against a Sunday law, declares that by the bill the author “seeks to compel a great number of his fellow-citizens to disobey the Word of God, and obey the words of a church, (Roman Catholic) of which they (Seventh-day Adventists) do not approve.” Again only a few days ago Mr. Pax, a Catholic priest, of Sleepy Eye, Minn., declared in a published letter, that “The imprisonment of Seventh-day Adventists…. for performing bodily labor on the Lord’s day, commonly called Sunday, proves that the Government assumes the right to enforce a religious dogma of the Catholic Church.”

There is no doubt of the correctness of the position. And now let Seventh-day Adventists in all the world, with one heart and one mind, stand resolutely and refuse to “worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.” [280]

Share this: