“The Maryland Court of Appeals on Sunday Laws” American Sentinel 9, 6, pp. 44, 45.

THE following from the Baltimore American of January 24, tells the story of the Judefind case, appealed from Kent County:—

January 23, the Court of Appeals handed down a number of important opinions. The first was the now celebrated Kent County Seventy-day Adventist case, the opinion being written by Judge Boyd. John W. Judefind, a Kent County farmer who had embraced the Seventh-day Adventist faith, was arrested for husking corn on Sunday. He was fined $5 by a magistrate, appealed to the Circuit Court, was tried before the court, convicted and fined $5. He brought his case before the Court of Appeals by petition in the nature of a writ of error. First. That section 247 of article 27 of the code is void, because it is in violation of the first paragraph of the fourteenth article of the Constitution of the United States. Second. That said statute is void because it is in violation of article 36 of the Bill of Rights of the constitution of Maryland. Third. That the Circuit Court for Kent County had no jurisdiction to try and convict traverser, since the justice of the peace had no jurisdiction; because the warrant charged no offense under the statute, as it failed to set forth that the husking of corn on Sunday was not a work of necessity or charity; because the warrant was issued and served on Sunday; because the bond of the traverser is void, because it charges “Sabbath-breaking,” and no such offense is known to the laws of the State. The attorney general moved to quash the writ of error, on the ground that no writ of error lies to this court from the decision of the Circuit Court on an appeal to it from the judgment of a justice of the peace. That motion, says the court, must prevail.

If the petitioner wanted to try the constitutionality of the law he should have applied for the writ of certiorari upon that specific ground, and this court could then have reviewed the case. Alleged defects in [45] warrant and bond cannot be reviewed here. Having settled the case on the ground that no writ of error lies to this court in the case, the Court of Appeals, for fear that some doubt may rest as to their views of the main issue attempted to be raised to the validity of the arrest under the constitutions of the State and the United States—the Court of Appeals says that the law complained of is not in violation of these codes of organic law. Numerous decisions sustain this view, and nature, experience, and observation suggest the propriety and necessity of one day of rest, and the day generally adopted is Sunday. There will always be differences as to how the day shall be spent, but the advantage is too apparent to doubt.

In interpreting these differences we must not place unreasonable constructions upon them; but a man, if he defies the law of the State, must expect to be punished. If the petition of the plaintiff be correct, then the law prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sunday, etc., is unconstitutional, as would be most, if not all, of our laws concerning Sunday. The court says that Sunday has been observed as a day of rest from the foundation of the State, and cites Kilgore vs. Mills et al. (6G. and J., 274 and 11, Maryland, 313) to prove the position, and it says the laws are looking to a still surer making of the day a day of rest. Writ of error quashed, with costs.

It will be seen that the court went out of its way to sustain the Sunday law of the State of Maryland. There remains but one course for Maryland Adventists, namely, to disobey the law “and quietly suffer the penalty.” This is the course advised by President Fairchild in his work on moral philosophy, in such cases, and it is the course which has been pursued by the servants of God in all ages. This was the course pursued by the three Hebrews when commanded to worship the golden image on the plain of Dura. Daniel 3:1-26. The prophet Daniel pursued the same course when forbidden by royal decree to offer any petition to any god or man for thirty days, save of the king only (chapter 6); and the same course was likewise followed by the apostles when forbidden by the magistrates to speak in the name of Jesus. Acts 4 and 5. We are not to resist rulers, neither are we to obey them when to do so is to sin against God. We are to obey God and take the consequences. [46]

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