WE have been surprised at the number of Baptist papers that have attempted to justify the persecution of Seventh-day Adventists for private Sunday work. Several of these papers have manifested a spirit very far from Christian; and some have taken positions which are uttrly [sic.] inconsistent with the past history of Baptists.
The Baptist Reaper, of Martin, Tenn., in its issue of August 29, publishes the following:—
In regard to the prosecution of Seventh-day Adventists for violating Sunday laws, and consequent charge of religious persecution, a correspondent of the East Tennessee Baptist makes a good point, as follows:
“Every citizen is to have perfect liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. The Seventh-day Adventists claim that their consciences compel them to worship God on Saturday. No one has sought to prevent their doing so. Hence they are not persecuted.”
As some one else has well remarked, all this cry of persecution is simply a little scheme for advertising Adventism. The attempt of this modern sect to produce martyrs is a miserable failure, and its plea is a fraud.
The correspondent of the East Tennessee Baptist is evidently not informed in regard to the views of Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists hold that Sunday is a rival institution to the true Sabbath; and that to observe it would be to violate the fourth commandment, which establishes a distinction between the Sabbath and all other days, and requires that all men shall respect that distinction. For the Adventists to keep Sunday also would be the same as it would have been for the three Hebrews to have appeared to worship the image which the King of Babylon had set up. It is a very short-sighted view to take of the matter to assert that Adventists are left perfectly free to keep the Sabbath, when they are forbidden to work on Sunday. Would Baptists feel that they were left perfectly free to practice immersion, if they were required to submit to sprinkling also? Would they not complain, and justly too, that their religious liberty was interfered with, their rights trampled upon? But Sunday is just as much a counterfeit of the Sabbath as sprinkling is a counterfeit of baptism; and Sunday is just as much opposed to the Sabbath as sprinkling is to true baptism.
The editor of the Reaper is evidently not well informed on Baptist history. He should read again the history of Massachusetts and of Virginia, and especially the life of Roger Williams, who was banished from Massachusetts for entertaining the opinion “that the magistrate might not punish a breach of the sabbath, nor any other offense that was a breach of the first table.
We are glad, however, that there are yet some true Baptists.
“This little scheme for advertising Adventism,” might be entirely frustrated if Sunday-keepers would only permit the Adventists to exercise equal rights with themselves. Our contemporary should remember the ninth commandment.