AN interesting discussion of Sunday and Sunday laws is now in progress in the Martin Mail, of Martin, Tennessee. We publish this week a very valuable contribution to this discussion from the pen of Hon. William P. Tolley, an ex-senator of Tennessee.
One contributor, signing himself “Rex,” asks a defender of the prosecution of Seventh-day Adventists who signs himself “A Friend,” the question, If the law enforced the observance of Thursday or Friday, would you obey it? to which “A Friend” answers thus:—
Mr. Tolley, in his article [The Sabbath], condemns our courts for the punishment of Mr. Capps and others for Sunday violation of law. I justified the courts and gave my reason, which was an open violation, both of the law of the land and the law of God, and supported my argument by reference to Romans 13, which says, “Be subject to the laws that be,” etc. “Rex” wants to know if the law said keep Thursday or Friday, would I obey? I answer, no; for that would violate the Word of God.
Every religious bigot that ever beat, banished or burned a brother in the name of Christianity has tried to defend his cruelty by appealing to the thirteenth chapter of Romans. And at the same time every one of them would deny the application of the text to himself as does “A Friend,” in case he were the victim of a persecuting law.
None but a dishonest or superficial reader can fail to see that Paul exhorts men to  obedience to “the powers that be” only in temporal matters as between man and man. Verses 6-8 of this chapter plainly teach this. There is no mention of the first four commandments of the Decalogue, which enjoin obedience to God. To say that Paul taught that men should obey laws which conflict with the laws of God, not only contradicts his teaching in this chapter, but it is to say that he taught one thing and practiced another, for he often suffered as the result of violating laws enacted by the “powers that be,” which conflicted with the laws of God.
But when “A Friend” says he would not obey a Tennessee law enforcing Thursday or Friday because such a law would violate the Word of God, he admits that the thirteenth chapter of Romans does not teach that a man should disobey God’s law in order to obey man’s law. In this he admits all that Seventh-day Adventists claim. Seventh-day Adventists declare that the law of Tennessee, which commands the observance of the first day while God commands the observance of the seventh day, is just as much in conflict with the law of God as would be the command of the State to observe the fifth or sixth day (Thursday or Friday) which “A Friend” says he would not obey. And no man can prove that it is not. Why can’t “A Friend” and all his friends see it? “Consistency, thou art a jewel!”