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A.T.Jones testimony before US Senate - Dec. 1888
Before the
United States Senate
Committee on Education and Labor;
DEC. 13, 1888
This pamphlet is a report of an argument made upon the national Sunday bill introduced by Senator Blair in the fiftieth Congress. It is not, however, exactly the argument that was made before the Senate Committee, as there were so many interruptions in the course of my speech that it was impossible to make a connected argument upon a single point. By these questions, etc., my argument was not only forced to take a wider range than was intended when I began to speak, but I was prevented from making the definite argument that I designed to present. I do not speak of these interruptions and counter-arguments by way of complaint, but only to explain why this pamphlet is issued. Nevertheless it is a fact that while there were eighteen speeches before mine, occupying three hours, in all of which together there were only one hundred and eighty-nine questions and counter-arguments by all the members of the Committee who were present, I was interrupted by the Chairman alone, one hundred and sixty-nine times in ninety minutes, as may be seen by the official report of the hearing. -- Fiftieth Congress, Second Session, Messages and Documents No. 43, pp. 73-102.
A national Sunday law is a question of national interest. While it is true that the Sunday-rest bill did not become a law, the legislation having died with the expiration of the fiftieth Congress, it is also true that those who worked for the introduction and passage of that bill are now laying plans to have another national Sunday bill introduced as soon as possible in the fiftyfirst Congress, and will do all in their power to secure its enactment into law. The scope that was given to the subject by the questions asked of me by the Senate Committee, has opened the way for a somewhat exhaustive treatment of the subject. These questions being raised by United States senators, -- men of national affairs, -- show that a wider circulation of this matter is not out of place. The subject is worthy of the careful attention of the whole American people. The principles of the American Constitution, the proper relationship between religion and the State, the distinction between moral and civil law, the inalienable civil and religious rights of men, -- these are questions that never should become secondary in the mind of any American citizen.
An eminent American jurist has justly observed that in a government of the people "there is no safety except in an enlightened public opinion, based on individual intelligence." Constitutional provisions against the encroachments of the religious upon the civil power are safeguards only so long as the intelligence of the people shall recognize the truth that no man can allow any legislation in behalf of the religion, or the religious observances, in which he himself believes, without forfeiting his own religious freedom.
In enlarging as I have upon the matter presented in the original hearing, the meaning or intention of any statement has not been changed in the slightest degree. The National Sunday Law - A.T Jones argument is submitted to the American people with the earnest hope that they will give thoughtful consideration to the principles involved. The positions taken will bear the severest test of every form of just criticism.
The bill proposed by Senator Blair, and upon which the argument was made, is as follows: -- "50th CONGRESS, } S. 2983. 1st SESSION. }
"IN the Senate of the United States, May 21, 1888, Mr. Blair introduced the following bill, which was read twice, and referred to the Committee on Education and Labor: --
"A bill to secure to the people the enjoyment of the first day of the week, commonly known as the Lord's day, as a day of rest, and to promote its observance as a day of religious worship.
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no person, or corporation, or the agent, servant, or employee of any person or corporation, shall perform or authorize to be performed any secular work, labor, or business to the disturbance of others, works of necessity, mercy, and humanity excepted; nor shall any person engage in any play, game, or amusement, or recreation, to the disturbance of others, on the first day of the week, commonly known as the Lord's day, or during any part thereof, in any territory, district, vessel, or place subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States; nor shall it be lawful for any person or corporation to receive pay for labor or service performed or rendered in violation of this section.
"Section 2. That no mails or mail matter shall hereafter be transported in time of peace over any land postal route, nor shall any mail matter be collected, assorted, handled, or delivered during any part of the first day of the week: Provided, That whenever any letter shall relate to a work of necessity or mercy, or shall concern the health, life, or decease of any person, and the fact shall be plainly stated upon the face of the envelope containing the same, the postmaster-general shall provide for the transportation of such letter.
"Section 3. That the prosecution of commerce between the States and with the Indian tribes, the same not
being work of necessity, mercy, or humanity, by the transportation of persons or property by land or water in such way as to interfere with or disturb the people in the enjoyment of National Sunday Law - A.T Jones the first day of the week, or any portion thereof, as a day of rest from labor, the same not being labor of necessity, mercy, or humanity, or its observance as a day of religious worship, is hereby prohibited; and any person or corporation, or the agent or employee of any person or corporation, who shall willfully violate this section, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten nor more than one thousand dollars, and no service performed in the prosecution of such prohibited commerce shall be lawful, nor shall any compensation be recoverable or be paid for the same.
"Section 4. That all military and naval drills, musters, and parades, not in time of active service or immediate preparation therefor, of soldiers, sailors, marines, or cadets of the United States, on the first day of the week, except assemblies for the due and orderly observance of religious worship, are hereby prohibited, nor shall any unnecessary labor be performed or permitted in the military or naval service of the United States on the Lord's day.
"Section 5. That it shall be unlawful to pay or to receive payment or wages in any manner for service rendered, or for labor performed, or for the transportation of persons or of property in violation of the provisions of this act, nor shall any action lie for the recovery thereof, and when so paid, whether in advance or otherwise, the same may be recovered back by whoever shall first sue for the same.
"Section 6. That labor or service performed and rendered on the first day of the week in consequence of accident, disaster, or unavoidable delays in making the regular connections upon postal routes and routes of travel and transportation, the preservation of perishable and exposed property, and the regular and necessary transportation and delivery of articles of food in condition for healthy use, and such transportation for short distances from one State, district, or Territory, into another State, district, or Territory as by local laws shall be declared to be necessary for the public good, shall not be deemed violations of this act, but the same shall be construed, so far as possible, to secure to the whole people rest from toil during the first
day of the week, their mental and moral culture, and the religious observance of the Sabbath day."
Rev. A. H. Lewis, D. D., representative of the Seventh-day Baptists, had spoken, and asked that a section be added to the bill granting exemption to observers of the Seventh day; but in answering the questions that were asked by the Chairman, Mr. Lewis compromised his position, and was followed soon after by Dr. Herrick Johnson, of Chicago, who remarked that Dr. Lewis had "given his whole case away." This is what is referred to in my introductory remarks to the effect that we did not intend to "give our case away." A. T. J.
National Sunday Law -  A.T Jones
SYNOPSIS  - -  Beginning of Mr. Jones's Argument before the Senate Committee, 9, 10
The Words of Christ, 11, 12; Civil Government a Social Compact, 13-16; What to God? -- What to Caesar? 17-20; The Sabbath Not Due to Caesar, 21, 22; Civil Sabbath Laws Antichristian, 23, 24;
The Civil Power Enforces Civility, 25, 26; Sunday-Law Inconsistency, 27, 28; Laws against Blasphemy, 29-40; Christianity and Roman Law, 41, 42; The United States Constitution, 43, 44;
Sunday Laws Religious Legislation, 45, 46; Sunday Laws Unconstitutional, 47, 48;
Sunday-Law Petitions, 49, 50; 
Sunday Laws Not Good, 51, 52; Religion Necessary to a Rest Day, 53, 54;
A Rest Day Belongs Only to God, 55, 56; The History of It, 57, 58; A New Theocracy, 59, 60;
The Government of Israel, 61, 62; The New Theocracy, 63-66; The Fourth-Century Theocracy 67, 68;
Fourth-Century Sunday Laws, 69, 70; The Union of Church and State, 71, 72;
The Foundation of the Inquisition, 73, 74; No Scripture `Authority for Sunday, 75, 76;
Sabbath Laws Belong Only with a Theocracy, 77, 78; More! More! More! More! 79, 80;
Enforced Church-going on Sunday, 81, 82; The Object of Sunday Laws, 83, 84;
Shall the Church Compel the Civil Power? 85, 86; The Cardinal Knows What He is Doing, 87, 88;
The Argument Is Logical, 89, 90; Sunday Laws Mean Church and State, 91, 92;
Only God Can Enforce the Decalogue, 93, 94; No Earthly Theocracy -- No Sunday Laws, 95, 96;
A National Religion Proposed, 97, 98; Worse than Russia, 99, 100; 
The State Not a Religious Partisan, 101, 102; Shall this Majority Rule? 103, 104;
Sunday Laws and the Working-Men, 105-108; Wages for Doing Nothing, 109- 112;
Church Members Compel Work on Sunday, 113, 114; The Preachers Desecrate the Day, 115, 116;
Will They Compel Themselves? 117, 118; An Exemption Clause, 119, 120;
Exemption Is Toleration in Disguise, 121, 122; The Workings of a Sunday Law, 123-128;
Subversion of Liberty, 129, 130; The Workings of a Sunday Law, 131-134;
Legislative Power not Omnipotent, 135, 136; An Unconstitutional Decision, 137, 138;
The Pharisees Justified Themselves, 139, 140; Sunday Laws Invade Inalienable Rights, 141-146;
Earthly Governments Civil, Not Moral, 147-152; Is the Objection Imaginary? 153, 154;
No Ticket of Leave for Us, 155, 156; W. C. T. U. Legislation, 157, 158;
Exemption for the Territories, 159, 160; The New Doctrine of Protection, 161, 162;
Two Sundays Instead of One, 163, 164; The Answer to Unanswerable Arguments, 165, 166;
The Authority for Sunday Laws, 167-172; No Authority for Sunday Laws, 173-183;
Appendix A, 184-191; Appendix B, 192.
Senator Blair. -- There are gentlemen present who wish to be heard in opposition to the bill. Prof. Alonzo T. Jones, of Battle Creek College, Mich., is one of those who have spoken to me in regard to it. Will you not state, Prof. Jones, what your desire is? I have no doubt that we can obtain leave of the Senate to sit during its session to-day. It is exceedingly desirable to go on with this hearing, and complete it now. How would such an arrangement comport with your convenience? First, state, please, whom you represent, and your reasons for desiring to be heard. 
Mr. Jones. -- Mr. Chairman, I represent the people known as Seventh-day Adventists. It is true, we have been entirely ignored by the other side. The very small "sect," as they stated it, of Seventh-day Baptists has been recognized, but we are more than three times their number, and many times their power in the real force of our work. We have organizations in every State and Territory in the Union. We have the largest printing-house in Michigan; the largest printing-house on the Pacific Coast; the largest Sanitarium in the world; a college in California and one in Michigan; an academy in Massachusetts; a printing establishment in Basel, Switzerland; one in Christiana, Norway; and one in Melbourne, Australia. Our mission work has enlarged until, besides embracing the greater part of Europe, it has also extended nearly around the world; and we desire a hearing, with the consent of the Committee.
Senator Blair. -- Where do you reside?
Mr. Jones. -- At present in Michigan. My home for the past four years has been in California. I am now teaching history in Battle Creek College, Mich. I must say in justice to myself, and also in behalf of the body which I represent, that we dissent almost wholly, I might say, wholly, from the position taken by the representative of the Seventh-day Baptists. I knew, the instant that Dr. Lewis stated what he did here, that he had "given his case away." We have not given our case away, Senators, nor do we expect to give it away. We expect to go deeper than any have gone at this hearing, both upon the principles and upon the facts, as well as upon the logic of the facts. 
Senator Blair. -- This matter is all familiar to you. You are a professor of history. Can you not go on this afternoon?
Mr. Jones. -- Yes, if I can have a little space between now and this afternoon to get my papers together. I have some references to read that I did not bring with me this morning.
Senator Blair. -- Very well.
Senator Blair. -- You have a full hour, Professor. It is now half past one.
Mr. Jones. -- There are three particular lines in which I wish to conduct the argument: First, the (page 11) principles upon which we stand; second, the historical view; and, third, the practical aspect of the question. The principle upon which we stand is that civil government is civil, and has nothing to do in the matter of legislation, with religious observances in any way. The basis of this is found in the words of Jesus Christ in Matt. 22:21. When the Pharisees asked whether it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not, he replied: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." In this the Saviour certainly separated that which pertains to Caesar from that which pertains to God. We are not to render to Caesar that which pertains to God; we are not to render to God by Caesar that which is God's.
Senator Blair. -- May not the thing due to Caesar be due to God also?
Mr. Jones. -- No, sir. If that be so, then the Saviour did entangle himself in his talk, the very thing which they wanted him to do. The record says that they sought "how they might entangle him in his talk." Having drawn the distinction which he has, between that which belongs to Caesar and that which belongs to God, if it be true that the same things belong to both, then he did entangle himself in his talk; and where is the force in his words which command us to render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and to God the things that are God's?
Senator Blair. -- Is it not a requirement of God's that we render to Caesar that which is due to Caesar?
Mr. Jones. -- Yes.
Senator Blair. -- If Caesar is society, and the Sabbath is required for the good of society, does not God require (page 12) us to establish the Sabbath for the good of society? and if society makes a law accordingly, is it not binding?
Mr. Jones. -- It is for the good of society that men shall be Christians; but it is not in the province of the State to make Christians. For the State to undertake to do so would not be for the benefit of society; it never has been, and it never can be.
Senator Blair. -- Do you not confuse this matter? A thing may be required for the good of society, and for that very reason be in accordance with the will and the command of God. God issues his commands for the good of society, does he not? God does not give us commands that have no relation to the good of society.
Mr. Jones. -- His commands are for the good of man.
Senator Blair. -- Man is society. It is made up of individual men.
Mr. Jones. -- But in that which God has issued to man for the good of men he has given those things which pertain solely to man's relationship to his God; and he has also given things which pertain to man's relationship to his fellow-men. With those things in which our duty pertains to our fellow-men, civil government can have something to do.
Senator Blair. -- Man would obey God in obeying civil society.
Mr. Jones. -- I will come to that point. In the things which pertain to our duty to God, with the individual's right of serving God as one's conscience dictates, society has nothing to do; but in the formation of civil society, there are certain rights surrendered to the society by the individual, without which society could not be organized. (page 13)
Senator Blair. -- That is not conceded. When was this doctrine of a compact in society made? It is the philosophy of an infidel.
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