A. T. Jones - Transcript of arguments to Senate - Dec. 13, 1888
ARGUMENTS OF ALONZO T. JONES BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
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Senator Blair. -- There are gentlemen present who wish to be heard in opposition to the bill. Prof. Alonzo T. Jones, of Battle Creek College, Michigan, 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.
A.T. 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?
A.T. 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?
A.T. 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. You have a full hour, Professor. It is now half past one.
A.T. Jones. -- There are three particular lines in which I wish to conduct the argument: First, the 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?
A.T. 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?
A.T. Jones. -- Yes.
Senator Blair. -- If Caesar is society, and the Sabbath is required for the good of society, does not God require us to establish the Sabbath for the good of society? and if society makes a law accordingly, is it not binding?
A.T. 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.
A. T. Jones. -- His commands are for the good of man.
Senator Blair. -- Man is society. It is made up of individual men.
A.T. 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.
A.T. 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.
Senator Blair. -- That is not conceded. When was this doctrine of a compact in society made? It is the philosophy of an infidel.
A.T. Jones. -- It is made wherever you find men together.
Senator Blair. -- Did you and I ever agree to it? Did it bind us before we were compos mentis?
A.T. Jones. -- Certainly. Civil government is an ordinance of God.
Senator Blair. -- Then it is not necessarily an agreement of man?
A.T. Jones. -- Yes, sir, it springs from the people.
Senator Blair. -- As to the compact in society that is talked about, it is not conceded that it is a matter of personal and individual agreement. Society exists altogether independent of the volition of those who enter into it. However, I shall not interrupt you further. I only did this because of our private conversation, in which I thought you labored under a fallacy in your fundamental proposition, that would lead all the way through your argument. I suggested that ground, and that is all.
A.T. Jones. -- I think the statement of the Declaration of Independence is true, that "Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Senator Blair. -- I do not controvert that.
A.T. Jones. -- Of all men in the world, Americans ought to be the last to deny the social compact theory of civil government. On board the "Mayflower," before the Pilgrim Fathers ever set foot on these shores, the following was written: -- "In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign, Lord King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and the honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid: and by virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November, in the reign of our sovereign, Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland, the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini, 1620."
The next American record is that of the fundamental orders of Connecticut, 1638 - 39, and reads as follows: --
"Forasmuch as it hath pleased the Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine prudence so to order and dispose of things that we, the inhabitants and residents of Windsor, and Hartford, and Wethersfield, are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the river of Connecticut and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons, as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conioyne ourselves to be as one public State or commonwealth; and doe for ourselves and our successors and such as shall adjoined to vs at any time hereafter, enter into combination and confederation together," etc. And, sir, the first Constitution of your own State -- 1784 -- in its bill of rights, declares: --
"I. All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good."
"III. When men enter into a state of society, they surrender some of their natural rights to that society, in order to insure the protection of others; and without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.
"IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be received for them. Of this kind are the rights of conscience."
And in Part 2, of that some Constitution, under the division of the "form of government," are these words: --
"The people inhabiting the territory formerly called the province of New Hampshire, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or State, by the name of the State of New Hampshire."
In the Constitution of New Hampshire of 1792, these articles are repeated word for word. They remain there without alteration in a single letter under the ratification of 1852, and also under the ratification of 1877. Consequently, sir, the very State which sends you to this capitol is founded upon the very theory which you here deny. This is the doctrine of the Declaration of Independence; it is the doctrine of the Scripture; and therefore we hold it to be eternally true.
These sound and genuine American principles -- civil governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and the inalienability of the rights of conscience, -- these are the principles asserted and maintained by Seventh-day Adventists.
Senator Blair. -- But society is behind the government which society creates.
A.T. Jones. -- Certainly. All civil government springs from the people, I care not in what form it is.
Senator Blair. -- That is all agreed to.
A.T. Jones. -- But the people, I care not how many there are, have no right to invade your relationship to God, nor mine. That rests between the individual and God, through faith in Jesus Christ; and as the Saviour has made this distinction between that which pertains to Caesar and that which is God's, when Caesar exacts of men that which pertains to God, then Caesar is out of his place, and in so far as Caesar is obeyed there, God is denied. When Caesar -- civil government -- exacts of men that which is God's, he demands what does not belong to him; in so doing Caesar usurps the place and the prerogative of God, and every man who regards God or his own rights before God, will disregard all such interference on the part of Caesar.
This argument is confirmed by the apostle's commentary upon Christ's words. In Rom. 13:1-9, is written: --
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
It is easy to see that this scripture is but an exposition of Christ's words, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." In the Saviour's command to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, there is plainly a recognition of the rightfulness of civil government, and that civil government has claims upon us which we are in duty bound to recognize, and that there are things which duty requires us to render to the civil government. This scripture in Romans 13 simply states the same thing in other words:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." Again: the Saviour's words were in answer to a question concerning tribute. They said to him, "Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" Rom. 13: 6 refers to the same thing, saying, "For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." In answer to the question of the Pharisees about the tribute, Christ said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." Rom. 13:7, taking up the same thought, says, "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." These references make positive that which we have stated, -- that this portion of Scripture (Rom. 13: 1-9) is a divine commentary upon the words of Christ in Matt. 22: 17-21. The passage refers first to civil government, the higher powers, -- the powers that be. Next it speaks of rulers, as bearing the sword and attending upon matters of tribute. Then it commands to render tribute to whom tribute is due, and says, "Owe no man any thing; but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." Then he refers to the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments, and says, "It there by any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." There are other commandments of this same law to which Paul refers. There are the four commandments of the first table of the law, -- the commandments which say, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or nay likeness of any thing;" "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;" "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Then there is the other commandment in which are briefly comprehended all these, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." Paul knew full well these commandments. Why, then, did he say, "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"? -- Because he was writing concerning the principles set forth by the Saviour, which relate to our duties to civil government.
Our duties under civil government pertain solely to the government and to our fellowmen, because the powers of civil government pertain solely to men in their relations one to another, and to the government. But the Saviour's words in the same connection entirely separated that which pertains to God from that which pertains to civil government. The things which pertain to God are not to be rendered to civil government - - to the powers that be; therefore Paul, although knowing full well that there were other commandments, said, "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;" that is, if there be any other commandment which comes into the relation between man and civil government, it is comprehended in this saying, that he shall love his neighbor as himself; thus showing conclusively that the powers that be, though ordained of God, are so ordained simply in things pertaining to the relation of man with his fellow-men, and in those things alone.
Further: as in this divine record of the duties that men over to the powers that be, there is no reference whatever to the first table of the law, it therefore follows that the powers that be, although ordained of God, have nothing whatever to do with the relations which men bear toward God.
As the ten commandments contain the whole duty of man, and as in the enumeration here given of the duties that men owe to the powers that be, there is no mention of any of the things contained in the first table of the law, it follows that none of the duties enjoined in the first table of the law of God, do men owe to the powers that be; that is to say, again, that the powers that be, although ordained of God, are not ordained of God in anything pertaining to a single duty enjoined in any one of the first four of the ten commandments. These are duties that men owe to God, and with those the powers that be can of right have nothing to do, because Christ has commanded to render unto God -- not to Caesar, nor by Caesar -- that which is God's. Therefore, as in his comment upon the principle which Christ established, Paul has left out of the account the first four commandments, so we deny, forever, the right of any civil government to legislate in anything that pertains to men's duty to God under the first four commandments. This Sunday bill does propose to legislate in regard to the Lord's day. If it is the Lord's day, we are to render it to the Lord, not to Caesar. When Caesar exacts it of us, he is exacting what does not belong to him, and is demanding of us that with which he should have nothing to do.
Senator Blair. -- Would it answer your objection in that regard, if, instead of saying "the Lord's day", we should say, "Sunday"?
A.T. Jones. -- No, sir, Because the underlying principle, the sole basis, of Sunday, is ecclesiastical, and legislation in regard to it is ecclesiastical legislation. I shall come more fully to the question you ask, presently. Now do not misunderstand us on this point. We are Seventh-day Adventists; but if this bill were in favor of enforcing the observance of the seventh day as the Lord's day, we would oppose it just as much as we oppose it as it is now, for the reason that civil government has nothing to do with what we owe to God, or whether we owe anything or not, or whether we pay it or not.
Allow me again to refer to the words of Christ to emphasize this point. At that time the question was upon the subject of tribute, whether it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not. In answering the question, Christ established this principle: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." That tribute money was Caesar's; it bore his image and superscription; it was to be rendered to him. Now, it is a question of rendering Sabbath observance, and it is a perfectly legitimate and indeed a necessary question to ask right here: Is it lawful to render Lord's day observance to Caesar? The reply may be in His own words: Show me the Lord's day; whose image and superscription does it bear? -- The Lord's, to be sure. This very bill which is under discussion here to-day declares it to be the Lord's day. Then the words of Christ apply to this. Bearing the image and superscription of the Lord, Render therefore to the Lord the things that are the Lord's, and to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. It does not bear the image and superscription of Caesar; it does not belong to him; it is not to be rendered to him.
Again: take the institution under the word Sabbath: Is it lawful to render Sabbath observance to Caesar or not? Show us the Sabbath; whose image and superscription does it bear? The commandment of God says, it "is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." It bears his image and superscription, and his only; it belongs wholly to him; Caesar can have nothing to do with it. It does not belong to Caesar; its observance cannot be rendered to Caesar, but only to God; for the commandment is, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." If it is not kept holy, it is not kept at all. Therefore, belonging to God, bearing his superscription, and not that of Caesar, according to Christ's commandment, it is to be rendered only to God; because we are to render to God that which is God's, and the Sabbath is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Sabbath observance, therefore, or Lord's day observance, whichever you may choose to call it, never can be rendered to Caesar. And Caesar never can demand it without demanding that which belongs to God, or without putting himself in the place of God, and usurping the prerogative of God.
Therefore, we say that if this bill were framed in behalf of the real Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day, the day which we observe; if this bill proposed to promote its observance, or to compel men to do no work upon that day we would oppose it just as strongly as we oppose it now, and I would stand here at this table and argue precisely as I am arguing against this, and upon the same principle, -- the principle established by Jesus Christ, -- that with that which is God's the civil government never can of right have anything to do. That duty rests solely between man and God; and if any man does not render it to God, he is responsible only to God, and not to any man, nor to any assembly or organization of men, for his failure or refusal to render it to God; and any power that undertakes to punish that man for his failure or refusal to render to God what is God's, puts itself in the place of God. Any government which attempts it, sets itself against the word of Christ, and is therefore antichristian. This Sunday bill proposes to have this Government do just that thing, and therefore I say, without any reflection upon the author of the bill, this national Sunday bill which is under discussion here to-day is antichristian. But in saying this I am not singling out this contemplated law as worse than all other Sunday laws in the world. There never was a Sunday law that was not antichristian. and there never can be one that will not be antichristian.
Senator Blair. -- You oppose all the Sunday laws of the country, then? Mr. Jones. -- Yes, sir. Senator Blair. -- You are against all Sunday laws?
A.T. Jones. -- Yes, sir; we are against every Sunday law that was ever made in this world, from the first enacted by Constantine to this one now proposed; and we would be equally against a Sabbath law if it were proposed, for that would be antichristian, too.
Senator Blair. -- State and national, alike?
A.T. Jones. -- State and national, sir. I shall give you historical reasons presently, and the facts upon which these things stand, and I hope they will receive consideration.
George Washington, I believe, is yet held in some respectful consideration -- he is by the Seventh-day Adventists at least -- and he said, "Every man who conducts himself as a good citizen is accountable alone to God for his religious faith, and is to be protected in worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience." And so should we be protected, so long as we are law-abiding citizens. There are no saloon keepers among us. We are as a body for prohibition; and as for the principles of Christian temperance, we conscientiously practice them. In short, you will find no people in this country or in the world, more peaceable and law-abiding than we endeavor to be. We teach the people according to the Scripture, to be subject to the powers that be; we teach them that the highest duty of the Christian citizen is strictly to obey the law, -- to obey it not from fear of punishment, but out of respect for governmental authority, and out of respect for God, and conscience towards him.
Senator Blair. -- That is the common Mormon argument. The Mormons say their institution is a matter of religious belief. Everybody concedes their right to believe in Mormonism, but when they come to the point of practicing it, will it not be to the disturbance of others?
A.T. Jones. -- I should have come to that, even though you had not asked the question. But as you have introduced it, I will notice it now. My argument throughout is that the civil government can never have anything to do with men's duties under the first four of the ten commandments; and this is the argument embodied in Washington's words. These duties pertain solely to God. Now polygamy is adultery. But adultery is not a duty that men owe to God, in any way, much less does it come under any of the first four commandments. This comes within the inhibitions of the second table of the law of God -- the commandments embracing duty to our neighbor. How men should conduct themselves toward their fellow-men, civil government must decide; that is the very purpose of its existence. Consequently, the practice of polygamy lying wholly within this realm, is properly subject to the jurisdiction of civil government. My argument does not in the least degree countenance the principles of Mormonism, nor can it fairly be made to do so. I know that it is offered as a very ready objection; but those who offer it as an objection and as an argument against the principles upon which we stand, thereby make adultery a religious practice. But against all such objection and argument, I maintain that adultery is not in any sense a religious practice. It is not only highly irreligious, but it is essentially uncivil; and because it is uncivil, the civil power has as much right to blot it out as it has to punish murder, or thieving, or perjury, or any other uncivil thing. Moreover, we deny that honest occupations on any day of the week, or at any time whatever, can ever properly be classed with adultery.
There are also people who believe in community of property in this world. Suppose they base their principles of having all things in common upon the apostolic example. Very good. They have the right to do that. Every one who sells his property and puts it into a common fund, has a right to do that if he chooses; but suppose these men in carrying out that principle, and in claiming that it is a religious ordinance, were to take without consent your property or mine into their community. Then what? -- The State forbids it. It does not forbid the exercise of their religion; but it protects your property and mine, and in exercising its prerogative of protection, it forbids theft. And in forbidding theft, the State never asks any questions as to whether thieving is a religious practice. So also as to polygamy, which is practiced among the Mormons. But let us consider this in another view.
It is every man's right in this country, or anywhere else, to worship an idol if he chooses. That idol embodies his conviction of what God is. He can worship only according to his convictions. It matters not what form his idol may have, he has the right to worship it anywhere in all the world, therefore in the United States. But suppose that in the worship of that god he attempts to take the life of one of his fellow-men, and offer it as a human sacrifice. The civil government exists for the protection of life, liberty, property, etc., and it must punish that man for his attempt upon the life of his fellow-man. The civil law protects man's life from such exercise of any one's religion, but in punishing the offender, the State does not consider the question of his religion at all. It would punish him just the same if he made no pretensions to worship or to religion. It punishes him for his incivility, for his attempt at murder, not for his irreligion. I repeat, the question of religion is not considered by the State; the sole question is, Did he threaten the life of his fellow-man? Civil government must protect its citizens. This is strictly within Caesar's jurisdiction; it comes within the line of duties which the Scripture shows to pertain to our neighbor, and with it Caesar has to do.
Therefore it is true that the State can never of right legislate in regard to any man's religious faith, or in relation to anything in the first four commandments of the Decalogue. But if in the exercise of his religious convictions under the first four commandments, a man invades the rights of his neighbor, as to life, family, property, or character, then the civil government says that it is unlawful. Why? Because it is irreligious or immoral? -- Not at all; but because it is uncivil, and for that reason only. It never can be proper for the State to ask any question as to whether any man is religious or not, or whether his actions are religious or not. The sole question must ever be, Is the action civil or uncivil.
Senator Blair. -- Now apply that right to this case -- to the institution of the Sabbath among men for the good of men.
A.T. Jones. -- Very good, we will consider that. Here are persons who are keeping Sunday. It is their right to work on every other day of the week. It is their right to work on that day, if they desire; but they are keeping that day, recognizing it as the Sabbath. Now while they are doing that which is their right, here are other people who are keeping Saturday, and others who are keeping Friday. The Mohammedans recognize Friday. But we will confine ourselves to those who keep Saturday, the seventh day, as the Sabbath. Those who keep Sunday, and who want legislation for that day, ask that other people shall be forbidden to work on Sunday, because they say it disturbs their rest, it disturbs their worship, etc.; and they claim that their rights are not properly protected. Do they really believe that in principle? Let us see. They will never admit (at any rate, I have never yet found one of them who would) that their work on Saturday disturbs the rest, or the worship, of the man who rests on Saturday. If their work on Saturday does not disturb the Sabbath rest, or the worship, of the man who keeps Saturday, then upon what principle is it that our work on Sunday disturbs the rest of those who keep Sunday? I have never found one on that side yet who would admit the principle. If their work does not disturb our rest and our worship, our work cannot disturb their rest or their worship. More than this: In a general Sunday convention held in San Francisco, at which I was present, there was a person who spoke on this very question. Said he: "There are some people, and a good many of them in this State, who do not believe in Sunday laws, and who keep Saturday as the Sabbath; but," said he, "the majority must rule. The vast majority of the people do keep Sunday; their rights must be respected, and they have a right to enact it into law." I arose and said, "Suppose the Seventh-day people were in the majority, and they should go to the legislature and ask for a law to compel you to keep Saturday out of respect to their rights. Would you consider it right?" There was a murmur all over the house, "No."
Senator Blair. -- Upon what ground did they say, No?
A.T. Jones. -- That is what I should like to know. They were not logical. Their answer shows that there is no ground in justice nor in right for their claim that the majority should rule in matters of conscience.
Senator Blair. -- That does not follow. At least it does not strike me that it follows. The majority has a right to rule in what pertains to the regulation of society, and if Caesar regulates society, then the majority has a right in this country to say what we shall render to Caesar.
A.T. Jones. -- Very good, but the majority has no right to say what we shall render to God; nor has it any right to say that we shall render to Caesar that which is God's. If nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every one thousand people in the United States kept the seventh day, that is, Saturday, and I deemed it my right, and made it my choice, to keep Sunday, they would have not right to compel me to rest on Saturday.
Senator Blair. -- In other words, you take the ground that for the good of society, irrespective of the religious aspect of the question, society may not require abstinence from labor on Sabbath, if it disturbs others?
A.T. Jones. -- As to its disturbing others, I have proved that it does not. They body of your question states my position exactly.
Senator Blair. -- You are logical all the way through that there shall be no Sabbath. This question was passed me to ask: "Is the speaker also opposed to all laws against blasphemy?"
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A.T. Jones. -- Yes, sir. But not because blasphemy is not wrong, but because civil government cannot define blasphemy, nor punish it. Blasphemy pertains to God, it is an offense against him, it is a sin against him.
Senator Blair. -- Suppose the practice of it in society at large is hurtful to society?
A.T. Jones. -- That will have to be explained. How is it hurtful to society?
Senator Blair. -- Suppose it be hurtful to society in this way: A belief in the existence of God, and reverence for the Creator, and a cultivation of that sentiment in society, is for the good of society; is, in fact, the basis of all law and restraint. If the Almighty, who knows everything, or is supposed to, and has all power, has no right to restrain us, it is difficult to see how we can restrain each other.
A.T. Jones. -- He has the right to restrain us. He does restrain us.
Senator Blair. -- To commonly blaspheme and deride and ridicule the Almighty, would, of course, have a tendency to bring up the children who are soon to be the State, in an absolute disregard of him and his authority. Blasphemy, as I understand it, is that practice which brings the Creator into contempt and ridicule among his creatures.
Mr. Jones. -- What is blasphemy here, would not be blasphemy in China, and many other countries. Senator Blair. -- We are not dealing with pagan communities. A regulation that may be appropriate in a pagan community, would not answer men in a Christian community. Do you mean that there is no such thing as blasphemy? Mr. Jones. -- No; I do not mean that.
0 Senator Blair. -- The Chinaman hardly believes in any god whatever; at least in no such God as we do. Taking our God and these Christian institutions of ours, what do you understand blasphemy to be?
Mr. Jones. -- There are many things that the Scriptures show to be blasphemy.
Senator Blair. -- The power of the law has undertaken in various States to say that certain things are blasphemy.
Mr. Jones. -- Precisely; but if the law proposes to define blasphemy and punish it, why does it not go to the depth of it, and define all and punish all?
Senator Blair. -- Perhaps it may not go as far as it ought. You say you are opposed to all laws against blasphemy, cursing, and swearing?
Mr. Jones. -- In relation to any one of the first four commandments.
Senator Palmer. -- Suppose that what is defined as blasphemy in the statutes of the several States, should detract from the observance of the law and regard for it, would you regard laws against it as being improper?
Mr. Jones. -- Under the principle that the Scripture lays down, no legislation in any way can be proper in regard to the first four commandments. There may be many ways in which it would appear very appropriate for civil government to do this or to do that; but when you have entered upon such legislation, where will you stop?
Senator Palmer. -- Abstaining from blasphemy is a part of the education of the youth of the country.
Mr. Jones. -- That is true. If youth are properly educated, they will never blaspheme.
0 Senator Palmer. -- We pass laws for the education of the youth. The question is whether abstention from blasphemy could not be included in the scope of education. Take it on that ground.
Mr. Jones. -- Idolatry (and covetousness is idolatry) is no more than a violation of the first commandment: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me;" and if the State can forbid the violation of the third commandment and the fourth, why may it not forbid the violation of the first and the second, and in that case supplant God at once, and establish an earthly theocracy? That is the only logical outcome.
Senator Blair. -- Covetousness is a state of mind; but when it becomes practice by stealing -- taking from another without consideration -- the law interferes.
Mr. Jones. -- Certainly.
Senator Palmer. -- There is an infection in blasphemy or in covetousness. For instance, if one covetous man in a neighborhood should infuse the whole neighborhood with covetousness to such an extent that all would become thieves, then covetousness would be a proper subject of legislation.
Mr. Jones. -- Never! You forbid the theft, not the covetousness. You cannot invade the condition of mind in which lies the covetousness.
Senator Blair. -- We do not say that we must invade the condition of mind; but society has a right to make regulations, because those regulations are essential to the good of society. Society by a major vote establishes a regulations, and we have to obey what is settled by the majority.
Mr. Jones. -- How shall it be discovered what is blasphemy, as it is only an offense against God? In the Puritan Theocracy of New England, our historian, Bancroft, says that "the highest offense in the catalog of crimes was blasphemy, or what a jury should call blasphemy." Senator Blair. -- But the law was behind the jury, and said that the practice should be punished. If a jury of twelve men said that one had committed the overt act, then it could be punished. It was the majority who made the law, and the jury only found the question of fact after the law had been violated. The jury did not make the law. This is a question as to making the law. Mr. Jones. -- It is not wholly a question only of making the law. The question is whether the law is right when it is made. There is a limit to the lawmaking power; and that limit is the line which Jesus Christ has drawn. The government has no right to make any law relating to the things that pertain to God, or offenses against God, or religion. It has nothing to do with religion. Blasphemy, according to Judge Cooley, in his "Constitutional Limitations," "is purposely using words concerning the Supreme Being, calculated and designed to impair and destroy the reverence, respect, and confidence due to him, as the intelligent Creator, Governor, and Judge of the world; . . . a bad motive must exist; there must be a willful, malicious attempt to lessen men's reverence for the Deity, or for the accepted religion." It is seen at a glance that this comes from the old English system of statutes regulating "offenses against God and religion." That is where this statute is placed in every system of civil law; it could not be placed anywhere else. But offenses against God are to be answered for only at his tribunal; and with religion, or offenses against it, the civil power has nothing to do. It is a perversion of the functions of civil government to have it made a party to religious controversies. It will have ample exercise for its power and jurisdiction to keep religious disputants as well as other people civil, without allowing itself ever to become a partisan in religious disputes and the conservator of religious dogmas.
But according to Judge Cooley's definition, blasphemy is an attempt to lessen men's reverence, not only for the Deity, but for "the accepted religion' as well. But any man in this wide world has the right to lessen men's reverence for the accepted religion, if he thinks that religion to be wrong. Consequently, as I said a moment ago, that which would be counted blasphemy here would not be counted blasphemy in China; and that which is in the strictest accordance with the word of God and the faith of Jesus Christ here, is necessarily blasphemy in China, or in Turkey, or in Russia. A man who preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ in China commits blasphemy under this definition. He does make a willful attempt to lesson men's reverence for their accepted religion, and for the deities recognized in their religion. He had to do so, if he is ever to get them to believe in Christ and the religion of Christ. He has to bring them to the place where they will have no reverence for their deities or for their accepted religion, before they ever can accept the religion of Jesus Christ. It is the same way in Turkey, or any other Mohammedan country, or any heathen country. Wherever the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached in any Mohammedan or heathen country, it is blasphemy under this definition, because its sole object is not only to lesson men's reverence for their deities and for their accepted religion, but to turn them wholly from it, and if possible to obliterate it from their minds. It is so likewise in Russia. Anybody there who speaks against the accepted religion, or against the saints, or their images, is subject to the penalty of blasphemy, which is banishment for life to Siberia.
But if blasphemy be a proper subject of legislation by civil government, if it be right for a government to make itself the "defender of the faith," then it is perfectly proper for the laws of China to prohibit under whatever penalty it pleases, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ within the Chinese dominions; because its effect is to lesson men's reverence for the deities recognized by China, and for the accepted religion of the county. It is the same way in any of the other countries named. And in that case there is no such thing as persecution on account of religion. The only persecutions that have ever been, were because of men's speaking against the accepted religion. If this principle be correct, then the Roman empire did perfectly right in prohibiting under penalty of death the preaching of the religion of Jesus Christ. Whenever Paul, or any of his brethren, spoke in the Roman empire, they blasphemed according to the Roman law. They were held as blasphemers, and were put to death under the very principle of this definition, which is the principle of the American statutes on the subject of blasphemy. The Christians had to tell the Roman empire that the Roman gods were no gods. They had to tell the Roman empire that the genius of Rome itself, which the Roman system held to be the supreme deity, was not such; but that it was subordinate, and that there was a higher idea of God and of right than the Roman empire or the Roman law knew anything of. They did speak deliberately against the chief deity of Rome, and all the gods of Rome. They did it with the express purpose of destroying reverence for them and for the accepted religion. Rome put them to death. And I repeat, if the principle of the American statutes against blasphemy is correct, then Rome did right.
To make this clearer, I quote a passage from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in defense of this principle, in a decision upon this very subject, which says: "To prohibit the open, public, and explicit denial of the popular religion of a country, is a necessary measure to preserve the tranquility of a government." That is precisely what the Roman empire did. Christianity did openly, publicly, and explicitly deny the popular religion of the country. It did it with intent to destroy men's reverence for the deities and the religion of that country. Rome prohibited it; and upon the principle of the decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the principle of American law on blasphemy, Rome did right, and Christianity was a blaspheming religion. The principle of this decision seems to be that those who represent the popular religion of a country have so little of the real virtue of the religion which they profess, that if anybody speaks against it, it is sure to rouse their combativeness to such a degree as to endanger the public tranquility. Therefore, in order to keep civil those who represent the popular religion, the State must forbid anybody to deny that religion. This decision of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is one of the grand precedents that have been followed in all the later decisions upon this subject in the younger States; but this decision itself followed one by Chief Justice Kent of the Supreme Court of New York in 1811, in which the embodies the same principles. He defends the right of the State to punish such offenses against what he calls a Christian people, and not equally to punish like offenses against the religion of other people in this country, by the following argument: --
"Nor are we bound by any expressions in the Constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mohammed, or of the Grand Llama, and for this plain reason: that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors." This is only to argue that if the morality of the country were engrafted upon the religion of Mohammed or the Grand Llama, and Christians were to speak against and deny that accepted religion, it would be proper that the State should punish those Christians for so doing. If that principle be correct, then a Mohammedan country has the right to prohibit the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ within its limits. According to these decisions, Luther and the reformers of his day were blasphemers. The penalty was death, in many cases at the stake, yet under this principle the State did right to put them to death in whatever way the law prescribed; because they did certainly make an open, public, and explicit denial of the popular religion of every country in which they lived, and of all Europe; and if the words of Luther were used today in any Catholic country, they would be counted as blasphemous, as a willful and malicious reviling of the accepted religion. The reformers did hold up to ridicule and contempt the popular religion of all Europe. They did right, too; and when the State punished them, it was but carrying out the principles upheld by Chancellor Kent and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and all the other States that have legislated on the subject of religion. As I have already stated, it was upon this principle precisely that the Roman empire forbade the preaching of the gospel the Christ. It only forbade an open, public, and explicit denial of the popular religion of the country, yet in forbidding that, it forbade the preaching of the gospel of Christ. But Christ sent forth his disciples to preach the gospel to every creature, and they did it in the face of the Roman law, and in opposition to the whole power of the Roman empire; and everybody in all the world has an undeniable right to make an open, public, and explicit denial of the popular religion of this country, or any other, if he thinks that religion to be wrong.
The principle of these decisions and of the civil statutes against blasphemy, is essentially a pagan principle, and not a Christian principle. It is peculiarly appropriate, therefore, that Chief Justice Kent not only cited the precedents of the church-and-state principles of the colonies and of the British government, but appealed to the pagan governments of antiquity and the papal institutions of modern Europe, as the basis of his decision. It is true that all these nations have set themselves up as the special guardians of their deities, and have prohibited the denial of the popular religion; and it is equally true that all these nations have resisted every step in enlightenment and progress that has ever been made in the march of time. Every step forward in religion and in enlightenment has of necessity been taken in the face of all the opposition which these States and empires could bring to bear. But the principles of American institutions are neither pagan nor papal. The principles of the American Constitution which forbids legislation on the subject of religion, are Christian principles. And it is strictly in order for Supreme Courts in making decisions in behalf of what they boast of as the Christian religion, to base their decision upon something else than the course of the pagan governments of antiquity, and the papal institutions of modern Europe. Upon such a subject it would seem to be proper for them to refer to the teachings and the principles of the Author of Christianity, but singularly enough, it has never been done, and doubtless for the very good reason that it never can be done; for the teachings of Jesus Christ are directly against it. His word forbids civil government to have anything to do with what pertains to God. And instead of teaching his disciples to prosecute, to fine, and to punish by civil law those who speak against them or their religion, he says, "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." How can men be brought to respect God or Jesus Christ by civil penalties upon their bodies and goods? How can they respect the religion of men who are ready to prosecute and imprison them? Every principle of the thing is contrary both to the spirit and the letter of Christianity. The religion of Jesus Christ properly exemplified in the daily lives of those who profess it, is the best argument and the strongest defense against blasphemy, both as defined by the Scriptures and by the civil statutes.
Laws, therefore, prohibiting "what a jury may call blasphemy," are pagan, and not Christian. The decisions of the Supreme Courts of New York and Pennsylvania upon this subject are pagan decisions, and not Christian; they are based upon pagan precedents, not Christian. The deadly persecutions of all history, pagan, papal, and so-called Protestant, are justified in these decisions. Michael Servetus was burnt for "blasphemy." The only use that ever has been, or ever is, made of any such laws in any country, is to give some religious bigots who profess the popular religion, an opportunity to vent their wrath upon persons who disagree with them. Any man who really possesses the religion of Christ will have enough of the grace of God to keep him from endangering the public tranquility when his religion is spoken against.
Therefore, I say that we are opposed to all laws of civil government against blasphemy, not because blasphemy is not wrong, but because it is a wrong of that kind with which civil government has nothing to do; and in this we stand wholly upon Christian principle. We stand exactly where the early Christians stood; for, I say again, when Paul spoke in the Roman empire, he was blaspheming, according to the law, was held as a blasphemer and an atheist, and was put to death as such, under the very principle upon which the American laws of blasphemy are sustained.
Part 2 of the Audio starts here.
Senator Blair. -- The law was wrong, you say?
A.T. Jones. -- Certainly the law was wrong. The Roman law was that no man should have particular gods of his own, -- gods not recognized by the Roman law.
Senator Blair. -- That law was not for the good of society?
Mr. Jones. -- No, sir.
Senator Blair. -- Certainly it was not. Then you have to repeal the law or obey it.
Mr. Jones. -- It ought to be repealed.
Senator Blair. -- During these eighteen hundred years we have contrived to repeal that law; but here comes an intelligent people who have evolved among themselves, as the result of a thousand or fifteen hundred years of history, among other things, the institution of the Christian Sabbath, by writing it in the laws of every State in this country, so that the whole American people made up of communities or States, have enacted the principle of this law.
Mr. Jones. -- The same principle is under the bill before the Committee. There is the same principle under it all. If you can legislate in regard to the Sabbath, you can legislate in regard to blasphemy; you can legislate in regard to idolatry, and every other offense against God, as did both the Puritan and the papal theocracy.
Senator Blair. -- You deny the right of the majority, in other words, to make a law in conformity with which the whole shall practice in society?
Mr. Jones. -- I deny the right of any civil government to make any law respecting anything that pertains to man's relationship to his God, under the first four of the ten commandments. I wish right here to show further that this is not only the principle of the word of Jesus Christ, but also of the American Constitution.
Before Christianity was preached in the world, the Roman empire had among its laws these statutes: --
#1. No man shall have for himself particular gods of his own; no man shall worship by himself any new or foreign gods, unless they are recognized by the public laws.
#2. Worship the gods in all respects according to the laws of your country, and compel all others to do the same. But hate and punish those who would introduce anything whatever alien to our customs in this particular.
#3. Whoever introduces new religions, the tendency and character of which are unknown, whereby the minds of men may be disturbed, shall, if belonging to the higher rank, be banished; if to the lower, punished with death."
The Christians did have a particular God of their own, not recognized by the Roman law. They did introduce a new religion. The Roman empire enforced the law, and that is why the Christians were put to death. If things pertaining to God be a proper subject of legislation by civil government, then no Christian was ever persecuted, and there has never been persecution in this world. All the Roman empire did in killing Christians was to enforce the law. Then the question was with the Christians, at that time, and the question is with us, Is not the law wrong? and did not the Christians have the right to attack the law? That is what they did. When a Christian was brought before the magistrate, a dialogue followed something like this:
-- Magistrate. -- "Have you a particular God of your own, -- a god not recognized by the Roman law?"
Christian. -- "Yes."
Magistrate -- "Did you not know that the law is against it?"
Christian -- "Yes."
M. -- "Have you not introduced a new religion?"
C. -- "Yes."
M. -- "Did you not know that the law is against it?"
C. -- "Yes."
0 M. -- " Did you not know that the penalty is death, for those of the lower ranks?"
1 C. -- "Yes."
2 M. -- "You are of the lower ranks?"
3 C. -- "Yes."
4 M. -- "You have introduced a new religion?"
5 C. -- "Yes."
6 M. -- "You have a God of your own?"
7 C. -- "Yes."
8 M. -- "What is the penalty?"
9 C. -- "Death."
0 That was all. The Romans enforced the law upon the Christians in the first days of Christianity; and there was no persecution in it, if the principle be recognized that civil government has a right to legislate in religious things. The empire had this apparent advantage, too, that the law existed before Christianity was known in the world. Christianity appeared to Rome as nothing else than an uprising against the imperial power. Laws are made to be enforced; and to enforce the law is all that the Roman empire ever did, whether up to the time of Constantine, or at any other time. In fact, all the papacy did in the Middle Ages was to have the emperors enforce the law. We stand today just where the Christians did at that time; we come to the root of the whole matter, and deny the right of the civil government to legislate on anything that pertains to our duties to God under the first four commandments, and assert the Christian and American principle that every man has the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
The principle that the Christians asserted was to render to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to deny the right of Caesar to demand anything that pertains to God. They gave their lives in support of that principle, against the law of the Roman empire, and against the very existence of the Roman empire. This principle was asserted and maintained until it forced the Roman empire, with all its power, to recognize the right of every man to have a particular god of his own, and to worship that god as he chose. The Roman empire did come in the days of Constantine and Licinius to that point. At the death of Galerius, it was decreed in the Roman law, by the emperors Constantine and Licinius in the Edict of Milan, that every man should be at liberty to have any god he pleased, and worship him as he pleased. But it was the Christian principle that forced the Roman empire to that point in the face of all its laws and institutions of ages.
Our national Constitution embodies the very principle announced by Jesus Christ, that the civil government shall have nothing to do with religion, or with what pertains to God; but shall leave that to every man's conscience and his God. As long as he is a good citizen, the nation will protect him and leave him perfectly free to worship whom he pleases, when he pleases, as he pleases, or not to worship at all, if he pleases.
In Article VI. of the Constitution of the United States, this nation says that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." By an amendment making more certain the adoption of the principle, it declares in the first amendment to the Constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This first amendment was adopted in 1789, by the first Congress that ever met under the Constitution. In 1796 a treaty was made with Tripoli, in which it was declared (in Article II.) that "the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." This treaty was framed by an ex-Congregationalist clergyman, and was signed by President Washington. It was not out of disrespect to religion or Christianity that these clauses were placed in the Constitution, and that this one was inserted in that treaty. On the contrary, it was entirely on account of their respect for religion, and the Christian religion in particular, as being beyond the province of civil government, pertaining solely to the conscience, and resting entirely between the individual and God. This fact is so well stated by Mr. Bancroft in his "History of the Constitution of the United States," that I will here insert it: --
"In the earliest States known to history, government and religion were one and indivisible. Each State had its special deity, and often these protectors, one after another, might be overthrown in battle, never to rise again. The Peloponnesian War grew out of a strife about an oracle. Rome, as it sometimes adopted into citizenship those whom it vanquished, introduced in like manner, and with good logic for that day, the worship of their gods. No one thought of vindicating religion for the conscience of the individual, till a voice in Judea, breaking day for the greatest epoch in the life of humanity, by establishing a pure, spiritual, and universal religion for all mankind, enjoined to render to Caesar only that which is Caesar's. The rule was upheld during the infancy of the gospel for all men. No sooner was this religion adopted by the chief of the Roman empire, than it was shown of its character of universality, and enthralled by an unholy connection with the unholy State; and so it continued till the new nation, -- the least defiled with the barren scoffings of the eighteenth century, the most general believer in Christianity of any people of that age, the chief heir of the Reformation in its purest forms, -- when it came to establish a government for the United States, refused to treat faith as a matter to be regulated by a corporate body, or having a headship in a monarch or a State.
"Vindicating the right of individuality even in religion, and in religion above all, the new nation dared to set the example of accepting in its relations to God the principle first divinely ordained of God in Judea. It left the management of temporal things to the temporal power; but the American Constitution, in harmony with the people of the several States, withheld from the Federal Government the power to invade the home of reason, the citadel of conscience, the sanctuary of the soul; and not from indifference, but that the infinite Spirit of eternal truth might move in its freedom and purity and power."
Last Chapter: At this point I am brought to the assertion of the second of the principles upon which we stand in our opposition to Sunday laws, or any other form of religious legislation: that is, the principle of the Constitution of the United States; and upon this principle I maintain that this proposed Sunday law is unconstitutional.
The object of this Sunday bill is wholly religious. The last section shows the object of the entire bill; and that is, "to secure to the whole people rest, . . . and the religious observance of the Sabbath day." No one, therefore, need attempt to evade the force of objections against this bill by saying that it is not the religious, but the civil, observance of the day that is required; because it is plainly declared in the bill itself, that it is not only to secure rest to all the people, but that it is also to secure the religious observance of the Sabbath day. There is not a single reference in the bill to any such thing as the civil observance of the day. The word civil is not used in the bill. It is a religious bill wholly. The title of the bill declares that its object is to secure to the people the enjoyment of the Lord's day as a day of rest, "and to promote its observance as a day of religious worship." The first section defines the Lord's day; the second section refers to the day as one of worship and rest; the third section refers to it as a day of religious worship; the fourth section refers to its observance as that of religious worship; and the sixth section plainly declares, what is apparent throughout, that the object of the bill is "to secure to the whole people rest, . . . and the religious observance of the Sabbath day," on the first day of the week.
It is the religious observance of the day that its promoters, from one end of the land to the other, have in view. In the convention, now in session in this city, working in behalf of this bill, only yesterday Dr. Crafts said:
-- "Taking religion out of the day, takes the rest out."
In the "Boston Monday Lectures," 1887, Joseph Cook, lecturing on the subject of Sunday laws, said:
-- "The experience of centuries shows, however, that you will in vain endeavor to preserve Sunday as a day of rest, unless you preserve it as a day of worship. Unless Sabbath observance be founded upon religious reasons, you will not long maintain it at a high standard on the basis of economic and physiological and political considerations only."
And in the Illinois State Sunday convention held in Elgin, Nov. 8. 1887, Dr. W. W. Everts declared Sunday to be "the test of all religion."
Sunday is a religious institution wholly; Sunday legislation, wherever found, is religious legislation solely; and this bill does not in its terms pretend to be anything else than religious. Being therefore as it is, religious legislation, it is clearly unconstitutional. In proof of this, I submit the following considerations:
-- All the powers of Congress are delegated powers. It has no other power; it cannot exercise any other. Article X. of Amendments of the Constitution expressly declares that
-- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
In all the powers thus delegated to Congress, there is no hint of any power to legislate upon any religious question, or in regard to the observance of any religious institution or rite. Therefore, this Sunday bill, being a religious bill, is unconstitutional; and any legislation with regard to it will be unconstitutional. Sunday being a religious institution, any legislation by Congress in regard to its observance, will be unconstitutional as long as the United States Constitution shall remain as it now is.
Nor is this all. The nation has not been left in doubt as to whether the failure to delegate this power was or was not intentional. The first amendment to the Constitution, in declaring that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," shows that the failure to delegate such power was intentional, and makes the intention emphatic by absolutely prohibiting Congress from exercising any power with regard to religion. It is impossible to frame a law on the subject of religion that will not prohibit the free exercise of religion. Therefore the first amendment to the Constitution absolutely prohibits Congress from ever making any law with regard to any religious subject, or the observance of any religious rite or institution.
More than this, the National Reform Association knows, and has been contending for twenty-five years, that for Congress to make any Sunday laws would be unconstitutional. Yet the National Reform Association is one of the most prominent agencies in urging forward this bill; and the Secretary of that Association stood at this table to-day to plead for its passage. And this only shows that they are willing knowingly to resort to unconstitutional means to secure their coveted power, and to accomplish their purposes. As for Dr. Crafts and his fellow-workers, whether or not they know it to be unconstitutional, we do not know. In the announcements of the national Sunday-law convention now (Dec. 11-13, 1888) being held in this city, it was stated that the church in which the convention was to meet would be festooned with the names of six millions of petitioners; but at the beginning of the first meeting it was stated that there were fourteen millions of them. A question was sent up asking how the number could have grown so much larger so suddenly. Mrs. Bateham was recalled to the platform to answer the question, and when she answered it, the cause of such a sudden and enormous growth was explained by the fact that Cardinal Gibbons had written a letter endorsing the bill, and solely upon the strength of his name, seven million two hundred thousand Catholics were counted as petitioners.
This was not a complete answer to the question, because the Cardinal's letter does not authorize any such use of it as they have made, at least so much of it as was made public does not. The whole of the letter was not made public there, because, Dr. Crafts said, it was for the Senate Committee. It was laid on the table here to-day. But so much of it as was read merely referred to the action of the Baltimore Council in commanding a stricter observance of Sunday, and said:
-- "I am most happy to add my name to those of the millions of others who are laudably contending against the violation of the Christian Sabbath by unnecessary labor, and who are endeavoring to promote its decent and proper observance by judicious legislation."
This was all. He said, "I am happy to add my name," etc. He did not say that he added, or that he wished to add, seven million two hundred thousand others with his name, or in his name; yet this was done. But it was not so much to be wondered at, because the same principle had been acted upon before throughout the country, and when five hundred petitioners could be made out of one hundred, and two hundred and forty thousand out of two hundred and forty, it was perfectly easy and entirely consistent to make seven million two hundred thousand and one out of one.
This thing was perfectly consistent also with the principle in another point. The petition reads: "We, the undersigned, adult residents of the United States, twenty-one years of age or more, hereby petition," etc. In counting these seven million two hundred thousand petitioners in behalf of the Sunday law, they thereby certified that all these were Catholics "twenty-one years of age or more." But there was not a man in that convention, and there is not a woman in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, who does not know that there are not that many Catholics in the United States "twenty-one years of age or more." They virtually certified that all the Catholics in the United States are "twenty-one years of age or more," for they distinctly announced that "all the Roman Catholics" were petitioning for the Sunday law. But as they had virtually certified the same thing of the Protestant churches throughout the country, why should they not go on and swing in "all the Roman Catholics" in the same way? They could do the one just as honestly as they could do the other. When men and women professing themselves to be Protestant Christians will do such things as that to carry the Catholic Church with them, it is not to be wondered at if they should be willing to resort to unconstitutional means to make their religious zeal effective in national law.
Senator Blair. -- Then you assume that this bill and all Sunday laws concern only the relation of man to God, and not the relation of men to each other?
Mr. Jones. -- Yes, sir, that is the principle upon which we stand.
Senator Blair. -- Right there I find fault with your original proposition. You have got to establish, before you can defeat the ground of Sunday laws, that Sunday laws are not for the good of Caesar; that is, not for the good of society.
Mr. Jones. -- I have not had time to prove that yet. I will prove fully that Sunday laws are not for the good of anybody.
Senator Blair. -- Come to the point as soon as you can. That is the point in this case, as between you and the law proposed to be enacted.
Mr. Jones. -- Very good. For the State to compel men to do no work is to enforce idleness. Idleness is the root of unlimited evil. It is a true proverb that we learned in our boyhood, "Satan always finds something for idle hands to do." In this world, to compel men to be idle is to force them into a line of influences and temptations which in the very nature of things can end only in evil. It is well known, and it is one of the principal grounds of the complaints of those who are working for Sunday laws, that Sunday is, of all the week, the day of the most wickedness; that the record of crime and violence on Sunday exceeds that of any other day of the week, especially in large cities.
Dr. Crafts refers constantly to London as an exemplary city in the matter of enforced Sunday laws, but the fact was brought out last spring by a member of this Committee -- Senator Payne -- that the statement had lately been "made on authority, that London on Sunday is the most immoral and dissipated city in the world." Now why is this? They argue that it is because the saloons are open on Sunday. But the saloons are open every other day of the week. Then the saloons being open no more on Sunday than on any other day, why is it that there is so much more violence done on Sunday than on other days of the week? -- It is because more men are idle on Sunday than on any other day of the week. Upon this point I quote an extract from the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette of March 10, 1888.
"They declare Sunday the moral ruin of the people. They prove it by alleged statistics of criminal prosecutions to show that more crimes of violence are committed on Sunday than on all other days of the week. Why is this? Because the saloons are open? -- They are open on other days. This reduces them to the sole reason that it is because it is a day of idleness.
"Their argument is absolutely destructive to the beneficence of the custom of a rest day. They continually affirm that a Sabbath day is the very foundation of religion, morals, and society, and they as incessantly declare that the custom of Sunday cessation from work in the cities had made it a day of moral ruin. What is their recourse from the destruction which they charge upon the day of idleness? -- To make statutes more stringent to enforce idleness. Arguing that idleness on that day leads mankind to moral ruin, they call for a more rigid enforcement of idleness, to lead mankind to the ways of salvation.
"Surely there is need to revise their basis in season before they can proceed rationally in legislation. Selling beer is no more a sin on Sunday than on other days. The reason why more crimes of violence are done on Sunday than on other days -- if that is a fact -- is not that the saloons are open, but that the men are idle. The good of a day of rest for the toilers has to be taken with the drawback of this unavoidable evil from idleness and indulgences of appetites. The cause is the cessation of vocations." This argument is entirely sound. We submit to the consideration of any candid mind that it would be far better to allow men to follow their honest occupations on Sunday as they do on other days of the week, than to compel them to be idle, and thus forcibly throw them into the way of all the temptations and evil that beset men in this world. No State, therefore, can ever afford for its own good to enact laws making idleness compulsory, as Sunday laws do.
More than this, to prohibit men from following their honest occupations at any time, under penalties of fine or imprisonment, or perhaps both, is for the State to relegate honest occupations to the realm of crime and put a premium upon idleness and recklessness. It is well known that in many localities if a man will only be idle on Sunday, he can run into all sorts of dissipation and wickedness to any extent, except that of down-right violence, without any fear of prosecution or penalty of any kind. But if any quiet, industrious citizen chooses to engage in his honest occupation, -- going quietly about his own business on his own premises on Sunday, -- he is subjected to prosecution, to a penalty of a heavy fine, and perhaps imprisonment. This is nothing else than to put a premium upon wickedness. No State can afford to make crimes of honest occupations. No State can afford to put such a premium upon idleness and all its attendant wickedness.
All these complaints of evil and violence and wickedness on Sunday, so enlarged upon by the people who are working for Sunday laws, is an open confession that wickedness is the effect of enforced idleness, and this in itself is the strongest argument that can be offered against the very things for which they plead. The States of the Union have all these years been sowing the wind in this very thing, and now they are reaping the whirlwind. And, worse than all, they propose to cure the evils of all this enforced idleness by more stringently enforcing more idleness throughout the whole nation, and by the national power.
It may be answered that this reflects upon the wisdom of God in appointing a day of rest; but it does not. God appointed the Sabbath for a purpose; and that purpose is that men should remember him in his works of creation, and worship him as Creator.
The intention of the commandment enjoining the observance of the Sabbath day, is the honor of God, and his worship as Creator. This worship and the religious sanctions which God has associated with the Sabbath, are considerations which will ever prevent the day from becoming a day of idleness of those who keep the Sabbath in obedience to him; and the worship of God and the religious sanctions which he has put upon the Sabbath, are the only things that ever can prevent the Sabbath from becoming a day of idleness. Those who advocate this Sunday bill well know this. This whole principle is embodied in that statement Dr. Crafts made to the Knights of Labor, that "if you take religion out of the day, you take the rest out." The same principle is also apparent in the words of Joseph Cook, before referred to, that you will in vain endeavor to secure the enforcement of a day of rest unless you enforce it as a day of worship; and unless it be founded on religious reasons, it cannot be long maintained.
Thus these men themselves confess the point which I here make: that it is only the religious sanctions and worship that can ever keep a day of rest from being a day of idleness, and of consequent wickedness. But it is only God who can furnish those sanctions; the State never can. Therefore, next step in the proceeding on the part of those who are calling for this law is to have the State attempt to supply the religious sanctions which belong with the day of rest, and which only can keep it from being a day of idleness and a day of evil. But they know that the State has none of those religious sanctions; and they know that these will have to be supplied to the State by the church, and then the church will call upon the State, by its power, to force them upon the citizen.
This is precisely what is proposed. Rev. Sam Small, in a sermon in Kansas City last winter, expressed the views of many more than himself, when he said:
-- "I want to see the day come when the church shall be the arbiter of all legislation, State, national, and municipal; when the great churches of the country can come together harmoniously, and issue their edict, and the legislative powers will respect it, and enact it into laws."
But any attempt to enforce religious observances only enforces hypocrisy and multiplies sin, because love for God is essential to every act of religious duty. For a man to tender obedience or homage to God when he has no love for God in his heart, only dishonors God, and does violence to his own nature. For anybody to obey God, or perform religious observances from interested motives, is sin; and for the State to exert its power in compelling men to act religiously, and pretend to honor God when they have in the heart no love for God, is only to force them into hypocrisy, and to compel them to commit sin, which, increased and multiplied by the exertion of national power, can end only in ruin, and that speedily.
For as Mr. Buckle has most forcibly expressed it: -- "In this way, men being constrained to mask their thoughts, there arises a habit of securing safety by falsehood, and of purchasing impunity with deceit. In this way, fraud becomes a necessity of life; insincerity is made a daily custom; the whole tone of public feeling is vitiated; and the gross amount of vice and of error fearfully increased."
Consequently, it is only at its own peril that the State can ever enforce the observance of a day of rest.
More than this, for the State to allow itself to be dictated to by the church as is here proposed by Mr. Small, is to render the church superior to the civil power, which can end in nothing but a religious despotism, which is the worst of all despotism. Thus by every line of reasoning that can spring from the subject, it is demonstrated that for the State to fix a day of compulsory rest can only end in evil. Therefore, my proposition is proved, that Sunday laws are not for the good of anybody. Further: as it is only the religious sanctions which surround a day of rest, that can prevent it from being a day of idleness, and consequently of evil; and as God only can supply these sanctions, it follows that to God only, can Sabbath observance be rendered. He only can command it; he only can secure it; and being a duty which can be rendered only to God, we are brought again directly to the command of Jesus Christ, to render unto God, not to Caesar, that which is God's, which clearly forbids the State to have anything to do with Sabbath observance.
This whole line of argument is fully sustained by the Sabbath commandment itself. That commandment says: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Here are the reasons: first, he rested on the seventh day; second, he blessed it and made it holy. That you may become tired is not given as a reason for doing no work on the seventh day. God does not say that on the seventh day you shall do no work, because if you should, you would overdo or break down your physical system. Nothing of the kind. Man's physical wants are not referred to in the commandment. It say, Work six days, because the Lord worked six days; rest on the seventh day, because the Lord rested on the seventh day; keep that day holy, because the Lord blessed it and made it holy. It is the Lord who is to be held in view. It is the Lord who is to be exalted. Therefore the fourth commandment and its obligations have solely to do with man's relationship to God. It is not man's physical, but his spiritual, needs that are held in view in the Sabbath commandment. It is intended to be a day in which to worship God, -- a day of holy remembrance of him, and of meditation upon his works. The day is to be kept holy. If it is not kept holy, it is not kept at all. When the State undertakes to demand the observance of the Sabbath, or Lord's day, it demands of men that which does not belong to it, but which belongs only to God. When the State undertakes to secure the observance of the Sabbath, it undertakes that which, to it, is an impossible task, because holiness is not an attribute of civil government, nor has it either the power or the credentials to promote holiness; and as has been already demonstrated, all that it ever can do in any such effort is to enforce idleness and put a premium upon recklessness, which, for its own welfare, the State can never afford to do. If the State undertakes to supply, from whatever source, the religious sanctions which alone can keep the day from being one of idleness, generating evil, it only enforces hypocrisy, and increases sin.
Therefore I repeat, that by every logical consideration of the subject, I have sustained my proposition that Sunday laws are not for the good of anybody or anything in this world.
Senator Blair. -- Do you understand that this bill undertakes to make anybody worship God?
Mr. Jones. -- Yes, sir, I affirm that it does; and I will prove it by statements made by those who stood here to-day. But I have some other points to make first; and here I propose to introduce my historical argument. I want you all to see that in this way the papacy was made in the fourth century. I shall read all that I do read, perhaps, on this point, from Neander's Church History, vol. 2, Prof. Torrey's edition, Boston, 1852. I can only refer to it by the page. As I have related, the Roman empire was forced by the principles of Christ, to recognize the right of every man to worship as he chose. This right was recognized in the Edict of Milan, A. D. 312. But liberty of conscience trembled in the balance but a moment, and then the bishopric, with that ambitious spirit that developed the papacy, took up the strain, and carried forward that line of work which ended in the imperious despotism of the Middle Ages. I want you to see just how that was done, and you will then have no difficulty in seeing the tendency of the present movement.
Neander says: -- "There had in fact arisen in the church a false theocratical theory, originating not in the essence of the gospel, but in the confusion of the religious constitutions of the Old and New Testaments, which . . . brought along with it an unchristian opposition of the spiritual to the secular power, and which might easily result in the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and outward way." -- p. 132.
A theocratic theory of government tending to subordinate the secular to itself, was the scheme. In other words, the church aimed to make the ecclesiastical power superior to the civil power. These theocratic bishops made themselves and their power a necessity to Constantine, who, in order to make sure of their support, became a political convert to the form of Christianity, and made it the recognized religion of the empire; for says Neander further:
-- "This theocratic theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and . . . the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and by their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims." -- Idem.
Out of that theocratic theory of government came the papacy, which did subordinate the civil to the ecclesiastical power, and that same spirit is to be guarded against to-day in the United States as much as in any other country.
I want you to see that there is a theocratical theory underlying this whole scheme. Mr. Bateham has said that the Woman's Christian Temperance Union started this movement a short time ago, and that they had worked it up. What is their aim in civil government? I quote from the monthly reading of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of September, 1886, -- a monthly reading for all the local Unions throughout the country -- the following:
-- "A true theocracy is yet to come, and the enthronement of Christ in law and lawmakers; hence I pray devoutly, as a Christian patriot, for the ballot in the hands of women, and rejoice that the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union has so long championed this cause."
A theocratical theory, you see, is behind this movement, and is again coming in to interfere in civil things, to establish a theocracy, and to subordinate the civil power at last, to the ecclesiastical.
Senator Blair. -- Do you think the question of giving the ballot to women is a religious question?
Mr. Jones. -- No. I only read this for the purpose of giving the proof that there is a theocratic theory underlying this, as there was that in the fourth century, so as to show the parallel.
Senator Blair. -- But the parallel seems to imply that the extension of the suffrage to woman is by divine appointment, and is the introduction of a theocratic form of government?
Mr. Jones. -- Yes, they want the ballot so as to make a theocracy successful.
Senator Blair. -- Therefore you would be against woman's suffrage?
Mr. Jones. -- I would be against woman's suffrage, or any other kind of suffrage, to establish a theocracy.
Senator Blair. -- But that is not the question. It is possible these women have misstated their own idea there.
0 Mr. Jones. -- No, because I have other proofs. Let me read them.
Senator Palmer. -- Do you suppose they intended there a practical theocracy?
Mr. Jones. -- I do, sir; but let me read further, and you will get their own words.
Senator Blair -- If these women are trying to overthrow the institutions of the country, and are about to establish a sacerdotal State, we ought to know it.
Mr. Jones. -- That is true, and that is why I am speaking here; we want the nation to know it.
Senator Blair. -- These women need looking after, I admit.
Mr. Jones. -- They do in that respect, and there are many men concerned in the same business.
Senator Blair. -- Otherwise it would not be dangerous.
Mr. Jones. -- It would be dangerous anyway. A theocratic theory of government is dangerous any where. It is antichristian, as well as contrary to right and the principles of justice.
Senator Blair. -- Do you suppose that the government of heaven is a theocracy?
0 Mr. Jones. -- Yes, sir; but a civil government -- a government of earth -- is not.
1 Senator Blair. -- Then why is it dangerous?
2 Mr. Jones. -- Governments of earth are not dangerous when properly controlled.
3 Senator Blair. -- They only say that a true theocracy is yet to come. A millennium is supposed to be coming; perhaps they have reference to a millennium that we have not yet got, so that they will wait some years before they get it.
4 Mr. Jones. -- But I am going to read what kind of laws they propose to make to bring in the millennium.
5 Senator Blair. -- So far as you have read, you have not touched the question; for they say a true theocracy is yet to come, and it may be they are looking to the coming down of the New Jerusalem, for the time of the new theocracy.
Mr. Jones. -- No, because no true theocracy can ever come through civil laws, or through politics, or through the ballot.
Senator Blair. -- That is not sure at all.
Mr. Jones. -- It is by the Scriptures.
Senator Blair. -- I do not know; I have read the Bible several times. But go on.
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Audio presentation of transcript - Hear it as you read it
Mr. Jones. -- The government of Israel was a true theocracy. That was really a government of God. At the burning bush, God commissioned Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. By signs and wonders and mighty miracles multiplied, God delivered Israel from Egypt, and led them through the wilderness, and finally into the promised land. There he ruled them by judges "until Samuel the prophet," to whom, when he was a child, God spoke, and by whom he made known his will. In the days of Samuel, the people asked that they might have a king. This was allowed, and God chose Saul, and Samuel anointed him king of Israel. Saul failed to do the will of God, and as he rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord rejected him from being king, and sent Samuel to anoint David king of Israel; and David's throne God established forevermore. When Solomon succeeded to the kingdom in the place of David his father, the record is: "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father." 1 Chronicles 29 : 23. David's throne was the throne of the Lord, and Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king over the earthly kingdom of God. The succession to the throne descended in David's line to Zedekiah, who was made subject to the king of Babylon, and who entered into a solemn covenant before God that he would loyally render allegiance to the king of Babylon. But Zedekiah broke his covenant; and then God said to him:
-- "Thou profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." Ezekiel 21:25-27; see chap. 17:1-21.
The kingdom was then subject to Babylon. When Babylon fell, and Medo-Persia succeeded, it was overturned the first time. When Medo-Persia fell, and was succeeded by Grecia, it was overturned the second time. When the Greek empire gave way to Rome, it was overturned the third time. And then says the word, "It shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." Who is he whose right it is? -- "Thou . . . shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:31-33. And while he was here as "that prophet," a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the night in which he was betrayed he himself declared, "My kingdom is not of this world." Thus the throne of the Lord has been removed from this world, and will "be no more, until he come whose right it is," and then it will be given him. And that time is the end of this world, and the beginning of "the world to come." Therefore while this world stands, a true theocracy can never be in it again. Consequently, from the death of the Christ till the end of this world, every theory of an earthly theocracy is a false theory; every pretension to it is a false pretension; and wherever any such theory is proposed or advocated, whether in Rome in the fourth century, or here in the nineteenth century, it bears in it all that the papacy is or that it ever pretended to be, -- it puts a man in the place of God.
Now I will read another statement as to the purpose of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. It is from the annual address of the President of the National Union, at the Nashville convention, 1887. It is as follows; --
"The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, local, State, national, and worldwide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm, and that is that Christ shall be this world's king; -- "
Senator Blair. -- "Shall be."
Mr. Jones. -- "Shall be this world's king."
Senator Blair. -- But you are a clergyman, and you read the Bible to us.
Mr. Jones. -- I am going to read a passage presently right on this point.
Senator Blair. -- Is it not in the same Bible that the time when Christ is to be the king, is the present?
Mr. Jones. -- I am going to read a passage from the Bible in connection with this subject. Allow me to finish this extract: --
"The Woman's Christian Temperance Union, local, State, national, and worldwide, has one vital, organic thought, one all-absorbing purpose, one undying enthusiasm, and that is that Christ shall be this world's king; -- yea, verily, THIS WORLD'S KING in its realm of cause and effect, -- king of its courts, its camps, its commerce, -- king of its colleges and cloisters, -- king of its customs and constitutions. . . . The kingdom of Christ must enter the realm of law through the gateway of politics."
That emphasizes "this world's king." Jesus Christ himself said, "My kingdom is not of this world." Then assuredly the Woman's Christian Temperance Union stands against the words of Jesus Christ, in saying that he shall be this world's king; and that that kingdom is to enter the realm of the law through the gate-way of politics. Jesus Christ has his entrance through the gate-way of the gospel, and not through politics.
Nor did this purpose end with the Nashville National Woman's Christian Temperance Union convention. The proposition was repeated by the New York national convention last summer, in the following resolution:
-- "Resolved, That Christ and his gospel, as universal king and code, should be sovereign in our Government and political affairs."
Well, let us apply the resolution. Suppose the gospel were adopted as the code of this Government. It is the duty of every court to act in accordance with the code. There is a statute in that code which says,
-- "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if the trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
Suppose, then, a man steals a horse. He is arrested, tried, and found guilty. He says, "I repent." "Thou shalt forgive him," says the code, and the Government must conform to the code. He is released, and repeats the act; is again arrested and found guilty. He says, "I repent." "Thou shalt forgive him," says the code.
And if he repeats the offense seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turns to the court, saying, : I repent," the Government must forgive him, for so says that which the Woman's Christian Temperance Union has resolved should be the governmental code.
Any such system as that would destroy civil government in twenty-four hours. This is not saying anything against the Bible, nor against its principles. It is only illustrating the absurd perversion of its principles by these people who want to establish a system of religious legislation here. God's government is moral, and he has made provision for maintaining his government with the forgiveness of transgression. But he has made no such provision for civil government. No such provision can be made, and civil government be maintained. The Bible reveals God's method of saving those who sin against his moral government; civil government is man's method of preserving order, and has nothing to do with sin, nor the salvation of sinners. If civil government arrests a thief or a murderer and finds him guilty, the penalty must be executed, though the Lord does forgive him.
The theocratical theory referred to seems to pervade the whole body, for the eighth district of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at Augusta, Wis., Oct. 2-4, 1888, representing fifteen counties, passed this resolution:
-- "Whereas, God would have all men honor the Son, even as they honor the Father; and,
-- "Whereas, The civil law which Christ gave from Sinai is the only perfect law, and the only law that will secure the rights of all classes; therefore,
-- "Resolved, That civil government should recognize Christ as the moral Governor, and his law as the standard of legislation."
The law which Christ gave from Sinai is not a civil law; it is the moral law. But if that be a civil law, and this a civil government, what in the world does a civil government want with a moral Governor? These excellent women should be informed that civil government is based upon civil law, and has civil governors only. Moral government is founded in moral law, and has a moral Governor only. Any governmental theory that confounds these is a theocratical theory, which is precisely the governmental theory of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, as is demonstrated by these proofs. And any theocratical theory of government since Christ died, is the theory of the papacy.
These extracts prove that the purpose of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union is the establishment of "a practical theocracy." Please do not misunderstand me here. There are none who have more respect or more good wishes for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in the line of its legitimate work, than have we. We are heartily in favor of union, of temperance union, of Christian temperance union, and of woman's Christian temperance union; but we are not in favor of any kind of political Christian temperance union, nor of theocratical temperance union. We sincerely wish that the Woman's Christian Temperance Union would stick to its text, and work for Christian temperance by Christian means; and not for Christian temperance by political means, nor for political temperance by theocratical means. I believe in Christian temperance. Not only do I believe in it, but I practice it. I practice Christian Temperance more strictly than the Woman's Christian Temperance Union even preaches it. But believing in it as thoroughly as I do, and endeavoring to practice it as strictly as I believe in it, I would never lift my hand nor open my lips in any effort to compel men to practice the Christian temperance in which I believe and which I practice. Christianity persuades men, instead of trying to compel them. By the purity and love of Christ, Christianity draws men instead of trying to drive them. It is not by the power of civil government, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, that Christianity secures the obedience of men and the practice of Christian temperance.
The establishment of a theocracy is the aim of the prime movers in this Sundaylaw movement, as it was also the aim of the church leaders of the fourth century. And what came of that movement at that time? I read again:
-- "This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and. . . the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and by their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims." -- Neander, p. 132.
This being their theory, which resulted in the determination "to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims," the question arises, What means did they employ to secure control of this power? The answer is, They did it by means of Sunday laws.
The first and greatest aim of the political church managers of that time was the exaltation of themselves; and second only to that was the exaltation of Sunday. These two things had been the principal aim of the bishops of Rome for more than a hundred years, when Constantine gave them a chance to make their schemes effectual by the power of the State. The arrogant pretensions of the bishop of Rome to secure power over the whole church, was first asserted in behalf of Sunday by Victor, who was bishop of Rome from A. D. 193 to 202.
"He wrote an imperious letter to the Asiatic prelates commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of Easter [that is, commanding them to celebrate it on Sunday]. The Asiatics answered this lordly requisition. . . with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors. Upon this the thunder of excommunication began to roar. Victor, exasperated by this resolute answer of the Asiatic bishops, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of his brethren, and excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome." -- Mosheim, chap. 4, par. 11.
The one means by which these church managers secured from Constantine the use of the power of the State, was the famous edict prohibiting certain kinds of work on "the venerable day of the sun." That edict runs thus:
-- "Let all the judges and towns-people and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture, because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines, lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven."
This edict was issued March 7, A. D. 321. Only judges and towns-people and mechanics were to rest on Sunday; people in the country were at full liberty to work. But this did not satisfy the political managers of the churches for any great length of time. "The object of the first Sunday law," says Sozomen, "was that the day might be devoted with less interruption to the purposes of devotion." And as the government was now a theocracy, it was only consistent that all should be required to be religious. Consequently, an additional Sunday law was secured, which commanded all people to do no work on Sunday.
"By a law of the year 386, those older changes effected by the Emperor Constantine were more rigorously enforced, and, in general, civil transactions of every kind on Sunday were strictly forbidden. Whoever transgressed was to be considered in fact as guilty of sacrilege." -- Neander, p. 300.
Then as the people were not allowed to do any manner of work, they would play, and as the natural consequence, the circuses and the theaters throughout the empire were crowded every Sunday. But the object of the law, from the first one that was issued, was that the day might be used for the purposes of devotion, and that the people might go to church. Consequently, that this object might be met, there was another step to take, and it was taken. At a church convention held at Carthage in 401, the bishops passed a resolution to send up a petition to the emperor, praying
-- "That the public shows might be transferred from the Christian Sunday, and from feast-days, to some other days of the week." -- Idem.
History does not say whether or not this petition represented the names of fourteen million petitioners, the greater part of whom never signed it at all. History is also silent as to whether the petition was endorsed by any one man who could be counted for seven million two hundred thousand men. But history is not silent as to the reason why it was necessary to send up the petition. The petitioners themselves gave the reason, and it was this; --
"The people congregate more to the circus than to the church." -- Idem, note 5.
In the circuses and the theaters large numbers of men were employed, among whom many were church-members. But rather than to give up their jobs, they would work on Sunday. The bishops complained that these were compelled to work: they pronounced it persecution, and asked for a law to protect those persons from such "persecution." The church had become filled with a mass of people, unconverted, who cared vastly more for worldly interests and pleasures than they did for religion. And as the government was now a government of God, it was considered proper that the civil power should be used to cause all to show respect for God, whether or not they belonged to a church, or whether they had any respect for God.
The people, not being allowed to work, crowded the circus and the theater. They had no wish to be devoted; and as they were forced to be idle, a flood of dissipation was the inevitable consequence. Neander says of it:
-- "Owing to the prevailing passion at that time, especially in the large cities, to run after the various public shows, it so happened that when these spectacles fell on the same days which had been consecrated by the church to some religious festival, they proved a great hindrance to the devotion of Christians, though chiefly, it must be allowed, to those whose Christianity was the least an affair of the life and of the heart." -- Idem.
And further: -- "Church teachers. . . were in truth often forced to complain that in such competitions the theater was vastly more frequented than the church." -- Idem.
And the church could not then stand competition; she wanted a monopoly. She got it, at last.
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Books written by A.T. Jones -- Ecclesiastical Empire