Whence came Sunday Legislation?
What is its origin? What is its character?
What does it mean to the people of the States, of the United States, and of the world?
These questions are pre-eminently pertinent everywhere in the United States today; for in the States and in the Nation, Sunday legislation is universally demanded; before Congress and State legislatures Sunday legislation is constantly urged.
Also for another reason these questions are not only pertinent, but all important. That reason is that it is through Sunday legislation that all the autocracies, all the governments of law, all the unions of Church and State, and all the churches as such, are to be enlisted and combined under the pressure of denominational, national, international, and world Federation of religion, for the domination of the whole world in religion. The whole movement for the federation of the world in religion, culminates pre-eminently in the one thing of Sunday observance, and this by law.
ITS ORIGIN AND CHARACTER.
The first legislation in behalf of Sunday was that by Constantine; and it originated in the church and was enacted solely upon the initiative and the demand of the bishops. This is certain, not only from the provisions of the legislation itself, but also from all the facts and circumstances of the legislation, and from the whole history of the time, as well as of the legislation.
The first legislation on the subject was about the year A. D. 314, and included Friday as well as Sunday. And the intent of the legislation was specifically religious, for it provided and ordered that on Friday and on Sunday "there should be a suspension of business at the courts and in other civil offices, so that the day might be devoted with less interruption to the purposes of devotion."
Such is Neander's paraphrase of the statement of Sozomen respecting this first of all legislation in behalf of Sunday observance; and it shows that the only intent of the legislation was religious. But Sozomen's words themselves, as we have them in English in Professor Walford's translation, really intensify the religious character of the legislation. Here they are:—
"He [Constantine] also enjoined the observance of the day termed the Lord's day, which the Jews call the first day of the week, and which the Greeks dedicate to the sun, as likewise the day before the seventh, and commanded that no judicial or other business should be transacted on these days, but THAT GOD SHOULD BE SERVED WITH PRAYERS AND SUPPLICATIONS."—Sozomen's "Ecclesiastical History," Book 1, Chap. VIII.
This puts it beyond all question or contrivance that the intent of the first legislation ever in the world in behalf of Sunday as a day of cessation from certain business and other common occupations was religious wholly and solely.
In the second step in Sunday legislation, in the law of Constantine issued A. D. 321, Friday was dropped and Sunday stood alone. The scope of the law was now extended to include not only courts and other State offices, but also the "people residing in cities" and "such as work at trades." And still the intent of it was unqualifiedly the same; for Eusebius, one of the bishops who had most to do with the legislation, says of it:—
"He [Constantine] commanded too, that one day should be regarded as a special occasion FOR RELIGIOUS WORSHIP."—"Oration in Praise of Constantine," Chap. IX.
And when in A. D. 386 the scope of the legislation was made universal and "civil transactions of every kind on Sunday were strictly forbidden," the same exclusively religious character still attached to it; for "whoever transgressed was to be considered in fact, as guilty of sacrilege."—Neander.
"Sacrilege" is not in any sense a civil, but in every sense only a religious, offense.
Thus on the face of the legislation itself it is perfectly plain that there was neither in it, nor about it, in any way, any other than an exclusively religious intent. Yet we are not left with only this evidence, all-sufficient as it would be in itself. By the very ones who initiated and promoted and secured the legislation, there is given the positive assurance that the intent of the legislation was exclusively religious, and specifically so. Again, Bishop Eusebius is the one who assures us of this, as follows, referring to Constantine in this connection:—
"Who else has commanded the nations inhabiting the continents and islands of this mighty globe to assemble weekly on the Lord's day and to observe it as a festival, not indeed for the pampering of the body, BUT for the comfort and invigoration of the soul by instruction in divine truth."—Id. Chap. XVII.
All this is confirmed by the course of Constantine himself in connection with the law. As the interpreter of his own law, showing what he intended that its meaning should be, he drew up the following prayer which he had his soldiers repeat in concert at a given signal every Sunday morning:—
"We acknowledge Thee the only God; we own Thee as our king and implore Thy succor. By Thy favor have we gotten the victory; through Thee are we mightier than our enemies. We render thanks for Thy past benefits and trust Thee for future blessings. Together we pray to Thee and beseech Thee long to preserve to us, safe and triumphant, our Emperor Constantine and his pious sons."— "Life of Constantine," Book IV, Chap. XX.
If, however, there should yet be in the mind of any reasonable person any lingering doubt as to whether the original Sunday legislation was religious only, with no thought, much less any intent, of its having any other than an exclusively religious character, even such lingering doubt must be effectually removed by the indisputable fact that it was by virtue of his office and authority as pontifex maximum, and not as Emperor, that the day was set apart to the uses signified; because it was the sole prerogative of the pontifex maximum to appoint holy days. In proof of this there is the excellent authority of the historian Duruy in the following words:—
"IN DETERMINING WHAT DAYS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS HOLY, and in the composition of a prayer for national use, CONSTANTINE EXERCISED ONE OF THE RIGHTS BELONGING TO HIM AS PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, and it caused no surprise that he should do this."—"History of Rome," Chap. C11, Part 1, par. 4, from end.
So much for the exclusively religious origin and character of Sunday legislation as it is in itself. Now what for
ITS INSPIRATION AND INITIATION.
This original Sunday legislation was but a part of the grand ambition and scheme of the popular church of the time through politico-ecclesiastical connivance and intrigue with Constantine to establish a "kingdom of God" on earth; and this in the very thought and purpose of an earthly theocracy. For there had in fact arisen in the church "a false theoretical theory . . . which might easily result in the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and outward way." "This theoretical 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.
Accordingly the whole scheme of a human theocracy in imitation of the original and divine one in the Scriptures, was definitely worked out by the bishops; and through Sunday legislation was made effective. This is absolutely unmistakable and undeniable in the history of the time. It is the plain thread-thought of the whole ecclesiastical literature of the time; and stands crystallized in Bishop Eusebius's "Life of Constantine." The church was Israel in Egypt oppressed by the Pharaoh Maxentius, and Constantine was the new Moses who delivered this new oppressed Israel. The defeat of Maxentius by Constantine in the, battle of the Milvian Bridge, and his drowning in the Tiber, was the overthrow of Pharaoh in the sea, and his "sinking to the bottom like a stone." After this deliverance of the new Israel by this new Moses, the new Moses with the new Israel went on to the conquest of the heathen in the wilderness, to the full establishment of the new theocracy, to the entering of the promised land, and to the saints of the Most High taking the kingdom. Accordingly, by the new Moses a tabernacle was set up, and a priesthood in imitation of the divine original in the Scriptures was established. And still in imitation of that divine original in the Scriptures, Sunday was by law made the sign of this new and false theocracy, as the Sabbath was and is the sign of the original, the true, and the divine Theocracy. And this was done with this direct intent; for we have it so stated in the words of Bishop Eusebius himself who was one of the chief ones in the doing of it. Here are his words:—
"All things whatsoever it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these WE have transferred to the Sunday."
That the scheme and system of things thus established was in their thought the very kingdom of God on earth, is also plainly and positively stated by Bishop Eusebius thus:—
"Invested as he is with a semblance of heavenly sovereignty, he [Constantine] directs his gaze above and FRAMES HIS EARTHLY GOVERNMENT according to THE PATTERN of that DIVINE ORIGINAL, feeling strength in ITS CONFORMITY TO THE MONARCH of GOD." "And by the appointment of the Caesars fulfills the predictions of the prophets, according to what they uttered ages before: 'And the saints of the most High SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM.'"— "Oration," Chap. III.
And Sunday observance established and enforced by imperial law, as the sign of the new and false theocracy, in the place and in imitation of the Sabbath as the sign of the original and true Theocracy, was the means of making all the people "fit subjects" of this new and false "kingdom of God." Here are the words, still by Bishop Eusebius:
"Our Emperor, ever beloved by Him, derives the source of imperial authority from above." "That preserver of the universe orders these heavens and earth and the celestial kingdom, consistently with His Father's will. Even so, our emperor, whom He loves, by bringing those whom he rules on earth to the only begotten Word and SAVIOUR, RENDERS THEM FIT SUBJECTS OF HIS KINGDOM."— Id. Chap. II.
These evidences demonstrate that the inspiration and initiation of the original Sunday legislation was exclusively and specifically ecclesiastical; and this all to the promotion of a grand and subtle scheme of the bishops for the erection of "a sacerdotal state" that should "subordinate the secular to itself in a false and outward way"; and to make effective "their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims."
Therefore by the evidence on these two counts—1. "The Origin and Character;" 2. "The Inspiration and Initiation,"of the original Sunday legislation—that the said Sunday legislation is specifically religious and ecclesiastical, with every other thought and intent specifically excluded, stands proven to a demonstration: to a demonstration, because it is the unanimous testimony of all the evidence that can be brought in the case.
HOW STANDS THE CASE NOW?
The exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical character of the original Sunday legislation being a positive fixture, the question next arises, Has Sunday legislation ever lost that exclusive and specific religious and ecclesiastical character?
First of all, how could that character possibly be lost? That being its native and inherent character; that being absolutely the only character that it ever had; it is perfectly plain that this character simply never could be lost. As certainly as the thing survives at all, its native and inherent character is there. Therefore, wherever, to the world's end, Sunday legislation shall be found, its native and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character inevitably attaches to it.
That is true in the very principle and nature of the case. But let us trace the thing historically and see how completely the principle is manifested. The "sacerdotal State," in the erection of which the original Sunday legislation was such a potent factor, did, all over Europe and for more than a thousand years, "subordinate the secular to itself," and did thus most despotically "make use of the power of the State—every State—for the furtherance of her aims." In all this dismal time Sunday legislation was continued, and with no pretense of any other than its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character.
In 1533 Henry VIII divorced himself and England from the Pope of Rome. But that was all: for, to what then and thus became "The Church of England" Henry immediately stood as pope in the place of the pope. By statute it was ordered that the king "shall be taken, accepted and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the church of England." And in 1535 Henry assumed officially the title "On earth supreme head of the Church of England." That which was now the Church of England was only that which before had been the Catholic Church in England. "In form nothing had been changed. The outer constitution of the Church remained unaltered."—Green.
And in this same unchanged system the original papal Sunday legislation was continued, and has been continued to the present day: and still with no pretense or suggestion of anything else than as in its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character.
From England there spread colonies to America. In America these colonies were established by English charters, and so were but the extension here of the English Government. And in strict accord with the English system, and in plain extension of it, every colony established in America, except only Rhode Island, had an established religion: either in the form of "the Christian religion" in general, or else, as in most, in the form of some particular church.
And in every one of these colonial religious establishments in America, there was extended, and in some there was even intensified, the Sunday legislation of the English system, which was only the extension of the Sunday legislation of the original Roman and papal system.
And still here, as always before in England and in Rome, the Sunday legislation of the colonies in America was never with any thought or purpose, or pretense, other than as in its original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character.
Presently these colonies cut loose from the government of Britain and. became "free and independent States." But still each of them was the same as before in its system of established religion and Sunday legislation. Virginia, however, immediately dis-established there the Church of England and her religion; and as regards established religion as such swept it all away by "An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom." Yet on the statute books of the now State of Virginia there stood and remained unmodified the identical Sunday legislation of the Colony of Virginia, which was only the unmodified Sunday legislation of the English Church-and-State-system, which was only the unmodified Sunday legislation of the Roman and papal system in its old, original, native, and inherent, religious and ecclesiastical character.
And the story of Virginia in this is substantially the story of every other of the original Thirteen States; excepting always Rhode Island. And the Sunday legislation of all the States of the Union, after the original Thirteen, has been only the extension, and practically the copying, of the Sunday legislation of the original Thirteen States that had it. And in this bad progress even Rhode Island has been perverted and disgraced. And always this Sunday legislation of the later States has been of the same original native and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character of that of the Colonies, of England, and of Rome.
Thus, from the original Sunday legislation of Constantine to the latest Sunday legislation in the United States, it is all the same thing, to the same purpose, and of the same character precisely.
SUNDAY LEGISLATION UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Then came the formation of the National Government of the United States with its total separation of religion and the State, and its constitutional provision that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This principle of the national Constitution with the preceding "Act for Establishing Religious Freedom," in Virignia, has been the guide in the formation of the Constitutions of all the States of the American Union, after the original Thirteen: and even the Constitutions, though not the legislation, of the original Thirteen States have been materially shaped by it. And so faithfully has this guidance been followed, and so generally has the principle been recognized throughout the whole American Union, that, as summarized, the case stands thus:—
"Those things which are not lawful under any of the American Constitutions may be stated thus:
"1. Any law respecting an establishment of religion.
"2. Compulsory support, by taxation or otherwise, of religious instruction.
"3. Compulsory attendance upon religious worship.
"4. Restraints upon the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience.
"5. Restraints upon the expression of religious belief.
"These are the prohibitions which in some form of words are to be found in the American Constitutions, and which secure freedom of conscience and of religious worship. No man in religious matters is to be subjected to the censorship of the State or of any public authority."
"The legislators have not been left at liberty to effect a union of Church and State, or to establish preferences by law in favor of any religious persuasion or mode of worship. There is not complete religious liberty where any one sect is favored by the State and given advantage by law over other sects.
"Whatever establishes a distinction against one class or sect is, to the extent to which, the distinction operates unfavorably, a persecution; and if based on religious grounds, a religious persecution. The extent of the discrimination is not material to the principle; it is enough that it creates an inequality of right or privilege."—Cooley's "Constitutional Limitations," Chap. XIII, par. 1-9.
Now, in view of these facts, provisions, and principles, taking Sunday legislation for
just what it unquestionably is,—exclusively and specifically religious—it is perfectly plain upon every principle that anywhere and everywhere in the United States, and under all the Constitutions, Sunday legislation is "a religious persecution," and is absolutely unconstitutional and void of itself.
That it is unconstitutional has been admitted by both State and United States Courts. The Supreme Court of Ohio said plainly that "if religion were the sole ground of Sunday legislation, it could not stand for a moment" under the Constitution. And a United States District Court has remarked upon the "somewhat humiliating spectacle of the Sunday Advocates trying to justify the continuance of Sunday legislation upon the argument that it is not in conflict with the civic dogma of religious freedom," when "It surely is"; and says that "the potentiality of the fact that it is in aid of religion might be frankly confessed and not denied." And the latter court distinctly recognized it, in very word, as "persecution."
JUDICIAL INVENTION AND FIAT.
And yet all over the United States Sunday legislation is held by courts to be constitutional! How can this be? The answer is that it is solely by judicial invention and fiat.
Note: It is not by judicial construction or interpretation of the Constitutions, but wholly by judicial invention and fiat as to the character of the legislation. That is to say: By judicial invention and fiat an utterly new and foreign character is given to Sunday legislation; and then upon this new and foreign ground the legislation is held to be constitutional. If this new and foreign ground were in truth the original and native ground, even then the constitutionality of such legislation would be open to question. But not in any sense is the new and foreign ground true. It is a sheer invention, and false both as to principle and to the facts.
This judicial invention and fiat of new and foreign ground for Sunday legislation is the proposition that it is for the physical benefit, for the promotion of the health and for the restoration of the wasted energies, of the people; that "it is for the protection of labor," and so is constitutional "as a police regulation" and a "purely civil rule"!
Now, everybody who knows but the A B C of Sunday legislation, knows full well that no Sunday law in the world was ever enacted with any such intent, or for any such purpose, or upon any such ground, as that; but that every Sunday law ever in the world was enacted solely because of its religious and ecclesiastical character, with every physical and civic element specifically excluded.
The State of Idaho is an illustration in point, and being the very latest, is strictly pertinent. In the very spirit, and with the very aim, of the bishops in the time of Constantine, an ecclesiastical clique, not of the State of Idaho, framed for Idaho a Sunday Bill and carried it to the legislature of Idaho and got it enacted into the law of Idaho. And then under a Constitution declaring that
"The exercise and enjoyment of religious faith and worship shall forever be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege, or capacity on account of his religious opinions; . . . nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship," the Supreme Court of Idaho held that religious and ecclesiastical statute to be "constitutional."
The State of Washington is another illustration. The Constitution of that State declares that
"Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief, and worship shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion."
When in 1889 this constitutional provision was framed, it was the unanimous intent of its framers that it should exclude Sunday legislation equally with every other form of religion in law. The writer of this book was present with the committee of the Constitutional Convention when that provision was framed. And I personally know that such was the intent of the framers of it, because this very subject of Sunday legislation was particularly considered by the committee and it was held by the committee unanimously that this constitutional provision as framed would, as intended, exclude Sunday legislation. And yet under that Constitution the Supreme Court of the State of Washington has held Sunday legislation to be "constitutional."
Thus with Sunday legislation actually framed by ecclesiastics with no other than religious and ecclesiastical intent, and with constitutional provisions framed with direct intent to prohibit it, the courts by sheer judicial invention and fiat make it "constitutional."
But every such decision is plainly in open disregard of one of the very first principles, and of "the universally admitted rule," of judicial action—the principle and the rule, that "the intention of the law-maker is the law"; that "the law must be construed according to the intention of the law-maker"; and that "a law can have no meaning beyond the intent of those who made it."
This principle, that must ever, in justice, guide in the construction of statutes as well as constitutions, is authoritatively stated as follows:—
"A court which should allow a change of public sentiment to influence it in giving to a written constitution a construction not Warranted by the intention of its founders, would be justly chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty."—Cooley,"Constitutional Limitations," P. 67.
The principle applies with equal force to the construction of a statute, as to the construction of a Constitution. And whether the change of sentiment which a court should allow thus to influence it, be public and general or only the private and personal sentiment and bias of the court itself, the principle is the same and such court is equally "chargeable with reckless disregard of official oath and public duty." Yet this is precisely what has been done by the courts when, by setting up an utterly new and foreign meaning, they give to Sunday legislation a construction not in any sense warranted by the intention of its founders or its framers, anywhere in human history or experience.
A PALPABLE SUBTERFUGE.
Yet even this invention and fiat of new and foreign ground for Sunday legislation, is not allowed to exclude the original and native religious ground of it. This invention, in fact, is only the stalking-horse by which Sunday legislation as religious can be brought in and made to stand as "constitutional" under constitutional provisions that absolutely prohibit it. For no sooner has it in each instance been made "constitutional" as "purely a civil rule" than it is immediately given standing as religious by the declaration that "the fact that the legislation is founded in religion" and is "the peculiar feature of Christianity," "is nothing against it, but rather is strongly in its favor." Thus, under Constitutions prohibiting religious legislation, by sheer sleight of judicial legerdemain the feat is accomplished of making "constitutional" legislation that is wholly religious and ecclesiastical.
STILL IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
But against it all there still stands the abiding truth that Sunday legislation is unconstitutional everywhere in the United States, because of its religious character. The inventing of a "civil basis" for it in order to render it constitutional, only leaves it still unconstitutional because of its original. native, and inherent religious and ecclesiastical character. In other words, when the Constitution guarantees absolute freedom from all religious observances, restrictions, or provisions, by law required, then any religious character whatever attaching to any law renders it unconstitutional for that reason.
The Constitution is the supreme expression of the will of the people in the government. And when that supreme will excludes from legislation all things religious, then this supreme will can not be evaded by the mere trick of inventing a "civil basis" for a religious thing. By such trick every religious thing ever heard of could be made constitutional and enforced upon all: and the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom would thus be turned into a tantalizing figment.
Therefore, instead of the "religious ground of Sunday observance being nothing against, but rather in favor of, Sunday legislation as a civil rule," the truth is that this is the strongest possible objection against it; so strong indeed that this alone nullifies it, whatever might be its "civil" nature or necessity.
The Supreme Court of California has well stated this principle, as follows:—
"The Constitution says that 'the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State.' . . . The constitutional question is a naked question of legislative power. Had the legislature the power to do the particular thing done? What was that particular thing?—It was prohibition of labor on Sunday. Had the Act been so framed as to show that it was intended by those who voted for it, as simply a municipal regulation; yet, if, in fact, it contravened the provision of the Constitution securing religious freedom to all, we should have been compelled to declare it unconstitutional for that reason. "—Ex-parte Newman.
The principle is that it would be impossible for as much damage to accrue to the State, to society, or to the individual, through being deprived of a desired "civil benefit, as must certainly accrue to the State, to society, and to every individual, through the infringement of religious freedom, the invasion of the rights of conscience, and the clothing of religionists with civil power.
EVEN IF CONSTITUTIONAL IT WOULD YET BE WRONG.
It is undeniable then, that Sunday legislation is religious and ecclesiastical, and, as such, and under whatever plea, is unconstitutional and "a persecution" everywhere in the United States. But even if it were constitutional here, as it is in England and France and Spain and Russia, it would still be wrong. As religious and ecclesiastical, Sunday legislation is wrong of itself and never can by any possibility be right.
King Nebuchadnezzar, as against the three Hebrew young men, made a law having a religious basis and character. But God taught him and all kings and people forever, that it was wrong.
The Medo-Persian government, as against Daniel, enacted a statute of inflexible law having a religious basis and character. But God taught that government and all governments and people forever that it was wrong.
And as for the church "making use of the power of the State for the furtherance of her aims," which could not possibly be with any other than religious intent-that by this slimy, serpentine, trick there was accomplished by the church her "aim" at the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory, this is sufficient demonstration to the wide universe and for eternity that such combination and the procedure under it is supremely and satanically wrong.
Thus there is a higher law and a mightier Authority than any of earth; that is the will and authority of God. Religion is the duty which intelligences owe to their Creator, and the manner of discharging that duty. The religion therefore, of every soul stands only between him and the Sovereign of the soul. Therefore, though Sunday legislation were constitutional in every State or government on earth, still, as being religious, it would be altogether wrong; because it is an invasion of the realm, and a usurpation of the authority and jurisdiction, of God.
NO POSSIBLE GROUND FOR IT.
There are just two authorities to whom, as respects law or government, anybody in the world is under any obligation to render anything. These two are God and Caesar. Accordingly the Lord Jesus declared this truth thus: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
Sunday legislation and Sunday observance come from neither God nor Caesar.
It is not of God; for, as the evidence shows, in the very beginning of it, it was set up as the sign of the false and human theocracy of the man of sin in the place of God, showing himself that he is God, to supplant the Sabbath of the Lord as the sign of the true and divine Theocracy in which God Himself is God alone.
It is not of Caesar: for, as the evidence shows, it was not as Casar—the head of the State, but solely as pontifex maximus—the head of religion, that Constantine decreed Sunday to be a sacred day and established its observance: and this under the inspiration and demand of "the Church" which is neither God nor Caesar.
Therefore, since it is from neither God nor Caesar, but only from "the church" through a heathen "head of religion," there is no obligation, no ground, and no room, for anybody in the universe ever to render to anybody any observance of it in any way whatever.
ITS ULTERIOR PURPOSE.
By every count in the indictment then, it is demonstrated that the original, native, and inherent character of Sunday legislation abides ever the same—exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical.
And the ulterior purpose in Sunday legislation is likewise ever the same. We have seen that in the original Sunday legislation the ulterior purpose was "the formation of a sacerdotal State, subordinating the secular to itself in a false and outward way"; and the making effective of "the determination" of the ecclesiastics "to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims."
And that is precisely the ulterior purpose of it now. Congress and legislatures are constantly besieged; legislators are persistently pestered, and even threatened, by ecclesiastics now, as the imperial office was then, always for Sunday legislation, and more Sunday legislation. It matters not how much of such legislation there may be already on the statute books, still the persistent demand is that there shall be more, and more, and yet more; and it is all dictated, when it is not actually framed, by the interested ecclesiastics themselves, and in terms more and more approaching the Inquisition, precisely as by those other ecclesiastics at the first.
We need not follow the subject further here. The evidences here presented show conclusively that the character of Sunday legislation is ever only exclusively and specifically religious and ecclesiastical; that, therefore, in the United States it is unconstitutional and un-American; and that everywhere it is un-Godly and anti-Christian.
Faith in a lie will not have a sanctifying influence upon the life or character. No Error is truth, or can be made truth by repetition, or by faith in it. Sincerity will never save a soul from the consequences of believing an error. Without sincerity there is no true religion, but sincerity in a false religion will never save a man. I May be perfectly sincere in following a wrong road, but that will not make it the right road, or bring me to the place I wish to reach. The Lord does not want us to have a blind credulity, and call that the faith that sanctifies. The Truth is the principle that sanctifies, and therefore it becomes us to know what is truth. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual. We must prove all things, but hold fast only that which is good, that which bears the divine credentials, which lays before us the true motives and principles which should prompt us to action. Selected Messages Bk2, pg. 56
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