Why Do Protestants Keep Sunday? - PART 4
These articles are reprinted, and this material is sent forth by the publishers, because it gives from an undeniable source and in no uncertain tone, the latest phase of the Sunday-observance controversy, which is now, and which indeed for some time has been, not only a national question with the leading nations, but also an international question. Not that we are glad to have it so; we would that it were far otherwise. We would that Protestants everywhere were so thoroughly consistent in profession and practice that there could be no possible room for the relations between them and Rome ever to take the shape which they have now taken.
But the situation in this matter is now as it is herein set forth. There is no escaping this fact. It therefore becomes the duty of the International Religious Liberty Association to make known as widely as possible the true phase of this great question as it now stands. Not because we are pleased to have it so, but because it is so, whatever we or anybody else would or would not be pleased to have.
It is true that we have been looking for years for this question to assume precisely the attitude which it has now assumed, and which is so plainly set forth in this material. We have told the people repeatedly, and Protestants especially, and yet more especially have we told those who were advocating Sunday laws and the recognition and legal establishment of Sunday by the United States, that in the course that was being pursued they were playing directly into the hands of Rome, and that as certainly as they succeeded, they would inevitably be called upon by Rome, and Rome in possession of power too, to render to her an account as to why Sunday should be kept. This, we have told the people for years, would surely come. And now that it has come, it only our duty to make it known as widely as it lies in our power to do.
It may be asked, Why did not Rome come out as boldly as this before? Why did she wait so long? - It was not for her interest to do so before. When she should move, she desired to move with power, and power as yet she did not have. But in their strenuous efforts for the national, governmental recognition and establishment of Sunday, the Protestants of the United States were doing more for her than she could possibly do for herself in the way of getting governmental power into her hands. This we well know, and therefore only waited. And now that the Protestants, in alliance with her, have accomplished this awful thing, she at once rises up in all here native arrogance and old-time spirit, and calls upon the Protestants to answer to her for their observance of Sunday. This, too, she does because she is secure in the power which the Protestants have so blindly placed in her hands. In other words, the power which the Protestants have thus put into her hands she will now use to their destruction. Is any other evidence needed to show that the Catholic Mirror (which means the Cardinal and the Catholic Church in America) has been waiting for this, than that furnished on page 21 of this material? Please turn back and look at that page, and see that quotation clipped from the New York Herald in 1874, and which is now brought forth thus. Does not this show plainly that the statements of the Methodist bishops, the Mirror, all these nineteen years, has been keeping for just such a time as this? And more than this, the Protestants will find more such things have been so laid up, and which will yet be used in a way that will both surprise and confound them.
This at present is a controversy between the Catholic Church and Protestants. As such only do we reproduce these editorials of the Catholic Mirror. The points controverted are points which are claimed by Protestants as in their favor. The argument is made by the Catholic Church, the answer devolves upon those Protestants who observe Sunday, not upon us. We can truly say, "This is none of our funeral." If they do not answer, she will make their silence their confession that she is right, and will act toward them accordingly. If they do answer, she will use against them their own words, and as occasion may demand, the power which they have put into her hands. So that, so far as she is concerned, whether the Protestants answer or not, it is all the same. And how she looks upon them, and the spirit in which she proposes do deal with them henceforth is clearly manifested in the challenge made in the last paragraph of the reprint articles.
There is just one refuge left for the Protestants. That is to take their stand squarely and fully upon the "written word only", "the Bible and the Bible alone", and thus upon the Sabbath of the Lord. Thus acknowledging no authority but God's, wearing no sign but His (Eze 20:12,20), obeying his command, and shielded by his power, they shall have the victory over Rome and all her alliances, and stand upon the sea of glass, bearing the harps of God, with which their triumph shall be forever celebrated. Revelation 18, and 15:2-4.
It is not yet too late for Protestants to redeem themselves. Will they do it? Will they stand consistently upon the Protestant profession? Or will they still continue to occupy the "indefensible, self-contradictory, and suicidal" position of professing to be Protestants, yet standing on Catholic ground, receiving Catholic insult, and bearing Catholic condemnation? Will they indeed take the written word only, the Scripture alone, as their sole authority and their sole standard? Or will they still hold the "indefensible, self-contradictory, and suicidal" doctrine and practice of following the authority of the Catholic Church and of wearing the sign of her authority? Will they keep the Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day, according to Scripture? Or will they keep the Sunday according to the tradition of the Catholic Church?
Dear reader, which will you do?
Since the first edition of this publication was printed, the following appeared in an editiorial in the Cathoic Mirror of Dec. 23, 1893: "The avidity with which these editorials have been sought, and the appearance of a reprint of them by the International Religious Libery Association, published in Chicago, entitled, 'Rome's Challange: Why Do Protestants Keep Sunday?' and offered for sale in Chicago, New York, California, Tennessee, London, Austrailia, Cape Town, Africa and Ontario, Canada, together with the continuous demand, have prompted the Mirror to give permanent form to them, and thus comply with the demand.
"The pages of this material unfold to the reader one of the most glaringly conceivable contradictions existing between the practice and theory of the Protestant world, and unsusceptible of any rational solution, the theory claiming the Bible alone as the teacher, which unequivocally and most positively commands Saturday to be kept 'holy', whilst their practice proves that they utterly ignore the unequivocal requirements of their teacher, the Bible, and occupying Catholic ground for three centuries and a half, by the abandonment of their theory, they stand before the world today the representatives of a system the most indefensible, self-contridictory, and suicidal that can be imagined.
"We feel that we cannot interest our readers more than to produce the 'Appendix' which the International Religious Liberty Association, an ultra Protestant organization, has added to the reprint of our articles. The perusal of the Appendix will confirm the fact that our argument is unanswerable, and that the only recourse left the Protestants is either to retire from Catholic territory where they have been squatting for three centuries and a half, and accepting their own teacher, the Bible, in good faith, as so clearly suggested by the writer of the 'Appendix', commence forthwith to keep the Saturday, the day enjoined by the Bible from Genesis to Revelation; or, abandoning the Bible as their sole teacher, cease to be squatters, and a living contradiction of their own principles, and taking out letters of adoption as citizens of the kingdom of Christ on earth - His Church - be no longer victims of self-delusive and necessary self-contradiction.
"The arguments contained in this material are firmly grounded on the word of God, and having been closely studied with the Bible in hand, leave no escape for the conscientious Protestant except the abandonment of Sunday worship and the return to Saturday, commanded by their teacher, the Bible, or, unwilling to abandon the tradition of the Catholic Church, which enjoins the keeping of Sunday, and which they have accepted in direct opposition to their teacher, the Bible, consistently accept her in all her teachings. Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday, or Catholicity and the keeping of Sunday. Compromise is imposible."