Four Winds Publications

Principles of Liberty of Conscience and Religious Liberty


EXAMPLE: A Sunday bill that proposes 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.

ARGUMENT: Would it answer the objection in that regard, if, instead of saying "the Lord's day," it would say, "Sunday"?

RESPONSE: No, because the underlying principle, the sole basis, of Sunday, is ecclesiastical, and legislation in regard to it is ecclesiastical legislation. Now, do not misunderstand this point. Even for a Sabbathkeeper, if a bill were in favor of enforcing the observance of the Seventh Day as the Lord's day, he/she should oppose it just as much as a Sunday legislation, 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. The words of Christ 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. A Sunday legislation declares itself 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, if a bill were framed in behalf of the real Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day and proposes to promote its observance, or to compel men to do no work upon that day, it should be oppose just as strongly as a Sunday observance bill, and it could be argued precisely 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 anti-Christian. There never was a Sunday law that was not anti-Christian, and there never can be one that will not be anti-Christian.

ARGUMENT: One should oppose all the Sunday laws of the country, then?


ARGUMENT: People should oppose all Sunday laws?

RESPONSE: Yes, people should have been against every Sunday law that was ever made in this world, from the first enacted by Constantine to any today or in the future; and people should be equally against a Sabbath law if it were proposed, for that would be anti-Christian, too.
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