NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW CRISIS
1: The Coming CRISIS
There is a crisis coming on this earth. Thinking men everywhere recognize it. Few understand its exact nature. Laws are being made that will bring that crisis.
And life in our land will never again be the same when it arrives.
Here is the story of what has happened in the past and how it will be repeated in the future. Clear facts and details will be presented.
And you will learn what will happen after it begins.
Laws are being made that will signal the end.
The book you now have in hand should be read and shared with others.
Cotton Mather was stunned. He had just learned the news—that a shipload of heretics was headed toward the American Colonies! They had not registered with the established church as members, so something would have to be done—and quickly. There was no doubt about it; a letter with the news had just arrived on a British ship, that "100 or more of the heretics and malignants—called Quakers, with Penn who is the chief scamp of them all—were headed their way." Sounded dangerous.
After meeting with the general court of Boston, a plan of action was unanimously agreed upon. In a letter to John Higginson, Mather told of their decision: The brig, Porpoise, would be sent out at once to waylay William Penn’s ship, the Welcome, on the high seas off Cape Cod. Then having taken them all as prisoners, the plan was to sell—
"the whole lot to Barbados, where slaves fetch good prices in rum and sugar, and [we] shall not only do the Lord great good by punishing the wicked, but we shall make great good for His minister and people" (quoted in Frank L. Yost, Let Freedom Ring, 6).
Ironically, the reason that William Penn was bringing a shipload of Christians to the New World was in the hope of finding religious freedom.
On the bow of the good ship, Welcome, Penn watched the waves splash up and flow past. They were making good headway. His thoughts returned to earlier events in England they left far behind.
The date was August 14, 1670, and summer was nearing its end in London. William Penn arrived at the Quaker meeting hall on Gracechurch Street, just in time to find the entrance barred by government soldiers. Not a man to be stopped by the problems, Penn preached to the waiting congregation right there in the street in front of the church. But before he was finished, he was arrested and soon haled into court for "disturbing the peace."
The indictment, issued on September 1, claimed that Penn was "in contempt of the said Lord the King and His law." He was said to be a terror, a disturber of the people, and "against the peace of the said Lord the King, his Crown, and Dignity."
It was business as usual, persecuting "heretics" in England in the seventeenth century. Official British court records of that time fill in the details for us:
When the trial convened in a few days, Penn, with his codefendant, William Meade, demanded to know what law had been violated. Unable to produce anything definite, they told him that the indictment was based on "the common law."
"Where is that ‘common law’; what does it say?" Penn asked.
The recorder answered, "We have so many cases in the common law, I do not have to answer your curiosity."
"If it be common, it should not be hard to produce, said Penn.
At this, the Lord Mayor, Sir Samuel Starling, cried out, "You ought to have your tongue cut out!"
But refusing to be shaken, Penn and Meade continued to stand their ground and soon the jury of common men of the city returned a verdict of "not guilty."
Astounded that the jury would vote in favor of justice, the officials became desperate. The official court record tells what happened next: "Members of the court threatened the jury with fines and hinted at torture if they did not bring in a verdict to the judge’s taste—but they would not yield, nor would they ever do it!" Their foreman shouted in answer to Penn’s impassioned appeal to them to "give not away your right!"
Again and again the jury was sent out for a new verdict. Repeatedly it came back into the courtroom with the same one, despite a threat by the Lord Mayor to keep the jury "lock’d up without meat, drink, fire, and tobacco" until they rendered the vote that the judge wanted.
When the defiant jury returned the fifth time with the same verdict, Penn stood up and said, "What hope is there of ever having justice done when juries are threatened and their verdicts rejected?"
At this, the judge, the Lord Mayor, went into a rage. "Stop his mouth"; the court reporter wrote his words as he spoke. "Jaylor, bring fetters and stake him to the ground!"
Penn replied, "Do your pleasure, I matter not your fetters." At this, the court reporter, aghast at Penn’s refusal to yield his religious beliefs to an official of the government, added his own comment to the court report, "Till now, I never understood the reason of the policy and prudence of the Spaniards, in suffering the Inquisition among them. And certainly it will never be well with us, till something like unto the Spanish Inquisition be in England!"
What was the outcome of that farce of the trial? Penn, Meade, and all the jurors were imprisoned until each of them had paid a fine of forty marks.
So it was that William Penn determined to sail to a new land where he could find religious freedom. On behalf of several dozen humble Christians, he arranged for the sailing ship, Welcome, to carry them to America.
As the ship carrying Penn and other persecuted Christians neared the Western Continent, somehow they managed to elude Cotton Mather’s brig full of soldiers sent to capture and sell them as slaves in Barbados. But other Christians, such as Mary Dyer, were not so fortunate. By court order, she was killed in Boston by hanging—because she refused to change her Christian beliefs to those of the government church. Exasperated with their stubbornness, legislators enacted a State law, that the "cursed sect of the Quakers" be "sentenced to banishment upon pain of death."
Then there was Mr. Painter, a Baptist who was whipped for refusing to let his child be sprinkled instead of being baptized by immersion. And Obadiah Holmes, an "unregistered pastor" who had baptized a fellow believer and was beaten unmercifully by court order. Other churches besides the Quakers and Baptists suffered also. The general court of Massachusetts ruled that Episcopal worship "will disturb our peace in our present enjoyments." Men and women were beaten, thrown into prison, and hanged.
You are reading about life in America 300 years ago! What had gone wrong? And, more important, could it happen again? In this book, we are going to show you that it can happen again—and that movements are on foot so that it will happen again in this, our own land of freedom. Already legislative decisions and judicial actions are taking us in that direction.
In recent decades, legislation and Supreme Court decisions have already laid the foundation for what is ahead. And when the change comes, it will bring with it coercive religious laws—that will force you to violate your own personal beliefs about religion.
But, in order to understand this better, we need to go back still further in time.
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