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    August 17, 1888

    “The Plea for National Sunday Legislation” The Signs of the Times 14, 32, p. 503.

    APRIL 6, the United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor gave a hearing to arguments in support of the petitions of the W.C.T.U., for national Sunday legislation. Rev. Wilbur F. Crafts, D.D., delivered what seems to have been the principal production on the question. He has since presented the same argument in the Philadelphia National Reform Convention. The paper is entitled, “National Sabbath Reform.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.1

    The petitions in support of which the argument was made ask Congress to prohibit Sunday railroad trains, Sunday mails, and Sunday parades in the army and navy. The Doctor instances the railroad strikes, riots, and wrecks, as proof that the Sunday train is a national evil, and says:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.2

    “There is abundance of evidence in the testimony of railroad men themselves of the fact that their Sabbath-breaking is closely related to their train-wrecking. They feel that, having broken one commandment of God, they might as well go through the whole list.... It is a perilous thing to allow men to be started in law-breaking.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.3

    So, then, Doctor Crafts and his fellow-petitioners want Congress to set itself up as the guardian of the law of God, to define what is the law of God and what is it transgression—to define and to punish sin—for Mr. Crafts said also in this very connection that “most of the railroad work” “is a sin against God’s law.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.4

    He demands that railroad trains shall be compelled to stop over Sunday wherever they may be when Sunday overtakes them, and then inquires:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.5

    “Why may not a few railway passengers be detained for one day, even at some slight inconvenience or loss, on the same ground that steamboat passengers are detained in quarantine for a fortnight, namely, to protect the public health?”!!SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.6

    Does Mr. Crafts mean seriously to assert that all steamboat passengers are detained in quarantine for a fortnight? He knows better. He knows that it is only the passengers of steamboats infected with cholera, or yellow fever, or small-pox, or some such deadly disease, that are detained in quarantine at all. Well, then, does he mean seriously to assert that a railroad train running on Sunday is as dangerous to the public health as is a cholera-infected steamboat? and that the train must therefore be quarantined on Sunday “to protect the public health”? If he does not mean this, then his argument is an utter non sequiter. And it he does mean this, then to what absurd lengths will men not run in their wild endeavors to find a basis for Sunday legislation?SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.7

    His next proposition is of the same piece. Here it is:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.8

    “An inter-State commerce bill to protect the health of cattle is now before the Senate. Why not add another to protect the health of railroad men?”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.9

    Well, Doctor, there are several reasons for this. As you seem not to have discovered any, let us endeavor to enlighten you. There are several points of distinction between railroad men and cattle. Allow us to point them out.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.10

    First, there has always been recognized, by everybody, unless, perhaps, certain Doctor of Divinity, a distinction between railroad men and cattle in this, that railroad men have more sense than cattle have; that they are capable of taking care of their own health, and that they have all the facilities for it.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.11

    Secondly, a distinction between railroad men and cattle appears in this, that railroad men are not bought and sold, nor are they crowded into cars and shipped, as cattle are.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.12

    Thirdly, an important distinction between railroad men and cattle appears in this, Doctor, that railroad men are not killed and eaten as cattle are. You see, Doctor, cattle are eaten by the public. Therefore you will see, perhaps, that if the cattle be diseased, the public will be eating disease, and the public health will be endangered. Therefore an inter-State commerce bill to protect the health of cattle is a necessity to protect the public health.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.13

    Next Doctor Crafts discusses Sunday mails, and it is in this that there appears the “true inwardness” of his whole Sunday law argument, and, in fact, of the whole Sunday-law movement. He says:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.14

    “The law allows the local postmaster, if he chooses (and some of them do choose), to open the mails at the very hour of church, and to make the post-office the competitor of the churches.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.15

    There is the secret of the whole Sunday-law agitation. The churches cannot bear competition. They must have a monopoly. The Sunday trains must be stopped, because they are competitors of the churches. The Elgin Sunday-law Convention, which Doctor Crafts indorses, said so. The Sunday papers must be abolished, because they are competitors of the churches. The Elgin Sunday-law Convention said so. The post-offices must be closed on Sunday, because they are competitors of the churches. Doctor Crafts says so. Now by the side of these statements read this:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.16

    “The Sunday train, the Sunday newspaper, and the Sunday mail are a combine against the public health.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.17

    That is to say, the Sunday train is a competitor of the churches; therefore it must be quarantined—“to protect the public health.” The Sunday newspaper is a competitor of the churches; therefore it must be abolished—“to protect the public health.” The post-office open on Sunday is a competitor of the churches; therefore it must be shut—“to protect the public health.” The nation must secure to the churches a complete monopoly of Sunday, and all “to protect the public health.” How very considerate of the public health these men are, to be sure! No, they are not. The public health is not in all their thoughts. It is national power to enforce religious observances that they want.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.18

    This is further shown by the fact that although Doctor Crafts repeatedly stated that this Sunday legislation is to protect the public health, he declared that:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.19

    “A National Sabbath Committee, representing the religious organizations of the nation, will be necessary to secure clear convictions on the subject among Christians, and also the enactment and enforcement of wholesome Sunday laws.... This National Sabbath Committee should be appointed by the churches.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.20

    Now if this legislation is in the interest of the public health, why is it that the National Committee must be appointed by the churches instead of by the public? And why should this National Committee represent the religious organizations instead of the public? If all this legislation is in the interests of the public health, then why must the National Committee be chosen by the churches from the religious organizations, instead of by the public, from the Boards of Public Health of the different States? Ah! the truth is that the interests of the public health do not enter into the question at all.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.21

    Next Mr. Crafts tells what they want. In regard to closing the post-offices on Sunday during church hours, to stop this competition with the churches, he says:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.22

    “A law forbidding the opening between ten and twelve would accomplish this, and would be better than nothing; but we want more.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.23

    Again:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.24

    “A law forbidding any handling of Sunday mail at such hours as would interfere with church attendance on the pat of employes would be better than nothing; but we want more.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.25

    And again:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.26

    “A law forbidding all carrier delivery of mail on Sunday would be better than nothing; but we want more.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.27

    Well, then, what do they want?SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.28

    “What we ask is a law instructing the Postmaster-General to make no further contracts which shall include the carriage of mails on the Sabbath, and to provide that hereafter no mail matter shall be collected or distributed on that day.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.29

    And THEY WANT MORE THAN THIS. This is sufficient for them to begin with, but they will never stop here. Just as soon as these men get what they here ask, and find by that that the religious power can influence the civil in its own behalf, then they will push that power to the utmost that their influence can carry it. If they get what they here ask, in the very words of Doctor Crafts, there will be no stopping-place short of the fullest claims of the Papacy. If they get what they here as, the first thing to be done will be for the national power, by some tribunal, either the legislative or judicial, to declare what day is the Sabbath. To do this will demand the interpretation of Scripture, and the decision of a religious question. Therefore, by this one act, by this single step, the nation will be plunged at once into a whirl of religious controversy, of judicial interpretations of Scripture and judicial decisions of religious questions; and where shall the thing stop? This is precisely what the National Reformers are trying to do. They intend, in their own words, that “the whole frame-work of Bible legislation” shall be “thoroughly canvassed by Congress and State Legislatures, by the Supreme Courts of the United States and of the several States, and by lawyers and citizens;” and then, again in their own words, “the churches and the pulpits [will] have much to do with shaping and forming opinions on all moral questions, and with interpretations of Scripture on moral and civil, as well as on theological and ecclesiastical, points;” “and the final decisions will be developed there.” And that will be the times of the Papacy over again. And the one single step that will plunge the nation into this maelstrom is this Sunday-law action which Congress is now petitioned to take.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.30

    When this question came before the United States Senate before, the Senate replied: “Let the national Legislature once perform an act which involves the decision of a religious controversy, and it will have passed its legitimate bounds. The precedent will then be established, and the foundation laid, for that usurpation of the divine prerogative in this country which has been the desolating scourge to the fairest portions of the Old World.” We are anxiously waiting to see what reply the United States Senate will make upon the question now. We are anxious to see whether the national Legislature will establish the precedent, and lay the foundation, for the usurpation of the divine prerogative in this country. We are intensely anxious to know whether the national Legislature is ready to inflict this desolating scourge upon this fair land.SITI August 17, 1888, page 503.31


    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Making of the Image of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 32, pp. 505, 506.

    (Lesson 9. Sabbath, September 1.)

    1. IF the influence of Protestant churches, the Prohibition party, the W. C. T. U., the Workingmen, and the Catholic Church, were hardly united in favor of one measure, could not that measure be carried, but ever it might be?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.1

    2. Is there not any question upon which all these are united in sentiment, and upon which there fast uniting in action?—There is.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.2

    3. What is it?—The enforcement of Sunday-keeping by the State.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.3

    4. Who are the sole leaders in this movement?—The leaders of the churches.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.4

    5. To what extent are they working it?—They are “working” and lobbying almost every State Legislature in the Union, and the National Legislature also.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.5

    6. What do they ask the State to do?—To stop all Sunday trains, abolish all Sunday papers, and stop all manner of work on Sunday.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.6

    7. For what?—So that there “devotion may not be hindered.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.7

    8. What is there about Sunday train that hinders the devotion of the church-members?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.8

    “They get a great many passengers, and so break up a great many congregations.”—Elgin, Ill. Sunday-law Convention, November, 1887. (1) “This railroad [the Chicago and Rock Island] has been running excursion trains from Des Moines to Colfax brings on the Sabbath for some time, and ministers complain that their members go on these excursions.... We need a Sabbath [Sunday] law that will bind the government and the corporation as well as the individual.”—M. A. Gault, in Christian Statesman, September 25, 1884.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.9

    9. What is there about Sunday newspaper that hinders their devotion?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.10

    “The laboring classes are apt to arise late on Sunday morning, read the Sunday papers, and allow the power of worship to go by unheeded.”—Elgin Convention.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.11

    10. What was it that hindered the devotion of the church-members in the fourth century?—Sunday games and theaters.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.12

    11. How?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.13

    They got a great many spectators “and so broke up a great many congregations;” the church-members would go to the games and theaters, and would “let the hour of worship go by unheeded,” and so their devotion was “greatly hindered.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.14

    12. Who were they whose devotion was thus especially disturbed?—Thosewhose Christianity was the least an affair of the life and of the heart.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.15

    13. What then did they do?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.16

    As they had not enough conscience, nor love of right, to do what they consider to be right, they demanded that the State should take away from them all opportunity to do that which they deemed to be wrong.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.17

    14. How is the matter worked now?—The same way precisely.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.18

    15. Was the Papacy content with State laws stopping games in closing theatres?—No, all manner of work must be stopped.SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.19

    16. Will the image of the Papacy be content with laws stopping Sunday trains, and abolishing Sunday newspapers?SITI August 17, 1888, page 505.20

    “Let a man be what he may, Jew, seventh-day observer of some other denominations, or those who do not believe in the Christian Sabbath—let the law apply to everyone, that there shall be no public desecration of the first day of the week, the Christian Sabbath, the day of rest for the nation they may hold any other day of the week is sacred, and observe it; but that day which is the one day in seven for the nation at large, let that not be publicly desecrated by anyone, by officer in the Government, or by private citizen, high or low, rich or poor.”—Dr. McAllister, editor Christian Statesman.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.1

    17. Why did they want to compel people to keep Sunday?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.2

    Because “he who does not keep the Sabbath [Sunday] does not worship God.”—Elgin Convention.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.3

    18. Then what is the purpose of all their Sunday laws?—To compel all men to worship.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.4

    19. What is it in reality that they will compel men, by this means, to worship?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.5

    “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and then which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” Revelation 13:12.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.6

    20. What grew out of the Sunday-law movement in the fourth century?—The beast.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.7

    21. What will justice surely grow out of this Sunday-law movement in our day?—The image of the beast.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.8

    22. What did the beast do?—He made war with the saints. Revelation 13:7; Daniel 7:21, 25.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.9

    23. What did the beast do?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.10

    “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and Bonn, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16, 17.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.11

    Resolved, That we give our patronage to such business men, manufacturers, and labors as observe the Sabbath [Sunday].”—Elgin Sunday-law Convention.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.12

    24. What further will the image of the beast endeavor to do?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.13

    “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.14

    25. Is it in the minds of these National Reformers to do this?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.15

    At the Lakeside National Reform Convention, 1887, a certain person said of the enforcement of Sunday-laws, “There is a law in the State of Arkansas in forcing Sunday observance upon the people, and the result has been that many good persons have not only been in prison, but have lost their property and even their lives.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.16

    And Dr. McAllister replied: “It is better that a few should suffer then that the whole nation should lose its Sabbath.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.17

    26. Under what plea did the chief priests and Pharisees justify themselves in killing the Saviour?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.18

    “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should perish not.” “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” John 11:50, 53.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.19

    27. Will these in our day accomplished their purpose upon those who refuse to worship the beast and his image?SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.20

    “And I saw as it were a sea of class mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over is image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of class, having the hearts of God.” Revelation 15:2.SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.21


    IN the Christian Nation, December 14, 1887, Rev. W. T. McConnell, a representative national reformer, published an “open letter” to the American Sentinel, in which he said:—SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.22

    “You look for trouble in this land in the future, if these principles are applied. I think it will come to you if you maintain your present position. The fool hearty fellow who persists in standing on a railroad track may well anticipate trouble when he hears the rumble of the coming train. If he shall read the signs of the times in the screening whistled and flaming had-light, he may change his position and avoid the danger, but if he will be influenced by these is most gloomy forebodings of trouble will be realized when the express strikes him. So you, neighbor, if, through prejudiced or The in mentee of unregenerate hearts, you have determined to oppose the progress of this nation in fulfilling its location as an instrument in the divine work of regenerating human society, may rightly expect trouble. It will be sure to come to you.”SITI August 17, 1888, page 506.23

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