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    February 13, 1889

    “Sunday Law Meeting in Oakland” American Sentinel 4, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The meeting held in Hamilton Hall, Tuesday evening, January 22, in the interest of a Sunday law in California, was a very tame affair. The speakers read or recited their pieces in a perfunctory manner, having the appearance of men somewhat discouraged. Although they have little or no hope of getting any satisfaction at this session of the Legislature, they showed very clearly the spirit that underlies their movement, and the nature of the law that they want, and that is all that we are concerned about.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.1

    Dr. M. C. Briggs, of Santa Clara, and Dr. Dwinelle, of the Pacific Theological Seminary, were the speakers of the evening. In his opening prayer, Dr. Dwinelle prayed that the State might be awakened to the necessity of making Sunday not only a day of rest, but of moral quickening as well. In his remarks, he said: “The whole business of the community must cease practically, in order that all may have the benefit of the rest day.” That is to say, that the Doctor does not and cannot rest on Sunday, unless everybody else stops work. The untruthfulness of such a statement should be apparent to all. Thousands of people in the United States and in Europe, who rest on the seventh day, and who enjoy their rest and worship, and get all the benefit from it that there is in a rest day, show clearly enough that it is not necessary to have a law compelling everybody to rest, in order to accommodate a few.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.2

    Dr. Briggs’s speech was mostly a labored theological argument. It would be utterly useless to report him in this, for two reasons. First, because theology has nothing to do with the matter. If the Doctor could read on every page of the Bible a plain declaration that Sunday ought to be kept as the Sabbath, it would not have a particle of bearing on the matter of a State Sunday law. The State has no business to legislate in matters pertaining only to God; and second, because the Doctor stumbled so much over Hebrew roots, that his efforts excited only pity.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.3

    He did treat us to one brilliant, original piece of Biblical exegesis. Speaking of the phrase, “the morrow after the Sabbath,” which occurs a few times in connection with the Passover, he said: “The morrow after the Sabbath, is mentioned all the way along as following the Sabbath.” His conclusion was, that Sunday is the Sabbath! When such arguments as that are hurled at us our only refuge is silence. This may be taken as a fair sample of the arguments by which the necessity for Sunday laws is shown; and since it is less than nothing, we are driven to the conclusion that force of numbers will be the all-prevailing argument in taking away the liberties of the people.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.4

    When he struck the New Testament, he didn’t venture any such original thoughts, but contented himself with retailing the stale argument on the Greek of Matthew 28:1, and similar passages, where the word “week” is rendered from Sabbaton. The Doctor asserted that that text should read “the first of the Sabbaths,” instead of “the first day of the week.” This assertion was made with as much boldness as though all the scholarship of the world were not against such a rendering. Any Greek scholar or lexicon will tell him that the word Sabbaton has the meaning of “week,” as well as of “Sabbath.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.5

    While the Doctor was dwelling on this, we thought that we would like to quote to him Luke 18:12, where the Pharisee in the temple is represented as saying in his prayer, “I fast twice in the week.” Here the same word is rendered “week” as in Matthew 28:1; and according to Dr. Briggs’s theory of exposition, the text ought to read, “I fast twice in the Sabbath.” Just imagine that well-fed Pharisee clasping his hands aldermanic sides, while he sanctimonously raised his eyes, and said to the Lord: “I thank thee that I am not as other men are, for I abstain from eating twice every Sabbath-day”! This is absurd, but no more so than the renderings given by Dr. Briggs; so we may dismiss his Scripture argument.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.6

    When the Doctor came right down to the matter of a civil law compelling men to keep Sunday whether or no, he was more at home, and spoke with more freedom. Said he, “We don’t want to make men religious.” How often that is reiterated. One would think that there was nothing that these civil Sunday-law preachers dreaded so much as making men religious. He said that the Sunday law is designed only as a measure of protection to those who are dependent on others; a police regulation; a sanitary arrangement.” We can well believe that if it is ever enacted it will be a police regulation, and that is just what we oppose. We don’t want any police regulation of religious matters. As to sanitary arrangements, we would have more confidence in them if they originated with the medical fraternity, instead of the preachers.AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.7

    Only one thing more need be noted, and that is, his reason why there must be a law compelling everybody to rest on the same day. Said he, “If every man is at liberty to choose his own day of rest, my neighbor who doesn’t keep my day will work on my day, while I want to rest. So there must be one day for the whole community.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.8

    There you have an expression of the mean selfishness out of which all Sunday laws spring. “My neighbor will work on my day, unless there is a law compelling him to observe it.” Very likely; but how about Doctor Briggs? Will he not work on the day on which his neighbor wants to rest? Why, of course; but then, “what rights has my neighbor, that I am bound to respect? I’m in the majority.” We don’t wonder that men become infidels, when Doctors of Divinity, who profess to be living exponents of Christianity, show such an unrighteous disregard for the rights and feelings of others. The gospel which they teach is one which says, “Whatsoever ye would not that your neighbor should do to you, that do you to him if you feel like it and have the power.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 26.9

    We are happy to inform our friends that Christianity has nothing in common with such teaching. Christianity leads men to be considerate of others; and if a man is weak and in the minority, that is the very one whom true Christianity would seek out and protect. As we left the meeting, musing on the heartlessness of the men who are clamoring for Sunday laws, we could think only of these words, “O my soul, come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly; mine honor, be not thou united.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 27.1

    E. J. W.

    “A Sign of the Times” American Sentinel 4, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Christian Statesman of November 29 had an article copied from the Christian Intelligencer, about the amount of business done by photographers on Sunday. Following are a few paragraphs from it, which will serve to show the drift of sentiment in regard to such labor:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.1

    “It is hardly probable that the Christian people of this city are aware of the extent to which the Sabbath is violated by the photographers. Many of the principal galleries are filled with waiting patrons, and their largest business is done on the Sabbath.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.2

    “The famous galleries, although not exactly open to the public, are ready to make appointments, and prefer that day to execute the pictures of the popular actors, singers, etc.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.3

    “And most of the small places, after passing a dull week, erect to make up on the Sunday business enough to give them a profit over the week’s expenses.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.4

    “There is a wholesome law against this transact tug business on the holy day, but it is not enforced.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.5

    “A few years ago an attempt was made to close up the violators of the Sabbath, but it was not successful, and several of the prominent men in that effort, seeing no remedy, now keep open, and find their purses better filled, their bank account much larger, and their credit much better with the stock dealer. Now in view of this truthful statement, what is the duty of the Christian public in this matter?”AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.6

    The article carries with it its own answer to the last question, that is, from the standpoint of the Statesman and the Intelligencer.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.7

    The plainly implied demand is that such business should be stopped by law. And this indicates to what lengths the instigators of the Sunday-law movement will go when they have secured the legislation which they want, and have the power in their hands. It shows that a system of espionage will be inaugurated, and that nobody’s privacy will be sacred from the prying intrusion of the minions of such an iniquitous law.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.8

    There is no business that is conducted with more quietness than the business of photography. Nothing is less calculated to disturb public worship or private devotion. Even a monk in his cloister could not be disturbed by the business of a photographer next door, if he were not informed of its proximity.AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.9

    When the photographer may be arrested for quietly conducting his work in an upper room on Sunday, then no person will be exempt. Some zealous individual, anxious for political preferment, will find out that the merchant is in his private office on Sunday, looking over his ledger, and forthwith the merchant will be arrested. The lady who takes in sewing may be arrested for making button-holes or fitting a garment in her back parlor, on Sunday. The literary man who writes for hire may be arrested for quietly working at his desk on Sunday. In short, from such a wholesale stoppage of Sunday work as is desired by the Statesman, the Intelligencer, and all who may be classed as National Reformers, it will be but a step to the arresting of every citizen who is found away from church on Sunday, unless detained by sickness. That this is not an exaggerated conclusion is evident from the statement of Dr. Herrick Johnson, that he longed for the breath of the Puritan, for the Puritan Sabbath; and this is just what was done in the days of the Covenanters and Puritans. Robert Wodrow, a Scotch ecclesiastical historian, of whom it is said that his “veracity was above suspicion,” and of his writings, that “no historical facts are better ascertained than the accounts ... to be found in Wodrow,” makes the following statement concerning the methods used to secure attendance at church:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 28.10

    “It is thought expedient that ane baillie with tua of the session pas throw the towne everie Sabbath day; and nott aie as they find absent fra the sermones other afoir or efter none; and for that effect that they pas and aerehe sic houss as they think moist melt.”—Selections from the Records of the Kirk Session, Presbytery, and Synod of Aberdeen.AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.1

    In modern English this is as follows:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.2

    “It is thought expedient that one bailiff with two of the session pass through the town every Sabbath day, and note such as they find absent from the sermons either before or after noon; and for that effect that they pass and search such houses as they think most meet.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.3

    In his “Collections” he says: “The session allows the searchers to go into houses, and apprehend absents from the kirk.” Now when one of the great cries for a Sunday law is because people do not go to church, and when the only ground for stopping a photographer from working in the seclusion of his own room, could be that he was staving from church and at least inviting others to do so, the conclusion is inevitable that when the clamorers for a Sunday law get what they want, they will make no scruple of going into any house where they have reason to suspect that anybody is working on Sunday, and arresting the occupants.AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.4

    Are we not warranted in saying that the liberties of the American people are in danger? Is it not high time that the people were awakening to the alarming growth of the religious legislation evil? Who will protest against the degeneracy of Protestantism?AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.5

    E. J. W.

    “Showing Its Parentage” American Sentinel 4, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the (Detroit) Christian Herald’s brief report of the National Sunday Convention at Washington, the President, Col. Elliott F. Shepard, is reported as having said that “Congress and the law-making powers in this country have virtually repealed the fourth commandment.” By this he of course referred to the failure to enforce Sunday observance. It is not our intention to make any argument on what is plain enough without, namely, that Sunday and the fourth commandment have nothing whatever to do with each other; that we pass for the present. But taking him on his supposition, that repealing the fourth commandment would affect Sunday, we wish to point out sharply the position which the National Sunday Union proposes to assume. Note well the following:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.6

    Allowing that the failure to enact laws compelling people to keep Sunday, or the repealing of those already in existence, is a virtual repeal of the fourth commandment, then it follows that in their efforts to secure the enactment and enforcement of such laws, they are working for the re-enactment of the fourth commandment. Is not that a logical conclusion? Certainly it is, and Colonel Shepard, as the representative of the Union, would admit it. Then mark this point:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.7

    It was the Lord Jehovah who spoke the fourth commandment, with the other nine, from Sinai. It was God who enacted that law. Therefore the National Sunday Union, consisting of the National Reform Association, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and various religious organizations, in proposing to re-enact the fourth commandment, is proposing to put itself in the place of God. Not only so, but it is putting itself above God, by assuming that it is more competent to vindicate his law than he is himself. In this it is showing itself a true child of the Papacy, that “man of sin,” the “son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Is not the likeness perfect? In other words, Is it not trying to make of this nation an image of the Papal beast? E. J. W.AMS February 13, 1889, page 29.8

    “Who Are Working for the Sunday Law?” American Sentinel 4, 4.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Our National Reform friends, and all who are laboring so zealously to secure a Sunday law, have a good deal to say about our opposition to such a law. They accuse us of joining with infidels, and with those who are not in harmony with law and order and good government. As a matter of fact, we have not joined with anybody in our opposition to Sunday laws. We are against such laws, because we know that the State has no right to legislate concerning matters of religion, and because we know that such laws are unjust, and oppressive, and contrary to the spirit of true Christianity. If anybody else sees the injustice of such laws, and opposes their passage, or works against them on any ground whatever, we have no objection to make. This is a free country yet, and will continue to be so until National Reformers secure the control of it. We do not oppose Sunday legislation by the State because somebody else does; if everybody else should favor such laws, we should oppose them just the same.AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.1

    But we cannot see that National Reformers are in a position to denounce us very much because we oppose the same thing that men do who are not Christians. On the ground that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones, it becomes them to be cautious. In the Lutheran Observer’s enthusiastic report of the Sunday Convention held in Washington, we find this statement:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.2

    “The church in which the convention was held was festooned with petitions from probably ten millions of people, representing Protestant and Papal churches, labor unions, saints, and sinners.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.3

    No truer statement was ever made than this last. We venture the assertion that if the facts could be known, it would appear that the sinners outnumbered the saints in the proportion of ten to one. Yet the saints (?) who are engineering the Sunday movement are perfectly willing and very anxious to receive the co-operation of those very sinners, while they endeavor to heap contempt on us because some who do not profess to be Christians happen to oppose their work. Truly, consistency is a jewel not found among National Reformers or their allies.AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.4

    The Congregationalist, also, in its issue of December 20, 1888, said of this effort to secure Sunday legislation:—AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.5

    “A thing to be noted specially is that the movement affords ground for, and already has secured of a large degree, the support of many who work for purely secular ends.”AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.6

    They claim to be doing gospel work, and yet they bid for the support of those who have no interest in the gospel, but who from professedly selfish motives. Polluk describes one who stole the livery of the court of Heaven to serve the devil in. This looks to us very much like stealing the devil’s tools to serve the Lord with. Anything to win! seems to be their motto. It is a common saying, that politics makes strange bed-fellows, and National Reform politics differ in no respect from the rule.AMS February 13, 1889, page 30.7

    E. J. W.

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