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Sunday Laws Anti-Christian
By H. A. Weaver
HE espousal of Sunday laws by the fourth or Sabbath commandment, the
ministers of the gospel is repudi- state must not interfere. This is what
ation of the teachings of the Son man owes to God. And here is where of God, who, when among men, defined the sabbatic institution rests till God is the limits of civil government and the through with civil governments and sets legitimate operation of law in earthly up a government of His own. Any mangovernments as pertaining only to things made government, therefore, which purely civil.
He thus placed all re- makes and enforces a Sabbath law overligious obligation on the basis of indi- reaches its divinely appointed limits, and vidual responsibility to God. The Great sooner or later will persecute. All hisTeacher said: “Render therefore unto tory teaches this. Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and It is the sacred duty of both churchunto God the things that are God's.” man and statesman to learn from God Matt. 22:21.
and history the limitations placed on Sabbath keeping rests, not
church and state and then to see that ground of civil obligation, but upon re- each operates within its own sphere. ligious convictions and conscience. “The Because an idea is enacted into law, it seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord does not follow that the law is right and thy God," says the divine commandment'. the dissenter wrong. It is well said by The sabbatic institution, whether it is some one that laws do not create princiheld to be Saturday or Sunday, involves ples, but principles laws. The law itself worship. Its violation is not a crime may be wrong and the dissenter right. per se, but a sin. And civil government Perhaps the law ought to be repealed inis not equipped with machinery delicate stead of enforced. It all depends on enough to deal with sin. God will attend the principles involved. Concerning the to that in the last great judgment. death of Christ the multitude cried, “We
Citizens of all governments, in virtue have a law, and by our law He ought to of being human beings, are bound by die." John 19: 7. And because of their the sabbatic command to render the Sab- malice He did die. Were the Jews and bath, not to Cæsar, but to God. The the Romans right and Chrisť wrong! breaking of the Sabbath law is not a Let Christendom answer. A law enacted crime per se. It does not rest upon the by the Chaldean government infringing same basis as robbery, murder, bigamy, on the rights of conscience, was enforced slander, or tax dodging. When Christ and three of the Hebrew nobility were was asked to classify the commandments, cast into the “burning fiery furnace." He defined them in such a way as to make Was the law right and were these young it clear that the first four grow out of men wrong in their disregard of its the spiritual relationship and obligation claims ? Let the Son of God, who rescued of man to God; while the last six clearly them (Dan. 3:25, 26), and Nebuchadproceed from the natural relationship nezzar, who bore witness, answer. The of man to man, all children of the same answer has been given. The young men Father. With the latter requirements were right, and the law was wrong. the state can deal on the ground of con- Again, a small group of bigoted reserving civil rights, but it is limited ligionists, devoid of a knowledge of the even then to dealing with criminal acts sacred principles of the rights of conand not with sinful thoughts. But with science, succeeded by questionable meththe first four of God's precepts, including ods in getting a religious idea, or more
strictly speaking, bias, made into law can, to the wilderness in the midst of an and recorded on the unchanging statutes inhospitable winter, at the mercy of savof the Medes and Persians. And the ages, and that perpetrated numerous great and good man Daniel, highly re- other outrages on civilization ? spected even by the king, was made the Americans, Christians, and all well-balvictim. The official
anced, clear-thinking who himself stood
men unite in deprefor the enforcement
cating Sunday laws of civil law – Dan
because of their hisiel, next to the king
tory written in charin authority in the
acters of blood. They empire, as secretary
have been tried and of state - ignored
found wanting. the law thus im
When states and properly function
nations commit ing. (See Dan
themselves to such iel 6.) Was the law
laws and their enright? Pointedly
forcement, only to now, was it? The
find them largely invery wild beasts,
operative, it is not whose hungry jaws
the people who diswere in this named
regard such laws as executors of the
who are to blame, law's penalties, were
but the vicious laws made, under the in
themselves. fluence of a just and
The Sunday law mighty God, to ut
reformers say, ter a dumb answer
“Give us good Sunthat has been widely Charles H. Spurgeon, the Eminent
day laws, wellenheard: The law was English Baptist Preacher Who
forced by men in unjust. Silence and Opposed Sunday Labs
local authority, and fear spoke elo
our churches will quently in the presence of innocence and be full of worshipers, and our young intelligence. Truly it was the law and men and women will be attracted to the not Daniel that was wrong.
divine service.” What an admission it Where is the Christian who will not is on the part of the Christian ministry admit that the law of Rome which be- to say that the only way in which young headed Paul and crucified Peter and at- men and women can be attracted” to tempted to boil John and made torches the church on Sunday is by means of of scores of Christians and banished the sheriffs, policemen, constables, etc. Has teachers of truth, was emphatically the gospel minister lost his hold on that wrong from the standpoint of Christ's “all power ... in heaven and in teaching and from the modern American earth,” which the Saviour promised to conception of human rights ?
give to His ministers as a means of “aiWhat fair-minded person, preacher or tracting ” men and women to the gospel ? layman, will not protest against the un- Must he now turn to the power of civil godly laws that created the Spanish law to get people to the place of worship? Inquisition, burned Reformers, tortured
If so, no wonder that the masses choose so-called witches, burned holes in the the theater and ball park and Sunday tongues of Quakers, whipped Puritan concert in preference to going to church. Sabbath breakers, banished honest Roger An eminent jurist some years ago exWilliams, the first truly great Ameri- pressed the right idea in these words:
ing on edom
for the generalization that the political tyrants of the Restoration forced a religious freedom on a colonial community whose dominating minority did not want it, while the colonies wrested political freedom from the Crown. The clash between a theocratic tyranny on this side and a political tyranny on the other resulted in the destruction of both, to the vast betterment of every human interest involved.
It was a long, stubborn, determined struggle between forces, neither of which had much capacity for yielding or compromise. In one way or another, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, it was going on practically throughout the entire period from the beginning of the colony at Plymouth to the end of the Revolutionary War and the recognition of independence. Looking back upon it We may say that it was inevitable, and that the end which came to it was inevitable conclusion. But things which look inevitable
in the retrospect, conclusions 30,000 people on the Occasirn of the
which seem inescapable when Plymouth, Mass.
the long scroll of developing events can be unrolled before the mind's eye, are
never so apparent during the process insisting on a wider measure of reiigious
of their evolution. tolerance in these colonies. Ultimately,
That manifest destiny whose directunder the Crown's insistence, the fran
ing hand we descry when we survey the chise was widened by placing it on
long processes of history, would doubtproperty-holding basis rather than on
less have brought at last the happy state that of church communion. It was a dis
of both political and religious freedom. tinct liberalization, a significant broad
But without that co-operation of forces, ening of the civic foundation. If a Stu
that reaction of influence between the old art king took from these colonies the right to choose their own governors, he
England and the new, we may well doubt also undertook to forbid those excesses of
whether the light of the new day would religious zeal which led to persecutions have broken through to shine upon the for conscience' sake.
better fortunes of an emancipated race “In short, there is some justification without a struggle longer, by generations,
© U. & U., N, Y.
President Harding and Party in Revieping Stand, Plymouth, Mass.
Vice-President Coolidge; and William S. Kyle.
Photo, U. & U. N. Y.
Pageant Grounds, on the Occasion of the Pilgrim Tercentenary