SABBATH-KEEPING—as designating the religious observance of a weekly rest-day—is plainly shown by existing conditions to be on the decline among the Protestant bodies of this country, with one exception. That exception is the class of people who observe the seventh day of the week. And note: their Sabbath-observance is not anywhere supported by human law, is in many States discouraged by law, and is everywhere against the tremendous force of popular practice and belief. This Sabbath observance is not declining, but growing; while the other, which has all the Sunday laws behind it and the support of popular custom and tradition, is passing away. How do you account for it? And what is demonstrated by it as regards the utility of Sunday laws?
THE “American Sabbath” is passing away; that is, the religious regard for Sunday is dying out, as it pointed out in the article quoted from the New York Sun, page 373. But the desire to enforce Sunday observance by law is not dying out. A person may desire to enforce Sunday on others who cares nothing for it himself; this has been seen over and over in the cases that have been brought into the courts. The enforcement of religious observances is religious persecution, and religious persecution will never die out as long as the religion of Christ is in the world. Religious persecution is in most case not prompted by a regard for religion, but by a desire to get rid of the witness which religious truth gives against religious error, which righteousness gives against unrighteousness. It is the repetition of the story of Cain and Abel.