IT is announced that the Department of Sunday Rest of the World’s Fair Congress Auxiliary will hold meetings on September 28-30, at Chicago. The subjects discussed will be included in the following divisions: the Physiological, the Economic and Business, the Governmental and Political, the Social and Moral, and the Religious Relations of the Weekly Rest Day.
AFTER being closed one Sunday, the World’s Fair was again open on that day, July 30. The attendance was only 18,637. The game of battledoor and shuttlecock being played between the Sunday openers and the Sunday closers in the matter of the Columbian Exposition is in a sense interesting, though owing to the manner in which it has been conducted—in utter disregard of any correct principle—it cannot be viewed with any degree of satisfaction.
NOT content with stealing the fourth commandment to enforce the claims of Sunday, the Christian Statesman has also appropriated the term “Sabbatarian” and now applies to observers of the seventh day, the real Sabbatarians (see Webster), an epithet coined for the occasion, namely, “Saturdarians.” The Statesman is welcome to all such methods of warfare. Blackguards and fishwomen should have a monopoly of epithet hurling. It is quite beneath the dignity of any paper which is Christian in anything but in name.
THE Canadian Baptist of July 13, has the following to say on the Sunday-car question now being much agitated in Toronto:—
We argue the question upon social and moral, and not upon religious lines, because we hold firmly to the view that the religious side of the question is one with which civic councils and regulations have nothing to do. The sphere of men’s spiritual life is above their reach. We take it that whether street-cars run or do not run on Sundays, every Christian will feel that the question of the use he makes of Sabbath opportunities and privileges, and the influences he brings to bear upon others in relation to its high spiritual uses, will still be one between himself and his Master. From the religious point of view no Sabbath observance which can be enforced by civil statutes and penalties can be of any value in the sight of Him who “looketh upon the heart.”
It is comforting to see the Baptist thus take its stand firmly on the right ground—that religious duties enforced by law count for nothing in the sight of God. If the newspapers which are now clashing over the subject, the ministers, and all the citizens of Toronto would take this invincible position on this question, but little difficulty would be encountered in the settlement of it.
A ROMAN Catholic Church in Long Island City was destroyed by fire recently, and the pastor of a neighboring Baptist Church tendered the priest in charge of the Catholic parish the use of the Baptist house of worship. The kind offer was accepted with thanks, and now the reading public is being regaled with the usual amount of “gush” about “Christian union.” Such an occurrence as that in Long Island City is an indication not so much of prospective union between Romanism and Protestantism as it is of Protestants truckling to Rome. “Rome never changes.” Protestants can unite with “the Church” only by proving recreant to the very principles which gave them the name. The lamb and the lion may unite by the former taking a position inside the latter, and by the process of digestion becoming assimilated with the lion; not otherwise.
We would not lightly criticise a kind act; but when a Baptist pastor says in explanation of such an act, “We are simply performing an act of courtesy by aiding in this way, as much as we can, fellow-Christians who are in misfortune. We are all followers of the same Master,” he simply declares that he has no excuse for separation from the Church of Rome. Rome is either the Church just as she claims to be, to the exclusion of “the sects,” or she is antichrist, “the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” Protestants may unite with Rome, but only as the river unites with the ocean, namely, by flowing into and becoming a part of it. But even if union between Protestantism and Romanism were possible in any other sense, it would not be Christian union, for Rome is not Christian. Rome is pagan in everything except in name; and as the ocean gives its saltness to everything flowing into it, so Rome would necessarily give her character to everything “uniting” with her.
WHEN it was given out that the council of administration of the Columbian Exposition had determined to open the Fair on Sunday, July 30, in obedience to Judge Stein’s order, the president and secretary of the National Closing Committee, at Pittsburg, sent the council a telegram, saying:—
Any possible penalty for contempt of court in closing in accordance with law will be a trifle to the cost of incurring the everlasting contempt of the country for inefficiency and trickery in recent dealings with the Stein injunction if it results in even one re-opening.
Speaking of this telegram, President Higinbotham said:—
The people who sent that message certainly cannot understand the situation we are in. They seem to think that it would be better for all of us to go to jail for disobedience of that injunction than to incur their displeasure by keeping the Fair open. In other words those good people don’t want us to obey the law.
The motto of the Sunday closers, “We ask only obedience to law,” always has in it this unwritten clause: “when it is in accordance with our ideas.” They have no more respect for law than any other anarchists when it runs counter to their hobbies.
SPEAKING of the small Sunday attendance at the World’s Fair, the Mail and Express says:—
There are hundreds of thousands of visitors as well as citizens of Chicago and of circumjacent cities and towns who, while not overscrupulous as to their personal conduct on Sunday, do not propose to favor the national sanction of Sabbath desecration. These, with the millions of earnest Christian people who have protested against this stigma upon our institutions, have demonstrated that such a profane and infidel proceeding cannot succeed in this Christian land.
Just so; appearances, must be kept up at all hazards! If there is anything in the universe that is more empty than a barrel with both heads out, it is this hollow pretense which finds expression in governmental “piety” to atone for the lack of personal virtue.
THE Burlington Hawkeye having recently taken the ground that Sunday opening at Chicago “undermined the day of rest, and to that extent endangered the liberties of the people and the permanence of the Republic, the Evening Post, of this city, asked it “whether these results had followed in Iowa, where for a number of years the State Fair has been open on Sundays with a large number of visitors.” The Hawkeye makes no reply to this inquiry, “which,” says the Post, “is a virtual confession that the experience of its own State lends no support to its argument.” Another Iowa paper answers the Post’s question in these words: “We have never noticed any demoralization from this source.”
RELIGION comes to us as a supernatural thing, a revelation from God, regulating our duty toward God; and thus appeals to the consciences of men and binds them under penalties entirely beyond the power of human governments either to enforce or to revoke. This it is that places it beyond the domain of civil government, and removes it from the jurisdiction of human courts.