“Compel Them to Respect Our Religious Prejudice” American Sentinel 9, 49, pp. 386, 387.

REV. H. BEER, an Episcopal minister, of Redwood, Minn., makes a vigorous protest in the Redwood Gazette against Sunday work, in the following arrogant language:—

MR. EDITOR:—Will you kindly give me space in your valuable paper to call attention to the fact that the mechanics were working on the jail on Sunday last. If these people have no decency enough to have some regard for our religious sentiment, then it will become our duty to compel them to respect our religious prejudices. We have a right to be considered as well as they. We do not want any work done in our town on the Lord’s day, and since the jail is our own building, we consider we have something to say in the matter. We remind the offenders that there is a State law against work on the first day of the week, so if they have lost all respect for the law of God, we can compel them to pay respect to the law of the land; though we confess we should be very reluctant to do so.

While we are writing, it may not be amiss to state, for the benefit of those who haul hay, wood, etc., on Sunday, and those who engage in ball play and such sports on that day, that they render themselves liable to a fine of from one to ten dollars.

Of course the jail builders will have the usual clap-trap excuse, that they are trying to rush the building so as to have it inclosed [sic.] before winter, but we can put them on a better way of rushing it, than by working on Sunday. Let the contractor employ a half dozen of those unemployed men who are said to be looking for work, let him work them for all they are worth on the six days, and then there will be no need to break the law of God and man, and insult the religious sentiments of our community by desecrating the Lord’s day.

It would be quite a joke on them if they rushed the building by working on Sunday, and got it finished just in time for their own accommodation. H. BEER.

Besides calling attention to the over-bearing, dictatorial tone of this letter, we wish to ask the writer how men “break the law of God” by working on Sunday, the first day of the week?

The law of God says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work.”

Having shown that Mr. Beer is in conflict with the law of God, it is now proper to show that he is also in conflict with the creed of his own church. Here is the position of his church as printed in the catechism:—

Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday?


What, then, does this universal custom in the church seem to show?

It shows that the change of day was one of those “things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (like infant baptism, confirmation, liturgic worship, etc.), concerning which Christ gave “commandment” to his apostles after he rose from the dead. Acts 1:2, 3. [186]

And here is another statement of the case from a standard Protestant Episcopal work which will show that labor on the first day of the week does not violate the [387] law of God, but only the traditions of the church:—

There are some points of great difficulty respecting the fourth commandment.

In the first place we are commanded to keep holy the seventh day; but yet we do not think it necessary to keep the seventh day holy; for the seventh day is Saturday. It may be said that we keep the first day instead; but surely this is not the same thing; the first day cannot be the seventh day; and where are we told in Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day. There is another difficulty on this subject: We Christians, in considering each of the ten commandments, turn to what our Lord says in explanation of them; for in the sermon on the mount he says, that “not one jot or title” of the law shall fail; that he has come “not to destroy but to fulfill” the law; and then he shows in the instance of the sixth, seventh, and third commandments, how he will require them to be fulfilled by Christians, not in the letter only, but in the spirit, the heart, and thought….

The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church, has enjoined it. [187]

And now we counsel Mr. Beer to read the fourth commandment and his church catechism before he writes another letter threatening to have men fined and imprisoned for breaking the law of God by working on Sunday. [392]

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