November 24, 1892
IT is worth serious inquiry as to what will be the effect upon the churches of taking the Government of the United States in their hands, as they have done.
WHEN we find what will be the effect upon the churches, it can easily be seen what the effect will be upon the State. And seeing the effect on both Church and State, it will be easy to know what the effect will be upon society, as a whole.
NOR is this at all difficulty. The results of this procedure have already begun to appear in such measure as to present a perfectly safe criterion. The outcome may be known without any theorizing at all. All that is necessary is candidly to consider facts as they stand before the people at the present moment.
THE manner in which the churches succeed in getting the Government into their hands—this in itself contains a volume of instruction as to what the effect will be upon those churches. The complete history of this has already been given in these columns. We shall not repeat this any further than to print again the resolution that was sent up to Congress from the “evangelical” churches in all parts of the country, which, after prescribing what Congress should do with respect to the World’s Fair, runs as follows:—
Resolved, That we do hereby pledge ourselves and each other, that we will from this time henceforth refuse to vote for, or support for any office or position of trust, any member of Congress, either senator or representative, who shall vote for any further aid of any kind for the World’s Fair except on conditions named in these resolutions.
AMS is now universally known these threats succeeded, and both Senate and House yielded to this demand rather than to risk the threatened loss of votes and jeopardize their “coming back again.” It is likewise well know that those who thus secured this legislation have repeatedly announced since that this demonstrates that they can have anything they want, if they will only stand together in demanding it; and that the do intend to make such demands for further favors and further subjection of the Government. Now here are some questions worthy of the candid attention of every honest church-member in the land. If those who are already in Congress will thus play into the hands of the churches in order to “come back” there, then will not those who want to go there play likewise into the hands of the churches in order to get there? When, from this universal advertising, it is understood that the churches hold within their gift the offices and places of trust of the Nation, then will not these same churches become the chiefest objects of the courtship and solicitiation of the office-seekers of the land, and especially of the most unprincipled ones? Everybody knows that the only fair answer that can be made to these questions is, Yes, they will.
THEN, in order to make their courtship and solicitation for office most effectual, these men will become church-members themselves. And having joined the Church for political purposes they will use their membership for political purposes. And so far as they are concerned the churches will be but so many political clubs and coteries to be “worked” for all that can be made out of them. This is not theory, nor is it far-fetched. It is the plainly stated calculation of the leaders of the Sunday-law movement. For years it has been one of the standing principles of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union that “now when it is a question of preserving the Sabbath itself, and guarding the homes which are the sanctuaries of Christ’s gospel, we women believe that no day is too good, no place too consecrated, for the declaration of principles and the determining of votes.” And in an editorial notice of a Sunday-law meeting in this city, The Examiner (Baptist) said:
Congress may change its mind; the present is no time for jubilation; but is (and we beg pardon for the phrase) a time for wire-pulling and hard fighting.
NOW when it is so openly and so brazenly announced by those who are occupying the leading positions in the churches, that their “holy day” and their sacred places shall be turned into political hustings, and that they will devote themselves to “wire-pulling and hard fighting”—when these take the lead in this, is it not inevitable that the office-seekers who would court their influence and votes will do the same thing? In fact what else are these declarations of theirs but an open bid for such procedure on the part of just such classes as those?
NOR is political favor the only bid which these same churches hold out for the purpose of securing Sunday observance. The churches have financial as well as political gain at their disposal. In congratulating himself and his followers upon the success of their threatening efforts upon Congress, the president of the American Sabbath Union exclaimed:—
The form of the law is happy. It gives a premium of $2,500,000 on doing right. It proves in a concrete way that godliness hath great gain.
As these churches have it in their power thus to put a money premium upon doing the will of the Church, it is self-evident that in the nature of things they will speedily secure large accessions to their numbers in such “right” doing. When the Church is enabled thus to prove so readily in a concrete way, to her own  satisfaction, that “godliness hath great gain,” it is inevitable that there will be speedily added to her numbers those who will be able to prove just as readily to their own satisfaction that “gain is godliness.” And the deduction of these latter will be just as true and as honest as is this boast that the Church has already made.
NEITHER have they stopped with this attempt upon Congress, and the World’s Fair Directory. They are applying the principle in general practice. Witness the financial bargain—to give their moral and financial support—which the churches of Englewood, Chicago, made with the Marlowe Theatre to secure Sunday observance by the theatre; and the boycotting combination which the churches of the West Side, in the same city, entered into to secure Sunday observance by the dealers. This latter effort speedily bore living fruit which is significant of the whole line of things which we are here pointing out. This boycotting resolution to deal with nobody that opened on Sunday, was passed September 25. On October 11, another meeting of the same kind was held in another part of the city. The announcement and programme were printed on a large leaflet which was about half filled with advertisements, among which we find one put up in this style:—
MILLINERY A——————& B——————
FURNITURE Clothing, Dry Goods, Hats, Caps, Boots, Shoes
CARPETS Ladies’ and Gents’ Furnishing Goods.
TRUNKS 4——to 4——M——————Avenue.
ETC., ETC. We believe in the closing of shops and stores on Sunday, and have Always practiced it.
Another one runs thus:—
PIONEER ADVOCATES OF SUNDAY CLOSING.
Hatters and Furnishers,
P—NOT OPEN ON SUNDAY.—
MORE than this; we know of an instance wherein only last month, a money bribe was actually offered by the churches in a certain place, and the proposition was conveyed through a preacher, to secure the closing of a certain institution on Sunday. And in perfect consonance with this, if not actually suggestive of it, the Union Signal of October 20, 1892, publishes editorially, from Joseph Cook, the statement that “there is more wealth behind the churches and the respectable portion of society than behind all the opponents” of Sunday closing. The statement is worth reprinting in full as it is made in the very connection in which we have used it. It is as follows:—
In view of the vigor with which the right of petition is exercised by the opponents of Sunday closing [of the World’s Fair], we believe that it should continued to be exercised vigorously by the friends of Sunday observance, especially if there should prove to be the slightest danger of the reversal of the action of Congress. We urge alertness at all points of the compass, for our opponents are not likely to sleep, and portions of the press of the country favor them from obvious mercenary motives. So does the immense wealth behind the saloon. But there is more wealth behind the churches and the respectable portion of society than behind all the opponents. The forces of the churches are in this case substantially united, and are already triumphant in the preliminary contest.
YET more than this; they are actually coddling the saloons to secure Sunday observance by them. The Michigan Sabbath Watchman (local organ of the American Sabbath Union) for October, 1892, reprints an article from the American Sabbath Union (the national organ of the association of that name), entitled, “The Rochester Experiment,” in which the Sunday observing saloon is flatly declared to be “reputable” and even of “good repute.” It seems to be a report to the paper, from Rochester, in this State, giving a flattering account of the progress of Sunday observance by the saloons. The article is long, and we can present only a few extracts. Here is one:—
If liquor sellers can make as much, or nearly as much, by working six days as they can in seven, they will be foolish to deny themselves that extra day of rest.
And here is another:—
A more important and controlling consideration is that the liquor closing movement is an effort to place this business under the protection of law instead of making it contraband, as the opposite policy has done. It is incredible that reputable men, as the large proportion of liquor sellers are, shall prefer voluntarily to place themselves under the ban of legal as well as popular disapproval.
And here is yet another, and stronger, too:—
The effect of Sunday closing has been to sharply discriminate the reputable from the disreputable saloon, and certainly to the advantage of the former. How many of the reputable liquor sellers would wish to weaken the good repute of their establishments for the paltry patronage that disregard of their license obligations might secure?
True he states that “there is considerably more liquor sold Saturday night and used at home on Sunday than before the saloons were closed on that day.” Nevertheless he declares, “It is better every way for these customers to get their supplies the day before, and keep their business closed.”
AND all these things are being done by the leaders and managers of the churches in the United States—and professed Protestant churches at that. How much worse could they do if they made no pretensions to religion at all? But when these things are all being done, not only by professed religionists, but by the very ones who set themselves forth as the representatives of Christianity itself, how infinitely worse it is than if done by persons making no pretensions of religion! This is where the opposers of Sunday laws and Sunday observance are at a disadvantage. These Sunday law workers can, and do, and will, employ measures and resort to means that no man of any principle would ever think of. They will literally stop at nothing. With them the end justifies any and every means. The observance of Sunday, however secured, sanctifies every possible means that can be employed to secure it. This is evident from the facts which we have here set down—and that they are facts is patent to the whole people of the United States.
HOW exactly do these declarations and actions of these churches fulfill the prophecy that was spoken concerning them long ago—that they, as fallen Babylon, would “become the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird!” Revelation 18:2. That hold is now prepared. That cage is set. Its doors are open. And she is to-day holding forth the luring baits that will inevitably draw into her every foul spirit and every unclean and hateful bird. And how much longer can the Christians stays in these churches and under these leaders and managers without being partakers of their sins. There are Christians in these churches who are sighing and crying because of the evil and the abominations that are being wrought in them. And to these now God sends the call, “Come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4. There is but another step to take before her sins shall reach unto heaven and God shall remember her iniquities. Revelation 18:2, 5.
THERE is another scripture that describes this whole situation and system of things as it exists to-day. It is 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and runs as follows:—
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.
Think of it: a list of nineteen such dark iniquities as these, and all carried on by people having a form of godliness, a people making pretensions to Christianity. And, horrible to tell, they “shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived.” Verse 13. And the things which are to accomplish it are being done before the eyes of the people to-day. Is it not high time that whosoever would fear God should “from such turn away?” May Heaven help the people to see.
A. T. J.