THE Christian Endeavorer is much exercised over the matter of “Sunday slavery” which is alleged to be very prevalent in this country. In its March issue it calls for the abolition of this Sunday slavery as the thing of first importance in work for the “rescue of the Sabbath.” “There are,” it says, “over a million people in the United States who are obliged to work on Sunday against their will.”
If the SENTINEL could but reach this million and more of people, it would say to them in the name and by the authority of Him who rules over all, You are not slaves at all, but free men, if you but will to have it so. We have better tidings for you than those who remind you of your slavery. You need not wait for the success of some movement on their part to set you free by law; you are free already. It only remains that you should assert your freedom.
This, of course, you may not be willing to do; but you can do it if you will; and if you do not, your slavery will be voluntary.
You are not compelled to work on Sunday against your will. No one is compelled to do this. You are, at most, only compelled to choose between Sunday work and the prospective suffering of pecuniary loss. But pecuniary loss is not the loss of liberty. The freest individual in the world is liable to pecuniary loss.
If you are in slavery, it is only because you do not know that you are free. That, indeed, is the common condition of mankind. Freedom, full and complete, has been purchased for all. The great emancipation proclamation for the race has been issued, over a name and seal that stand for all power and authority. The only thing necessary for any man is that he shall accept his freedom.
If the slaves of the South had refused to accept the freedom offered them in the proclamation of President Lincoln,—if they had chosen to remain just as they were, refusing to believe that they had been set free, or waiting for some law to be enacted compelling them to be free, they might have remained slaves until this day. In some instances they did, through ignorance, remaining until long after the edict of emancipation went out. But the vast majority were willing to take the freedom it brought them. They immediately took their liberty. But people are very much aloof to the soul liberty which is just as truly theirs.
By the sacrifice on the cross, the Lord has purchased this liberty for every individual so that it becomes to each a free gift. But a … not unless it is accepted. By accepting this it becomes the high prerogative of every person … always the dictates of his will and conscience.
This, of course demands faith in the person. It is faith that sustains the individual in personal freedom. His will being always to do that when he simply obeys the dictates of conscience as unto the Word, and leaves the results with God.
There is no reason whatever why any one should complain of “Sunday slavery.” The … such complaint should be conclusive evidence of the Christian character of the complainant.
The Christian simply trusts his God and … freedom. Whatever he believes God has … that he does, without reference to any arrangement established by man. Hence he is never without the enjoyment of Sabbath rest. Human customs and actions must, with him, adapt themselves to the word of God, and not the precepts of God to the rule.
And this is the liberty that every individual may assert. He must assert it, on the basis on which it is offered, if he is to realize it. If he waits for a law to compel him to realize it, he will not realize liberty. Soul liberty cannot be obtained that way.
We say again, there is full and complete liberty for this multitude in “Sunday slavery,” for the immediate realization, upon the basis God himself has established for it. God is the Author of liberty, and also the Creator of man. He is the God both of the Christian and the gentile. All men should be possessed of that means by which they may know the freedom which God gives, and become forever emancipated from their slavery. And why should the Christian Endeavorers hold them to anything else?