“Sunday at Toronto” The American Sentinel 7, 2, pp. 11, 12.

TORONTO, Ontario, has enjoyed for some years the perfect cessation of all forms of business on Sunday. The street cars are stopped and every wheel of commerce and industry ceases to move. But this “Sabbath hush” in Toronto, so often dwelt upon by the ardent admirer and advocate of Sunday laws, was destined to a great disturbance. A short time since the Mayor of the city called on the people to vote, on whether or not they would have the street cars on Sunday. As might be expected, the believers in Sunday laws are up in arms about it, and seem to think that the Mayor has done a very wicked thing in even thinking to submit this question to the people, or in any way stir it up.

G. M. Milligan, “Convener Toronto Ministerial Association Committee,” in descanting upon the Mayor’s proposition to the people and explaining a petition that his association is circulating, in regard to the proposed Sunday street cars, says in the Mail:

The position of the association is that the proposition now made to run Sunday street cars is an invitation to this city to decide whether it shall or shall not desecrate the Lord’s day. It is in short an invitation to debate whether we shall keep or break God’s commandments. Such an invitation, when duly meditated upon, it to all right-minded people insulting alike to God and man. It is the duty of the people not to let pass this opportunity of telling the City Council that it went beyond its powers that God settled long ago for the good of men, when he enjoined that their secular [12] occupations should give place to those directly and formally religious one day in seven, and that all activities on his holy day should be made to subserve their spiritual interests.

Judging from the whole tenor of Mr. Milligan’s article, it seems that he does not mean what a strict analysis of the above language would convey. Yet nevertheless in his zeal he has inadvertently uttered an important truth. Does he mean it when he says “It is the duty of the people not to let pass this opportunity of telling the city council that it went beyond its powers when it asked the people to legislate upon matters which God settle long ago for the good of men,” etc.? If the principle he states is correct, then when Toronto made her first Sunday law was when the wrong was committed. If God enjoins the observance of a day, nothing is added to it by enforcing it upon men by civil law. This is a cardinal point that should never be lost sight of. In giving man his time, God reserved to himself the seventh day to be devoted to him and his worship. Civil law can only enforce idleness on that day. It can neither put religion or worship in it. Worship can only come from the individual who renders it of his own choice and from will. A man’s time is his own, barring the exception of the seventh day, and that is a claim God alone has on him, and to be settled between him and God and not between him and the State. And Mr. Milligan stated a great truth in the above quotation, if he only means what he says. [14]

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