AN agitation to arouse public sentiment in favor of Sunday enforcement, is going on in the city of Pittsburg, Pa. There the churches and a large labor union—the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers—have joined hands, and both labor and church parties are equally earnest in the movement. At a mass meeting held in February 19, resolutions were adopted denouncing the “Sabbath” work in certain mills of the city as being “unpatriotic, unconstitutional, and in direct opposition to the unalienable birthright of all toilers,” and pledging coöperation with the clergy “to stop this nefarious system by said firms.” A “monster mass meeting” of labor organizations is announced for some date in April, to further arouse public opinion against Sunday desecration.
The usual arguments were offered at this meeting in proof of the necessity of a weekly rest, and the usual effort made to set up a distinction in Sabbath observance on religious and civil grounds. No such distinction can exist in fact, since both civil and religious laws for Sabbath observance demand rest from secular employments as the foundation of the observance, and such weekly rest is itself distinctly a religious act. This has been made so by the act of God, and no amount of mass-meeting resolutions or of legislation can make it different. The Sabbath itself was created a religious institution, and no amount of argument or of legislation can give it a “civil” character.
The subject of Sabbath observance is everywhere inseparably bound up with varying religious views and practices of men and their convictions of conscience; and when the State steps in with its man-made law of Sabbath observance for one and all, the result can only be that far more harm will be done than good. In the matter of Sabbath legislation, human authority, power, and wisdom, come into conflict with divinity, and achieve only a failure as complete as their effort was unnecessary.
Sabbath observance is a law of God. To obey God’s law is the duty of one and all, and no human legislation is necessary to enable an individual to do his duty. Duty rests upon no such uncertain basis, and the law of God needs no such uncertain support. Let any individual decide to obey God’s law, and he will find support in that law itself. Duty is to do right without human assistance, the same as with it. The assistance necessary to right doing comes from God, and is amply sufficient for the demands of duty under all circumstances.
In Sabbath observance, as in any moral duty, men need look only to God, and they are bound to look to God rather than to man. Whoever looks away from the Creator and Author of the Sabbath, to man as a legislator concerning it, will surely be drawn into a snare.
“The Sabbath was made for man.” God made it and made it for man to-day, as in all other ages of time. Is the Sabbath then suited to man, just as God made it? It is if God knew enough to make it so; and as he made both man and the Sabbath, and is omniscient, there ought never any question to arise in any sane mind upon this point. Let the Sabbath and the law of observing it be as God has made it. Not to do so is to impugn the wisdom and authority of the Creator.