“Sunday-Law Theology” The American Sentinel 4, 21, pp. 169, 170.

THE president of the National Sunday-law Association, Col. Elliott F. Shepard, made a great speech May 18, in Brooklyn, N. Y., to the Kings County Sunday Association. Of course his speech was on Sunday laws, and he still insists, in spite of the denials of the two secretaries of the association of which he is president, that “the only authority for the Sabbath-day is to be found in the statutes and laws and commandments of the Lord God Almighty.” Dr. Crafts says that “Mr. Shepard don’t know very much about this.” Nevertheless, Mr. Shepard goes on as though he knew a good deal about it. Mr. Shepard seems to be quite a theologian in his way, and the professional theologians seem to think so too, because he is invited to their conventions, general assemblies, etc., to instruct them in regard to the limits and obligations of the ten commandments; they indorse his expositions of Scripture, by frequent manifestations of applause; and, from the assurance with which he sets out his views of Scripture and moral obligation, it evidently appears that he actually considers himself a theologian of no mean order.

We cite an instance or two illustrating the depth of his theological-lore. He says:—

“God rested upon the accomplishment of his work at creation, and his seventh day was man’s first day.”

Now the Bible says that on the sixth day God made man and gave him dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that moveth upon the earth. Then every beast of the field and every fowl of the air was brought unto Adam to see what he would call them, and he gave names to all cattle, and to the fowls of the air, and to every beast of the field. This was all on the sixth day, and for all that to be accomplished in the same day that he was created would seem to show that he must have been there on that day. Yet Mr. Shepard insists that he was not there until the next day. We have a sort of lurking suspicion that Mr. Shepard is wrong.

More than this, for all that to be accomplished on the sixth day would show that it mast have been not very late in the forenoon, at least, when man was created; and it would seem that if man should be able to accomplish all that is written in the Bible of that man in the same day that he was created, that that must have been his first day. We have always understood that a man’s birthday—the day of his entrance into the world—counted as his first day; but Mr. Shepard’s theology will have it that his first day is the next day after his birth.

Yet more than this. When Adam had named all the creatures upon the earth, it was found that there was not any fit to be a companion for him. Then that same day the Lord made the woman and brought her unto the roan, and married them—all this on the sixth day; yet Mr. Shepard’s theology will have it that even his wedding-day didn’t count, and that his first day, his birthday, in fact, did not come till the next day after he was married. We can’t shake off the suspicion that there is something wrong with CoL Elliott F. Shepard’s theology.

Another instance. Mr. Shepard says:—

“The Sabbath was his [man’s] first day, and he was prepared by this first day of rest for six days of labor.”

The Sabbath was his first day, and yet the first thing he had to do was to rest! Well, well! we have indeed heard it suggested that certain individuals were bore tired, but never before did we know that when the Lord created man, he made him tired.

Further, Mr. Elliott F. Shepard says that by resting on the first day of his existence man was prepared for six days of labor. This is another thing new under the sun. We have always understood that men rest after labor, and the whole world has understood it so, and has acted according to this understanding of the matter; but it must be that this is all wrong, because,but Shepard says so. He says that the rest comes first, in order that we may be prepared to labor.

Is it any wonder that after such a magnificent display of theological oratory as this, the divines and other members of the Kings County Association should greet the speaker with “applause”?

Just one more instance and we are done. Mr. Shepard says:—

“Mark, it was not the seventh day which he blessed, but the rest-day.”

Reader, please turn to Genesis, second chapter and third verse, and “mark” these words: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.” Then decide if you can that the Sunday theology of the president of the National Sunday-law Association is anything else than a downright fraud.

Theologically, Mr. Shepard’s statements are unworthy of anything but contempt; but yet there is a serious side to this thing which forbids its being passed by with the contempt which it deserves. Mr. Shepard and all those who are working for a national Sunday law propose to compel everybody in this Nation to accept that theology, and to act in conformity with it. They propose to have the National Legislature frame this stuff into a law; and then to have the courts of the United States adopt the same theology, and by their decisions uphold the law; and then [170] to have the executive department of the Government compel all people to receive it as the oracles of God. The stupendous impudence of such a proposition can be accounted for only upon the theory that again the “mystery of iniquity doth already work.”

A. T. J.

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