THAT Minneapolis Preachers’ Sunday crusade didn’t pan out quite as well as they proposed to have it. It was proposed in their original compact that on the evening of the third Sunday in January a large number of hacks or carriages would be retained and held for duty. The ministers were to be divided up into sets of threes and one of each set to make a short speech in one church and drive to another and then to a third, being followed in turn by each of the other two or his set, and thus the whole city was to be crusaded. But it didn’t all run smoothly. The first hitch in the proceedings was that the managers found that some of the ministers of the city were not as straight-laced in the matter of Sunday observance as they themselves were. The first onslaught was to be made against the Sunday newspaper as “the head of all offending.” But the managers found that some of the ministers were in favor of the Sunday newspaper. One of them in fact, Rev. L. G. Powers, openly declared that the Sunday paper “is more of a help than a hindrance to church work.”
The second hitch in the proceedings was a consideration of consistency. They proposed to start a crusade against all Sunday work and they found that it would not look very well at the very first step, in such a crusade as that, to use a large number of hacks or carriages; as this would necessitate work on the part of somebody to get the hacks or carriages ready, and for their work to do the driving, and yet for their work to put the horses and hacks in the stables after the evenings’ crusade was over, and all this work on Sunday. They concluded that it would never do to preach against Sunday labor and at the same time require so much labor to be done on Sunday. Consequently, their sets of three all dwindled down to one single set.
The sermons of the liberal ministers offset those of the ones who favored the strict observance of Sunday, while one minister declared that “the Lord and the Sunday newspaper cannot remain in the same house.” Another said:—
“The day must include everything that any man can find helpful. The Sunday paper, while it is of no use to the average preacher, is a great benefit to thousands of others. To thousands of toilers Sunday is the only day for reading. The Sunday paper gives them a view of the great world with its true activities. It helps them on one side of their nature as well as the church helps them on the other. The Sunday paper is more of a help then a hindrance to church work. Nine-tenths of all the money for the support of churches and charities in Minneapolis comes from the men who read the Sunday papers. Protestants are powerless to establish self-supporting churches, save among reading people; and the circulation  of the Sunday paper is a fair index of the reading habits of the people. It is easier to convert a man to Christ who reads the Sunday paper than it is to make a Christian of a man who does not read at all. People will read on Sunday. Preachers cannot stop them. In a certain neighborhood in this city where sixteen hundred Tribunes were taken, only twenty-two have stopped their Sunday issue, while nearly four hundred have taken the Sunday issue only. Of the twenty-two, two were preachers and twenty were laymen. If opposition, such as has been given, tends thus to add to the Sunday circulation, we need not expect to see the preachers destroy the Sunday papers. The opposition to the Sunday papers is made by good men. But good men are engaged in editing and publishing the Sunday newspapers. These facts should lead the preachers to hesitate a little in their crusade.”
Another minister who had spoken the Sunday before in favor of the opening of the public library on Sunday, said:—
“Since my sermon of last Sunday evening in favor of the library opening, I have been the recipient of various tracts upon Sabbath observance from people who … my soul in danger. For all this interest, thanks! In this severe weather I am grateful to any tract society that will kindly help to keep my fires burning. What do I care for all the councils that ever thundered upon this subject? What do I care how many ministerial associations have pronounced upon it? What do I care for all the Sabbath conventions that have ever been held? So long as I live, so long shall I take these principles regarding the Sabbath and apply them according to my best judgment. My advice to every one of my hearers is to do the same. A grain of common sense is worth a ton of theology.”
The Minneapolis ministers will have to get their forces a little better in hand before their crusade will amount to much. Dr. Strong, of the Evangelical Alliance, will have to make at least another visit or two to Minneapolis before he gets those forces sufficiently allied to make their work effective. We wait to see what turn will next be taken, and what form of Sabbath desecration it is against which the Minneapolis preachers will make their next crusade.
A. T. J.