“The ‘Civil Sabbath’ ‘Corpse’” American Sentinel 12, 31, pp. 483, 484.

THE likening of the “civil sabbath” to a corpse, which would become offensive and demand burial, was a feature of one of the speeches made at the late Christian Endeavor convention in San Francisco. The occasion was a meeting of the “Sabbath Observance Committee” of the convention at the Central M. E. Church, July 9. The speaker—who represented Wisconsin in the sabbath observance department of the society—said:—

“The holiness of the [rest] day is the soul of it. Without that it becomes a dead corpse, something that will fill the land with poison, and the land would be ready to bury the sabbath whenever the soul is taken from it. We must teach the workingmen of the land that in order to secure the rest part of the day they must keep it holy.”

Now, as the “civil sabbath” does not pretend to be a holy day, but is simply a rest day or sabbath prescribed by the civil law, it is according to this speaker’s language nothing else than a dead corpse, whose burial the land will demand unless it can have a soul put into it to give it life. But the law cannot put a soul into it; the law cannot impart holiness to a day or cause it to be kept holy. All that the law can do is to make the “corpse,” which in itself is a menace to the whole land. Is this a proper thing for the law to do?

The words of this speaker are true. Holiness is the soul the Sabbath; and robbed of this quality it becomes [484] worse than useless. But what is to impart holiness to the “civil sabbath?” There will be vast multitudes of people all over the land observing the day because the law has commanded it, and not even pretending to keep it holy, because they do not care anything about religion. The great majority of the people here, as in other lands, are not Christians—do not, indeed, even belong to any church. And to each one of these the “civil” or soulless sabbath will be as a “dead corpse”—a “savor of death unto death.” This must be so, unless in some way these multitudes shall be converted to Christianity so that they will keep the Sabbath holy. But where is the promise that such a miracle will be speedily—or even—accomplished?

Yet the churches are calling for Sunday laws—for a “civil sabbath”—as if this were the one great thing which the country needs. Do they think the country needs the polluting presence of a “dead corpse”? Do the rest of the people think so?

If not, then let us dispense with the “civil sabbath.”

It should be remembered, too, that only God can make a day holy; and there is no proof that He ever hallowed the day set apart by the Sunday statutes.

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