“The Rest Question” American Sentinel 12, 49, pp. 769, 770.

JESUS CHRIST said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This is not one of the “recently discovered sayings” of Christ, but has been in the Bible all along, and we may suppose, therefore, that it is familiar to, and firmly believed by, every member of the Christian church.

And to all such, this saying ought to come with peculiar force at the present time; for it is a fact, as everybody knows, that the “rest” question is agitating and troubling the industrial world more than anything else at the present time.

Yet it is also a fact, too plain to be denied, that the church forces are advocating a method of settling this question which is wholly different from that set forth in the Scriptures. Their method is not by invitation, but compulsion. They would compel every person in the land to refrain from work upon each first day of the week.

For years the working men have been agitating for an eight-hour day. That is their method of gaining the rest which they desire. Nor is it a surprising one to be advocated by associations of a worldly character. But [770] it is surprising that an association which claims to be altogether unworldly in character, should, in the very face of the words of Christ, propose to give men rest by civil enactment.

From the Christian standpoint, these words of divine invitation constitute the true basis upon which this rest question must be settle for all men. For it is actual rest which this invitation holds out to all. It is no figure of speech, but a literal statement. And everybody who has accepted it, and tried it, knows that it is literally true. No one who has found the rest that is in Christ, is complaining to-day that he does not have rest enough to satisfy every physical need.

And it is easy enough to see why this is so. For when an individual comes to Christ, he brings himself into harmony with the purpose of God for humanity in this fallen world, and that purpose embraces everything that is for man’s benefit. And God, who created man, knows better than any one else just how much rest man needs. It was God who, in the beginning, ordained that man should live by the sweat of his brow, and who provided for him the weekly day of rest.

The Being who made man has himself provided a rest for man: and he has set forth that rest in the words of the fourth commandment. It is recorded that God himself set the example in this respect, and that “on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” In the rest which God has provided there is refreshment: but in the rest which the state provides, there is only turmoil and trouble. For it will not be denied that the police have harder work in taking care of a city full of people which they are idle, than when they are at work.

It is to this rest, with its refreshment, that the individual comes when he accepts the invitation, “Come unto Me.” There is rest in Christ at all times,—rest for the heart, rest for the mind, rest for the whole being: but there is the special rest of the Sabbath,—the seventh day, which God blessed for the benefit of mankind. Let an individual come to Christ, accept the seventh day of rest from work as God has commanded, and see if he does not find all the rest that he needs. We have never heard of a case in which it was not so.

The working men are, many of them, under a heavy yoke. But the Saviour says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;” “for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light;” and he gives the assurance, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” It is not surprising that the world should not believe these words; but it is certainly to be expected that the church will believe them, and will make them the basis of her work for the betterment of mankind. It is certainly to be expected that, as the church views the prevalent conditions which emphasize the world’s unrest, she will throw all her energies into the proclamation of the divine message which alone can provide the remedy.

Does not the rest ordained and provided for man by the Creator, exactly meet the requirements of man’s nature to-day? Is it not the only rest that will supply man’s need? and is not this rest to be secured alone by acceptance of the gospel invitation? Does not the church, at least, believe this? and is it not her mission to proclaim this to all the world, and that to the full extent of her ability? Is it not, then, “another gospel” to which the church is turning, in proclaiming rest for mankind by the force of civil law?

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