THERE are in progress in the United States—and elsewhere—two movements which aim at a reformation in the observance of the “Sabbath.”
One of these movements depends for success upon the enactment and enforcement of laws by which all persons will be compelled to observe the day. The other, representing but a small minority of the people, could not if it would call to its aid the arm of the civil power. It depends for success wholly upon the spiritual power of truth.
Both of these movements are making progress; they are both marked. But the latter is, in principle, a direct contradiction of the former.
With the vast preponderance of numbers, influence, and wealth on its side, the movement for a stricter and more general observance of Sunday, claims that legislation and prosecution are necessary to turn the people to an observance of the Sabbath. On the other hand, the movement for the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath asserts that legislation, so far from being a help to Sabbath observance, is a positive and formidable hindrance  to it; and proceeds upon its way independently of legislation and of popular custom and belief.
It proceeds even in spite of legislation, and in the face of every obstacle which lies naturally in the pathway of that which is unpopular.
And by this very thing it is demonstrated beyond any possible question that Sabbath reform does not depend upon legislation in any form.
If a movement which has neither wealth, numbers, social influence, tradition or popular custom back of it, but must move against all these things, can do so without the aid of any legislation whatever, and even against the decree of the civil power, cannot a movement which has all these in its favor, proceed without the help of legislation?
If it cannot, it is certain that it is lacking in some vital point,—that it has some inherent weakness which is fatal to its life; so that at best if can only be a dead reform, instead of one which can impart moral life to the people.
The movement which calls people to observe the seventh-day Sabbath is unpopular. It calls upon men to sacrifice—to give up position, money, social standing, and everything savoring of worldly honor and advancement. Yet in spite of all this, it is moving on rapidly, both here and in almost all nations and peoples of the earth.
If the movement for Sunday observance were moving forward with a rapidity, as compared with that for the seventh day, proportionate to the greater numbers, wealth and influence which it represents, it would be moving almost inconceivably faster than it is.
And that it does not do this, is proof positive that it is lacking in that in which the seventh-day Sabbath movement is strong; that is, the spiritual power of truth. There is in it no power of divine conviction.
Such a “Sabbath reform” therefore—however good in purpose and honest in belief its promoters may be—must be set down as a sham and a delusion. And it is certainly not the proper business of any legislature to try to further the progress of such a thing among the people.