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    December 31, 1906

    “Sunday Enforcement is Ruinous” The Signs of the Times, 21, 51, 645, 646.

    ATJ

    By A. T. Jones

    THE leaders in the Sunday movement make one of the foundation claims of their work the preservation of society, the state, the nation.” It is for this that they insist upon the enactment of Sunday laws. Accordingly they are always calling for more Sunday laws. It matters not what far-reaching Sunday laws may be already on the statute books, they call for still more Sunday laws, and the more vigorous enforcement of them all round.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.1

    Yet this whole thing is one of the most pernicious of fallacies. It is not only such pernicious fallacy in principle; but it has been abundantly demonstrated to be such in practice. Every point advocated by the Sunday-law workers to-day has been weighed in the balances of practice and of experience; and has been found utterly wanting. The whole thing has been tested on a world-theatre, and has been found absolutely vain and ruinous.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.2

    The greatest example of national ruin, the most complete destruction of the State, the most thorough annihilation of society, that has ever been seen on this earth, occurred where there were the most and the most far-reaching Sunday laws. That was in the Western Empire of Rome.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.3

    In A.D. 313 the Western Empire became “Christian.” In 314 the first State favour was shown for Sunday. In 321 the first direct Sunday law was enacted. And so it went on with one Sunday law after another, till by 425 every kind of secular work or amusement was strictly for bidden on Sunday. By that time, too, wickedness and corruption of every sort had multiplied in this “Christian” empire to such an extent that the judgment of God in destruction had already begun to fall unchecked.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.4

    In 351 the Franks and Alemanni swept like a fire, a space of one hundred and twenty miles from the source to the mouth of the Rhine.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.5

    In 400-403 the Visigoths carried destruction and devastation through Roumania and into Italy as far as to Milan.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.6

    In 405-429 a mighty host of Suevi, Vandals, and Burgundians ravaged Italy as far as to Florence, the greater part of Gaul, all of Spain, and all of Africa to Carthage.SITI December 31, 1906, page 645.7

    In 408-419 the Visigoths overflowed the whole of Italy, allI south-western Gaul, and all of Spain.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.1

    In 449 the Angles and Saxons entered Britain, and never rested until “the arts and religion, the laws and language, which the Romans had so carefully planted in Britain, were extirpated;” nor until “the practice and even the remembrance of Christianity were abolished.”SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.2

    In 451-453 the Huns under Attila carried fire and slaughter, from the Danube to Chalons, and to Milan.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.3

    In 453 the Ostrogoths took possession of the province of Pannonia, and the Lombarus of Noricum.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.4

    In 476 Udoacer and his barbarian followers took possession of Italy and abolished the office of emperor of the West; and the Western Empire of Rome—the State, and even society—had been swept away by ruin upon ruin.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.5

    And that was the “Christian” Empire of Rome. That was the empire that had exhausted the subject of Sunday laws and enforced Sunday observance. That was the State that had done all this on behalf of the kingdom of God, and for the preservation and even the salvation of the State.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.6

    There is not a method of Sunday enforcement either mild or cruel that has not been in that “Christian” Roman Empire, There is not a phase of Sunday laws that has not been employed by the clerical managers of affairs in that “Christian” Roman State. There is nothing on that subject left by those for the Sunday-law clergy of to-day to discover. And the Sunday-law clergy of to-day must hide their eyes not only from the principles, but also from the practical effects of Sunday legislation of every kind, before they can go on in their pernicious Sunday-law course.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.7

    For, pernicious that course is even to the ruin of the greatest nation and State in the world. This has been thoroughly demonstrated to the last detail, and in the demonstration it has been made plain that enforced Sunday observance is the worst thing that can ever be put upon a nation or practised in society.SITI December 31, 1906, page 646.8

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