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    September 4, 1884

    “The Law of Rest—What Is It?” The Signs of the Times 10, 34, p. 530.

    IN further notice of Dr. Crafts on Sunday laws, we quote: “The liberty of rest for each depends upon the law of rest for all.” This is in fact the truth, but in the way in which it is expounded by those in favor of Sunday laws, it is false.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.1

    “The liberty of rest for each depends upon the law of rest for all.” Is there then a lot of rest for all? We say there is. Where? In the fourth commandment of the decalogue. We read: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.2

    There is the original and only rightful lot of weekly rest there is in the world. It is obligatory upon all men, but for all time and everywhere. It is explicit as regards the rest; it is definite as regards the time of the rest, and it is complete in that it not only enjoins the rest and tells the time of it, but gives the reason for it, and the reason for the law which enjoins it, and also reveals the Author of the law. See: (a) Remember the rest day. (b) The seventh day is the rest day. (c) In it thou shalt not do any work. (d) For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested the seventh day. (e) For this reason the Lord blessed the rest day and set it apart. Again we say this is the law of rest for all. And it is the right of rest for each. And more; outside of this command as God wrote it, and as it reads, there is no right of weekly rest for any man on the earth. To deny this is to a search that it is right to ignore the authority of God, and to disobey God; which is only to say that it is right to do wrong. For, God in his supremacy has commanded to man a day of rest. He likewise has fixed the day upon which man shall rest. He has set that day apart from the other days of the week, and the Lord’s order of things concerning it, and to select another day of the week, and obtain the enactment, by earthly governments, of laws enforcing its observance, is a will-worship in its inception, usurpation in its fruition, and rebellion in its completion. Colossians 2:18, 22, 23; Jeremiah 28:15, 16.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.3

    From the force of this arrangement, they attempt to shield themselves by the claim that the fourth commandment “is indefinite as regards the day.” As we have shown, and as every unprejudiced reader of the commandment knows, that is false. But for the sake of the argument let us admit that it is true. Then we have the following: (a) God wrote it himself on the table of stone. Exodus 31:18. (b) He added no more (Deuteronomy 5:22), which shows (c) Whatever the command is, definite or in definite, it is intentionally so by the Lord himself. (d) They claim that it is indefinite, therefore it follows from these promises that the Lord intentionally made it so. Then we say to them: If God has made that commandment indefinite, by what authority do you make it definite? If he in his own law has not fixed the date to be observed in obedience to that law, what right have you to fix it? And in thus presuming to do what God has purposely not done, you turn that usurpation into open rebellion by exacting of all, under pains and penalties, obedience to law as you have fixed it, in defiance of the law as God has made it, and as you yourselves affirm that he made it. Then we say to all: In this where do the Sunday-law movers differ from the papacy in its dealings with the law of God? Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:4. In other words, will not this movement in its completion be that to which the scripture points, “an image to the beast”? So then there claim, of the indefiniteness of the law, instead of shielding them, only serves the more plainly to expose their willfulness, usurpation, and rebellion.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.4

    After this exploit of usurping the authority to fix the day, it is but an easy step to the reading in its reverse the quotation at the beginning of this article, thus: “The right of rest for each is the law of rest for all.” This is the reading most commonly found among the Sunday-law advocates, and indeed, for them it is the appropriate reading. For claiming, as we have seen, the right to fix the day of rest, and having the power to enact a law enforcing its observance, their right then becomes the law for all. It is plain, however, from any analysis of their movement that may be made, that all the right there is in it is that where in might makes right. It is not that right which is the illegitimate offspring of a conscientious regard for righteous law; but that right (?) which is begotten of the adulterous connection of church and State; that right (?) which says, “I have the power, and I will be obeyed. If you do not acknowledge my right you shall acknowledge my might.” And this is the nature of the Sunday-law observance, from the first Sunday law that ever was enacted to the one which they now seek to have enacted.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.5

    In consonance with this, Mr. Crafts pays his respects to the opposition to such laws in the following illustrative style. He calls it, “The brazen despotism of a loud and low minority over a two compromising majority who in danger liberty by concessions, for fear of being misunderstood in their methods of protecting it. In California this oligarchy of foreign liquor-sellers was actually allowed to repeal the Sabbath law as a ‘league of freedom.’ “This oppression of masses by margins must be stopped.”SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.6

    Seventh-day keepers also come into the gentleman’s notice. He asks a very important question, to which we should be very much pleased to have some Sunday-law advocates give a consistent answer. Here is his question: “But how is it consistent with liberty that those whose religion requires them to rest on the seventh day are compelled to give the public business and public amusements on the first day?” In his answer he separates the Jews from other Sabbath-keepers, and says: “In the case of the Jews the case is not as difficult as many have thought.” Oh, yes, it is very easy for him to dispense with their case. Hear him: “If he cannot do more business in five days in Great Britain and the United States than in six days elsewhere, he is free to remain elsewhere. If when he comes into Great Britain or the United States he finds by experiment that a ‘conscientious Jew cannot make a living,’ the world is all before him to choose where he will dwell.” And so it appears that whether a man can be an inhabitant of the United States, is to depend altogether upon whether he will keep Sunday. Yet Sunday laws have nothing to do with religion! Compel a man to stultify his conscience or leave the country; and yet the cause of all this has nothing to do with religion!SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.7

    Rabbi Winter, of Brooklyn, applied a touchstone to this thing which in an instant proves its “true inwardness.” In reply to questions and proposals of Dr. Crafts, looking to the adoption by the Jews, of Sunday instead of Sabbath, the Rabbi proposed “a compromise between Christians and Jews, by agreeing on ‘a neutral day in the middle of the week’ as a sabbath for all—showing that he is willing to give up Saturday and take some other common day, his national prejudiced against the Christian first-day Sabbath been his only reason for preferring the third or fourth day to the first, a prejudiced which of course the law cannot recognize.” Certainly “of course” not. But why “of course”? If Sunday laws have relation simply to “health, education,” etc., cannot these be promoted just as well on Wednesday as on Sunday? If not, why not? Cannot the laboring man rest just as well on Thursday as on Sunday? And if the rest is to have no reference at all to religion, nor to the “religious aspect of the day,” then why is not the proposition of the Rabbi eminently proper? You ask the Jew to give up the day which he observes; he only ask that you do likewise. He proposes to meet you halfway; certainly nothing could be fairer, but “of course” it cannot be recognized. Oh no, “of course” everything must be given up for Sunday, and every man’s conscientious convictions must be crushed doubt that Sunday laws may have free course to run and be glorified. And all this without any reference to the religious aspect of the day? Nay, barely! For the “opinion” of these people, “is very decided for freedom [on Sunday] from anything that could shock a thoroughly Christian community.”SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.8

    His opinions of Seventh-day Baptist, and in that, of seventh-day Adventists, will be noticed next week.SITI September 4, 1884, page 530.9

    ALONZO T. JONES.

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