Loading...
Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    January 20, 1887

    “That Sunday-Law Petition” The Signs of the Times 13, 3, p. 39.

    AT the Sunday-law Convention held in San Francisco November 29, 1886, reported in the SIGNS of December 9, the Executive Committee that was elected, was directed “to prepare petitions as soon as possible and send throughout the State for signatures.” Petitions have been prepared accordingly, and are being circulated. It seems that the work has been going on for some time, but so slyly that not many outside of the churches concerned had any knowledge of it until a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle called on the Executive Committee and made inquiries and then published his report. The Executive Committee seems to be working strictly in harmony with the spirit of the convention by which it was appointed. There appears the same double dealing, the same effort to keep the Legislature and the public misinformed as to the real object of the movement.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.1

    The following is a copy of the petition, 2,500 of which have been sent out to the “pastors of the churches and others known to be interested:”—SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.2

    To the Legislature of the State of California: We, the undersigned legal voters of the State of California, believing that the best interests of the State, material and moral, will be promoted by a suspension of business and a rest from labor on one day in seven, would respectfully petition your honorable body to enact such law or laws as may be necessary to secure to the people of the State this important object.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.3

    It seems by the petition, that all they want is for the Legislature to secure to the people the privilege of suspending business and of resting on “one day in seven.” But suppose the Legislature should pass a law by which it should be declared in solemn enactment, in the very words of this petition, that from and after the approval of this Act by the governor, there shall be throughout the State of California, “a suspension of business and a rest from labor on one day in seven;” would that satisfy this Executive Committee, and the ministers and people who are circulating the petition? Not by a long way. Suppose the Legislature should by law declare that on and after a certain date it shall be unlawful in this State to conduct any manner of business, or to do any manner of work, except works of necessity and mercy, “on one day in seven;” would that satisfy the Executive Committee and its workers? Not by any manner of means.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.4

    This Executive Committee knows, and all its workers know, and everybody else knows that no such law as that is wanted. If the Legislature of California should enact a law in which were embodied the very words of this petition, everybody knows that this Executive Committee and its workers would be the ones who would more decidedly object to it than would anybody else in the State. If a law embodying the very words of their petition, is not what they want, and would not suit them, then why do they not petition for what they do want, and for what would suit them? Oh, that would never do, because, as stated in the convention, if they should ask the Legislature for what they really want they would get nothing at all. Besides, this, if they should circulate a petition for what they really want, they might not get so many signatures, and worse than all, it might alarm the enemy and provoke opposition and counter-petitions. As stated to the Chronicle reporter, in their own words, what they want is this:—SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.5

    “The ministers see the importance of a law to protect the sabbath, which is their harvest-day for souls.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.6

    So then it is not a law that will cause a suspension of business, and a rest simply “on one day in seven,” that is wanted. It is a law that will protect the ministers’ “harvest-day for souls.” Would it not be a good thing for this Executive Committee to petition the Legislature to pay the ministers for harvesting the souls? If not why not? If it be the duty of the State to furnish and protect a day for the harvesting of souls, why is it not equally the duty of the State to pay those who do the harvesting? And so, to get the Legislature to pass a law in the interest of the ministers, by protecting the sabbath because it is their harvest-day for souls, they circulate for signatures a petition asking the Legislature to pass a law or laws which shall “secure to the people of the State the important object of a suspension of business and a rest on one day in seven.” And this they do “to avoid alarming the enemy and provoking opposition and counter-petitions.” We do not wonder that they dread opposition when their real purpose is seen.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.7

    As they stated it to the reporter it was thus:—SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.8

    “They [the ministers] are stirring up the churches and congregations to make a strong fight in its defense. But they wish to avoid alarming the enemy and provoking opposition and counter-petitions.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.9

    Oh yes; the ministers of California can make a strong fight in defense—when they are not attacked. They are valiant leaders—if they can only “avoid alarming the enemy.” They, and in fact the ministers generally throughout the country, are vigorous advocates for Sunday—if they can avoid opposition. They are all strong petitioners for laws to protect the ministers’ harvest-day for souls—if they can only frame the petition so as to avoid all danger of alarming the enemy, or provoking opposition, that might culminate in a counter-petition.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.10

    There is nothing the Sunday cause and its advocates dread so much as opposition. They dare not go before the people of California with a frank, fair, open avowal of the cause in behalf of which they demand that the Legislature shall act. They dare not go to the Legislature itself with a fair statement of what they want; they said so in their convention. Any cause that cannot bear the light of day, and the test of open, full, and free examination and discussion is unworthy the attention of thinking men. And legislation in behalf of any such cause is unworthy of a free people. But such is the Sunday cause and legislation in behalf of it.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.11

    If those ministers should obtain the law which they demand, a law that would secure the “suspension of business and a rest on one day in seven,” that is, on Sunday; and if men in this State should suspend all business and should rest on one day in seven, other than Sunday, thus doing all that the petition asks for, then there is not one of those ministers who would not by the law compel these men to rest and suspend business on Sunday also, and would thus demand rest and the suspension of business on two days in seven, which is just twice as much as the petition asks for. But that is no difference to them; a Sunday law is what they want, a law to protect the ministers’ harvest-day for souls; and if they can obtain it by petitioning the Legislature to pass a law securing rest and suspension of business “on one day in seven,” or a “civil” Sunday law, it is all right. If they can get the thing they want, by asking for another and totally different thing, it is all the same to them, and so much the better if by this means they can “avoid alarming the enemy and provoking opposition.” And so, having valiantly fought, and right valiantly won, the battle in which there is no opposition, ‘twill be “a famous victory.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.12

    J.

    “Infidelity in High Places” The Signs of the Times 13, 3, pp. 39, 40.

    IN answer to a question as to whether men can be saved except through faith in Christ, the Christian Union of December 16, 1886, page 26, says:—SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.1

    “According to the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism a knowledge of Christ is necessary to salvation, and those who have never possessed that knowledge are certainly lost. But this opinion is now entertained by very few divines.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.2

    So then it is “the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism” is it, that declares that “a knowledge of Christ is necessary to salvation”? We thought we had read in the Bible, of Christ, these words: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. We thought that we had read in the Bible, that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and that God hath set forth Christ “to be a propitiation thought faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” We thought that we had read in the word of God, that it is the righteousness of Christ alone that avails for the sinner, and that this righteousness is received by faith “even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference.” “To declare, I say, at this time His [Christ’s] righteousness; that he [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:19-26. We have thought all these years that faith in Christ was necessary to salvation, and that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And now the Christian Union informs us that it is the “Westminster Assembly’s Catechism” that says so. However, whether it be the Bible, or the catechism that says it, or whether both say it, the Union says that “this opinion is now entertained by very few divines.” Again says the Union:SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.3

    “Some hold that an opportunity will be given for such knowledge in another life; others hold that no such knowledge is necessary, and instance the case of Cornelius (Acts 10), the Judgment as described in Matthew 25, and such promises as Isaiah 55:7, and Romans 3:7-10.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.4

    The case of Cornelius is not well taken in this connection, for to him such knowledge was most certainly necessary. So very necessary, indeed, that an angel was sent from Heaven on purpose to tell him how he could obtain the knowledge. The angel told him to send for Peter, and “he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” He sent for him. Peter came, and Cornelius said, “Now therefore are we all here present before God.” Peter there preached to him and them “peace by Jesus Christ,” and “the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” And then they were baptized. Acts 10:6, 33, 36, 43, 44, 48. The other passages referred to are turned just as much awry as this. Romans 3:7-10 reads: “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” It seems that this is rather cold comfort to give to satisfy men that a knowledge of Christ is not necessary to salvation.SITI January 20, 1887, page 39.5

    But more yet, the Union says:—SITI January 20, 1887, page 40.1

    “There seems to us abundant scriptural authority for the latter opinion [that a knowledge of Christ is not necessary to salvation], and none for the doctrine that a knowledge of Christ is essential to salvation.”SITI January 20, 1887, page 40.2

    No scriptural authority for the doctrine that a knowledge of Christ is essential to salvation! Then what in the world was ever the Scriptures given for? Why was the gospel ever preached to men? If this be so, then why did Christ die at all?SITI January 20, 1887, page 40.3

    And the opinion that such knowledge is necessary, “is now entertained by very few divines.” How much further can infidelity go, and still wear the name “Christian,” and its advocates be called “divines”? “When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?”SITI January 20, 1887, page 40.4

    J.

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents