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    December 21, 1891

    “Lock that Door” The Signs of the Times, 18, 7.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Under the above very suggestive heading the Boston Sunday Globe (November 15) contained a strong editorial plea for universal Sunday observance. A Sunday newspaper pleading for Sunday observance is, in itself, enough of an anomaly to attract attention, but the article exhibits so clearly the object and results of Sunday legislation that it is worth reproducing entire:—SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.5

    “Lock that Door

    “That is the store door, the shop and factory door, Saturday night.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.6

    “And keep it locked while all enjoy one day of rest from this ceaseless moil for bread. Everybody says that, without necessarily going on to say one and the same thing as to how we shall even take this rest.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.7

    “Let us not have debate about how men ought to pass the whole time on Sunday. The question is undoubtedly in solution: for good citizens and worthy Christian folk, too, are now to be heard protesting a liberty that is in marked difference from the standards of even five and twenty years ago. For better or for worse, let the question go for the moment.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.8

    “But this is a pertinent question, far beyond the lines of creed or sect. Can the door be kept locked without the churches? If the churches should become empty, could Sunday be kept free from the encroachments of business? Someone has recently been observing Boston’s church attendance. Our town averages full as well as Western towns, and can probably endure comparison with any of her great sister cities east. But it becomes a very vital, a very serious question to the tired toiler. If church-going is relatively falling off, is our rest day in danger? Can the eager, active American people keep a rest day as often as once a week without the strong alliance of the religious sentiment to claim and enforce it? For, mark it, one day in seven for knocking off work and neglecting money-making is a rather frequent and expensive demand on our time. The seven, more or less, legal holidays of the year are not without some ugly and restless enemies among financiers and manufacturers. Some grasping employers are constantly breaking over. ‘To-morrow is Decoration day, eh? Come, men, what say you, work and take extra pay?’SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.9

    “Sunday for rest cannot survive except conscience is on its side. This is the verdict of history among continental European races. But it is vastly truer of the active American people. The open church means the closed shop. The closed church, would mean the open shop. Educated young people who read this will instantly revert to classical times and the total failures repeatedly to set up and defend a seventh day as a rest day without religion to enforce it as a duty.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.10

    “Then shall we say that young fellow is a shirk who rides his bicycle all day Sunday? Well, shirk is a hard name. Still, isn’t that about the size of it? He expects others to sustain the church that sustains his day of rest, while he never goes near to help. Can that be square dealing, citizen with citizen? Shirk is a harsh characterization. But really, now, what is the right word for the young life that throws the entire burden of preserving his day sacred from toil upon other young lives, presumably as weary as his own all the week, but uphold the church on Sunday? Church-goers insist upon the day for conscience’ sake. The man who wholly secularizes the day-well does he make game of them as he sleepily watches these devotees of duty, and drawls out: “Go ahead, you dear dupes. This day is named Privilege. You feed Privilege and keep him alive, while I get on the bark of Privilege and ride.’SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.11

    “It can be easily maintained that what religious service a man will sustain is his own affair. And it can be equally clearly shown that publicly ordered religious service, on some part of the day called Sunday, is the sole security of the day from secular greed and grasp. Why, then, is it one citizen’s burden more than another’s? What of him who slips his neck out altogether? Let be man among men, and lift together reverently to sustain the day, which certainly came to us from religious men before us.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.12

    “Emory J. Haynes.”

    The thoughtful reader of the above will need to have his attention called to only a few points.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.13

    It is said that the day can be kept free from business only as it is kept as a religious day, and not, as a mere holiday. This is true; the rush of business in this age of greedy for money-making would soon call the pleasure seeker into the shop. But the fact is that those who abstain from labor on Sunday, from religious motives, are greatly in the minority, and their proportion to the whole population is diminishing. Preaching does not seem to have any appreciable effect in propping up Sunday observance. Therefore it follows that the only way to lock the door against Sunday Labor is by compelling men by law to act as though they were religious when they are not. In other words, Sunday can be preserved as a general rest day only by compelling men to be hypocrites.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.14

    This is further shown by the argument that regular church service and universal attendance are necessary to Sunday rest. Not the statement that “publicly-ordered religious service, on some part of the day called Sunday, is the sole security of the day from secular greed and grasp.” Therefore, the enforcement of Sunday rest means compulsory attendance on church service. Disregard for Sunday, means diminished church attendance, and this means diminished contributions for church support. Is not the last one secret of the effort to enforce Sunday observance? It must be; for if those who bewail slimly attended church services were thinking only of the spiritual loss to the absentees, they could go to the houses of the careless ones, and carry the gospel to them. Will the enforced attendance at church, which will follow enforced Sunday rest, mean also enforced support of the churches?SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.15

    Finally, it is worth while to note how the one is regarded who does not care to attend church on Sunday. If he mounts his bicycle for a little exercise, he is regarded as less than a man-a shirk. It is evidence from this that but little favor need be expected by those who do not choose to keep Sunday, when once it has been authoritatively declared that the safety of the State demands the preservation of religion, and that the preservation of religion demands the strict observance of Sunday. To too many poor souls the cry, “Lock that door!” will have a dread significance.SITI December 21, 1891, page 84.16

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