DOC. No. XXIX.
read before the
NATIONAL SABBATH CONVENTION,
Saratoga, Aug. 13, 1863
REV. MARK HOPKINS, D.D.,
President of Williams College, Mass.
on invitation of
THE NEW YORK SABBATH COMMITTEE.
Printed by Edward O. Jenkins,
No. 20 North William Street.
In a lower sense, freedom respects the power of action: that is, of doing as we choose. It is with this only that human governments are concerned. This is perfect when man is permitted to do what he chooses, unhindered by the will of another.
This freedom implies the power both of self-direction and of self-government. By self-direction we mean the general power which a man has of going either in the right or the wrong direction. By self-government we mean the control and direction by a man of himself in accordance with the laws of reason, of conscience, and of God. Self-direction is compatible with license, which leads to anarchy, and thus to the destruction of all valuable freedom. In self-government alone is there the highest practical freedom. In the last analysis free government is self-government. Self-direction is the highest prerogative which God has bestowed on any creature. Self-government is the indispensable condition for the rightful exercise of any other government, and for all true freedom and dignity.
Such is freedom. What are Free Institutions? In their highest form, and as distinguished from government, these are society organized for its various ends, and made free, from the fact that each individual chooses those ends, and voluntarily does his part towards their attainment. In this case, all the ends of government would be accomplished through self-government; but it would be society as distinguished from government, and could exist only in a perfect state. It would require that each individual should know what the ends of government, or rather of society, are, and should be fully disposed to accomplish them. In human society this cannot be: first, from the necessary ignorance of beings coming up from the blankness of infancy; and second, from the unwillingness of those who have knowledge to do their part, and from their disposition to encroach upon the rights of others. From these two causes, ignorance and wickedness, and from these only, does the necessity of government in its ordinary sense, that is, of control by the will of another, arise. All government and guidance contemplate some end. If the end could be obtained without it equally well, it would be superfluous. A ship has a rudder and a pilot because, if left to itself, it would not reach its port. If it had within itself a self-guiding power by which it would as certainly and as quickly reach the port, both rudder and pilot would be dispensed with. In the same way, human beings, both in their individual and social capacity, need government simply because they cannot, or will not, of themselves, secure the ends for which God made them. If these ends are to be attained, there must be the intervention of the will of another, and such intervention of will, as will, is government.
What then is Free Government? A free government is one which bestows and guarantees freedom. Any government, whatever its form, will be a free government, which shall secure, and give adequate ground of assurance that it will secure, to the whole people, the enjoyment of all their rights. Rights spring from necessities and capacities. They imply the will of God that every capacity should have scope for all legitimate exercise, and that is freedom.
A free government, then, will be one in which the subject can and should cooperate from rational choice, and so, freely. As government, a free government must exclude license; as free, it must be such as can be adopted by a rational choice, either directly from a comprehension of its end, or indirectly; from confidence in others.
Of such a government the office is rather negative than positive. It is not among the chief ends of government to promote directly the prosperity of a people. That must come from the active principles of their nature rightly directed; from their intelligence and virtue. It is the business of government so to guard rights, that every positive institution needed for development may spring up and be securely enjoyed.
Such guardianship of rights and such security we think can come only from popular governments, and hence we identify popular and free governments. A popular government is not necessarily a free one, but it gives the best guarantee for freedom; and then it has advantages on the ground of which it may, perhaps, be said that man cannot have all his rights, and so a government perfectly free, under any other. Man has a right to every natural means of development, and a popular government is such a means. It reacts upon character, casting it in the mold of freedom, and becomes a great educating and formative power. It makes a radical difference whether the people have a government distinct from themselves, and exercised over them, or whether they are the government, expressing their will through constitutional forms. In one case they will be recipients and instruments receiving a provision made for them by those whose business it is to take care of them; in the other they will be vital, and will perform a high function of vitality by which, if they perform it well, they must grow into a larger manhood.
But whatever may be said on this point, practically, in this country at least, free government must be popular government. The people must be fitted, not only as subjects to work out the best results under a free government, but also to become a constituent part of that government. This gives us our problem. What we have to do is to form the people to a capacity for a popular government, free without license, and strong without oppression, and the more, free the more strong, because of the stronger affection thus awakened for it. To do this is a great work, the highest achievement of man. It is such a work as has never yet been fully done, and whether it can be, especially with a people so great and multiform as ours, is still in question. What we must have is a people, and not a rabble -- a people who can neither become a mob, nor be ruled by a despot. We must have a commonwealth, the idea of which is that the interests of all and of each are identical; and those interests must be sought through an intelligent and pervading consciousness of that identity.
We now see what we have to do. How is it to be done? Than the theory of this, nothing can be simpler, "Make the tree good, and his fruit will be good." That is the whole of it. Popular institutions must be the outgrowth of the life of a people, as the fruit is of the life of a tree. In the main, the government will be what the people are. If, then, we make all the individuals of a community intelligent and virtuous, and, so, self-governing, we shall have a self-governing people, and free institutions. This is the work to be done, and our specific inquiry now is, what relation the Sabbath holds to this result. Does it come within that circle of agencies and conditions without which we cannot have permanently the materials of free institutions, and so the institutions themselves?
We hold that it does, and that the three following propositions respecting it may be established:
1st. That a religious observance of the Sabbath, or, as it may be called by way of distinction, the religious Sabbath, would secure the permanence of free institutions.
2d. That without the Sabbath religiously observed, the permanence of free institutions cannot be secured.
3d. That the civil, as based on the religious Sabbath, is an institution to which society has a natural right, precisely as it has to property.
In considering these propositions we must not fail to notice that they are based on the religious element. The religious is the central element of our nature, and without it it is useless to found, and vain to think of preserving free institutions. It never has been done, it never can be. In the absence of reverence for God, of regard for his authority, of love to Him and of love to his creatures for his sake, there is no common bond for society, and nothing can control the selfishness and the passions of men but despotic power. This can control them, and give a permanence of repression and stagnation; but free institutions can be permanent only as health can be permanent, and as the heavens are, by the constant activity of balanced forces. Hence it is that there must be a religious observance of the day. In accordance with the commandment, it must be kept holy. If we would have the benefits of God's Sabbath, it must be kept as He designed it should be. It must not be made a holiday, but must bring us into immediate relation to Him, being chiefly devoted to those duties of which He is the object. It must carry us back to that creation and redemption which it commemorates, and forward to that rest which it foreshadows. It must have for its object, not the comfort or perfection of the animal nature, not economical, social, or civil advantages, but the culture and growth of the moral and spiritual nature of man as he is made in the image of God, and his ultimate perfection and rest under his eternal and holy and perfect government.
It is from a Sabbath thus kept that all incidental advantages, as those of health and wealth, and social purity, and freedom, would flow in accordance with the law -- that all power and incidental good is best secured by securing that which is highest. This is a law of universal application, and in accordance with it, when the Sabbath is kept holy, every physical and economical and intellectual advantage connected with it is most fully gained. Then, and then only, will there be formed through it the materials that can be wrought into a free state. Let a man devote the Sabbath to religious duties, public and private, honoring God and delighting himself in Him, and he will show that regard to the principle of duty, as such, which will make him a good citizen -- a pillar of strength to free institutions. The man who is trained to become a citizen of Heaven will be best fitted to be a good citizen in a free republic. It is, indeed, a high evidence, that both the Sabbath and free institutions are from God, that they hold this relation to a good higher than themselves, and may gradually melt into it, as the twilight into the perfect day -- that free institutions may be merged and lost in the perfect government of God; and the rest of the Sabbath holiday become the rest of Heaven.
Of good obtained under the general law just mentioned, it is to be remarked, that, as incidental, it is obtained without commotion or jar, and is enjoyed with serenity. Blessings coming thus, lie around us naturally like the gifts of God. The current flows of itself, and man is borne up by it, while lower blessings, made supreme, and sought out of their place, are obtained but imperfectly, if at all, and are held with anxiety. No community ever did, or ever will so keep the Sabbath with sole reference to its lower ends, as to secure those ends, or to prevent the Sabbath from becoming a curse rather than a blessing.
Having thus stated the general law under which all arguments for our first proposition may be included, I observe more specifically:
1st. That the Sabbath, religiously observed, would insure the permanence of free institutions from its effect upon the intellect of the community.
In inseparable connection with the Sabbath, Christ originated the first great and permanent system of popular and universal instruction that the world had ever known. It is now the only system adapted to people of all classes and ages, bringing all together on one common level in the enlargement and discipline of the intellect, as the Sacrament of the Supper does in the enlargement and discipline of the heart. Christ was himself a teacher, come from God, and one part of his commission to his disciples was that they should teach all nations. True, his object was higher than mere instruction; it was persuasion and moral renovation; but since the moral and religious nature are reached only through the intellect, this necessarily implies much thought and knowledge on subjects that naturally stir the human soul to its lowest depths. The man who knows the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and who seeks to apply practically the instructions of Christ, may know little of science or literature, but his intellect cannot be dormant or unimproved. He has a knowledge that is life eternal, and that will naturally draw other knowledge within its range. And this knowledge is to be borne to all classes of people. Constrained by the love of Christ, his ministers are to go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, thus leaving no material for a rabble. Nor in doing this are they to employ declamation, or rant, or fanaticism. They are, as Paul did, to reason of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come; and it is impossible that a community should hear these and similar topics treated earnestly and wisely, from week to week, and not come up to that intellectual elevation which would fit them to be members of a free community. Accordingly, all experience shows that wherever there is an enlightened ministry and the instructions of the Sabbath, there will be schools, and the diffusion of general intelligence. The very familiarity with the Bible itself, its history, its doctrines, its precepts, its poetry, and its prophecies, implied in a suitable observance of the Sabbath, would preclude the possibility of an ignorant people.
It is to be observed, too, that all knowledge is not, according to a popular fallacy, equally related to the well-being of free institutions. There is much knowledge, literary and scientific, that may be, and has been, the instrument or ornament of tyranny and vice. But the knowledge drawn from the Bible and the Sabbath is precisely that which is adapted to stimulate and direct the moral nature. It is that knowledge of duties and of rights which is essential to virtue, and which is needed in connection with it as the foundation of free institutions. Hence, a people who keep the Sabbath, as did our Puritan Fathers, attending church and studying their Bibles, not only may, but will be, a free people. No power on earth can enslave them. There is no example of such a people who have not been free.
But, 2d, and as will be inferred from what has just been said, the main effect of the Sabbath religiously observed, upon the permanence of free institutions, is to be found in its bearing upon the public conscience.
This is the point on which everything will turn. Let the public conscience be sensitive and enlightened, and the one indispensable condition of free institutions is secured. This would involve knowledge enough for the successful working of such institutions, but without this they cannot be sustained by any amount of knowledge, or refinement, or civilization. Let the public conscience become seared, or perverted, and, whatever may be the condition of society in other respects, that confidence, public and private, which is its only cement, will disappear, the bands of social order will be relaxed, every right will be endangered, and security will be sought at the expense of liberty. But, on the other hand, let the conscience be sensitive, and it will prevent all intentional infraction of right; let it be enlightened, and it will prevent all violation of it from mistake. It will necessarily draw public attention to every abuse in the institutions or the customs of society, and will gradually so correct public opinion as to put an end to those abuses. The law of reason and conscience in the individual will take the place of the law of the land as a formal precept armed with an external force, and society will become instinct with a principle, which, in securing to every man his rights, will necessarily secure to him the largest practicable or desirable liberty.
This office and importance of the conscience cannot be denied, but we shall look in vain to human wisdom for any institution or arrangement designed to render it enlightened and sensitive. Hence will perversions and torpor among heathen nations, and the striking fact that where the Sabbath and its accompanying light has not existed, no instance can be pointed out in which an established moral evil has been attacked and removed on moral grounds. Who ever heard of a case among heathen nations in which infanticide, or polygamy, or lying, or slavery, having once been incorporated into the institutions and habits of the nation, has been attacked and eradicated through the native light and power of the conscience of its people? Who expects to hear of such a case? But religious instruction and worship, both in public and in private, elucidate and enforce those rights of God and those duties towards Him which must include a regard for every right of a fellow creature which he has given, and a performance of every duty which he has commanded. The Bible is God's educator not only of the intellect, but especially of the conscience. There is no educator like it, and the Sabbath is his appointed school day for the race, that they may learn lessons of piety and moral goodness. And what sight could be more beautiful or sublime than that of the whole race sitting at the feet of Jesus, and applying to their consciences his searching words? Then every individual would understand his duties and his rights; then fraud and oppression would cease; then should every man know that freedom with which the truth makes men free, and "be free indeed."
It has already been stated that the two great obstacles to freedom are ignorance and wickedness. By the relation of the Sabbath as now stated to the intellect and the conscience, both these would be removed, and freedom be a matter of course.
But, 3d, a religious observance of the Sabbath would insure the permanence of free institutions, by its elevating and softening and harmonizing effect upon the feelings of men.
In the present state of the earth and of the moral nature of man, labor is necessary, and is for his good; but in itself it is an evil, and as stimulated by avarice, or as enforced by necessity or by power, it has been one great cause of the degradation of the race. Constantly enforced, it must deteriorate alike the body and the mind. But let now this burden be removed one day in seven, as recognizing not merely the physical wants of man, but his spiritual capacities and higher affinities, and who can estimate its elevating effect? Let him, if need be, go down and toil six days in the mine of worldly gain -- it may be his duty, and God may be with him there -- but on the seventh let him come up and breathe a purer air, and dwell in the sunshine of a brighter light. Let him see that he has interests higher than those of earth, and that God has given him time to attend to those interests which no man has a right to take from him, and he feels at once that he is recognized as a child of God and an heir of immortality. The very stillness of the Sabbath then becomes the voice of God speaking to his heart of that sympathy which he feels for the feeble and transient race of time. He rests after the example of God. He remembers that Redeemer who on this day rose from the dead, and that Heaven to which he ascended, of which the Sabbath is at once a type so beautiful, and a means of preparation so necessary. And now let this stillness be broken by the sound of the Sabbath bell; and having put off the garments and the soil of labor, let him go up with that outward purity and with that seemliness of appearance that comport with the purity and order of divine worship, and let him unite with his family and neighbors, and with the great congregation in the services of God's house, and there is something in this outward decorum, in the reverent posture, in the voice of prayer, and in the notes of sacred praise, that is softening and harmonizing, and must tend to remove what is coarse and unseemly in the general deportment. Hence, what is called the rabble, is never composed of those who habitually attend a Protestant church; and where all should do for this, there would be no rabble.
It is, however with the harmonizing, still more than with the elevating and softening tendencies of the Sabbath, that our argument has to do. When men come together as the children of a common parent, bound alike to the grave and to the judgment seat; when they enter into the presence of that God before whose eternity human life is but a point, before whose greatness, all human distinctions are inappreciable, upon whose bounty all are equally dependent, and whose mercy, as sinners, all equally need, they must seem to themselves and to each other to stand on the level of one common humanity, and there will be a powerful tendency to produce that feeling of brotherhood, of equality and affection, which lies at the foundation of our institutions. The rich and the poor meeting together under circumstances to make them feel that the Lord is the Maker of them all, the rich will be humbled, and the brother of low degree will be exalted; pride and envy will be felt to be equally out of place; hostile and rancorous feelings will be subdued. He that is seeking to be forgiven his debt of ten thousand talents will forgive that of a hundred pence. Surely if the Sabbath thus kept had been devised for the purpose, it could not have been better adapted to promote that spirit of kindness, of equality, of mutual forbearance and regard, upon which the happy working of free, institutions so much depends.
But once more: the religious observance of the Sabbath will insure the permanence of free institutions, because it promotes health and wealth, a spirit of enterprise, and those forms of material prosperity which will result in the contentment of some people, and, so, in the permanence of their institutions, for the institutions of a people rationally contented must be permanent.
On this I need not dwell. If, as has been shown (See the essay by Dr. Parker), the law of weekly rest is a law of the constitution, if intelligence and morality are promoted by such an observance of the Sabbath, it needs no further proof that health and all the forms of material prosperity will be promoted also. It is, moreover, fully established by observation and a wide induction of facts, that material prosperity is connected with a religious observance of the Sabbath.
We have, then, as the result of keeping the Sabbath holy, in addition to Religion and its unspeakable benefits, Intelligence, Morality, Elevation and Harmony of Feeling, and Health, Wealth, and Material Prosperity. These, these only, are the elements of permanence.
We now turn to the second proposition, which is, that without a Sabbath religiously observed free institutions cannot be permanent.
In my own belief, the comprehensive reason for this is that God will not permit it. The Sabbath is his, and He cannot, and will not suffer that the highest result of moral forces should be reached except in obedience to Him. The view strongly presented in the Bible is, that God is the immediate guardian of the Sabbath, and providentially connects national prosperity with its observance, and national disaster with its desecration. But these results he reaches through laws and tendencies, and in arguing this point from these, well must recur to the contrast between free institutions and others as related to moral culture and influence. Let the forces of despotism be well organized and a certain formal and unproductive order may be preserved all the better for the absence of that general culture and elevation which would fit man for freedom. But if external force be removed, there is no ground of security but the power of that invisible and eternal law which reveals itself in the conscience, and makes every man a law unto himself. Hence, everything that weakens moral restraint tends to subvert free institutions, and hence we affirm, that such institutions cannot be sustained without the Sabbath.
And that they cannot, will appear, first, because a rejected Sabbath would become a powerful means of corruption. Clearly, it could never be reclaimed to the same uses as ordinary days; and if the sanctions and restraints of religion were wholly withdrawn, it would become for the whole nation a day of idleness with its consequent temptations and vices. It would be the day for the roll call and general muster of every division in the army of sin, and would do more to undermine free institutions than all the other days of the week. This is fully confirmed by the statistics of crime on the Sabbath in every city, and especially by those collected in New York by the Sabbath Committee.
But again, the same thing will appear from the relation which the Sabbath holds to many of those means and agencies on which the moral elevation of the community depends. Of these it is an essential condition. In itself, the Sabbath is not a source of light, but is as the mirror which reflects light into a room that would, otherwise be dark. It is not the cargo of spices, but the ship that brings it. Destroy the Sabbath and there can be no stated and public recognition of God, and communities would never unite their sympathies before him as the children of a common parent. Public worship would cease. The pulpit would be silenced; there would be no revivals of religion; every Sabbath school and Bible class in Christian and in heathen lands would be disbanded; Christian instruction in families would be diminished or cease altogether; those great benevolent institutions, whose interests are linked in with the Sabbath, would languish and die; and every obstacle would be removed to the setting in of one unbroken tide of worldliness and ungodliness.
Has the true place of the Sabbath now been assigned? If so, I observe again, that free institutions cannot be permanent without it, because the rejection of the Sabbath would be virtually a rejection of the God of the Bible, and so, for us, of God himself.
It is very much from its recognition of the Christian Sabbath that our government is known as a Christian government. Let legislative bodies sit, and judicial processes go on on the Sabbath as on other days, and the chief bond which connects the government with the Bible and with the Christian religion would be sundered. Such a course would be a national rejection of the Christian religion and of the authority of the God of the Bible. But the rejection by moral beings of their essential good, that is, of God, necessitates the choice of essential evil.
It remains to be said that this second proposition is confirmed by history. History shows that, where both have been in question, the enemies of freedom and of the Sabbath have been the same. Here Pilate and Herod have become friends. Here infidelity and formalism, despotism and anarchy, join hands. The Sabbath elevates man; but it has always been the policy of civil, and especially of spiritual despotism, to prevent that elevation which would render the people capable of liberty, by amusing them with shows and sports, by multiplying holidays and degrading the Sabbath to the level of such days, or even below it, so by giving the people license to indulge themselves in their lower and vicious propensities. Hence the theaters and gladiatorial shows of the Roman Emperors. Hence the carnivals and shows at Rome now, and the fact that the Sabbath is nowhere kept holy where popery is prevalent. With an open Bible and a holy Sabbath popery cannot coexist. Wonderful have been the arts and the malignity of despotism and formalism by which the Sabbath has been displaced, and the people have been degraded by keeping them in ignorance and by ministering to their lower propensities.
Such has been the opposition of despotism and formalism. That of infidelity and anarchy, always showing itself sporadically, became organized in the French revolution, when the Sabbath was abolished by law, but received a new sanction in the awful consequences which followed.
History also shows that God has joined freedom with the Sabbath. With English and American liberty the Sabbath was the turning point. It was around that that the battle raged. If the English Puritans had not so honored the Sabbath as to vindicate their right to keep it holy, and so as to lose their all in doing this, more than eight hundred ministers having been ejected from their livings, on this account, England would not have been, as now, indebted to them for her freedom, and they would not have founded the freer and better institutions of this land. It was to the hands of those who had learned to keep his Sabbaths that God entrusted the standard of freedom when she fled into the wilderness to plant that standard as the last hope of the nations, and in that land freedom has always found her best home and truest defenders in those parts of the country where the Sabbath has been most honored.
It appearing thus that the religious Sabbath would make free institutions permanent, and that they cannot be so without it, we turn for a moment to our third position, which is,
That the civil, as based on the religious Sabbath, is an institution to which society has a natural right.
On this point a word is due, both because it has never been made clear in the public mind, and because it underlies the right to legislate in favor of the Sabbath, which is the chief ground of controversy. The religious Sabbath cannot be enforced by law. Men cannot be made religious by legislation. It is only the civil Sabbath that can be thus enforced. By the civil Sabbath we mean a day made nonlegal; in which public business shall be suspended, and in which all labor and recreation shall be so far restrained that the ends of a religious Sabbath may be secured by those who wish it. To this it is that we say that the community has a natural right.
Rights, as has been said, spring from necessities and capacities. If it can be shown that man has a constitutional necessity for rest one-seveth of the time, and if legislation be necessary to secure for him the conditions of that rest, then legislation for that would be as legitimate as it would be for rest during the night. Perhaps both these points may be established; but if they should be, they would not furnish our most substantial basis for the right of legislation on this subject. Man has not only necessities, but capacities, and whoever has a natural capacity has a natural right to the means and conditions of its development. These means and conditions for all the capacities of the individual, it is the object of society and of government to secure. They have not only a right to secure them; they are bound to do it. But to develop fully the religious capacities of man, his highest capacities, they must be developed socially. He has, therefore, a right to those social conditions under which they may be thus developed, and this would include the civil Sabbath. Society has therefore a right to legislate in favor of the Sabbath and for the protection of religious rights, on precisely the same ground on which they have a right to legislate for the protection of the rights of property. Man has a right to property, if he chooses to get it, because he has a natural desire for it, and it is necessary for his wellbeing, and so legislation, though it does not give him property, secures to him the means and conditions by which he may obtain and enjoy it. In the same way, man has a right to be religious if he will, because he has a natural capacity for it, and it is essential, far more so than property, to the attainment of his end; and so, though legislation cannot give him religion, yet it may and ought to secure to him those means and conditions by which he may obtain and enjoy that. If the majority of the community, the lawmaking power, choose to forego their right and to neglect their duty in this regard, they can do so, but the right will remain.
It may also be said, and those who will investigate the foundation of rights will find it so, that society, as being from God, has a natural right to anything that is necessary to secure its own ends. If, therefore, it can be shown, as it can be, and has been, that these ends cannot be secured without the Sabbath, then society has, on this ground also, a natural right to legislate in favor of the civil Sabbath.
From this whole discussion it will appear that the Sabbath is not, as some seem to suppose, an institution slightly connected with the other arrangements of God for the elevation and wellbeing of man, but is inseparably blended with them all. Like the air, and the light, and the water, in the simplicity and yet variety of its applications and uses, it bears the evident impress of the hand of God. Its law of rest is enstamped upon the physical organization of all beings capable of labor. It is adapted to the laboring man in his toil, to the young man in his temptations, to the business man in his perplexities, to the scholar in his exhausting processes of thought, and to the statesman as bearing the burdens of public life. It is adapted to families, consecrating home, and giving opportunity for family instruction. It is adapted to communities, as the individuals composing them are related at once to each other and to God, and as needing opportunity both for public and private devotion. It blends the social and religious nature of man, and fits him for a social heaven. It is related to the Bible as a book requiring study, and so time for study. It connects man with the past by reminding him of the great events which it commemorates; with the future by its glimpses and foretastes of that Heaven which it typifies. Kept as God commanded, it would improve the individual man physically, intellectually, morally. In his social relations, it would secure purity and harmony; in its civil relations security and freedom. It would unite man to man, and all men to God. Surely, whatever he may intend, he who fights against the Sabbath fights against the best interests of his race, and against God himself.
It will also appear from this discussion, in a practical way, what the precise points are to which the friends of the Sabbath and free institutions should direct their efforts, at all times, and with special energy in the present hour of peril.
These are three: They must, first, be themselves careful to keep the Sabbath holy. This is indispensable. Secondly, they must do what they can by moral means to promote the intelligence, the morality, and especially the personal religion of individuals. Only religious persons will keep the Sabbath religiously. Thirdly, they must maintain and defend the civil Sabbath as they would any other natural right.
[In preparing the above essay, free use has been made by the author of a discourse on the same subject, published by him some years since. ((probably THE SABBATH AND FREE INSTITUTIONS: A SERMON DELIVERED BEFORE THE AMERICAN AND FOREIGN SABBATH UNION, May, 1847, Boston: T.R. Marvin, 1847.))]
The foregoing paper was referred to a Committee consisting of the REV. CHAS. HODGE, D.D., of Princeton, REV. JOHN WAYLAND, D.D., of Saratoga, and W.J. KING, Esq., of Providence, R.I.
The REV. DR. HODGE, Chairman of the Committee, submitted the following report which was unanimously adopted:
Conventional forms of commendation are entirely inappropriate, because entirely inadequate as an expression of the judgment of this Convention, on the remarkable discourse delivered in its hearing, by the Rev. Dr. Hopkins. After a clear and profound analysis of the nature of freedom and of free institutions, the distinguished author presented the following propositions: First, that a religious observance of the Sabbath would secure the permanence of free institutions. Secondly, that without the Sabbath religiously observed, such institutions cannot be secured. And, Thirdly, that the civil, as based on the religions Sabbath, is an institution to which society has a natural right, precisely as it has to property.
These propositions were demonstrated by a process of reasoning simple and irresistible, and, we may add, majestic. The third of these propositions, viz.: That society has a natural right to the civil Sabbath, is one of special interest and importance. It furnishes a firm foundation on which to rest the rights and duty of the community to protect the Sabbath by civil legislation.
This may be admitted and asserted without ignoring or denying other, and, perhaps, higher grounds for such legislation. It is a historical fact, that this is a Christian and Protestant country. It is an admitted fact, that Christianity is part of the common law of the land. From these facts it would seem to follow that we, as a community, are as much bound to protect the civil Sabbath, as we are to enforce the Christian law of marriage, or to secure the sanctity of judicial oaths.
The Convention, believing that the discourse of Dr. Hopkins is singularly adapted to the exigencies of the times, not only tender him their profound thanks for its preparation and delivery, but request a copy for publication, that it may take its place as one of the standards of our Protestant Christianity.
*Hopkins, Rev. Mark, D.D., The Sabbath and Free Institutions. A Paper read before the National Sabbath Convention, Saratoga, Aug. 13, 1863. On invitation of the New York Sabbath Committee (New York: Edward O. Jenkins, 1863). Pamphlet, 9 x 6, 20 pages.
"Hopkins argues three points, 1. That a religious observance of the Sabbath, or, as it may be called by way of distinction, the religious Sabbath, would secure the permanence of free institutions [civil governments], 2. That without the Sabbath religiously observed, the permanence of free institutions cannot be secured, and 3. That the civil, as based on the religious Sabbath, is an institution to which society has a natural right, precisely as it has to property." -- Wurth Books
"These propositions were demonstrated by a process of reasoning simple and irresistible, and, we may add, majestic. The third of these propositions, viz.: That society has a natural right to the civil Sabbath, is one of special interest and importance. It furnishes a firm foundation on which to rest rights and duty of the community to protect the Sabbath by civil legislation." -- Charles Hodge, D.D., of Princeton, reporting to The National Sabbath Convention, 1863, p. 19, "The Sabbath and Free Institutions." Charles Hodge and his son, A.A. Hodge, are considered to be two of the finest theologians produced by America.
"Mark Hopkins, educator, b. in Stockbridge, Mass., 4 Feb., 1802; d. in Williamstown, Mass., 17 June, 1887. He was a grandson of Col. Mark, of the Revolutionary army, a graduate of Yale, and the first lawyer in Berkshire county, who was a younger brother of Dr. Samuel, the theologian, and married to a half-sister of Ephraim Williams, the founder of Williams College. He was graduated at Williams in 1824, with the valedictory, was a tutor in that college in 1825-7, studied medicine at the same time, and was graduated at the Berkshire medical school in 1829. He began practice in New York city, but in 1830 was called to the chair of moral philosophy and rhetoric at Williams. He was licensed to preach in 1832. In 1836 he succeeded Dr. Edward D. Griffin as president of the college, which post he held until 1872, when he resigned, though retaining the chair of moral and intellectual philosophy, which was established for him in 1836, and that of Christian theology, which he assumed in 1858. The pastorate of the college church, on which he entered in 1836, he retained till 1883. He became president of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions in 1857. He received the degree of D.D. from Dartmouth in 1837, and Harvard in 1841, and that of LL.D. from the University of the state of New York in 1857, and from Harvard at its 259th anniversary in 1886.
"President Hopkins had a large influence for good, and was much beloved by his pupils, many of whom became eminent men, among them James A. Garfield. He was one of the most acute students of moral science that this country has produced since Jonathan Edwards. The last and fullest expression of his philosophical system is found the works entitled THE LAW OF LOVE AND LOVE AS THE LAW [CHRISTIAN ETHICS], ISBN: 9781429017824 1429017821 and AN OUTLINE STUDY OF MAN [AN OUTLINE STUDY OF MAN, or, THE BODY AND MIND IN ONE SYSTEM WITH ILLUSTRATIVE DIAGRAMS, AND A METHOD FOR BLACKBOARD TEACHING, New York: Scribner, 1887, c1886.], both extensively used as textbooks, and the latter illustrating his methods in the classroom." -- Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1888.
The Sabbath and Free Institutions
Parker, Samuel, (1640-1688), A Demonstration of the Divine Authority of the Law of Nature and of the Christian Religion (The Philosophy of John Locke) (1640-1688) (Taylor & Francis, June 1, 1984), ISBN: 0824056094 9780824056094.
Hopkins, Mark, The Law of Love and Love as a Law: Or, Christian Ethics (Ams Pr, 3rd edition, December 1, 1991).
Hopkins, Mark, An outline study of man, or, The body and mind in one system with illustrative diagrams, and a method for blackboard teaching (New York: Scribner, 1887, c1886).
Hopkins, Mark, The law of love and love as a law, or, Christian ethics theory of morals restated: for use with The outline study of man (New York: Scribner, 1881).
Corporate Faithfulness and Sanctification, Chapter 9 (part 5)
The Theology of Freedom
The Christian Foundation of America
Restoring Constitutional Government to America
The Decline of American Society
Combined Interactive Contents for The Web Edition of Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal
Web Layout - Lettermen Associates
Revised - July 12, 2012 [Lettermen Associates]