Thursday, July 16, 2009

Whose law? Sabbath sailings

Robert McCheyne's lament over the Parisian Sabbath was: " Alas ! poor Paris knows no
Sabbath. All the shops are open, and all the inhabitants are on the wing in search of pleasures — pleasures that perish in the using. I thought of Babylon and Sodom as I passed through the crowd. I cannot tell how I longed for the peace of the Scottish Sabbath!" How much true-hearted people now long for the peace of the Scottish everywhere in Scotland! The spurious pretext for Caledonian MacBrayne forcing sabbath sailings on the Isle of Lewis (with the approval of the Scottish Government) is the Equality Act 2006. Yet they refuse to publish the legal opinion that they have obtained and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has not taken up their position. They are only able to say that one man's opinion is that not providing sabbath sailings is 'more than likely to be in breach of the Equality Act 2006'. It hardly sounds like a sure basis. The decision is of course just a commercial one and that is why it flouts the democratically expressed view of the people of Lewis in the Council and the recent Stornoway Trust elections not to mention an overwhelming petition. Yet there is a desire to appeal to law in order to cry down the law of God in order to take away the last protection of the Sabbath in Scotland. One man's less than absolute opinion about a human law that in many of its provisions opposes the law of God is to be appealed to as a sufficient authority. When men stop believing in God's law and authority, they start believing anything and everything. The idea behind the thought that any law can be independent of God's law is the sinful and self-destructive desire for autonomy. Autonomy is only a synonym for blasphemy.

This is what McCheyne pointed out in his day to sabbath breaking commercial transportation companies: 'If you shall really carry your motion, against the prayers and longings of God’s people in this land, then, sir, you will triumph for a little while; but Scotland’s sin, committed against light, and against solemn warning, will not pass unavenged'.

The appeal to discrimination is utterly spurious but such is the false one-sided logic of the Equality movement. Iain D Campbell of the Lord's Day Observance Society says: 'In fact there is no absolute right to a Sunday ferry service anywhere. CalMac don't run Sunday ferries from Mallaig to the Small Isles, for instance, or ferries anywhere on Christmas Day – I don't think anyone seriously argues that that's discrimination. Experience has actually shown that new Sunday ferries don't increase traffic, they just spread it, and there is no evidence whatever that Sunday ferries bolster a local economy. There have been Sunday sailings to the Uists and Barra for many years now and if anything their problems of unemployment, housing and depopulation are even worse than ours'.

Some refuge is sought for the open breach of God's law although it be a false refuge and a refuge of lies but there will be no refuge on the day of judgement. McCheyne warned commercial transportation companies in his day:

'Guilty men ! who, under Satan, are leading on the deep, dark phalanx of Sabbath-breakers, yours is a solemn position. You are robbers. You rob God of his holy day. You are murderers. You murder the souls of your servants. God said, ” Thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy servant;” but you compel your servants to break God’s law, and to sell their souls for gain. You are sinners against light. Your Bible and your catechism, the words of godly parents, perhaps now in the Sabbath above, and the loud remonstrances of God-fearing men, are ringing in your ears, while you perpetrate this deed of shame, and glory in it. You are traitors to your country. The law of your country declares that you should ” observe a holy rest all that day from your own words, works, and thoughts ;” and yet you scout it as an antiquated superstition. Was it not Sabbath-breaking that made God cast away Israel ? And yet you would bring the same curse on Scotland now. You are moral suicides, stabbing your own souls, proclaiming to the world that you are not the Lord’s people, and hurrying on your souls to meet the Sabbath-breaker’s doom'.

We pray that in our day we will have ministers with the convictions and courage of McCheyne and Christians with the convictions and courage of the Strome Ferry men of 1883.