Later Judaism revived the earlier heathen content of the Sabbath, and lost sight of its deeper political, social and humanitarian significance. Unfortunately the Christian church and above all our Puritan fathers followed the guidance of the later priests rather than of the early prophets. Jesus with his clear insight into human hearts and needs, and with his glowing love for men, repudiated the harsh, mechanical interpretation of the Sabbath current in his day and reasserted the teachings of the great prophets that preceded him; “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Does the social and humanitarian interpretation of the Sabbath obscure or deepen its religious significance? Does the great body of the Christian church to-day accept the interpretation of the prophets and of Jesus, or that of early heathenism and later Judaism? Does the interpretation of the prophets and of Jesus furnish a basis on which all classes in the state can unite in appreciating and in jealously guarding the Sabbath? Does the acceptance of one or the other of these interpretations fundamentally affect our actual observance of the Sabbath? Our motives and our spirit? Our attitude toward our fellow men?
IMPORTANCE OF CHILDREN’S LOYALTY TO PARENTS
It is generally recognized by scientists that the place of animals in the scale of being is dependent upon the length of their period of infancy. The lower forms of animal life are mature almost as soon as they are born. Minnows never come under the care of their genitors, but are independent as soon as they are hatched. The young of the less developed quadrupeds are soon weaned and forgotten by their parents. The longer the young remain in the care of their parents the higher the form of the animal. The great difference between men and most of the higher animals is thought by many to be dependent upon the length of childhood, and the consequent care and attention given by the parents. Even among human beings it is scarcely too much to say that the longer the time of education and training under proper supervision lasts, the more successful finally at the end of life the man will be. When one considers that Aristotle, who is perhaps generally accepted as the world’s greatest thinker, associated with his great teacher, Plato, twenty years, until he was thirty-eight years of age and produced nearly all his important works only after that time, we may see one example of the profound importance of training. The care of parents for their children throughout all of their early years would naturally imply loyalty of children to the parents as a mark of gratitude for the time and affection expended upon them.
In one of his characteristic poems, filled with wise suggestion, Lowell speaks of obedience as that “great tap root” of the state and civilization. The habit of obedience is one of the finest characteristics in family life, and obedience to parents normally becomes obedience to law in the citizen, one of the surest bonds of society and one of the most necessary conditions of social progress.