The Pilgrim Fathers, according to the old hymn, left England, first for Holland, and then for America, for "freedom to worship God." But freedom to have a day of rest and worship was one of the chief motives of their migration. King James had decreed that Sunday was a day for sports, and issued his Sports Book. The Pilgrim Fathers desired to build their families, and their civilization, upon another basis. Hence they came to America. From the very beginning, in all the colonies, observation of the Sabbath was part of the law of the land. There is no doubt, either, that their observance of this day made a mighty contribution to the moral stamina and spiritual well-being of the nation, as well as to its material and economic prosperity. The Sabbath gave the people a chance to know the Bible, the fountain whence have flowed the noblest streams of influence in the religion, education, and politics of the nation.
Man is a seven-day machine, designed so by the Great Artificer. The greatest blessing ever conferred upon man as a toiler and a laborer is the Sabbath. Henry George said, "Moses was the first labor reformer, and the Sabbath was his chief labor reform." John Bright, speaking to the toiling miners of Lancashire, used to quote the lines of George Herbert:
Without Thy light, the week were dark;
Thy torch doth show the way.
Welcome that day, the day of holy peace,
The Lord's own day! to man's Creator owed,
And man's Redeemer, for the soul's increase
In sanctity, and sweet repose bestowed;
Type of the rest when sin and care shall cease,
The rest remaining for the loved of God!—Bishop Mant
"Look at my grain," said a scoffing farmer to a clergyman neighbor. "I plowed on Sunday; I planted on Sunday; I harrowed on Sunday; I harvested on Sunday; and I never had a better crop. What do you say to that?" "I only say," said the minister, "that the Lord doesn't settle all his accounts on the first of October."—Sunday School Times