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< ——" "— THE DAY OF REST. Of national and international conferences there is no end, and concerning some of them it must be admitted that they are aim- ing-* at impossible, or to say the least far- off ideals. But this cannot be said in rela- tion to the International Conference which has just been held for the promotion of a weekly day of rest in every industry and for all classes of the people. This move- ment is essentially a practical one, and is steadily gaining ground in countries which in past times have disparaged the British Sunday, and made :t a matter of reproach that we have not given up a part of the day to popular amusements. That this feeling has nor altogether passed away was pretty plainly shown earlier in the present year by the French protests against the closing of the White Citv en Sundays, but this much may certamlv be claimed that the French people understand better than they did the British standpoint, and arc themselves far more alive than formerly to the advant ages of a "rest dny," It will surprise many to learn on the authority of Mr T. Bowick, of the Nation.? Hygienic League, that in this country there are some two-and-a-half millions of people who would benefit by the adoption of the Weekly Rest Day Bill promoted by that organisation. Some of these workers no doubt have time allowed them in return for Sunday work, but in many instances it falls considerably short of the one day in seven. No doubt in some callings, such for ex- ample as agriculture, it is difficult to give entire freedom throughout the whole of the day, but we believe that men of all parties are agreed that Sunday work should be re- duced to the lowest possible point, and that where it is necessary an equivalent should be given on some other day of the week. The proceedings at the International Con- ference were happily not characterised by Sabbatarian narrowness, and the. question was mainly discussed on social and indus- trial grounds. Mr Alex. Findlay, M.P., speaking as a large employer of labour, gave it as his opinion that a rest day im- proved the quality of every kind of work advanced the character, well-being, and hap- piness of the workers; and promoted the prosperity of the nation. And this testi- mony could, of course, be lUltipIied a thousand fold, not only be employers, but by brain workers and manual workers of every class. Another aspect of the subject which should not be lost sight of is the enormous value of the day of rest in home and family life It is scarcely too much to sav that thousands of workers would know little of their own children, if it were not for the weekly inter- val of rest. It is this which furnishes them with the breathing space in which to culti- vate the home affections and strengthen the bonds of family life. In these days there is no need to protest, as perhaps there once was, against a too strict observance of Sun- day, for the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, and most thoughtful per- sons will admit that there is far more risk of the safeguards of the weekly day of rest being gradually broken down. In city life the danger is by no means remote, though we are not without hope that the practical good sense of the nation will lead it to resist the tendency to destroy the distinction be- tween Sunday and other days. And on this point it should always be remembered that, if the day of rest lost its quietude and became devoted to sports and amusements, the first to suffer would be the working classes of the nation. Excursion trains would be- come an ordinary thing, Sunday trading would be widely extended, and there would be an ever-growing army of Sunday work- ers. And this would necessarily mean an increase of the rush and turmoil of modern life. Apart, therefore, from the religious argument altogether there are the strongest reasons why we should cling to the goodly heritage handed down to us of one day's rest in seven. But on this matter we do not hesitate to appeal also to the higher sanctions and requirements of religious teaching and experience. And here, hap- pily, there is no discord between the Churches, and the cl:1im which they make for the rightful observance of the day is corroborated by the common instinct of the human heart. Man does not live by bread alone, and there is an accumulation of testi- mony that Sunday brings with it not only rest of body, but renovation of spirit, and that when it is turned to the best account, it ministers to all that is worthiest in human life.


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