Present Truth 3

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THE PRESENT TRUTH. VOL. I.-MIDDLETOWN, CONN.-NO. 3

James White

 

VOL. I.-MIDDLETOWN, CONN, AUGUST, 1849.-NO. 3.

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”-Psalm 25:14.

 

The Sabbath taught, and enforced in the New Testament

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath-day.” Matthew 24:20.

 

Jesus thus recognizes the Sabbath, more than thirty years after the Jewish sabbaths were abolished. Those who teach the no-Sabbath heresy, have labored hard to explain away the important fact, that Jesus establishes the perpetuity of the Sabbath, this side of the crucifixion, as far as the destruction of Jerusalem; but this plain fact is so well fastened “by a nail in the right place,” driven by the Lord of the Sabbath, that with all their efforts, it will not remain explained away. It does not read, the Sabbath-day of the Jews, nor their Sabbath-day; but THE SABBATH-DAY, by way of distinction, stands out in bold relief upon the sacred page. The Scriptures of both Testaments, give the Sabbath of the Lord our God this mark of eminence. Those who oppose the true Sabbath, tell us that “the Jews were so tenacious about the strict observance of their Sabbath, that they would have prevented the disciples fleeing on that day, had they made an attempt to do so; hence for their own salvation, Christ taught them to pray that their flight might not be on that day.” All such sophistry as this does not touch the main point. Jesus did recognize the Sabbath of the Lord our God, many years after the crucifixion. Unbelief cannot hide this important fact, from those who are honestly searching for the Sabbath truth.

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath-day, according to the commandment.” Luke 23:56.

When Jesus was nailed to the cross, the hand-writing of ordinances was abolished. Let all remember that St. Paul has forever established this point in Colossians 2:14.

At the third hour of the day, or 9 o’clock A. M. Jesus was nailed to his cross, and at that very hour, whatever was to be abolished at the crucifixion, then died. From the sixth to the ninth hour, or 3 o’clock, P. M. darkness was over all the earth. At this hour, Jesus gave up the ghost, which gave the holy women three hours to see his body laid in the sepulchre, return and prepare the spices, and ointments, and be ready to commence the Sabbath at 6 o’clock, P. M.

The fact that they rested the Sabbath-day, according to the fourth commandment, after the crucifixion, shows that no change took place in relation to it, at the crucifixion. The modern view that Jesus relaxed the Sabbath, and taught his disciples by precept and example that it was to be relaxed, charges the followers of Jesus with ignorance and folly, in being so strict about the commandment. But we choose to follow Jesus, and the example of his holy followers, and keep the Sabbath according to the commandment; rather than to follow men who have back-slidden from present truth, and are laboring to tear down what they once labored to build up. We think it much safer to follow the sure Word, and the example of those who personally learned of Jesus, than uninspired men of this day, who are continually sliding from one position to another.

The great Apostle to the GENTILES preached on the Sabbath, and had no other regular preaching day. We have no record of his meeting with the disciples on the first day of the week but once, (Acts 20:7,) and that was to break bread, in the evening. It was not the evening following the first day, that they met together to break bread; for Paul “continued his speech until midnight,” then healed Eutychus, and then went up and broke bread, which all will agree would be on the second day of the week.

They met together in the evening following the seventh day, and Paul continued his speech until break of day; then spent the day-time of the first day of the week, which is now the Pope’s Sabbath, in walking to Assos, and sailing with his brethren to Mitylene. There is not, therefore, the least shade of evidence that Paul, or any of the Apostles, had any regular preaching day, but the Sabbath of the Lord our God.

“And Paul, as his MANNER was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath-days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” Acts 17:2. He preached every Sabbath, for a year and six months at Corinth, to the Jews, and to the GREEKS. See Acts 18:4-11.

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the GENTILES besought that these words might be preached to THEM the next Sabbath. And the next Sabbath-day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Acts 13:42-44.

Those who take the ground that Paul did not keep the Sabbath, say that he preached on that day, because the Jews were assembled in their synagogues on the Sabbath; but we find the Apostle preaching elsewhere, besides the synagogues, on the seventh day.

“And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a RIVER SIDE, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13.

St. Paul preached to the Jews and the Greeks, and at the request of the Gentiles, and by a RIVER SIDE. He preached every Sabbath at Corinth, for a year and six months; for this was his MANNER; therefore the assertion is untrue that he preached on the seventh day, merely because the Jews assembled in their synagogues on that day.

The no-Sabbath advocates make Paul one of the most inconsistent men, that ever undertook to preach the Gospel; for they say he taught the abolition of the Sabbath to the Galatians, Romans, and Colossians; and at the same time was preaching to Jews and Gentiles, not only in the synagogues, but elsewhere on every Sabbath-day!

The Jews never accused Paul with departing from the letter of the Sabbath law. This is strong evidence that he strictly kept it. We all know that if the Apostle had taught its abolition, the Jews would have accused him with Sabbath-breaking; for they sought for accusations to bring against him. Thus we see the Holy Sabbath taught in the New, as well as in the Old Testament.

Wherever the commandments of God are taught, and enforced in the New Testament, the Sabbath is taught and enforced, for the simple reason that the Sabbath law is one of the ten commandments. God has given but ten commandments. They are his everlasting covenant, written with his finger in stones. The commandments of God, in the New Testament, as well as in the Old, mean nothing more nor less, than Jehovah’s ten immutable laws.

Jesus gave but one commandment to the Church. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. John 13:34.” This is MY commandment, That ye love one another, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” John 15:12. This new commandment is the law of Christ. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the LAW OF CHRIST.” Galatians 6:2.

Some teach that nine of the commandments are “embodied in the law of Christ, and enforced; but the Sabbath law is left out. But where is the Scripture testimony that proves any such thing? It is not in the Bible. This is one of the smooth fables of the last days, suited to itching ears. The commandments of God are one thing, and the one law of Christ is entirely another separate thing. Jesus kept, and taught his Father’s commandments, so did his Apostles; but they never called them the law of Christ, or any part of the new commandment given by Jesus.

There was no necessity for enforcing the Sabbath law, as it was not violated in the days of the Apostles, as the other nine commandments were. The only natural reason why the Apostles did not rebuke the sin of Sabbath-breaking, is, that the sin did not exist in the early Church. The Sabbath was their regular preaching day, and Paul, John, and James taught that the keeping of the commandments of God was a test of Christian fellowship, and Eternal salvation.

When Christ and his Apostles speak of the commandments, they certainly mean all ten of them. This is plain enough for any child, that wishes to believe God’s truth, but unbelief can always find a handle to take hold of when it wants one. God has not revealed himself to man in such a way that he cannot doubt: if he had there would never have been an infidel in the world. If the second advent of Jesus had been so revealed that none could doubt, then this would be a world of Adventists; but this glorious truth is so plainly revealed, that all will be without excuse in the judgment, yet few believe. Just so with the Sabbath truth which shines out as clear as the noon-day sun, yet few will believe it. All who read the Bibles, know that all ten of the commandments of God are taught, and enforced in the New Testament as a whole; and this is enough to condemn them at the bar of God, if they violate the fourth. Because the fourth is not separately enforced in the New Testament, those who wish to violate it for some worldly object, pride, or the fear of man, will not be guiltless. God will not be trifled with. His word will not return unto him void.

Jehovah said of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” Mark 9:7. If all would hear Jesus, and teach as he taught, they would not make such work with the law of God as they now do. Here we will listen, and learn of the meek and lowly Jesus.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law.” What law? Ans. “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least COMMANDMENTS,” etc. See Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus then quotes the sixth, seventh, and third commandments from the decalogue, in the 21st, 27th, and 33rd verses of this same chapter, which forever settles the fact that the law, not to be destroyed at his first advent, was the ten commandments. To abolish a law is to destroy it. We know that Jesus did destroy, or abolish the hand-writing of ordinances in Moses’ law; but we have this plain, and positive declaration that he did not come to destroy the law of commandments, at his first advent. This is worth more to me, than all the assertions of men to the contrary. I am bound to “hear,” and believe Jesus.

“For verily I say unto you, ‘TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS, ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE shall in NO WISE pass from the law.”

If the Sabbath was relaxed, and passed from the law at the first advent, then certainly, heaven and earth then passed away! Such a view, no doubt would suit spiritualists; but not those who are still waiting for Christ to come, and make all things new. Jesus has here forever settled the question to the satisfaction of all candid minds, that will carefully investigate this subject, that the ten commandments are all to remain in full force, not one changed, or relaxed, until heaven and earth pass away at the close of time.

Those that understandingly reject the Sabbath, with such testimony as this from Jesus, whom they are commanded to “hear,” before them, would not be ready to love, and observe God’s sanctified day, if the Almighty should speak from heaven, and tell them to keep it, and shake the old earth as he did Mount Sinai.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one, [point here is a supplied word,] he is guilty of all. “For he that said, do not commit adultery, said also, do not kill.” James 2:10, 11. James here quotes two laws from the decalogue, which proves that he was speaking of the law of commandments.

The ten commandments are principles of goodness, justice, and holiness. Their essence is love. The first four, teach us love to God, and the last six, love to our neighbor; “therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10. “For this is the love of God that ye keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:3. “If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, (the decalogue, Exodus 20:3-17,) Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” James 2:8.

The Apostle James has enforced the Sabbath, and guarded the waiting brethren scattered abroad, against the view that we are at liberty to take the Sabbath from the royal law, by showing us that if we offend in one commandment we are guilty of all. The language is positive and plain, and all may see the truth if they wish to.

“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you; but an old commandment which ye had from the BEGINNING: The OLD commandment is the WORD WHICH YE HAVE HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING.” 1 John 2:7.

The only commandment which came from the beginning is the Sabbath. The word from the beginning is this; “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:3.

“Again, a new commandment I write unto you,” etc. See verse 8th. Here John makes the distinction between the old commandment from the beginning, which is the Sabbath, and the new commandment, given by Jesus to the Church, to love one another.

“I rejoiced greatly, that I found of thy children walking in truth as we have received a commandment from the Father.” 2 John 4. This commandment from the Father, which we had from the beginning, must of necessity be the Sabbath, for the reason that none of the Father’s commandments except the Sabbath were given at the beginning.

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:4. As the commandments of God mean the ten, which he wrote with his own finger on stones, and nothing more, nor less than the ten; and as Christ positively declared that not one jot or one tittle, should pass from this law of commandments while heaven and earth remain: and as the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ have taught and enforced the commandments of the Eternal Jehovah, and have not written one text, no, not one word, in all their epistles from which we can reasonably infer that the Sabbath law is relaxed and destroyed, we are abundantly furnished with proof positive, that the Sabbath is taught and enforced in the New Testament.

If the Sabbath-breaker should be asked in the judgment, what excuse he had to make for breaking the Sabbath, he would not dare, while standing before the great white throne, to say that he broke it because the fourth commandment was not separately enforced in the New Testament. Such an excuse may ease the conscience now, for a few days; but the time is not far distant, when those who are teaching men that they may break the fourth commandment, and be guiltless, will see and feel the force of this tremendous truth, that Christ and his holy Apostles when enforcing, and making the strict observance of the commandments, a test of Christian fellowship, and Eternal Salvation, mean the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and not NINE of them.

From Tract No. 6. of the American Sabbath Tract Society.

Twenty Reasons for Keeping Holy in each Week the Seventh Day instead of the First Day

1. Because the Seventh day was blessed and sanctified for a Sabbath, by God, immediately after the creation of the world, as a perpetual memorial of that wonderful work, and of His own resting from it; and because there is now as much need for man to remember God’s creative work, and to enjoy a weekly rest, as ever there was.

2. Because there is evidence that the Seventh Day was observed from Adam to Moses. Genesis 26:3-6; 29:27, 28.

3. Because the Seventh Day is a necessary part of the fourth commandment, given at Mount Sinai, graven on stone by the finger of God, and incorporated with the other nine precepts of the Decalogue, which are admitted to be moral in their nature, and perpetually binding. “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” “The Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Seventh Day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it.”

4. Because the Old Testament abounds with declarations of God’s blessing upon those who keep holy the Seventh Day, and of his vengeance upon those who profane it.

5. Because our Lord Jesus Christ enforced the claims of the law to the fullest extent, saying in regard to the code to which the Seventh Day belonged, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled;” and because He always kept holy the Seventh Day, in this doubtless “leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps.”

6. Because the holy women who had attended Jesus Christ at his death and burial, are expressly said to have “rested the Sabbath Day according to the commandment,” (Luke 23:56;) and because, though the narrative proceeds immediately to record the appearance of Jesus Christ, on the morning of the first day of the week, neither there nor elsewhere is one word said about a change of the Sabbath, or about the sabbatic observance of the First Day of the Week.

7. Because the Apostles of our Lord constantly kept the Seventh Day, of which there is abundant evidence in the Acts of the Apostles, and it is declared of Paul, that, “as his manner was,” he went into the synagogue frequently on the Sabbath Day. (Compare Luke 9:16, with Acts 17:2; see also Acts 13:14, 42, 44, 16:13.)

8. Because Jesus Christ, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, warned his disciples to pray that their flight might not happen “on the Sabbath Day;” and as that event was to take place almost forty years after the resurrection of our Lord, it appears that the same Sabbath was to be then observed by his disciples.

9. Because there is no other day of the week called by the name of “Sabbath,” in all the Holy Scriptures, but the Seventh Day alone; and because, when “the First Day of the Week” is mentioned in the New Testament, it is always clearly distinguished from “the Sabbath.”

10. Because not one of those passages which speak of the “First Day of the Week,” records an event or transaction peculiar to the Sabbath.

11. Because when God had so carefully committed his Law to writing, had repeated his precepts throughout the prophetic books, and had left so many testimonies and examples of the Seventh Day Sabbath on His sacred records, it is most unreasonable to suppose that He would have repealed or changed one single article thereof, without recording it among the words of our Lord Jesus or His Apostles, in the writings of the New Testament.

12. Because the observance of the Moral Law, (without any exception from it,) is constantly enjoined, in the writings of the Apostles; and one of them says that “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” quoting at the same time the sixth and seventh commandments. (See Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; Ephesians 6:2, 3; and James 2:8-11.)

13. Because the religious observance of the Seventh Day of the Week as the Sabbath, was constantly practiced by the primitive Christians, for three or four hundred years at least; and because, though it gradually fell into disuse, the neglect of the Sabbath was caused only by those corruptions of Christianity, which at length grew up into the grossest idolatry; so that the second commandment was in fact, and the fourth was in effect, abolished by an ignorant, superstitious, and tyrannical priesthood.

14. Because it was only through the superstitions observance of the anniversaries of saints and martyrs, and a multitude of other fasts and feasts, with which the simplicity of revealed religion was encumbered and overwhelmed, that the sabbatic observance of the Seventh Day went out of use; and not (in fact) by any real or pretended command of Christ or His Apostles, nor at first by the express authority of any Pope or Council; for it was kept as a strict fast, for ages after it lost every other token of a holy day.

15. Because the leaders of the Reformation never claimed for the First Day the name of the Sabbath, and never enforced the observance of that day by any other authority than that of the Church.

16. Because it is obviously absurd-(and it is an objection often made by irreligious people)-that the observance of the First Day of the Week as the Sabbath, should be grounded on a divine precept which commands the observance, not of the First, but of the Seventh Day.

17. Because, if the fundamental principle of Protestantism be right and true, that “the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants,” then the Seventh Day must be the true and only Sabbath of Protestants; for, unless that day of the week be kept, they have no scriptural Sabbath at all.

18. Because the pertinacious observance of the First Day of the Week, in the stead of the Seventh, has actually given occasion of great scandal to the Protestant faith; it has caused the Papists to declare that Protestants admit the authority of human tradition in matters of religion; and it has led to intolerance and persecution.

19. Because the observance of the First Day, and neglect of the Seventh, having been adopted partly in contempt of the Jews, has always laid a burden upon them, and presented an obstacle to their receiving Christianity, which ought to be removed.

20. Because the observance of the Seventh Day obeys God, honors the Protestant Principle, rebukes Papacy, removes stumbling-blocks, and secures for us the presence and blessing of “the Lord of the Sabbath.”

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