Archive for June, 2008

The Move to Washington

June 25, 2008

This post needs further development:

A. G. Daniells gave a partial report as to the work of the Locating Committee in the search for the Eastern headquarters. Locations had been looked at in New Jersey and up the Hudson, and in Rhode Island.

TWENTY-NINTH MEETING GENERAL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE,
College View, Neb. 6:30 a. m., June 19, 1903.

Members Present! The same brethren, with the addition of U.P, Nelson.

Prayer by F. Griggs.

The time was spent in further discussion of the work of the Locating Committee. The Chairman described the situation offered at Washington, and read letters from J. S, Washburn relative to this location. A rural place within the District Of Columbia offered land very cheap, with good railway and street car connections. A building could also be rented at a reasonable figure. Sister White had advised investigating Washington very carefully, and warned against getting too near New York City.

Meeting Adjourned.

A. G, DAWIBLLS, Chairman, – W. A, SPICER, Secretary.

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The Shut and Open Doors

June 25, 2008

The Shut and Open Doors, Ellen G. White, The Early Years

Chap. 16 – (1845-1852)

The Shut and the Open Doors

In 1883 Ellen White wrote at length on the subject in answer to a charge brought against her that her visions taught that probation closed for the world in 1844. It is one of the few statements written by her in her own defense: (1BIO 259.5)

For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the Advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position. (1BIO 259.6)

I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents. (1BIO 260.1)

There was a shut door in Noah’s day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the Flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah: (1BIO 260.2)

“My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Gen.6:3). (1BIO 260.3)

There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven. (1BIO 260.4)

There was a shut door in Christ’s day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, “Your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38). (1BIO 260.5)

Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John: (1BIO 260.6)

“These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Rev. 3:7). (1BIO 260.7)

I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels’ messages and rejected that light were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them. (1BIO 260.8)

Those who did not see the light had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan.–MS 4, 1883 (see also 1SM, pp.63, 64). (1BIO 260.9)

Ellen White on the Shut Door

June 25, 2008

Present Truth, August 1, 1849

Dear Brethren and Sisters–

The Lord has shown me that it is my duty to relate to you, what he has revealed to me relating to the present truth, our present tried, scattered and tempted state, and our duty in view of the coming judgments of God. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 1)

Sabbath, March 24th, 1849, we had a sweet, and very interesting meeting with the Brethren at Topsham, Me. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the City of the living God. There I was shown that the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door, could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out, with all their importance, and for God’s people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, where the Ark is, containing the ten commandments. This door was not opened, until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the Holy Place of the Sanctuary in 1844. Then, Jesus rose up, and shut the door in the Holy Place, and opened the door in the Most Holy, and passed within the second vail, where he now stands by the Ark; and where the faith of Israel now reaches. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 2)

I saw that Jesus had shut the door in the Holy Place, and no man can open it; and that he had opened the door in the Most Holy, and no man can shut it: (See Rev. iii:7, 8:) and that since Jesus has opened the door in the Most Holy Place, which contains the Ark, the commandments have been shining out to God’s people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 3)

I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come, until the mediation of Jesus in the Holy Place was finished; and he had passed within the second vail; therefore, Christians, who fell asleep before the door was opened in the Most Holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month 1844; and had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light, and the test on the Sabbath, which we now have, since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God’s people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith, and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about it being a test for us now. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 4)

I saw that the enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the Holy Place, that Jesus has shut; and to close the door of the Most Holy Place, which he opened in 1844, where the Ark is containing the two tables of stone, on which are written the ten commandments, by the finger of Jehovah. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 5)

Satan is now using every device in this sealing time, to keep the minds of God’s people from the present, sealing truth; and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over his people, to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth, and was pure in heart, was to be covered with the covering of Almighty God. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 6)

Satan knew this, and was at work in mighty power, to keep the minds of as many as he possibly could unsettled, and wavering on the truth. I saw that the mysterious knocking in N.Y. and other places, was the power of Satan; and that such things would be more and more common, clothed in a religious garb, to lull the deceived to more security; and to draw the minds of God’s people, if possible, to those things and cause them to doubt the teachings, and power of the Holy Ghost. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 7)

I saw that Satan was working through agents, in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers, who have rejected the truth, and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching, or praying some would fall prostrate and helpless; not by the power of the Holy Ghost, no, no; but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents and through them to the people. Some professed Adventists who had rejected the present truth, while preaching praying or in conversation used Mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. And even some that used it, were so far in the darkness and deception of the Devil, that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such an one as themselves; and had valued his power as a thing of naught. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 8)

Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints; those that they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a satanic influence. Oh! that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan, and be on their guard. I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet were sliding; because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 9)

Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, and the covering drawn over God’s people, and they left out, without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 10)

God has begun to draw this covering over his people, and it will very soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for his people; and Satan will be permitted to work also. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 11)

I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapt about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God’s people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 12)

My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 13)

At the commencement of the Holy Sabbath, (Jan. 5,) we engaged in prayer with Bro. Belden’s family at Rocky Hill, Ct., and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in vision to the Most Holy Place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of his garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the Most Holy Place, until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction: and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished his work in the Most Holy Place–laid off his priestly attire and clothed himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silent no longer; but pour out his wrath on those who have rejected his truth. I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead, were separate events, one following the other. I saw that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished his work in the Sanctuary, he will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out. I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus’ work was done in the Sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous, and they thought that we had brought them down upon them, and if they could rid the earth of us, then the plagues would be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob’s trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the Voice of God. Then the 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony. On their garments was written in large characters, “thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” I asked who this company were. The angel said, “these are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.” I heard them cry with a loud voice–“we have believed in thy coming, and taught it with energy.” And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet–trodden the Sabbath underfoot, and that is why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting. Then my attending angel directed me to the City again, where I saw four angels winging their way to the gate of the City, and were just presenting the golden card to the angel at the gate. Then I saw another angel swiftly flying from the direction of the most excellent glory, and crying with a loud voice to the other angels, and waving something up and down in his hand. I asked my attending angel for an explanation of what I saw. He told me that I could see no more then, but he would shortly show me what those things that I then saw meant. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 14)

Sabbath afternoon one of our number was sick, and requested prayers that he might be healed. We all united in applying to the Physician who never lost a case, and while healing power came down, and the sick was healed, the Spirit fell upon me, and I was taken off in vision. I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with Priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised his hands upward, and with a voice of deep pity cried–“My Blood, Father, My Blood, My Blood, My Blood”. Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice–“Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He shewed me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that he gave his angels charge over things on the earth, and that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let the four winds go, and while they had started on their mission to let them go, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not all sealed, then he raised his hands to the Father and plead with him that he had spilled his blood for them.–Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 15)

I have seen the tender love that God has for his people, and that it is very great. I saw an angel over every saint, with their wings spread about them: and if the saints wept through discouragement, or were in danger, the angel that ever attended them would fly quickly upward to carry the tidings, and the angels in the City would cease to sing. Then Jesus would commission another angel to descend to encourage, watch over and try to keep them from going out of the narrow path: but, if they did not take heed to the watchful care of these angels, and would not be comforted by them, and continued to go astray, the angels would look sad and weep. Then they would bear the tidings upward, and all the angels in the City would weep, and then with a loud voice say, Amen. But if the saints fixed their eyes on the prize before them, and glorified God by praising him, then the angels would bear the glad tidings to the City, and the angels in the city would touch their golden harps and sing with a loud voice–Alleluia! and the heavenly arches would ring with lovely songs. I will here state, that there is perfect order and harmony in the holy City. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 16)

All the angels that are commissioned to visit the earth, hold a golden card which they present to the angels at the gates of the City, as they pass in and out. Heaven is a good place. I long to be there, and behold my lovely Jesus, who gave his life for me, and be changed into his glorious image. Oh! for language to express the glory of the bright world to come. I thirst for the living streams that make glad the City of our God. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 17)

The Lord has given me a view of other worlds. Wings were given me, and an angel attended me from the City to a place that was bright and glorious. The grass of the place was living green, and the birds there warbled a sweet song. The inhabitants of the place were of all sizes, they were noble, majestic and lovely. They bore the express image of Jesus, and their countenances beamed with holy joy, expressive of the freedom and happiness of the place. I asked one of them why they were so much more lovely than those on the earth. The reply was–“we have lived in strict obedience to the commandments of God and have not fallen by disobedience, like those on the earth. There I saw two trees, one looked much like the tree of life in the City. The fruit of both looked beautiful; but of one they could not eat. They had power to eat of both, but were forbidden to eat of one. Then my attending angel said to me–“none in this place have tasted of the forbidden tree; but if they should eat they would fall.” Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons. Then I saw good old Enoch, who had been translated. On his right arm he bore a glorious palm, and on each leaf was written Victory. Around his head was a dazzling white wreath, and leaves on the wreath, and in the middle of each leaf was written Purity; and around the leaf were stones of various colors, that shone brighter than the stars, and cast a reflection upon the letters, and magnified them. On the back part of his head was a bow that confined the wreath, and upon the bow was written Holiness. Above the wreath was a lovely crown that shone brighter than the sun. I asked him if this was the place he was taken to from the earth. He said “it is not; but the City is my home, and I have come to visit this place.” He moved about the place as if perfectly at home. I begged of my attending angel to let me remain in that place. I could not bear the thought of coming back to this dark world again. Then the angel said–“you must go back, and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000 shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds and viewing the handy work of God.” (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 18)

Dec. 16, 1848, the Lord gave me a view of the shaking of the powers of the heavens. I saw that when the Lord said “heaven” (in giving the signs recorded by Matt., Mark and Luke,) he meant heaven, and when he said “earth” he meant earth. The powers of heaven, are the Sun, Moon and Stars: they rule in the heavens. The powers of earth are those who bear rule on the earth. The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. Then the Sun, Moon, and Stars will be moved out of their places. They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God. (RH, August 1, 1849 par. 19)

Dark, heavy clouds came up, and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back, then we could look up through the open space in Orion, from whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space. I saw that the powers of earth are now being shaken, and that events come in order. War, and rumors of war,–sword, famine and pestilence, are first to shake the powers of earth, then the voice of God will shake the Sun, Moon and Stars, and this earth also. I saw that the shaking of the powers in Europe is not (as some teach) the shaking of the powers of heaven, but it is the shaking of the angry nations.
E. G. White.

(RH, August 1, 1849 par. 20)

A Statement by Early Adventists re: the Shut Door

June 25, 2008
The Review and Herald, April 7, 1885, Vol. 62, No. 18, page 217

open-door-signing

Ellen Dreams of James After His Death

June 14, 2008

–A few days since I was pleading with the Lord for light in regard to my duty. In the night I dreamed I was in the carriage, driving, sitting at the right hand. Father was in the carriage, seated at my left hand. He was very pale, but calm and composed. “Why Father,” I exclaimed, “I am so happy to have you by my side once more! I have felt that half of me was gone. Father, I saw you die; I saw you buried. Has the Lord pitied me and let you come back to me again, and we work together as we used to?” {10MR 38.2}

He looked very sad. He said, “The Lord knows what is best for you and for me. My work was very dear to me. We have made a mistake. We have responded to urgent invitations of our brethren to attend important meetings. We had not the heart to refuse. These meetings have worn us both more than we were aware. Our good brethren were gratified, but they did not realize that in these meetings we took upon us greater burdens than at our age we could safely carry. They will never know the result of this long-continued strain upon us. God would have had them bear the burdens we have carried for years. Our nervous energies have been -39- continuously taxed, and then our brethren misjudging our motives and not realizing our burdens have weakened the action of the heart. I have made mistakes, the greatest of which was in allowing my sympathies for the people of God to lead me to take work upon me which others should have borne. {10MR 38.3}

“Now, Ellen, calls will be made as they have been, desiring you to attend important meetings, as has been the case in the past. But lay this matter before God and make no response to the most earnest invitations. Your life hangs as it were upon a thread. You must have quiet rest, freedom from all excitement and from all disagreeable cares. We might have done a great deal for years with our pens, on subjects the people need that we have had light upon and can present before them, which others do not have. Thus you can work when your strength returns, as it will, and you can do far more with your pen than with your voice.” {10MR 39.1}

He looked at me appealingly and said, “You will not neglect these cautions, will you, Ellen? Our people will never know under what infirmities we have labored to serve them because our lives were interwoven with the progress of the work, but God knows it all. I regret that I have felt so deeply and labored unreasonably in emergencies, regardless of the laws of life and health. The Lord did not require us to carry so heavy burdens and many of our brethren so few. We ought to have gone to the Pacific Coast before, and devoted our time and energies to writing. Will you do this now? Will you, as your strength returns, take your pen and write out these things we have so long anticipated, and make haste slowly? There is important matter which the people need. Make this your first business. You will have to speak some to the people, but shun the responsibilities which have borne us down.” {10MR 39.2}

“Well,” said I, “James, you are always to stay with me now and we will work together.” Said he, “I stayed in Battle Creek too long. I ought to have -40- gone to California more than one year ago. But I wanted to help the work and institutions at Battle Creek. I have made a mistake. Your heart is tender. You will be inclined to make the same mistakes I have made. Your life can be of use to the cause of God. Oh, those precious subjects the Lord would have had me bring before the people, precious jewels of light!” {10MR 39.3}

I awoke. But this dream seemed so real. Now you can see and understand why I feel no duty to go to Battle Creek for the purpose of shouldering the responsibilities in General Conference. I have no duty to stand in General Conference. The Lord forbids me. That is enough.–Letter 17, 1881, pp. 2-4. (To W. C. White, September 12, 1881.)

The Nation, 1862, by James White

June 14, 2008

THE REVIEW AND HERALD

” Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word is truth.”

BATTLE CHEEK, MICH., THIRD-DAY, AUGUST 12, 1862,

JAMES WHITE, EDITOR.

The Nation.

FOR the past ten years the Review has taught that the United States of America were a subject of prophecy, and that slavery is pointed out in the prophetic word as the darkest and most damning sin upon this nation. It has taught that Heaven has wrath in store for the nation which it would drink to the very dregs, as due punishment for the sin of slavery. And the anti-slavery teachings of several of our publications based upon certain prophecies have been such that their circulation has been positively forbidden in the slave States. Those of our people who voted at all at the last Presidential election, to a man voted for Abraham Lincoln. We know of not one man among Seventh-day Adventists who has the least sympathy for secession.

But for reasons which we will here state, our people have not taken that part in the present struggle that others have.

1. The hope which stimulates others, that the war will soon terminate with the freedom of the millions of “bond-men and bond-women” of North America, and that a period of peace and millennial glory is to follow, we do not cherish. We think we see, through the prophetic word, the continuation of slavery down to the end of all earthly governments.

One text to the point must suffice. Rev. vi, 12-17. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig- tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, .and every free-man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains ; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb ; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”

Amid the terrors, of the day of God, which closes this mortal state, bond-men as well as free-men, call on rocks and mountains to hide them from the presence of the Lord. The minister who stated that these bond-men were those who were bound in their trespasses and their sins, found difficulty in explaining how free-men, free from trespasses and sins, were in terror calling on rocks and mountains to hide them. These bond-men are evidently slaves. Behind the cloud that now darkens our national horizon we see one still more terrific in the seven last plagues of Rev. xvi, to be poured out upon great Babylon. Her sins reach far up to heaven, and call for vengeance which will be rewarded unto her double for all her sins. Then the merchants of “slaves and souls of men” will mourn and lament be- cause their hellish traffic has come to an end. Rev. xviii.

2. The position which our people have taken relative to the perpetuity and sacredness of the law of God Contained in the ten commandments, is not in harmony with all the requirements of war. The fourth precept of that law says, ” Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy ;” the sixth says, ” Thou shalt not kill.” But in the case of drafting, the government assumes the responsibility of the violation of the law of God, and it would be madness to resist. He who would resist until, in the administration of military law, he was •shot down, goes too far, we think, in taking the responsibility of suicide.

We are at present enjoying the protection of our civil and religious rights, by the best government under heaven. With the exception of those enactments pressed upon it by the slave power, its laws are good. We may call in question the policy of the present administration in keeping the precious blacks, who are worth several hundred dollars each, out of the dangers of war—on whose account the present war is—and sending the valueless white man, not worth a dime in market, to fall in battle by thousands. But whatever we may say of our amiable president, his cabinet, or of military officers, it is Christ-like to honor every good law of our land. Said Jesus, ” Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matt, xxii, 21. Those who despise civil law, should at once pack up and be off for some spot on God’s foot-stool where there is no civil law.

When it shall come to this, that civil enactments shall be passed and enforced to drive us from obedience to the law of God, to join those who are living in rebellion against the government of Heaven, see Rev. xiii, 15-17, then it will be time to stand our chances of martyrdom. But for us to attempt to resist the laws of the best government under heaven, which is now struggling to put down the most hellish rebellion since that of Satan and his angels, we repeat it, would be madness.

Those who are loyal to the government of Heaven, true to the constitution and laws of the Ruler of the universe, are the last men to “sneak” off to Canada, or to Europe, or to stand trembling in their shoes for fear of a military draft. Is God their Father? He is a mighty God. “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance. Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Isa. xl, 15. Is Christ their Saviour and Redeemer? He is a mighty conqueror. He will soon come down the blazing vault of heaven, followed by the armies of heaven, having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Rev. xix. If the hope of immortality at the soon coming of Jesus Christ, whether living, or sleeping in the dust, will not sustain a man in these perilous times, nothing will. The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He has the nation in his hand, and will order events for his glory, and the best good of his loyal people.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH1862-V20-11/index.djvu

June 13, 2008

 

AN

 

ADDRESS

 

TO THE

 

BAPTIST DENOMINATION

 

OF THE

 

 

UNITED STATES

 

 

ON THE

 

 

OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH:

 

FROM THE

 

SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST GENERAL CONFERENCE

 

 

 

 

 

“Come now, let us reason together.” – John 1:18

 

 

NEW YORK

 

JOHN F. TROW & CO., PRINTERS

33 Ann-street

1843


 

ADDRESS

 

THE            SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST GENERAL CONFERENCE, TO THE MEMBERS OF THE BAPTIST DENOMINAT:ON THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES, HOLDING TO THE OBSERVATION OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK AS A DIVINE INSTITUTION.

 

 

Beloved Brethren:

 

When our Divine Redeemer dwelt on earth, he prayed that all his disciples might be “made perfect in one.” As this prayer was in harmony with the sure word of prophecy, which instructs us to look for a time when “the watchmen shall see, eye to eye, and sing with united voice,” we are sure that it will ultimately be answered. We see nothing, however, to warrant us in looking for such a happy consummation, while we contemplate the multiplied divisions of the Christian world, perpetuated, as they are, by the selfishness of human nature. Here the prospect is dark indeed. But we have an unshaken confidence in the power of God to bring about his own purposes, notwith­standing all the devices of men. “The hearts of all are in his hands, and he turneth them whithersoever he will.” He that made “the multi­tude of one heart and of one soul,” in the first age of the church, can again concentrate his scattered bands, break down every wall of separa­tion, and enlighten every mind by the effusion of his Spirit. Then shall Zion move forth “clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”

 

We rejoice, brethren, that you, as well as ourselves, are looking for this day of glory. Moreover, we have knowledge of your firm persuasion, that this glorious union of the now scattered forces of Israel, can be effected only upon the basis of divine truth. With a single glance you see the fallacy of that reasoning, which calls upon you, for the sake of union, to sacrifice the least particle of God’s word. You have learned that the smallest atom of truth has sweetness in it, like its Author, and is more precious than fine gold. That meagerness of piety which finds “non-essentials” in the appointments of Jehovah, you cannot abide. Your language is, “We esteem ALL thy precepts concerning ALL things to be right, and we hate EVERY false way.”

 

We know, moreover, that it is the desire of your hearts, that all dissen­sions between Christians should be for ever ended. For this object you are laboring and praying: and while you are doing so, you have the en­lightened conviction, that your labors and prayers will be more abundantly successful, in proportion to the amount of truth with which your own minds are imbued, and which you can bring to bear upon the minds of others. Laboring as you do to expound to others the way of the Lord more perfectly, we cannot suppose that you are yourselves unwilling to learn. We, therefore, approach you with confidence, affectionately and earnestly requesting you to take into consideration the subject which is the only ground of difference between you and us. We conceive it to be a subject of great importance; and though some of you may have made it a matter of thought, we are persuaded that the great body of your de­nomination have dismissed it without any particular investigation. Indeed, we speak not unadvisedly when we say, that on this question, the whole church of God have been hushed to sleep. In urging it upon your atten­tion, we think you will not charge us with wishing to raise disturbance in Zion. We indulge the hope that you will impute to us the same disinterestedness of motive by which you yourselves are actuated, when you boldly proclaim your denominational sentiments upon every high place, and scatter your publications in every direction. Your course springs not from any wish to foment disturbance, but from the pain which your hearts feel to see the institutions of Christ made void by the traditions of men. Our action in this matter springs from the same principle. We feel in regard to the Sabbath just as you do with regard to baptism. We declare before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are governed by a desire for your good and God’s glory.

 

When we look over your large and influential denomination, we find, that, in reference to the subject upon which we now address you, you are divided into about three classes. I. Those who, acknowledging the per­petuity of the Sabbath.law, enforce the observance of the Sabbath by the fourth commandment, but change the day of its celebration from the seventh to the first day of the week. II. Those who see the impossibility of proving a change of the day, and, therefore, regard the commandment as abolished by the death of Christ. But, at the same time, they consider the first day of the week as an institution entirely new, to be regulated as to its observance wholly by the New Testament. III. Those who con­sider neither the Old nor the New Testament to impose any obligation upon them to observe a day of rest, and advocate one merely on the ground of expediency.

 

I. First, we address those of you who acknowledge the obligation of a Sabbath, but change the day of its celebration from the seventh to the first day of the week. We may be wanting in discernment, but it really ap­pears to us, that in making the particular day to be observed to stand upon New Testament authority, and yet deriving all the obligation to sabbatize on that day from the Law, there is a departure from the great principle contended for by Baptists, that the extent and bearing of a law, both as to the duties it enjoins and the objects on which it terminates, are to be learned from the law itself, and not from other sources. On this principle you reject the logic of Pedobaptists, who, while they find the ordinance of baptism in the New Testament, go back to the law of circum­cision to determine the subjects. You tell them, and very justly too, that the law of the institution is the only rule of obedience. But do you not fall into the same error, when the argument has respect to the Sabbath? We can see no more fitness in applying the law of the Sabbath to the first day of the week, than in applying the law of circumcision to the subjects of baptism. For the law of circumcision was not more expressly confined to the fleshly seed of Abraham, than was the law of the Sabbath to the seventh day of the week. The true principle is that every institution is to be determined by its own law. Therefore, if the first day of the week is an institution binding upon us, the law to regulate its observance should be looked for where we find the institution. Be pleased, brethren, to review this argument, and see if you are not treading on Pedobaptist ground.

 

In justification of this change of the day, we often hear you plead the example of Christ and his apostles. But where do we find anything to this effect in their example? Did the apostles sabbatize on the first day of the week? Did the churches which were organized by them do so? Observe with marked attention, the question between you and us is NOT, Did they meet together and hold worship on that day? BUT, Did they sabbatize? that is, did they REST FROM THEIR LABOR on the first day of the week? Did they observe it AS a Sabbath? This is the true issue. We have often asked this question, but the only answer that we have received has been, that they assembled for worship. But this is not a candid way of meeting the point. It is in reality an answer to a very different question from the one we ask. Brethren, act out your own principles. Come up square to the question. When you ask a Pedobaptist, Did Christ baptize, or authorize the baptism of little children? you expect him to make some other reply than, “He put his hands on them and prayed.” When you ask, Did the apostles baptize infant babes? you arc not well pleased with the reply, They baptized households. Your question was with regard to little babes—the baptism of them. If, therefore, when we ask you, Did the apostles and primitive Christians sabbatize on the first day of the week? You merely reply as above, we do not see but you are guilty of the very same sophistry you are so ready to charge upon your Pedobaptist brethren. Your adroit evasion of the real ques­tion seems to place you much in the same predicament, as were the Pharisees, when Christ asked them whence was the baptism of John. It appears as if you reasoned with yourselves, and said, “If we shall say they did sabbatize on the first day of the week, the evidence will be called for, and we cannot find it; but if we shall say they did not, we fear the day will lose its sacredness in the eyes of the people.” We do not by any means wish to charge you with a Pharisaic lack of principle, but we put it to your sober judgment, whether your position is not an awkward one. Brethren, reconsider this point, and see if you are not on Pedobaptist ground.

 

If the apostles did not sabbatize on the first day of the week, then it follows, as a matter of course, that whatever notoriety or dignity belonged to it, they did not regard it as a substitute for the Sabbath. Consequently, unless the Sabbath law was entirely abrogated by the death of Christ, the old Sabbath, as instituted in Paradise, and rehearsed from Sinai, con­tinues yet binding, as “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.”

 

But more than this. Even if it could be proved, that the apostles and primitive Christians did actually regard the first day of the week as a Sabbath, it would not follow that the old Sabbath is no longer in force, unless it could be proved that they considered the new as a SUBSTI­TUTE for the old; or, that so far as the particular day was concerned, it was of a CEREMONIAL character. But where do we find proof for either of these? In the whole record of the transactions and teachings of the apostles, where do we find this idea of substitution? Nowhere. Where do we find evidence that, so far as the particular day was con­cerned, it was ceremonial, and, therefore, to cease at the death of Christ? Nowhere. The same argument that proves the Sabbath law not to be ceremonial, proves the same of the day. Did the Sabbath law originate in Paradise, when man was innocent, and had no need of a Redeemer? So did the day. it was then sanctified and blessed. Does the Sabbath law take cognizance of the relation on which all the precepts of the moral law are founded, viz., the relation we sustain to God as creatures to Creator? So does the day. It is a memorial of this relation, and of the rest entered into by God after he, by his work, had established the rela­tion. It appears then, that neither the Sabbath law, nor the day it enjoins, was of a ceremonial character. True, it is not moral, in the strictest sense, but rather positive. Nevertheless, by divine appointment it be­longs to the same category with the moral law, and must be considered a part of it. If this course of reasoning is correct—and if it is not, we hope you will point it out—it would not follow that the old Sabbath is done away, because Christ and his apostles sabbatized on the first day of the week; but only that there are two Sabbaths instead of one.

 

But we ask, by what right could Christ or his apostles alter the law of the Sabbath? Do not be startled. We do not question our Saviour’s divinity. We recognize him as over all, God blessed for ever. But in all his ministry he acted under the appointment of the Father, and according to such restrictions as were contained in the law and the prophets. By those restrictions, no laws were to be set aside at his coming, except such as were peculiar to the Jewish Econo­my; such as “meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordin­ances, imposed until the time of reformation.” Heb. ix. 10. To set aside these, the law gave the Messiah an express grant. Heb. x. 9. But the very moment he should attempt to go beyond the limits of that grant, he would destroy all the evidence of his being the Messiah promised and appointed. For it was by his exact conformity to the law, that his claims were established. Hence early in his ministry he declared that he “came not to destroy the law or the prophets.” Matt. v. 17. The divinity of the Saviour gave him no authority, therefore, to set aside any laws, except those which were “a shadow of things to come.” Other­wise we should have God denying himself!—God contradicting himself! On this account we say that neither Christ nor his apostles had any right to alter the Sabbath. The New Testament records not a single instance of Christ’s claiming such a right. When he avowed himself Lord of the Sabbath, he claimed no such right. He only claimed to de­termine what was the proper method of keeping it, what were breaches of it, and what were not. The Sabbath was made for man, and conse­quently it was his prerogative to decide what acts and duties answered to the nature and design of the institution. THEREFORE, the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath. Mark ii. 28. It is worthy of being observed, also, that our Saviour does not claim even this authority on account of his divinity, hut AS the Son of man.

 

In regard to the obligation resulting from apostolic example, it appears to us that you have fallen into some errors. We are not convinced that the example of the apostles can be justly pleaded for anything else than the order and arrangement of the church. However proper it may be to imitate them in other respects—in the duties of the moral law for instance —yet, if it were not known to be proper, independent of their example, we cannot suppose their example would make it so. We must first as­certain, by some settled and infallible rule, whether their practice is worthy of imitation. In regard to the ordering of church affairs there can be no doubt, for they were sent upon this very errand, with the promise of the Holy Spirit to qualify them for the work. But the Sabbath is not a church ordinance. It is not an institution for the church as such, but for all mankind. All reasoning with reference to it, from apostolic ex­ample, must therefore be very inconclusive; Even if we should admit that the church is bound by such example with regard to the first day of the week, yet this is the utmost extent to which our admissions can go. We cannot see how the institution becomes binding upon the world at large. Consequently we are compelled to maintain that an institution which was originally given for all mankind, remains unaltered. We are willing that the example and practice of the apostles should regulate the church as to its ordinances and government, and herein we claim to follow them as strictly as you do; but when they are pleaded for any­thing more, we want first to know whether they conform to the express law of God. Otherwise we must consider them as no more binding than an apostle’s quarrel with Barnabas.—Acts xv. 39.

 

If this argument is well founded, we are led to a very satisfactory dis­posal of a question often proposed, viz.: Why do we never read in the New Testament of Christian assemblies being convened as such, on the Sabbath? For if the Sabbath be not a church ordinance, but an institu­tion for mankind at large, it can be of no importance for us to know what Christian assemblies as such did with regard to it. All that is of real importance for us to know is the precise bearing of the institution upon man as man—upon man as a rational and accountable creature. On this point the information is clear and decisive.

 

The controversy between us and you appears to be brought down to a very narrow compass. Did the apostles and primitive Christians sabbatize on the first day of the week? And, Is the WORLD OF MANKIND bound to imitate their example, or only the CHURCH? If upon a solemn and pray­erful consideration of this subject, you are persuaded that there is no proof that the early Christians regarded the first day as a Sabbath, (sub­stituted in place of the seventh,) and will come out, and honestly avow your conviction, we have no fear that the controversy will be prolonged. For should you still be of opinion that some sort of notoriety was attached to the day, and that Christians met for worship, we shall not be very soli­citous to dispute the point. The apostolic rule, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind,” will then govern us.—(See Rom. xiv. 5, 6.) Our concern is not that you keep the first day of the week, but that you keep it in place of the Sabbath, thus making void the commandment of God. If once you discover, that Sunday is not the Sabbath by divine ap­pointment, and therefore cannot be enforced upon the conscience, we are persuaded that your deep sense of the necessity of such an institution, will soon bring you to the observance of the ancient Sabbath.

 

II. But we proceed to address those of you who regard the sabbatic law as having been nailed to the cross, and consider the First Day of the Week as an institution entirely new, regulated as to its observance wholly by the New Testament.

 

You, whom we now address, are exempt from some of the inconsistencies which we have exposed; but your theory labors under very serious difficulties, and is to be regarded, on the whole, as more obnoxious to the interests of religion, than the one we have been considering.

 

According to your position, the New Testament recognizes no Sabbath at all. Do not start at this charge. That it is repugnant to our feelings, we allow. You have never thought of anything else than entire abstinence from labor on the first day of the week. It is your day of rest, as well as worship. But on what ground do you make it a day of rest? What example have you for doing so? What law of the New Testament requires you to lay aside all your secular business? As sin is the transgression of the law, and where no law is there is no transgression, — i. John iii. 4, Rom. iv. 15,—how do you make it appear to be sin to work on the day in question? It is by the commandment that sin becomes exceeding sinful.—Rom. vii. 13. By what commandment do you make it appear sinful to work on Sunday? These are questions of the highest importance.

 

Now suppose one of your brethren attends public worship on the first day of the week, and—to make his conformity to what is supposed to be apostolic example as perfect as possible—participates in the breaking of bread. He then goes home, opens his shop, and commences labor, or into the field to drive his plough. By what law will you convince him of sin? Not the law of the Sabbath as contained in the Decalogue, for that you hold to be abolished. Not any law of the New Testament which says “keep the first day of the week holy; in it thou shalt not do any work,” for there is no such law. Not the law of apostolic example, for there is no proof that the apostles ever gave such example. The very utmost that you can with any show of reason pretend of their example, is, that they met together for worship and breaking of bread. To this example your brother has conformed to the very letter—who can say, he has not in spirit also? What now will you do with him? “The Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants.” The Bible, therefore, is the Rule by which he is to be tried. Convict him of sin by this Rule, if you can.

 

But the case becomes still more difficult, when you come to apply it to those who are without the pale of the church. We have already seen that apostolic example concerns merely the ordering and arrangement of the church. Attempt now to convince the unbeliever of sin in working on the first day of the week. In order to do this, charge Apostolic example upon him. What is his reply. “I know not,” says he, “that I am bound to imitate them in this matter. how does it appear that lain? I will admit, for argument’s sake, that they celebrated the Resurrection on Sunday by religious worship; but they also broke bread and partook of it by way of celebrating his death. If their example binds me in one particular, why not in the other? Prove to me,” says he, “that any but the church assembled on the first day for worship, and I will do so too. But in the absence of all such proof I must conclude, their example has nothing to do with me; unless, indeed, you can make it appear, that their example and practice were in conformity to some law, ‘which commanded them as rational creatures, independent of their relation to Christ and his church. When you can produce that law, then I will feel bound to obey it, and imitate the apostles in their obedience to it; but not till then.” Such is the reasoning by which an unbeliever may set aside all your attempts to charge sin upon him. Where, brethren, is your law which, like a barbed arrow, pierces the very soul, and fastens guilt upon the conscience? Where is that law which speaks out its thunders, saying, thus saith the Almighty God, the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, it is the Sabbath day, in it thou shalt not do any work? To throw aside the law, which cuts and flames every way, reaching soul and spirit, joints and marrow, in order to deal with the ungodly by mere apostolic example, is like muffling the sword for fear it will wound. Apostolic example is indeed powerful with those whose hearts have been made tender by the Spirit of God, but with others powerless.

 

We are persuaded, brethren, that your conscientious scruples about laboring on the first day of the week, never resulted from the mere con­templation of apostolic example. Such example, it is true, is all the law you acknowledge; but this is the theory you have adopted since you came to maturity, and began to think for yourselves. Your scruples have an earlier and different origin. They commenced with your childhood, when you were taught to consider the day as holy time. It was then impressed upon your mind, that God had, by express law, forbidden you to desecrate the day, and that you would incur his displeasure in case you should do so. This idea was them imbibed, that if you did not keep the day, you would violate the fourth Commandment. This idea has grown with your growth, and strengthened with your strength. It has obtained such com­manding influence over your feelings, that you cannot forbear keeping a day of rest, though your theory does not require it. Even to this day a strong impression rests upon your minds, that the fourth Commandment contains much of moral excellence; too much to be thrown altogether away, notwithstanding your system of theology teaches its abrogation. Such is the true secret of your tenderness of conscience. Apostolic ex­ample has in reality nothing to do with it. Following the secret monitions of conscience, your prosperity is promoted in spite of your theological system. But sound reason discovers, that your experience and your the­ory are in opposition to each other. Some of the more thinking ones among you are aware of this, and are continually aiming at such a modification of their theory, that their experience will harmonize with it. But be as­sured, here will be an everlasting conflict, until you come to acknowledge fully and heartily the claims of the sabbatic law.

 

We are aware of that system of theology, which regards the New Tes­tament as furnishing the only code of laws by which men are bound since the death of Christ. We have looked at this doctrine with attention; and so far as the order, government, and ordinances of the church are concerned, we admit its truth. As the laws and ordinances of the Jewish church were determined by the Old Testament, so the laws and ordinan­ces of the Christian church are determined solely by the New Testament. Therefore, we should say at once, the argument is yours, if the Sabbath were a church ordinance. In such case, however, none but the church has a Sabbath. But the question is not concerning church ordinances. In these we follow the New Testament as closely as yourselves. The question is concerning an institution which has respect to mankind at large;  – to man as man; for the Saviour teaches us that the Sabbath was made for man. Now it will be a very hard matter to prove, that when men as rational creatures are concerned, the only code of laws by which they are bound, is the New Testament. Let us put the matter to the test. How will you prove that it is unlawful for a man to marry his sister, his daughter, or any other of near kin? The New Testament utters not a word on the subject. It is not enough to say, it is implied in the law which forbids adultery; for it must first be proved to be a species of adultery. Nor will it do to say, the common sense of mankind is a sufficient law on the subject. For the moment we suppose that its unlawfulness is to be determined in this way, we abandon the argument that the New Testament is the only code of laws, and resort to the common sense of mankind as furnishing a part of the code. But if the common sense of mankind shall furnish a part of the code by which we are bound, who shall undertake to say how large a part? Besides, on this principle, the book of divine revelation is not complete and perfect. It is a lamp to our feet only in part, and the common sense of mankind makes out the defi­ciency! You are, therefore, driven to take your stand again upon the New Testament. Finding you there again, we repeat the question, How do you prove by your code, that a man may not marry his sister? It is impossible. You must, of necessity, look to that division of the scriptures usually called the Old Testament; for the New says not one word about it.

 

Let us turn now to the 18th chapter of the book of Leviticus, and we shall find a collection of laws exactly to the point. “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him,” &c.—v. 6. The degrees of kindred are then expressly marked, Will it be objected, that these laws were given particularly to the Jews, and to no other people? We admit they were given to the Jews, as indeed was the whole system of revela­tion in that age: but we cannot admit that they concerned no other class of people. For it is expressly shown in that chapter, that the matters of which they took cognizance, were regarded as abominations in the Gen­tiles. Because of such things, the fierce wrath of Jehovah came down upon the Canaanites, and they were east out from the land as loathsome­ness.—v. 24—30. If these things were viewed as abominable in the Ca­naanites, they surely were not ceremonial pollutions. They were not mere Jewish laws. The fallacy of the doctrine is therefore sufficiently exposed.

 

We think you have fallen into error concerning the nature and design of that division of the scriptures commonly called the New Testament. We regard it not as the Law Book of mankind, in the strict and proper sense; but rather as a Treatise on Justification, in which are contained such references to the law, and such quotations from it, as are necessary to the complete elucidation of the subject. The preparation of this treatise was of necessity delayed, until the great sacrifice for sin had been offered, and our High Priest had entered into the holy place. For as the sacrifice and intercession of our High Priest constitute the sole foundation of our justification, so “the way into the holiest of all was not yet made mani­fest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing.”—Heb. ix. 8. So much of the plan of justification was illustrated to the people, as could be by means of the ritual service; and that, together with the prophecies, laid a foundation for them to believe that, in some way or other, they would be just before God. So that by faith the patriarchs were justified—Heb. xi. They knew it was to be somehow through the work of Him, who was typified and promised as the great Redeemer. But understand the plan they could not, until the Redeemer came and died for them.

 

Because this treatise on justification could not be prepared until after the death of the High Priest, therefore it was not proper to organize gospel churches. The only church that was suitable for that age was found in the Jewish nation, and from its very nature was unfit for the world at large. It was, therefore, confined to that people. Moreover, because it was not proper to organize gospel churches, until the way of justification was fully laid open, it was also not proper to lay down the laws and ordinances of the church until that time. This accounts for the laws of the church being found only in the New Testament.

 

Now, if the New Testament is to be regarded as a treatise on justifica­tion, with such references to the Old as are necessary for the elucidation of the subject, rather than as the Law-Book for mankind at large; the idea that the Sabbath ought not to be looked for in the Old Testament, falls to the ground. Nevertheless, to some minds it appears strange, that while the New Testament writers mention all the other duties of the Decalogue, this is apparently omitted. In speaking of the sins of which Christians were guilty before their conversion, not one word is said about Sabbath breaking, though upon other sins they dwell with emphasis. But this admits of a very easy solution. Those writers addressed two classes of converts; those from among the Jews, and those from among the Gen­tiles. As to the former, they were already rigid to an extreme in keeping the Sabbath. All that was necessary to do in their case, was to vindicate the institution from Pharisaic austerities, and determine what was lawful to be done, and what was not lawful. This was done by Christ. But as for the Gentile converts, to charge them with having been guilty of the sin of Sabbath breaking in their state of heathenism, would have been manifest impropriety. For the Sabbath being for the most part a positive rather than a moral precept, it could not be known without a revelation. But as the Gentiles had no revelation, this is a good reason why the apostle dwelt not upon this sin to charge it upon them, but only upon those which were more obviously breaches of the Moral Law. Thus it appears, there was no necessity for any more particular mention of the Sabbath to be made in the New Testament, than what is made.

 

But it is not our object in this address to cover the whole field of argu­ment. ‘We design simply, by presenting some of the strong points, and exposing your inconsistencies, to stir up your attention to the subject. We are sure that the great majority of you have never given it a thorough investigation. For a complete discussion of the whole ground we refer you to our publications. Will you read them? Will you anxiously inquire, ‘What is truth? Will you pray over the matter, saying, “Lord, what wilt thou have us to do ?“ Or, will you sleep over it, as if it were of no great, pressing, practical importance?

 

III But we must address that class of Baptists who consider neither the Old nor the New Testament to impose any obligation to observe a day of rest, and advocate one merely on the ground of expediency. In some sections of our country, Baptists would consider it almost a slander upon their denomination to intimate that there were persons of such anti-Sab. bath principles, wearing their livery. But any one, who is conversant with the order at large, knows very well that it is no slander. There are those who boldly avow such doctrine, and many others who do not deny that it is their real sentiment, though they are not anxious or forward to proclaim it upon the house tops. Whether this class embraces a very large proportion of the denomination, it is not necessary to inquire. It is our impression that the proportion is sufficiently large, to justify an effort for their conversion to right views of Divine Truth.

 

If there is no day of rest enjoined by divine authority, and the matter rests wholly upon expediency, we see no reason, except that the voice ot the multitude is against it, why you cannot as well observe the seventh as the first day of the week. There would be no sacrifice of conscience in so doing, while it would be a tribute of respect to those who feel that the keeping of the seventh day is an indispensable part of duty. But it is not on this principle particularly that we desire you to change your ground. Feeling that it is not our party that must be honored, but rather divine truth, and our party only for the sake of the truth, we would much rather correct your doctrinal views.

 

Of course, you do not deny that a day of rest was once enjoined upon God’s chosen people. It is only under the gospel that you suppose all distinction of days to he annihilated. If then it is expedient, that a day of rest should be observed, it follows irresistibly, that the annihilation of all distinction in days by the gospel, was very INEXPEDIENT! And thus, whatever blessings the gospel dispensation brings to the human race, a strict following out of its principles would be INEXPEDIENT and farther, that the Law, which enjoyed a day of rest, had more of an eye to expediency, than the gospel has. Consequently, that the gospel5 though declared to be faultless and capable of perfecting those who believe, must nevertheless, FOR EXPEDIENCY’S SAKE, borrow a little help from the abrogated rites of the law! In other words, God, in setting aside a day of rest, committed an oversight, and left his work for man to mend !! Brethren, we see not how it is possible for you to escape such monstrous conclusions. They are the legitimate result of your princi­ples. Such principles you must have adopted in hot haste, without con­sidering where they would land you. For we are not disposed to believe you so completely destitute of piety, as willingly to abide by the result of them. We entreat you to reconsider them, and adopt such as are more in accordance with the spirit of our holy religion.

 

When you advocate the observance of a day of rest on the ground of expediency, we are persuaded that you do so in view of the bearing you perceive it to have upon the well-being of mankind. But still the ques­tion will arise, Has the gospel less regard to the well-being of mankind, than the law had? Look at the humanity of the institution. how ne­cessary that both man and beast should rest one day in seven. How evident that they cannot endure uninterrupted toil. How perfectly well established, that, if doomed to constant labor, they sink under the prema­ture exhaustion of their powers. So well is this established, that we can­not put such a low estimate upon your judgment, as to suppose it neces­sary to enter upon any proof of it. But the question returns, Does the gospel breathe less humanity than the law? Or, consider the bearing of the institution upon the interests of religion. It affords opportunity for men to be instructed in the great things which pertain to their salvation; and unless they were thus called away from their labors, it would be im­possible to bring religious instruction into contact with their minds. Does the gospel afford less advantage in this respect, than the Law did? Did the Law provide a season for instructing the people in religion as it then stood? and does the gospel provide no season for instructing them in re­ligion as it now stands? Must they be instructed in types, but not in the substance ?—in prophecy, but not in the fulfillment of prophecy? No one will be responsible for the affirmative of these questions.

 

If the New Dispensation actually has abrogated the Sabbath, we do not believe that it is expedient to observe it. We cannot believe, however, that an institution so important to the civilization, refinement, and reli­gious prosperity of mankind, has been abrogated. We refer you to our publications, and to the publications of those who have, in common with us, defended the perpetuity of the sabbatic law; and we entreat you to reconsider your ground. The doctrine of expediency! ‘What a fruitful source of corruption has it been to the church of God! Not an antichristian, popish abomination, but what pleads something of this kind. Do, dear brethren, let it be expunged from your creed.

 

BRETHREN OF THE BAPTIST DENOMINATION—You are a great and growing people. Your influence is felt throughout the length and breadth of our land. We rejoice in your prosperity. “May the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and toward all men.” In your prosperity we behold, in a measure, our own. Your baptism is our baptism. Your church government is our government. Your doc­trinal principles are ours; and there is nothing which constitutes any real ground of separation, except the great and important subject we now urge upon your attention.

 

The popularity you have gained as a Denomination, however, is not owing to your Sabbath principles. It is founded entirely on your views concerning the initiating ordinance of the gospel. These views are char­acterized by that perfect simplicity, which marks every divine institution. Hence you have won the affectionss of the common people, while, if you had attempted to operate on them by a more complicated theory, failure would have been the result.

 

This induces us to urge upon your notice the exceeding simplicity of the Sabbatarian argument, compared with all those theories which stand in opposition to it. It is adapted to persons of weak capacities, of whom there are thousands in the kingdom of Christ. Any illiterate person can open the Bible, and point to chapter and verse saying, “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” This is plain; he can understand it. But talk to him about redemption being greater than creation; re­demption finished by the resurrection of Christ; an event so important ought to be commemorated; in order to do this, the day of the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week :—for all which there is not a single “thus saith the Lord,” nothing but the uncer­tain deductions of human reason. Can he understand it? No. It requires an elevation of intellect which God has not given him. The inferences and deductions are beyond his capacities. How then is he to render an intelligent obedience? If he conform his practice to the theory thus set before him, it will not be because he understands it, but because he is willing to trust the guidance of his mind to those who, he thinks, know more than he does himself. This, therefore, is strong internal evi­dence, that the keeping of the first day is not of God. For God’s Book is adapted not only to those of elevated intellect, but to the ignorant and rude. Everything concerning our practice is plain even to wayfaring men. Were it otherwise, we should conclude that the Bible is not an inspired production. If it did not come down to the capacities of all, we should infer that it was not made by Him who made all minds. Indeed it would not, in such case, be a revelation to all, but only to the more talented. But it is a revelation to all; and he that obeys God, must do it for himself; he that repents and believes, must do so for himself; and at the great day, every one of us shall give account for himself unto God. It is of the very last importance, therefore, that every one know for himself the foundation of his faith and practice.

 

In thus urging the simplicity of the argument for the Sabbath, we are but doing what you do in regard to Baptism. Compare the cases. A man of considerable intellect can reason from the Abrahamic Covenant, lay propositions together, and draw inferences and deductions, until, finally, he makes it pretty clear to his own mind, that the children of the flesh, these are the children of God; Paul to the contrary notwithstanding. But how is it with some good old Baptist sister, who can hardly lay two ideas together, and draw a logical inference from them? Why, she cannot tell anything about this reasoning from the Abrahamic Covenant. It is something she does not understand. But she can open her Bible, and point to chapter and verse for believer’s baptism. She puts her finger upon something that is just adapted to her capacities. As she has a soul to save, an obedience to render, and an account to give, all for herself, her practice is accordingly. Brethren, think this matter over, and see whether your reasoning on the Sabbath, is not very much akin to that of those, who reason from the Abrahamic Covenant to Baptism. Think seriously, whether it does not render intelligent obedience impossible to vast numbers of Christians. Think whether a course of reasoning which darkens a very simple subject, is not more specious than solid.  Again, your children are to be early instructed in this matter. How do you succeed in making them understand it? Is your little child capable of comprehending all this argument, which you found upon the finishing of redemption by the resurrection of Christ? Can you point him to any plain passage, where Christ authorizes a change of the Sab­bath? How do you feel, when the little creature says, in the simplicity of his heart, “Father—Mother, does not the fourth Commandment require the observance of the seventh day of the week? But do we not keep the first day? I should think this is not keeping the Commandment.” One would think, you would be forcibly reminded of that scripture, “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings ‘Thou hast ordained strength.”—Ps. viii. 2. The extensive operations in which you are engaged for the conversion of the world, render it in the highest degree important, that you should not err on a question like this. If you are right, you ought to be very certain of it. Among the heathen you are extending the observance of Sunday, along with all your other sentiments. If you are thus sowing the seeds of error instead of truth, the evils who can calculate? Hence you cannot too early begin to review your ground. Consider the diffi­culties your missionaries already have to encounter, because of unscrip­tural sentiments propagated among the heathen by those who loved their souls. The poor, perishing idolaters are witnesses to the clashing of doctrine between Jesus Christ’s men, and they ask, “Why is this? You have come to give us a gospel which professes to make its followers ‘perfect in one,’ and yet you yourselves are divided.” Yet you cannot in conscience abandon your principles, nor dare you, in your translations, give to a sentence or a particle one single turn, which will not fully express the mind of the Holy Spirit. Dare you, then, without feeling the most entire certainty, teach them that God says “Remember the first day of the week to keep it holy.” The responsibility of the missionary, in this respect, is not less than where his translation is concerned. Does he feel the same awful sense of responsibility?

 

From the heathen turn to the contemplation of the Jewish nation. The time cannot be far distant, when those who “as touching the election are beloved for the fathers’ sakes,” shall be called to behold the glory of God in the face of Him they have so long rejected. But in order to do this, a voice from the divine word cries, “Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people.” Have Christians seriously considered what this stumbling-block is? For our own part, we are persuaded that nothing can be more justly called by this name, than the general abandonment, on the part of Chris­tians, of the Sabbath of the Lord. The Jews, taking it for granted, with­out examination, that this abandonment is really taught by the Christian religion, suppose that its author cannot be the true Messiah. They have seen through every period of their nation’s history, that God has put sig­nal honor upon this institution. They have seen its sacredness elevated high above that of the ceremonial institutions. They have heard their prophets dwell upon the profanation of it as the crying sin of the land, on account of which the sore judgments of heaven came down upon it. It is true, some teach that the whole Mosaic system was clothed with as much sacredness as the Sabbath; and that it was not for the sin of Sabbath breaking, any more than for a disregard of the ritual service in general, that they suffered the wrath of Jehovah. But such persons must have paid only a superficial attention to the subject. The attentive reader cannot but be struck with the fact, that while in the prophets the Sabbath is exalted as of vast importance to the nation, and all its prosperity, and the favor of God, seemingly suspended on the proper keeping of it, ceremonial usages are comparatively depreciated.

 

Since the Sabbath holds such a sacredness throughout the ancient ora­cles of God — since the Israelites have taken their lessons of obedience to it under “the rod of his wrath”— since no grant was given to the Messiah to set it aside, nor the least intimation ever made to the Jews that it would be set aside—can we wonder that they think that teacher to be an im­postor who should break this Commandment, and teach men so?

 

But there is a crisis approaching—the day is near, and it hasteth  greatly—when it will be indispensable that all those who truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, have their “loins girt about ‘with truth.” Popery is preparing for another desperate struggle. The great principle of the Reformation, that “the Scriptures are the only Rule of faith,” is to be discussed anew. In the Church of England this discussion has already commenced. Rome has opened her sluices, and anti-Christian corruption again threatens to flood the Church of God. As the water naturally seeks such channels as may be already prepared, so will it be with this doctrine. What branch of Zion will be next troubled? Probably that which makes the next widest departure from the great Protestant principle. Then that which is next in order; and so on. For it cannot reasonably be expected to stop, until it reach that order of people which is governed by the Bible alone. Upon all others the desolation must be more or less extensive. For those who acknowledge the principle of departing from the Bible in ever so small a degree, may be expected to exemplify it to an indefinite extent, when the circumstances of the times are so modified as to give occasion for it. As for yourselves, you do not admit the prin­ciple of departing from the scriptures, but rather hold it in abhorrence. The language of your creeds is explicit on this point; and we know of no denomination so forward to plead a strict conformity to this principle as yourselves. Yet it is impossible for you to pretend, with any show of modesty, that the scriptures expressly enjoin the keeping of Sunday as a Sabbath to the Lord. You cannot say, from scripture authority, that the apostles observed it as such. Nevertheless, your creed declares that it ought to be so observed; and your practice accords with your creed. Where­fore it is as evident as mathematical demonstration, that you do depart from the great Protestant principle. Consequently, if our views be correct in regard to the crisis which is at hand, the time cannot be far distant, when your own denomination will in some modified form be affected with the heresy. You will then be compelled to abandon every principle and practice, which can give the heresy the smallest advantage.

 

Do you think, brethren, that in your present position, you are prepared for the great struggle? When the Puseyite, replying to those who con­tend for the Protestant maxim, refers to the observance of Sunday, and says, “Here we are absolutely compelled to resort to the aid of ancient usage, as recorded not by the inspired, but by the uninspired writers ;“.— are you ready for the issue? Can you confute what he says? When another one says, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: we celebrate the first. Was this done by divine command? No. I do not recollect that the Saviour, or the apostles, say we shall rest on the first day of the week instead of the seventh ;“ and then concludes, “The same reasons which urge you to dissent from the observance of the three grand festivals of the Church of England, ought to operate with you respecting the Sabbath ;“—are you prepared to join issue with him? Can you jus­tify yourselves on your own principles? If you can, we will confess our short-sightedness. But indeed we fear, we tremble, in view of the crisis which is approaching, When we look at the traditional usages prevailing among Christians, and consider with what a tenacious grasp they are held. O Lord God Almighty! Thou who hast sworn that ‘thy kindness shall not depart from thy church, nor the covenant of thy peace be removed;’ let not thy truth fall in the contest.

 

We mean not to goad your feelings, by charging upon you any of the abominations of Popery. We are sure you would not cherish one of them, if you were conscious of it. But we take it for granted, that those who are forward to take the mote out of their brother’s eye, are willing to have the beam taken out of their own. You have charged Pedobaptist denomi­nations, over and over, with upholding Popery’s chief pillar. You have told them, that their zeal against the man of sin would avail them but lit­tle, until they first rid themselves of his traditions. You have talked feel­ingly of the sin of encumbering the ordinances of God with human inven­tions. You have read the church of Christ many a good lesson on the importance of holding the truth in its purity. In all this you have, doubt­less, been sincere. We have no fault to find with you; for you have only followed the Bible direction, “cry aloud, spare not, show my people their transgression.” In conformity with this direction, we would endeavor to act our part, as faithful reprovers. Yet our desire is, to do it with meek­ness, considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted. It may be—we know not—that some of the abominations of the man of sin are cleaving to us. if so, “ let the righteous smite us, it shall be a kindness; let them reprove us, it shall be an excellent oil which shall not break our head.”

 

Turn, brethren, to the 7th chapter of the prophecy of Daniel, and 25th verse. You there find one spoken of who “shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change TIMES and LAWS.” You have had no difficulty in finding in this prophecy a reference to the law of baptism, as one of the laws which this great power has changed; but you have not shown satis­factorily what are the times. You have usually referred them to the nu­merous festivals and holy-days, which have been multiplied by the church of Rome. But these were, times ESTABLISHED ; not times CHANGED. Will you please to expound this passage a little more clearly? Will you tell us whether, under the gospel, there is any sacred time except the Sab­bath? We will not be unreasonably confident, but we are much mista­ken, if you can give any clear and satisfactory construction to this pro­phecy, without finding that something of Rome still cleaves to you.

 

Suffer us here to declare our conviction, that you could take no more effectual step, toward converting the Christian world to right views about baptism, than to embrace the Sabbath of the Bible. In your discussions with Pedobaptists, you are constantly referred to the change of the Sab­bath, as proof that some things may be binding, which the scriptures do not expressly enjoin. You have never met this argument fairly and fully. To be sure, you always make an attempt to meet it. But how do you do it? By proving that Christ expressly enjoined his followers to sabbatize on the first day of the week? By showing from express scrip­ture testimony, that the apostles did actually rest from their labors on that day? No. Neither of these things have you ever shown: nor can you show them. The whole head and front of your proof—if proof it may be called—amount only to this; that the apostles and primitive Christians met together for worship on that day. It is true, by such a course you have generally talked your opponents into silence, because by exposing fully the defect of your reply, it would only render their own transgres­sion the more glaring. But while you silenced them, you did not con­vince them. While they saw that for one of your own customs you could not plead a “thus saith the Lord,” they felt comparatively easy under all your rebukes, and naturally enough thought it not very important, that they should have a “thus saith the Lord,” for the sprinkling of babes.

 

But a most important consideration, in view of this subject, is the influ­ence of your large and powerful denomination upon an unconverted world. ‘Whatever your theory about the perpetuity of the sabbatic law— whatever your doubts and scruples about the use of the term Sabbath under the gospel—you cannot rid yourselves of a deep sense of the im­portance of a day of rest to the world at large. Hence the resolutions of your churches and conventional bodies, with regard to the profanation of what you call the Lord’s Day. Hence your plain, out-spoken censures of running oars, stages, steamboats, and other public conveyances, on this day. Hence your griefs and lamentations over those who make it a day of recreation, or mirth. Hence your readiness to cooperate with those bodies which are organized to suppress, if possible, the violation of the Sabbath. We admire the principle which governs you in all this; but we lament that it is not regulated by a better understanding of the sub­ject. If you would promote right principles, you must be careful that your proofs, and examples for illustration, are pertinent, and free from all uncertainty. We are fully persuaded, that your Recommendations and Pledges, your Resolutions and Associational Acts, will always meet with defeat, until you can back them up by an express law of God, which will urge and goad the violator’s conscience wherever lie may go. The con­sciences of guilty men cannot be reached by the method you are pursu­ing. You behold them desecrating the Sunday, and, in order to make them lay it to heart as a sin, you bring down upon them—what? Apos­tolic example? New Testament intimations, and far-fetched inferences? No. None of these do you think of employing. But the Law, the all-searching, sin-rebuking Law of God, is the only means you think of in such a ease. Nothing else suits your purpose, be your theory what it may. But hear their reply. “Is the law of the Commandment upon us TO-DAY? That it was YESTERDAY, we allow; for it says, ‘the seventh day.’ That the law of the Commandment lies against us every day, you will not pretend; but only one day in seven. If that one day was yesterday, you are yourselves as guilty as we; and we, therefore, feel comparatively comfortable. To be sure, some sense of the necessity of keeping the Sabbath holy, does at times rest upon our minds; and our consciences, for the moment, reproach us; but when we see you, and all the Christian world, living in the neglect of it, we feel quite easy again, and think our sin to be but a light one.” Such may not be their precise language, but it is the exact expression of their hearts’ feelings. Thus even the Law fails in your hands, because you attempt to make it speak what it will not speak.

 

If you ask us, “Do you meet with success in attempting to reach the consciences of guilty, unbelieving men ?“ we reply, that we have no difficulty, except so far as you, and the whole body of First-Day Chris­tians, stand in the way. We bring them to admit, openly and honestly, the claims of God’s law, and a sense of guilt momentarily rests upon them. But immediately they turn to contemplate your practice, and their hearts become hardened. We do, therefore, affectionately, but earnestly, invite you to consider, how tremendous is your influence toward perpetu­ating Sabbath-profanation in the land. Your numbers, your learning, your talents, your wealth, your general respectability, all combine to operate with overwhelming effect in this matter.

 

Our observations, if correct, go to show what a source of danger the Sunday heresy is to the Moral Law. The Sabbath is a most important precept of this law; “the golden clasp,” as an old writer quaintly observes, “which joins the two tables together; the sinew in the body of laws, which were written with God’s own finger; the intermediate precept, which par­ticipates of the sanctity of both tables; and the due observance of which is the fulfilling of the whole law.” This important precept is either set aside entirely; or its edge, and keenness, and all its power to cut a sin­ner’s soul, so muffled by a transfer to another day, that the united efforts of the church can do little or nothing toward impressing it on the con­science. Here, then, is a relaxation of the standard of morality; and while the standard is relaxed with regard to this one precept, in vain do we look for the Law, as a whole, to appear glorious in the eyes of men.

 

This remark will be strengthened, if we consider to what inconsistencies the advocates of Sunday are driven. Some, in their zeal to defend it, even go so far as to deny the Moral Law to be a rule of conduct to Chris­tians. Others, though they admit the Law to be a rule of conduct, can. not relieve themselves of, at least, seeming to undervalue it. When the Sabbath discussion is out of sight, they speak out clearly, and without equivocation, giving the fullest proof that they regard the Law as the un­changeable standard of obedience. But, at other times, they reason from the New Dispensation, in a manner so vague, and indefinite, that one is puzzled to tell whether they regard the gospel as enforcing strict obedience to the Law, or not. Now he that is established in the clear truth, is hampered with no such difficulties. There is, with him, not only the naked and abstract admission, that the Moral Law is unchangeably bind­ing; but there appears such a beautiful, and perfect conformity between this admission and the principles he inculcates, that the most common minds are struck with it, and every doubt is scattered.

 

While you are fettered by such difficulties, is there no danger that the Law will lose its sacredness in the eyes of the people? Surely there is.

 

There is danger, also, that your system of theology will be corrupted in other particulars. Error goes not alone. Could an opinion exist in the mind, circumscribed, and isolated, without affecting any of our other principles, it would be comparatively harmless. But it is not more of truth, that a man who utters one falsehood, is obliged to tell twenty more to hide it; than that lie who supports one error, is obliged to forge num­berless others to give consistency to his creed. It is also a truth, which reflection and daily observation will confirm, that nearly, if not quite, all the heresies which ever infested the church of God, are traceable to some loose motives concerning the Moral Law. Nothing, therefore, can be more necessary, than that our creed give the greatest possible prominence to the law as a standard of holiness; and that our customs be in perfect conformity with our creed.

 

Brethren, can we hope that the subject on which we have addressed you, will receive your prayerful attention? Almost your entire denomi­nation has slumbered over it; but may we not hope, that you will now awake? May we not hope, that it will be discussed in your private cir­cles, and in your public assemblies; in your Bible classes, and in your Sunday schools :—that it will be studied by your ministers, and by the people in general; and that every one will, in the deep desire of his soul, pray, “Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may discern wondrous things out of thy Law.”

 

But if, on the other baud, we see a disposition to pass it by with cold neglect—an unwillingness to look the question in the face—an attempt, on the part of your teachers and leaders, to hush it up as a matter of no importance—a studied effort to lead the people away from it, when they are disposed to examine—or teaching them that it is the spirit, rather than the letter of the law that God requires—we shall be constrained to apply the language of him, who spake as never man spake—” EVERY ONE THAT DOETH EVIL HATETH THE LIGHT, NEITHER COMETH TO THE LIGHT, LEST HIS DEEDS SHOULD BE REPROVED.”—John iii. 20.

 

SUNDAY LEGISLATION IN CANADA, 1894

June 12, 2008

THE SABBATH QUESTION

IN THE

DOMINION PARLIAMENT.

WEIGHTY SPEECHES BY HON. G. AMYOT IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AGAINST “AN ACT TO SECURE THE BETTER OBSERVANCE OF THE LORD’S DAY COMMONLY CALLED SUNDAY.”

The honorable gentleman (Mr. Charlton, mover of the bill) says : “The State should protect the rights of conscience.” This is a very important principle. I want to know where the honorable gentleman wants to apply it. It is a very true principle applied generally, and I wish it were ‘printed in the honorable gentleman’s heart as well as in the hearts of all the people of the Dominion, — the state should protect the rights of conscience. . . . But we are not alone in this Dominion. There are not only Protestants and Catholics in this country; there are some other subjects of Her Majesty; the honorable gentleman knows it. There are some Jews. In England, in France, in Germany, in all the civilized nations of the world, they are a respected set of individuals. They have con sciences, too ; and though not believing in their faith, I am not ashamed to show their way of thinking. They rely upon the Bible, upon the Old Testament, and what do they find there?

They find the words of God himself. The honorable mover of the bill himself believes that what I will read there is the word of God. Take Genesis — some honorable gentlemen laugh, but perhaps it will do them good to hear again what they learned by heart when young. Take paragraph two, which reads : —

“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.” x

There it is the seventh day which God made holy ; and then, if you look to Exodus, paragraph twenty — I am told that in English we should say verses — verse 20, subsection 8. I may be more correct, perhaps, in saying chapter 20 and verses 8, 9, 10, n : —

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work : but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates : for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day : where fore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

The Jews take those texts among others— there are hun dreds of them — and say that the law that God gave to his creatures is to keep holy the seventh day. And they ask by what authority we change the law of God and celebrate the eighth day instead of the seventh. This is a very important point, and I am sure that the honorable mover of the bill (Mr. Charlton) is ready to give his authority.

Now, there is another sect or religion which says : We do not rely upon the Old Testament, but upon the New Testa ment, and according to the New Testament it is ordered that we should go on celebrating the seventh day and not the eighth day. These people rely upon the New Testament, and have even suffered death to prove their belief. I hold in my hand a book entitled “The Faiths of the People,” by Malloy, and I will draw the attention of the honorable gentle- . man to page 209 at the end of the chapter. He will see there the reasons these people give for going on celebrating the seventh day. I shall not trespass upon the time of the House by giving quotations, but I ask the honorable gentle man to show us one word in the New Testament where the Son of God took it upon himself to change the day ordered by his Father to be kept holy. The Seventh-day Baptists or Adventists, who celebrate the seventh day, say to the mover of this bill: To whom do you submit when you keep holy the eighth day? And they accuse him of submitting to the Catholic Church. They say to him : In celebrating the eighth day of the week, you admit the authority of the Catholic Church and its right to impose discipline. You admit that the Catholic Church has received from God the power to dictate to the people its law as to the doctrine to be followed. That is the charge which the Seventh-day Advent«- ists make against the honorable gentleman. The honorable gentleman knows, and he will find it in his own authorities, that Sunday is of apostolic tradition. In the first centuries, , as shown in the book I have here, in many parts of Christen dom, Sabbath was celebrated, but the Catholic Church changed the day, pretending that it had the right so to change it, pretending that it [the church] was established by the Son of God and intrusted with all powers. And it is in virtue of that belief that the church changed the day, and that is why’the Seventh-day Adventists say to the honorable mover of the bill: You believe, like us, in the New Testa ment, why do you give up your belief in the Sabbath celebra tion ? Why do you submit to the Romish Church ? Why do you admit the traditions of the apostles? If you admit one, you admit them all. You admit the absolution given by the priest, you admit the sacraments of that church. But they say : We believe in the word of God the Father in the Old Testament, and in the word of God the Son in the New Testament, and we stand by that, and will not submit to the dictation of any other church, which is only assuming powers it has not received.

As for us Catholics, Mr. Speaker, we shall celebrate our Sundays as we please, provided we do not interfere with your civil rights, and if we do, go to the provinces and you will receive protection. When- we joined Confederation, we joined it as a commercial partnership, and not as a salvation army. We do not believe in this Parliament turning itself into a salvation army, and with drums and fifes trying to force us into heaven. The honorable mover of this bill says he wishes to protect the rights of conscience. Is he doing that when he wants to impose upon the Jews the obligation of keeping the eighth day instead of the seventh? Does he protect the rights of conscience when he seeks to impose upon the Jews to- keep the first day of the week instead of the seventh? Does he protect the rights of conscience when he wants to compel the Seventh-day Adventists to celebrate the first day of the creation instead of the seventh ? Does he protect the rights of conscience when he seeks to compel a great number of his fellow-citizens to disobey the word of . God and to obey the words of a church of which they do not approve? The honorable gentleman must remember that in proposing his bill he acts not only contrary to the constitu tion which I read a moment ago, but also contrary to the general understanding which prevails in this country and which was summed up in a proclamation by Her Majesty the Queen in 1858, which is as follows : —

“Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknowl edging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects. We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be in anywise favored, none molested or disquieted by reason of their religious faith or observance, but that they shall alike enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they abstain from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects, on pain of our highest displeasure.”

These are the words not only of the Queen, but of the Parliament of Great Britain. This is the rule which should be recognized in this country. We should not interfere with the religious belief of our neighbors. Everybody should enjoy complete^ liberty, provided that liberty does not inter fere with the liberty and civil rights of others. But the hon orable gentleman Wants to force those who are not of the same belief with himself to observe as the Sabbath, some other day than that which they believe to be the Sabbath, and even to force those who, like himself, desire to observe Sunday, to observe it in the way he believes in, and not in the way.they believe in themselves. That is not protection of civil rights; it is interference with civil rights. Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to take up too much of the time of this House, but I have given briefly the reasons why I oppose this bill: First, because the bill is unconstitutional;l secondly, because it is useless if it were constitutional, because the provinces take charge of these matters ; and thirdly, because the-bill is an undue interference with the belief of others.

3 By this bill we claim jurisdiction in religious matters. I have objected to that already, but being in the minority, I can do nothing but submit for the moment. In the second place, by this bill we assert that Sunday is the Lord’s day. I quoted the Old and the New Testament against the honor- able gentleman’s contention. Will’he allow this opportunity of answering the challenge to pass— he who is the champion in this House, the athlete, fighting in favor of a principle ? Will it be said all over the Dominion and the world, that a member of the Legislature in this House could not find in the Bible any text to authorize his assertion that Sunday, or the first day of the week, is the day chosen by our Lord for a day of rest ? It is all very well for the honorable gentle man to remain silent, but* he thus gives a victory to his ad versaries. The Seventh-day Adventists will cast up at him, wherever he may be, that he was not able to defend himself against one who is not a member of his religion. I have proved by the Old Testament that the Sabbath is on Satur day, and not on Sunday, that God did not rest before his work was done, but after it was done, and I have challenged him to find any passage in the New Testament where the Son of God gave orders to celebrate the first day of the week in stead of the one’chosen by his Father. I challenge the honor able gentleman, in the name of the Seventh-day Adventists and of the Jews, to reply. Is he impotent? It is all very well for the honorable gentleman to laugh, but there is the weak point, and if he is not able to answer, it must be said that the champion of this House, advocating the keeping of the Lord’s Day, could not furnish any good ground for his advo cacy.

As I have said, by this bill we are assuming to have juris diction in religious matters. I contend that it is the prov inces, and not the Parliament, which have such jurisdiction. In the second place, while the honorable gentleman asserts that the work on the Lord’s Day is against the law, by tliis amendment,1 to which he consents, he s-ays : “The law of God is all very well, but we will not follow it whenever we think it is not in our interest to do so. God said : ‘ You musf observe the whole of Sunday.’ That is all right, but we will cut the day short, and take from the Sunday the amount of time required for our business ; and the Governor in council ‘ will have the power, four weeks in advance, to say that three weeks hence there will be such a press of busi ness that we will have to disobey the law of God and let prevail the law of man.” For my part, I am against all this legislation. I believe it is not our duty here to occupy our selves with religious legislation. That has been left to each individual. Each individual has the right to worship his God as he thinks proper, provided he does not interfere with the liberty of any one else.

1 Delivered in the House of Commons, Wednesday, 30th May, 1894, by Hon. G. Amyot, Member from Bellechasse. P. Q. and printed in the unrevised “Hansard” No. 49, and in the revised edition, columns 3503-3507.

1 Gen, 2 : 2. 3.

1 Mr. Amyot contended in the first part of his speech that the proposed legislation was unconstitutional because the British North American Act, clause 92, subsection 13, says;—

“Property and civil rights in the provinces will be the exclusive right of the Pro vincial Legislature.”

Since the honorable mover of the bill had declared in a speech at the introduction of the bill that the measure was “designed to secure for the people of this country their civil rights,” Mr. Amyot argued that therefore, the Dominion Parliament was forbidden by its constitution to legislate concerning the matter.

2 Delivered in the House of Commons, 4th of June, 1894, by the Hon. G. Amyot; published in the unrevised “Hansard,” No. 52, and in the revised edition, columns 3640 and 3641.

1 No canal belonging to the government of Canada shall be operated for traffic on Sun day, except between the hours of midnight on Saturday, and six o’clock in the morning of Sunday, and from and after the hour of nine o’ clock at night on Sunday,

l In the case of urgent necessity arising from the pressure of business caused by an interruption of traffic, or by the approach of the close of navigation, the foregoing provision may, from time to time, be suspended or varied by order of the Governor in council: but such order in council shall only continue in force for four weeks at most, from the making thereof, and may be made applicable to any one or more of the canals.

Seventh-day Baptists, 1879

June 12, 2008

FIFTEENTH MEETING, NOVEMBER 26, 1879, 6 P.M. (SDA G.C.)

Elder Haskell being called to the chair, Elder James White introduced the following preambles and resolutions:–

WHEREAS, The Seventh-day Baptists have for many years observed, taught, and defended the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and are known to us through their delegates to our General Conference as a body of Christian Sabbath-keepers possessing a good degree of culture, liberality of sentiment, and Christian forbearance, therefore

RESOLVED, That we deem them worthy of our respect and love, and that it is for the interest of the Sabbath cause that the two bodies of Christian commandment-keepers labor to sustain friendly relations to each other; and

WHEREAS, Certain preachers, who professed to be Seventh-day Adventists, at an early date in our brief history, did seek their field of labor in the localities where there were Seventh-day Baptist churches, and did weaken some of their feeble churches, and blot out others, resulting in harm and only harm, to the grief of the Seventh-day Baptists, therefore

RESOLVED, That our Seventh-day Baptist brethren had just cause for complaint, and that it is the sense of this Conference that our preachers are violating the Golden Rule–Do unto others as you would have them do to you–in seeking their fields of labor where Seventh-day Baptist churches are located.

RESOLVED, That while we deplore the spirit of prejudice and unkindness manifested by certain Seventh-day Baptist ministers toward Seventh-day Adventists, we deeply regret the injury done to individuals and to feeble churches, about twenty years since, by those men whom we could not control, and who have since done Seventh-day Adventists tenfold the injury they did the (168–GCS 63-88 ) Seventh-day Baptists, resulting in weakening and grieving both denominations. And while we pledge our influence against such wrongs in the future, we ask not to be held responsible for that which we have no power to control.

These were unanimously adopted.

Sabbath-keepers’ Children

June 9, 2008

by James White, 1857

WHAT can be done for our children? There is no use in concealing the fact, that but a small portion of the children of Sabbath-keepers are forming characters for eternal life in the kingdom of God. While a very few are advancing, others are falling back, and many are pressing their way to ruin. And what is most alarming, is the fact that Bible truth, and the means of grace seem to affect the youth and children of Sabbath-keepers less and less. What can be done for our children? is a perplexing inquiry which has often come up. We might pause here and lament, but this would not help their condition. Shall we not rather try to point out some of the reasons of the sad state of things among our children, in hope that when the cause is removed, by the grace of God through our- Lord Jesus Christ, the effects may cease.

We are introducing a subject of most thrilling interest to parents and guardians—one on which volumes may well be written—which relates to their whole duty to children intrusted to their care from the cradle to manhood and womanhood. We can only introduce it here, and touch upon a few points. We would first call attention to the

IMMORALITY OF SCHOOLS.

A writer in the Michigan Journal of Education speaks pointedly and well upon this subject. Though probably not impressed with the truth, that all that can be done to save the dear youth and children of our land must be done immediately, yet from his words, many among us may gather lessons of the greatest importance. He says:—

“Much has been said and written on the subject of teaching morals in schools. Eloquently have gifted and good men pleaded that the Word of God and the voice of Prayer should not be banished from our common schools; that the moral nature of the little child should not be left untrained while his intellect was unfolding into a power which no man may control. Many a thoughtful parent, and citizen has looked with sadness and fear upon the evident depravities of the children of our public schools, and not a few have chosen to incur the trouble and expense of educating their children at home or in private schools, rather than trust them to the dreaded contamination.

” Benevolent and Christian teachers have studied the means of reformation and many a well considered planof mora!’ teachings has been proposed and tried. But still the evil continues unabated, and the public school is still a place of peril to all that is lovely in our little ones. Nor will anyone be surprised at the obstinacy of the evil if he will but notice carefully the ordinary character of the surroundings and exercises of these schools.

(James White presented this essay over several editions of the Review. It will take some time to reproduce it here. Started June 8, 2008. This is a seminal work regarding Adventist education; a call to arms, so to speak.)

Review and Herald, August 20, 1857, p. 125
http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH1857-V10-16/index.djvu