THE PRESENT TRUTH.
- BY JAMES WHITE.
THE PRESENT TRUTH. VOL. 1.
OSWEGO, N. Y. MARCH, 1850. - NO. 7.
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant." - Ps.xxv.14.
JAMES WHITE, PUBLISHER.
R. OLIPHANT, PRINTER.
"Seventh-Day Sabbath Abolished,"by Eld. Marsh, Editor of the "Advent Harbinger and Bible Advocate,"
Before me is the "Harbinger and Advocate" for December 29, 1849, containing an article headed "Seventh-day Sabbath abolished," of which Eld. Marsh says -
"The following article, in substance, was published in our sheet over four years since; and then again about two years ago, in its present form. To our knowledge, it has never been answered, and we confidently say it is unanswerable."
The principal reasons given in this article for the abolition of the weekly Sabbath have been answered, and their fallacy shown in the first three numbers of the "Present Truth;" but as Eld. Marsh has published his article the third time, and "confidently" says "it is unanswerable," I have concluded to give it a review for the benefit of those who have an ear to hear, and an honest heart open to receive the truth on this all-important question. I shall quote from Eld. Marsh's article and have it put in small type that the reader may see that I do not mistate his position:
"What is the signification of Sabbath? Rest: and, when connected with day, it denotes a day of rest."
With this I fully agree, and by substituting the word Rest, in the place of Sabbath, the truth is more clearly seen. "The seventh day is the Rest of the Lord thy God." Is it any where historically recorded as a fact, that God rested on the seventh day? It is. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and HE RESTED on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
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," Gen.ii,2,3. That very day of the week in which God rested, "is the Rest of the Lord thy God." Then God blessed, hallowed and set apart HIS Rest-day for the good of man, and there is not one text in all the Bible to show that it was instituted, blessed and sanctified at any other time, or place but in Eden, on the last day of the first week of time. God has given but one reason for the institution of the weekly Sabbath after six days of labor, which is as follows:
"FOR in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and RESTED the seventh day; WHEREFORE the Lord blessed the Rest-day, (or Sabbath day,) and hallowed it." Ex.xx,11.
All who read the Bible may see that the Sabbatic institution, and the fourth commandment are inseparably connected with God's Rest at the close of creation. We may, therefore, appropriate the first, or any other of the six laboring days to the Lord by resting from labor, still it is not THE REST, but a rest; for "THE REST of the Lord thy God" means the Rest that "the Lord thy God" OBSERVED.
"For whom was the Sabbath instituted? The natural seed of Abraham, or Jews according to the flesh."
Said Jesus, "The Sabbath was made for man." Mark ii,27. The word man, when used as it is here by our Saviour, in its broadest sense, means all mankind. Not the Jews only, but MAN, the whole race of man, the same as in the following texts: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble." Job xiv,1. "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until evening." Ps.civ,23. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man." Cor.x,13. "Man lieth down and riseth not, till the heavens be no more." Job xiv,12. No one will say that man in these texts means Jews or Christians, for the whole family of Adam is included. In this sense, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." - Adam, Noah and Abraham were men, and the Sabbath was made for them as well as for Abraham's natural seed. We are men, and the Sabbath was made for us. I choose to believe Jesus.
"The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day."
* * * *
"Keeping the Sabbath was embraced in this covenant with the children of Israel at Horeb. It was "NOT made with their fathers" [the Patriarchs], but "with US, even us, who are all of US HERE ALIVE THIS DAY." Verse 3. This testimony, first negative, "He made it not with our fathers," and then positive, "But with us," is conclusive. It plainly tells us for whom the Sabbath was not, and then for whom it was instituted."
Here Eld. Marsh uses the word Sabbath instead of covenant, which he has no right to do. It is true that it helps his argument, but it perverts the word of God. The word Sabbath is not mentioned in Deut.v,1-5, yet the readers of the "Harbinger" are told that the "testimony" is "conclusive," and "plainly tells us for whom the Sabbath was not, and then for whom it was instituted." If the text read, - The Lord made not the Sabbath for our fathers, but for us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day - then Eld. Marsh would have some ground for his assertion; but the text would then prove too much for him, for it would prove that the Sabbath was instituted for those only with whom "the Lord talked face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire." Those only who were all "alive" that day. By using the words "Sabbath," "instituted" and "for," which are not in the text, as Eld. Marsh has, the text is wrested from its true meaning, and those who do not carefully search for themselves are deceived and led astray.
It is true that God, after he had brought the natural seed of Abraham out of the house of bondage, commanded them to keep the Sabbath. - The reason why God at that time reminded them of his Sabbath, and commanded them, by the mouth of Moses, to keep it, is as follows:
"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day." Deut.v,15.
While servants in Egypt, Israel could not keep the Sabbath; but they had been from Egypt only thirty days when God reminded them of it, and guarded it by three standing miracles in giving the manna. See Ex.xvi,19-30. They were then free, and the only given reason why God at that time commanded them to keep his Sabbath was because he had brought them "out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm; [where they could keep it,] therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day." Eld. Marsh says that the Sabbath was designed to keep in memory their deliverance from Egypt; but this is a groundless assertion; for there is not the least intimation given that the Sabbath was instituted, sanctified and blessed, in the "wilderness of Sin" or at any other time and place, but in Eden at the close of creation. There were two annual memorials which commemorated the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; the passover and the feast of unleavened bread. Men may as well assert that these annual memorials were designed to commemorate God's rest on the seventh day of the first week of time, as to say that the weekly REST was given to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt on the fifteenth day of Abib!
The fifteenth day of Abib came but once in the year, therefore that deliverance was commemorated by its annual memorial on that day. God's REST was on the seventh day of the first week of time and its memorial which is the only weekly Sabbath of the Bible, was given, and sanctified to be kept on the last day of every week since God RESTED. "Wherefore the Lord blessed the Rest-day, and hallowed it." Ex.xx,11. - WHEN? IN EDEN. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." Gen.ii,3.
Eld. Marsh says, "Keeping the Sabbath was embraced in this covenant with the children of Israel at Horeb." It is true that the Sabbath law was one of the ten commandments that were spoken from Mount Sinai; but does this prove that there was no Sabbath before that time? Certainly it does not, for all Israel kept the Sabbath in the wilderness of Sin, thirty days before they saw the Mount from which they were spoken. Here is a nail driven in a sure place.
The children of Israel departed from Egypt on the fifteenth day of the first month, and came to the wilderness of Sin on the fifteenth day of the second month. See Ex.xvi,1. There, in the wilderness of Sin, God gave them bread from heaven, and through Moses reminded them of his Sabbath. They then journeyed to Rephidim, and from Rephidim they came to the desert of Sinai on the fifteenth day of the third month.
Mark this. The Lord said to Moses, thirty days before the covenant was made in Horeb - "How long refuse ye to keep my COMMANDMENTS and my LAWS? See for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days." Ex.xvi,28,29. This positively proves that God had commandments and laws before he made the covenant in Horeb, and that the Sabbath law was one of them. God said of Abraham, "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries: and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed: Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my COMMANDMENTS, my STATUTES, and my LAWS." Gen.xxvi,4,5.
Abraham kept the Sabbath; for we are plainly shown in Ex.xvi,28,29, that the Sabbath was one of God's commandments and laws. Because Abraham kept the commandments, (the Sabbath with the rest,) God made to him all these great and precious promises.
A covenant usually signifies the mutual consent of two or more. The covenant that was made in Horeb was a mutual agreement between God and his chosen people. I will first give the requirements and promises of God on the one hand, and then the consent of the people on the other.
"In the third month when the children of Israel" "were come to the desert of Sinai," "Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel,
"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine.
"And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. THESE ARE THE WORDS WHICH THOU SHALT SPEAK UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL."
The following is the promise of the people:
"And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him.
And all the people answered together, and said, ALL THAT THE LORD HATH SPOKEN WE WILL DO. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. Ex.xix,1-8.
The Lord then told Moses to sanctify the people and to "Be ready against the third day." - And on the third day, in the morning "there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud" upon Mount Sinai, "because the Lord descended upon it in fire," "and the whole mount quaked greatly." See Ex.xix,16-18. Then God, by an audible voice, spake the ten commandments. See Ex.xx,3-17. This is the covenant that God made with his people in Horeb.
"The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us alive here this day." Deut.v,3.
This text does not mean (as Eld. Marsh would have it) that the Lord made not the Sabbath for our fathers, &c. neither does it mean that the Lord made not the commandments for our fathers, for two reasons at least. First, the text does not read so, and second, Abraham kept God's COMMANDMENTS, STATUTES and LAWS more than three hundred years before the covenant was made in Horeb, and thirty-two days before God spake the ten commandments, he said to Moses - "How long refuse ye to keep my COMMANDMENTS and my LAWS? See for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath." Then as we have proof positive that God's commandments, one of which was the Sabbath law, existed before this covenant was made, it necessarily follows that the covenant made in Horeb WAS NOT the institution of the Sabbath, nor any other of the ten commandments; but, it was the mutual agreement between God and his people that they should obey his "voice," (when he should speak the ten commandments,) and that God should make them "a peculiar treasure," "a kingdom of priests." The Lord made not that covenant with their fathers, but with those who were all alive that day, and had heard the voice of God from the burning Mount, which they had promised to obey.
Now I think that every candid reader will admit that Deut.v,1-15 does not "plainly tell us" what Eld. Marsh says it does, and also that it does not afford the least evidence that the seventh day Sabbath is abolished.
Speaking of the design of the Sabbath, Eld. Marsh says -
"It was also designed as a sign or memorial to keep in memory the creation of the world in six days by God, and his resting on the seventh."
That God instituted the weekly Rest for man to keep in commemoration of His Rest on the seventh day, after he had created the world in six days, is as clear as the noonday sun. It is one of the most simple and glorious truths of the Bible.
The passover was a memorial for Israel, that they might not forget their wonderful deliverance from Egyptian bondage. The communion of the body and blood of Christ is a memorial instituted for the Church to keep in memory the Lamb of God who suffered and died for us. So the seventh-day Sabbath is a weekly memorial instituted to commemorate God's Rest-day, after he had created the world in six, that man might not forget the living God who made heaven and earth. If man had always observed this memorial, none would have forgotten God, and there never would have been an infidel in the world. How wonderful and wise the plan of Jehovah, laid out in the beginning! Man was to labor six days, and on the seventh rest from servile labor and care; and by viewing the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all things which were created in six days, he was to call to mind the living God who rested on the seventh.
The passover was to be observed from the time of the deliverance from Egypt, until "Christ our passover" was "sacrificed for us;" the communion was to be observed by the church from the crucifixion, until the second advent of Jesus; so the seventh-day Sabbath was designed to be kept from the creation to, at least, the close of time.
But Eld. Marsh's view of the Sabbath teaches that this memorial was not to be observed for more than twenty-five hundred years after God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, and that it was to be observed by the Jews only, to the crucifixion, and that the whole gospel dispensation was to be left without it! A singular memorial indeed, "to keep in memory the creation of the world in six days by God, and his resting on the seventh"! As though the Jews were the only people that needed "to keep in memory" God's creation, and holy Rest!
"Finally, it was a shadow of things to come. "Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath, [`days' is supplied by the translators, we therefore omit it] which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. Col.ii,16,17."
That we may more clearly understand Col.ii,16,17; and other texts of the same class, let us take a view of some of the trials of the early church. A portion of the Christian Church were converts from the circumcision or Jews, and a portion from the uncircumcision or Gentiles. The converts from the Jewish church were inclined to practice many of the ceremonies and customs of the Jewish religion, in which they had been educated, while the Gentile Christians were free from them. Certain men from Judea "taught the brethren" that they must be circumcised in order to be saved, with whom "Paul and Barnabas had no small dissention and disputation," and then went up to Jerusalem "about this question," where they were met by "certain of the sect of the Pharisees which BELIEVED, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. See Acts xv,1-6. - This fact, that some were judging the brethren, and were making the observance of the laws of Moses, which were "abolished," a test of salvation, led St. Paul to write the following exhortation:
"Let no man therefore JUDGE YOU in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival, (see Macknight's translation,) or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days."
Eld. Marsh says, "days, is supplied by the translators, we therefore omit it." Macknight and Whiting both omit "days" but they do not leave the word "Sabbath," in the singular as Eld. Marsh has for his readers. They both translate it "Sabbaths," in the plural, which makes the text perfectly clear. Now turn to Lev.xxiii,24-28, and you will find four sabbaths, that were to be observed on the first, tenth, fifteenth and twenty-second days of the seventh month, which are there associated with such ceremonies of the laws of Moses as "a burnt-offering, and a meat-offering, a sacrifice, and drink-offerings," the same as Paul has associated them with "meat," "drink," "the new-moon" and "a festival."
These were all shadows, pointing to the time of the "ministration of the Spirit," or the "body" which "is OF Christ," which is the new covenant, of which Christ is the minister or priest; and at the crucifixion they were all "nailed to the cross," "abolished," and ceased according to the words of the Prophet.
"I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her new-moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." Hosea ii,11.
"The Sabbath of the Lord our God" is not referred to by St. Paul in Col.ii,14-16, for the following reasons:
1. It was the "HAND-WRITING of ordinances" written in the book of the law by the HAND OF MOSES that was "blotted out," and not that which was spoken from Mount Sinai, and ENGRAVEN in stone with the FINGER OF GOD. I will here give some texts which show the distinction between the law of Moses, and the law of God.
THE LAW OF MOSES, was the book of the covenant written by the hand of Moses.
"And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a BOOK of the law of the Lord, given by the hand of Moses." (See margin) 2Chron.xxxiv,14.
"And he read in their ears all the words of the BOOK of the COVENANT that was found in the house of the Lord." See 2Chron.xxxiv,30; Deut.xxxi,9-11,24-26; 2Kings xxiii,2,21; Neh.viii,1-3.
THE LAW OF GOD is the ten commandments that were written on two tables of stone by the finger of God, called the tables of the covenant. "And he declared unto you HIS COVENANT, which he commanded you to perform, EVEN TEN COMMANDMENTS; and he wrote them upon TWO TABLES OF STONE." Deut.iv,13; see also Ex.xxiv,12; xxxi,18; xxxii,15-16; xxxiv,28,29; Deut.ix,9-11; v,22.
The idea of "blotting out" what Moses wrote in the book of the covenant is perfectly natural; but what idea can we have of "blotting out" what Jehovah had engraven with his finger in the tables of the covenant! The "Royal Law" from the "King Eternal" was thus engraven in stone to impress us with its perpetuity.
2. The Holy Sabbath never was "against us;" for it was "made FOR man," because he needed a day of rest. It never was in man's way, only as God put it in his way for him to observe, and it is just what his natural and spiritual wants require; therefore he has never taken it "out of the way."
The law of Moses was imperfect, and could not make the "comers thereunto perfect," so Christ took it "out of the way," and nailed it to his cross. But St. Paul, speaking of the law of God, the ten commandments, A. D. 60, more than twenty years after the laws of Moses were dead, says,
"Wherefore the law is HOLY, and the commandment holy, and just and good," "For I know that the law is SPIRITUAL." "I DELIGHT in the LAW OF GOD, after the inward man." See Rom.vii,12,14,22.
3. St. Paul does not speak of "the Sabbath" which is associated with the other nine laws of God, but of sabbath-days, or sabbaths, which are associated with "meat," "drink," "new-moons," &c. in the laws of Moses.
4. The Sabbath is not a shadow, for it is to be observed as long as the New Heavens and the New Earth remain.
"For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.
"And it shall come to pass, that from one new-moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord." Isa.lxvi,22,23.
"All flesh" never have worshipped God on the Sabbath since Isaiah wrote this prophecy, neither will this prophecy, be fulfilled until the righteous are all gathered into the New Earth; then the Sabbath, in its Eden glory, will be observed as long as the immortal saints, and the New Heavens and Earth remain.
Mark this. The Sabbath was instituted before the fall, when man was holy, and Eden bloomed on earth, and it will be in its place after the restitution, the same as before the fall.
All shadows cease when they reach their bodies which cast them. Follow the shadow of a tree to its body, and there the shadow ends. But as the weekly Sabbath will never end, it is not a shadow; but a body of itself, as well as the other nine commandments, for they are all of the same nature. The old tradition is imprinted deeply in most minds that the seventh-day Sabbath is a type of the seventh millennium; but where is the Scripture to prove it? It is not in the Bible. The view that the Sabbath is a type of the seventh thousand years, and that it ceased at the crucifixion, makes a blank space of more than eighteen hundred years between the shadow and the body which entirely destroys the figure.
Finally, the fact, that the early church was troubled with those who taught them that they must keep the law of Moses in order to be saved, shows that Col.ii,16, directly applied to the church in the apostle's day. It is therefore wrong to apply this text to those who are now keeping the Sabbath, for none of us are contending for the sabbaths, new-moons, &c. of Moses' law.
These are the only reasons we have been able to gather from the scriptures, for the observance of the Jewish Sabbath; and if Paul, or any of the New Testament writers, thought it binding on Christians, why have they been entirely silent on a question of this importance, with the exception of such expressions as these:
Let no man judge you in respect to the Sabbath. Col.ii,16.
One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Rom.xiv,5.
Those who talk of "the Jewish Sabbath," and "the Christian Sabbath" do not talk the language of the Holy Scriptures; for the only weekly Sabbath of the Bible is "the Sabbath of the LORD thy GOD." It is also called "MY holy day," "the holy of the LORD," (see Isa.lviii,13.) "THY holy Sabbath," (see Neh.ix,14,) and "THE Sabbath." The Jews had a number of Sabbaths, and they are spoken of in the following language: "In the first day of the month ye shall have a sabbath," "from even to even," (on the tenth day of the seventh month) shall ye celebrate "YOUR Sabbath." See Lev.xxiii,24,32. In Hosea, ii,11, they are called HER sabbaths."
"But some, in order to bring God's Holy Sabbath into disrepute and contempt, call it "the Jewish Sabbath."
Eld. Marsh gives the following sentence as the language of the Apostle Paul: "Let no man judge you in respect to the Sabbath. Col.ii,16." Why not give the text as it reads? Why thus mangle the pure word for the sake of making out one's theory? This looks too much like "handling the word of God deceitfully." I will here give four translations of this text, that the reader may more clearly see that Paul does not refer to THE SABBATH OF THE LORD," but to the sabbaths of the Jews.
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new-moon, or of the sabbath-days."
"Let none therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of a feast-day, or of the new-moon, or of sabbath-days. - Wesley.
Wherefore, let no one judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a festival, or of a new-moon, or of sabbaths. - Macknight.
"Let no man therefore judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect to a holy-day, or the new-moon, or the sabbaths." - Whiting.
Rom.xiv,5, does not refer to the seventh-day Sabbath. Any honest person searching for the truth will see by reading the whole chapter that the apostle's subject was in regard to eating, also feast-days, which some of the church esteemed, and others did not. The word "eateth" is mentioned eleven times, "eat" three, "meat" four, "drink" twice; but the Sabbath, which is considered to be the subject of this chapter, by those who teach that the Sabbath is abolished, is not introduced!! But admitting that the apostle refers to a day of weekly rest, then Rom.xiv,5, is against the observance of the first day as much as the seventh. Therefore, those who observe the first day are not wise in quoting this text to prove us wrong in keeping the seventh.
"Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth: for God hath received him." Rom.xiv,3. The apostle was here giving the Romans a lesson of Christian forbearance in relation to the Jewish views of eating and feast-days, which some still retained. Although these views were incorrect, yet St. Paul did not take measures to rid the church at once of them. He even had Timotheus, his fellow laborer, "whose father was a Greek," circumcised that they might better find access to the Jews. He was "all things to all men," that "by all means" he might "save some."
"Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God is something." - [Whiting's translation.] - Cor.vii,19.
The keeping of the commandments of God is nowhere in the New Testament spoken of as a thing of little importance as circumcision and feast-days are; but it is always made a test of Christian fellowship and eternal salvation.
"If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments." Matt.xix.17. "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." 1John v,3. "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his COMMANDMENTS, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him." 1John ii,4.
THE TWO LAWS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. - The word law so frequently used by the New Testament writers, especially the Apostle Paul, does not always refer to one and the same law; but it sometimes refers to the law of Moses, and sometimes to the law of God, or ten commandments. One is called a "yoke of bondage," a law of "carnal ceremonies," which could not make the "comers thereunto perfect." The other is called the "ROYAL law," "law of LIBERTY," "SPIRITUAL," "HOLY, JUST and GOOD." Here I will give two texts from the epistles of St. Paul, which speak of the law, that the reader may see that the apostle has positively contradicted himself if he refers to but one law.
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." Gal.v,4.
"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED." Rom.ii,13.
From these texts it is plain that St. Paul refers to two distinct laws. The language of the text, and its connection will in all cases determine what law is meant. When the apostle speaks of the law in Rom.ii,13, he means the law of commandments for two reasons at least; first, he never taught the Romans that they could "be justified" by doing the law of Moses, and second, he speaks of three of the ten commandments of God in verses 21,22 of the same chapter. When he speaks of the law in Gal.v,4, he is speaking of the law of Moses. Reader, turn and see for yourself, that the apostle is speaking of circumcision in the two preceding verses, also in verses 6-11. The Galations are exhorted to "stand fast" in the liberty of the gospel, and are warned against being "entangled" with the "yoke of bondage." which was the law of Moses that had been dead twenty-five years; but the apostle never warned them, nor any of the other churches against keeping the commandments of God. No, never.
By confounding these two laws in one, Eld. Marsh leads his readers from the truth, and makes what the apostle wrote to the Galatians A. D. 58 contradict what he wrote to the Romans two years before. He quotes the following, which is so often applied to those who keep the Lord's Sabbath: "Whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." Now if we have fallen from grace by keeping the fourth commandment, has not Eld. Marsh also fallen from grace for keeping the other nine commandments of the same law? And if we have fallen from grace by keeping the Sabbath, then we cannot be restored to grace until we break the fourth commandment, and by the same rule Eld. Marsh cannot be restored to grace until he breaks the other nine commandments!! I leave the reader to decide as to the justness of this conclusion. My only object is to hold up the view that THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD are abolished, in its true hideous form, that souls may take warning, and not be devoured by it.
With the view that Gal.v,4, and Rom.xiv,5, apply to the case of those who keep the Sabbath, I will quote Rom.xiv,5. "One man esteemeth one day above another: [that is, he keeps the Sabbath and falls from grace;] another esteemeth all days alike. [He does not keep the Sabbath, therefore does not fall from grace.] Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." [That is, whether it is best to fall from grace or not!!] All who will search the Word for themselves, may not only see the error, but the folly of applying these and similar texts to those who observe the seventh-day Sabbath.
We are referred to the seventh chapter of Romans, for proof that God's law of commandments is abolished. But read the sixth verse with the marginal reading. "But now we are delivered from the law, [the sentence of the law,] being dead to that wherein we were held." Here we see that it is the Christian that is dead to the law, and not the law that is dead. The law of God has always been the instrument to convict and slay the sinner, as it did Paul, that he might be justified by faith, and made alive in Jesus Christ. "For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Verse 9. In this way "the letter [or law] killeth, but the spirit giveth life," 2dCor.iii,6. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law," Rom.iii,31. What law? Certainly not the law of Moses, for that died at the crucifixion about twenty-seven years before Paul wrote to the Romans. Then it necessarily follows that the apostle is speaking of God's law of commandments, which was his "DELIGHT," which he SERVED, and which he called "SPIRITUAL," "HOLY, JUST and GOOD." See verses 12,14,22 and 25. Yet for keeping the fourth commandment of this law we are branded by many with "Judaism," with keeping "the Jewish Sabbath," and with being under "the yoke of bondage," and having "fallen from grace"!!
Those that say such things of Sabbath keepers aught to know better, and they might know better if they would search the epistles of the Apostle Paul, free from prejudice.
Said Jesus, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law." What law? Whosoever therefore, shall break one of these least COMMANDMENTS, &c." See Matt.v,17-19, Jesus did "destroy" the law of Moses, "nailing it to his cross," and took "it out of the way," at his crucifixion, but the law of commandments he did not come to destroy. "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Jesus referred to three of the ten commandments in the midst of his ever-memorable sermon on the mount, (see Matt.v,21,27, and 33,) which should settle for ever the plain fact that he was speaking of the law of God, which was to remain the same as long as heaven and earth should remain. Jesus referred to the law of Moses, in verses 38 and 43, to show the difference between the old and new dispensations, and that the laws of Moses were to pass away; but he never intimated that the commandments of God were to pass away. No, never. He positively declared that he had not come to destroy the law of commandments, and that not one jot or tittle should pass from them, till heaven and earth pass away.
That the Sabbath was embraced in that law which was nailed to the cross - slain - taken out of the way, and abolished, is clear from what Paul says in 2Cor.iii,7-16. He there tells us that the "ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was to be done away," verse 7; and in verse 13, that it "IS ABOLISHED;" and, verse 14, "IS DONE AWAY in Christ."
We will first observe that there is an essential difference between a law, and the ministration of that law. One is the constitution necessary to govern the people, the other is the ministry, or the ordained powers to carry its laws into execution. With this distinction between a law, and its ministration, we shall be able to understand 2Cor.iii,6-18. The ten commandments are the "Royal law," the great constitution of righteous principles for all to strictly observe. This constitution was to remain unchanged, as long as heaven and earth remain. In the time of the first or old covenant, it was engraven in stone by the finger of God, but in the time of the second or new covenant, it was to be put in the mind, and written in the heart, by the Spirit of the living God. The apostle is contrasting the ministration of the law of God, under the old covenant, with its ministration under the new.
"But if the MINISTRATION of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the MINISTRATION of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the MINISTRATION of condemnation be glory, much more doth the MINISTRATION of righteousness exceed in glory." 2Cor.iii,7-9. The ministration of the ten commandments under the first covenant was the outward services of the law of Moses, but the ministration of them under the new covenant is the "ministration of righteousness" by the Spirit.
The apostle truly calls the ministration of the law of God under Moses, "the ministration of DEATH," and "of CONDEMNATION;" for while it CONDEMNED, it could not take away sin; neither give the redemption - LIFE and IMMORTALITY. Now it is clear that it is not the ten commandments that "is done away" and "abolished," but it is the "MINISTRATION of death," that is, the ministration of Moses, that is "done away," to give place to "that which remaineth," which is the ministration of the commandments of God, in "righteousness," by the "Spirit."
"For if that which is DONE AWAY [the ministration of Moses] was glorious, MUCH MORE that which REMAINETH [the ministration of the commandments of God in righteousness by the Spirit] is glorious." Verse 11.
The vail, verses 13-16, that "is done away in Christ" which was on the heart of the unbelieving Jews, was the ministration of Moses; for as long as they "read," and continued in the services of Moses' law, they could not see that Jesus was the end of those typical services. But when they look to the blood of Jesus for the atonement, then they can see that the "vail [the ministration of Moses] IS DONE AWAY IN CHRIST."
"Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," verse 17; that is, under the better ministration of the Law of God by the Spirit there is "liberty," being freed from the "yoke of bondage," Gal.v,1, which was the ministration of condemnation, or "death." Now we can see the difference of the two ministrations of the immutable law of God. One was the "ministration of condemnation," while this law was only engraven in stone; the other is the "ministration of RIGHTEOUSNESS," or JUSTIFICATION by the Spirit of Christ, while this law is put into the mind, and written in the heart, "I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR INWARD PARTS, AND WRITE IT IN THEIR HEARTS." See Jer.xxxi,33; Heb.viii,10. Those who do not carefully "search the Scriptures," will no doubt be satisfied with Eld. Marsh's exposition of 2Cor.iii,7-16, and be kept from the truth by it; but those who will search for themselves, will see that this scripture does not prove that the law of God is abolished; only the ministration of it, by the external services of the law of Moses.
The Apostle Paul never taught that the law of God which was engraven in stone, was abolished at the crucifixion. No, never. Read what he says of it in a letter to the Romans, dated A. D. 60, more than twenty years after the "ministration of condemnation" was "done away." "For we know that the law is spiritual." "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." "So then with my mind I myself SERVE the law of God." "Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said. "Thou shalt not covet." - "Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just and good." "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED." "Do we then make VOID THE LAW THROUGH FAITH? God forbid; yea, we ESTABLISH THE LAW." "The CARNAL MIND is enmity against God; for it is NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE." See Rom.vii,7-25; ii,13; iii,31, viii,7.
We have no record that the Jews ever accused St. Paul with departing from the letter of the Sabbath law. This is very strong evidence that he kept it, and that he never taught its abolition. The Sabbath was his only regular preaching day. At Corinth he preached to the Jews and the Greeks "every Sabbath," for a year and six months." See Acts xviii,4-11. At Antioch, he preached on the sabbath-day at the request of the Gentiles, and "almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God." See Acts xiii,14,15,42-44. At Thessalonica he went into the synagogue and "as his manner was," reasoned with them out of the Scriptures three sabbath-days. See Acts xvii,1,2. It is said that the only reason why the apostle preached on the sabbath was because the Jews were assembled in their synagogues on that day; but this is not true, for he preached on the sabbath at the request of the Gentiles, and at Philippi, Paul and Silas, on the sabbath went out of the city, "by a RIVER SIDE, where prayer was wont to be made," "and spake unto the women which resorted thither." Acts xvi,13. Now who can believe that Paul taught the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians that the seventh-day sabbath was abolished at the crucifixion, and at the same time was preaching every sabbath (for this "was his manner,") not only to the Jews, but at the request of the Gentiles, and by "a river side;" and had no other regular preaching day? Those who can, make him one of the most inconsistent men that ever undertook to preach the gospel.
What is the penalty for breaking the law of the Sabbath? "Ye shall keep the sabbath, therefore, for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from the people." Ex.xxxi,14. "Whosoever doeth any work therein, shall be put to death," Ex.xxxv,2. Death, was then the penalty for the violation of the law of the Sabbath; and Death is now the penalty for the same offence - if the law is still in force. But some think the penalty was abolished, but the law not.
The fourth commandment as it was engraven in stone (see Ex.xx,8-11) is the great immutable Sabbath law. In this law, nothing is said of punishing the transgressor with temporal death. No, not one word. During the "ministration of condemnation" and "of death," (see 2Cor.iii,7-9,) by the services of the law of Moses the transgressor of the law of God was put to death. Why? Because there was no hope in his case. Under that "faulty" ministration there was no atonement for such a sin; but under the "ministration of the Spirit," while Jesus is our sacrifice and priest, MERCY, the excellency and glory of the better covenant, pleads for the transgressor of the law of God, that he may be spared, and turn and live. This is why the stoning system was done away, with the other laws of Moses at the introduction of the better covenant. But temporal death never was the full and final penalty for the violation of the law of God. If it was, then he who broke the sabbath, stole, murdered or committed adultery, only had to be stoned to death, to fully satisfy the law, and in the judgement such sins cannot appear against him, for the law was satisfied when he suffered temporal death. When a man has suffered in states-prison the full penalty for violating the law, he is as free from it as the man who has kept the law. And if the full penalty for transgressing the law of God was temporal death, then in the judgement the transgressor will be as free from the law as those who strictly kept it. Therefore, temporal death never was the full penalty for violating the sabbath; but the penalty for transgressing God's holy law was, and STILL IS Eternal Death. "Sin is the transgression of the law." See 1John iii,4, and "the wages [penalty] of sin is death." Rom.vi,23. Those who wilfully transgressed the commandments of God during the first covenant will meet it in the judgement. Also those who violate them during the second covenant, and do not repent of it will meet it there, and with all sinners suffer the full and final penalty for breaking the "Royal law" in the "lake of fire," at the second death.
It is Eld. Marsh who teaches that "the penalty for violating the law of the sabbath" is abolished, and not those who keep the fourth commandment.
This article will be concluded in No. 8, which will be out, "if the Lord will," next week. The brethren may now expect to receive a few numbers of the paper, as often as once in two weeks. Want of means hindered its publication for a while, and during this delay, a large job came into the office, which has hindered some time since means have come in. It is hoped that all the brethren will be interested, and help advance the precious cause of truth.
The Hymn Book is now ready. Those who wish for it had better send for it soon. - Price, twelve for one dollar, or twelve and a half cents single copy.
There will be a conference of the brethren at Oswego, N. Y. to hold Sabbath and first-day, March 16 and 17. Brethren Rhodes and Holt, expect to be with us. The brethren from abroad, especially those who wish to hear an explanation of our present position are invited to come and meet with us.
Brethren Holt and Rhodes returned to this city last week, in good health, and strong in the faith. Their labors for a few weeks past, have been effectual, in bringing out the precious jewels, and establishing them in the present truth. About forty have embraced the Sabbath within a few weeks where they have labored. They feel that they cannot rest; but must go as fast as possible, and hunt up the scattered "sheep" who are perishing for want of spiritual food. Brethren, let them have your prayers; also, be careful to see that their temporal wants are supplied.
All letters relating to the "PRESENT TRUTH," should be directed to JAMES WHITE, Oswego, N. Y. care of Luman Carpenter.