THE PRESENT TRUTH.
BY JAMES WHITE.
THE PRESENT TRUTH. VOL. 1.
OSWEGO, N. Y. APRIL, 1850. - NO. 9.
"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.
THE THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE.
The thirteenth chapter of Revelation, and the first five verses of the fourteenth chapter presents a connected chain of past, present and future events, down to the complete redemption of the 144,000, when they will stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb. Then the sixth verse of the fourteenth chapter introduces the second advent message, and commences another chain of events relative to the successive messages which were to be proclaimed to the people of God, down to the time when "the vine of the earth" will be cast "into the great wine-press of the wrath of God."
Those who live in the time of the fulfillment of much of the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Revelation, can see that the division of them should be between the fifth and sixth verses of the fourteenth chapter.
St. John was shown the Papal beast, his blasphemy, and his power over the saints for 1260 years, which reached to within about fifty years of the present time; he also saw the image beast arise, his deception and miracles, and his oppression of the saints in their last mighty struggle in the time of Jacob's trouble, which is just before us, as recorded in the last eight verses of the thirteenth chapter; and how natural it would be for him while viewing the waiting saints in their last struggle with the image beast, to follow them but a step further, and behold them on Mount Zion with the Lamb, in victory, purity and glory, as recorded in the first five verses of the fourteenth chapter. It is very plain that the fifth verse ends that chain, and that the sixth verse introduces our second advent experience.
All advent believers agree that the first angel's message, [Rev.xiv,6,7] was to be fulfilled in the proclamation of the second advent of Christ to the church and world. If this position which is so generally taken, is correct, then the other angels' cries certainly represent so many distinct messages to be proclaimed to God's people in this mortal state. No one will take the ground that the first message was to reach to the coming of Christ, and that the others which "followed" will be proclaimed after the second advent; no, no, for every candid person will see and admit, that if the first angel's cry was designed to represent the proclamation of the coming judgement, the other angels' cries also represent so many distinct messages to be given to God's people before their change to immortality. Many reject this very clear and natural position, because if they admit it, they will have to acknowledge that the great leading movements in our past experience, such as the proclamation of 1843, the fall of the churches or Babylon, and the midnight cry in 1844, were the work of God, and a perfect fulfillment of his pure word. Such are destitute of any rule by which they can interpret Rev.xiv,6-18.
That we may better understand the third angel's message, let us take a brief view of the first and second.
FIRST ANGEL'S MESSAGE.- "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Rev.xiv,6,7.
This angel's message represents the last mission of mercy to the world; and it has been fulfilled. The original apostolic message was - "But now commandeth all men every where to repent, because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness." Acts xvii,30,31. But the last message to the world was - "Repent for the hour [time] of his judgement is come." Time was connected with that message, and that time was 1843. God said by the prophet, "Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." - Hab.ii,2.
The whole advent host once believed that publishing the visions of Daniel and John on the chart, from which the swift messengers lectured in 1842 and 1843, was a fulfillment of this prophecy; and the unbelief of those who doubt now, does not prove that we were all mistaken then. The passing of the time, and the perpetual backsliding and unbelief of Adventists has not changed this truth of God into a lie; but it remains truth still.
You who participated in this first angel's message, and felt its power and glory, and saw its effects on the people, just go back with me to the camp-meetings, conferences, and other meetings where the time, 1843, was proclaimed from the chart. With what solemnity, zeal and holy confidence the servants of the Lord proclaimed the time. And O, how their words fell upon the people, melting the hardest sinner's heart; for God was with them, and his spirit attended the solemn message. The most spiritual and devoted in all the churches caught the flame and many who had been trained to worship their church and their minister, here learned to "fear God" alone, and "give glory to him." This message weaned us from this world, and led us to the feet of Jesus, to seek forgiveness of all our sins, and a free and full salvation through the blood of Christ. Dear Brethren, Was this message "from heaven or from men?" I know you answer - "from heaven." Amen.
We then "tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come," and we can not, will not, dare not give it up, and call it a "mistake," the "work of man," "mesmerism," and "of the Devil," as many have done, and have fallen away. "It is impossible" "to renew" such "to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." See Heb.vi,4-6.
SECOND ANGEL'S MESSAGE.- "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Rev.xiv,8. - "Come out of her my people." Rev.xviii,4.
This second angel did not go on his mission and deliver his message in company with the first angel; but he "followed" after the first had delivered the burden of his message. The first message was to the churches; but soon their religious papers refused to publish it, and the doors of their houses of worship were closed against it. In this way they shut out the "everlasting good news" of the coming kingdom; and when that was accomplished, Jesus, and the Spirit of truth left them for ever, and the churches or Babylon fell. There were a few living souls in all these churches who had received the advent message, whose "meat and drink," and very life was to talk of the coming of Jesus, and the restitution; but they were not allowed to bear that testimony. Then the way was fully prepared for the second message - "Babylon is fallen, is fallen," "Come out of her my people."
Every advent believer knows that we heard just this message. We have not forgotten the excellent sermons that were preached and published by Eld. Joseph Marsh and many others, on this very point. Neither have we forgotten the effect that it had upon God's people; for they obeyed the message, and with haste left the churches. This prophecy was exactly fulfilled, and in the right time, and place. Some tell us that Babylon here, is the Roman Catholic church; but God's people were not in that church. The first message was to the churches, from about 1840 to 1843; and the second angel "followed," therefore the message - "Babylon is fallen" - "Come out of her my people" was in 1844. - We heard it with our ears, our voices proclaimed it, and our whole being felt its power, and with our eyes we saw its effect, as the oppressed people of God burst the bands that bound them to the various sects, and made their escape from Babylon. As we have seen so perfect a fulfillment of the first and second angels' messages in our past experience, we are now prepared to examine
THE THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE.- "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
"And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
"HERE is the patience of the saints; HERE are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev.xiv,9-12.
The beast and image mentioned here are the same as are mentioned in chap.xiii,5-18; xv,2, and xvi,2, at the pouring out of the wrath of God in the seven last plagues. The Papal beast that was to "make war," and "wear out the saints of the most high," 1260 years, from 538 to 1798 is the one mentioned by the third angel. The image beast has come up since that time, and both will be on the stage at the pouring out of the vials of God's wrath in the great day of the Lord. In the third angel's message, and in chaps.xv and xvi, but two classes are brought to view. One is oppressive, and persecutes the saints, and has the mark of the beast, and worships the beast and his image, and at last suffers the vials of God's burning wrath. The other class is oppressed and driven, and in their patient waiting for the coming of Jesus, they get "the victory over the beast, and his image, and over his MARK" and are sealed with the seal of the living God by keeping "the commandments of God." They, though but a small remnant, finally triumph, and are seen on the "sea of glass mingled with fire," and on mount Zion with the Lamb, singing the song of their experience, and their redemption "from among men," (not from the grave, for they will be alive at the coming of Christ and be changed,) which no others in all wide heaven "could learn."
It is said of those who finally triumph, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," Also, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City." Rev.xxii,14.
The "remnant" of the seed of the woman, or last end of the church just before the second advent, is made war with, and persecuted, for keeping the "commandments of God," and for having the "testimony of Jesus Christ." See Rev.xii,17.
The commandments of God here mentioned, mean nothing more nor less than his ten immutable laws, written upon two tables of stone. But says the objector, "you are mistaken." The commandments of God here mean the New Testament requirements, such as repentance, faith, baptism, &c." Stop sir, let me inquire - Are not all such requirements included in the "faith" or "testimony of Jesus Christ?" "O, yes, I admit that they are." Then tell me what the "commandments of God" are. John in holy vision saw a company, down here near the close of time, that kept the "faith," and had the "testimony of Jesus Christ," in which is embraced all the New Testament requirements, such as repentance, faith, baptism, Lord's supper, washing the saints' feet, &c; he also saw them KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD." If you will lay aside your unscriptural objections, which have been invented to lead you from the plain truth of God's word on this point, and will answer the question honestly in the fear of God, you will say that the "commandments of God" really mean the commandments of God, and not something else. This point is nailed sure, and you cannot get away from it fairly, without confessing the seventh-day Sabbath, for it is embraced in the "commandments of God." Keeping the commandments seems to be in perfect opposition to the "mark of the beast," which leads me to inquire -
WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?
This mark is very conspicuous, in the forehead or hand, and signifies not a literal mark, but a prominent profession, that all may see and know. It is the mark of the beast; therefore it is a prominent point of religious faith introduced by the Papal power, which is the observance of the first day of the week as a holy day of rest instead of the seventh.
The only weekly Sabbath of the Bible is the seventh-day rest. The New Testament recognizes no other. Christ and his holy apostles have not spoken of any other. Some say they keep the first day in honor of Christ's resurrection; but who has told them to do so? Has Jesus? No, never, neither have the apostles. We defy Sunday keepers to bring the least evidence from the word of God for keeping the first day of the week as a holy-day of rest. The example of Christ and his disciples, in travelling fifteen miles on the very day of the resurrection, and the example of the Apostle Paul at Troas [Acts xx,7-15,] is sufficient to show any one that they did not regard the first day as a day of rest; but as the first working day, as God set the example when he made the world. Then as there is no evidence for the first day in the holy scriptures, we inquire, who effected the change of weekly rest from the seventh to the first day?
From the time of the apostles to Constantine the Sabbath was generally observed, while the first day was regarded as a festival of no greater importance or authority than Good Friday or Holy Thursday.
In 321, Constantine published his edicts enjoining the observance of the first day, in all cities and towns, while the country people were allowed to work, and at that time and after, most of the churches observed the Sabbath; therefore Constantine did not effect the CHANGE.
Dr. Chambers says - "By Constantine's laws, made in 321, it was decreed that for the future the Sunday should be kept a day of rest in the cities and towns; but he allowed the country people to follow their work. In 538, the council of Orleans prohibited this country labor." Encyclop. Art. Sund. Lond. 1791.
Socrates, A. D. 440, says - There are various customs concerning assembling; for though all the churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath day, yet the Alexandrians and the Romans, from an ancient tradition refuse to do this." Socrates Eccl. Hist. B. 5, ch. 21, Basel ed.
St. Jerome, in a funeral oration for the lady Paula, in the early part of the fifth century, says - "She with all her virgins and widows who lived at Bethlehem in a cloister with her, upon the Lord's day, repaired duly to the church, or house of God, which was nigh to her cell; and after her return from thence to her own lodgings, she herself and all her company fell to work, and every one performed their task, which was the making of clothes and garments for themselves and for others, as they were appointed."
St. Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople, "recommended to his audience, after impressing upon themselves and their families what they had heard on the Lord's day, to return to their daily employments and trades." Burnside on the Sabbath, p. 16. [From Sabbath Tract, No. 4.]
In 538, at the very beginning of the "forty and two months," [1260 years] that the Papal beast was to blaspheme against God, and "make war with the saints, and to overcome them," "the council of Orleans prohibited the country labor on Sunday, which Constantine, by his laws permitted.
From this time, the observance of the first day was gradually but forcibly urged upon the people, and the Sabbath dismissed wherever they owed allegiance to the Pope as head of the church, and in England and Scotland as late as the thirteenth century. Then it was decreed that it should be holy time from Sunday noon until Monday.
"And he [little horn] 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; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Dan.vii,25.
The Pope had power to change the laws of men, and did change them, and Daniel saw him speaking great words of blasphemy against the Most High, and thinking to change the laws in God. The saints, times and laws were given in to his hand for 1260 years. He was permitted to trample down the Sabbath, and the saints for that time. The former he caused to be desecrated, and the latter put to death.
Then as the observance of the first day as a day of holy rest, instead of the seventh, is a mark of the beast, it undoubtedly is the mark mentioned in the solemn message of the third angel. - This is strongly established by this plain fact that the mark of the beast is in direct opposition to keeping the commandments of God. One class keep the commandments of God, and of course they keep the Sabbath, and they are seen on mount Zion with the Lamb. The other class have the mark of the beast and they drink of the unmingled cup of the wrath of God. O, my brethren, what an awfully solemn subject is this now before us! And what an hour will soon burst upon the world like a thief! Never did I have such feelings while holding my pen as now. - And never did I see and feel the importance of the Sabbath as I do this moment. Surely the Sabbath truth, like the rising sun ascending from the east, has increased in light, in power and in importance until it is the great sealing truth. - Its rays of holy light cheer and sanctify the true believer, and condemn those who reject it.
The second angel's message reached to the fall of 1844, where the cry - "Come out of her my people" closed: then the time for the third came. A part of the third angel's message is - "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God," &c. We know that the saints patient waiting time has been since their disappointment in 1844. - Well here it is, and we all know it. We cannot be mistaken here. We know then that the time for this third message is now. We know also that the time for keeping all the commandments right has been since 1844, since God called us out of Babylon. If we had stayed there, bound down by ministers and creeds, the glorious light of the Holy Sabbath never would have reached us; but glory to God, the second angel's message called us out from the fallen churches where we are now free to think, and act for ourselves in the fear of God. It is an exceedingly interesting fact, that the Sabbath question began to be agitated among second advent believers immediately after they were called out of the churches by the second angel's message. God's work moves in order. The Sabbath truth came up in just the right time to fulfil prophecy. Amen.
God led the children of Israel about in the wilderness forty years after their deliverance from Egypt, to humble them, and to prove them, to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep his commandments or no; see Deut.viii,2, and in like manner he called us from the bondage of the churches in 1844, and there humbled us, and has been proving us, and has been developing the hearts of his people, and seeing whether they would keep his commandments. A few Calebs and Joshuas can still bring a good report, and are resolved to "wholly follow the Lord." Many stopped at the first angel's message, and others at the second, and many will refuse the third; but a few will "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth," and go up and possess the land. Though they have to pass through fire and blood, or witness the "time of trouble such as never was," they will not yield, and "receive the mark of the beast," but they will struggle on, and press their holy warfare until they, with the harps of God, strike the note of victory on mount Zion.
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament." Rev.xi,19. Did John see the ark of the ten commandments in heaven? Yes, so he testifies; and none who believe the Bible will doubt his testimony, and say that he some how fell into a mesmeric state, and saw things incorrectly. Then if the commandments are preserved in heaven, certainly they are not abolished on earth.
In the type, the temple of God on earth, the place for the ark was in the "holiest of all," within the second vail. In the antitype, "the temple of God" "in heaven," the ark must be in the same place, for the earthly were "patterns of things in the heavens." In the earthly, the "holiest of all" was opened at the end of the year, for the high priest alone to enter on the day that he cleansed the sanctuary; but the "holiest of all" of the heavenly "temple" was not opened until Jesus, our High Priest, entered to cleanse the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 days, in 1844.
"And there was seen in his temple, the ark of his testament." John does not say that he saw it, though he doubtless saw the whole transaction in vision; but, that it "was seen." He saw the waiting saints, after the 2300 days ended, by faith looking to their Great High Priest, who stands by the ark in the "holiest of all." They are keeping the commandments of God; and by faith they see the ark of the testament, or ten commandments in the temple in heaven. Mark this. The second wo was past, (August 11, 1840,) and the seventh angel had begun to sound (in 1844,) when the ark of the testament was seen. This also shows that the time for keeping all the commandments right, the Sabbath with the rest, has been since 1844, where the third angel's message commenced.
The second angel's message called the second advent host from the various sects, and formed the Philadelphia church, or church of Brotherly Love, in the fall of 1844. To this church it is said - "Behold, I have set before thee an open door." This doubtless refers to the tabernacle of the testimony which was then opened, that the light of the holy law of God might shine out upon the waiting saints. Now we are prepared to see and feel the force of the declaration of the third angel - "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God."
God has marked out our past experience and present position so very clearly, that none need to doubt. All the saints may see and know their whereabouts, and understand present truth and present duty.
The wrath of God mentioned by the third angel is the seven last plagues. "In them is filled up the wrath of God," Rev.xv.1. The four angels [Rev.vii,1,] will hold the four winds, and the vials of God's wrath will not be poured out until the saints hear the "loud voice" of the third angel, and are sealed with the seal of the living God.
This angel delivers the last message of mercy to the scattered flock; therefore, it is the sealing message. The next event in their history, which immediately follows, is the day and night cry of God's elect or sealed ones, [Luke xviii,7,] represented by the loud cry of the fourth angel, to one like the son of man on the great white cloud, with the sharp sickle - "Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time has come for thee to reap."
The third angel's sealing message, is represented by the man clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side, [Eze.ix,2-4] marking the sighing and crying ones. After his work is accomplished, six men with slaughter-weapons follow, and slay utterly. These represent the wrath of God in the seven last plagues. The sealed ones will be safe in that dread hour of slaughter; for the men with slaughter-weapons have this charge - "Come not near any man upon whom is the mark." They will abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "His truth" will be their "shield and buckler."
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." Ps.xci,7,8. We may now see the great separation into two classes. One class keep the commandments, and are marked or sealed with the seal of the living God, and are to be protected in the day of slaughter. The other class have an opposite mark, which is of the beast, and they are to drink the wrath of God.
The living God instituted, sanctified and blessed the seventh day in Eden, and with an audible voice from Mount Sinai decreed that it should be observed as holy time. The beast decreed that the first day of the week should be holy time. Here are seen the two opposite marks. Both are conspicuous, in the forehead, which denotes a prominent profession. No point of religious faith is so conspicuous, and so easily seen by all around, as the observance of a day of holy rest; therefore it is said to be in the forehead.
Dear reader, I entreat you to heed the solemn message of the third angel. Think not that we were free from the mark of the beast when we left the churches. The second angel's message only brought us from that cage, where we are now free to hear the third, which if received and obeyed, will strip us from the last vestige of Popery, and seal us with the seal of the living God. If you are still professing to observe the first day of the week in honor of Christ's resurrection, let me tell you that you have no scripture authority for so doing. In this you are not honoring Christ, nor his resurrection, but an institution of the beast. No longer hug to your bosom this child of the "mother of harlots," as a holy thing of heavenly birth.
We are fast approaching an awful hour. Nothing but truth and righteousness will save us. We must humble ourselves before the mighty God, and obey and honor him by keeping his commandments.
We must seek a full and free pardon of all our transgressions and errors, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, now while he pleads his blood before the Father.
The following excellent remarks from Eld. Marsh, were published in the "Voice of Truth, Extra," Dec. 25, 1844.
We are doubtless near that auspicious hour when the harvest of the earth will be reaped, as described in Rev.xiv,14-16. The history of God's people in this mortal state, as given in that chapter, before being glorified, is nearly complete. The everlasting gospel, as described in verses 6 and 7, has been preached unto every nation, kindred, tongue and people; saying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come, and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea and the fountains of waters. No case can be more clearly demonstrated with facts than that this message has been borne to every nation and tongue under heaven, within a few past years, in the preaching of the coming of Christ in '43 or near at hand. Through the medium of lectures and publications, the sound has gone into all the earth, and the word unto the ends of the world.
The fall of Babylon, as described in verse 8, has been proclaimed throughout the length and breadth of the land. The spiritual death, and the deep corruption of the churches which constitute Babylon, together with her own often repeated lamentations, and acknowledgements, and the fact that God's people have actually come out of her, prove beyond all contradiction that this message has been given and had its effect. This work is done. This angel has flown. Babylon, the nominal church, is fallen. God's people have come out of her. She is now the "synagogue of Satan." Rev.iii,9. "The habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Rev.xviii,2.
From a work first published in London in the year 1724, called "a defence of the Sabbath, in reply to Ward on the fourth commandment," by George Carlow, Pages 75-88.
Eusebius, in his fourth book, chaps. 17,18, of the Life of Constantine, says of him, that he appointed the Lord's day, as they were pleased to call it, that it should be consecrated to prayers. And a little farther on he saith, By his example (meaning Constantine,) they learned to observe the first day. Let the Christian reader observe this passage, they learned to observe it of him; and if they learned it of him, then they kept it not before. And in chap. 23d of the same book he writes thus: "The Emperor sent an edict to all governors of his provinces, that they should forthwith - [note, forthwith, a sign that it was not observed before] - observe the first day; that they should honor the days consecrated to the memory of martyrs, and solemnly observe the feasts of the church." Let it be noted here also, how that with the first day's observation, came in the observation of feasts of the church, and their holy days so called, consecrated to the memory of martyrs. And farther he saith, that all was performed according to the Emperor's command. This is to be specially noted, that all was performed - the first day's observation as well as the rest - all according to the Emperor's command. Eusebius doth not say it was performed according to the command of God, but according to the command of the Emperor! Here is the command of man, and not of God! Here is the bottom of the first day observation in the Christian church!
We are yet to consider further in this matter, that though he did endeavor to bring it in, it was not brought in after the manner that it is now kept; for he allowed working, huntings, markets, and fairs, upon the day, if occasion required; as did also the kings of England, who, near one thousand years after, gave forth decrees for its observation.
Henry Bullinger, who, in his Treatise to King Edward the sixth, in pages 143, 144, speaks of Constantine's decree thus: "Let all judges in the courts of law, and citizens of occupations, rest upon the Sunday, and keep it holy, with reverence and devotion; but they that inhabited the country may freely and at liberty attend on their tillage." And he proposes a reason thus, "For oftentimes it falleth out, that they cannot upon another day so commodiously sow their seed, or plant their vines; and by letting pass the opportunity of a little time, they may hap to lose the profit given them of God for their provision." And in page 140, he saith, "We do not find in any part of the apostles' writings any mention made that the Sunday was commanded us to be kept holy." Thus far Bullinger ingenuously acknowledged a thing very worthy of commendation.
Socrates, in his Ecclesiastical History, in the 5th book, chap. 21, shows that the Sabbath, as it relates to the seventh day, was kept for several hundred years after Christ; and though in his time, Sunday observation was with some a little crept in, yet he reckons it but a tradition. - His words are these, "Touching the communion there are sundry observations and customs, for though in a manner almost all the churches throughout the whole world do celebrate and receive the holy mysteries every Sabbath day after other, yet the people inhabiting Alexandria and Rome do not use it. The Egyptians adjoining to Alexandria, together with the inhabitants of Thebes, of a tradition, do celebrate the communion on Sunday." Whence we may observe, 1st. That up to this time, which was four hundred years and more after Christ, the Sabbath was observed almost throughout the whole world; and that it was the seventh-day Sabbath, will appear if we consider that it is distinctly distinguished from the first day. 2d. He himself reckons the first day's observation but a TRADITION. In his sixth book, chap. 8, he speaks thus: "When the festival meeting throughout every week was come, I mean the Saturday and the Sunday upon which the Christians are wont to meet solemnly in the church." And upon this passage we find, by what was before noted that they esteemed and called the seventh-day the Sabbath, and the first day practice a tradition.
From all that has been said, we may observe, that first day observation was brought in with much ado, and that in those decrees of men enforcing its observation there was allowed liberty to labor on the first day. So that it doth appear plainly from these quotations, that it was not intended to be kept, when first brought in, as now it is observed, but that it is a tradition established and made sacred only by a long standing custom.
We may remark, that this kind of observation did not at first produce a slighting, or at least such a slighting of the Sabbath, as hath since through long custom followed. For almost the whole world kept to the Lord's Sabbath, and celebrated the holy mysteries upon it, after these beginnings of the first day's observation, as I have already noted out of Socrates. For the 8th chapter of his 6th book extends down to four hundred and forty years after Christ; and Constantine reigned about the year three hundred and twenty. So that at first it was not even a slighting of the Lord's holy seventh-day Sabbath; for that Sabbath was kept in the church, with the first day, for several hundred years.
As we find by whom, and in what manner, the first day observation came in, so we may see why it was brought in, which was from some high hatred against the Jews, whom they were very apt to regard as worthy of all contempt on the charge of crucifying Christ. Whether it be right to change a moral and perpetual command of God, binding all men in all ages, for such a purpose, let the professed Christian judge. I find that this hatred began to be very high even in Constantine's time, as may be observed in Eusebius' History of the Life of Constantine, where it is said of him, that he made a law that no Christian should serve a Jew; esteeming it a wicked thing that they who had slain the prophets, and cruelly put to death our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, should hold and keep in subjection those who were redeemed with the blood of our Lord and Saviour. And if any one lived already in that servile condition that he should be released, and the Jew fined. From this kind of hatred did the change of the Sabbath come; and as was the tree, so is the fruit.
The Jews make it an argument that Christ is not the Messiah, because Christians, who profess to be his followers, are Sabbath-breakers, concluding from thence, that Christ himself was a Sabbath-breaker. And if so, they ask, what benefit can we expect by the death of an evil-doer? Thus you may see what evil consequences follow the non-observance of the Lord's holy Sabbath.
Benius says, (Councils, book 3, last part, p. 1448,) that a council was celebrated in Scotland about the first bringing in of the dominical day, which some now call the Lord's day, or Sunday, but he calls it the dominical day. This council, he says, was held A. D. 1203, in the time of Pope Innocent the Third.
Lucius, (Century 13, p. 264,) says of the dominical day, that in a certain council in Scotland, it was enacted that it should be kept, beginning from the twelfth hour on Saturday noon till Monday.
Bathius, (lib. 13, de Scottis, p. 357,) says that in Scotland, A. D. 1203, William, King of Scotland, called a council of the principal of his kingdom. There it was decreed that Saturday, from the twelfth hour at noon, should be holy, and that they should do no profane work, and this they should observe till Monday.
Roger Hoveden says, this council was about the observation of the first day. There came also a legate from the pope, with a sword and a purple hat, to grant indulgences and privileges to the young king; when it was decreed that the seventh day, from the twelfth hour at noon, should be holy - that the people should do nothing profane, but apply themselves to things sacred - and this they should do even until the second day morning at sun rising. Bathius, lib. 13, de Scottis, 788. So, as I take it, here are these witnesses to the truth of this story - Roger Hoveden, Lucius and Bathius, great authorities as to the truth of the matter of fact. The first-day Sabbath, then, stands without any Scripture foundation, but upon the same ground as Easter, Whitsuntide or Christmas. It is no great wonder, that Mr. Ward should quarrel so with the Scripture Sabbath, seeing he is for one that is without Scripture, though he fathers it there, for some reasons which he best knows. But the Scripture being altogether silent about a first-day Sabbath, he flies to history, and tells us that Eusebius says the first day was called the queen of days. And what of all this? The same history makes it manifest that the seventh-day was reckoned the king of days, or the chief of days for holy worship; and in a manner almost all the congregations in the world did keep the seventh day for the Sabbath, as hath been shown. And Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, saith that they assembled on Saturday, not that they were infected with Judaism, but only to worship Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath.
Now, Mr. Ward, seeing that neither the holy Scriptures, nor the histories which you mentioned, will afford you any relief or any thing like a commandment for observing the first day of the week for a Sabbath, to do you a kindness, and to help you at this dead lift, and also to show you what spirit hath been at work to make a Sabbath for you, I will produce another human institution, and commandment for its observance. It is from Dr. Heylyn's History of the Sabbath, part 2, pp. 221,222.
Eustachius, Abbot of Flay, in Normandy, an associate of Fulco, a French priest and notable hypocrite, who had lighted on a new Sabbatarian fancy, was sent to publish it here in England; but finding opposition to his doctrine, he went back again the next year, being 1202. He, however, soon returned better fortified, preaching from town to town, and from place to place, that no man should presume to market on the Lord's day, as they had done heretofore. Now, for the easier bringing of the people to obey their dictates, they had to show a warrant sent from God himself, as they gave it out, the title and history whereof is as follows:-
"An holy mandate touching the Lord's day, which came down from heaven, unto Jerusalem, found on St. Simeon's altar, in Golgotha, where Christ was crucified for the sins of all the world; which, lying there for three days and as many nights, struck with such terror all that saw it, that falling on the ground they besought God's mercy. At last the Patriarch and Akarius the Archbishop, ventured to take into their hands the dreadful letter, which was written thus:
`I the Lord, who commanded you that ye should observe the dominical holy day, and ye have not kept it, and ye have not repented of your sins; I have caused repentance to be preached unto you, and ye have not believed. I sent pagans against you, who shed your blood, yet ye repented not. And because ye kept not the day holy, for a few days ye had famine; but I soon gave you plenty, and afterward ye did worse. I will again, that none from the ninth hour of the Sabbath - [so the Abbot of Flay still called the seventh day the Sabbath, and put part of the Sabbath into the first day,] - until the rising of the sun on Monday, do any work, unless it is good; which, if any do, let him amend by repentance. And if ye be not obedient to this command, I say unto you, and I swear unto you by my seat and throne, and cherubim, who keep my holy seat, that I will not command you any thing by another epistle, but I will open the heavens, and for rain I will rain upon you stones, and logs of wood, and hot water by night, that none may be able to escape. But that I may destroy all wicked men, this I say unto you, that ye shall die the death because of the dominical holy day, and other festivals of my saints, - [so the saints' days are hooked in also,] - which ye have not kept; I will send unto you beasts having the heads of lions, the hair of women, the tails of camels, and they shall be so hunger starved, that they shall devour your flesh, and ye shall desire to flee to the sepulchres of the dead, and hide you for fear of the beasts.'"
There is more of this wretched stuff, to make the people believe that they should keep the first day for the Sabbath. Then the lord Eustachius, Abbot of Flay, came to York, in England; and being honorably received by Galfred, Archbishop of York, the clergy, and the people of that city, he preached of the transgressing of the dominical day, and the other festivals or holy days. He gave the people repentance and absolution, upon condition that they hereafter should show due reverence to the dominical day and other festivals of the saints, not doing in them any servile labor; and should not exercise or keep markets of vendibles on the dominical day, but should devoutly employ themselves in good works and prayers. So it seems that the people here in England had little reverence for the Sunday before this, or other holy days.
These things the lord Eustachius, Abbot of Flay, constituted to be observed from the ninth hour, i.e. our three o'clock in the afternoon, of the seventh-day Sabbath, until the rising of the sun on Monday. And the people, upon his preaching, vowed to God that they hereafter would neither buy nor sell any thing upon the dominical day, unless perhaps food and drink to such as passed by.
The foregoing refers to England. But the king, princes and people of England, were then against the observing of Sunday, and would not agree to change the Sabbath or keep Sunday by this command. This was, I think, in the time of King John, against whom the Popish clergy had a great pique and quarrel, as not favoring their prelacy and monks, by one of whom he was poisoned. Scotland did not receive the change until A. D. 1203.
The law to alter the seventh day to the first, as you may see before in the collections out of the Centuries, was by the Bishops of Rome, who, though they pretend to dispense laws to the church, yet they ought not to alter the law of God in any point.
(ARTICLE BY MRS. E. G. WHITE.)
April 1, 1850 To the "Little Flock."
Dear Brethren.--The Lord gave me a view, January 26, which I will relate. I saw that some of the people of God were stupid and dormant; and were but half awake, and did not realize the time we were now living in; and that the "man" with the "dirt-brush" had entered, and that some were in danger of being swept away. I begged of Jesus to save them, to spare them a little longer, and let them see their awful danger, that they might get ready before it should be for ever too late. The angel said, "Destruction is coming like a mighty whirlwind." I begged of the angel to pity and to save those who loved this world, and were attached to their possessions, and were not willing to cut loose from them, and sacrifice them to speed the messengers on their way to feed the hungry sheep, who were perishing for want of spiritual food.
As I viewed poor souls dying for want of the present truth, and some who professed to believe the truth were letting them die, by withholding the necessary means to carry forward the work of God, the sight was too painful, and I begged of the angel to remove it from me. I saw that when the cause of God called for some of their property, like the young man who came to Jesus, [Matt. xix, 16-22,] they went away sorrowful; and that soon the overflowing scourge would pass over and sweep their possessions all away, and then it would be too late to sacrifice earthly goods, and lay up a treasure in heaven.
I then saw the glorious Redeemer, beautiful and lovely, that he left the realms of glory, and came to this dark and lonely world, to give his precious life and die, the just for the unjust. He bore the cruel mocking and scourging, and wore the platted crown of thorns, and sweat great drops of blood in the garden; while the burden of the sins of the whole world were upon him. The angel asked, "What for?" O, I saw and knew that it was for us; for our sins he suffered all this, that by his precious blood he might redeem us unto God.
Then again was held up before me those who were not willing to dispose of this world's goods to save perishing souls, by sending them the truth, while Jesus stands before the Father, pleading his blood, his sufferings and his death for them; and while God's messengers were waiting, ready to carry them the saving truth that they might be sealed with the seal of the living God. It was hard for some who professed to believe the present truth, to even do so little as to hand the messengers God's own money, that he had lent them to be stewards over.
Then the suffering Jesus, his sacrifice and love so deep, as to give his life for them, was again held up before me; and then the lives of those who professed to be his followers, who had this world's goods, and considered it so great a thing to help the cause of salvation. The angel said, "Can such enter heaven?" Another angel answered, "No, never, never, never. Those who are not interested in the cause of God on earth, can never sing the song of redeeming love above."
I saw that the quick work that God was doing on earth would soon be cut short in righteousness, and that the swift messengers must speed on their way to search out the scattered flock. An angel said, "Are all messengers? No, no, God's messengers have a message."
I saw that the cause of God had been hindered, and dishonored by some travelling who had no message from God. Such will have to give an account to God for every dollar they have used in travelling where it was not their duty to go; for that money might have helped on the cause of God, and for the lack of it, souls have starved and died for the want of spiritual food, that might have been given them by God's called and chosen messengers if they had had the means.
The mighty shaking has commenced, and will go on, and all will be shaken out who are not willing to take a hold and unyielding stand for the truth, and sacrifice for God and his cause. The angel said, "Think ye that any will be compelled to sacrifice. No. no. It must be a free-will offering. It will take all to buy the field."--I cried to God to spare his people, some of whom were fainting and dying.
I saw that those who have strength to labor with their hands, and help sustain the cause, were as accountable for that strength, as others were for their property
Then I saw that the judgements of Almighty God were speedily coming. I begged of the angel to speak in his language to the people. Said he, "All the thunders and lightnings of Mount Sinai would not move those who will not be moved by the plain truths of the word of God; neither would an angel's message awake them."
I then beheld the beauty and loveliness of Jesus. His robe was whiter than the whitest white. No language can describe his glory and exalted loveliness. All, all who keep the commandments of God, will enter in through the gates into the City, and have right to the tree of life, and ever be in the presence of the lovely Jesus, whose countenance shines brighter than the sun at noonday.
Then I was pointed to Adam and Eve in Eden. They partook of the forbidden tree, and then the flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, and they were driven from the Garden, lest they should partake of the tree of life, and be immortal sinners. The tree of life was to perpetuate immortality. I heard an angel ask, "Who of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and have partaken of the tree of life?" I heard another angel answer, "Not one of the family of Adam have passed that flaming sword, and partaken of that tree; therefore there is not an immortal sinner. The soul that sinneth it shall die an everlasting death; a death that will last for ever, where there will be no hope of a resurrection; and then the wrath of God will be appeased."
I saw that the saints will rest in the Holy City, and reign as kings and priests one thousand years; then Jesus will descend with the saints upon the mount of Olives, and the mount will part asunder, and become a mighty plain for the Paradise of God to rest upon. The rest of the earth will not be cleansed until the wicked dead are raised (at the end of the one thousand years) and gather up around the city; for the feet of the wicked will never desecrate the earth made new. Then fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them; burn them up root and branch. Satan is the root, and his children are the branches. The same fire that will devour the wicked, will purify the earth.
In hope of immortality at the appearing of Jesus,
E. G. White.
All letters relating to the "PRESENT TRUTH," should be directed to James White, Oswego, N. Y., care of Luman Carpenter.
[LETTER FROM SISTER WHITCOMB.]
Dear Bro. White:- My mind has been deeply impressed of late with a subject which I fear has been too much neglected by the people of God. It is respecting the salvation of the children of the "remnant." My soul has been drawn out to pray, almost continually for many days past, over this subject. I feel sure that God did promise many years ago, in answer to prayer, to save my children, and I have relied on his promise ever since; but now I have come in earnest to seek the fulfillment of it. I feel that the time has come, and like Jacob, when he wrestled with the angel, the language of my heart is, "I will not let thee go, except [or till] thou bless me."
O brother, examine God's Word, and see what great and precious promises he has made to his people respecting their children. Why have they let go their hold of them? Alas! it cannot be said of them, as it was of Abraham, - "I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." Gen.xviii,19. Ah! we have been in Babylon, and have not kept the right ways of the Lord ourselves, and since we have got out of it we have had much to unlearn, and learn anew, and our difficulties respecting our children have been increased; but God will fulfil the promise of his Word.
I have long believed that the last two verses of Malachi would have a more complete fulfillment at Jesus' second advent, than at his first.
Our children are the willing captives of Satan, and therefore, his lawful prey; but God says - "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children." God is now making up the last of his jewels, and if he designs to save the children, they will very soon be brought in.
Your sister in the blessed hope,
REBEKAH G. WHITCOMB.
Munsonville, Nelson, Feb. 26, 1850.
A very interesting work is now going on among the children of the "remnant" in this city. Their salvation has been the principal subject in our meetings for the last two Sabbaths, and God has wonderfully blest us. The truth has had a good effect on us, as well as the children. In the evening following the last first-day, we had a meeting for their special benefit, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in our midst. The children all bowed before the Lord, and seemed to feel the importance of keeping the commandments, especially the fifth, and of seeking salvation through Jesus Christ. This was one of the most interesting meetings that I ever witnessed.
Three papers have been returned, that have no names on them, therefore it is impossible to tell who returned them.