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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    Eld. Vogel said, “That no passage of Scripture is so fortified but that an ingenious opponent can say something contrary to its most obvious sense, and even make his position seem plausible.” Had he been only intent on illustrating this in all his course, he could have hardly succeeded better than he has, except that he has not by any means always made ‘his position seem plausible.’ I have aimed more to get the truth before the readers than to notice all his efforts to cover it up, exposing the more prominent as occasion seemed to require. I will briefly notice the objections remaining.WDUS 98.2

    He says ‘under grace’ means ‘under the gospel,’ and answers that ‘the children of wrath’ are under the gospel, and so under grace. But every reader knows that Paul, in Romans 6 and 7, addressed only those who had died to sin, and were baptized into the death of Christ. Have the children of wrath ‘been delivered from the law’ by ‘having become dead to the law by the body of Christ?’ Have they ‘obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine delivered’ unto them? Are they under grace because they are dead to sin, and sin has no dominion over them? A more manifest perversion of scripture I never saw than Eld. V.’s comments on Romans 6 and 7. He applied chap 7. to the Jews, who, he said, were ‘joined to Christ,’ by his crucifixion! and yet says ‘under grace’ does not prove ‘union with Christ.’ He also said chap 7. does not describe ‘a constant Christian experience.’ But I ask, Does it describe the experience of one convicted of sin, who is looking to Christ for salvation? Not a single verse in these chapters will apply to ‘the children of wrath,’ or to the Jews who are not in ‘union with Christ.’ There is no hint of the death (or abolition) of the law, but of individuals who, dying to sin, are ‘redeemed from the curse of the law’ that they may be united to Christ.WDUS 98.3

    He made a just distinction between ‘carnal’ as applied to sinful man, in Romans, and as applied to a positive law, in Hebrews, and then logically proceeded to apply the sense of the ‘carnal commandment’ of Hebrews to Romans! ‘Carnal,’ in Romans 7. and viii., is a state of sin, of enmity against God and opposition to his law. There can be no higher or stronger sense of carnal than that of enmity to God-sold under sin; but this is placed in opposition to the spiritual law of Romans 7. And spiritual can be used in no higher sense than as the opposite of sin, or of enmity against God. Eld. Vogel persistently confounds things essentially distinct. I will speak of this subject again.WDUS 98.4

    He affirms that Romans 3:10-19 refers only to the Jews, and cites to the O. T. quotations as proof. We will look at one of them: ‘God looked down from heaven upon the children of man, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.’ If Eld. V. cannot see that this applies to ‘all the world’ he might yet submit to Paul who so makes the application. In chap 2. Paul has been speaking directly of Jews and Gentiles, and then asks, ‘What advantage then hath the Jew?’ over the Gentile, of course. He has still both classes before his mind. ‘What then? are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]? No, in no wise, for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin, as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one,’ etc. I rest this with the reader. It is most remarkable with what ease Eld. V. can find proof, in his favor, in the merest inference, but none at all in a plain declaration against him.WDUS 98.5

    He cites the case of a will, to prove that an abolished law may be in force as regards that will,-which is not, however, the correct way of stating it-and then says that that proves that pardon and abolition of law go together! Can he be so obtuse as to think that is so? Let him show a case of prosecution and conviction under an abolished law, and he will then have approached the point. If his eyes shall ever be opened to see the difference between moral and circumstantial duties, he will understand the difference between crime and the distribution of property!WDUS 98.6

    Theres is not the least evidence that either Jacob or Jonah thought of getting ‘beyond the jurisdiction of God.’ But look at his position in that light. Jacob was one of the very few on earth who had preserved the knowledge of the true God; and the world did not improve in piety from his time to that of Moses. Eld. V. said the law was given in ‘a tangible form’ ‘that they might see sin where before they did not.’ And this was essential to be done, in the condition of the race. But the gospel swept away all that means of instruction in moral obligation, and restored men to their former ‘liberty,’ without a ‘direct enforcement’ of even the law against murder! leaving men under ‘principles’ by which they had never yet known God or their duty to him. What a gospel!WDUS 99.1

    The letter of the Jews to Voltaire says their ‘government’ was both civil and religious, and Eld. V. says this proves that they considered the ten commandments a political instrument. It proves no such thing. He complains that I make him say the law was only political, whereas, he said it was mainly political. He said ‘it was political,’ ‘a secular compact,’ and argued on these statements without qualification. If he is not always consistent with himself, it is not my fault. I took the basis of his argument as the ground of my assertion, and he has no right to complain.WDUS 99.2

    He says, ‘Eld. W. is constrained to admit that the old covenant is abolished.’ Well, that is cool! Will not Eld. Vogel next say that the power of his logic has driven me to acknowledge that we are in the Christian dispensation, and claim it as a victory? I charge directly that such things can only be said ‘for effect.’WDUS 99.3

    He denies the relation of covenants as presented by me, that is, that the first covenant (agreement) of Exodus 19. was based on the covenant (law) given in Exodus 20. I gave 2 Kings 23:3 as an illustration. This he denies, and says the people alone could not make a covenant with God-they only made ‘a vow’ to keep the covenant. I gave the verse in full-the king ‘made a covenant before the Lord,’ ‘to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.’ It is easy to see his object in thus directly contradicting this text, but how he dares to do it is not so easy understood. It proves his saying that ‘an ingenious [?] opponent can say something contrary to its obvious sense.’WDUS 99.4

    He says Deuteronomy 5:5 cannot refer to Exodus 19. It reads, ‘I stood between the Lord and you at that time to show you the word of the Lord; for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount.’ But it is true that in Exodus 19. Moses took the word of God down to the people, and returned the word of the people to the Lord; verses 5-8. And it is true that by reason of the manifestation of God’s glory on the mount ‘all the people that were in the camp trembled.’ Exodus 19:16, etc. These are the very things to which Deuteronomy 5:5 does refer.WDUS 99.5

    Eld. V. would do well to inform his readers how much of the word of inspiration may be safely thrown aside as a ‘poetic outburst.’ That which David said was commanded to a thousand generations (and to Abraham) was confirmed to Jacob and to Israel for a law, and an everlasting covenant. Christ and the apostles recognized the inspiration of David’s ‘poetic outbursts.’ Is Eld. V. greater than they? There is no parallel between ‘a thousand generations’ and ‘your generations.’ Everlasting and forever, may be so limited as to be less than one generation. See Exodus 21:6.WDUS 99.6

    Matthew 19:21 does not prove that the first covenant failed of its object ‘when fully kept,’ for it never was fully kept. It was designed to develop a holy people (Exodus 19:5-8), but it failed, for they did not keep it. The Savior quoted a part of the decalogue to the young man, that which hangs on the duty of love to our neighbor, Matthew 22:34-40, and thus proved that the young man was selfish and covetous. His testimony in his own favor is not decisive, for it is not unusual to see ‘a young man’ vain-glorious and self-conceited.WDUS 99.7

    James’ ‘law of liberty’ says ‘thou shalt not kill,’ But Eld. Vogel says this law is not ‘directly’ or ‘tangibly enforced’ in the N. T.! Therefore James’ law is not that of Eld. V. James tells us some of the things that his ‘law of liberty’ says; but Eld. V. cannot tell what his law says because it is ‘intangible.’ Nay, such a law cannot say anything.WDUS 99.8

    His remark on Romans 3:31 was not misunderstood. He did refer it to ‘the whole Mosaic code with especial reference,’ etc.WDUS 100.1

    To make plausible his absurd statement that the constitution of the new dispensation is the messiahship of Jesus, he quotes the figurative expression, ‘On this rock will I build my church.’ This may be good proof to one who teaches things ‘intangible.’WDUS 100.2

    I did not ridicule his crude notions of law and character, only as they appear ridiculous in a fair presentation. My illustrations hold good, and his emphasis does not change the nature of his expression. It amounts to this: A certain thing tested by a stick is straight as to that stick, though the stick itself be crooked! What kind of straightness has it? Or, a certain angle, because it agrees with an obtuse angle, is a right angle as to that obtuse angle! But what is the form of such a right angle? Perhaps he cannot see anything crude in such a position as this-it is not for me to measure his capacity.WDUS 100.3

    His comment on my view of Revelation 11:19 is certainly unworthy of any man professing the least degree of candor, I said, and proved by Hebrews 8:1-5, etc, that the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven is the antitype of the Jewish sanctuary; and he says my argument would transfer the Jewish temple to heaven! He might as well assert that my saying that Christ is a priest in heaven would transfer the Levitical priesthood to heaven. I made a clear distinction between the type and antitype; why does he try to cover it up? There is just as clear a distinction between the church and the sanctuary, as there was between the children of Israel and the sanctuary. His reference to ‘the vail’ within which Christ ‘is entered’ does not show that there is but one of ‘the holies’ in heaven, for Hebrews 9:3 speaks of ‘the second vail.’ The second proves a first; therefore there are two. In Revelation 16:17-21, the ‘great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne,’ is followed by thunders, lightnings, earthquake, and hail-storm on the earth; and so in chap. 11:19. He has better shown ability to caricature the Revelations than to expound it. He also says I err in applying the ‘heavenly things’ of Hebrews 8:5 to a place rather than to a condition. But verse 5 is the complement of verses 1, 2, which, corrected to suit his theory would read, ‘We have such an High Priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in’ the condition! It is not in that condition but in that place that he is ‘a minister of the sanctuary, and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man,’ and of which (sanctuary) that pitched by man was a type.WDUS 100.4

    Exodus 24:12 is an important proof text, and I know not how to characterize his course on this except to call it an evasion. When I quoted it literally, according to the original—‘the law’—he said:WDUS 100.5

    ‘I said that I knew of no text which calls the ten commandments the law simply. (Please note this little word when you quote me again, Bro. W.)’WDUS 100.6

    Did he require that the word simply should be in the text which calls the ten commandments the law? That would be a miserable cavil. Or, did he use the word in the sense of solely, as calling them, and them only, the law? If so, Exodus 24:12 does exactly that thing, and he cannot deny it. Or, was this word simply thrown in to help to evade the conclusion when the text was produced? In either case it was a very simple thing. Beside his learned [!] reference to the Hebrew on this text he tries to evade its force by reference to the English grammar. Behold his parallel—‘The man who is upright.’ I trust our readers are not so easily deceived as to take this as an illustration in point. Eld. Vogel knows there is no classification in Exodus 24:12. Were the ten commandments one of a class of laws written on tables of stone? No. A qualifying sentence which can refer to only one individual, as is the case in this text, does not weaken the specifying power of the article. The ten commandments are the only law that ever had the honor of being spoken and written by Jehovah, and he who detracts from the holiness, the justice, and the authority of that sacred law cannot fail to bring confusion upon his own head.WDUS 100.7

    All readers of the Bible know that Moses was required to make a copy in a book of all the laws given through him. All the ceremonial laws and types of Christ were therein written. But the argument of Eld. V. was this: The ten commandments were the only law that God ever wrote; therefore they alone are the ‘hand-writing’ and to them Paul refers when he says that the hand writing was ‘blotted out.’ That being so, the ten commandments only were nailed to the cross! The laws written by Moses in a book were typical, and being so, must be nailed to the cross of Christ-the antitype. (Not, however, nailed to the day of pentecost, as Eld. V. would have it!)WDUS 100.8

    And I will leave it to the reader if ‘blotting out’ is not a figure more suitably applied to that which Moses wrote in a book, than to that which God wrote on tables of stone. And whether ‘nailing to his cross,’ and ‘taking out of the way,’ are not more fitly referred to types of the cross and to positive institutions, than to such precepts as these, ‘Thou shalt not kill—Thou shalt not commit adultery—Thou shalt not steal.’ For whose benefit or in what interest were these ‘taken out of the way?’ In whose way did these precepts stand? or what class of men would rejoice to be assured that these were ‘blotted out,’ and left on no ‘tangible’ footing of ‘direct enforcement? Eld. V. reiterates this position in his last article, saying that not the sabbath alone ‘was against us and contrary to us. This we have seen to be true of the entire decalogue.’ Is it possible that the ‘entire decalogue’ if ‘directly enforced’ even in the most ‘positive manner,’ would be ‘against’ Eld. Vogel, and ‘contrary to’ him? Is he willing to admit that the precepts Thou shalt not kill—Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ would be in his way if they were yet of ‘direct enforcement?’ Are they ‘contrary’ to him, and to the ‘liberty’ which he desires? Or if he would not admit the conclusion of his argument as applied to himself, I ask again, out of whose way were they taken? In what interest were they abolished? This antinomian heresy is nothing new. It has been deprecated by the thoughtfully pious of all ages. And happy will it be for the world if the advocates of such a theory never fall altogether to the level of their own teachings.WDUS 101.1

    He plays upon the words ‘as given to Israel,’ and ‘positive enaction,’ as if they changed the nature of the precepts of Jehovah. He knows that he cannot justly apply these words to the ten commandments in the sense of mere positive laws, but only in the sense of expressly revealed laws. They do not effect the question of their morality at all. It is no credit either to himself or to his position that he persistently harps on the conclusion when he has been once compelled to renounce the premise.WDUS 101.2

    After a long delay the closing part of Eld. Vogel’s article reached me as I had written this. I care to notice only a few points on the Hebrew; barely sufficient to submit the question.WDUS 101.3

    (1.) I have not denied that the predicate may take the article, and sometimes does, as exceptions exist to the best accredited rules; but that it necessarily or usually does I deny, and point to the uniformity of use in the instances given, to sustain me. As to whether Winer is comparable to Gesenius I say nothing, as it is not a question of argument. But of the facts presented I know.WDUS 101.4

    (2.) I yield nothing on Exodus 16:23. I laid no claim on the use of the preposition only because I knew it was no sufficient ground; and he has now conceded that point. He admits that the preposition is used in its possessive sense when the first noun is indefinite. Then, of course, that use does not prove the first noun to be definite, as he claimed; that must be determined by other means. My wonder was that he so confidently made such a claim in the face of this fact. Yet he seems determined to show his inconsistency by again quoting that it ‘may be substituted for the construct relation,’ not seeming to understand that it is only in its possessive sense, not affecting the question of its definiteness. He cannot possibly avoid the dilemma in which I placed him by comparing Exodus 16:25 and 20:10. But he says ‘the contextual connection’ alters the case! And so after all it is the context and not the use of the preposition that makes it definite, is it? This is the first of my knowing that a noun may be proved to be ‘definite by construction,’ by the context, when it cannot be done by the construction of the sentence! He has given no just reason why Exodus 20:10 is definite-the true reason he denies.WDUS 101.5

    (3.) My criticism on Exodus 24:12 he sets aside by simply reasserting his position, and appealing to the learned for its justness. This is perhaps next to the best thing he could do in the case. The best would be to frankly confess his errors. If he really thinks his position is just, then I ‘reassert my position,’ that it is because he knows nothing of Hebrew accents. And yet I query thus: it seems that he must know enough of Hebrew to be aware of the error of his statement when the facts are pointed out, even if he knew nothing of those facts before. I feared from the first that be was not so ignorant as his position would indicate, but I was willing to put the mildest possible construction on his case. There are those who will have an interest to put it into the hands of ‘the learned’ for decision, and if Eld. Vogel is willing to risk a reassertion of his position before them I am satisfied. I cheerfully submit it, I might point out other errors in his last, but I take leave of the Hebrew unless he opens it himself.WDUS 101.6

    When I consented to hold this discussion I stipulated for the privilege of ten articles on this proposition, promising, however, to confine it to eight, if possible. I have matter prepared for others; but I could not present all my proofs even with many more, and I let other considerations prevail, and thus abruptly close. The unusual length of Eld. Vogel’s last suggested this method of closing, by lengthening this, reserving a summary till the final close. I think I may safely say that proofs beyond controversy have been presented, that the moral law is yet of force-yet the means of condemning sin. I pray that all of our readers may weigh the evidences with that candor and reverence that is due to such an important subject.WDUS 102.1

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