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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    I have received and read your rejoinder, and am happy to continue my argument, believing with you that “truth will triumph,” and praying that God may order our discussion to his own glory.WDUS 10.2

    1. It is quite possible to lay down rules of evidence, and still violate the principles of just reasoning. Of this, I think, you have already given an illustration which I will notice when I come to speak of the sanctification of the sabbath day. It is not the statement of rules that is important, but conformity to them.WDUS 10.3

    2. Your exception to the literal quotation and use of 1 John 3:4, “Sin is the transgression of the law,” was to be expected from one occupying your position. Dropping the article from that text will not avail your purpose, as I think will be shown when we come to an examination of the New Testament.WDUS 10.4

    3. You say of the sixth commandment, “So clear and express is this language that by no possible construction could a Jew make it lawful to Kill.” This seems to imply (and I notice it because I think you so intended) that it bound only the Jew. Will you take a definite position on this point? Or will you leave it a matter of doubt just what you intend by this expression? Much is involved in this. There is no mention of the sin of profanity, not even by implication, in all the book of Genesis. Was blasphemy, or profaning the name of God, a “transgression of the law”—or of any law-in that age? This question is really involved now; but if you do not choose to avow your position now, it will be relevant under another proposition, and then we will canvass this field.WDUS 10.5

    I will resume my argument.WDUS 10.6

    Having examined the Scriptures in regard to the time when the seventh day was made a sabbath, I come now to consider the second point, to-wit: for what it was made.WDUS 10.7

    We have already seen that, according to the Scriptures, “the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord,” in a two-fold sense:WDUS 10.8

    1. It is his sabbath, or rest day, because that in it he rested. No other fact is revealed whereby it became his sabbath. It is God’s sabbath alone, because none but God rested from the work to which it stands related. It is emphatically the Creation Sabbath, and as such is the sabbath of the Creator.WDUS 10.9

    2. It is the Lord’s by right and special claim. When he said, “The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God,” it was not merely to establish the fact that he rested on that day; but it was the proclamation of a proprietary right in it, for it was the basis of the precept, “In it thou shalt not do any work.” And again he said, “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day.” Isaiah 58:13. See also Exodus 16:23-25; 31:13-15; Ezekiel 20:20; Revelation 1:10. And though “the sabbath was made for man,” all those Scriptures wherein God claims a special right in it prove that it was “made for man” as a proprietor makes houses for his employes; they are his property, and to be used by them only in his service.WDUS 10.10

    I have before called attention to the truth that the book of Genesis is not a book of law, but a history; and the evidence of the existence of obligation, and not the law itself, is what we are to expect to find in that book in regard to moral duties in that age. He who takes an opposite position; who claims that no duty existed before the exodus of Israel from Egypt except what is specifically recorded, or that nothing was wrong except what was expressly forbidden in the record, places himself in a singular position in regard to the revealed truths of that book. Perhaps no one would directly dissent from the position I here take. I pass to the record for proof of sabbath obligation from creation.WDUS 11.1

    First, I inquire, what is sufficient proof of the obligation of an institution? Two things, and two only, are necessary to prove an institution and its obligation:WDUS 11.2

    1. The act of instituting.WDUS 11.3

    2. The record of appointment.WDUS 11.4

    I say, these are all that can in justice be required; but if we go farther, and produce a precept enjoining its observance, in which the obligation is based entirely on the two facts, of institution and appointment, the conclusion is unavoidable that these facts determine the obligation.WDUS 11.5

    I am willing to bear all the burden that justly belongs to an affirmant on such a question as this. And I freely confess that if I could not produce the act of making the institution, nor the act of its appointment, I would be ashamed to claim the existence of an institution, much more to urge any duty to observe one.WDUS 11.6

    And 1st, On the act of Instituting. I have admitted that if we find no act of instituting, or no direct evidence of such an act, we have no right to infer the existence of an institution. But on this there is no just ground for controversy here. The evidence already presented on the making of the sabbath is sufficient on this point, to-wit: that God rested on the seventh day from the work of creation, and blessed the rest day, and claimed it as his own day because of these acts, making them expressly the basis of the obligation to observe it. Scarcely any other institution in the Bible has evidence in its favor so clear, so strong, and so complete as this, that the sabbath was instituted at creation.WDUS 11.7

    2nd, On its appointment. The evidence of the act of instituting is positive proof of the existence of the institution, but it does not positively determine any measure of obligation in regard to it. The Scripture declarations that God rested on the seventh day, and that he blessed the rest day, indicate the regard he had for his rest day-the “sign” or memorial of his creative work. This alone would entitle the day to our high regard, and would be to us a sufficient; reason for highly regarding it if we had proper respect and reverence for the mind and blessing of our great Creator. But that would not determine how we should show our regard for it. This is, however, determined with the utmost certainty by its appointment.WDUS 11.8

    The position taken in the above paragraph shows how pointless are the remarks of Eld. Vogel on the “necessary connection between God’s resting and man’s,” and “man must rest simply because God rested.” As he says, he is on the negative, and when I take that position it will be time for him to combat it. The reader will remember that I reserved the direct argument on the obligation to this number. I laid down some principles which he will never set aside; and I did say, and I repeat it, that God’s resting on the seventh day is the basis, and the only basis, of the institution. And he need not query in astonishment whether I have read the book of Deuteronomy. I think he has read it to little purpose if he cannot make a better use of it than he has done in this article. If Deuteronomy 5. gives the reason of the institution I would like to have it pointed out. Is the seventh day the rest day of the Lord because Israel came out of Egypt? Did God bless the seventh day because he brought Israel out of Egypt? Did he sanctify the sabbath day because he delivered Israel from bondage? And if so, will Bro. Vogel show us the record? Here I stand on safe, Bible ground. The reason, and the only reason ever given in the Bible why the seventh day is the sabbath, and for the blessing and sanctification of the sabbath day is that God rested from all his work of creation. You say it was the sabbath because Israel rested from Egyptian bondage. But that is a reason of your own making; the Bible does not teach so. “The rest” which was promised them when they came out of Egypt, they did not obtain until they gained their inheritance. It was the peaceable possession of the land of Canaan. Please see Deuteronomy 3:18-20; 12:9-10; Joshua 1:12-15; 21:43-44. Your conclusions on these points I will notice hereafter.WDUS 11.9

    Now I inquire, When did the Lord appoint the sabbath? The answer to this question settles the second point in this proposition; for in its appointment we must find the duty of observance. The evidence of its appointment is found in the word sanctified, in Genesis 2:3. and hallowed, Exodus 20:11. The verb sanctified is a correct translation of the original, which is defined by Gesenius, “To make holy, to sanctify, to hallow. 1. To hold sacred, to regard and treat as holy; to keep holy. 2. To pronounce holy, to sanctify, e. g. the sabbath. Genesis 2:3. Also to institute any holy thing, to appoint. 3. To consecrate.”WDUS 12.1

    Dr. Clarke, whose ability on such a question is as much beyond dispute as is that of Gesenius, says:WDUS 12.2

    “To sanctify, kadash, signifies to consecrate, separate, and set apart a thing or person from all secular purposes, to some religious use.” Again, “Here the word kadash is taken in its proper literal sense, signifying the separating of a thing, person or place, from all profane, or common uses, and devoting it to a sacred purpose.”WDUS 12.3

    The English word sanctify is thus defined by Webster: 1. “To make sacred or holy; to set apart to a religious use; to consecrate by appropriate rites; to hallow.” The second definition refers to moral agents; the third to means. The fourth is thus given: 4. “To impart sacredness, inviolability; title to reverence and respect, or the like to; to secure from violation; to give sanction to.” Hallow is from the same Hebrew word, and of course means the same.WDUS 12.4

    I trust we shall have no difficulty on this point. Indeed the question on the sabbath is not so encumbered with philological difficulties as are some others, for instance, baptism. On the word baptism Webster does not conform to the uniform usage of the old Greek writers, nor to the general consent of Greek lexicons; so that in regard to baptism the English reader may become bewildered. But on the sabbath the only difficulty is to believe the united testimony of the Bible and of Hebrew and English scholars. That no institution can be “appointed” or “set apart to a religious use,” except by an injunction or precept to those who are to observe it, is beyond denial. I would give scripture illustrations of the use of the word sanctified, to sustain this declaration, did I think it necessary to so occupy the space. Or, I will yet do so if it becomes necessary. Inasmuch as the sanctification of a day consists in a precept for its observance for a special or sacred purpose, the record of such sanctification or appointment is positive proof of the obligation to observe it. But just such evidence is found in Genesis 2, in the record concerning the creation and the rest day. From that point the obligation dates.WDUS 12.5

    Compare this strong evidence in Genesis for the sabbath with the facts concerning some other moral duties-say the third commandment. In all that book we find not a single intimation concerning this. Shall we therefore conclude that profanity was not sinful before the law was given on Sinai? Or was this also “Jewish,” and not sinful in the other nations? Evidently it was sinful, for the name of God was holy then as it is now. And so also of the sabbath; only in regard to the latter we have recorded facts to sustain our position, while Genesis is silent in regard to the former.WDUS 12.6

    The assumption that God did not sanctify his rest day at creation, but a long time afterward, is “an inference less than probable,” doing violence both to the record and to reason. It does violence to the record, for it denies the order laid down by inspiration, wresting the third verse from the second chapter of Genesis in its relation to recorded events, and placing it where inspiration never placed it. Such a perversion of sacred scripture as that is very rarely seen. For if the events there recorded did not then transpire according to the order laid down, the record is calculated to mislead the reader; and he who takes a position involving such a consequence, should have a very necessary, plain, and decisive reason for his position. But no such reason exists. How incongruous, as a record of creation, is the following reading of Genesis 2:3.: “And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it when he brought Israel out of Egypt; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” And such an incongruity is produced by that theory. He who asserts that Genesis 2. records events which transpired after the exode, should be able to furnish an obvious reason. Whenever the sanctification of the sabbath is spoken of in the Bible, it is based only upon the facts connected with creation. If there were some other reason given, which originated at some other time, then there would be some show of consistency in that position. But to thus mutilate the record, and take the facts of Genesis 2:3., from their evident and oft-declared connection is without any reason, or necessity-except that, which is found in the theory which gives rise to the perversion.WDUS 12.7

    Eld. Vogel, in his effort to sustain this assumption, asserts that Genesis was written after Exodus and Leviticus, and I must notice his reasoning. 1. He says the opposite has in its favor only “unsupported conjecture.” Not a very strong reason where there is only conjecture on either side. 2. He thinks if Moses had. written Genesis before the exode circumcision would have been so “impressed on his mind” by chap. 17, as to render the neglect spoken of in Exodus 4:24-26, improbable. That might be so and not affect the question. But if that is a reason, how shall we account for the neglect of circumcision during the 40 years journeying in the wilderness under the leadership of Moses? Had not circumcision been “impressed on the mind” during that whole time? See Leviticus 12:3; Joshua 5:5-7. 3. From the exode till Exodus and Leviticus were written, he thinks Moses was too busy to write Genesis! In this he assumes to know at just what time those two books were written. How did he learn it? Is this a “necessary inference” from any scripture declaration? It is all groundless assumption. Dr. Smith, (Bib. Diet.) with others, thinks there was no original division of the Pentateuch, but that it was written consecutively, and there are some good grounds for the supposition. But Bro. V. says it “can be clearly established” that Genesis was written after the other two books! If this is, with him, “clear” evidence, what must his inferences be? But this is the kind of evidence on which he grounds his faith that the sabbath was not sanctified at creation.WDUS 13.1

    Having exhausted my allotted space, I am obliged to defer some of my arguments till the next number.WDUS 13.2

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