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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    I wish to confine myself strictly to this proposition, and hence will say as little as possible concerning matters belonging to the past. Whether Eld. W.’s brethren have discussed points ‘broached by us’ the reader can decide for himself by sending for the Review of the dates given. And as to the position formerly occupied by at least some of Eld. W.’s brethren, I simply mean what I said, namely, that they have argued that the first covenant was not abolished. I am quite willing to believe on his mere word that he never so held. Nor have I charged him with this.WDUS 114.8

    I must emphatically deny Bro. W.’s positions marked I., II., and III., contending as to the first that the observance of the First Day is ‘written on the heart in the new covenant’ in the same sense that the sabbath would have been had it been extended to this dispensation.WDUS 114.9

    My brother speaks lightly concerning ‘inference,’ yet he must be aware that circumstantial evidence, which is nothing but inference, has hung many a man. Are we, in religious affairs, to lay aside all the laws of evidence save such as he may dictate? Did ever a pope ask more?WDUS 114.10

    Whenever as good proof can be given for sprinkling or infant baptism as I give for the Lordic day, I shall preach it with all my might. Bro. Campbell is misconstrued whenever he is represented as inveighing against legitimate inference, or, in his own words, things ‘logically inferred.’WDUS 114.11

    I grant that faith comes by the word of God; but is legitimate inference no part of His word? Should I so speak as to imply that my brother is a liar and a thief, would he not consider it slander? Or is it only in religious affairs that we are to be denied our common sense? No, no; even inferences reached with such difficulty that the babe in Christ is not able to draw them are ‘faith’ to him having made the deduction, and therefore ‘the word of God.’ Only in such cases Paul says: ‘Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God,’ Romans 14:22. For ‘strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who, by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,’ Hebrews 5:14.WDUS 114.12

    But with reference to the binding force of a sacred day in this dispensation I have something clearer than inference. Of Revelation 1:10 even Bro. W. says, in his first affirmative on the the third proposition: “(1) I claim that this text proves that one day is ‘the Lord’s day’ in this dispensation; that his claim and right to that certain day is as clearly established as was his right to a day established by Exodus 20:10, or by Isaiah 58:13. And I insist that this text is decisive on this point. (2) But I do not claim that this text furnishes any proof as to what day of the week is ‘the Lord’s day.’ In this respect it defines nothing. That must be settled by other scripture.”WDUS 114.13

    Having left so ‘decisive’ a text, it was not necessary that the apostles should record ‘the act of instituting’ and give ‘the record of appointment;’ these are necessarily implied, and known to have a real existence, for without them such a text would have been an impossibility. Henceforth let there be no more call for a ‘formal proclamation.’WDUS 115.1

    And that this day is a new institution is as clearly asserted by Kuriakee, Lordic, as the action in baptism is by baptidzoo. ‘And I insist that this text is decisive on this point.’ Having read my Bible rather than human treatises, I was unaware that any one had ever, in modern times, written ‘a Lordly day.’ This may be more euphonic, but ‘Lordic’ is truer to the facts in the case.WDUS 115.2

    With respect to the time of observing the Lordic supper there is no conflict between Acts 20:7 and the time of its institution; for at that time the disciples did not ‘commune’, but merely ate bread and drank wine. The death of Jesus had not yet transpired, nor did they believe that it would, and hence there neither was nor could be a ‘commemoration’ or a ‘communion.’ Nor has the time of instituting anything to do with the time of observing an institution, else all the commemorative institutions of the O. T. (see Leviticus 23.) would have fallen on different days than they did, and nearly all on the same day!WDUS 115.3

    My argument from Isaiah 56. I leave with the reader, as I consider it untouched. I gave my reasons for the use made of that passage, and would have cited many similar prophecies, did I not aim at brevity. Psalm 69. is not a prediction, but a simple record of David’s experience. It applies no more to Jesus than to any one else of the present day who happens to be ‘hated without a case,’ etc., etc., and so has a history tangent to David’s in certain points. I now turn to theWDUS 115.4


    My first affirmative closed with the citation of lexical authority, proving that kuriakos, as an adjective, describes things having originated with or ‘of’ the lord referred to. And so indelible is this meaning that even the few instances where it is turned to secular uses still reflect its native sense. Thus Cremer, in his N. T. Lexicon, gives as its extra N. T. use, “that which belongs to the rulerherrsher—as e. g. to kuriakon, state or fiscal property—synonymous with to basilikon—but seldom so occurring.”WDUS 115.5

    Shall we inquire of the commentators? The answer is the same. In his comments on Revelation 1:10, Barnes says kuriakos: “It properly means pertaining to the Lord; and, so far as the word is concerned, it might mean a day pertaining to the Lord in any sense, or for any reason-either because he claimed it as his own and had set it apart for his service, or because it was designed to commemorate some important event pertaining to him; or because it was observed in honor of him.”WDUS 115.6

    If we turn to the English adjective formed after the analogy of kuriakos, namely, Lordic, the result is the same.WDUS 115.7

    Let us now inquire as to who is meant by Lord in Revelation 1:10, whether the Christ or the Father. Barnes says, “This was a day particularly devoted to the Lord Jesus, for (a) that is the natural meaning of the word Lord as used in the New Testament, and, (b) if the Jewish Sabbath were intended to be designated, the word Sabbath would have been used.” Hackett, in his comments on Acts 1:24, says: “Kuriakos, when taken absolutely in the N. T., refers generally to Christ.” The point aimed at by both of these writers is about the same as my former statement that ‘under this dispensation the term Lord refers exclusively to Christ.’ Mark well, however, that I do not say that this is the case in the entire N. T. Scriptures. Jesus was not yet ‘made Lord’ (Acts 2:36) during the period covered by the four Gospels; hence such passages as Matthew 11:25 come not within the bounds of my statement; nor do most of such passages as are quotations from the O. T. Acts 4:26, for example, is a quotation of Psalm 2:2, and refers to God, while Hebrews 1:10, though a quotation, refers to the Christ. Lord (Jehovah, the Self-Existent One) refers in these quotations to the nature, or to one of the attributes, of God and of the Word. But in the official sense we have now but ‘one Lord’ [Ephesians 4:5], namely, Jesus, who was ‘made Lord’ at the beginning of and for this dispensation [Acts 2:36], and is hence ‘Lord of all’ [Acts 10:36] and ‘Lord over all’ [Romans 10:12], being ‘the head over all things to the Church’ [Ephesians 1:22]; for ‘all authority is given into his hands’ [Matthew 28:18]. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 this matter is most explicitly stated, ‘Lord’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ are here two distinct appellatives, and in apposition, as ‘God’ and ‘the Father’ are appositives. To this not only the context disposes us, but also the answering of one member of the sentence to the other requires it. The heathens, says Paul, have ‘gods many’ and ‘lords many’ but to us there is onlyWDUS 115.8

    “One God-the Father-of whom, etc.WDUS 116.1

    One Lord—Jesus Christ—by whom, etc. It is not a decision between two or more rival ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ as any other construction would make it, but between several alleged ‘Lords,’ in which ‘Jesus Christ,’ as an appositive, is definitive of the ‘one only Lord’ in whose favor the decision falls, as ‘the Father’ is definitive of the ‘one only God.’WDUS 116.2

    It is only official ‘authority’ and ‘Lordship’ which, in the case before us, is, or can be conceived to be, ‘given’ or ‘made.’ Hence it is in an official sense, respecting this dispensation, that Jesus has ‘all authority’ and is ‘Lord of all’ and ‘overall.’ Under this official jurisdiction come, of course, all the institutions now binding on us, Hence ‘Lord’s Day,’ ‘Lord’s Supper,’ ‘Lord’s Table,’ and such like, can only refer to Jesus as the Lord.WDUS 116.3

    If anything were yet wanting to complete the proof, even the word kuriakos would cry out. So distinctly and decisively is its voice heard in 1 Corinthians 11:20—the kuriakon (Lordic) Supper—that no one in even his wildest fancy can fail to hear Jesus named. And if kuriakos came first and purposely into being to hail Him as Lord, then, when it speaks again, and by inspiration finally—‘the kuriakee (Lordic) Day’—what puny mortal shall dare to misunderstand it? Reader, did you note how the Lexicons quoted have interpreted this voice? The facts before us declare them wise in this.WDUS 116.4

    IV. The day which is to be sacredly kept this Dispensation, ‘the Lord’s day,’ recurs weekly, and upon the first day of the week.WDUS 116.5

    Having seen that one day in this dispensation is the Lord’s and that this day is a new institution, we can easily determine which day it is by observing what day the first Christians gave to Him, for under apostolic oversight and instruction they certainly acted right in this matter. And this practice on their part answers to us every purpose of a direct command, since it is the fruit of one. Let us then inquire into what day they were in the habit of devoting to religious purposes. However, one source of error is here to be carefully guarded against. If even instances could be found of their meeting on the seventh day of the week for their own religious purposes, this of itself would not determine it to be the day sought, unless there be no other day on which they met, since they might do this from the same motive and for the same reason that led them to observe other Jewish days and feasts. Should even precedents determine in favor of the seventh day, it would nevertheless not be on account of the same reasons for which God’s ancient people met on this day, for the day now binding is a new institution. But if the first Christians gave a day to the Lord which was not devoted to religious purposes under the former dispensation, then this will determine it to be the sacred day, since there is but one such day, as the phrase ‘the Lord’s Day’ unmistakably declares. And here a single hint speaks volumes. For even the faintest shadow of a reason might induce a people to honor a day revered by their fathers for ages in the worship of the true God; but to devote a new day, never before so honored, this has a potent meaning in it. Was there then such a day so given? This I answer in the affirmative, and proceed to the proof.WDUS 116.6

    1. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. So writes Paul to the Corinthians. Or, as McKnight renders the second verse, ‘On the first day of every week let each of you lay something by itself, according as he may have been prospered, putting it into the treasury, that when I come there may be no collections.’ So in substance also that recent and most critical translator, J. B. Rotherham.WDUS 116.7

    a. Whether we should render ‘by him’ or ‘by itself’ cannot be dogmatically decided, since the Greek parheautoo, is indefinite and may express either equally well. Those who render ‘by him’ decide in favor of the use to which these words are more frequently put; while those who translate ‘by itself’ are governed by the context, ‘that there be no gatherings when I come.’ If we adopt McKnight’s version it is plain that there was a meeting on every first day, when the money was put into a common treasury ‘that there be no gatherings’ when Paul might come. If we render ‘by him,’ i. e., ‘at home,’ then it is clear that Paul expected that as a rule Christians would be ‘at home’ on that day, i. e., not absent on business. In either view it marks the day as not their own.WDUS 116.8

    b. Giving, when properly done, is a religious work, an act of worship in the broader sense of the term. Hence this contribution is elsewhere called a ‘grace’ (2 Corinthians 8:6-7). And this religious act-an act in every way fitted for such a day, and all the more impressive when done on such a day-was directed to be performed on the First Day of the week.WDUS 117.1

    c. Nor was the First Day thus observed in Corinth only, but the command extended to all the churches of Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1), and, perhaps, also to ‘all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:1), for to all such was this epistle addressed. Why name the First Day of the week in all Galatia as well as in Achaia?WDUS 117.2

    d. Nor was it simply once thus done, but, as McKnight well expresses the force of the original, ‘On the first day of every week.’ For, he adds, “as kata polin signifies every city; and kata meena, every month; and, Acts 14:23, kat’ ekkleesian, in every church: so kata mian sabbatoon signifies the first day of every week.” So also says Winer, N. T. Gram. p. 401, this passage should be construed. We find, then, Sunday after Sunday, in regular succession, and by a large number of churches, both in Europe and Asia, devoted to ‘this grace.’ ‘Continuous action.’WDUS 117.3

    2. From Acts 20:7 it appears that another act of worship—partaking of the Lordic supper—was performed on the first day. ‘And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them ready to depart on the morrow.’ Instead of ‘when the disciples came together to break bread,’ the better texts and versions read, ‘we gathered together to break bread.’ This ‘we’ who gathered includes Paul’s companions together with the disciples of Troas, the ‘them’ to whom he preached.WDUS 117.4

    Let us not be too eager to finish our lesson here; we may be amply repaid for our leisure. There are three different ways of reckoning the day recognized in the Scriptures, viz.: From evening to evening, from morning to morning, and from midnight to midnight.WDUS 117.5

    a. The first named, from evening to evening, originated with the Jewish sabbaths and was peculiar to their sacred days. ‘From even unto even shall ye celebrate your sabbaths’ (Leviticus 23:32) would not have been a necessary law if the Jews had been in the habit of so beginning their days. And this law passed away with the sabbaths.WDUS 117.6

    b. The other style, from morning to morning, is as old as creation, and belonged to the so-called ‘civil’ reckoning of the Jews. I can here perhaps do no better than to quote from Conant’s Genesis He translates the 5th verse of ch 1. thus: ‘And God called the light Day; and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening, and there was morning, one day.’ On this he comments as follows: “And there was evening; namely, the close of a period of light by the coming on of darkness; and there was morning, the close of a period of darkness by the return of light; the two periods making a day. This is the true idea of morning. By evening is meant, in Hebrew as well as in English, the coming on of darkness after a period of light; in other words, the close of day by the coming on of night. There could be no evening without a previous period of light. Day began, therefore, with light and not with darkness; and one day continued, till the returning light marked the commencement of another. The later custom of the Hebrews (Leviticus 23:32), of reckoning the day from evening to evening, was made necessary by the use of the lunar calendar, in the observance of their feasts and other commemorative seasons, which depended on the return of the new moon. Where the natural day is meant, as in Leviticus 7:15, it closes with the morning of the following day.” And so that old nation, the Babylonians, also reckoned their days. Here I must add a word from J. P. Lange, the famous German commentator. He renders Matthew 28:1: ‘About the end of the sabbath,’ and says: “The peculiar expression is explained by the context. It was the time of the dawn, or of breaking day (heemera to be supplied in connection with epiphooskousee), on the first day of the week, Sunday. Similar are the statements of Luke and John; while Mark says, about sunrise. * * * It is not the accurate Jewish division of time, according to which the Sabbath ended at six on Saturday evening, but the ordinary reckoning of the day, which extends from sunrise to sunrise, and adds the night to the preceding day. * * * Matthew makes the day of the week begin here with sunrise.” Meyer, Alford, Conant, and many others equally learned, treat this passage in a similar way. Others, as P. Schaff, Lange’s translator, while favoring a different rendering, not only admit this to be the more natural translation, but, what is just to my purpose, concede that ‘the natural division of the day’ was ‘from sunrise to sunrise.’WDUS 117.7

    The discussion of the third style, and the application of the whole to Acts 20., I must reserve for my next affirmative.WDUS 118.1

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