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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    The proposition now before us is of great importance. The first two were mere outposts, this is the enemy’s main army; there we did mere skirmishing, here we shall have a pitched battle, fighting for existence. I could afford to yield the first two propositions, but here I can give no quarters.WDUS 50.2

    Circumcision existed before the law of Moses (Genesis 17:9-14), was incorporated in it (Leviticus 12:1-3), and was abolished with it. So if the sabbath had existed before the law and was incorporated in it, it fell with it; provided, of course, that the latter like the former was a positive institution.WDUS 50.3

    If any of our readers have never before heard or read a religious discussion they might as well learn at once.WDUS 50.4

    1st. 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. Such men were not wanting even in the days of the Apostles, and Peter complained that they “wrested all the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16). God made no attempt to coerce the wilfully perverse, but so spoke that the honest heart need not fail of His sense.WDUS 50.5

    2nd. I expect to present no argument to which no reply will be attempted, and to adduce no passage of Scripture for which my opponent has no interpretation. Hence, the manifest duty of the reader is to judge, with honesty of purpose, which argument has the greater weight, and whose interpretation is the better, and in harmony with God’s word.WDUS 50.6

    I have no wish to dissent from my brother’s definition of the term “Scriptures;” for it is manifestly true that the term includes both the Old and the New Testament, and is as comprehensive as the word “Bible.”WDUS 50.7

    That “all Scripture ... is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,” and “is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus,” I believe on the testimony of Paul; but on the same testimony I also believe that “there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof” (Hebrews 7:18). It is not my purpose just now to explain this paradox, but one thing is clear, that at least much, if not all, of the Old Testament Scriptures does not stand related to us as it did to the Jews. No doubt “the law (marg. doctrine) of the Lord was perfect” (Psalm 19:7) in its adaptation to the times and circumstances of the Jews, and “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12) in its designs; and yet “the law made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19), so that “the ministration of death” had to be “abolished” (2 Corinthians 3,). But how it is that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4) shall appear as we proceed, so far as it has a bearing on the investigation before us.WDUS 50.8

    Bro. W.’s sly hint as to the use of the expression “first principles” is wholly lost on me. I hide behind Paul who uses its equivalent (Hebrews 6:1, 2) in such a way as to relieve me from all embarrassment. I would suggest an interview with him; it might save a needless burning of powder.WDUS 50.9

    And here I must pause to answer a question asked me by Eld. W. in his closing article on the second proposition. He is “at a loss to comprehend,” and asks me to explain, what I mean by “The Hebrew has no such exceptions as he tries to force on the Greek text.” I simply mean what I say. I had quoted a general rule governing the Greek use of the article, and it was clear that it bore me out in my position on Exodus 16. He adduced a special rule, declaring there were certain exceptions to the general rule. And without showing (for that was his business) that it applied to the particular case in hand he assumed it (which he had no right to do, since it was not a general rule), and argued from the assumption. This I call forcing exceptions on the Greek (my brother will please pardon the obtuseness which fails to see anything either “unjust” or “unscholarly” in this); and in connection with this I said that the Hebrew has no exceptions which will enable him to gain his point. I know, indeed, that there are exceptions even in Hebrew, but in prose not so many as in Greek. It was logically no part of my business to disprove his illicit assumption, but as usual I did the gratuitous task, and he thereupon proceeded upon another illogical assumption, namely, that if he could dispose of my gratuity he would make good his first assumption!WDUS 50.10

    Bro. Waggoner falls so frequently into this error that I cannot refrain from calling the reader’s attention to another instance. In my opening article on the second proposition I announced this general rule: “When an institution is instituted or enacted, or mentioned for the first time, the definite article ‘the’ is always wanting.” Instead of adducing a single exception, which by the rule he was challenged to do, he simply insisted that the examples which I had cited as illustrative of the rule were of such a class that they were not adapted to its illustration, since the article may be absent for another reason than that named in the rule! Suppose he had been successful in this, what possible bearing against the rule could this have had? As a gratuity it may be well enough, and I shall not complain if he sees fit thus to waste paper and ink, only I was anxious to have my main position tested. I might help him to another fact and say that Leviticus 23 is an example of enumeration, and that this may at least in part account for the absence of the article; but of what avail would this be to him? If the article is absent for two reasons, how does that disprove the rule which finds there a condition in accordance with its requirements?WDUS 51.1

    Elder W. insists that he has shown “that the Hebrew has such exceptions” as his position on Exodus 16 requires. In this he evidently alludes to the cases adduced in his last negative, which I have had no previous opportunity to notice, and will for this two-fold reason at once examine them with all possible brevity.WDUS 51.2

    (a). Psalm 21:1, is sufficiently accounted for by Bro. W. himself. It is Hebrew poetry; and Green says (Gram. § 247): “The article is frequently omitted in the brief and emphatic language of poetry, where it would be required in prose.”WDUS 51.3

    (b). Genesis 1:1. “In (the) beginning,” is not to the point, since the article is not needed in an English translation any more than in Hebrew. “At first” answers every purpose.WDUS 51.4

    (c). Exodus 35:2, I have already accounted for, and is altogether in my favor. It is professedly a quotation of the original language used in giving the sabbath to man, and, of course, indefinite. “These are the words which the Lord hath commanded,” etc.WDUS 51.5

    Here, by the way, I am reminded of my brother’s comment on the term “words,” in Deuteronomy 5:22. If he insists in using it there in the sense of “commandments” he must grant me the same privilege here. And if you look in Exodus 35 for the “commandments” of the Lord you will find things which are not written on the two tables of stone. And thus has he sharpened for me a knife which will eviscerate his comment yet to be made on “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Beware of tools with two edges.WDUS 51.6

    (d). Exodus 20:10 is not indefinite. True, the article is wanting, but it is one of those cases where it is not needed, being definite by construction. See Green’s Heb. Gram., §§ 246. 3, 255 and 257.WDUS 51.7

    (e). Leviticus 23:3 comes under the rule of enumeration in which the article may or may not be used, according to the writer’s option, and has therefore no bearing on Exodus 16. Compare, for example, 1 Chronicles 23:31, where the article is used, with Colossians 2:16, where the article is not used, though the items enumerated are the same.WDUS 51.8

    Thus every example relied on by Bro. W. most signally fails him. And to save him all further trouble over the absence of the article in certain cases from the term sabbath, I would say that I know of passages, and knew it before I wrote a line on Exodus 16, where the article is wanting, but always for adequate reasons in no wise affecting my position on that chapter.WDUS 51.9

    I wish, moreover, to take occasion here to remark, that in so far as my arguments hinge on Greek and Hebrew criticisms they are mainly designed for those who can know that they are just. The common reader will find enough not thus contingent to answer every purpose. I have often also another reason aside from the thoroughness of discussion in going to the original. For example, those who hold my brother’s views often lay such stress on a clearly mistranslated passage, as the presence of the article in the English version of Exodus 16:23-26, that the force of their reasoning cannot well be broken without showing that it has only the false basis of an untenable translation. And I am thankful to God that He has given me the ability to reach such cases.WDUS 51.10

    Elder W. has a peculiar fondness for discussing over again propositions already disposed of. The first note we heard from him, when on the second proposition, was on the beginning of the first, and in his closing article on the second he was still there; and both the first and the second pass again under review in his opening out on the third! An occasional going back could be borne with without nausea, but so much of it—well, it shows that he is not satisfied with the work he has done, else why should he return? If the surgeon repairs to the field when the battle is over it is because he knows there are wounded ones there, and also dead ones who need embalming. “Peace to their ashes.”WDUS 52.1

    As it is now my business to follow Eld. W., he shall find in me “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” And I will at once proceed to give a decent burial to his argument from Mark 2:27.WDUS 52.2

    1. While I am fond of the article in its proper place I cannot endure it in English before the word “man” in this passage. If “man” were here translated from aneer, as in 1 Corinthians 11:9, I could have no objections, but since it is from anthropos, a generic term, owing to a difference in idiom the article is necessary in Greek but has no business in English; and therefore Adam cannot be here referred to. See Crosby, § 470, 1.WDUS 52.3

    2. That a generic term can be and often is limited by a known fact not expressed in connection with it, I have undeniably shown in my last article on the first proposition, and can be further proved by a thousand examples. But it is not necessary since my brother admits it. The only question between him and myself is, Is there such a limiting fact? I affirm it, he denies it; let the reader judge between us. I shall make no attempt to prove over again what I have already established, but am content to refer to my work on the second proposition at length, particularly to the arguments marked vi and vii, as stated and defended in my second and third affirmative. Dare Bro. W. content himself with this reference and abide the reader’s verdict? or must he debate those points over again, and so confess defeat? We will see. He may even repeat the accusation of “begging the question,” if he likes; I can afford to bear it all-my appeal is made.WDUS 52.4

    3. “Related,” says Elder W., “as are Christ’s words in the two verses [Mark 2:27, 28], it is impossible to place a limitation on the word man in one sentence and not carry the limitation over to the other. I ask the reader who wrote this.” Let him note it say I, and, whether true or false, when he has found anything in it I am ready to hear his report.WDUS 52.5

    4. What my brother says of Acts 5, (Acts 6 he means), about “men” being limited by the number “seven” (see vv. 3 and 5), as bearing against my use of 2 Timothy 2:2, is so wholly irrelevant that I cannot see how he so sadly blundered. For example, in his passage the original is aneer, in mine it is anthropos; his form is specific, mine is genuine!WDUS 52.6

    So far as the difference between my brother and myself is concerned it may or may not be true that “marriage is an original and moral institution,” I am not now concerned about that. He may also emphasize the alleged fact that Adam was himself “a part of the original creation,” and “existed before all of the relations existed on which moral obligation is based;” it is still true that man had no sabbath from the beginning. That is, if the days of the creation week, as Elder W. assumes, were twenty-four hour days, the second day of Adam and Eve’s existence should have been a sabbath in order to have a sabbath “from the beginning.” But he says that the sabbath came because God had rested, and therefore after His rest. Now, if man’s sabbath came after God’s rest it did not begin with His rest, and therefore not with the first seventh day. That’s all.WDUS 52.7

    The confident and oft repeated assertion “that any argument which would overthrow the sabbath would destroy the foundation of all morality,” thus making the sabbath a moral institution, I wish now to put severely to the test. I affirm thatWDUS 52.8

    The Sabbath is a Positive InstitutionWDUS 52.9

    1. In Matthew 12:1-5, Christ compares it with a positive law which David broke in eating the showbread. Now, had the sabbath been a moral law his argument would have been fallacious, or what logicians call a non sequitur; for, in that case it runs thus: David, your model saint, when hungry broke a positive law, and you hold him guiltless; my disciples, when hungry, broke a moral law, and you hold them guiltless! Where is the parity of reason? Have the moral and the positive the same predicates?WDUS 52.10

    2. In Matthew 12:7, the Savior evidently classes satisfying hunger with “mercy,” a moral principle, and keeping the sabbath he puts in the category of “sacrifice,” a positive requirement, insisting that the moral takes the precedence, and so declares the sabbath to be a positive institution. “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”WDUS 53.1

    3. In Mark 2:27, 28, the same principle is involved. Jesus declares man to be lord of the sabbath; but man is not and cannot be lord of a moral principle, for moral principles are either eternal, or founded in the nature of things and the constitution of man. When the Savior says, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath,” he asserts nothing as to when the sabbath was made-that thought is wholly foreign to his purpose-but for what purpose it was made; he simply says that man has control of the sabbath, and not the sabbath of man. And since man is lord of the sabbath, and Jesus is also a man, being the son of man, he argues that he is also lord of the sabbath; that is, has a right to use or set aside the day to any extent that the higher law of mercy dictates, as in feeding the hungry, healing the sick, leading an ass to water, or drawing a sheep out of the pit. Or, in the language of the great Alford, “Since the sabbath was an ordinance instituted for the use and benefit of man,-the Son of Man, who has taken upon Him full and complete Manhood, the great representative and Head of humanity, has this institution under his power.” See Lange on Matthew 12:8.WDUS 53.2

    The Pharisees did not admit that Jesus was the Son of God and so had control of the sabbath, yet somehow he silenced them. If Jesus did not establish his lordship over the sabbath from the fact that man is lord of it, how was it that he silenced them? Can my brother tell? I repeat, therefore, again, that man is lord of the sabbath and challenge my brother to produce an instance where man is said to be lord of a moral principle. Till then let him stand in silent awe before this enunciation, and own the sabbath a positive institution.WDUS 53.3

    4. But there is still more in the above passage. It declares that “the Sabbath was made” (egeneto); a moral principle is not made, but is (esti).WDUS 53.4

    5. The sabbath was a commemorative. institution, this my brother admits; but a moral or eternal principle is never commemorative. This has stood in italics and challenged a refutation ever since our discussion began.WDUS 53.5

    6. The sabbath was a type; a moral principle is not and cannot be one.WDUS 53.6

    That the sabbath was a type I am willing to leave to the reader’s decision upon the evidence presented in argument v of the second proposition. Dare my brother place as much confidence in his reply then made? If not, let him try again, and he will find that the half has not been told.WDUS 53.7

    7. If the sabbath had been a moral institution it would have been of universal obligation, and the Gentile would have had it as well as the Jews. For proof that the former did not have it I appeal again to arguments vi and vii of the second proposition.WDUS 53.8

    8. The sabbath was a periodic institution i. e., of periodic obligation, and is therefore positive in its nature since no moral obligation is ever periodic, but unintermittently binding.WDUS 53.9

    9. There is no moral, i. e. necessary connection between God’s resting on the seventh day and man’s resting, but the connection is only through positive commandment to that effect, and therefore the sabbath is a positive institution. Or, to use my brother’s own language, it is “in its appointment (that) we find the duty of observance;” “the evidence of its appointment is found in the words sanctified and hallowed;” “the sanctification of a day consists in a precept for its observance for a special or sacred purpose.” I submit, as I have from the beginning, that that which is born of a precept inherits its nature and is positive.WDUS 53.10

    I could easily swell the preceding list but think it will answer every purpose as it is. If there is a weak point in it I do not know it, and hope my brother will point it out. Of this I am very confident, that so long as one of these points stands unimpaired the field is mine. And on his ability to overthrow these depends his ability to hold the present proposition. What more he says in his last paper as yet unnoticed shall receive due attention in my next.WDUS 53.11

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