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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    No one doubts that there have always existed persons ready to “wrest the Scriptures,” but common courtesy, to say nothing of Christian courtesy, demands that such an application to an opponent be omitted in a discussion of this kind. Elder Vogel might bear in mind that he was not solicited by me to engage in this debate, and the unprejudiced reader can best judge which, if either, of us falls under this strong condemnation.WDUS 54.1

    He seems to lay it to heart that I refer back to former propositions, as if the past scene of conflict brought sad memories to him. These questions are closely related, and there are truths underlying all which I intend shall not be lost sight of. No doubt if he could control both sides it would result much more to his satisfaction. If he has been accustomed to have an opponent conduct his affirmative according to his direction he may now have the benefit of a new experience. He has made strong complaints that, in a previous discussion, he had to lead out though in the negative. In all my observation I have never seen a stronger effort made to lead an affirmant than in his last article. In this I predict his failure.WDUS 54.2

    But one question of the past demands further attention; it is his position on the Hebrew. And I will now explain to the reader, and should have done so before, that there is no indefinite article in the Hebrew. As, “In a beginning,” “The seventh day is a sabbath,” etc., the “a” or its equivalent is not in the original; of course the translators must determine when to supply it.WDUS 54.3

    The reader will remember that I quoted a section from Crosby in which he stated that in poetry the article is not so much used as in prose; and that in prose, manuscripts greatly differed in the use of the article. This I referred to the Hebrew as well as to the Greek, to prove that exceptions existed to the rules quoted by Elder Vogel. And my claim of exceptions went no further than Crosby’s statement. On this Elder V. replied, “The Hebrew, concerning which Eld.W. maintains a respectful silence, has no such exceptions as he would force on the Greek text.”WDUS 54.4

    And here I must withdraw the admission I made that Green does not notice exceptions to those rules. That was according to my impression when I wrote; that impression being strengthened by the circumstance that Eld. Vogel quoted directly from Green, and yet denied that the Hebrew had any such exceptions as I claimed on Crosby’s statement. But having since examined Green’s Grammar I find that he opens full as wide a field of exceptions in the Hebrew as Crosby does in the Greek; and this takes from Eld. Vogel even the slight excuse I was willing to make for him in regard to his sweeping assertion.WDUS 54.5

    Green says, “The article is frequently omitted in the brief and emphatic language of poetry, where it would be required in prose.” § 247, pg. 274. He instances as follows: Psalm 2:2, kings of earth, for kings of the earth; 72:17, in the presence of sun, for the sun;WDUS 54.6

    Isaiah 21:12. Watchman says morning comes, for the watchman and the morning; Daniel 8:13, to give both-sanctuary and-host,” etc. And he further gives instances of its omission in prose, as Exodus 27:21, in-tabernacle of-congregation; 1 Kings 16:16-captain of-host.” and others.WDUS 54.7

    In his “Chrestomathy,” of Genesis 2:4, where it is literally, “in day the Lord God made earth and heavens,” he says, “This inversion of the accustomed order imparts to the expression a sort of poetic character, whence the omission of the article.” Pg. 88.WDUS 54.8

    Here we have, 1st a section stating the frequent poetic omission of the article. Isaiah 56, on which Eld. Vogel lays so great stress in his speculations, comes under this head. Also Isaiah 58:13; first clause.WDUS 54.9

    2nd. A claim for “a sort of poetic character” for a sentence in Genesis 2:4, to bring it under the rule for poetic omission, showing that the line between poetic omission and prose omission is not clearly marked.WDUS 54.10

    3rd. Instances (which may be greatly multiplied) where it is omitted also in prose. These are exceptions to all the rules.WDUS 54.11

    These points give as large scope for exceptions in the Hebrew as I claimed from Crosby in the Greek, and show that I was fully justified in applying Crosby’s remarks as a regulation of Eld. Vogel’s assumption.WDUS 54.12

    In addition to this Gesenius makes a statement of great importance in this question. He says, “The predicate of a sentence does not take the article.” Lex., pg. 240. This shows further how wide the range of exceptions is, and stamps Eld. V.’s theory as speculative.WDUS 55.1

    In his last he makes another effort, as futile as previous ones, to bolster up his argument. Of Leviticus 23, he says, “it comes under the rule of enumeration” but he gives no authority to explain his rule or justify his assertion. Is not this “a kind of equivalent” to a “re-mention?”WDUS 55.2

    On my showing the fallacy of his quoting texts on “a holy convocation.” to sustain his position he asks. “What possible bearing against the rule could it have?” But he adduced them to sustain the rule; and if their disproof has no bearing against the rule, it is only because as proof they had no bearing in favor of the rule! “That’s all.” But why, then, did he offer them?WDUS 55.3

    Of Exodus 20:10, he says, it “is not indefinite;” which is true, but it has not the article. But further he says it is definite by construction; and refers to three sections of Green’s grammar, quoting neither. This will be instructive to his readers, not one-hundredth of whom ever saw Green’s grammar, and if they had it, could not possibly determine to what statement of the three sections he refers; for there are many statements in those sections which do not apply to it. The section first cited, 246, 3, says that nouns may be definite without the article by construction, but it gives no explanation applicable to this text. The last cited, §257, says, “The preposition (lamed) to, belonging to, with or without a preceding relative pronoun, may be substituted for the construct relation in its possessive sense.” If to this he refers it will apply to Exodus 16:23, as fully as to chap. 20:10. The true reason why it is definite is that it comes under the law of predicates, and so does Exodus 16:23, which therefore does not require the article. Eld. V. says he uses his argument on the Hebrew for those who know that his remarks are just. If there is anyone who knows that, I would be glad to be introduced to him.WDUS 55.4

    Now a few words in regard to this controversy over the Hebrew, which I only regret on account of its having introduced into our discussion some expressions not easily appreciated by the mass of our readers. Eld. Vogel unqualifiedly denied that such exceptions existed as I claimed on the Greek; and everyone can see that the very life of his argument depended on his assertion in this respect being true. But I have shown that exceptions do exist in the Hebrew to the full extent of my claim on the Greek. It is certainly true that Eld. Vogel knew that these exceptions existed, or he did not. If he did not, it is evidence that his knowledge of Hebrew is too superficial to entitle his criticisms and opinions to confidence But if he did know of their existence, why did he so positively declare that they did not exist? As I did not see his heart I will not offer any solution of this mystery but shall charitably hope that his comment on 2 Peter 3:16, which he applied to me may not be found to apply to himself at last.WDUS 55.5

    I shall now proceed in my affirmative; having passed through the Gospels, I quote from the book of Acts, the inspired Church History of this dispensation.WDUS 55.6

    Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44. “But when they [Paul and Barnabas] departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” “For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets, which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.” “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” “And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city to hear the word of God.”WDUS 55.7

    Inspiration here set down what took place on certain sabbath days. These occurrences were nearly fifteen years after the crucifixion, and this was penned still later; and (as circumstances show and it cannot be denied) as that was the seventh day, these texts prove that the seventh day was called the sabbath day, at that time, by the apostles, by the Gentiles, and by the Evangelist. And again, as they said the prophets were read in the synagogue every sabbath day; and the seventh day was, and the first day was not, the day in which the prophets were read in the synagogue, it is proved positively that the seventh day then was, and the first day was not, the sabbath day. Behold the harmony of the Old and New Testaments. The O. T. says the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord-his holy day. The N. T. recognizes both titles, the sabbath and the Lord’s day, and points unmistakably and only to the seventh day. The prophet predicts that the Gentiles shall be called, and they shall take hold of the sabbath. And the N. T. says at one time they gladly received the word and requested that it might be preached to them the next sabbath. While the prophet look Forward into this dispensation and speak of the sabbath to be kept, not a word in either Testament-in all “the scriptures”—recognizes any day of the week as a sabbath but the seventh; and both Testaments do recognize that day as the sabbath in the plainest terms. Eld. V. said that Isaiah prophesied that a day called sabbath would be kept in this dispensation; but as “every sabbath” in the language of the N. Testament includes every seventh day, and excludes the first day, it follows that that prophecy is fulfilled in the seventh day, or it has failed,-for it is not fulfilled in the first day, as that is never called the sabbath day.WDUS 55.8

    Acts 15:21. “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”WDUS 56.1

    This is most important testimony. (l) As the preceding it proves that “every sabbath” includes only the seventh day. (2) It was the words of the Apostle James; they were inspired of God. (3) It was spoken full twenty years after the resurrection of Christ, when that new “day called sabbath” should have been taking that title by some inspired authority, it such a thing was known to the servants of God. (4) It was spoken in full council of “the apostles and elders; and his words are virtually the words of the whole council. The bearing of such facts as these is not to be mistaken.WDUS 56.2

    Acts 16:13. “And on the sabbath day we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down and spoke unto the women which resorted thither.”WDUS 56.3

    This took place in Philippi in Macedonia; and so it appears that the sabbath was kept outside of Judea and its synagogues. And inspiration continues to give it that honored title.WDUS 56.4

    Acts 17:1, 2. “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”WDUS 56.5

    These were the identical “scriptures” where in they learned what day was the sabbath and the Lord’s day.WDUS 56.6

    Acts 18:4. “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”WDUS 56.7

    This was at Corinth, nearly twenty-five years after the resurrection of the Lord. And still, by the authority of the Holy Spirit, the honored title of the sabbath was given to the seventh day. In the absence of all proof that any body knew that the first day of the week was the sabbath or the Lord’s day, and in the absence of any explanation to the effect that the sabbath was either changed or abolished, the unbiased reader must conclude that inspiration recognized and sanctioned the rest day of the Lord-the sabbath day-as an institution perpetuated under the gospel.WDUS 56.8

    A new and unknown institution cannot take the name of the known institution without full explanations being given. This is a truth which admits of no exceptions. It must be admitted as a rule; to violate it is to practice deception. Were a man to give important testimony concerning what transpired in the City of New York, it being also well known that he was well acquainted with that city, no query could arise as to its locality, that city being so well known. But should it afterward be found that a place was, or was to be, laid out in the copper regions of Northern Michigan, to which it was designed to give the name of New York City, and that the man in his testimony referred to that new and unknown City, giving it the title of a city well known to everybody, without any explanation, all would pronounce him guilty of gross deception. And so of Revelation 1:10. He who says that John meant another day than that which was well known as the Lord’s day, is bound to give certain proof that that other day was, at that time, well known by that title, or he makes the apostle guilty of just such deception as I have supposed. All to whom John wrote knew that the Lord had, in the most terribly majestic manner, and by many plain statements, reserved the seventh day to himself as his holy day: his rest day from the work of creation; upon which he had placed the divine benediction, and sanctified it as a day for sacred use. Wherever “the scriptures” had extended their influence, the seventh day was known to be the Lord’s day. And that title cannot be transferred to another by inferences and suppositions. We may allow people to parley over inferences where there is no direct testimony, and even then it is unprofitable. But where there is direct testimony inferences can have no governing influence.WDUS 56.9

    III. The law of which the sabbath commandment was a part, was not abolished, but is now binding.WDUS 57.1

    The scriptures show that two different laws, or systems of law, were given to the Jews. One, a law of moral precepts, which pointed out sin. The other, a remedy for sin. Not an original necessity, as I have before shown, but growing out of the necessities of man as a transgressor. Neither of these laws was original to Israel. “The fall” involved all mankind, and the promise of “the seed” to bruise the serpent’s head was given not to a nation, but to the race. Sacrifices were before Moses or Abraham. If others did not have the same Knowledge of God that Abraham had, it was not for want of opportunity, but (as Paul says) because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” Noah was righteous, but the world was filled with violence and wickedness. Lot was righteous, but the men of Sodom were sinners. Abraham was chosen, because he was faithful, to fulfil in him the promises which God had made to the race; and when the fear of God had almost departed from the earth, and men had lost sight of their responsibility, as Pharaoh who asked, “who is the Lord that I should obey him?” God separated the descendants of Abraham and revived amongst them the knowledge of his law, “the light of which had almost ceased to shine on mankind. And God’s long suffering as well as his justice will be appreciated when it is borne in mind that he gave as a reason for putting off the fulfillment of a promise to Abraham’s descendants, that “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Genesis 15:16. God will not infringe on perfect justice to fulfill any of his gracious purposes. Romans 3:23-26. Had the world at large maintained respect for God and his authority Abraham need not have been separated from his kindred. And had not all the nations “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator,” there would have been no occasion for God to renew the knowledge of his law. But under the circumstances there was need of that awful manifestation of divine power and glory to impress deeply on their hearts that which mankind had shown themselves so prone to neglect and forget.WDUS 57.2

    The question of law is one of fundamentals; it embraces within itself all other questions. Without law there can be no government. Both duty and pardon recognize the existence of law; but duty is before pardon, as obedience is better than sacrifice, and prayer is abomination if made in disrespect of the law; (Proverbs 28:9); and to say, Lord, Lord, to the Son of God will not admit into the kingdom of Heaven without doing the will of his father.WDUS 57.3

    The difference between these two laws is not only evident from their natures, but is recognized in the scriptures. Thus the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give the tables of stone, and the law, and commandments, which I have written.” Exodus 24:12. By comparing the scriptures we learn that this law comprised the ten commandments-neither more nor less which God had spoken with his own voice. It was distinguished from all others by being spoken by the voice of God and written by himself; and separated by being put into the ark, over which atonement for sin was made; and it was also distinguished by express recognition. Said the Lord by Jeremiah 6:19, 20. “Behold I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected to it. To what purpose cometh there to, me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offering are not acceptable, nor your sacrifice sweet unto me” Thus they could offer their offerings and sacrifices and not keep the law, showing that they were not parts of the same law.WDUS 57.4

    And again, chap. 7:22, 23. “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings nor sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, obey my voice.” When they heard his voice he spake his law, the ten commandments. Deuteronomy 4:12, 13. Thus plainly does the Lord separate his law from all secondary matters.WDUS 57.5

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