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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    Eld. Waggoner completely misapprehends me on Hebrews 7:18, hence his nice talk about “begging the question” and “wresting” the Scriptures is without point as against me. He argued from 2 Timothy 3:16—“All Scripture .... is profitable’” etc.—in such a way as to leave the impression that all Scripture, because it is profitable, is now binding on us in the same sense that it was on the Jews. I showed that such a conclusion is erroneous from the fact that the law of the priesthood is part of “all Scripture,” is therefore profitable,” and yet is expressly said to be abolished. In other words, while we may be profited by it we are not profited in the same sense and way that the Jew was. Hence for aught that appears from 2 Timothy 3:16, and all similar passages, the entire law may be equally abolished and yet be “profitable” and “for our instruction.”WDUS 65.3

    The third division of my brother’s argument, begun in his second affirmative and continued throughout the third, is still unfinished. Courtesy requires me to notice it; nevertheless I do it with reluctance now, since it is difficult to divine what sort of an end so curious a beginning may have. His chief aim seems to be to prove that whatever is expressive of an attribute of God (i. e. whatever is moral) cannot be abolished, but must extend through all time and eternity. But have I not already admitted this? Why then spend so much time in its proof? Let him show that the sabbath is moral in every feature of it-(1) in the idea of sacred rest, and (2) in the idea of rest on the seventh day of the week-and I will surrender unconditionally. I deny that the sabbatic institution is moral in any essential feature of it. Here is something “tangible,” and I invite my brother to the issue.WDUS 65.4

    He seems indeed to be aiming at this, but in so roundabout a way that I fear his readers fail as yet to see the drift of his argument. His third sub-proposition reads thus: “The law of which the sabbath commandment was a part, was not abolished, but is now binding.” Granting as he must and does that at least part of the Mosaic code, as the law concerning the priesthood together with all ceremonial observances are abolished, he manifestly regards these as no part of the law. But of this he should give clear proof, since it is vital to his argument, but is by no means self-evident, and is moreover squarely denied.WDUS 65.5

    If I have been at all successful in gathering his position it is this:WDUS 65.6

    1st. Before sin entered this world man as creature and subject was under rules and regulations; had he never sinned he would always have been under these obligations; and the fact of his sinning does by no means release him from these laws, but they are constantly and always binding since they are for man as man.WDUS 65.7

    2nd. Since the fall God has introduced means and expedients suited to man’s salvation from sin, and only necessary because man has sinned, and destined to pass away with the complete eradication of sin from the race. These expedients may change with a change of dispensations, as the sacrifices of the law have given place to the better means of the gospel; but the gospel itself, being only an expedient for man’s salvation, must eventually share a like fate with the sacrifices of the law.WDUS 65.8

    3rd. The first class above named is designated by such expressions as duty, the law, the commandments of God, the voice of God, the will of God, etc., and may be called primary law.WDUS 66.1

    4th. The second class is designated by such expressions as pardon, gospel, remedial system, etc., and may be called secondary law.WDUS 66.2

    5th. The first class or primary law is based on the will and attributes of God, hence is wholly moral. To this class the ten commandments belong since they are expressive of duty and are called the law, the voice of God, the will of God, etc. Consequently the ten commandments are all moral, the sabbath is moral and cannot pass away.WDUS 66.3

    6th. From the fact that Bro. W. refers the expressions, the law, the commandments, the voice of God, etc., to the ten commandments, and especially since he so refers Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man,” it is evident that he regards the decalogue as a complete compend of moral and “primary law.”WDUS 66.4

    Having now stated Eld. W.’s argument in such a way that the reader can see his aim (and I think I have done him full justice), let us examine its correctness.WDUS 66.5

    In the first place, Not everything which is “duty” now originated before the fall: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also (so) love one another.” John 13:34. “This is my commandment,” says Jesus, Ch 15:12. This grew out of redemption and yet is “duty,” and “redemption is secondary.” Hence also the text “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me,” has been taken in an unwarranted sense by my brother.WDUS 66.6

    Secondly; All divine law does not “spring from the will and attributes of God.” Moral law may be expressive of the will and attributes of God, but positive law is only expressive of will. It is the absence of any moral reason for it that makes it positive.WDUS 66.7

    Thirdly: The commandment prohibiting Adam to eat of a certain tree was positive, since it rested exclusively on the will of God; and yet, having been given before the fall, it was a “primary law.” But if one “primary law” is positive so may another be. Hence if it could even be successfully shown that all of the ten commandments belong to “primary law,” it would not thence follow that the sabbath is moral. Indeed, I have already proved it to be positive.WDUS 66.8

    Fourthly; A positive requirement, resting as it does simply on the will of God, may be changed at any time God sees fit and man’s growth or need requires. Hence all “primary law” is not unabolishable; and to prove the sabbath to be a “primary law” has nothing to do with proving its present obligation.WDUS 66.9

    Fifthly; The ten commandments are not a complete compend of moral or “primary law.” They do not, for example, contain the “primary law” forbidding polygamy, nor that moral law contained in the Savior’s “new commandment.” Hence also they do not contain man’s “whole duty,” and cannot be called “the law” in my brother’s especial sense. They are not even all moral; the sabbath certainly is not, to say nothing of the prohibition to “make” images.WDUS 66.10

    Sixthly: Even the form which at least some of the moral commandments of the decalogue take, is furnished by the facts of the fall. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is an example.WDUS 66.11

    Seventhly; Compliance with a positive command growing out of the work of redemption is also “duty” (Matthew 3:7-8; Luke 7:30) and a measure of “righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), and non-compliance is sinful disobedience (1 Chronicles 13:10), needing expiation or atonement if forgiven. And there are “fruits of righteousness” which are not by the law, but “by Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:11. The fact, therefore, that it was “duty” to observe the sabbath, and keeping it a measure of righteousness, and that atonement was made over it, does neither prove it to be “primary law” nor moral. Thus every distinction which Eld. W. seeks to establish by which to prove the sabbath “primary law,” moral, or perpetual fails, and with it his third division.WDUS 66.12

    Let us, however, examine his exegesis of and comments on certain passages. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. True; but is the sabbath still His will? The passover was once His will, is it therefore, now?WDUS 66.13

    That was a fine homily, Bro. W., which you delivered from the text, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law,” and no doubt might have had a good effect on some hardened sinner of David’s time. But it strikes me that if you were in position to preach to your brethren from Galatians 4:10-11, “Ye observe days, etc. I am afraid of you lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain,” or from v. 21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do you hear the law?” your sermon might be in keeping with the dispensation under which we live. You could show how the covenant from Mt. Sinai “gendereth to bondage,” and how like Hager, God, not man, hath “cast it out.” Then also, “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,” would make a most happy peroration.WDUS 66.14

    Attempting to prove that the Mosaic code contained two laws and that the ten commandments are one of these two, my brother quotes Exodus 24:12: Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give to thee the tables of stone, and the law and the commandments which I have written.” Here the words “law” and “commandments” are qualified by “which I have written.” This is not only obvious from a glance at the original, but also over the word “law” is found the conjunction accent kadhma, showing that the Hebrews so understood it. But when “law” is made definite by the adjunct “which I have written” it may take the article on that account, and not because this law stands apart from the rest of the Mosaic code as sui generis or distinctive and alone of its kind; hence also the king’s translators have felt it no unwarrantable procedure to omit the article.WDUS 67.1

    Jeremiah 6:19-20 does not prove the law one thing and “incense,” “burnt offering,” and “sacrifices” another. It only shows that in the case in hand they were offered in such a state of heart as to be no offerings. The spirit in which an act is done gives character to it; it may or may not be obedience to law according as a proper spirit is present or absent; and the presence or absence of a proper spirit in any particular act may often be undiscernible to the human observer save as it crops out in other acts; hence these, as in the case before us, must be brought up to show the character of that.WDUS 67.2

    “And again,” says Eld. W., “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.” This is ingenious But I must remind my brother of Proverbs 18:17: “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh” and searcheth him.” “My voice” may apply to anything which God has commanded, whether directly or through an agent (see 1 Samuel 15:1-20-22); hence to restrict it here to the ten commandments is unwarranted unless circumstances compel us to it. But there are no such compelling circumstances. “Obey my voice” here refers and is equivalent to “keep my covenant” in Exodus 19:5. This covenant is contained in Exodus 20-23. It was not all spoken directly to the people by God because they could not endure to hear him to the end (Exodus 20:18-19), and they begged Moses to act as spokesman. He dirt so and wrote it in a book and the people accepted it, ch 24:3-8. And this covenant or “voice of God” does contain commandments concerning sacrifices. The words of Jeremiah contain nothing to the contrary: “I spake not...nor commanded...concerning sacrifices...but, Obey my voice?” The idea is this: Mere sacrifice without the spirit of obedience is not what the Lord wants, but sacrifice in its proper spirit is obedience to God’s voice, and this the Lord requires. Obedience is the emphatic word, and the contrast is between it and disobedience in whatever seeming obedience it may inhere. There is therefore no contrast between two different laws, and the attempt to find authority here to so divide the Mosaic code fails. If however the contrast were between “sacrifice” and “the voice of God,” then, according to the use of negatives to be explained when I come to Matthew 5:17, the sense would be this: Sacrifice is indeed part of the voice of God, but so small a part that compared with all that it is as nothing, and to rely on it exclusively or chiefly is as it were no obedience.WDUS 67.3

    I am the more certain of this since I have in a previous number shown the unity of the law. And here I wish to add a few more indispensable proofs:WDUS 67.4

    1. Paul speaks of the entire Mosaic code as “the whole law,” Galatians 5:3. Now that which constitutes one “whole law” cannot be two.WDUS 68.1

    2. In John 7:23 the sabbath is included in “the law of Moses.”WDUS 68.2

    3. In Malachi 4:4 the commandments are included in “the law of Moses.” “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” “With the statutes and judgments” no more makes them no part of “the law of Moses” than “with the bishops and deacons” In Philippians 1, I declares these not to be “saints.” But the “with” is a supplement, the Hebrew simply reads “statutes and judgments,” as the Douay version correctly renders it, and the Greek “as to statutes and judgments.” Take whichever version you will the sense is substantially the same—the Mosaic code is but one “whole law.” On this Gibraltar I plant myself.WDUS 68.3

    But granting, for argument’s sake, that there are two laws, and that the ten commandments form one of these and that one, namely, which my brother is so anxious to show not be abolished. Then I want no better proof that it is abolished than some of the very texts on which he most relies to prove the contrary. Take, for example, Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” While I think that this refers to the entire Mosaic code, and can prove it from the context, I will for the present treat it as if it referred only to the ten commandments, since my brother will have it so. Let us first notice a peculiar use of negatives. “I receive not testimony from man,” says the Savior, John 5:34. The circumstances show that he does receive it, but that he has “greater testimony than that of John” [v. 36] and so much greater that in comparison with the reliance he places on this his reliance on John’s testimony sinks into nothingness. Again; “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” 1 Corinthians 1:17. If we construe this as my brother does Matthew 5:17, it would mean that Paul was forbidden to baptize. But Paul did baptize; hence such a construction is unwarranted, and it simply means this: Baptizing is indeed a part of my work, being included in preaching the gospel, but compared with the grand scope and magnitude of the latter the mere act of baptizing is as nothing. So in Matthew 5, the Savior says in effect, the abolition of the law is indeed a part of my mission, and is implied in fulfilling it, but compared with the grand work of fulfilling it, of bringing in the verity set forth in type and prophecy, it is as nothing. “The law was given by Moses, but the grace and the truth [the verity, the antitype] came by Jesus Christ,” John 1:17. Sabbath, for example, means rest, and the sabbath is a type of rest; and, says the Savior, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” “And his rest shall be glorious,” says the prophet [Isaiah 11:10]; “for if that which is done away is glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious” [2 Corinthians 3:11]. “We who have believed do enter into rest” [Hebrews 4:3], for “the body [the antitype] is of Christ,” Colossians 2:17. But during the Savior’s personal ministry the antitype had not yet come; hence he said to those “pressing into the kingdom” that the law must stand firm as the heavens till all the types and prophecies should ripen into the gospel. And when that time came, when the day of Pentecost arrived, the law ended and the gospel began. Sic transit gloria leg’s.WDUS 68.4

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