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    TWENTIETH SPEECH

    Mr. Stephenson in the Negative.—Still alive, my friends, to vindicate what I believe is God’s truth.PSDS 76.2

    My opponent, it appears, would have you think that we do not believe in any law at all—that a man may do almost anything, provided the ten commandments were abolished, or rather, that a man may commit almost any sin and still love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. This we do not claim. We claim that the ten commandments are not a perfect law to regulate our affections at all. Now, I ask, do not they of the affirmative have to refer to the law of Christ, as recorded in the New Testament, to prove any man guilty of fornication, of adultery, of drunkenness or of any sin not expressly forbid in the ten commandments? Most certainly they do. They cannot get along without the law of Christ. In all the reasoning of my opponent, he has assumed that the ten commandments are a perfect law, and I have, from the first, denied it. As I said in the early part of this discussion, let him bring one plain “Thus saith the Lord” in support of this assumption, and I will yield the point.PSDS 77.1

    Now it is his duty to prove that the precept of the fourth commandment is perpetuated through the present age. I shall wait till he takes a position on Romans, and makes an application of his reasonings. When he can show that the precept of the fourth commandment is once enforced in the New Testament, I will agree to keep the very next Saturday or seventh day for a sabbath. But I can prove that the ten commandments have been abolished. The ten commandments were God’s covenant with the children of Israel. God’s covenant with that people has been done away with, and if that covenant has been done away with, the ten commandments have perished with it, and are not obligatory on any people upon the face of the earth, by virtue of their fore-ordained authority. The law referred to in Galatians was added four hundred and thirty years after the Abrahamic covenant, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.PSDS 77.2

    “The object of the schoolmaster is plainly stated, namely, to bring us to Christ.” This we admit. But when faith—i.e., the “promised seed,” Christ—is come, we are no longer under the dominion of the schoolmaster.PSDS 77.3

    But he is anxious that I shall find a law that has been abolished; and according to his view, he has found a law that has not been abolished, which he assumes to be the ten commandments. But assertions will not pass for evidence in this discussion. One plain Bible statement is all that I have asked. Is not this reasonable? My opponent has agreed to yield the point, if I can show one “thus saith the Lord” proving the abolition of the ten commandments. I accept the offer, and will attempt the easy task. By reference to 2 Corinthians 3:9, 10, we find the two ministrations contrasted in the following language: “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” By reference to verses 11th and 13th, we find that the first ministration—“the ministration of death,” “of condemnation,” etc.—was done away—was abolished. “For if that (ministration) which was done away was glorious, much more that (ministration) which remaineth is glorious. And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end (i.e., Christ—Romans 10:4,) of that (ministration) which is abolished.” By referring to the 7th verse, we learn what this ministration (which was done away) was and where it was written. “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven on stones,” etc. Here is positive proof that what was written upon stones was “done away—abolished.” Can my opponent show any plainer testimony for the origin of the ten commandments than I have here shown for their abolition. Can he show anything to compare with it, in positiveness, to prove the perpetuity of the ten commandments, or the fourth, through the Christian age? No; he knows he cannot. In reference to the abolition of the glory of Moses’ face, we shall have no dispute. But we both admit that the contrast is between the two ministrations—i.e., the “ministration of death” and “the ministration of the Spirit,” of “condemnation and righteousness,” etc.; and according to every just rule of language, and every grammar in the world, the first ministration (not death, but the ministration of death) was written upon stones; and the Apostle positively declares that this ministration was done away—abolished.” Can anything be plainer? I will give Campbell’s version of 2 Corinthians 3:7: “For if the ministration of death in letters engraved on stones was with glory,” etc. Here the ministration was in letters engraved on stones. What was engraved on stones? The ten commandments, all agree. Then if this ministration was done away, the ten commandments must of course have been done away. There is no averting this conclusion.PSDS 77.4

    But it is urged that if we believe the ten commandments were abolished, we have a right to steal and kill, and bear false witness, etc. I answer, if the teachings of Christ and His Apostles will permit these sins, then we are at liberty to do these things. But I will show, before this discussion closes, that the principles of all the moral precepts in the Old Testament Scriptures are enforced in the New Testament, by Christ and His Apostles, and additional commandments more high toned and strict, and nine out of the ten. The question will be asked, how many of the ten commandments are binding in the Christian dispensation? I answer, just as many as have been incorporated into the Christian Constitution. When a new constitution is made, none of the laws of a foreordained constitution are binding by virtue of the authority of the obsolete law, except what is incorporated into the new law; and those by the authority of the new one exclusively. To illustrate: When our forefathers made a new constitution, they copied all the articles of British law which they considered adapted to the wants and duties of the people of these United States; but what judge or justice has ever since enforced such laws by the foreordained authority of British law? What jurist has ever argued the perpetuity of the constitution of England in this country because some of its precepts were incorporated into the constitution of the States?PSDS 79.1

    This reasoning will apply with equal force to the abrogation of the Mosaic constitution, and the formation of the Christian constitution.PSDS 79.2

    In reference to the ten commandments being a ministration of death. For the transgression of almost every one of them, the criminal was put to death. Any argument that would prove one of the ten commandments was a ministration of death, would prove that the ten commandments were a ministration of death; for my opponent argues the unity of the law.PSDS 79.3

    Hebrews 9:1, etc. Now, what was this first commandment? Manifestly it was the ten commandments. Let my opponent confine himself to the ten commandments, instead of the great law system by which the Israelites were governed. We can find that commandments have been abolished, for we find that those which were written upon the tables of stone were abolished. Ephesians 2. I do not believe there is one text of Scripture between the two lids of the Bible to show that the ten commandments are a law. Let them admit this point or bring the plain word of God to the support of their assumption. I wish to keep the real issue before you. We want, and must have a plain “Thus saith the Lord” for evidence in this discussion. Nothing else will answer, for in one man’s opinion two portions of Scripture may be analogous, and not in another’s. Now, my friends, has my opponent gained the affirmative of this question? I have called upon him to prove from the Bible that the ten commandments are a law, and I shall continue to call upon him to do it. If he can find one passage, and but one, I will pledge myself to keep the very next seventh day that rolls around in the succession of weeks. He shall have all the time he wishes to prove this, but I beg of him to be so considerate as not to base any more arguments upon his assumption of this point in dispute. I deny that the ten commandments are anywhere in the Bible called a law. Let him come to the issue and prove his assumption.PSDS 79.4

    It seems that my opponent cannot conceive of sin without the transgression of the ten commandments. The ten commandments alone, therefore, can convict a man of sin. The law of God is the law or rule of righteousness. The righteousness of God, therefore, would be manifested only through His law. Hence, faith does not make void the law. But shall we argue the perpetuity of the prophets, also? Romans 3:21. “But now the righteousness of God without the law (i.e., without the ten commandments, for my opponent argues that this law is the ten commandments,) is manifest, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” Faith confirms the prophesy of both these witnesses. Verse 31st. But what law prophesied? The ten commandments? No. But the Mosaic law, as has been proved. This is the law, therefore, to which Paul refers. This law was a “schoolmaster to bring to Christ.” [Time up.]PSDS 80.1

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