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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath - Contents
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    Eld. Vogel’s closing of the last propositions calls for a notice. I would suggest that his ‘untamed blood’ be subjected to some cooling process; he may discover that I will do no very ‘naughty thing.’WDUS 110.11

    I deny his charge that my brethren have interfered with this discussion. Not a sentence has been written or published with any reference to it. I have the best of reasons for believing that my brethren are as fully satisfied with it as his are. I may refer to this again. And his ninth paragraph calls for explanation. Although it is too obscure to be understood it contains an insinuation, which I insist on having cleared up. I have noticed in many cases his tendency to cover up with words, professing to answer points when no answer was given. I demand as a right that he shall tell what he means by my forgetting the ‘position which at least some of my brethren used to occupy.’ If he wishes the ‘last word’ he must not crowd such things into a closing article. A man who clamors so much about ‘honor’ ought to set a good example. Now to our proposition.WDUS 110.12

    This question is, in one sense, a limited one, and in another sense very extensive. In one view it concerns only the supposed existence of a certain positive institution; in another it involves a consideration of the objects of the new covenant and the relation or position of its mediator, the Son of God. Thus a negative argument may embrace these points:—WDUS 111.1

    I. Sunday observance is no part of the spiritual (moral) law which is written in the heart in the new covenant.WDUS 111.2

    II. The Sunday does not bear even a single mark of a positive institution.WDUS 111.3

    III. Sunday keeping stands opposed to one of the precepts of God’s moral law, and is false worship, by which its institutor is honored above the true and living God.WDUS 111.4

    The first point will not be contested. If it shall appear that the second is truth, that the Sunday has no just claim as a positive institution, then the truth of the third point will follow as a necessary conclusion; no obligation then exists for Sunday: it is ‘will worship.’WDUS 111.5

    Here I take decided exceptions to his proposed use of his five methods of proof, as not being applicable to this question. But it was well understood that they were framed for the benefit of this proposition.WDUS 111.6

    1. Express command; no such exists for Sunday.WDUS 111.7

    2, 3 and 4. Inference and implication, either probable or less than probable. These are not admissible as evidence to establish a positive institution.WDUS 111.8

    5. Approved precedent or example. Nothing of the kind can be shown for the Sunday. Moreover to prove a positive institution by example, there must not only be a declaration of continuous action, but a specific declaration that the action related to the institution. Otherwise the very existence of the institution depends upon mere influence, which is never sufficient to establish a positive institution.WDUS 111.9

    He quotes approvingly my remarks on the ‘evidence required,’ but falls almost infinitely short of what I volunteered to (and did) give for the sabbath. I repeat my words:—WDUS 111.10

    I inquire, what is sufficient proof of the obligation of an institution? Two things are necessary.WDUS 111.11

    ‘1. The act of instituting.’WDUS 111.12

    ‘2. The record of appointment.’WDUS 111.13

    If neither of these exists we have no right to infer the existence of the institution. Why does he not follow my example with such proof for the Sunday? Because it does not exist. He cannot produce the act of institution, or any reference to such an act, or any law of institution, or any example of obedience to such a law. When I compare the proof offered for the sabbath and Sunday (which is the ‘summary’ to which I referred), these facts will be fully appreciated.WDUS 111.14

    Eld. Vogel (and others for him) claims that he has ‘something new’ and very important on this subject; but, as he has laid out his argument, this is not true.WDUS 111.15

    (1.) His position on the ‘genius of this dispensation,’ that positive duties may rest on principles rather than on specific declarations, has been often argued by those who plead that infant baptism may be inferentially established. Thus an old work from the Pres. Bd. of Pub. says of Sunday keeping that doubts “arose chiefly among the same people who denied, because there is no command in the N. T. enjoining it, the propriety of infant baptism.” In the same work it was declared that the glory and power of Christ were most strikingly manifest in that he could bring into use ordinances without precept! I commend this idea to Eld. Vogel for his adoption. He has reproduced the old Pedo-Baptist argument, but he has not improved it.WDUS 111.16

    (2.) His argument on ‘a Lordic day’ is nothing new, only the writer who first employed it gave a more euphonious title—‘a lordly day!’ But what is effected by it? There is no practical difference between ‘the Lord’s day’ and ‘of’ or ‘pertaining to’ the Lord; the common translation stands undisputed. But his position is one of great difficulties, resting on an unnecessary inference, viz., that the term ‘Lord’ belongs exclusively to the Son; which I might admit without detriment to my position. I prepared a rejoinder to his previous contradictory assertions on this point, but he removed it to the present proposition, saying that he would ‘show in the proper place,’ etc., and I therefore waived it till be shall develop further. When he does that I shall show the nature and bearing of his inference, and also expose his other inference that it is a new institution.WDUS 111.17

    There is a marked uniformity of faith as to what is necessary to establish a positive institution. The principles governing this question are so plain that almost all men agree in their statement, however much they may differ in practice; each applies the principles without hesitation when arguing on the nature of positive obligation. On this subject I can confidently appeal to Eld. V. and to all his brethren, in the words of the apostle: ‘For I write none other things unto you than what ye read or acknowledge;’ for every sentence which I shall write or quote on positive institutions will be acknowledged and endorsed by him and them when baptism is the subject; but when the Sunday is to be sustained they ignore these same principles, well knowing that they literally cut up their Sunday argument by the roots. All who are conversant with theological literature have as plausible inferences for infant baptism as can be furnished for Sunday. Eld. Vogel’s list of learned authorities, without which his inferences would have been too bald to be presentable, may be rivalled by authorities for infant baptism.WDUS 112.1

    His illustration of his position by the want of ‘direct legislation’ in regard to the Lord’s Supper is peculiarly defective, and contains the very root of all error on positive institutions. (1) The Lord’s Supper was plainly instituted. (2) It is plainly commanded. (3) It is plainly revealed in what it consists; that is, the action is described. But, (4) the frequency of its observance, as he admits, is not revealed; of that nothing is said, and of course that is no part of the law of the institution, and there is no obligation in respect to it. Only two instances are given: its appointment by the Savior, and its observance at Troas; and these were on different evenings, without a word connecting it with either. No matter if a thousand great names are given in its favor; it yet rests solely on human and uninspired testimony, and is therefore of no authority. In advocating stated periods for its observance Eld. Vogel makes faith come without the word of God, (Romans 10:17,) and imposes duty where nothing is revealed. In this he has not stopped on Pedo-Baptist ground-he occupies the ground of the Roman Catholic.WDUS 112.2

    In his argument I, Isaiah 56. is used in a manner which may be made to subvert the prophecies. He rests altogether on the hypothesis that if one text of a prophecy is used in an accommodated sense the whole prophecy or context must be; or, if one part is literal, the whole must be. A prophecy may apply partly to that which is immediately before the reader, and partly to that which is remote. His rigid method applied to Psalm 69 would either prove Christ a sinner or deny its literal application to him, contrary to the express statements of the N. T. I have before shown that the sabbath is, by the prophecy, thrown forward into the gospel dispensation; I also proved that it is ‘recognized’ in the New Testament. And his point II, is that a ‘sacred day’ is recognized in the gospel. But notice, it is recognized, not instituted. We meet on the common ground of its ‘recognition,’ but he cannot show any act of instituting. And therefore his III, is not an argument, not susceptible of proof, but only an inference. There is no new institution. It has been abundantly proved that the moral law of God is the rule of right and action in this dispensation, and the sabbath of the Creator is a part of that law. To this the prophet refers, and this the New Testament ‘recognizes.’WDUS 112.3

    And no man ever assumed a more inconsistent position than he takes right here. He affirmed that it must take as plain and direct testimony to transfer an existing institution to this dispensation as it took to institute it, but now insists that an entirely new institution may be erected without any direct testimony! Let him prove the existence of a new institution, and I will allow all that he claims of allusion or recognition. But I deny the right to claim its existence by allusion or recognition, when there is another well known institution to which the allusion refers. The very allusion is proof of the continued existence of the old institution, unless the existence of the new is proved outside of the allusion. But every one knows that an inference from the allusion is his only proof of his institution!WDUS 112.4

    Again, he admits that, so far as the direct testimony of ‘the Scripture’ is concerned, it is not revealed whether his new institution is the first day or some other day; or the first day of the week, the month or the year. That is to be settled by inference and human authority! Let the reader note the proposition, ‘Do the Scriptures teach,’ etc., and then consider how much of his argument would be left if he should strike out his quotations from uninspired writers. His quotations from ‘The Christian System by A. Campbell,’ serve him a much better purpose than any he could make from ‘the Scriptures’ by the inspired servants of God.WDUS 112.5

    His quotations of 1 Corinthians 16:2 as of a day of meeting or stated day of worship is worthy of the purpose for which it is used! Even Dr. Justin Edwards, the chief of all Sunday-tradition theorists, is constrained to admit that this laying ‘by him’ is ‘at home’ and not in the meeting house. And this is so clearly the sense of the original that he could but admit it.WDUS 113.1

    Eld. V. also admits, what I before showed, that ‘the Lord’s day’ must refer to some ‘mutually-known time,’ but infers that it was Sunday! Let him show that anybody knew that Sunday was the Lord’s day; that anybody knew that John alluded to that day. If supposition must settle the terms of positive institutions, the Disciples may disband and unite with the Pedo-Baptists.WDUS 113.2

    On such a course as he pursues in this argument we will hear A. Campbell:—“Be it then emphatically stated that their method is not to produce either a precept or a precedent for infant baptism; but to infer it from sundry passages of Scripture, never presuming to find in any one passage premises of the whole rite, but for a part of it. Then, by putting these parts together, supposed to be logically inferred from sundry sayings, they construct positive authority for a positive rite. This is, most certainly, as unprecedented among men as it is illogical in point of propriety. Who ever heard, in any other case, of inferring one part of an ordinance from one sentence in another passage, referring to something else, and by converting these two inferences into one, make it a positive and explicit authority for a Christian institution?”—Chris. Baptism, pp. 384, 5.WDUS 113.3

    These words apply with most cutting force to the course of Eld. Vogel; for even his inferences depend for plausibility on the thick glossing they receive from uninspired testimony. I shall quote much further on this subject. For the present let the reader weigh well the following words:—WDUS 113.4

    “All commemorative institutions are positive, and dependent as to obligation on the will of the institutor, and hence not binding on man till formally proclaimed.”—P. Vogel, in his first article in this discussion. ‘Of course’ he will now proceed to give us the formal proclamation of the institution of the Sunday! or cease to teach it as of obligation. Eld. V. is not an ignorant man; he well enough understands the laws of evidence to know that his affirmation calls upon him (1) to give proof of the formal proclamation of the Sunday; or (2) to deny that it is a positive institution and give it a moral basis; or (3) to renounce his affirmation and yield the question. This is so reasonable that I have a right to insist in his taking well-defined ground on these points.WDUS 113.5

    As his affirmation says nothing of the reason or ground of Sunday obligation I requested him to define his position, to which he replied:—WDUS 113.6

    “The first day is with me a sacred day in a similar sense that the sabbath was a sacred day.WDUS 113.7

    He should, then, give similar evidence of its sacredness. Let us compare the two:WDUS 113.8

    1. The divine blessing was placed on the sabbath. Did God bless the first day? Give the proof.WDUS 113.9

    2. God sanctified the sabbath day. Did he sanctify the Sunday? Chapter and verse asked for.WDUS 113.10

    3. He claimed the seventh as his own-the holy of the Lord-the Lord’s day. Did he ever claim the Sunday as his? Where is it found?WDUS 113.11

    4. He explicitly gave a reason for the sacredness of the sabbath. Did He ever give any reason for Sunday sacredness and observance? Where, and what is it? Mc-Garvey [a Disciple Pros., Eld. Vogel’s own denomination], in his Commentary on Acts says; “The day of the week on which the Holy Spirit descended has been celebrated from that time till this; though no formal reason is given in the N. T. for its observance.” The reason is all of man’s devising; it is will-worship.WDUS 113.12

    5. God expressly commanded the seventh day to be kept as a holy time. Did He command to keep the Sunday? When, and where?WDUS 113.13

    6. God uttered severe threatenings against those who refused or neglected to keep the seventh day. Did He threaten those who do not keep Sunday? Why, and when?WDUS 113.14

    7. God gave promises of rich blessings to those who keep the seventh day. Did He ever promise anything for keeping Sunday? What, and where found?WDUS 114.1

    If the first day is to be sacredly kept it is sin not to keep it; butWDUS 114.2

    a. ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’WDUS 114.3

    b. ‘Where no law is there is no transgression.’WDUS 114.4

    c. ‘Sin is not imputed when there is no law.’WDUS 114.5

    I do not keep Sunday. Will Elder Vogel please to show what law I transgress; by what I am proved a sinner therefore?WDUS 114.6

    Every positive institution must have its limits well defined; otherwise there is confusion. Eld. Vogel dodges this by saying that he is not to inquire if the worldling is under obligation to keep Sunday. True; the terms of the proposition do not compel him to do so; but the inference is unavoidable that if it is a positive institution of the gospel, they who reject Christ have no more right to keep Sunday than they have to be baptized or to partake of the Lord’s Supper! It is legitimate to the subject, however much he may avoid it; and I may show “the position that at least some of his brethren have occupied” in regard to it.WDUS 114.7

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