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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath - Contents
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    Eld. Vogel’s rule of faith is worthy of notice. In exalting inference, he applies Hebrews 5:13-14, to this effect: they who rely upon the plain word of God are only babes, while they who accept inferences which the babes could not even draw, are the ones who use strong meat, having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil! Paul was not speaking of inferences, but of truths which they were not prepared to hear. If the exegesis of Eld. V. is correct, then the Disciples are only babes on the subject of baptism, for they demand a ‘precept’—‘a positive injunction;’ while the pedo-baptists have the strong meat of inference which the weaker Disciples are not strong enough to see, not having their senses so well exercised! For myself, ‘the sincere milk of the word’ is acceptable; but I despair of getting it in favor of Sunday.WDUS 126.4

    When I stated the evident truth that ‘precedent’ was no ground for an institution, unless the action was proved to be both continuous and to relate to the institution, he cited the order to lay by themselves their donations on the first day of the week and added, ‘Continuous action!’ But that action had no relation whatever to the sacred observance of Sunday, and he knows it! This little artifice to give the appearance of such action is worthy of the cause it is made to serve-worthy to be placed among the ‘pious frauds’ by which Sunday and other traditional dogmas have been elevated into ‘Christian duties.’WDUS 126.5

    And he said, ‘We have in several acts of worship, and in many churches, ... the first day given to the Lord.’ This is a bold misrepresentation of the Scriptures, such as I would not wish to meet in the great day. I have abundantly proved that no act of worship which could have any bearing on the ‘sacred observance’ of the first day, is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2; and Acts 20. gives but a single act of a single church, without an intimation that any other church ever did the same, or that that church did so a second time! And what was then done is sufficiently accounted for on other ground than that by him assumed. With Dr. Carson, I say, ‘An unnecessary inference is without authority.’WDUS 126.6

    So clearly is my statement true, that Prof. McGarvey (Disciple), in his ‘Commentary on the Acts,’ says: “It. must, in candor, be admitted that there is no express statement in the N. T. that the disciples broke the loaf every Lord’s day; neither is it stated that they met every Lord’s day.” True, and if a second instance could be given, it would afford some ground to claim a custom; but a single one does not. And it will be noticed that, in the last quotation from Eld. Vogel, he says the first day was ‘given to the Lord.’ Who required the gift? Let the requisition be shown. It cannot be.WDUS 127.1

    His last affirmative is a labored effort to show that Acts 20. proves that the Sunday was a day of observance; also, that Paul did not travel on Sunday. But never was there a failure more complete in every respect. In order to prove the latter point, he assumes that the day did not commence and end at sunset. He is quite willing to follow Babylonian or Roman time, or any time except that which God has plainly marked out in his word. And it is fitting that he should try to attach a reckoning of heathen time to his Sunday institution, because it is confessedly of heathen origin! Does he deny it? Here is the proof:—WDUS 127.2

    “Sunday was a name given by the heathen to the first day of the week, because it was the day on which they worshiped the sun.”—S. S. Union Bible Dict.WDUS 127.3

    “The heathen nations in the north of Europe dedicated this day to the sun, and hence their Christian descendants continue to call the day Sunday.”—Webster.WDUS 127.4

    “The ancient Saxons called it by this name, because upon it they worshiped the sun.”—Rel. Encyclopedia.WDUS 127.5

    “It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination of dies solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred.”—Douay Catechism.WDUS 127.6

    If the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath had such an origin as that, I would blush to advocate it. If the first day ever had any higher dedication or sacredness, let my opponent give proof of it. ‘What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.’ But to his points.WDUS 127.7

    First, he quotes John 19:14, ‘It was about the sixth hour,’ to prove that John did not reckon the day from sunset, but rather from midnight. Against this, I say (1), as he said of Luke—‘about eight days’—it is not designed to be definite; ‘about’ (he quotes) means ‘not far from.’ And (2) the common reading (third) in John 19:14, is repudiated by all the beat scholars and commentators. And here I will remark that Eld. Vogel’s theory stands self-condemned, in that it rests entirely on inference; and his inferences are all drawn from assumptions which are contradicted by his own partisans, and representative men in his own denomination. Surely it would seem that a positive institution, for which A. Campbell says positive precept or express injunction should be given, should have at least as much as one ground of inference which is beyond general dispute. A few authorities will settle this point.WDUS 127.8

    There can be no doubt that an error of number has crept in (Γ being confounded with ϛ) and that the true reading is Γ, i. e., tritee. Indeed this reading is found in seven of the best MSS., some fathers, as Eusebius (who says it was so written in the autograph), Jerome, Severus, Ammonius, Theophyl., and some scholiasts, with Nonnus. In this opinion, the best commentators acquiesce.”—Bloomfield on Greek Text.WDUS 127.9

    Clarke refers to MSS. and authorities also, and adds:—WDUS 127.10

    “As in ancient times, all the numbers were written in the manuscripts, not at large, but in numeral letters, it was easy for Γ, three, to be mistaken for ϛ, six. The Codex Bezæ has generally numeral letters, instead of words. Bengel observes that he has found Γ, gamma, three, exceedingly like ϛ, episemon,*The original publication may have had the spelling “epsimon. six, in some MSS. The major part of the critics think that τρὶτη, the third, is the genuine reading.”WDUS 127.11

    We cannot fully illustrate the force of these remarks, as the characters in ancient Greek, before printing was discovered, were more uncouth than those given above, and might much more readily be confounded.WDUS 127.12

    And so evident are the reasons that the third is the true reading, that Prof. Anderson, a Disciple, author of a very good translation of the N. T., ignores the sixth entirely, and renders it, the third. Other authors might be quoted, but it is not necessary. So much for his first dependence!WDUS 127.13

    Secondly, on Matthew 28:1, he says:—WDUS 128.1

    “The Jews, for whom Matthew wrote his gospel, knew well that, though the Sabbath ended at sundown, the week, according to their own reckoning, did not end till sunrise the next day.”WDUS 128.2

    Were this true, it would not give the strength to the argument that he so much needs; but the question first arises, Did the Jews reckon the week as ending at sunrise? I call for the proof. When that is given, I will notice his inference further.WDUS 128.3

    Once more, he dates the crucifixion on the fifteenth day of the month, the yearly sabbath. But the Jews would not go into the judgment hall lest they should be defiled, ‘but that they might eat the passover.’ This text, Eld. V. says, may denote the passover in general! He surely ought to know that ‘eating the passover’ applied only to eating the paschal lamb with bitter herbs, etc. He made an unnecessary argument to prove that it was eaten the night before, i. e., the night succeeding the fourteenth. Hence, if the Savior was crucified the fifteenth, they had already eaten the passover. The probability is against him, for that day was called ‘the preparation’ as regards the weekly Sabbath (Luke 23:54-56), and ‘the preparation of the passover’ (John 19:14), which likely refers to the preparation which had to be made for eating the paschal lamb. See Exodus 12. And this would show that ‘that Sabbath was a high day,’ because the yearly and weekly Sabbath came in conjunctions. So loosely does he throw assertions together, and make them the basis of inferring a positive institution! But his whole argument on this point is of no interest to me, having no relation to the observance of any day, nor can it carry conviction to Seventh-day Baptists, being marred with such serious defects.WDUS 128.4

    On Acts 20. he says the ship was not under their control. Where did he learn this? The probabilities are clearly against him, for verses 15-16 say, ‘And the next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia.’ The fact that he chose the route, indicates the contrary of Eld. V.’s statement; and this is the view of Olshausen, and others.WDUS 128.5

    Prof. McGarvey, of the Disciple denomination, in his ‘Com. on the Acts,’ says:—WDUS 128.6

    “I conclude, therefore, that the brethren met on the night after the Jewish Sabbath, which was still observed as a day of rest by all of them who were Jews, or Jewish proselytes, and considering this the beginning of the first day of the week, spent it in the manner above described. On Sunday morning, Paul and his companions resumed their journey, being constrained, no doubt, by the movements of the ship, which had already been in the harbor of Troas seven days.”WDUS 128.7

    Thus do the oracles of Eld. Vogel’s own denomination sweep away the ground of his inferences, because ‘the logic of facts’ is too strong to be resisted. It will be seen when he closes his argument that he has not even one ground for his inferences which is not strongly disputed by his own partisans.WDUS 128.8

    But McGarvey thinks that Paul’s traveling on Sunday is no warrant for us to make it a secular day! And Eld. Vogel has a suspicion that his inference will not meet with a hearty reception, so he, too, excuses Paul for traveling on Sunday; and how? By reference to his own action! He gives two reasons for his doing so. 1. He missed the railroad connection. 2. He had a long-standing appointment to fill. Would Eld. V. be willing to admit that he secularized Sunday without giving these explanatory reasons? He would not. But no such reasons were given in Paul’s case.WDUS 128.9

    Now look at the whole compass of the subject. Both Eld. Vogel (by citing his own case as parallel) and Prof. McGarvey offer excuses, or reasons, to justify Paul’s traveling on Sunday; and thus we find that in the only instance where it is claimed that an apostle ever kept Sunday, they consider it necessary to devise reasons for his not keeping it! What a strength of precedent! and this is in the entire absence of testimony in its favor.WDUS 128.10

    And I will answer his appeal to me in regard to his traveling on Sunday. He asks if I, a ‘legalist,’ dare to say he did wrong. No, sir, no. I confess myself too much of a legalist to condemn a man for working on Sunday when he is unable to show even the shadow of a legal prohibition! A ‘legalist’ of old said, ‘By the law is the knowledge of sin.’ Will Eld. V. take his position with Paul on this assertion, and still teach that it is a sin to work Sunday? Produce the precept.WDUS 128.11

    An interesting point, I have now to notice. On Paul’s non-observance of Sunday, he says:—WDUS 129.1

    “Let him remember that we are not now talking about the Sabbath, hence no fanciful interpretations of the rules regulating it will apply here.”WDUS 129.2

    It is just so-Sunday is not the Sabbath. It had not the characteristics of the Sabbath, and hence no rest from labor was required upon it. And it never was called the Sabbath, which is proof positive that Isaiah 56. does not speak of Sunday; for Isaiah speaks of the Sabbath. Neither the ‘regulations’ nor name of Sabbath belong to Sunday. No ‘fanciful’ interpretations of rules can regulate it. Assuredly not: if it is a positive institution, only positive rules regulating it are admissible! Now, kind sir, tell us, oh, do tell us where they may be found. I would like to see that part of Eld. Vogel’s theory which is anything but ‘fanciful.’WDUS 129.3

    He says the first day is the fittest and most appropriate to observe. Does the word of God say so? No. Does it designate any event to be celebrated on that day? No. Let us hear again from the standard authors of Eld. Vogel’s denomination. McGarvey, on Acts 2., says:—WDUS 129.4

    “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 absence of inspired explanations, however, has hot left the world in doubt upon the latter subject; for the two grand events which occurred on that day-the resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit-are of such transcendent importance that all minds agree at once in attributing to them, and especially to the former, the celebration of the day.”WDUS 129.5

    That it ‘has been celebrated from that time’ is a groundless assumption. But, aside from that, let A. Campbell give his opinion of establishing positive institutions in ‘the absence of inspired explanations.’ He says:—WDUS 129.6

    “All will-worship is a disparagement of the worship appointed of God; it is, consequently, a reflection upon his wisdom, and obnoxious to his displeasure. It is as contrary to his revealed will as the presenting of ‘strange fire’ upon his altar was in the days of Nadab and Abihu. And, indeed, every religious practice which was not founded upon an explicit revelation of the will of heaven, is will-worship. The language of it is this: ‘Thou shouldest have appointed this, and we are supplying a, defect in thy wisdom or goodness.’ Such is the spirit of every innovation in divine worship.”—Campbell on Baptism, pp. 405, 6.WDUS 129.7

    If Eld. Vogel dares to accuse me again of misconstruing Campbell, let him tell our readers what Campbell meant by these plain words. And more anon.WDUS 129.8

    The resurrection has its divinely appointment memorial; it is baptism. And if the ‘Man of Sin’ had not laid his hand on this ordinance, and destroyed it, so far as its significance as a memorial is concerned, by turning it into sprinkling, which has no semblance of a resurrection, the Sunday could never have taken its place. So surely does one error prepare the way for another. Man’s ideas of the fitness of things have nothing to do with divine revelation. What does the word of God require? By this, let everything be tested.WDUS 129.9

    On the reckoning of time, I will remark that Sunday does indeed begin at midnight, but the first day of the week never did! Sunday is of heathen origin-a heathen period of reckoning-beginning at midnight. But first-day is God’s time, beginning at the evening, when the sun sets. The meeting at Troas did not convene on Sunday, but on the evening of the first day of the week. It continued over unto Sunday, i. e., till after midnight, and Sunday morning Paul took his journey. That the Lord’s supper was celebrated in the early part of the evening is purely an assumption. Indeed, it is useless to expect anything but assumption from Eld. Vogel, while he advocates a theory for which there is no Bible proof.WDUS 129.10

    Mr. Campbell’s words set a strong seal of condemnation upon this whole Sunday system, most clearly showing it to be will-worship; and, as ‘all will-worship is a disparagement of the worship appointed of God,’ Sunday, of heathen origin, never commanded in the Scriptures, disparages the worship of God appointed in the sanctifying of the memorial of His rest.WDUS 129.11

    To show the difference in the argument for the two institutions, and the impossibility of admitting the Sunday innovation, I notice:—WDUS 129.12

    1. It has been shown that the seventh-day Sabbath was sanctified at the end of creation week, because God rested from his work on that day. Jehovah himself said, ‘therefore’—for this reason—‘the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’WDUS 129.13

    2. It was distinct from all yearly sabbaths, being based on the facts of creation. It was an institution as old as the heavens and the earth; coming to us from Eden; as old as the marriage institution, which was not the case with the ceremonial sabbaths.WDUS 130.1

    3. It was the rest day of the Almighty. He did not rest from his work on any of the yearly sabbaths. While they were peculiar to the Jewish system, it was emphatically ‘the Sabbath of the Lord.’WDUS 130.2

    4. God spake it with his own voice. The other sabbaths were revealed through Moses.WDUS 130.3

    5. God himself wrote the Sabbath precept on tables of stone. The Other sabbaths were not so written.WDUS 130.4

    6. It was put into the ark, a part of that moral law over which the priests ministered in the temple of God.WDUS 130.5

    7. Eld. Vogel has twice said that the seventh-day Sabbath might take the article ‘by emphatic distinction,’ which is true only because it was emphatically distinguished from the yearly sabbaths. Though in his argument he denied that there was any distinction, the ‘logic of facts’ compelled him to acknowledge the distinction, and an ‘emphatic’ one, too.WDUS 130.6

    8. It has been abundantly proved that ‘the law’ which God gave to Israel, which is always taught in ‘the Scriptures,’ is the rule of right in this dispensation; that it is not ‘made void;’ that it proves all, both Jews and Gentiles, sinners; and it will be the rule of judgment in the great day.WDUS 130.7

    9. The New Testament recognizes-not only the obligation of the law, as a whole, but-the perpetuity of the Sabbath, by many direct statements of what was done on ‘the Sabbath day.’WDUS 130.8

    10. When referring to these events, the book of Acts speaks of ‘every Sabbath day,’ referring to every seventh day only; which proves that the term Sabbath does not apply to the first day of the week; which proves again that Isaiah did not refer to the first day when he spoke of the Sabbath.WDUS 130.9

    11. Jesus said, The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath day; and it is referred to in Revelation 1:10, as the Lord’s day.WDUS 130.10

    12, Nothing has been presented to offset this array of important Bible truths, but inferences drawn from assumptions, the assumptions themselves being disproved by the most eminent and able of Sunday adherents! A weaker cause than that of Sunday, no man ever undertook to advocate. A more evident case of will-worship was never traditionized into a professed Christian duty.WDUS 130.11

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