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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath - Contents
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    I will proceed with my affirmative argument, leaving Eld. W.’s last paper to be reviewed in my next.WDUS 31.2

    IV. The sabbath was given by Moses in a sense that circumcision was not. But Moses gave circumcision as a pre-existent institution, incorporated into the law. Genesis 17:9-14.; Leviticus 12:1-3. If, therefore, the sabbath was given by him in a different sense, it was not pre-existent, but originated with him.WDUS 31.3

    John 7:22-23. “Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it was of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcised a man. It a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken [marg. without breaking the law of Moses (i.e. the sabbath),] are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?”WDUS 31.4

    1. The king’s translators placed “with out breaking the law of Moses” in the margin, accompanied by parallels (||), to indicate that in their judgment it is equal to the rendition in the body of the work.WDUS 31.5

    2. “The Students’ Treasury Bible,” published by J. B. Lippincott & Co., and prepared by “a late Regius Professor of Biblical Criticism and Biblical Antiquities,” retains the marginal reading of the Common Version because the rendering of the body of the work is considered to be “defective.”WDUS 31.6

    3. Thulock, a commentator of no mean ability and repute, in his work on John, interprets this passage in accordance with the English marginal reading. And his testimony has more than ordinary weight since it is against the tenets of his school. What but stubborn necessity could have wrung from him the following paraphrase: “Ye transgress the law (the sabbath) to perform a sacred, beneficent work (circumcision,) on that one portion of man; will you be angry at me, when I perform a work with the same characteristics, on the entire man?” P. 202.WDUS 31.7

    But I do not rest my cause on the authority of others. A good reason stands with me high above all human authority. I submit the following as conclusive proof that the marginal reading is substantially correct, and that the sabbath originated with Moses:WDUS 31.8

    1. If the reading of the, body of the Bible be correct, and it be true, that the sabbath was given at creation, then there is no force in the Savior’s calling attention to the fact that circumcision was not of Moses, but had an earlier existence, since this would be equally true of the sabbath.WDUS 31.9

    2. There is evidently a contrast instituted between the sabbath and circumcision to the effect that one was of Moses in a sense that the other was not. But on the supposition that the sabbath had a prior existence as well as circumcision, such a contrast would be impossible.WDUS 31.10

    3. On the supposition that the sabbath was the older law, the Jews could have replied to Christ effectually and without embarrassment, thus: The older law is set aside by the later, so far as it comes in conflict with it, as when God commanded the Jews to march around Jericho and spoil the city on the sabbath. Joshua 6:2-5, 21. So in the case of our circumcising a man on the sabbath day we obeyed the later law.WDUS 31.11

    4. On the supposition that the sabbath was the later law, and so of Moses in a sense that circumcision was not, and on this only, is there any point in the Savior’s attack upon the Jews. His argument may be stated thus:WDUS 32.1

    a. The sabbath is the later law, since circumcision, though given to you by Moses, is not of Moses, i.e. did not originate with him. The latter law should, as a rule, obtain or have the precedence in case of conflict.WDUS 32.2

    b. But ye on the sabbath day circumcised a man and yet claim not to have violated the law of Moses. You have made the later law yield to the older and think you have done no wrong!WDUS 32.3

    c. How then can you charge upon me a violation of the sabbath, the later law, by following the older, the eternal principle of mercy, in healing a man on the sabbath? You are inconsistent.WDUS 32.4

    d. Moreover, in your case it was a conflict of positive with positive law, in mine of moral with positive. And further, I have in this really followed a later law than the sabbath, a special command of my Father: “The works which my Father hath given me to finish.” John 5:36.WDUS 32.5

    Thus we see the full force of Christ’s charge: “Did not Moses give you the law? and yet none of you keepeth the law? John 7:19.WDUS 32.6

    V. The sabbath was a type. But a type in Eden and before the fall, where Eld. W. places the origin of the sabbath, would have been out of all character. Therefore, it was not given in Eden, and is not based on what my brother calls “primary truth,” since “no typical institution or merely positive duty can grow out of original relations.” And thus is he stripped of the last vestige of difference between the seventh-day and yearly sabbaths, which he so confidently insisted on in his opening article. And when the sabbath is once torn away from Eden where can we so naturally place this typical institution as in the typical dispensation of Moses? Where can we find authority to place it anywhere else?WDUS 32.7

    But was the sabbath a type? So Paul says, Colossians 2:16-17, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow (type) of things to come; but the body (casting the shadow, the antitype) is of Christ (i.e. of the Gospel).” I am not now concerned respecting what the sabbath was a type of, but simply about the fact that it was a type.WDUS 32.8

    The expression “sabbath days” I here understand to refer to the weekly sabbath exclusively. It may be possible, as Mc-knight understands it, that it refers to sabbaths of every description, but it does not seem so to me. Compare 1 Chronicles 23:31., with Colossians 2:16., where the same terms occur.WDUS 32.9

    1. The plural form often refers only to the weekly sabbath.WDUS 32.10

    a. See Ezekiel 20:12-13; Leviticus 19:3-30; 26:1-2.WDUS 32.11

    b. It is common in Greek to use the plural of sabbath for the singular. See e.g., Exodus 16:23, 25, 26, 29.; 20:8[original illegible]9.; Matthew 12:1., where the Greek is plural, but rendered by the singular in English.WDUS 32.12

    These references show that the plural form in Colossians 2:16., is not against me.WDUS 32.13

    2. The “sabbaths” of Colossians 2:16. refer exclusively to the weekly sabbaths, since the seven annual sabbaths are included in and described by the term “holy days” (Gr. heortee.) ForWDUS 32.14

    a. What other office can we assign to heortee in Colossians 2:16.?WDUS 32.15

    b. This term is used in Acts 18:21. to describe Pentecost, one of the annual sabbaths; and in Leviticus 23., it is used to designate every one of the seven yearly sabbaths, being the only term rendered “feast” in that chapter. See vv. 2, 4, 6, 39.WDUS 32.16

    VI. The sabbath was pre-eminently Jewish, given to them only, and observed by them alone.WDUS 32.17

    1. This follows from the fact already noticed, that it was given in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Deuteronomy 5:15.WDUS 32.18

    2. It was commanded to their fathers, but it is nowhere said to have been commanded to any other people.WDUS 32.19

    Jeremiah 17:21 [original illegible] 22. “Thus saith the Lord, Take heed to yourselves and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.”WDUS 32.20

    3. It was a “sign” between God and the Hebrews only.WDUS 33.1

    Ezekiel 20:12, “Moreover also I gave them (the Israelites) my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am Jehovah that sanctify them.”WDUS 33.2

    Exodus 31:13-18. Verily my sabbaths shall ye keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep my sabbaths therefore; for it is holy unto you. * * * * Six days may work be done: but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. * * * Wherefore (all the world? No, but) the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath. * * * * It is a sign between me and the children of Israel: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”WDUS 33.3

    Eld. W. labored to show that the sabbath is not a sign between the Jews and the Gentiles. This man of straw he killed completely; but it is only a man of straw. These passages, however, prove what he does not want them to prove, namely, that the Gentiles had not the sabbath; and hence also that the sabbath was not made at creation, for then they would have had it. Had the sabbath been observed also by the Gentiles, had it been a general thing, it could not have been a special sign. The Masons and the Odd Fellows have signs. A is at the head of both and issues their pass-words. Let the pass-word of the Masons be used also by the Odd Fellows, and it ceases to be a sign by which A distinguishes the Masons. To be a Masonic sign it must be their exclusive property. So let the sabbath be generally observed and it is no longer asignbetween God and the children of Israel. Eld. W. appealed to the wrong passage to sustain his cause.WDUS 33.4

    VII. The sabbath was not given to the Gentiles; hence not at creation, and not even to the Jews till to them as a people.WDUS 33.5

    Exodus 20:10. “But the seventh day is the sabbath of Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” From this it followsWDUS 33.6

    1st. That “strangers” generally did not keep the sabbath, but only such as were slaves to the Hebrews—“thy stranger.”WDUS 33.7

    2nd. When that slave was not “within” the gates of his master, that is, did not work for him, he was not required to keep the sabbath. The reason of this prohibition obviously is that no Jew might work by proxy, just as his “cattle” were not allowed to work for him on that day.WDUS 33.8

    Again, Isaiah 56:1-8. “Keep ye my judgments, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. (2) Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. (3) Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. (4) For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; (5) Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. (6) Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; (7) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in mine house of prayer: their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. [8] The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel [the eunuchs] saith, Yet will I gather others to him, besides those that are gathered to him.”WDUS 33.9

    Isaiah 54-56:8. is a prediction concerning the Gospel Dispensation. [1] Compare Isaiah 54:1, and 56:1. with Galatians 4:27.; also 56:7. with Matthew 21:13. [2] The “stranger” [Gentile] is to have a share in the favors spoken of as well as the Jew. Isaiah 56:3., 6 comp. Acts 10.; Ephesians 1 and 2. [3] The eunuch is to be also admitted with the Jew. Isaiah 56:3-5., 8 comp. Acts 8:26-40. But among the Jews they had no part. Deuteronoy 23:1.WDUS 33.10

    This prepares us to consider the following facts: In enumerating the glorious promises that shall be realized in the New Dispensation, Isaiah calls attention to this: that the “stranger” or Gentile shall be admitted to the keeping of a day here predicted and described by the name of sabbath; hence it follows that under the Old Dispensation the Gentile or stranger had no such right or privilege, that the sabbath was not given to such, nor observed by them. Isaiah 56:3, 6, 7. Had, however, the sabbath been given at creation, or for all mankind, then the Gentile would have been under obligations to keep it during the Old Dispensation as well as the Jew. This seems to me as final. What think you reader?WDUS 33.11

    So far I sum up the argument on this and the former proposition as follows:WDUS 34.1

    I. I have undoubtedly approved precedent or example of keeping the Sabbath since the Exodus, while Eld. W. has not shown and cannot show one before that event.WDUS 34.2

    II. Argument No. iii. gives an express statement that the sabbath was given since the Exode, while there is none in favor of an earlier date, and in the nature of things cannot be, since God cannot lie or contradict Himself.WDUS 34.3

    III. All my other arguments, six in number, necessarily imply the giving of the sabbath since the Exode; and Eld. W. has failed to produce a single necessary implication of the giving of the sabbath at creation.WDUS 34.4

    IV. No argument attempted by Eld W. in favor of the first proposition, even if successful, rises above a probable inference, which we have seen in the very outset “can never outweigh or stand against an approved precedent, a necessary inference, or an express command.”WDUS 34.5

    V. The strength of my position is further seen in this: Suppose now that all my arguments are overthrown but one, then the field is still mine, since, whichever argument stands, it is above the probable, and so beyond the reach of his.WDUS 34.6

    From this also follows this conclusion, namely, that Eld. W. has not established a single probability in favor of the first proposition, since the Bible does not furnish a fair probability against itself.WDUS 34.7

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