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    THE QUESTION STATED

    The subject of the change of the Sabbath and of the proper day to be observed by Christians, is taking a prominent place, not only in the theological, but also in the political, world. Within the last quarter of a century many thousands have become convinced that there is no authority in the Bible for the observance of the first day of the week, and have, accordingly, turned to the observance of the seventh day. Considering that the observance of the seventh day is both unpopular and inconvenient, and that in some localities the laws are framed to make such observance as difficult as possible, it would be strange indeed if everyone who embraced the faith should hold out to the end. If we take the number of converts reported in the most popular revivals, where everything conspires to make the way easy, it is doubtful whether five percent, of the whole can be found in the ranks of Christian workers, five years after their professed conversion. Such being the case, it appears singular to see what an ado is made when a Sabbath-keeper forsakes the faith.OGSO 7.1

    Of course some ministers, as well as others, have deserted the narrow way. And why not? Ministers have like passions as other men; they are possessed with all the weaknesses of human nature, as well as other men; they are moved by worldly influences, by selfish feelings, as well as other men; and too often influences are thrown around them calculated to arouse their worldly ambition, to an extent which few other men can know. Considering the difficulties that surround the laborers in this cause, compared with the easy lot of ministers in large and popular denominations, we can only regard it as an evidence of the power of the truth, as a special work of divine grace, that the proportion who backslide from the faith and the work is so very small. It is not a strange idea to us that the faith of all shall be tried; that a shaking time is before us, and even now is felt, in which, to use the words of Scripture on another subject, only that which cannot be shaken will remain.OGSO 8.1

    There lies before me an article written by one who formerly observed and advocated the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. In this article the view held by Seventh-day Adventists on the question, Who changed the Sabbath? is assailed. It is not my design to follow all the wanderings of this writer, but simply to quote enough from him so that the reader may know just what is the point in dispute, and then, leaving him, to go on with a direct argument which will show the falsity of his charge, by setting forth the truth in the matter.OGSO 8.2

    His reason for a special assault upon this point is that, as he says, it lies at the foundation of the faith of Seventh-day Adventists, namely, that Sunday-keeping will yet become the mark of the beast. On this he says:-OGSO 8.3

    “My experience is that a belief of this as a fact induces more persons to give up Sunday for Saturday than all other arguments made by the Seventh-day people. Convince a man that Sunday-keeping is only a Catholic institution, a rival to the Lord’s Sabbath, and hateful to God, and, of course, if he has any conscience, he will keep it no longer. Every one of them accepts this as a historical fact in fulfillment of Daniel 7:25. Indeed, this is the one main pillar in their whole system, upon which all the rest depends. If their position on this point is false, then their whole system of prophetic interpretation is also falser as they will readily admit.”OGSO 9.1

    Our system of faith is largely based on our interpretation of this prophecy; but we have never gone so far as to assert that if our faith on this point is wrong, then the whole literal system of prophetic interpretation is false.OGSO 9.2

    Proceeding to combat the claim that the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday, the assailant says:-OGSO 9.3

    “It would seem that such a bold and radical position should be supported by the clearest and most abundant evidence. They claim it is an actual historical fact that at a certain time, about 500 after Christ, the Pope did change the Sabbath to Sunday. If this be so, of course they should be able to produce reliable historical proof for it, giving the time, place, manner, facts, and reasons for so remarkable an occurrence. I have before me two books written expressly to prove this assertion. They are, ‘Who Changed the Sabbath?’ 24 pages, and ‘Marvel of Nations,’ 282 pages. But the only proof offered is simply quotations from Catholic catechisms, which claim that their church made the change! And is this all the historical proof they can present on this point? Yes, for all that the Sabbatarian writers and scholars for the last 200 years have been able to find is just this and nothing more. Not one single historian in all the annals of the world has ever stated that the Pope changed the Sabbath. For twenty-eight years I longed for such a testimony, but found it not.”OGSO 9.4

    I have thus largely quoted, as this paragraph gives the complete substance of his whole article, that the reader may see exactly what is his claim. The paragraph affords much food for reflection, and opens before our view a large amount of false reasoning.OGSO 10.1

    1. We learn that for twenty-eight years he longed for what he considered evidence essential to establish the very foundation of the faith that he preached, “but found it not”! While this may or may not be hard on our faith, it is very discreditable to his experience in the ministry, considering that he was so strong and confident in his assertions that the faith he preached was fully and completely proved. His longing for twenty-eight years for proof which he could consider satisfactory shows that he was not as confident as he assumed to be. Is he now?OGSO 10.2

    2. He does not seem to realize that the question that should govern us on all points of duty is, What say the Scriptures? I have always claimed, and still claim, that proof of the real origin of the Sunday-sabbath is a secondary matter, while it is admitted by very many of its most ardent and learned advocates that its origin cannot be traced to any requirement in the Scriptures. And whether they confess it or not, the fact remains that it is not of Bible origin, plain to the sight of everyone who reads his Bible with any care. A man, “if he has any conscience,” will not wait to settle the question of its origin, if he has set before him the evidence that God’s law requires the observance of the seventh day, and that the Bible is entirely silent in regard to any other day to be observed as a weekly Sabbath.OGSO 10.3

    3. He entirely evades the issue, instead of settling it, when he offers proof that the Christians met for worship on the first day of the week in the days immediately following the apostles. Query: Did they observe it as a Sabbath, or day of rest from secular labor? He knows very well that they did not. He knows, also, if he has ever examined history on the subject, that in those very days Christians assembled for worship on the sixth day also, in commemoration of the death of the Lord, and that neither the first nor the sixth was held as a Sabbath till after the celebrated decree of Constantine for resting on the venerable day of the sun. After that time it was adopted by the Church of Rome and made the “chief festival of the church because it was easier to reach the people if they kept the same day that was popularized by the emperor, and to which they were allied in their adoration of the sun.OGSO 11.1

    4. He surely cannot be so ignorant of history as to believe, though he affirms it, that the observance of the first day of the week as a day of worship was universal among Christians in “the days immediately following the apostles.” I am aware that room for a world of quibbling is opened under the expression, “a day of worship;” because in that manner may be brought in the custom of holding religious worship, and thence repairing to their usual avocations on that day. But that would be a cavil, for he is now considering the erection of the first day as a Sabbath; and the fact that they met for worship on that day is not proof, inasmuch as the proof is clear that they did not rest from labor upon it. After the time of Constantine’s decree, and after the Catholic Church had adopted it as the day of special observance, and put the seventh day under its ban, there were many in the Eastern churches who still observed the seventh day, who resisted the usurpation of the Romish Church; and the anathemas of the council held at Laodicea were among the means of bringing them to submit to the change.OGSO 11.2

    5. Before presenting direct evidence on the question, I will say something on the flourish that is made over our not being able to give time, place, manner, facts, and reasons of the Papacy’s erecting the Sunday-sabbath institution. I propose to show that all this can be done, definitely and to a certainty. But I insist that it is not necessary to our position; our faith may be fully and sufficiently established without doing half that he asks. He will find himself by no means so well prepared to defend the Sunday-sabbath as we are to assail it. Let us institute a few comparisons:-OGSO 12.1

    Suppose that I owe the objector a sum of money; in payment I offer him a bill which he claims is counterfeit. In proof he shows: (a) hat the detector gives a very accurate description of the genuine, but this does not resemble it in a single feature. This he thinks ought to settle the matter. (b) here is a notorious counterfeiter at hand, who has literally flooded the land with counterfeits; and he has executed them so well that the majority prefer them to the genuine. Of course this emboldens him in his work, and he does not deny his occupation; he rather boasts of his skill in counterfeiting. He comes forward and says that he made that bill; he declares that is one of the best that he ever made. He has even held it up as evidence of his great ability as a counterfeiter. (c) Ever since it has been in circulation, there have been officers of the Government who pronounced it a counterfeit. It is further proved that its circulation was resisted by the people, but the counterfeiter got together a company of his confederates, and they resolved to boycott, to waylay, to maltreat all those who would not receive it. And it is shown that these were the means by which it came to be regarded as of any value. (d) It is further shown that in all places where he had the controlling influence, they abused and even put to death those who should be found in possession of the genuine. All this the objector offers, to justify his refusal to accept my bill.OGSO 12.2

    But to this I make, reply, that, (a) we cannot take the word of the counterfeiter; his testimony is ruled out. (b) It is admitted that everything alleged against the counterfeiter is true, except as regards this particular bill (c) It has for so long a time been received as valuable, that custom establishes the fact of its value. Evidences to the contrary are of no weight, (d) But, as most decisive of all, I call upon my friend to show the time, place, and manner in which this particular bill was made; he must show the identical tools which were used, and he must plainly declare the facts and reasons which induced the counterfeiter to make this bill. I do not claim that all this can be done in regard to the other counterfeits; it is enough that they stand condemned by the detector. But this is an exceptional case. In regard to this bill I say that he must either show all this, or accept the bill, or lose his debt.OGSO 13.1

    It is probable that even after all this array of proofs he might still be so exacting as to refuse to receive the bill. But he should not if he consents to accept the Sunday when it is so plainly condemned by the detector.OGSO 14.1

    6. To show that I am correct in saying that his claim in regard to this particular institution is exceptional and unreasonable, I now call upon him to show the origin of infant baptism. Let him declare to us the time, place, and manner in which it was instituted. I shall not accept, as proof in the case, instances of its being practiced; these are evidences of its existence, but not of its institution or origin. Let him show the particular facts and reasons which first led to its practice, and when I prove that it was practiced in the days immediately following the apostles, as I hereby offer to do, let him accept it as a valid, Christian ordinance, or renounce the untenable ground upon which he stands. Nor can he evade this by saying that it may be proved that they held meeting for worship on Sunday earlier than the time of the first mention of infant baptism, for meeting for worship on that day gives it no pre-eminence over the sixth day, on which also they held meetings; and I offer to prove that infant baptism was practiced nearly two centuries before there was any observance of the first day, any rest from secular labor required upon it, or any church law or constitution for its observance. If he doubts my ability to do this, it can easily be tested. I am willing to be held to all my offers whenever he comes forward to give the counter evidence.OGSO 14.2

    7. Infant baptism does not stand alone antedating Sunday-keeping. With it we find sprinkling, first in connection with immersion and then as a substitute for immersion, infant communion, consecrating water in baptism, belief in baptismal regeneration, and many other superstitions. Every one of these can plead the authority of the Fathers, antiquity, the days following the apostles, etc. And every one of them was considered pious and Christian before there was any idea of piety connected with any manner of keeping Sunday. And every one of them claimed, not the teachings of the apostles, but “apostolic traditions.”OGSO 15.1

    8. Not to be tedious, Ý will notice just one point more: He lays great stress on finding that meetings were held on Sunday in the days immediately following the apostles, and long before the rise of the Papal church. But he cannot find any Sunday institution in those days. And if he could, what then? Paul said the mystery of iniquity was already working in his day, and every true Protestant believes that the mystery of iniquity gave rise to that man of sin-the Papacy. Can the objector point to a single act in the working of that mystery of iniquity in Paul’s day, or in the days immediately following the apostles? It was working then, and continued to work until the man of sin stood in full view. But will he undertake to specify a single act in its working in those days? I confidently take this position, and respectfully ask any and all to show that it is not reasonable and just; namely, that practice or institution in the church, not ordained by divine authority, not plainly proved in the Scriptures, which can be traced to the time nearest to the days of the apostles, has the strongest claim to stand first in the working of that mystery of iniquity! If Sunday-keeping stands first among the practices not taught in the Scriptures, then its claim is strongest to be first in the working referred to by the apostle. Paul also said that after his departing grievous wolves should enter in among them, and of their own selves should men arise, speaking perverse things, etc. Admitted that a practice is proved to have existed immediately after the days of Peter and Paul; if it is not authorized by the Scriptures, it is identified as being among the perverse things brought in by grievous wolves, and is to be classed as the working of the mystery of iniquity, by which that man of sin was brought to view. It was his special delight to change the times and laws of the Most High, and to multiply man-made institutions, and to compel their observance as a part of Christianity.OGSO 15.2

    I might carry much further the comparison between Sunday-keeping and other innovations and superstitions which had their origin in the effort to amalgamate Christianity and paganism. Many of the Fathers had been pagans, not a few of them pagan philosophers, and these were not slow to assume the position of teachers, and to leave their fancies and vagaries on record as the faith of the church. But with all the warnings of the apostles, with all the exhortations to cling to the law and the testimony alone, to the Scriptures of truth, they who follow these false lights away from the words of life, are without excuse.OGSO 16.1

    Having stated the claims of the opposition, so that all readers may see clearly the point of all the following testimony, we are now at liberty to leave the caviler and to proceed to the simple argument on the facts of the case.OGSO 17.1

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