Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Ms 3, 1879

Sermon/How to Keep the Sabbath

Emporia, Kansas

May 23, 1879

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 152; CG 533-534.

Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, at Emporia, Kansas, Campground, May 23, 1879

I want to say a few words in reference to the keeping of the Sabbath. This time is God’s time, not ours; when we trespass upon it we are stealing from God. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 1

Some say, I would keep the Sabbath if everybody else kept it. Others say, Oh, if it were convenient I would keep the Sabbath. We are not to fit the Sabbath to our convenience, but we are to bring ourselves to the Sabbath and the holy commandment. And when we make up our minds to do this, we can do it. But when we are continually studying our convenience, it never will be convenient for us to keep the Sabbath. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 2

God has given us the whole of six days in which to do our work and has reserved only one to Himself. This should be a day of blessing to us—a day when we should lay aside all our secular matters and center our thoughts upon God and heaven. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 3

But while we worship God, we are not to consider this a drudgery. The Sabbath of the Lord is to be made a blessing to us and to our children. They are to look upon the Sabbath as a day of delight, a day which God has sanctified; and they will so consider it if they are properly instructed. The parents may take their children outdoors, to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days, and rested on the seventh day, and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature’s God—back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 4

We are not to teach our children that they must not be happy on the Sabbath, that it is wrong to walk out of doors. Oh, no. Christ led His disciples out by the lakeside on the Sabbath day and taught them. His sermons on the Sabbath were not always preached within enclosed walls. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 5

We should seek to make the Sabbath of the Lord honorable. I believe the reason why so many of our people are in darkness is because they treat the Sabbath lightly. They do not regard it with the sacredness that they should. “Why,” says one, “can we not take the sheep out of the pit on the Sabbath day?” Yes; but it seems in many cases that they let matters run until more of this kind of work is done than need really be. We are to honor God by observing His Sabbath, not taking the only time that He has sanctified and blessed and set apart for Himself, and appropriate this to our own use. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 6

Many say they would keep the Sabbath if it were convenient to do so. But this day is not yours; it is God’s day, and you have no more right to take it than you have to steal my purse. God has reserved it, sanctified and blessed it; and it is your duty to devote this time to His service, to make it honorable, to call it a delight. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 7

There are among the many assembled here small children. Don’t let these children, when you come to meeting, be left to play about the grounds. It is not right. Let your children understand that this is the Sabbath of the Lord, that it is sacred time. You can give them excellent lessons upon this subject. Bring your children to Christ as the mothers brought them anciently. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 8

Then, too, there are afflicted ones on this campground. If tomorrow there should be fasting and prayer in behalf of these cases, I know it would meet the Spirit of the Lord. There is our dear Brother Ayers. He cannot live long. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 9

Death is surely feeling for him. We know that soon our brother will be in his icy embrace unless the God of heaven shall uphold him and rise him up. Let us remember these afflicted ones. Christ healed the withered hand upon the Sabbath day. He wrought on the right hand and on the left on the Sabbath day. Let us humble our hearts before God, and He will come in and work abundantly for us. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 10

There are those who profess to be Sabbath-keepers who are letting the banner trail in the dust. We want to be setting our hearts right before God. We do not want to be conformed to the world; we do not want to link the hands of our children with worldlings; yet at the same time we want to be kind and courteous to all, to have Christian politeness that we may win all possible to take their stand on the platform of eternal truth. While we are associated with unbelievers, we want to be a blessing to them. We should not act as they act and dress as they dress. We need to stand in that position where we shall have our conversation in heaven, from whence we look for the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 11

Brethren and sisters, can you not see in anything that has been said tonight some reason why you have backslidden from God, where there has been deficiency in keeping the fourth commandment just as God has given it? Can you not assign a reason why you are separated from God? why your souls are not more free? why the light of heaven does not shine upon you? Is it not because you have been slack, failing to improve the light and privileges that have come across your pathway? 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 12

We do not expect that the world will appreciate our reasons for this strictness upon the Sabbath day. John says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” [1 John 3:1.] And so while the world may not appreciate our views, we know that this was the course pursued toward the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory who clothed His divinity with humanity and came down to our world that He might elevate the human race from their degradation. John declares that the world knoweth us not because it knew Him not. 3LtMs, Ms 3, 1879, par. 13