A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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ELDER PETER VOGEL’S FIFTH AFFIRMATIVE

Having both the third and fourth negatives to review, and wishing to present a brief summary, I shall use the utmost brevity, intending to close with this number, unless Bro. W. violates the rules of debate in his rejoinder. WDUS 138.12

I did not say that “they who rely upon the word of God are only babes,” but that babes, because ‘unskilled,’ can do little else. And while Paul speaks of ‘higher truths,’ in Hebrews 5:13, 14, they are truths gathered by inference, ‘mere deductions,’ from various Old and New Testament facts, as Paul had just been gathering, and upbraided the people, not only for insufficient attainments to gather and ‘teach’ them themselves, but also for inability to ‘hear them.’ What ‘pious frauds’ Paul was guilty of! WDUS 138.13

We are abundantly told what Campbell, McGarvey and others teach, but in my simplicity I supposed the question was, “Do the Scriptures teach?” Had I only understood this matter sooner, what quotations might I have not made from Eld. W.’s brethren! Nay; as Beecher said of Calvin, so say I of others: “My first desire is to know what is true; and then I am very glad if Calvin agrees with me, but if he don’t, so much the worse for him.” WDUS 138.14

‘Sunday’ is a term of heathen origin (and, no doubt, the heathens created the day itself!); therefore, it cannot be put to a sacred, scriptural use! Bread and wine were offered by heathens to their gods; therefore, the Lord’s Supper is a heathen institution! Well, logic is logic! WDUS 138.15

The Babylonians and the Romans reckoned their days from midnight to midnight (they were heathens, you know); therefore, the Lord can’t. Naughty heathens, these, to estop the Lord! WDUS 139.1

John 19:14, “It was about the sixth hour.” True, ‘about’ is indefinite, but not sufficiently so as to convert the sixth into the third hour. Nor is it at all admissible to change sixth into third. Anderson’s translation was from a text that read third, but at the time of his death he was at work upon a better text. The quotations from Bloomfield and Clarke amount to nothing; for (1) But few manuscripts use characters instead of words to express numbers. (2) Even when characters are employed the chances for mistakes are overrated. The Greek letter for 3 has three different forms, and that for 6 has four; only one of the first three and one of the last four can be at all mistaken for each other, and even these are less alike than our numerals 8 and 3. A more likely presumption is, that some copyist supposed, from his knowledge of the other Gospels, and on the assumption that all used the same reckoning, that his predecessor had made a mistake which he felt it duty to correct. (3) But the most decisive fact, and that which places this matter beyond dispute, is this: The three oldest and best manuscripts, the Alexandrian, the Vatican, and the Sinaitie (the united testimony of which neither Bloomfield nor Clarke had) agree in reading ‘the sixth hour.’ “These three manuscripts,” says Tischendorf, “stand at the head of all ancient copies of the N. T., and it is by their standard that both the early editions of the Greek text and the modern versions are to be compared and corrected.” Again; in John 1:39 we read, “They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day. It was about the tenth hour.” The conjunction ‘for,’ in the Common Version, is rejected by the three manuscripts above named. Had John used the Jewish mode of reckoning, the tenth hour would have been four o’clock, and the expression, ‘abode with him that day,’ would be out of place. There is no mistaking the reckoning John followed. And this fixes the reckoning of Acts 20:7, in spite of all the learned authorities which my brother may accumulate. WDUS 139.2

Others may apologize for Paul’s traveling on the First Day of Acts 20:7, I know he did not travel. He traveled, however, both the preceding Lord’s Day and the Sabbath before that; hence I do not hesitate to do likewise when necessity requires. By ‘the logic of facts’ I set aside McGarvey’s comment. He is no ‘oracle.’ As a people we acknowledge none but ‘the living oracles.’ WDUS 139.3

Because ‘Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus,’ my brother thinks the ship was under his control. This by no means follows. The vessel had its course marked out, and Paul could only have reached Ephesus by boarding another vessel, as he did on other occasions. The delay would have been small could he have controlled the vessel and gone to Ephesus; but to change once, perhaps twice, this would have caused much delay. WDUS 139.4

All the rules regulating Sunday observance are called for. This demand would be just were we under the law. Under the gospel we are ‘sons’ and are not governed after the manner of ‘servants.’ It is sufficient for a son to know that the day is ‘the Lord’s.’ WDUS 139.5

The call for proof that the Jews ended their weeks with sunrising on Sunday, will be unheeded. The proof has been given, and he has seen fit to ignore it; so it must go to the reader without a reply. WDUS 139.6

The assertion that the ‘eating of the passover’ of John 18:28, and the statement that Jesus ate it before the appointed time, thus sinning! and also the assertion that the weekly and yearly sabbaths came in conjunction that year, need no reply, having been forestalled in my third affirmative. WDUS 139.7

The quotation from Campbell on will-worship is perfectly gratuitous. I can show, and have shown, ‘an explicit revelation of the will of heaven,’ as my summary will show. WDUS 139.8

Eld. W. closes his third negative with an attempted exhibit of the difference between the argument for the Sabbath and Sunday. Every item, save one, has been considered before. No. 11, for example, “The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath,” was shown to be untrue in the sense he takes it. On the contrary, I proved that every Jew is lord of the Sabbath in the same sense and to the same extent claimed by Jesus in Mark 2:27. See 1st neg., 3rd prop., par. marked 3, near the end. The facts in No. 7 were shown to prove the Sabbath a positive institution. Indeed, I gave eleven different proofs of its being positive, without reply. WDUS 139.9

No. 6 contains a new statement to this effect: The Sabbath commandment was put into the midst of moral commandments; therefore, it is moral! That is, if a negro were among nine white men, and engaged in every respect as they are, it would prove him white! No; the Sabbath commandment, which is wholly positive-commemorative and typical-was, no doubt, put into the very midst of other constitutional precepts, in their nature moral, though then given as if positive, to rebuke those who would divide into two laws what God has joined into one. WDUS 140.1

REVIEW OF FOURTH NEGATIVE

For some reason my brother has found it more convenient to accuse me of dishonest dealing, and to declare how he has lost respect for me, than to test my statement by calling for the proffered names. No doubt, this is honorable and worthy of all respect. WDUS 140.2

1. Paul indeed says that we are yet ‘groaning for redemption,’ but it is ‘for the redemption of our body;’ i. e., for the consummation in ourselves of what Christ has long since consummated for us. When Jesus “was delivered for our of fences, and was raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25) He had completed the remedy for our sins: God could “be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Jesus rested from the preparation of the remedy; it is ours now to take it and experience its salutary effects—‘the redemption of our body,’ etc, etc. “This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till [as a result] his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sactified.” Hebrews 10:12-14. WDUS 140.3

2.Were it even true that I have nothing but inference, how would this dispose of my argument in favor of the legitimacy of inference? ‘Is this reasoning?’ WDUS 140.4

3. If the house of Revelation 1:10 is built on sand, ‘this is the Lord’s doing.’ He, not I, must bear the blame. WDUS 140.5

4. The meaning of legoo is material. Logia is the fruit of the tree legoo. “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs?” My brief, definition, on the basis of Liddell and Scott, is the substance of their longer one, and was given as such. WDUS 140.6

5. We are now informed that in the sentence, ‘All the institutions of the gospel are positive,’ of denotes origin. Glad to hear it. Perhaps Eld. W. can now see that when the Lexicons say that kuriakos (Lordic), in Revelation 1:10, denotes of the Lord Jesus, as well as ‘respecting’ Him, they mean that the day originated with Him. It is, hence, ‘of the gospel,’ and so ‘positive.’ After all, then, the ‘concession’ is a concession. What ‘perversion!’ yea, what ‘call for pity!’ WDUS 140.7

6. “Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith” is a literal version of Hebrews 12. WDUS 140.8

2. The article here is not the result of renewed mention, renewed from chap 11.; for that would make Jesus ‘the author and finisher’ of the Mosaic dispensation! The article can here denote only that which is ‘the faith’ ‘by pre-eminence,’ namely, the gospel. As for 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10, I did it no violence; Paul himself makes a present application of that quotation. To refer it to the future, this is ‘garbling,’ ay, ‘wresting.’ WDUS 140.9

7. I did not reason, says my brother, in my reply to his deduction of proprietor ship from the statement that all things were made ‘for’ Christ. Very true; absurdities are not to be reasoned with any more than air-castles are to be bombarded. They need but to be unmasked to die of their own ridiculousness. WDUS 140.10

8. The prophecy respecting new heavens and earth (Isaiah 65) finds indeed a (second) fulfillment when applied as in 2 Peter 3. and Revelation 21. This new heaven and earth know neither sin (Revelation 22:15) ner death (Revelation 21:4), whereas Isaiah speaks of both (ver. 20); in the one they do not marry (Matthew 22:30), in the other they bear children (Isaiah 65:23). In the primary application of Isaiah’s new heavens and earth the Jews reject the Savior and the Gentiles accept the gospel (Isaiah 66:5, etc.); also the Jews, finally converted, will be successful missionaries among the Gentiles (ver. 18-21). This marks it as primarily applying to the gospel dispensation. Nor can verse 23 be construed into a recognition of the existence of the Sabbath any more than into that of the Jewish new moon festival. WDUS 140.11

“If Eld. Vogel gets there he will have to be converted from his present position!” Here we get a glimpse of Eld. W.’s uncharitable creed. A mistake of the. head, however true the heart and devoted the life, will consign one to perdition! This may smack of ‘law,’ but not of ‘grace.’ See, too, how presumptuously he impugns the motives of all those not with him on the Sabbath question: “They are determined to be satisfied with it [the testimony for the First Day], however contradictory it may be!” When a man forsakes the faith of his kin at the risk of his life, and for no other gain than the truth can yield, is he ‘determined’ to be wrong? Shame on the pen that can write it! WDUS 140.12

Having neither Jews nor Gentiles, as such, in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28), it is only necessary that I prove the Lord’s Day ‘commanded’ upon Christians. WDUS 141.1

My brother quotes from Campbell, Sherlock, Taylor, Goodman, Burnet, Owen, Hopkins and Baxter, to the effect that only that which is commanded or required by the Lord is acceptable, as a positive institution; and that all positive institutions, of human origin, are will-worship and damnable. To this I have all along given assent. His quotations are a waste of space. It must strike every reader that his space could have been better used by attention to numerous points against him, which he has now no more opportunity to notice. WDUS 141.2

Regarding me as the representative of the ‘Christian’ brotherhood, Eld. W. says: “His [my] acknowledgment that inference is his [my] only dependence, is their acknowledgment.” I have made no such acknowledgment, but have insisted that approved precedent or legitimate inference is a satisfactory source of proof. As Bro. Waggoner represents his brethren by special choice, his prevarication is their falsity. WDUS 141.3

The quotations from Kitto, Campbell and others, are not to the point. If he means anything to the purpose, he means that these men testify that there was no observance of the Lord’s Day for several hundred years after Christ, whereas they mean that there was no human legislation under Christian auspices then. These quotations, then, are wholly foreign to the present proposition, which has only to do with what ‘the Scriptures teach.’ I notice them only because introduced, and so lengthen this article beyond my first intention. Take an example or two. Buck not only says, in the same article quoted from, that “the first day of the week has always been observed by the Christian church,” but gives five New Testament reasons for its observance. And Mr. A. Campbell wrote in 1830: “The Jews were under a government of precepts-we are under a government of principles. Hence all was laid down to them in broad and plain commandments .... duties, accurately defined to the utmost conceivable minutia; insomuch that nothing was left to discretion-nothing to principle. There is nothing like this in the New Institution. We have no ritual, liturgy, nor manual. The New Constitution and Law of Love does no more than institute the converting act, the Lord’s Supper, and the Lord’s Day..... The Lord’s Supper .... and the Lord’s Day, .... though positive institutions, are not presented to Christians accompanied with directions for the mode of celebration, as were the former institutions under the Jewish Age. There were more directions about the celebration of the Passover and the observance of the Sabbath, than are to be found in the whole New Institution. Nay, indeed, there is nothing of the sort in the Christian Economy. No mode of eating the Supper, no mode of observing the Lord’s Day is suggested in the apostolic writings. In this Christians are left to the discretion of full-grown men to the government of principle.”—Chris. Baptist, p. 657. These views Mr. Campbell maintained throughout his studious life. In the very year referred to by Eld. W., though I do not know where he got his quotation, Mr. Campbell wrote against Christmas because it is an ‘unauthorized tradition;’ for, said he, tradition, in the department of religious life, “ought, above every other, to be most scrupulously avoided.”—Mill. Harb. for 1848, p. 17. On page 280 he declares how he adopted the principle, in 1809, a principle held all his life, that “nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the Church, or to be made a test of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament. Nor ought anything to be admitted as of Divine obligation, in the church constitution and management, but what is expressly enjoined by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles upon the New Testament church; either in express terms or by approved precedent.” Continuing this subject, he informs us, pp. 344-5, how this led him to canvass every subject anew, resulting in the rejection of infant baptism and affusion (he was a Presbyterian then) and in the retention of the Lord’s Day. On but a single point I will give a fragment of his reasoning, written more expressly in favor of weekly communion, but equally applicable to the Lord’s Day, and so regarded by himself: “If he [Luke, Acts 20:7] had said that on a first day the disciples assembled to break the loaf, then I would admit that both the Sabbatarians, and the semi-annual or septenial communicants, might find some way of explaining this evidence away. The definite article is, in the Greek and in the English tongue, prefixed to stated times, and its appearance here is not merely definitive of one day, but expressive of a stated or fixed day.”—Chris. System, p. 313. WDUS 141.4

SUMMARY

I take space only to notice a few points; the reader will remember the rest. WDUS 142.1

I. Revelation 1:10 asserts in express terms that there is now a sacred day. Eld. W. has not only admitted this, but has further owned that this passage does not fix upon any day as that day, much less does it name the Sabbath. WDUS 142.2

II. This day is a new institution. The term kuriakos (Lordic or ‘Lord’s’) asserts this in the most explicit manner, being just as decisive and express on this point as baptidzo is on the action of baptism. WDUS 142.3

1. It is a new term, coined by the apostles, and so expresses a new idea. To this there is no reply. I called in vain for a new feature in the sabbatic institution, unexpressed in the Old Testament. WDUS 142.4

2. While the term Lord has been applied to both the Father and the Son, kuriakos is never applied to the Father, or to any institution belonging or having belonged to Him; hence the Lordic day is not the Sabbath day, but a Christic institution. WDUS 142.5

III. Having the most explicit Divine assurance of the existence of a new sacred day-not inference, but express statement-whatever may be necessary to the existence of such an institution, as express command or formal proclamation, though not recorded, is just as certainly known to have a real existence as a house is known to have a foundation. It is so necessary an inference that no express command could be stronger. “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” WDUS 142.6

IV. When the existence of a new institution is not left to inference, there can be no reasonable objection to proving the time of its observance by good precedent and good inference. And this we have in all sufficiency. WDUS 142.7

1. Since no one has ever claimed or can claim any other day for this institution than either the seventh or the first day of the week, every argument offered in favor of a present binding force of the old sabbatic institution, which monopolizes the seventh day, is an argument just as strong in favor of the first day as the time for this new institution. And this argument, so far as the first day is concerned, is intensified by every precedent and inference favoring the first day, so that it must always be stronger than that for the Sabbath can possibly be. WDUS 142.8

2. On the other hand, every argument for the abolition of the Sabbath is not only just so much proof for the Lordic Day as a new institution, but the continued observance by Jewish converts, for a time (if there be any such observance), of the Sabbath under the name of Sabbath, decides in favor of the first day for the new institution; and this decision is intensified by the precedents and inferences respecting the first day. WDUS 142.9

3. The first day is pointed out as a sacred day by the typical meaning of the Pentecost. WDUS 142.10

4. The first day is fraught with many stirring memories and most noted events, pertaining to this dispensation, and so is pre-eminently suited for a commemorative institution. While fitness alone cannot prove the existence of a positive institution, yet, when that existence is known, fitness apprehended is a most beautiful drapery. WDUS 142.11

5. Analogy points to the fact that the rest which Christ’s death and resurrection bring us is memorialized by the Lordic Day. If under the Law the Pentecost could silently point back to the giving of that law, who may deny a similar right to this institution, in its nature a thousand times more vocal? WDUS 142.12

And now, indulgent reader, farewell. The Lord direct us into all truth, and bring us at last to His glorious presence. Amen. WDUS 142.13