Both Sides

Both Sides

R. F. Cottrell

Published at the Advent Review Office, Rochester, N. Y.

This Tract contains a friendly letter by E. Miller Jr., and a candid reply by R. F. Cottrell. The former thinks that Christians should not observe the Sabbath; the latter teaches that the Sabbath was “made for man” to observe in all dispensations. BOS 1.1

The letter and the reply were both published in the Review, Vol. IV. No. 10. One reason why we give them in this form for much wider circulation, is this: The Advent Harbinger for Sept. 24th, 1853, copied from the Review the letter without giving the reply with it, or even stating that it had been replied to. A singular course this, we think, for that paper which has made such high professions of free investigation! BOS 1.2

The Harbinger states (see its rules of discussion) that “it is open for the free investigation of all Bible doctrines.” Then why give one side and suppress the other, as in the case of the letter and the reply? If it be said that the Sabbath is not a “Bible question.” then we ask, why give one side of it? Does not common honesty say, in a case like this, Give both sides or none? The Review gave both the letter and the reply that its readers might compare them, and decide for themselves. The Harbinger gives but one side, with the following note, calculated to deceive its readers relative to the Lord’s Sabbath, and prejudice them against the Review and its conductors. Let the candid judge whether acts of this kind are not more worthy a Catholic Priest, than a Protestant Editor, who has for years been talking of free investigation? BOS 1.3

“We have repeatodly published that if the advocates of the Jewish Sabbath would present one plain declaration from the Bible that Christians are required to keep that day, we would believe. By the equivocating course the conductors of the Review have taken in the matter, by asking us to produce the same kind of evidence on other subjects, they have tacitly acknowledged that the Bible does not furnish one plain declaration that it is the duty of Christians, or any body under the Gospel dispensation to keep the Jewish or Seventh Day Sabbath. We have considered their evasive offset to our unanswerable request unworthy of notice. Bro. E. Miller, Jr., however, has given the following able article in reply to their quibbles. It may subserve the cause of truth, and we therefore copy it from the Review of September 13.” BOS 2.1

In reply to this note we would say that the Review teaches the weekly Sabbath mentioned in both Testaments, which is certainly binding on Christians, unless it has been abolished. The Harbinger affirms that the Sabbath has been abolished. This it should prove. The Review has justly called for proof in the following request. BOS 2.2

A Request.-Those who teach that there is no Sabbath for the gospel dispensation, are requested to give us on plain text from the New Testament that teaches that the seventh-day Sabbath has been abolished. When any one will do this, we will notice it in the Review. BOS 2.3

This request has been repeated in eight or ten numbers of the Review, the last four months, yet no one has presented the text or texts that declare the seventh-day Sabbath abolished. BOS 2.4

But the Harbinger says that if the advocates of the Sabbath would “present one plain declaration from the Bible that Christians are required to keep that day, we would believe.” The mocking priests said of Jesus, “Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” Jesus did not come down from the cross to remove their doubts; neither has the great God repeated the fourth commandment a second time in the New Testament, for fear the caviler might have a chance to cavil. Why should a second edition of the Sabbath law be given, unless the first were abolished? The request of the Harbinger is unjust. When it will prove by plain testimony the first edition of the fourth commandment abolished, then we will either show a second edition from the New Testament, or give up the Sabbath. We teach the Sabbath of the Bible. Let those who assert that it is abolished, produce one plain text to prove their assertion. This is a reasonable request. Will they produce the text? BOS 2.5

We want none of their inferences from 2 Corinthians 3; Romans 14; Colossians 2:14-17, which have been a hundred times repeated. They should not be allowed in a case like this. God gave the Sabbath law in the plainest language possible; and no man should be convinced that it has been abolished, unless he can find testimony as positive and plain, coming from as high authority. BOS 3.1

Romans 14, does not mention the Sabbath. 2 Corinthians 3, speaks of two ministrations of the law of God. That the ministration of death could be abolished, and give place to the ministration of the Spirit without affecting the law, is evident. Colossians 2:16, reads, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon or of the sabbath-days.” That these sabbath-days, or sabbaths, here associated with meat, drink, holy day and the new moon, are the annual sabbaths of the Jews, associated with the same ordinances in Leviticus 23, is perfectly plain. The text has no reference to the Sabbath of the Lord our God. But admitting that the seventh-day Sabbath is meant, then what is gained? Verily nothing; for not a word is said about its being abolished. Men may infer that the Sabbath is included in the “hand-writing of ordinances,” mentioned in verse 14, or that it is referred to in verse 16; but such inferences should not be considered of the least weight in such a case as this, in the absence of plain and direct testimony. BOS 3.2

Behold the display of Divine Power at the giving of the ten commandments. The smoke ascended from Mount Sinal as the smoke of a great furnace; the lightnings flashed, and the thunders of Jehovah rolled down its base. God had descended upon it in awful grandeur, to speak in the ears of all the people the ten precepts of his holy law. These precepts were of such a character, of such vast importance, that the great Law-giver did not leave them for man to write; but with his finger engraved them in tables of stone. Behold them placed in the beautiful ark, overlaid and inlaid with the purest gold. Mark well the victories won by Israel, when with the ark of God they crossed Jordan, marched around Jericho, and went forth to battle. See the ark put in the Most Holy of the earthly Sanctuary. It was the center of their religious system, it was the glory of Israel. The fourth commandment was in that ark; and for its violation the greatest curses are pronounced by the prophets; and for the observance of the Sabbath, the greatest blessings are promised. And how preposterous the supposition that the Almighty, through his Son Jesus Christ, should abolish his Sabbath, without giving one plain testimony to the fact in the Book of Inspiration. And how awfully presumptuous for men to go on in violation of the fourth commandment, and risk their eternal salvation upon mere inferences!! May God help the reader to feel the force of the truth we are here stating. BOS 4.1

And we should not expect that such a momentous event as the abrogation of God’s law, or even the Sabbath bath precept, would take place without being foretold by the prophets. God by the prophets has not only revealed the great events connected with his people, or in which his people have a special interest, but has by them pointed out those events which are more minute. BOS 4.2

Now, if the Lord’s Sabbath has been abolished, where have the prophets foretold the event? “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revcaleth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. As none of the prophets have foretold the abolition of the Sabbath, and as none of the apostles have recorded such an event, we are certain that no such event ever occurred. BOS 5.1

To trample underfoot the fourth commandment because it is not given a second time in the New Testament and to teach its abolition, with nothing but unwarrantable inferences from a few texts that do not mention the Sabbath of the Lord, is the height of presumption. BOS 5.2