“Securing the Sabbath” American Sentinel 10, 36, pp. 283, 284.

THE Scriptures tell us that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27); that is was made by the Lord when he had finished the work of creation (Genesis 2:2, 3), and that it was given by him to man to be a sign between him and those who would honor him by its observance. Ezekiel 20:12, 20.

The observance of the Sabbath is commanded by the law of God, which speaks to all the world. When God spoke his law from Mount Sinai, his voice shook the world (Hebrews 12:26); and we read of that law that “what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The law must therefore be of universal application.

It is the will of God that all men should keep his Sabbath. Not to keep it would be a transgression of his law, and a sin; for “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. And as surely as God is Sovereign of the universe, it is never necessary that any man should do a thing that is contrary to His will. It is never a necessity that any should die. It is certain, therefore, that it is possible for every person to keep the Sabbath. Everyone can secure its rest and its blessings every week, in the year if he wills to do so.

Whether other men keep the Sabbath or not, makes no difference with his own privilege and responsibility in the matter. God made the Sabbath for every person, individually, and it is for each one to accept and observe it, without reference to the course of others. No person can excuse his own wrong-doing by pleading the wrong-doing of his neighbors.

No human law, therefore, can have any place in securing to any person the privilege of keeping the Sabbath. No human law can enforce an obligation that is due to God. Divine obligations were not left to be enforced in that way. God ha snot forbidden sin under penalty of eternal death, and yet left men to secure righteousness by so weak and uncertain a thing as human law.

God has secured righteousness in Sabbath-keeping and in every other requirement of his law, by something infinitely stronger and better than any human enactment, and that is, the power of his own word. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psalm 33:6. By that power which created man in the beginning, he is created anew in Christ, or made righteous. And of this creative power the Sabbath is the weekly reminder.

But it may be said, Ought there not to be a Sabbath law for the benefit of weak-kneed persons who would like to keep the Sabbath, but fear it might go hard with them if they should try it? Ought not places of business to be closed on the Sabbath in order the men may keep it without risking the loss of money or of position? So it may seem to some people; but there is no real support for Sabbath laws in considerations of this kind. No moral strength can be derived through a human law. The person who would like to do right but does not do so for fear of the consequences, is in need of a different aid than any that can be supplied him by human enactments. What he needs if faith, and faith is not a thing of human manufacture; it is the gift of God. And the history of God’s people in all ages shows that faith is able to sustain a person in following his convictions of right, not only without the support of any human law, but in the face of adverse laws and of popular sentiment and custom. (See Hebrews 11.)

He who has God’s support in his course of life, cannot reasonably ask for any other support. He whose god cannot support him in right doing so as to crown the same with success, would better set aside his god at once. That is not the true God,—the Lord of the Sabbath. And if God will care for a person while he is doing wrong—disregarding the divine command—he will certainly do as much for that person when he turns from his wrong-doing and walks in the pathway of obedience.

Let no one image, then, that some human legislation is necessary in order that people may be able to do right. The greatest obstacle to right-doing is the opposition of the devil, working through the natural evil tendencies of every individual heart. And this, with all lesser obstacles, is overcome by the power of the grace of God.

Then if any person wants to keep the Sabbath, let him to so, without clamoring for legislation to clear his pathway of real or imaginary obstacles. God has legislated upon Sabbath observance in his own law, and there is no question but that he has covered the subject fully. His word, which is his [284] law, covers every duty of man which can pertain to things religious, and leaves no room for human legislation in the matter; and when men do legislate in such a case, their work cannot be other than superfluous and mischievous.

This is the trouble with legislation touching the divine institution of the Sabbath. God has marked out the duty and the privilege of all men with regard to a weekly day of rest, and there is nothing that need be added to his words. They indicate the best and wisest course for every man that it is possible to take. The Sabbath was made for man. It is exactly adapted to his nature and his wants. That men should rest on the seventh day, making the other six days of the week working days, as God’s law directs, is just what is suited to their highest welfare. And that is every man’s duty before God.

It is not surprising, therefore, that human legislation upon the Sabbath institution, or which touches any of those obligations covered by the Sabbath, fails, as it does, to work satisfactorily. It can never succeed in accomplishing the end sought, for no human project can successfully invade the realm of the purpose and wisdom of God.

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