“And one built up a wall; and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar.”
So wrote the prophet Ezekiel concerning the teachers that should presume to speak in the name of the Lord, when the Lord had not commanded it. Ezekiel 13:10.
Such a wall exists to-day in the institution of the Sunday sabbath. We have only to read the allegations put forth by its adherents in its support, to know that it is constructed with untempered mortar.
For example, we notice some allegations contained in a recent sermon by Rev. J. H. Brookes, D.D., of St. Louis, Mo., on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the “American Sabbath Union,” and reported in the Mail and Express (N.Y.) of february 22.
In his sermon Mr. Brookes labored of course to show from the Scripture that the Sunday institution is the true Sabbath; but no such proof can be obtained without perverting Scripture, and perverted Scripture is the most dangerous form of untruth. It is the untempered mortar with which the Sunday wall is daubed.
The speaker admitted that the Sabbath was instituted at Creation, and that the fourth commandment has never been abolished, but is binding upon all men to-day. But he attempted to treat the Sabbath institution as something distinct from the seventh day!
“Observe,” he said, “it is not said,  Remember the seventh day to keep it holy, but ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’; and ‘Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day,’ not the seventh day, ‘and hallowed it.’”
Immediately before speaking this part of the fourth commandment, God had declared, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” See Exodus 20:8-11. In view of this fact, how utterly puerile is such an “argument” as that here noticed! How utterly untempered the mortar which the speaker put into the Sunday wall!
“In the original institution,” he continued, “it is true that it is said, ‘God blessed the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:3); but the change of language when the law was given shows that the seventh day was blessed not because it was the seventh day, but because it was the Sabbath day.” Let us compare the record in Genesis with the language of the law. Turning to the second chapter of Genesis, we find these words:—
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3.
Turning now to the law, we find that the fourth commandment declares, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work: . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
In Genesis we are told that the Creator blessed and sanctified the seventh day. The fourth commandment tells us that “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” and that God “rested the seventh day; wherefore God blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Where is “the change of language” which authorizes the statement that the seventh day and the Sabbath day were not one and the same at the time the law was spoken on Mt. Sinai, as they were at the Creation?
In instituting the Sabbath, there was, according to the record, no blessing or santifying [sic.] done except that mentioned in Genesis 2:3, which was the blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day. When God had blessed and sanctified that day, the Sabbath institution was complete, as designed for the use and benefit of mankind. The fourth commandment refers back to this event, reaffirming that “the seventh day is the Sabbath,” and that God “blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” And yet the Rev. Mr. Brookes calmly proceeded to say, “The fourth commandment, therefore, does not require the hallowing of the seventh day of the week”!
He then alluded to the fact that when a person journeyed around the earth, he (apparently) gained or lost a day, according to the direction of his journey, citing this as an argument against keeping the seventh day. Would he also cite it as an argument against keeping Sunday? Should we fail to keep the seventh day because the world being round, we cannot all begin or end it at the same time? The argument would be just as good for not eating, sleeping, or transacting business. As a matter of fact, no one has any difficulty in knowing exactly when the seventh day begins, or when it ends, whether he be in North America or in China. If he desires to keep that day, there is nothing at all in nature to prevent his doing so.
Mr. Brookes referred to the death penalty executed upon Sabbath-breakers under the theocracy of Moses’ time, as another reason for not keeping the seventh day. The same “reason” would apply to the keeping other commandments besides the fourth. There were penalties for worshiping false gods, dishonoring parents, murder, theft, adultery, and many other offenses, which are not in force to-day; are we therefore at liberty to disregard the commandments prohibiting such things?
The theocracy of Moses’ time has passed away, but God’s law has not passed away. The penalty for Sabbath-breaking, and for violation of any other of the commandments as well, is still death. But the execution of that penalty rests with God, and not with men. God also, and not man, is the Judge; and when the set time of his judgment arrives, that penalty will be executed upon all who are then found transgressors of his law. But now he invites all men to find pardon and eternal life through the gospel of his Son.
Man has nothing to do with the commandments of God, except to live a life of obedience to them by faith in Christ. Man’s laws, in so far as they are just, concern only the preservation of human rights, their object being to enable men to live securely in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. God’s law is spiritual, and therefore entirely beyond the sphere of human authority and power. His law deals with sin; man’s law deals only with crime.
In the frequent references to “the eighth day” made in the specifications concerning the ordinances and services of the ceremonial law, as set forth in Leviticus, the Rev. Mr. Brookes affirmed that he saw “intimations” of the Sunday sabbath. What must we think of such a claim to supernatural discernment on the part of one who professes total inability to see that the fourth commandment and the first verses of the second chapter of Genesis are harmonious in declaring the seventh day to be the Sabbath?
For example, he cited the reference to the yearly “feast of tabernacles” found in Leviticus 23:39: “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.” “There is, then,” he said, “not only a seventh-day Sabbath but an eighth-day sabbath,” and added, “This fact seems to have been entirely overlooked by the Seventh-day Adventists and Baptists, who are flooding the country with their literature, and seeking to drag the people back to Sinai, instead of leading them up to Calvary”!
We presume no reader of the SENTINEL needs to be told that the days of the month do not necessarily synchronize in numerical order with the days of the week. The fifteenth day of the tenth month may have been any day of the week, from Sunday up to Saturday, just. as Christmas or one’s birthday, may fall on any day of the week. Consequently “the eighth day” from the fifteenth day of any month can have no special connection whatever with any day of the week. If the fifteenth day of the tenth month,—the first of the feast—was Saturday, the eighth day would also be Saturday; and it is certain that “the eighth day” of this feast fell as often on the seventh-day Sabbath as it did on Sunday, just as certain as it is that the fourth of July falls as often on the seventh day of the week as on Sunday. And it fell as often on Tuesday, Wednesday, and the other days of the week, as it did on Saturday or Sunday. The argument is just as good for a Tuesday or Wednesday sabbath, as for anything else.
Yet the Rev. Mr. Brookes gravely announced to his audience that “it is worthy of notice that in this crowning feast of the year . . there is a distinct reference to the Lord’s day, or the Christian Sabbath. ‘On the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath’ (Leviticus 23:29). There is, then, not only a seventh-day Sabbath but an eighth-day sabbath”! Truly, this “fact” of a “distinct reference” in this to the Sunday sabbath, has been “entirely overlooked by the Seventh-day Adventists and Baptists,” as well as by other people posessed [sic.] of common sense and a regard for the truth.
This was not the extent of Mr. Brookes’ daubing of the Sunday wall with untempered mortar, but it is sufficient for the purpose of this article, which is to show the reader the unstable character of this institution, even when fortified by its ablest defenders. Mr. Brookes did as well as any man could do in establishing the Sunday sabbath by the Word of God. It is an impossible task, since no such proof exists. The Word of the Lord has not spoken it.
Yet the “American Sabbath Union” whose seventh anniversary was (fittingly) commorated [sic.] by this discourse, exists for the purpose not only of persuading people to trust in this wall daubed with the untempered mortar of abortive Scriptural proof, but of compelling them to do so by the use of civil pains and penalties, whether they have any confidence in it or not!
It is worth while in conclusion, to notice what the Lord says about this wall. While the true prophets of the Lord are proclaiming his word, announcing the end of all things at hand, the hour of God’s judgment come, and the seventh-day Sabbath as a part of that eternal law by which the world will be judged, other prophets are opposing the message of warning with the cry of “Peace, peace,” saying in effect to the people that there is no need of reform. However, we will not prolong this article, but let the reader turn for himself to the thirteenth chapter of Ezekiel, and read verses 1-16.