STRANGE PREACHER TALKS
“HE doesn’t look much like a ‘Christ killer,’ does he?” whispered one woman to another when, at the appointed hour the next day, Mr. Anderson stood before the passengers in the main parlor.
“Well,” replied her friend, “maybe he isn’t a Jew; but I’ve been told, since leaving San Francisco, that he really doesn’t believe in Christ. He teaches, so I am informed by one of the ministers aboard our vessel, that we are to be saved by keeping the law, rather than by faith in Jesus Christ; and I think that is terrible.”
Mr. Anderson smilingly greeted his fellow travelers, assured them that he assumed no superior wisdom, asked them all to be free to contribute of their best thoughts, and laying Harold Wilson’s marked Bible on the table before him, begged that all join him in asking God’s Spirit to rest upon their interview, and that light might come to all.
What a beautiful, simple prayer he offered! “Our Father who art in heaven,” he began, “we thank Thee to-day for Thy blessed word, which we have met to study. We thank Thee for Jesus, for the great sacrifice He made for us, and that in Him we may find a Friend who is the chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely. We are thankful for Thy good Spirit, which convinces us of sin, which teaches us the way of life, which reveals Thee, and gives us power to overcome. We hope only in Thy mercy. In us there is no good, and we can come only in that Name which Thou hast caused us to love. Look upon Thine own blessed Son, remember His life, behold us in Him, and know that by faith we make Him just now our personal Redeemer. For all Thy goodness, we praise Thee; and we most earnestly dedicate ourselves to Thee. Direct us at this hour in our study, and glorify Thyself in causing us to see a little more fully the truth as it is in Jesus. Amen.”
“My!” exclaimed the woman who had just spoken of his supposedly wrong views. “That doesn’t sound as I expected. Why, he prays like a Christian! Isn’t it strange that one minister should get such a wrong opinion of another?”
“I find,” said Mr. Anderson, at the conclusion of the prayer, “that a number of questions have been written and already passed in, and perhaps I ought to notice these first. Is this agreeable?”
Evidently Mr. Spaulding was somewhat fearful, though without reason, that some scheme had been devised to shut out free, open questioning; and having had it in mind to introduce “a few nuts hard to crack,” he took occasion to suggest that while the written questions were all right, he should like to have the privilege of introducing as least a few queries first.
Mr. Anderson readily agreed, knowing that courtesy is a principle of the golden rule, which he sought always to follow.
Mr. Spaulding was therefore permitted to have a free hand. “Do you believe, brother,” he began, “that Sabbath keeping is one of the ‘works of the law’?”
“Certainly it is.”
Sabbath Keeping a Part of Christian Service?
“Do you believe that Sabbath keeping should be regarded as an essential part of our Christian service under the gospel?”
“Very good, brother; and now let me read Paul’s words to the Christians of Galatia, and let us see to what your doctrine leads. Galatians 2:16, 21: ‘Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. . . . I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.’
“Now, brother, if Sabbath keeping is one of the works mentioned, it frustrates the grace of God, and declares that Christ died in vain. That is so, isn’t it?”
“Sabbath keeping,” said Mr. Anderson, “is indeed a work of the law, just as any other good deed is also a work. But no one can ever find salvation by performing good works. Christianity knows no such thing as salvation by works. No one can become righteous by any deed of his, however great or good it may seem to be. This is said over and over again in both Romans and Galatians.
“But doing good in order to be saved, or, as Paul states it, to be justified, or made righteous, is altogether different from doing good when through faith one has been saved.
“Works may never truly precede faith and justification, but they as certainly succeed. This must be true; because before one has through faith found deliverance from sin, it is impossible to do good. The carnal man, with his carnal mind, cannot obey a spiritual law. Romans 8:7. But after sin has been forgiven, and the law of the Lord is written in the heart, then all the works of the law appear as naturally as the leaves appear on the trees. In an unconverted life, the works of the law are only a dead form; in a converted life, they are the living fruits of the Spirit.
“Sabbath keeping, therefore, would be only a useless and senseless theory to a person who is not born again, yet one of the covenant experiences to him who has Jesus in the heart.”
Preaching the Sabbath Preaching Christ?
“Mr. Anderson,” said one of the San Francisco ladies, “you don’t believe, then, that people must keep the law as a means of salvation?”
“No, madam; Jesus Christ alone, by our faith, cleanses and saves, and puts Himself within the heart. However, as soon as we have received Him into the life, there are immediately fulfilled in us all the glorious things that the law ordains. See Romans 8:3, 4. Thus faith establishes the law in our hearts as the law of our life. Romans 3:31.”
“Well, Mr. Anderson, I want to acknowledge that that is a very beautiful truth. I see it plainly,” said the lady. “But may I ask if you really find the Sabbath a blessing — that is, the seventh-day Sabbath? You probably know we have been taught that it is Jewish, a matter of bondage, a yoke which no one can wear with pleasure.”
“This reminds me,” said Mr. Anderson, “of one of the questions I have in hand here. It reads: ‘Why do you not preach Christ instead of so much Sabbath? Is not the preaching of Christ the all-important thing?’ Perhaps I may answer the two questions together.
“I wonder if we actually understand the expressions ‘preaching the Sabbath’ and ‘preaching Christ.’ What is the Sabbath? Who is Christ?
“To determine the character of the Sabbath, it is necessary to look back to the beginnings of time, to those days before sin came. There we find God’s perfect plan. There we see what should have been always, and what will be when the reign of sin is ended.
“The story is that God’s work was completed, and all was ‘very good.’ ‘The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.’ Then God rested. ‘He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.’ Genesis 2:2. In the Paradise home, that home resplendent with the glories of the better world, the great Author of life kept Sabbath with the two beautiful beings who were to have dominion over the earth. And while His created beings kept Sabbath, the heavenly chorus ‘sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Job 38:7. Surely that first Sabbath must have been a delightsome day, and its service glorious beyond description.”
“But, my brother,” interrupted the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, “you would not have this people believe that God was tired, would you?”
“No, Brother Spaulding; and I was intending to cover the point you have made. Let me do so now.
“The Sabbath was not originated nor given to man because of weariness on the part of either God or man. Of the Creator, it is written that he ‘fainteth not, neither is weary’ (Isaiah 40:28); and man, who was ‘in His image,’ knew nothing of physical deterioration and decay until after the seeds of sin had been sown. If sin had never entered the world, there would have been no such thing as tired nerves or tired muscles, no breaking down of the tissues of life, no sickness, no death. Therefore, as the Sabbath was given before the fall, its great and primary purpose was not that man should merely cease from his regular employment, but that he should enjoy the same ‘rest’ the Maker of the world Himself enjoyed.
“Keep this in mind, dear friends, for it is vital to an understanding of the whole matter. He who sees in Sabbath keeping nothing more than the laying aside of his secular labor for a certain twenty-four hours, and the enjoyment of the privileges of rest, change, and churchgoing, has not yet found the secret of the Sabbath as it was given to mankind.
“As we have just read, He who made heaven and earth never wearies. He is the great I AM, the Self-existent One, who inhabits eternity, with whom years are not. Yet we read that He rested. More than this, the Word tells us that ‘He rested, and was refreshed.’ Exodus 31:17. His was the rest of a divine joy in beholding the perfection of His wonderful handiwork, and in receiving from His earth children the love and adoration that sprang from their quick-pulsing and worshipful hearts. It was the rest of communion, of reciprocal affection, of heart understanding. And I believe that I have often found, in my Sabbath keeping, a little fragment of the restful joy and the joyful rest of that first Eden day when God rested and worshipped with man. It is this beautiful experience that I wish you all to know.”
There were some who dared to say “Amen,” and many present found
their heart strangely stirred by the minister’s words.
“But let me continue,” he said.
“That the blessedness of that first Sabbath might be perpetuated, that its experiences might be multiplied and known eternally by all who should live upon earth, God arranged that each succeeding Sabbath should be a repetition of the first. The record is, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it’ — a statement which carries in it the very fullness of divine purpose, divine power, divine presence and wisdom.
“Please note, first, that the scripture speaks of the seventh day; second, that it declares this day is ‘sanctified’ — that is, set apart or appointed to holy or sacred use. It is the seventh day, not a seventh part of time, that is brought to view.”
“May I ask, brother,” said Mr. Gregory, “what evidence you have that the first seventh day is now to be identified with Saturday? To my mind, there is much to show that our Sunday is the original seventh day.”
“The evidence, Brother Gregory, is so simple, and withal so complete, that there can scarcely be a mistake. Without question, the fourth commandment calls attention to the seventh day known at the beginning, does it not?”
“I agree with you that far,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Very well; and I presume you will also agree with me in holding that the Sabbath kept by the Saviour was the same as that given at Sinai.”
“Yes, I think so,” was the reply.
“I was sure you would,” said Mr. Anderson; “and now let me call your attention to the statement made in Luke 23:56, that after the crucifixion, the women who had been the most devoted disciples of Christ, kept the Sabbath day ‘according to the commandment.’ “
“Yes; but right there is a missing link. That may have been the ceremonial sabbath of the Passover week rather than the moral Sabbath of the fourth commandment. You see, we must keep track of the week, and make sure that we are keeping in touch with the cycle of seven days, which must continue unbroken from creation until now.”
“That is important, Brother Gregory, and so important that our Lord has given it emphasis. Let me ask a question: Was the Sabbath that the women kept, the day which came just before that other day, called the ‘first day’?”
“Yes, sir, it must have been.”
“Another question: Was not that next day the day of the resurrection?”
“It certainly was.”
“then what ‘first’ day was it? Why, the scripture distinctly states that it was ‘the first day of the week.’ Do you think, friends, there is any missing link in the connections? I do not believe that even Brother Gregory will have any question about it. As you see, there is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, followed by the first day of the week, the week which we all know to be our week of the present time. And so we know that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which is the Sabbath of creation, is the seventh day of our week, and therefore the day which we are to observe, and in which we shall find blessing. Isn’t that plain?”
There was no dissent. Mr.
Anderson had carried his audience with him.
“But I want you to catch the truth of that word in Genesis, — ‘God blessed the seventh day.’ Proverbs 10:22 states, ‘the blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich.’ His blessing is an active principle of righteousness, changing the nature of that upon which it is place. This is illustrated in the life of Jacob. Jacob was wrestling with God to obtain victory over his sin. The divine Presence said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaketh.’ Jacob, almost in despair, cried out, ‘I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.’ And then it was that the great healing, helping, transforming power of God came into the poor wrestler’s soul, and the divine benediction was, ‘Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.’ Jacob, the deceiver, had become Israel, the prince. His nature had been renewed by the inflowing of God’s holiness. The blessing of the Lord had made him rich indeed, had made him a holy child of God.
“This reveals the character of the blessing of the Lord. It is the impartation to man of His own life. His own presence.
“And do you remember the story of the burning bush? Exodus 3:1-6. God’s presence was revealed to Moses; and the word came, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy.’ The presence of God made the very surroundings holy. The same word was spoken to Joshua. Joshua 5:13-15.
“Thus we learn this: God’s blessing is His own presence. His presence sanctifies, or makes holy. His presence imparted to man makes the man holy; His presence manifested in a place makes the place holy. The rest of the story is plain, — His presence, His blessing, in the seventh day makes the seventh day holy.
“When God blessed the seventh day, He simply put His presence into that day for all earth’s history. He did this for man. You know what Jesus said, ‘The Sabbath was made for man.’ And how wonderful, then, was the making! Every seventh day brings His blessed, holy presence. The holy day carries its sanctifying, cleansing, uplifting power into the heart of God’s worshipping ones, and makes them glad in the gift of holiness.
“The Author of the Sabbath was Jesus Christ. Read John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 1:13-16. It is His presence which the seventh day incloses. It is His life of which I partake in Sabbath keeping. And did I not therefore preach Him when I truly preach the Sabbath? Ah, this Sabbath truth is among the grandest of all the grand things brought to view in the word of God!”
“Amen!” called out Harold Wilson, who by special invitation of Captain Mann, was present; and all eyes turned his way.
Captain Mann was visibly affected. He recognized a witnessing voice that was speaking to his soul. It was the voice of truth, which he could not reject.
Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Gregory quietly waited until Mr. Anderson had offered a short prayer, then they passed out of the room.
“Brother Spaulding, what did you think of that?” asked Mr. Gregory when they were alone.
MR. ANDERSON, you will pardon me, I am sure, if I detain you a few moments. This service has simply compelled me to come and take you by the hand, and to express to you my appreciation.”
Mr. Anderson did not recognize the man.
“Of course, you do not know me; and may I therefore introduce myself as Judge Kershaw of Little Rock, Arkansas?”
“Oh, and you are the man who interrogated Mr. Spaulding yesterday?”
“Yes, sir, though perhaps I should be ashamed of what has since appeared to me an impertinence. But you see, Mr. Spaulding’s statements greatly stirred me, as I remembered the occasion of several years ago, when, at his insistence, a member of your denomination was brought before me for Sunday violation.”
A group of interested passengers began to form as soon as Judge Kershaw began to speak. Harold Wilson was among them.
“At that time,” the judge continued, “I thought I discovered on the part of the prosecution a distinct spirit of intolerance, which to my mind is utterly foreign to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But while this was true, the young defendant manifested most beautiful patience and self-restrain; and as he acted as his own counsel, and spoke in his own behalf, I was persuaded that his principles were of a high order.”
“Was he convicted, judge?” asked one of the listeners.
“Yes; the letter of the law had been violated, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty, and I was obliged to pass sentence. But I was hurt, deeply hurt — hurt in one sense by the wrong spirit shown by the professed Christians who prosecuted, and hurt in another sense by the excellent spirit of the one who was condemned.
“Now I believe I have discovered the secret of that young man’s behavior. He had Christ in his soul. He had a rest and peace to which all of us are strangers. Why, when I was about to pass sentence, and asked him if he had any further word to give the court, he said: ‘Your Honor, I wish to thank you and the gentlemen of the jury for the spirit of fairness shown during the trial. You need have no regret that you are obliged to pass this sentence. We may all well be sad that our statute books are cumbered with a few laws that work hardship to innocent and inoffensive citizens, and personally I hope to see the day come when our fair state will refuse longer to enforce this particular law which to-day sends me to prison. I submit gladly to the penalty, as a Christian ought. I forgive freely the men who have brought me this experience. And I want you all to know that in my heart there is a peace passing all understanding, a peace which will brighten every day and hour I shall spend behind the bars.’
“I sent him to prison, and in the prison he died. And from that day until now, I have had his picture much before me, and I have wanted to know what it was that made him the man he was.”
Kershaw’s Bible Also Marked
“Judge, pardon me; but I too have found the peace which the young man had,” said Harold Wilson, “and I have found it since coming aboard the vessel. I have found it in this Sabbath truth which was presented to-day.”
“Young man, I do not doubt you. You are the one, are you not, who is called ‘the man with the marked Bible’?”
“Yes, sir; and I asked Mr. Anderson to read from my marked Bible to-day.”
Judge Kershaw picked up the Book, and glanced it through. There was moisture in his eyes.
“Mr. Anderson,” he said, “this reminds me of my boyhood, when my parents sought to lead me to a religious life. Like many boys, I was foolishly inclined to make light of Christianity; and ere I could realize it, my youthful days had passed, and I found myself graduated from college and entering upon my professional career without a hope. My education only served to crystallize my early unbelief; and all through the years since, I have seen little or nothing in the average church or its teachings to cause me to change.
“One thought, however, has always followed me — a thought expressed by my mother. A few days before she died, she called me to her, and said: ‘Son, I know I have not always lived before you as I should, and you have your doubts about Christianity. But some day, I know not when, you will surely see that God’s word is true, that there are those who have proved it divine; and thus you will be led to yield your heart to the Author, and love and serve Him.’ You will not know, unless I tell you, why this Bible reminds me of those times so long ago. Well, it is marked as mother marked hers. And, strange to say, the Ten Commandments were especially remembered, even as in this. Mother was a firm believer in every one of the commandments of God.
“But think of it! Here I
am, an old man of seventy years. It
is nearly time for me to go. Do
you suppose this is the hour when mother’s prayer should be answered?”
Does Not the Church See It?
There was a period of deep silence. All seemed to realize that a sacred decision was being made, a decision involving the salvation of a soul, in answer to a prayer offered by a devoted mother a half century before.
And now Mr. Severance spoke: “Judge, this day has been a day of revelation to me also. But I must know more. Mr. Anderson, may I ask you a few brief questions? For instance, if the seventh day is the Sabbath day, and if we are morally bound to make it our day of rest, why does the church as a whole not see and acknowledge it? This troubles me.”
“I have no doubt, Mr. Severance,” Mr. Anderson began, “that there are many causes which have led the professed Christian world to observe Sunday rather than Sabbath. However, I may venture the remark that the Sabbath has been set aside for the same reason that other great moral duties have been neglected or rejected. You will remember that the apostle Paul clearly foretold a time when professed Christians would ‘not endure sound doctrine,’ but would ‘heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears,’ and would ‘turn away their ears from the truth.’ 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
“A brief examination of the Word shows that this evil course has been common all through the ages. Of the church in Isaiah’s day it is written: ‘Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come [prophets of our day, you see] forever and ever: that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.’ Isaiah 30:8-10. At a later time, Ezekiel wrote of the church leaders, saying: ‘Her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.’ And the connection clearly gives the subject under discussion. ‘Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.’ Ezekiel 22:28, 26.
“How plain it is! Both the people and their leaders were unwilling to follow God’s word. The people demanded ‘smooth things;’ and their teachers actually hid their eyes from the truth, in order to satisfy their unfaithful hearers. And, ,ark it, the Sabbath of the Lord was the thing from which the prophets turned and hid their eyes. And mark this also: That word of Ezekiel is prophetic of our day.
“It has always been apparently easy for men to estimate lightly the word of God. Surely it is so now, when higher criticism finds ready access to both pulpit and pew, placing the writings of Inspiration on the same level as the works of Shakespeare, Emerson, Spencer, and others. The day has come when even the Ten Commandments are regarded by many as out of date and in need of revision.”
“Yes,” said one of those in the group, “I was told only yesterday, by a man who looked like a minister, that we can no longer hold the Bible as an absolutely unquestioned authority. He said that much of the Old Testament had been shown to be unhistorical, and that the miracles recorded in the Gospels were largely allegorical. I asked him particularly about the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and he only shrugged his shoulders and smiled.”
“Of course, Mr. Severance,” continued Mr. Anderson, “not all the professed people of God have so far departed from the old paths that they have thus set the Word aside. There are many beautiful and notable exceptions. But if you would know why the great church of to-day, generally speaking, rejects the Sabbath truth, you will find the reason in the facts I have pointed out.”
“Mr. Anderson,” said Judge Kershaw, “what you have given us from the prophetic Scriptures is being strikingly fulfilled at this very time. I have just completed the reading of a magazine article entitled, ‘Blasting at the Rock of Ages,’ which shows that all through our advanced institutions of learning, including our theological seminaries, open infidelity is taught. Positions are taken which completely nullify every moral principle contained in the word of God. I could hardly believe my eyes. And these are the schools from which, of course, our ministers are sent forth.”
“I am not in the least disposed to criticize,” Mr. Anderson responded, “for criticism is a dangerous practice. But you must know, for your own soul’s sake, the dangers of this time, and kindly warn against them. For instance, you have heard it said that truth cannot be known, and that the Bible, like a violin, plays whatever tune is desired, and that this is God’s plan. The statement is frequently made, that ‘the truth of today is the error of tomorrow,’ and vice versa. But Jesus said, ‘Ye shall know the truth’ (John 8:32), and, ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine’ (John 7:17). When a man hungers and thirsts for truth, the Holy Spirit reveals to him the deep things of God, and makes them a part of his very life. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-12. See also John 6:45; 16:13-15.
“Again, you will hear it taught that if you are ‘only sincere’ in what you do, your service is accepted. This sounds well, but it is misleading. Sincerity is necessary, but it never excuses ignorance.”
“Now let me understand you, Mr. Anderson,” said Mr. Severance. “Has not my sincere observance of Sunday been acknowledged of God? I have surely tried to be a Christian.”
“Yes, brother, you have undoubtedly enjoyed God’s love, because you gladly did all you knew to be right. But suppose you see the truth of the fourth commandment and then fail to follow it. Jesus said regarding those in His day, ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.’ John 15:22. Paul pointed out the same principle, when he said, ‘The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.’ Acts 17:30. Sincerity in wrongdoing ceases to be possible when the light reveals the better way. Sincerity then obliges a man to change his course.”
Harold Wilson, intensely enthusiastic in his new-found experience, and eager to learn, asked the privilege of another question.
“Mr. Anderson, one of the ministers has told me that it is all right to keep the seventh day, but the only question is, Where shall we begin to count? He said he kept the seventh day, but he began his count on Monday. What do you think about it?”
“That is what I have been taught,” added Mr. Severance.
“I have already partially answered the question, but let us notice it further.
“Turn to Exodus 16 and the story of the manna. God said He wanted to ‘prove’ or ‘try’ the people, as to whether they would walk in His law. The plan was that the people should gather their food every day from the first to the sixth. Each day for five days, they were to gather only as much as they needed for that day, planning to have nothing remain over till the morning. On the sixth day, however, they were to gather a supply for two days, the second portion being for use on the seventh day, when no manna fell. This was the Lord’s arrangement.
“Now the count of the days was not left to man’s choice. God Himself did the numbering. And if anyone, purposely or otherwise, tried to make a change, and did not accommodate himself to God’s order, there resulted only confusion and loss, besides definite reproof from the Lord. Evidently some attempted a change by trying to keep the food over till morning; but ‘it bred worms, and stank.’ Verse 20. Others went out on the seventh day to gather manna (possibly because they failed to secure the double portion of the sixth day), but found none. (Verse 27). It was absolutely impossible to change the count.
“Now note the message which came as a result of their careless disobedience: ‘How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws? Verse 28. The test of loyalty was upon the matter of right counting, — counting as God counted, with the Sabbath as the great objective.
“It may be of interest to you to know that in early days, the Hebrew people were accustomed to relate each day of the week to the Sabbath, by a very unusual method: they named the days as ‘First into the Sabbath,’ ‘Second into the Sabbath,’ and so on through the entire week. The Sabbath was really counted every day. And never forget that by three miracles every week, God pointed out the particular and absolute seventh day of the week: first by granting a double portion of manna on the sixth day; second by withholding it altogether on the seventh day; and third by preserving the extra portion on the seventh day.”
“Well, Mr. Anderson, that certainly settles the question of the count. Still, it isn’t altogether clear to me just why the absolute day is so necessary.” The speaker was Mr. Severance.
“A simple illustration, I believe, will make this clear. Let me place before you seven glasses. Six are filled with water, one with rare and delicious fruit nectar. I say to you, If you will take the seventh glass you will find one of the most delightful beverages ever known. You desire the thing of which I speak. Yet there is only one glass containing it, only one glass that is ‘the seventh’ glass, and you must take my count to find out what you are after. If I may state it thus, the blessing of the fruit nectar is wrapped up in my numbering of the glasses.
“Just so it is with the Sabbath.
God blessed the seventh day. He
put His presence into that particular day and into no other.
And if I find Him as my heart really longs to know Him, I must begin to
count as He counted, making my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and
seventh correspond to His. And
when I do so, I am rewarded by actually finding Him, knowing Him, resting in
Him. It is because I am with Him
in the Sabbath, that I have rest. The
true and intelligent Sabbath keeper, therefore, has in his service a blessing
that not even a sincere Sunday keeper ever knows.”
Severance Accepts the Sabbath Truth
“I see it, Mr. Anderson, I see it,” declared Mr. Severance; “and this day I join you in the larger service of the Sabbath that God has given. Will you pray for me? I specially need help in arranging my business.”
“I praise the dear Lord, Mr. Severance, for this decision. It is the decision of faith, I am sure. God will help you in shaping your affairs for His service.”
“I have in mind, however,” said Mr. Severance, “more than you think. This is a day of tremendous conviction. My business career all through the years has been along lines that the world may regard as legitimate; but something has told me this afternoon that if I would be holy, and know Him who is holy, and enjoy Him in His holy day, I must retrace many of my steps. I must adjust all my methods to different standards, and go before my patrons and business associates in confession. Yes, even more, I shall have to let many a dollar revert to its real owner. Do you believe God will enable me to bear the cross?”
At this juncture, Captain Mann entered the room.
“He hath showed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?”
SABBATH RESCUE FROM DROWNING
AT the close of Mr. Anderson’s service in the parlor, Mr. Spaulding, in company with Mr. Gregory, had sought a quiet place on deck to discuss what had been said and done. They were both much agitated, though the latter was inclined to acknowledge the truth of many things he had heard.
But while they talked together, Captain Mann passed near. Mr. Spaulding called to him.
“Captain, just a moment of your time.
I simply want to make an appeal. Can
we not devise some plan to stop further spread of this Sabbath talk? It is not producing the best results, inasmuch as it stirs up
the spirit of unwholesome argument, and sooner or later may be the means of
unsettling the views of some very good Christian people who are aboard.
That young man with the marked Bible is already completely out of the
way, and I notice that he is influencing some people whose good sense ought to
shield them. You see, captain, I
am terribly afraid of fanaticism.”
Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”
“Well, Mr. Spaulding, you are aware that you are at liberty to plan as you wish. The freedom of the vessel is yours. But let me say to you, in the brief moment that I may stop, that the young man of whom you speak, Harold Wilson, has become, during the brief period since we left San Francisco, such a splendid Christian, such a trustworthy and capable co- worker, that I marvel. From a profligate, a drinking, swearing, gambling, thieving criminal, as I have known him, he has been transformed into the sober, praying, industrious, honest young man you behold to-day. This certainly must be the fruit of a good tree. And I confess that I myself have tasted and been made better.
“I must hasten; but let me assure you that this is something of which you need not be afraid. It is not fanaticism. There is a large amount of zeal, but it is founded on knowledge of the Bible. No one can go far astray who studies the Word in order to live it. And Harold Wilson is living it.”
The captain passed quickly on and into the parlor.
The view that met his eyes as he entered was one which he was never to forget. There sat Mr. Severance, bowed over the table, with face buried in his hands. And as he entered, Harold Wilson, with Bible in hand, and with an arm thrown over the shoulder of the merchant, was bearing witness to him of the surety of God’s promise, and of the wonderful blessing that had come to him in the truth of the fourth commandment.
As Captain Mann beheld the spirit manifested by Harold — the spirit of the real soul winner and helper of those in trouble — his emotions overcame him, and tears filled his eyes. How strange, yet how beautiful, was this expression of tenderness in this hardy veteran of the sea!
But not a word escaped his lips. He
simply stepped over to Mr. Anderson, gripped his hand strongly and feelingly,
and with quivering lip hastened on to duty.
A shriek startled the little group in the dining room, and almost immediately the cry, “Woman overboard!” began to sound from one end of the vessel to the other.
“Who is it? Who is it?” was on everybody’s tongue. But no one knew.
The two clergymen — Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Gregory — rushed to the opposite side of the vessel, reaching the rail just in time to see Harold Wilson emerge from the main parlor, quickly lay down his bible, take off his coat, and plunge into the sea.
“Ah, How foolish! How foolish!” exclaimed Mr. Spaulding. “It means two lives instead of one. No living man can handle himself in the wake of this vessel.”
“But God help him!” was Mr. Gregory’s response.
And God surely did help. The brave act of Harold was one of faith; and even while he battled with the waters, his thoughts went up to God for help and deliverance, and his prayer was graciously answered.
His eye caught sight of a hand as it appeared for an instant above the swirling waters a few feet away, and he threw himself toward it with all the might at his command.
The drowning woman’s dress was now in his hand, and quickly and deftly he made sure of his human treasure and started toward the vessel.
“Thank God!” called out Mr. Spaulding. The passengers cheered and wept.
Meanwhile Captain Mann had ordered the engines reversed, and the great “Tenyo Maru” was brought to a dead stop, a lifeboat was lowered, and Harold and the yet unknown woman were soon safely lifted to the deck.
Mr. Gregory pressed his way to the center of the scene, that he might grasp the hand of the young hero, and incidentally to be of whatever service possible. But as he was about to reach for Harold’s hand, the face of the rescued woman, now partially resuscitated, was before him.
His face blanched, his strength gave way, and he fell heavily to the deck.
It was his wife!
Fate She Had Hoped For Harold
“Mr. Wilson,” said Mrs. Gregory, as she lay in her stateroom, “I must tell you why I have sent for you. My husband here must know also.
“I was at the service yesterday in the parlor, and heard the Rev. Mr. Anderson discuss the Sabbath question; and while I am ashamed to say it, I was really angry at some things that were said. I didn’t like to hear them, and I didn’t want others to hear. And of course, I blamed you. Some one had told me that it was because of your relations with the Rev. Mr. Anderson that the service was held; and when, at the last, I heard you say ‘Amen,’ I said to myself, ‘I wish that young upstart would fall overboard, and thus deliver us from any more Sabbath talk.’
“After the meeting, I came to my room, and tried to forget the whole thing; but I couldn’t, so I returned after a time, and as I saw you still there, I was more bitter than ever. I passed the parlor door; but as I did so, my feelings overcame me, I grew dizzy (I have such spells when my feelings run away with me), and — well, I knew no more until I awakened on deck and learned that I had been delivered from a watery grave. And you, the object of my evil wishes, were chosen of God to be my rescuer!
“Mr. Wilson, I am begging your forgiveness, which I am sure you will give; but I am begging more — I am going to ask you to take your Bible and tell me more about the truth which I have been trying to reject. Will you do it?”
Harold humbly acknowledged his great ignorance, and asked if she would not rather study with Mr. Anderson.
“Do you think he would be willing to come?” she asked.
“Oh, I am sure he would!” was the reply. And Harold hastened to bring his good friend.
“Dr. Anderson,” said Mrs. Gregory, “I am deeply in earnest to-day, and husband and I both desire further instruction. The terrible happening of yesterday was from God, to correct us and make us willing to receive unadulterated teaching. Now, what I want to ask is, Why do you specially emphasize the question of the seventh-day Sabbath? Does God require you to do it? And why is it that so many people, especially the ministers, are so determined not to listen to your message?”
“Sister, your questions are rather broad, and really require more study than the circumstances will permit. However, they are to the point, and I am glad the Scriptures can give you an answer.
“Let me call your attention first to the fact that along with marriage, the Sabbath is one of the great blessings that have come down to us from the Eden home. Marriage was designed to preserve a sacred relationship between members of the human family; the Sabbath, to preserve a sacred relationship between the human family and the Creator.
“The most casual reading of the fourth commandment shows the great
purpose of the Sabbath. ‘Remember
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven
and earth.’ It is the memorial
of that great work. It keeps
before the mind God’s creative power. It
calls upon us to obey Him because He is Creator, and, in its service,
bequeaths to us the power necessary to overcome.
True Sabbath keeping means constant surrender to God, and therefore has
always been the one thing that has kept man from idolatry.
”This is beautifully brought out in the words of Exodus 31:17; ‘It
is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.’
And Ezekiel tells us, ‘I [the Lord] gave them my Sabbaths, to be a
sign between Me and them, that they may know that I am the Lord that sanctify
them.’ Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
The reason is that God, or Christ, puts Himself, His own presence, into
the day, and through its acceptance, into the Sabbath keeper’s heart, and
thus every Sabbath renews and strengthens faith in the Creator.
Bond Between God and His People Forever
“You will note that the Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel forever. This refers not only to Jews, the mere fleshly descendants of Abraham, for they soon gave up real Sabbath keeping, and therefore did not know the Sabbath as a blessing. ‘Israel’ means more than Jews. The term is one that includes the true believer in all ages, and down to the end of time. All Christians are spiritual Israelites. See Romans 2:28, 29; John 1:47; Galatians 3:29. Hence all who would be kept in the way of righteousness will keep Sabbath, and find it a sign, a memorial, of His redeeming power. Creation and redemption, you see, are the same, both calling for the Sabbath memorial.”
“Yes, brother, I can see that,” said Mrs. Gregory. “Isn’t it beautiful!”
“With this thought in mind, it is very easy to see why the Lord has always emphasized the truth of the Sabbath. As you remember, it was the test that God brought to Israel in Egypt (Exodus 5:5); it was the test thirty days before they came to Sinai (Exodus 16); and at Sinai, the fourth commandment was specially revealed. Nehemiah 9:14. All the commandments are important — this goes without saying; but only the Sabbath is He said to have made ‘known.’ The Sabbath is peculiarly vital.
“And now note this: When the time came that God permitted His people to go into captivity, to lose their place and their nation, He told them plainly it was because of Sabbath breaking, — that is, forgetfulness of Him. Compare Jeremiah 17:19-27 and 2 Chronicles 36:14-21. Had they been faithful to His Sabbath, had they preserved their knowledge of Him as their Creator and Sovereign, the Babylonians could never have carried them away.
“Listen also to the striking word of Isaiah, the gospel prophet: ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.’ Isaiah 58:13, 14. How plain the prophet makes it, doesn’t he, that all spiritual power and uplift were to be found in the Sabbath of God!
“I have said that Isaiah is ‘the gospel prophet.’ He is. This which we have read has reference to our own gospel time. God is calling, in Isaiah’s message, for us to turn our feet from the Sabbath, — to stop trampling it underfoot. And the promise is actually fulfilled to those who obey.”
“Brother Anderson, Harold Wilson impresses me as having found a great blessing,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Yes, and in this very truth. He has kept only one Sabbath, but he found a remarkable blessing in it. Really, dear people, it was what came into his soul from the Sabbath, that carried him over the ship’s side yesterday. He has told me this. And he is certain that God regarded his obedience, and answered his prayer in his finding you. He calls you his ‘Sabbath-saved woman.’ “
“I don’t doubt it, not for a moment,” Mrs. Gregory replied;
“and that is why I am really and truly opening my heart to-day.”
Will Not Obey Their Convictions
“But let me continue a bit further. In the fifty-six chapter of his book, Isaiah prophesies of a great Sabbath reform among the gentiles of these last days. Read verses 1-8, and you will see that it is specially a gospel message, and promises those who enter into a Sabbath covenant with Him ‘a place and a name better than of sons and daughters,’ He will give them ‘an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.’ Everlasting life is involved.
“Surely, then, some one must preach that Sabbath message at this time. Some one must specially emphasize its importance, even as God asks.”
“Well, Brother Anderson, why is it, then, that the ministers — those of other denominations — do not accept these plain statements? They certainly are plain, though I never read them before. But the ministers have read them.”
“I can tell you why some of them do not accept,” said Mr. Gregory. “They are a little too much as I am. They do not like to acknowledge that they have been wrong. If all the clergymen who really see the truth of this Sabbath question were to confess their convictions, there would be few left to offer opposition. I know whereof I affirm. Scores of them have privately admitted to me that the Sabbatarians are right.”
“Well, husband, you have never said that before in my presence. I call that dishonesty.”
“Better not say that wife. Rather look at it as a blindness, which for a time hinders them from reading their own motives,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Pardon me, dear friends,” said Mr. Anderson. “I have not completed the study, but I am sure you are both weary. The strain of yesterday’s experience has told on your strength, and you had better rest. I will therefore go. The Lord quickly restore you to your full strength. Good-by!”