The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
September 12, 1878 New England Camp-Meeting
Filed under: EG White Articles

This has been a very important meeting. From the first we have had a large attendance from the outside, a good attentive congregation. Much labor was required. New churches had been raised up since our last camp-meeting. Precious souls had accepted the truth, and these all needed meat in due season. All needed to be carried forward to a deeper and more thorough knowledge of practical godliness. The Lord gave me freedom in bearing my testimony.

Sabbath, Brother Goodrich gave a discourse in the morning. In the afternoon I was lifted above my infirmities and had freedom in speaking to the people. An invitation was given for those to come forward who wanted to be Christians, and those who had backslidden from God. Between two and three hundred responded. Fervent and effectual prayers were offered. Those who came forward were then divided in companies occupying four tents. A minister was appointed to each tent to labor for those who had come forward and who needed help. These meetings were a success, precious victories were gained. The evening following the Sabbath, Brother Smith spoke from these words, “Great and marvelous are thy works,” &c.

Sunday morning the weather was cloudy with some rain, which prevented so large an attendance from the outside as might otherwise have been expected; but as the prospect brightened for a fair day, the numbers increased rapidly, each train bringing more or less, until in the afternoon the crowd on the ground showed quite a marked contrast to that assembled on any other day during the meeting.

Elder Smith spoke in the morning upon the subject of the sanctuary, showing that the disappointment in the time was not a failure after all. After singing, Brother Farnsworth presented the subject of the Sabbath in the New Testament, showing conclusively that there is no evidence therein for the observance of Sunday. At half past one, Elder Haskell preached. Subject: Who changed the Sabbath. At three o’clock I took the stand, speaking upon the subject of temperance. I spoke one hour, while the people listened with the deepest attention.

A gentleman from Boston, the guardian of a home for orphan children in that city, desired an opportunity of speaking a few words and taking up a contribution for the benefit of the home for the friendless, which is supported purely by charity. He brought with him four of the children, from eight to twelve years of age, who sung little songs very prettily. The remarks on this occasion were brief, but to the point, and all were interested in the home for the fatherless and motherless.

The meetings had been held with but little intermission from nine o’clock until nearly six. The people upon the ground were more quiet than usual upon such occasions.

Monday morning, meeting at the tent commenced at half-past five. I spoke about thirty minutes upon the necessity of economy in dress and in the expenditure of means. There is danger of becoming reckless and careless in the use of the Lord’s money. Young men who engage in tent labor should be careful not to indulge in unnecessary expense. The wants of the cause are many, as tents are entering new fields, and as the missionary work is enlarging. The most rigid economy should be used in this matter without stinginess. It is easier to run up a bill than to settle it. There are many things that would be convenient and enjoyable that are not needful, and that can be dispensed with without actual suffering. It is very easy to multiply expenses for hotel bills and railroad fare that might be avoided, or very much lessened. We have passed over the road to and from California twelve times, and have not expended one dollar for meals at the restaurants or in the attached dining car. We eat our meals from our lunch baskets. After being three days out, the food becomes quite stale, but a little milk or warm gruel supplies our lack.

Our morning meeting was held in the tent. I spoke again about thirty minutes in reference to genuine sanctification, which is nothing less than a daily dying to self, and daily conformity to the will of God. Paul’s sanctification was a constant conflict with self. Said he, “I die daily.” His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did the will of God, however unpleasant and crucifying to his nature.

The reason many in this age of the world make no greater advancement in the divine life is because they interpret the will of God to be just what they will to do. They do exactly as they desire, and flatter themselves they are conforming to God’s will. They please themselves in everything, and therefore have no conflicts with self. Many are successful for a time in the conflict against selfish desires for pleasure and ease. They are sincere and earnest; but grow weary of protracted effort, of daily death, of ceaseless turmoil, and resisting Satan’s temptations. Indolence seems inviting, death to self, repulsive; and they close their drowsy eyes and fall under temptation instead of resisting it. The pride of life, fashionable sins, do not seem so very repulsive to them.

There is no compromise in the word of God for those who conform to the world. The Son of God was manifested that he might draw all men unto him. But he came not to lull the world to sleep - not to send peace, but a sword. The followers of Christ must walk in the light of his glorious example, and, at whatever sacrifice of ease or selfish indulgence, at whatever cost of labor or sufferings we must maintain the constant battle with self, exalt the gospel standard, and push forward the triumphs of the cross.

We called on those who desired to be baptized, and who were keeping the Sabbath for the first time, to come forward. Twenty-five responded. These bore excellent testimonies. One gentleman of intelligence said he had seen light upon the Sabbath commandment since these meetings commenced. He stated that he had kept the first day strictly according to the canons of Rome, but he now saw that he had not been keeping the day the Lord had sanctified and blessed. But from this time, as long as God spared his life, he should keep the seventh day specified in the fourth commandment. He also stated that the members of his church had attended these meetings, and were very much interested and stirred in regard to the things they had heard.

We had a good attendance from those residing in the vicinity where our camp-meeting was held. The spirit of the meeting is having a moulding influence upon the community. The spirit of the Lord has been in our midst. My testimony has been well received. I have been strengthened and blessed of God. While trying to water others, my own soul has been watered.

We were pleased to meet here our old friends of the cause whose acquaintance we made above thirty years ago. Our much respected Brother Hastings is as deeply interested in the truth today as he was then. We were pleased to meet Sister Temple, and Sister Collins of Dartsmouth, Mass., and Brother and Sister Wilkenson at whose house we had been entertained more than thirty years ago. The pilgrimage of some of these dear ones may close ere long, but if faithful unto the end they will receive a crown of life.

We were interested to meet Brother Kimbal who is a mute and has been a missionary among the mutes. Through his persevering labors, quite a little army have accepted the truth. We meet this faithful brother at our yearly camp-meetings surrounded by several of his mute converts. Some one who is interested, who has ears to hear, writes out some portion of the discourse, and he sits surrounded by his mute friends actively preaching to them with his hands. He has freely used his means to advance the missionary work, thus honoring God with his substance. By and by, if faithful, he will receive a precious reward. Twenty-two received baptism.

We hope that the influence of this meeting will continue, that conviction will deepen, and that all who profess the truth will strive for the unity of the faith, and that oneness which Christ prayed might exist among his disciples, and with all those who should believe on their word. An early meeting of Tuesday morning closed the camp-meeting at this place.
                                                                  E. G. W.

Jenny @ 9:51 pm
July 25, 1878 Visit to Oregon
Filed under: EG White Articles

My visit to Oregon was of special interest to me. I here met, after a separation of four years, my dear friends, Brother and Sister Van Horn, whom we claim as our children. It was a most precious season to me, especially did my motherly heart go out in sympathy and love for Adelia Van Horn, and her two children whom I had never before seen. Separation had not estranged our hearts; our love and confidence had never been broken. Every moment of my stay with those dear children was precious to me. The labors of our brother and sister have not been in vain in the Lord. They have labored amid much discouragement, and deprivation of the society of familiar friends, and the sacrifice of many comforts, to do what they could for the Lord in the distant field of their labors. Sister Van Horn and her sister, Frances Jones, have suffered from ill health, and at times it was feared that both would lose their lives. But many prayers have ascended to heaven from their house, pleading that the great Healer would remove disease from them and give them health and freedom in him; and the Lord has brought them through their sore afflictions that they may glorify his name. Both sisters are now in much better health, for which we praise God.

Elder Van Horn is a missionary in the true sense of the word, and a man of excellent ability and deep spirituality. His wife is equally talented and self-sacrificing. Their devotion to the cause of present truth has led to the sound conversion of many souls. Brother Van Horn, with characteristic modesty, has not furnished as full and favorable reports of his work as he might justly have done. I was accordingly somewhat surprised, and very much pleased to find the cause of God in so prosperous a condition in Oregon. Through the untiring efforts of these faithful missionaries a company of Sabbath-keepers has been raised up on the North Pacific coast which does honor to the cause. As a class they are persons of intelligence and rare moral worth. My association with them was very pleasant. I felt my heart linked with theirs in Christian sympathy and fellowship.

I felt it my privilege to rest upon the first Sabbath after my arrival in Salem. Tuesday evening, June 18, I met for the first time in this State a goodly number of Sabbath-keepers, who possess true moral worth. My heart was softened by the spirit of God. I gave my testimony for Jesus, and for the sweet privilege that was ours of trusting in his love, and of claiming his power to unite with our efforts to save sinners from perdition. If we would see the work of God prosper we must have Christ dwelling in us; in short we must work the works of Christ. Wherever we might look the whitening harvest appeared; and the laborers are so few. I felt my heart filled with the peace of God, and drawn out in love for his dear people with whom I was worshiping for the first time.

On Sunday, June 23, I spoke by invitation, in the Methodist church of Salem, on the subject of Temperance. The attendance was unusually good, and I had freedom in treating this, my favorite subject. I was requested to speak again in the same place on the Sunday following the camp-meeting, but was prevented by hoarseness. On the next Tuesday evening, however, I again spoke in the church. Many invitations were tendered me to speak upon Temperance in various cities and towns of Oregon, but the state of my health forbade my complying with these requests. Constant speaking, and the change of climate, had brought a temporary but severe hoarseness upon me.

The camp-meeting was a season of profitable labor for God, and strengthened the church to go on in their warfare for the truth. I had freedom in speaking, though suffering almost constantly from hoarseness. I felt glad to meet with his people, who deeply appreciated my labors among them. During my stay in Oregon, I visited the prison in Salem, and by invitation spoke to the convicts in the prison chapel. Next week I will give an account of this visit, and my discourse on that occasion.
                                                         E. G. White

Jenny @ 12:05 pm
February 28, 1878 Never Yield the Sabbath.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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We are in receipt of a number of from different individuals, who are in our , asking advice upon the matter of keeping the . In their cases, the injunction of the apparently conflicts with their ideas of or necessity in other respects. One in particular is in much of mind as to her . She is the support of her aged , and could easily maintain them in if she pursued her work upon the . She therefore asks if the is not as binding upon her as the fourth, and that if, in keeping the latter, she should fall short, in her estimation, of the requirements of the fifth commandment, would she not be justified in disregarding the fourth? We deeply sympathize with these tried ones in their perplexity and distress, and have endeavored to write a few words of and to them and others who are under similar .

We would say to all who are thus in regard to their duty, Upon no consideration are you excusable in violating the fourth commandment. It is no violation of the Sabbath to perform works of necessity, as ministering to the sick or aged, and relieving distress. Such works are in perfect harmony with the . was ever active upon the Sabbath, when the necessities of the and came before him. The Pharisees, because of this, accused him of , as do many today who are in opposition to the . But we say, Let God be , and every man a who dares make this against the .

Jesus answered the accusation of thus, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have and not , ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He had already declared to them that he had kept his . When he was accused of in the matter of the , he turned upon his with the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” In summing up his answer to the questioning of the Pharisees he said, “Wherefore it is to do well on the Sabbath days.” Here Christ justified his work as in perfect harmony with the Sabbath law. Ministers who profess to be embassadors of Christ, yet assert that he did not regard the Sabbath day, and thus endeavor to justify themselves in disregarding it, make the same accusation against Christ as did the Pharisees. They certainly select poor company in those caviling Jews who persecuted the .

It may not be convenient for you and many others to keep the Sabbath day holy by refraining from worldly business; but God has not left this matter to our choice; we are not at liberty to mold our principles according to our circumstances. His requirements are positive; they are, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not; “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work,” etc.

The fifth commandment is sacred; but if you should transgress any of the first four precepts of the decalogue, wherein is revealed the duty of man to his Creator, you would not be in a favorable position for the sacred observance of the last six commandments which specify the duties of man to his fellow man. To break any one of the commandments which specify the duty of man to God is to violate the principles of the entire law. The pen of inspiration records that he who offends in one point is guilty of offense in all. Thus, should the Sabbath of the fourth commandment be disregarded, and man prove recreant to the claims of God upon him, will this disobedience prepare him to fulfill the requirements of the law which specifies his duty to his earthly parents? Will his heart be fitted through transgression of a plain precept of Jehovah upon the first table of stone, to keep the first precept on the second table. We are required, by this commandment, to honor our parents, and we are unnatural children if we do not obey this precept. But if love and reverence are due our earthly parents how much more is reverence and love due our heavenly Parent.

We take the position that the fifth commandment is binding upon the son and daughter, although they may be old and gray-headed. However high or humble their station in life they will never rise above or fall below their obligation to obey the fifth precept of the decalogue, that commands them to honor their father and mother. Solomon, the wisest and most exalted monarch that ever sat upon an earthly throne, has given us an example of filial love and reverence. He was surrounded by his courtly train, consisting of the wisest sages and counselors, yet, when visited by his mother, he laid aside all the customary ceremonies attending the approach of a subject to an oriental monarch. The mighty king, in the presence of his mother, was only her son. His royalty was laid aside, as he rose from his throne and bowed before her. He then seated her on his throne, at his right hand.

Those who have been taught to obey and honor their earthly parents will the more readily yield to the claims of their heavenly Parent, and honor the Creator of man and of the world. The fifth commandment is the only one of the six to which a promise is annexed: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This carries us forward to the period when the saints shall possess the kingdom under the whole heavens, in the renewed earth.

Special blessings are also promised to those who honor and keep holy the day which God has sanctified and blessed; and, in giving us the ten commandments, our wise and merciful Father has not enjoined their observance upon us, and yet made it necessary that, in keeping one, we should break another of those holy precepts. If the requirements of parents from their children involves their breaking the law of God, there should be no question in regard to duty. God’s claims are imperative. The son or daughter should respectfully say to the parent, I love and honor you, my earthly parents; but I love and fear God more. His commands must be obeyed at any cost to myself. In thus standing true to principle the child does not dishonor his parents in the Bible sense. The purity and firmness of his principles may be the means of bringing unbelieving parents to realize the high claims which God has upon them. Should this be the case will he not have shown in the fullest sense that he has attained the Bible standard of honoring his parents?

Should he fail in bringing the parents he loves to acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment, still the child has met the requirements of God if he has faithfully done his duty, in meekness and love, to his parents; if he has shown them the utmost respect, caring for them in temporal things, as well as spiritual, yet remained firm in his adherence to the commands of God, notwithstanding their opposition. There is no more effectual way of proving our obedience to the fifth commandment, than that of manifesting our reverence for all God’s holy laws.

Sacrilegious minds and hearts have thought they were mighty enough to change the times and laws of Jehovah; but, safe in the archives of heaven, in the ark of God, are the original commandments, written upon the two tables of stone. No potentate of earth has power to draw forth those tables from their sacred hiding-place beneath the mercy-seat. The fourth precept of the decalogue remains unchanged, holding the same claims upon man, as when the ten commandments were thundered, amid smoke and flame, from the holy mount.

We observe the equity of God’s requirements in the fourth commandment: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” The Sovereign of heaven and earth gives us six days for our own use, and reserves only one for himself, and upon that he places his blessing, and sanctifies it. He requires man to sacredly observe that day, not using it for his own worldly advantage or pleasure. It is the tribute God requires men to render him for the benefits he has given them.

We should spend a portion of the Sabbath in religious meditation, and in considering the blessings and wonders of God in his created works, manifested alike amid the rugged mountain scenery, where mountain top rises above mountain top, where terrible ravines, and rocks broken apart by the earthquakes, and the lightnings, bear the unmistakable marks of One who has trodden the mountains in his anger; and in the softer aspect of nature, where the lofty trees, the babbling brooks, the green grass and tinted flowers express the love of the Infinite God. When we behold rugged mountains, the lesson of Sinai should be repeated to us, and we should contemplate that scene when Jehovah spake his law in the hearing of all the vast army of Israel.

The foundation of the Sabbath was laid in Eden, and it is to be perpetuated through all time and eternity. The sin of Adam caused his expulsion from Eden. Fearful indeed was the curse pronounced upon the transgressor of the law of God. While we deplore the sin and fall of Adam, let us beware of following his example of disobedience. Thank God that the Sabbath institution was not included in the blessings lost with Eden. That sacred institution does not rest upon vain speculation; the authority and evidence sustaining it are strong and irresistible; Infidelity may assail it, yet it remains incontrovertible.

God in mercy has sent light and messages of warning to the world in reference to his law which has been trampled upon. There is a people who reverence and fear God, and who respond to his messages of warning, who repent of their transgression of the law of God, and, through faith in the merits of Christ, receive pardon for their transgression. God, through his prophet commends, and gives precious promises to those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord: “And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

The prophet here refers to the breach made in the law of God, by the breaking down of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This precept has been made waste by the man of sin; and the professed Christian world has accepted a day which he has substituted for the sanctified Sabbath of the Lord. Shall we be of the number who are repairing the breach made in the law of God? or shall we be of the number who receive the mark of the beast, by observing the human institution rather than the divine, thus nourishing the child of papacy?

We do not write thus because we suppose you ignorant of the evidences of the Sabbath, and the binding claims of the entire law of God; but we desire to refresh your minds, that you may become established in the present truth.

Those who have accepted unpopular truth have always been obliged to make great sacrifices. Persecution has fallen heavily upon some. We have the lives of the apostles as our ensamples; but above all we have the life of Christ our great Exemplar presented before us. The beloved disciple tells us he was banished to the isle of Patmos, “For the word of God, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” While on that desolate island, to his unspeakable joy, his dear Master and Lord stood before him, the very one with whom he had walked and talked when they were together in the world, upon whose bosom he had learned, whose great heart of love had beat beneath the pressure of his head, whose sufferings he had witnessed, and whose visage had been marred more than the sons of men.

The Saviour was revealed to John, not in his humiliation, but in his majesty, as he now is, and as he will be revealed when he shall come in his glory. John saw not a Saviour on the cross, not a man of sorrows, but the glorified Son of God, clothed in a garment of light, and girded with a golden girdle. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like brass when it gleams in a furnace. The sound of his voice was like the sound of many waters; and his countenance shone like the sun in its noon-day splendor.

The world may not appreciate our faith; they may laugh and sneer at our peculiarities of belief; we may be derided for not following the customs of the world. The word of God declares that the world knows us not, because it knew him not. But when Christ comes to earth again he will appear glorious as John saw him to be; and we have the precious promise that “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We must look away from the difficulties of our present position, and fasten our eyes on the glories of our heavenly home, taking courage at the prospect of that bright future when we shall see Christ as he is, and be made like unto him.

John found in his solitude and exile that the Lord had not forgotten him. From this we may learn that God is a shield and helper in every emergency, to those who believe and trust in him. When surrounded by difficulties, dangers, and discouragements, we must not yield faith and principle, but cherish every precious ray of light granted us, and be true to our God given responsibilities.

You who are perplexed and afflicted, look up and be encouraged. Commit your ways in faith to the sympathizing Redeemer. He has identified his interests with yours, and is afflicted in your affliction. He will help you bear your burdens. Never give up the Sabbath. Hold fast the sanctified day, and the promises which God has attached to its observance. Is it reasonable to suppose that God would make you more prosperous in transgressing his law than in rendering cheerful obedience to it? How easily could his hand hedge up the way which Satan now presents to you in such a flattering light. God promises his Israel that if they will keep his statutes and his laws he will bless them in their houses, in their fields and in all their undertakings; but if they disobey his holy statutes his curse will fall upon them. May God help you to understand that he who feeds and cares for the ravens will not forget his children.

Jenny @ 3:59 pm
November 30, 1876 The Sabbath
Filed under: EG White Articles

Nothing so distinguished the Jews from surrounding nations, and designated them as true worshipers of the Creator, as the institution of the Sabbath. Its observance was a continual visible token of their connection with God, and separation from other people. All ordinary labor for a livelihood or for worldly profit was forbidden upon the seventh day. According to the fourth commandment the Sabbath was dedicated to rest and religious worship. All secular employment was to be suspended; but works of mercy and benevolence were in accordance with the purpose of the Lord. They were not to be limited by time nor place. To relieve the afflicted, and comfort the sorrowing is a labor of love that does honor to God’s holy day.

The work of the priests in connection with the sacrificial offerings was increased upon the Sabbath, yet in their holy work in the service of God they did not violate the fourth commandment of the decalogue. As Israel separated from God, the true object of the Sabbath institution became less distinct in their minds. They grew careless of its observance, and unmindful of its ordinances. The prophets testified to them of God’s displeasure in the violation of his Sabbath. Nehemiah says: “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.”

And Jeremiah commands them: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.”

But they heeded not the admonitions of the inspired prophets, and departed more and more from the religion of their fathers. At length calamities, persecution, and bondage came upon them in consequence of their disregard of God’s requirements.

Alarmed at these visitations of divine punishment, they returned to the strict observance of all the outward forms enjoined by the sacred law. Not satisfied with this, they made burdensome additions to those ceremonies. Their pride and bigotry led them to the narrowest interpretation of the requirements of God. As time passed they gradually hedged themselves in with the traditions and customs of their ancestors, till they regarded them with all the sanctity of the original law. This confidence in themselves and their own regulations, with its attendant prejudice against all other nations, caused them to resist the Spirit of God, and separated them still farther from his favor.

Their exactions and restrictions were so wearisome that Jesus declared: “They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders.” Their false standard of duty, their superficial tests of piety and godliness, obscured the real and positive requirements of God. Heart service was neglected in the rigid performance of outward ceremonies. The Jews had so perverted the divine commandments, by heaping tradition upon tradition, that, in the days of Christ, they were ready to accuse him of breaking the Sabbath, because of his acts of mercy upon that day.

The grain was ready for the sickle when Jesus and his disciples passed through the corn fields on the Sabbath. The disciples were hungry, for their Master had extended his work of teaching and healing to a late hour, and they had been without food for a long time. They accordingly began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat, rubbing them in their hands, in accordance with the law of Moses, which provides that: “When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn.” 

But spies were continually upon the track of Jesus, watching for some occasion to accuse and condemn him. When they saw this act of the disciples, they immediately complained to him, saying, “Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.” In this they expressed their own narrow views of the law. But Jesus defended his followers thus: “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was a hungered, he, and they that were with him? how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

If excessive hunger excused David for violating even the holiness of the sanctuary, and made his act guiltless, how much more excusable was the simple act of the disciples in plucking the grain and eating it upon the Sabbath day. Jesus would teach his disciples and his enemies that the service of God was first of all; and, if fatigue and hunger attended the work, it was right to satisfy the wants of humanity, even upon the Sabbath day. That holy institution was not given to interfere with the needs of our being, bringing pain and discomfort, instead of blessing. “The Sabbath was made for man,” to give him rest and peace, and remind him of the work of his Creator, not to be a grievous burden.

The work done in the temple upon the Sabbath was in harmony with the law; yet the same labor, if employed in ordinary business, would be a violation of it. The act of plucking and eating the grain to sustain the bodily strength, to be used in the service of God, was right and lawful. Jesus then crowned his argument by declaring himself the “Lord of the Sabbath,”–One above all question and above all law. This Infinite Judge acquits the disciples from blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating.

But Jesus did not let the matter drop without administering a rebuke to his enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. Said he: “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He then contrasted their many heartless rites with the truthful integrity, and tender love that should characterize the true worshipers of God: “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant; there have they dealt treacherously against me.”

Jesus was reared among this people, so marked with bigotry and prejudice; and he therefore knew that in healing upon the Sabbath day, he would be regarded as a transgressor of the law. He was aware that the Pharisees would seize upon such acts with great indignation, and thereby seek to influence the people against him. He knew that they would use these works of mercy as strong arguments to affect the minds of the masses, who had all their lives been bound by the Jewish restrictions and exactions. Nevertheless he was not prevented by this knowledge from breaking down the senseless wall of superstition that barricaded the Sabbath, and teaching men that charity and benevolence were lawful upon all days.

He entered the synagogue, and saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched him, eager to see what he would do with regard to this case–whether or not he would heal the man upon the Sabbath day. Their sole object was to find cause for accusation against him. Jesus looked upon the man with the withered hand, and commanded him to stand forth. He then asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out; and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

He justified this work of healing the paralytic, as in perfect keeping with the principles of the fourth commandment. But they questioned him: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?” Jesus made them the clear and forcible answer, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.”

The spies upon our Saviour’s words dared not, in the presence of the multitude, answer this question for fear of involving themselves in difficulties. They knew that while they would leave men to suffer and die rather than to violate their traditions by relieving them upon the Lord’s day, a brute which had fallen into danger would be at once relieved, because of the loss that would accrue to the owner if he was neglected. Thus the dumb animal was exalted above man, made in the image of God.

Jesus wished to correct the false teachings of the Jews in regard to the Sabbath and also to impress his disciples with the fact that deeds of mercy were lawful on that day. In the matter of healing the withered hand he broke down the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it to the world. By this act he exalted the Sabbath, sweeping away the senseless restrictions that encumbered it. His act of mercy did honor to the day, while those who complained of him, were, by their many useless rites and ceremonies, themselves dishonoring the Sabbath.

There are ministers today who teach that the Son of God broke the Sabbath and justified his disciples in doing the same. They take the same ground as did the caviling Jews, although ostensibly for another purpose, since they hold that Christ abolished the Sabbath.

Jesus in turning upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful to do good upon the Sabbath day or evil, to save life or to kill, confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were following upon his track to find occasion for falsely accusing him; they were hunting his life with bitter hatred and malice, while he was saving life and bringing happiness to many hearts. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted as he had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God’s holy day, than love to all men which finds expression in deeds of charity and mercy?      E. G. White.

Jenny @ 11:24 am