Ellet J. Waggoner
The Present Truth : May 2, 1895
When we tell the people that the seventh day of the week, commonly called Saturday, is and always has been the Sabbath, and that there is no Divine authority whatever for the observance of Sunday, they often skeptically ask, “If this is so, why have not the ministers and learned men found it out?”
The truth is, that they have found it out, and have told it, and we have published much of their testimony in PRESENT TRUTH. This week we have some more of the same sort to present. The late Dr. R. W. Dale, of Birmingham, was a Congregationalist, but as a preacher, a scholar, and a theologian, he was and is held in very high repute by all Nonconformists, and by Churchmen as well. In 1871 a book of his entitled “The Ten Commandments,” was published by Hodder & Stoughton, of whom it is said that their imprint is a certificate of orthodoxy, and from that we extract the following: —
It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday. —Page 106.
Again, on page 107 we read: —
The penalty for breaking the Sabbath was death. There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.
Notice the words, “the supposed sanctity of Sunday.” The words were well chosen, for there is no real sanctity to Sunday. The Scriptures contain no suggestion of a penalty for laboring on Sunday, because they contain no suggestion that it should be kept. Therefore it is no more a sin to work or play on Sunday than on Monday or Tuesday. Dr. Dale admits this in these words found on page 112: —
There is no reason to believe that the apostles required their converts to keep the first day of the week as a day of rest.
Of course there is not, since there is no hint of such a thing in the New Testament. Yet the Apostle Paul said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you,” and, “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20.20, 27
Sunday, therefore, being wholly unscriptural, unchristian, and unapostolic, was left to be brought into the church when it had apostatized far enough to reject the counsel of God. So Dr. Dale says: —
As it is difficult to determine the exact time when Jewish Christians ceased to rest on the Sabbath, it is also difficult to determine the exact time when Christians generally began to rest on Sunday. —Page 110.
Mr. Gladstone has said that the general mind has no clear conception of why Sunday is kept. We hope to be able to present the facts so clearly that none need have any doubt as to the reason why Sunday ought not to be observed.