The New Testament And The Sabbath -- By: Archibald E. Thomson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 046:183 (Jul 1889)
Article: The New Testament And The Sabbath
Author: Archibald E. Thomson


The New Testament And The Sabbath

Rev. Archibald E. Thomson

The future of the Christian Sabbath depends on the answer that shall finally be given to the question, whether the church has a “Thus saith the Lord” for its observance.

If Sabbath-keeping is to be urged on the ground of expediency alone, the day is at the mercy of human judgment, and that is too often the plaything of human desires. Nevertheless, not a few Christian scholars have thought to encourage Sabbath observance, while admitting that the Fourth Commandment has lost its authority under the new dispensation, by appealing to Christian loyalty to the spiritual privileges of the gospel. The result is as might have been expected. Multitudes of Sabbath-breakers have eagerly caught at this release from the law, and what was intended to be Christian liberty has become worldly license. If there is divine authority for the Fourth Commandment, the first step in this reform is to show it, for one word of command from heaven will have more weight than all the reasoning of men.

The attitude of the Berœans is, therefore, the attitude for us. Let us examine the Scriptures, whether these things are so. This argument will endeavor to answer in the negative two questions: 1. Has the Decalogue been superseded by the law of liberty? 2. If the Decalogue, as a code, is still in force, has the Fourth Commandment been excepted?

I. Has the Decalogue been superseded by the law of liberty? We have a right to ask, Where in the New Tes-

tament is this code distinctly annulled? When a system of laws has been given with the solemnity that attended the giving of the Mosaic code, we are compelled to assume it continuously in force, unless set aside by a distinct fiat of the God who gave it. Solemnly to proclaim a set of rules for human conduct, especially when they meet in every instance recognized needs of men, and then leave them to be outlawed by lapse of time, or put aside by human reason, is folly too great to be imputed to God. It is proper, therefore, to call for proof that the Decalogue has been repealed.

It will probably be conceded that the ceremonial law of circumcision, of sacrifices and temple services, was not in question when, on the Mount, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.”1 This law that was to endure could have been none other than the moral law, epitomized in “The Ten Words,” as the Jews called them. This law included the “great and first commandment,” love to God, and the second, which ...

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