GOD IN THE WAY
“HUSBAND,” said Mrs. Gregory, when they were alone in the seclusion of their cabin, “what are you going to do about this truth of the Sabbath?”
A rap announced a “short call” from Mr. Spaulding.
“Brother Spaulding, I am so glad you came in,” said Mrs. Gregory, “for my husband and I have just been talking about a matter of personal duty, and I want to take you into our confidence.”
Mr. Spaulding glanced about the stateroom somewhat nervously, instinctively detecting that the matter of “personal duty” was one which, above all others, he would at this time avoid. His distress was apparent, particularly when he saw lying near, Harold Wilson’s Bible, which in the young man’s haste had been left behind.
“Perhaps you have not long to stay with us,” continued Mrs. Gregory, “so I will come at once to my point.”
Mr. Spaulding’s eyes seemed to be riveted on a Scripture text which, as a motto for the voyage, Mrs. Gregory had pinned to the side wall of the stateroom.
“You see, Brother Spaulding, husband and I have been taken through a through ‘the valley of the shadow;’ and as I consider all the circumstances, I am profoundly convinced that it was to teach me to be willing to bear my cross as the Lord Jesus would have me.
“I have been bitterly opposed to the idea of observing the true Sabbath of the Lord, although ever since I was a child, I have heard something ever telling me that Sunday is not the Christian’s day of rest. Yesterday that bitterness nearly cost me my life, and only the heroic act of a Sabbath keeper saved me. However, I have come to see what God wants me to do, and I mean to do it.
“Husband also sees. He too is convinced that the things spoken yesterday, and at other times also, are truth which calls for surrender on our part. My question is — and here I am treating you indeed as a confidential friend — Do you not think we should both come out at once and openly take our stand in favor of the Sabbath? You are an ambassador for Christ, and I want you to give me your sincerest thought.”
Little did the good woman know that the day before, at the very time she was precipitated into the sea, Mr. Spaulding was seeking to persuade her husband that Harold Wilson was a menace to the Christian belief of a vast majority of the passengers, and that Mr. Anderson was one who should be shunned by both ministers and people.
Mr. Gregory sensed the embarrassment of the situation, and sought to alleviate Mr. Spaulding’s distress.
“Brother Spaulding,” he said, “do you not regard it as remarkable, in view of what we were discussing at the time of the accident, that Mr. Wilson should have been the one to save my wife’s life? And mark you, he himself has said that the truth which has recently come to him was what gave him inspiration and faith to jump overboard and effect the rescue. Do you not look upon it as remarkable?”
“Yes, Brother Gregory, I do; and I confess myself reproved for what I said.”
“But you must answer my question, Brother Spaulding,” Mrs. Gregory
insisted. “Do you not think we
should both keep the Sabbath, even though it cost us everything we have in the
world, when we have come to understand that God is calling upon us to do
Spaulding Acknowledges His Error
“Mrs. Gregory, you have placed me in an exceedingly trying position, yet you have done so unwittingly. You may not be aware that I have been strongly opposed to the seventh-day Sabbath idea, and have regarded it as a delusion, something that was calculated to hinder the progress of the gospel in this time of great world evangelism. But to be perfectly frank, I will say that it is everyone’s privilege and duty to obey his conscience.”
“Brother Spaulding,” queried Mr. Gregory, “do you feel absolutely confident that you are right in the positions you have taken regarding the Sabbath? For instance, are you ready to stake your salvation on the thought that the Sabbath is not to be kept, because the law is abolished? Really, didn’t Jesus honor the Ten Commandments, and die to satisfy their claims? Does not the story of Calvary show that the law of the new covenant, the law written in the heart, is the law proclaimed from Sinai? Before God, tell me. Let us be honest with our own hearts.”
“Well, Brother Gregory, I don’t know how to analyze my position. When I read such Scriptures as Matthew 5:17, 18; Romans 3:31; 8:3, 4; James 2:8-12; Matthew 19:17, and other like passages, there does flit through my mind a bit of doubt. No, I cannot truly say I am absolutely confident.”
“Another question then,” continued Mr. Gregory: “Ought we not to regard the example and teaching of Jesus as vital?”
“Yes, I believe we ought.”
Mr. Spaulding began to relax, and a spirit of freedom which he almost unwillingly enjoyed began to take possession of him.
“Well, that is my opinion too,” continued Mr. Gregory; “and for a
long time, I have had in mind that if I would yield my pride, and freely
follow the Saviour’s plan, I would be a Sabbath keeper.
He certainly was, yet not as a Jew; Jesus was the Universal Man, and
therefore His Sabbath keeping was of universal import.
He is my example, and I see no way to escape the conclusion that I
should do as He did.
Child of Apostasy
“You told me, Brother Spaulding, that you had been connected with one of the seminaries conducted by your people, and that you taught church history. Tell me, please, has not your study shown you that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment was kept by the apostles and by the church generally for hundreds of years after Christ? Is it not true that the early church was influenced by the forms and ceremonies of ancient pagan sun worship, and that gradually she adopted the customs of the time, Sunday observance being one of them? And, to make a long story short, was it not the church, fallen and corrupted, seeking for worldly position and power, that, in the fourth century, actually substituted Sunday for the Sabbath, and compelled the recognition of it by law?”
“Brother Gregory, you are down to real heart work now,” was Mr. Spaulding’s reply, “and I am going to be more than frank. I am going to tell you what I have never breathed to a soul before; namely, that all you have said and even more is true. Without any doubt, Sunday as a day of rest is only a child of apostasy. There is not a snatch of evidence, in any of the writings of the fathers, to prove that it has any claim to divine sanction. I know all this.
“But I have looked at the matter from another angle — I have given respectful consideration to the thought that as Sunday was the day of the resurrection, we could properly celebrate that glorious event by worshiping on the day which witnessed it. I must say, though, that if I were on my dying bed, I should not want to make any strong claim for the practice. Certainly God never commanded it.”
“Then tell me, Brother Spaulding,” said Mrs. Gregory, “how in the
world could you stand before the people week after week and teach something of
which you were not absolutely sure? Don’t
you believe the Bible?”
Playing With the Bible
“Sister Gregory, let me bare my heart a bit further. You have now suggested the real difficulty of the whole proposition. I believe I have been playing with the word of God. I recognize that there has come into my life a something which has undermined my old-time confidence. The Bible has ceased to be a really authoritative divine Word. I have treated it, in a measure, as though it were from men rather than from the Lord; and on that account, I have argued just to carry my point, and not to find the truth.”
“I have done the same, to some extent,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Well, are you both intending to continue that course?” asked Mrs. Gregory. “It seems to me that God is trying very earnestly here to-day to help us all to change.”
“And become Sabbatarians, Sister Gregory?” Mr. Spaulding questioned.
“I didn’t say that, yet maybe that is what any true and complete change would mean. You know, Brother Spaulding, that if we do take God’s word as an inspired oracle and as our only guide in living, there is no escaping the fact that we are under absolute moral obligation to obey the fourth commandment. Isn’t that so?”
“Certainly,” was the answer. “There is not a hint of any other day divinely set apart.”
“So far as the Bible is concerned, then, the Sabbatarians are correct, are they not?”
“Yes, without doubt. But, oh, the idea of keeping a day different from what almost the entire Christian church observes! It is that that hurts me. Why, one actually becomes the laughingstock of society. I myself have called the seventh-day people ‘Christ killers’ and ‘fanatics.’ “
“You certainly have, Brother Spaulding,” said Mr. Gregory. “Those were the terms you were using yesterday when we were interrupted by the cry, ‘Woman overboard!’ “
“Well, I never knew before that ministers of the gospel were so unwilling to yield to what they knew to be right. And do you mean to tell me that there are others in the pulpit who talk one thing and believe another?”
“Wife, you must be patient and charitable in this matter, even though you learn of what seems to be dishonesty. I don’t like to call it that; rather, I would call it confusion, resulting from long years of training in the wrong direction. As Brother Spaulding has said, he has scarcely been able to analyze his own views. We have gone on, however, teaching many times what we have not known to be true, even though we have not taught what we have known to be false. It is perfectly safe to say that the majority of the ministry of to-day occupy this position. But the circumstances of this trip, — the contact with Harold Wilson and his marked Bible, the attitude of Captain Mann, the work of Mr. Anderson, the discussions among Brother Mitchell, Brother Spaulding, and me, and finally, the providence of yesterday, which has spoken so pointedly to my soul, — all these have caused me to see that I must take an entirely different course, and I purpose that everybody aboard this vessel shall know what God has done for me.” It was thus that Mr. Gregory, led by the Spirit of God, finally and fully committed himself.
“Before you go, Brother Spaulding, won’t you take the Bible there and read for us? Read the fortieth Psalm, please.”
Mr. Spaulding gladly acceded to the request of Mr. Gregory, and picking up the marked Bible, turned to the Psalm indicated and began to read. Slowly and feelingly he read, a great tenderness taking possession of his heart. Scores and scores of times during his ministry he had read this same Scripture; but never before had its voice seemed to speak so directly to him, or its message appeared so sweet. He reached to eighth verse, and this he found underscored. In the margin was written the following: “God’s will is God’s law. To do His will — to keep His law — is the true and only object of life. Ecclesiastes 12:13. Not wealth, not health, not happiness, not salvation, not philanthropy, but doing God’s will. He who delights in the will of God has found the climax of all holiness, and will surely be instrumental, as Jesus was, in leading others to love and serve. This is the revelation of God in man and through man. — Mother.”
Mr. Spaulding stopped. The word “Mother” at the close of the note aroused in him a peculiar interest.
“What does this mean?” he said. “who is the mother who wrote this comment?”
While the words were on his lips, there was a light rap at the door. In response to the usual “Come in,” Harold Wilson entered. He had missed his Bible, and had come for it.
“Sit down, my boy,” said Mr. Gregory. “We are just about to have prayer with Brother Spaulding.”
That sounded strange to Harold; and what was stranger, his Bible was in Mr. Spaulding’s hand. What did it mean?
Mr. Spaulding soon satisfied Harold’s curiosity by explaining the circumstances, and then, in a gentle and fatherly way, so unlike his usual demeanor, said: “Son, what is the meaning of the word ‘Mother’ signed to this note here? I am interested, because the note sounds so much like the words of my own mother, who was accustomed also to mark her Bible.”
Gladly indeed did Harold relate the story of his faithful mother, of his effort to escape her influence and teaching, of the marked Bible which he found at sea and later threw away, of his life in sin, of his trial and sentence, of the marked bible at the Oakland pier — marked by request of his mother while she was on her deathbed — of Mr. Anderson’s acquaintance with the dear mother, and of Captain Mann and his experience. All this and much more seemed to Harold a chapter stranger than fiction, and he told it as only one who believes in an overshadowing Providence can.
“And that’s why I am trying to follow my Saviour,” said Harold. “My mother’s prayer has been answered through Mr. Anderson. The verse you have just read is my special guide, and I wrote my name under the word ‘Mother,’ so I could say in my heart that I was indorsing her message.”
Mr. Spaulding prayed. The Spirit of God was there to indite. As he prayed, his heart broke before God. Mr. and Mrs. Gregory shared fully his blessing of spiritual uplift, and amens sought to find expression through lips too tender to articulate. When he prayed for Harold, “the hero of faith” of the day before, and for Mr. Anderson, “the devoted brother who sought truly to reveal Christ,” Harold’s cup was full.
The prayer ended, Harold quietly withdrew, and Mr. Spaulding also hastened to his stateroom.
But before the gong called Harold to his work, he went to Mr. Anderson’s quarters, and told him what had occurred in the stateroom he had just left.
“Thank God,” said the minister, “the day of miracles is not past.”
IT was Sabbath morning, a bright, beautiful day. Several days had now elapsed since the almost miraculous rescue of Mrs. Gregory; and Harold Wilson had frequently been stopped here and there by interested persons who desired to ask him about his conversion, his marked Bible, and his answered prayer in the saving of the minister’s wife.
And besides the interest shown in the young man, there were rumors afloat that one of the clergymen had “become a seventh-day man.” But no one seemed to know whether it was Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Spaulding, or Mr. Gregory.
Until this Sabbath morning, no one had given particular attention to a certain man, evidently educated and cultured, who had kept himself somewhat isolated, and attended none of the religious services aboard the vessel, but spent much time reading some well-worn books that he carried with him.
Determined that the journey should not end before he had at least made
an effort at acquaintance, Mr. Anderson, finding him at his accustomed
reading, took a seat beside him on deck, and as his custom was, inquired if
the man was a Christian.
Catholic Points Out Protestantism’s Inconsistency
“Yes, sir; I am a Roman Catholic, a member of the only true and apostolic church,” the stranger said, very positively.
“Ah! Well, I am glad to meet you, sir,” was the minister’s reply. “I am a Protestant; but that does not hinder me from feeling brotherly.”
“Do you say you are a Protestant? There are no Protestants — no consistent Protestants,” he said. “Why, I am reading at this very time the proof of my statement.”
“What is your proof, friend, that there are no true Protestants? That is rather a broad statement,” said Mr. Anderson.
“Well, however broad it may sound, it is true. There are no consistent Protestants, for none of them take the Bible and the Bible only as their rule of faith. They say they follow the Bible; but in many things, they reject it altogether, and follow the teachings and customs of the Catholic Church. For instance, you know very well that you have no Scripture for your Sunday — not a single word. The Bible teaches you that you should keep to-day — Saturday — not tomorrow. The Catholic Church, by authority of the apostle Peter, changed the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week, and the whole religious world has adopted the change. And then to think that they persist in calling themselves Protestants! It is disgusting.”
“But not all Protestants do as you say. There are exceptions.”
“So far as I know, they all do.
Of course, they grow indignant and make vigorous denial, but they do
not dare come out and face the actual facts.
Our church, through Cardinal Gibbon’s paper, has challenged the whole
Protestant world to show that they are not following its teachings rather than
the Bible in their keeping of Sunday; but there has never been an answer.
The reason is, there is no answer to be given. Every intelligent Protestant clergyman who has studied church
history knows that Sunday worship springs from our church.
And so we say that, taking a part of our religion, they ought
consistently to take it all. In fact, we look for all of you to come back into the true
Thousand Dollars Unclaimed
“A number of years ago,” he continued, “one of our priests offered a thousand dollars to anyone who would bring even one text from the Bible to show Sunday to be the divine day of rest. But no one has ever appeared to claim the reward.”
“No,” said Mr. Anderson, “and no one ever will. Such a text cannot be found.”
“Then why do you go on fooling yourself and others by keeping Sunday?”
“I do not,” was the reply.
“Oh, you don’t keep any day, I suppose.”
“Yes, I observe the seventh day of the week. I am a Seventh day Adventist. Now let me make you a proposition: Will you offer a reward of a thousand dollars to anyone who will prove to you from the Bible that your church did change the Sabbath?”
The man closed the catechism in his hand, looked Mr. Anderson squarely in the eye, and asked: “Who are you, anyway? What do you mean?”
“I mean,” said the pastor, “that I agree with you that your church changed the Sabbath, and that I am ready to show you, from the word of God, that you are correct.”
“All right, provided you will use my Bible. And I will give you a hundred dollars if you make good your claims. It will be worth that much to me in handling the next Sunday man I meet. But remember, it must be from our Douay Version.”
Mr. Anderson readily agreed; and the man, who had now introduced himself as James Conan, went after his Bible, leaving his catechism in the deck chair.
“What have you here, brother?” asked Judge Kershaw, who happened along while Mr. Anderson was waiting; and stooping, he picked up the little book and opened it.
‘A Catholic catechism! Well, this is strange literature for a Protestant pastor!”
The book had opened to the chapter devoted to church authority, and the judge incidentally read: “Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept? A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; — she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”
Evidently the judge had never before read the statement, and he appeared greatly surprised; but an explanation was impossible, as Mr. Conan now returned, and, handing Mr. Anderson the Bible, renewed his conversation.
“Mr. Conan, you believe and receive the entire Bible, do you not?” was Mr. Anderson’s first question.
“Yes, sir; every good Catholic does.”
“I knew you must; for in the footnote that I find here in 2 Peter, I read: ‘Every part of the Holy Scriptures was written by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and declared as such by the church.’ “
“Of course, Mr. Anderson, my belief is subject to the teaching of the church,” Mr. Conan added.
“Well, let us note what the Bible says.
Mr. Anderson Explains a Prophecy
“In the book of Daniel, chapter 7, we are told of a vision given the prophet, a vision which revealed to him four great beasts, — a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a beast without name. The footnote says, ‘Viz., the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires.’ Of the correctness of this position there is no doubt.
“In the vision, the prophet saw ‘ten horns’ on the fourth beast, and the footnote reads, ‘Ten horns, that is, ten kingdoms among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parceled.’ This too, without question, is correct; for between the years 351 A. D. and 476 A.D., the western empire was divided into exactly ten parts, — Franks, Alemanni, Burgundians, Suevi, Vandals, Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Ostrogoths, and Heruli.
“After the ten horns (or kingdoms) appeared, the prophet said, ‘another little horn sprung out of the midst of them: and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: and behold eyes like the eyes of a man were in his horn, and a mouth speaking great things.’ Between the years 493 A.D. and 538 A.D., exactly three of the horns (or kings) mentioned were plucked up, according to the prophecy. They were the Heruli, in Italy; the Vandals, in Africa; and the Ostrogoths, in Rome.”
“I am familiar with that history,” remarked Mr. Conan; “and you may be aware that they were overthrown because of their heretical positions, especially the Ostrogoths. The bishop of Rome was the one person who negotiation with the eastern empire for the cleansing of the eternal city.”
“Yes, you are right, Mr. Conan; it was a religious controversy that brought about the downfall of those three kingdoms. They were Arian in faith, and the church saw to it that they were annihilated,” said Mr. Anderson.
“But now mark: The horn that put them down had ‘a mouth speaking great things.’ Verse 8. In verse 24, this same horn is said to ‘bring down three things;’ and then the prophet adds, ‘And he shall think to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time.’
“I may not take time now to go largely into details, but will call your attention to the last feature of the description — that of the time. A ‘time’ is a year, even as the footnote here states. In this prophecy, it is a prophetic year, equal to 360 prophetic days. According to Ezekiel 4:6, a prophetic day equals a literal year. The scripture reads, ‘A day for a year, a day for a year I have appointed to thee.’ I have then the following:
Time ............................................. 360 years
Times ............................................ 720 years
Half a time ..................................... 180 years
“In Revelation 12:6, 14, this same period is clearly shown to be one thousand two hundred sixty days, or years; while in Revelation 13:5, it is stated to be ‘forty and two months’ (thirty days to the Jewish month), which gives the same number.”
Mr. Conan apparently approved, as he was logically obliged to do, the points thus far made, though it was clear he was beginning to see what must be to him an unwelcome conclusion.
“Twelve hundred sixty years is the time during which this little horn would ‘speak words,’ ‘crush the saints,’ and ‘think himself able to change the times and laws.’ What are the facts of history?
“In 533 A.D., Justinian, emperor of Eastern Rome, issued a decree declaring the bishop of Rome the corrector of heretics and ‘head over all the churches.’ Immediately the work of putting down Arianism was begun with new vengeance, in order that the decree might become effective; and the very next year, the Vandals were subjugated, this work being followed in 538 by the uprooting of the Ostrogoths. In 538 A.D., therefore, the bishop of Rome found himself the undisputed head of the great spiritual world, by royal decree, and from that date began his work outlined in the prophecy.
“Dating forward twelve hundred and sixty years from 538 A. D., we are brought down to 1798 A. D. Was that a remarkable year in the history of the church of which the bishop of Rome was head? Ah, that was the time when the army of France took the head of the church prisoner, broke the power he had so long wielded, and carried him into captivity. The prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled almost to a day.”
“Mr. Anderson,” Mr. Conan said rather excitedly, “you are trying to prove the Catholic Church Antichrist. This is the worst thing I ever heard.”
“Pardon me, Mr. Conan; but have I not taken it all from your Bible, as you suggested?”
“Well, pass it for the present. What about the Sabbath change? You have not proved anything yet as to the matter with which we began.”
“Very good, let us proceed,” said Mr. Anderson.
“The prophecy definitely states that this little horn should ‘think himself able to change times and laws.’ What laws are pointed out? Read the whole verse and see. The horn is working against God, — against God’s name, against God’s people, and against God’s laws. And right here let me ask you a question: Does not your literature teach that the pope, speaking ex cathedra, has authority to set aside the words of Scripture for the good of the church?”
“I must acknowledge that it does.”
“Does not your catechism, which you have in your hand, actually set you a changed form of the law of God?”
“I do not know,” Mr. Conan replied.
Taking the catechism proffered, Mr. Anderson turned to the chapter devoted to the commandments, and read, at the same time comparing with Mr. Conan’s Bible.
“Now, Mr. Conan, notice. The fourth command is changed in your catechism, and calls for Sunday worship instead of Sabbath worship. And right over here the change is cited as proof that the church has authority to appoint other special days of service. In other words, your church actually confesses to changing the word of God. As you told me at the beginning, she changed the day.”
Acceptable in Any Court
Judge Kershaw had been only an interested listener. But now he spoke, saying: “Mr. Anderson has given evidence which would be accepted in any court of law. It is a case in which the defendant has been proved guilty not only by direct testimony of unimpeachable witnesses, but by his own confession as well.”
“Mr. Conan, these are hard things; but let me go a step further,” continued Mr. Anderson. “The Church of Rome has fulfilled another great prophecy, that of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, which speaks of the ‘man of sin,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ ‘who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple [the church] of God, showing himself that he is God.’ The pope has put himself above God in setting aside a portion of His law; he has assumed titles that belong to God only; he has allowed himself, as Christ’s pretended vicar, to receive worship and adoration; and all this has been in the temple — the church — of God. Is it not true, then, that the Church of Rome is the power that fulfills Daniel 7:25, and that changed the Sabbath of Jehovah?”
“Mr. Anderson, this is terrible. Do the priests know these things?”
“Yes, my brother, many of them do; and not only the priests, but Protestant ministers as well.” He then read Ezekiel 22:26.
Mr. Conan seemed stunned, but in nowise resentful. He was on a mission for the church. What should he now do about it?
CHOICE THAT IS VITAL
MR. ANDERSON had no sooner reached his stateroom than a messenger boy called with a note, and said that he had been asked to wait for a written reply.
The note was from Mrs. Slocum, one of the ladies from San Francisco, who had been so impressed by the pastor’s prayer during the service of the Tuesday previous. It read as follows:
“My Dear Mr. Anderson:
“For several day’s there has been developing an increasing desire on the part of many of the passengers to hear from you concerning the question of the Sabbath. The matter seems to us of such importance that we feel to press you once more into service. Will you address us tomorrow (Sunday) in the parlor, of course choosing such phase of the subject as you may deem best? Kindly reply by messenger.
“(Mrs.) Frances Slocum.”
In justice to Mr. Anderson, it must be said he was not one who sought opportunity to minister propaganda, nor did he believe in that most unfortunately practice termed proselyting. His was a mission of true soul winning. But one purpose actuated him; namely, to preach Christ and Him crucified. He believed thoroughly, however, in the necessity of teaching doctrine; for without that, there would be no guide to conduct, no track over which the believer could successfully direct his train of life to the kingdom of God.
The invitation extended, revealed to him real heart hunger, or, changing the figure, soil that was ready for the sowing of the seed. He therefore penned a short note of acceptance, and began to give thought to what he should say.
Little did he know that God had ordained the service to be one of the most momentous in his life.
The hour came, and the parlor was filled. Mr. Spaulding and Mr. and Mrs. Gregory sat in the front, their faces really beaming with anticipation. Judge Kershaw occupied a commanding position, while near by were Mr. Severance, and Harold Wilson, with his Bible in his hand. Of course, Mrs. Slocum and her friends were where they could see and hear all; and strangely enough, Mr. Conan’s face was seen in the audience.
How different was the atmosphere of this service from that of a few days before! Within so brief a space of time, the grace of God had wrought mightily on hearts, yet working through the humblest of agencies. To-day there was freedom in the lives of both ministers and people, which had never before been known, because never before had they yielded to the truth, which makes and keeps free. John 8:32, 36.
To the utter astonishment of a large number present, Captain Mann opened the meeting by prayer, — a prayer such as that parlor had never heard before, and perhaps would not hear again.
“O God in heaven,” he began with trembling tone, “we indeed thank Thee at this hour that Thou hast called us to Thy side. We thank Thee for Thy goodness which has followed us all through our lives. We thank Thee for our beautiful mothers, who, while we were children, sought under Thy direction to cause our feet to walk the paths of righteousness, who taught us to pray, who taught us to love and obey Thy commandments. And surely Thou art better than mothers, for Thou madest them and gavest them to us. So we can and do trust Thee. We want to-day to have Thee take us and hold us in Thy great, strong arms. We are tired of the world and its folly. take us therefore, Saviour, and give us rest, as Thou hast promised. We yield to Thy Spirit. Now teach us. Guide us into the very fullness of truth. Thou art guiding, and we are following. However unwilling we may have been, we are not unwilling to-day. And Blessed One, search through this company, and help, greatly help, all who are longing for perfect victory. there are some here who are learning new things, and maybe hard to receive; but help them to learn. Bring us fully out of the darkness of all erroneous belief, and give us courage to do the right no matter what the cost, that one day, at the journey’s end, we may see our mother’s again, and see Thee in glory. Grant it all because of Thy promise and because of our great need. Through the merits of Jesus, Thy Son and our Saviour, we ask it. Amen.”
There were frequent amens; and as the captain arose from his knees —
for he had knelt to pray — more than one handkerchief was used to dry eyes
that had been moistened by tender memories of early days.
Anderson Uses the Marked Bible
Mr. Anderson arose and was about to speak; but ere he could do so, Mrs. Slocum spoke.
“Pastor,” she said, “are you willing to use the marked bible on this occasion? Somehow the prayer has caused me to regard this meeting as a kind of mother’s meeting, and this Bible is surely a mother’s bible. This is only a bit of sentiment, it is true; yet it will prove a blessing to some.”
Harold Wilson gladly brought forward the Bible, and placed it on the speaker’s stand. Thus a mother’s voice continued to speak, a mother’s prayer to be answered. How truly do one’s works follow when God is permitted to have His way in the life!
“My friends,” said Mr. Anderson, “as you probably know, I am speaking to-day by request. There are those who are eager to know more fully of the truth of the gospel as revealed in the Sabbath of the Lord; and to help such, I will briefly set before you a few principles not before noticed. I can do no better, I think, than to answer a question that was handed in by some one last Tuesday. The question reads, ‘What do you understand by the mark of the beast in Revelation 13:17?’
“Without doubt, I must be brief; so you will gladly allow me the privilege of omitting the usual sermon style of phraseology, and treating you as a class of students, who may interrupt with questions as you desire.
“I will first call your attention to the fact that ‘the beast’ of Revelation 12, 13, and 17 is earthly power, earthly government, under the influence of Satan and controlled by the church, standing in opposition to God. It is, so far as Revelation 13 is concerned, the power of earthly government swayed by the papal church, which for ‘forty and two months’ of prophetic time (one thousand two hundred sixty literal years, reaching from 538 A. D. to 1798 A.D. ) spoke ‘great things and blasphemies,’ and to whom ‘it was given’ ‘to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.’ See verses 5-7. It was that terrible system known as ‘the man of sin,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ which took its place in the church of God, secured control of the Roman Empire, put tradition in the place of the Bible, and actually changed God’s law, substituting Sunday for the Sabbath. See 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Daniel 7:25; and other scriptures. All these things are matters of history, and may be read by all.
“You will see at a glance, therefore, that ‘the mark of the beast’ must be something intimately associated with the papacy, in its work of opposing God’s truth and people; for Revelation 14:9-11 distinctly states that to receive this mark puts one into direct warfare against God, and makes him a subject of wrath. The mark, then, is a terribly serious proposition; and surely inspiration must make plain to us what it is.
“So far as the mere word is concerned, ‘mark’ is equivalent to ‘seal’ or ‘sign.’ The words are used interchangeably. For instance, in Ezekiel 9:4, God tells the heavenly messenger to ‘set a mark upon the foreheads’ of the men who honor Him; while in Revelation 7:3 we find these same people ‘sealed . . .in their foreheads.’ In Romans 4:11, the words ‘sign’ and ‘seal’ stand as equivalents: ‘He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had.’ It would be perfectly proper, therefore, to speak of the mark of God; for one would be well understood as meaning the seal of God, or, if you please, the sign of God.
“To put the matter as it really is, the beast has its mark, its sign,
its seal; and opposed are God’s mark, God’s sign, God’s seal.
To have the mark, or sign, or seal of the beast is to die; to have the
mark, or sign, or seal of God is to live, and to live forever.
Fourth Commandment God’s Seal
“But now we come to the really interesting part of the matter. these terms — ‘mark,’ ‘sign,’ ‘seal’ — are used in the word of God with special reference to law, or legal documents. Jezebel ‘wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal.’ 1 Kings 21:8. The decree of Haman for the destruction of the Jews in the days of Esther was ‘in the name of King Ahasuerus,’ and ‘sealed with the king’s ring.’ Esther 3:12. This was the thought of the signet ring — the name ring — of the ancient times. The king’s name was in the ring; and the impress of the ring was to stamp the king’s name. In this way, documents were sealed, and thus became law. We have only to remember this to see the point we are after: God’s seal, or sign, is something connected with His law. It is the signet portion, that in which His name is found, and therefore that which gives it the force of true law.
“I need not remind you that three essential features are to be found in every law seal: first, the name of the official; second, his designated office; and third, the territory over which his authority extends. Thus the President of our country, in signing any bill or other document, must sign his name, with the title appended, ‘President of the United states.’ It is not enough that he sign only his name, for there might be other persons of the same name. Nor is it sufficient that he give only his name and office; for a person bearing his name might be president of a transit company or a literary club. No; it takes all three: 1, the name; 2, ‘President’ (office); and 3, ‘United States of America’ (territory).
“Let me now inquire if this principle is really recognized in God’s law, — the Ten Commandments.
“The first and the last five of the commandments do not mention Jehovah’s name, so we will pass them. The second, the third, and the fifth give only His name. But the fourth, the Sabbath command, brings to view His name, His office, His realm. ‘the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord [Jehovah] thy God’ — here is His name. ‘In six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is’ — here He gives His office as Creator, and the extent of His authority as heaven and earth. Jehovah, Creator of the universe — this is His official seal. The fourth commandment is the official seal of the divine law; and without it, that law would be invalid. Do you all see that this is so?”
There was no question. The truth was self-evident.
“God Himself constantly points to the fact that He is Creator of all things, as reason why we should obey. See Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:8-11; Jeremiah 10:10-12; Psalms 96:5; 33:6-9; and other texts. And if any of you are going abroad as missionaries to the heathen, remember that only the truth of the fourth commandment, coupled with a conscientious observance of it, will convince them of the supremacy of our God.”
“Kindly explain that a little further,” said Mr. Spaulding.
“Well, while the heathen believes in the greatness of his god or gods, he does not worship them as having creative power. Thus when you come to him with authoritative word that Jehovah is the Creator, that He therefore made all the things which the heathen has worshipped, he sees that even the gods themselves must bow to Jehovah’s commands. The Sabbath command thus becomes the signal for him to transfer his allegiance; and your obedience helps him to understand that God still lives, and re-creates those who yield to Him.”
Catholic Church Approved the Change
“That is fine, brother, fine,” said Mr. Spaulding. “We missionaries may well take the lesson to heart.”
And now Mr. Conan spoke. “Mr. Anderson,” he said, “what about the mark of the beast? You are not touching that point.”
“I think, Mr. Conan,” said the minister, “I will let you answer your own question. If the Sabbath commandment is the seal of God (and it is), and if the mark, or seal, of the beast stands in opposition to it, then, logically, what must we conclude as to the character of the mark?”
“Why, logically, I should say it also is a Sabbath of some kind — that is, Sabbath opposing Sabbath,” was Mr. Conan’s reply.
“Exactly so,” said Mr. Anderson, “And that is a historical fact, as I showed you yesterday. The beast, the papacy, a combination of church and state, in the fourth century of our era, succeeded in substituting tradition for the word of God, and wickedly attacking the truth of the fourth commandment, substituting Sunday for the Sabbath. Eusebius, a bishop of that period, openly claimed that ‘all things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath these we have transferred to the Lord’s day.’ And not very long ago, one of the leading Catholic papers of the United States made the statement that ‘the Catholic Church of its own infallible authority created Sunday as a holy day to take the place of the Sabbath of the old law.’ ‘We observe Sunday instead of Saturday,’ says a catechism that I saw yesterday, ‘because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea ( A. D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.’
“Now, as God points to His Sabbath seal as evidence of His authority, so the Church of Rome points to her Sunday mark as evidence of her authority. She proves her right to command feasts and holy days ‘by the very act’ (this from a catechism) ‘of changing the Sabbath into Sunday.’ Thus her ‘mark’ is set in boastful opposition to God’s ‘seal.’
“Summing all up, we have this: An
apostate power has violated God’s law by tearing out its seal, and putting
Sunday in its place. Then
apostasy comes to men and demands of them that they accept the change it has
made, enforcing its claims by law wherever and whenever it has sufficient
influence to do so. All the
Sunday laws of our own and other lands have this wretched principle behind
them. And lest some of you do not know, I may say here that both
the prophecies of God’s word and the plans of the present Roman church show
that erelong all nations will pass laws making Sunday observance universal,
and finally compelling men to keep it or die.
Read Revelation 13 complete.
Reform Called for Now
“Many Christians have observed the Sunday in good conscience, believing they were doing the will of God; and He accepted the motive, the heart love. But now light is shining. God warns us against that apostate system comprised in the beast and his image, which exalts the false sabbath in the place of the true, and seeks to enforce it under penalties. Thus it becomes its mark. And when men in the light of God’s message reject God’s day, and accept as their badge of allegiance the Sunday as enforced by the beast and his image, they receive the mark of the beast, against which God warns. At what stage in men’s experience men cut themselves off from God, it is not for mortals to say. Judgment rests with God.
“At this time, therefore, God is calling upon us to turn again to His law and keep it wholly. He pleads with us to restore the Sabbath to its place. See Isaiah 8:16. He counsels us to tread it underfoot no longer. Isaiah 58:13. He commands His messengers to stay the tide of human conflict until we have received its truth into our lives. Revelation 7:1-3. He sends to the whole world a great gospel message inviting men to worship Him only — Him who created all things. Revelation 14:6, 7. And finally He shows us that many will refuse to receive the Sunday mark, but, taking God fully into their lives, will keep all His commandments (Revelation 14:12), and, sealed with His seal, stand at last upon Mount Zion, in the kingdom of glory. Revelation 14:1. On the other hand, those who reject God’s message, who swing off with the world to please that power which opposes God, and thus partake of the spirit and character of the world, will drink the wine of His wrath (Revelation 14:9-11), and suffer the awfulness of those plagues which will then depopulate the earth. Revelation 16.
“Do you wonder, my friends, that I am interested in this matter? Is it worth you while to study it? Will any here to-day even think of treating the question lightly? Which will it be with you, Rome or Christ, the Sunday or the Sabbath, the mark of the beast, or the seal of the living God.”
Mr. Spaulding almost leaped to his feet. “Brother Anderson,” he said, “may I be permitted a few words?”
As he faced the people, it was evident that he had something to say which was to mark a new era in his own life, and which would profoundly affect the lives of many others.
“And they that shall 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.”