Fourth River — Sabbath Breaking
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, northy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant; nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that iswithin thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is,and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” — Ex.xx, 8-11.Satan strives to make people think that the Sabbath is an irksome requirement by whichGod keeps His people from real enjoyments.
This is one of his blackest lies. Instead of that, God purposed it should be a day in whichall may rest, and enjoy communion with Him and with each other, that they may thus be fitted inmind, soul, and body for the work He has for them to do.
The Sabbath is humanity’s great restorer, in which body, mind, and spirit rest and areinvigorated.
It is a God-given type of the perfect and heavenly soul-rest which awaits all who fullyfollow Christ.
It is a harbor where storm-stranded vessels rest and are repaired.
It is a temple in which our Heavenly Father meets and communes with His children.
It is a celestial observatory from which one views Eternity and its realities.
It is a training-school for this world and the next.
It is our “Lord’s-day,” commemorating His resurrection.
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; andcall the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord honorable; and shalt honor it, not doing thineown ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delightthyself in the Lord; and I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth; and I will feedthee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” — Isa. lviii, 13,14.
Jesus named some exceptions to the stringent Jewish rule of Sabbath observance. He taughtthat it is “lawful to do good” upon the Sabbath-day, and that works of mercy, like relievingsuffering, are lawful and right, He would have us to be neither Sabbathless worldlings, seeking ourown pleasure, nor bigoted Pharisee’s, bound by the mere letter of the law. We must honor theexceptions in favor of “doing good” and “mercy” as well as the law demanding cessation of toil.
Sabbath desecration is an appalling and general sin. Multitudes on every side break thislaw, and are drifting down the River of Death “into the eternal fire which is prepared for the deviland his angels.” (Matt. xxv, 41.)
The following are some of the reasons why you should faithfully keep the Sabbath-day:
Because God commands it, and to break His law is rebellion against His government.
Because we all need the rest which its rightful observance brings.
Because the penalty of breaking it is eternal death.
Because Jesus kept it, and we should be like Him.
Because we need the instruction and communion with God which are received through Hisworship.
There are many ways in which people break this Commandment, and thus displease God,and expose themselves to the certain death which befalls all who persist in sailing upon this greatfeeder of the River of Death. They
Do unnecessary work on the Sabbath;
Make it a day of pleasure and amusement;
Neglect religious meetings;
Read secular papers and other irreligious reading;
Go to Sunday picnics and excursions;
Needlessly travel on Sunday;
Have worldly visiting;
Lounge and sleep; the night is for sleep; the Sabbath-day for rest;
Write business letters;
Run trains and print papers;
Do secular business;
Go to church simply to see or to be seen.
It is impossible for an unholy person to keep the Sabbath holy. Hence, all who persist inremaining unholy break this Commandment and invite its fearful penalty.
He who is guilty of Sabbath-breaking is like:
A man who would rush from the kind shelter of a friendly hospital to perish on the street;
A disabled ship which would refuse to remain in the harbor for repairs, and so sink in thedeep;
A man who would steal the seventh dollar from a friend who had given him six;
An engineer who would run his train, when the boxes are all on fire, until there is a wreck;
A soldier who would disobey the orders of his general;
A person who would fondle a viper in his bosom;
The first Sabbath-breaker of whom it is written, “The man shall surely be put to death;”
Apostate Israel, to whom God said:
“But if ye will not hearken unto Me to hallow The Sabbath day, . . . then will I kindle a firein the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” –Jer. xvii, 27.
Those who persist in Sabbath-breaking will, in the course of time, feel the lightning-strokesof God’s wrath leap upon them. If you are guilty of any one of the following, you are open to Hisjudgments:
Disregard for God’s authority, and the penalty thus incurred;
The peril which attends loss of Sabbath worship and instruction;
The formation of evil companionships;
Baleful influence over others;
The reproaches, through all Eternity, of those thus led astray;
Overtaxed energies, a troubled conscience, an offended God, severe judgments, aChristless death, the loss of the soul, and eternal despair;
The sin and penalty both are more terrible when the transgressor is a professed Christian.
Would you like to know how the Sabbath-breaker formerly was punished? Turn to Numberxv, 32-36, which tells us:
“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticksupon the Sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron,and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it had not been declared whatshould be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death: all thecongregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought himwithout the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.”
Sabbath-breaker, will you not listen to Him who says, “Him that cometh unto me I will inno wise cast out?” He is able to save, willing to save, promises to save, came to save, is savingmillions, and will save you if you will renounce sin, come to Him, and trust Him to do it. “Now isthe accepted time. Now is the day of salvation.” O, will you not yield at once!
A young man, sick of his wild career, had resolved to live ‘a different life, and had turnedhis steps toward the house of God.
Just as he was about to enter, an old chum saw him, and prevailed upon him to go with himto a Sunday resort.
On the return home he fell from the train, and was crushed, and soon died.
While dying, he called for the false friend who had turned his steps unto the fatal snare ofthe Sabbath breaker, and, as his life-blood was oozing away, he fixed his eyes upon him, and said:
“That was bad business, Joe, you taking me away from church, When I ‘m dead, I want youto tell the boys that it was drink and Sabbath-breaking that did it; and while you are telling them,I’ll be in hell, and you’ll be to blame for it.”
REMEMBER THE SABBATH-DAYRena Ray, in Michigan Christian Advocate
A young lad, the only child of a widow, came from a home of beauty and wealth in the cityto a rural town in which I lived to spend the summer, that he might roam at pleasure over the greenfields and hills, and receive health from the fresh, invigorating air.
He was a sprightly, clever boy, and won the heart of every one that saw him, He wasalways in motion, running, hopping, shouting, and singing, and his power of imitation was so rarethat he could mimic surprisingly the birds, lambs, calves, and even the clatter of the mill. Indeed,every sound that he heard was re-echoed by him, and thus he passed the time merrily away.
I was a year older, and of a graver turn than he, but I loved him so well, though, that Iwould have spent all my time with him if I could.
One Sabbath morning — I shall never forget that morning — I started out alone for church,my mother being ill and my father abroad. I walked briskly along at first, for the bells werechiming and the organ was pealing out solemnly on the air; but by and by I stopped to listen to thebirds that were singing cheerily among the trees. While I was listening, the cool west wind fannedmy cheeks, and I cast my eyes wistfully over the green fields toward the river and the beautifulhills, and, although a still small voice whispered, “Remember the Sabbath-day,” I yielded totemptation, and went astray.
But I did not go astray alone. No, I met with Ned Darley, the boy from the city, who was onhis way to church, and I persuaded him to go with me over the green fields down to the river, tospend the hours of sacred rest in quest of diversion and pleasure.
Ned loved the river; so did I; loved to wander beside it, to skip stones over it, to watch thefrogs, to catch the fish, to wade and to swim in it. But we had not come prepared to fish, and wesoon grew tired of skipping stones and watching the frogs, so we went into the water. At first weonly waded hither and thither, splashing the water gaily about, and singing and shouting in the joyof our hearts; but by and by Ned took to diving and swimming and performing little fantasticevolutions.
He moved about with such ease and grace that it seemed as if the water must be his nativeelement; but suddenly he shrieked wildly, put his hand to his head, and sank beneath the wave, Iwas wild with terror, and I cried out despairingly. It was all I could do. Alas, I could not savehim.
Many years have passed by since then, but the boy drowned in the river haunts me like aspecter. His cry rings ever in my ear, and I think ever with sorrow that if I had remembered theSabbath-day poor Ned Darley would be living now, and his mother would not have diedbroken-hearted.
O, friends, when you are tempted to withdraw your foot from the house of worship, andwander off in pursuit of diversion and pleasure, think of my lifelong anguish and remorse, andremember the Sabbath-day!