How Shall We Keep the Sabbath?

Click to go to our Home Page







How Shall We Keep the Sabbath?


God is merciful. His requirements are reasonable, in accordance with the goodness and benevolence of his character. The object of the Sabbath was that all mankind might be benefited. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; for the Sabbath was made after the creation of man, to meet his necessities. God rested, after he had made the world in six days. He sanctified and blessed the day upon which he rested from all his work which he had created and made. He set apart that special day for man to rest from his labor, and reflect, as he should look upon the earth beneath, and the heavens above, that God made all these in six days, and rested upon the seventh; and that his heart might be filled with love and reverence to his Maker, as he should behold the tangible proofs of his infinite wisdom. {RH May 30, 1871, Art. B, par. 1}


In order to keep the Sabbath holy, it is not necessary that we enclose ourselves in walls, shut away from the beautiful scenes of nature, and also deprive ourselves of the free, invigorating air of heaven. We should in no case allow burdens and business transactions to divert our minds upon the Sabbath of the Lord which he has sanctified. We should not allow even our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. The mind cannot be refreshed, enlivened, and elevated, by being confined nearly all the Sabbath hours within walls, listening to long sermons and tedious, formal prayers. The Sabbath of the Lord has been put to a wrong use, if thus celebrated. The object is not attained for which the Sabbath was instituted. The Sabbath was made for man, to be a blessing to him, by calling his mind from secular labor, to contemplate the goodness and glory of God. It is necessary that the people of God assemble to talk of him, to interchange thoughts and ideas in regard to the truths contained in the word of God, and to devote a portion of time to appropriate prayer. But these seasons, even upon the Sabbath, should not be made tedious by their length and lack of interest. During a portion of the day, all should have an opportunity to be out of doors. {RH May 30, 1871, Art. B, par. 2}


How can the minds of children become better impressed, and receive a more correct knowledge of God, than in spending a portion of their time out of doors; not in play, but in company with their parents? Surrounded with nature’s beautiful scenery, as their minds are associated with God in nature, by their attention being called to the tokens of God’s love to man in his creative works, their young minds will be attracted and interested. They will not be in danger of associating the character of God with everything that is stern and severe. But as they view the beautiful things he has created for the happiness of man, they will be led to regard him as a tender, loving Father. They will see that his prohibitions and injunctions are not made merely to show his power and authority, but that he has the happiness of his children in view. As the character of God puts on the aspect of love, benevolence, beauty, and attraction, they are drawn to love him. You can direct their minds to the lovely birds making the air musical with their happy songs, the spires of grass, and the gloriously tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air. All these proclaim the love and skill of the heavenly Artist, and show forth the glory of God. Parents, why not make use of the precious lessons God has given us in the book of nature to give our children the correct idea of his character? Those who sacrifice simplicity to fashion, and shut themselves away from the beauties of nature, cannot be spiritually minded. They cannot understand the skill and power of God as revealed in his creative works, therefore their hearts do not quicken and throb with new love and interest, and are not filled with awe and reverence as they see God in nature. {RH May 30, 1871, Art. B, par. 3}


All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. They can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families, and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interest our children. We can walk out with them in the open air. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can sit with them in the groves, and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honor the Sabbath than to devise means to impart proper instruction to their families, and to interest them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God, and what he requires of us, in order to perfect Christian characters and to attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children shall look forward to it, and have a welcome in their hearts for it. {RH May 30, 1871, Art. B, par. 4}

E. G. W.




“And let us not come to the camp-meeting to break the Sabbath by cooking on that day. The instructions which God gave to Israel should not be disregarded: “Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe;” for “tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” God meant what he said; and shall we who are presenting to the people the claims of the divine law, break that law ourselves, merely to please the appetite? God forbid! I know that frequently the Lord has withheld his blessing because we have failed to honor him by keeping the Sabbath according to the commandment. There has sometimes been nearly as much cooking done on the Sabbath as on other days. I would prefer to eat bread and water only, rather than to run any risk of breaking the fourth commandment. All needful preparation for the Sabbath should be made on Friday. On Sabbath morning, if the weather is cool, let hot gruel be provided. Further than this, all cooking should be avoided as a violation of the Sabbath.” {RH May 8, 1883, par. 10}


“If right habits are ever observed, let it be at our holy convocations. Here, if anywhere, we want our minds clear and active. We should honor God at all times, and in all places, but it seems doubly important at such meetings, where we assemble for the purpose of drawing near to God, and gaining a better knowledge of his will. One reason why we do not enjoy more of the blessing of the Lord is, we do not heed the light which has been pleased to give us in regard to the laws of life and health. If we would all live more simply, and let the time usually given to the indulgence of appetite and the gratification of pride in dress, be spent in searching the Scriptures and in humble prayer for the bread of life, we would receive greater spiritual strength. We need to give less attention to our mere temporal wants, and more to our eternal interests.” {RH May 8, 1883, par. 11}


“Will those who have charge of our camp-meetings see that God is not dishonored or his instructions disregarded? Will they heed the light which has been given them upon health reform, and thus aid the people in securing both physical and moral health? Let us in our yearly gatherings seek to return unto the Lord, gather up the rays of light we have neglected, comply with the conditions laid down in God’s word, and then by faith claim his blessing.” {RH May 8, 1883, par. 12}


“There is need of a Sabbath reform among us, who profess to observe God’s holy rest-day. Some discuss their business matters and lay plans on the Sabbath, and God looks upon this in the same light as though they engaged in the actual transaction of business. Others who are well acquainted with the Bible evidences that the seventh day is the Sabbath, enter into partnership with men who have no respect for God’s holy day. A Sabbath-keeper cannot allow men in his employ, paid by his money, to work on the Sabbath. If, for the sake of gain, he allows the business in which he has an interest to be carried on on the Sabbath by his unbelieving partner, he is equally guilty with the unbeliever; and it is his duty to dissolve the relation, however much he may lose by so doing. Men may think they cannot afford to obey God, but they cannot afford to disobey him. Those who are careless in their observance of the Sabbath will suffer great loss. {RH March 18, 1884, par. 7}


“The Lord has a controversy with his professed people in these last days. In this controversy men in responsible positions will take a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah [a reformer]. They will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but they will try to keep it from others by burying it beneath the rubbish of custom and tradition. In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and land: and these calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 8}


“Satan urges this falsehood that he may take the world captive. It is his plan to compel men to accept errors. He takes an active part in the promulgation of all false religions, and will stop at nothing in his efforts to enforce erroneous doctrines. Under a cloak of religious zeal, men, influenced by his spirit, have invented the most cruel tortures for their fellow-men, and have inflicted the most awful sufferings upon them. Satan and his agents have the same spirit still; and the history of the past will be repeated in our day.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 9}


“There are men who have set their minds and will to accomplish evil; in the dark recesses of their hearts they have resolved what crimes they will commit. These men are self-deceived. They have rejected God’s great rule of right, and in its stead have erected a standard of their own, and comparing themselves with this standard they pronounce themselves holy. The Lord will permit them to reveal what is in their hearts, to act out the spirit of the master that controls them. He will let them show their hatred of his law in their treatment of those who are loyal to its requirements. They will be actuated by the same spirit of religious frenzy that goaded on the mob that crucified Christ; church and State will be united in the same corrupt harmony.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 10}


“The church of today has followed in the steps of the Jews of old, who set aside the commandments of God for their own traditions. She has changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant, and now, as then, pride, unbelief, and infidelity are the result. Her true condition is set forth in these words from the song of Moses: “They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children; they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 11}


“When Nehemiah moved out as a reformer and deliverer in Israel, he was actuated by love to God and anxiety for the prosperity of his people. His heart was in the work he had undertaken; his hope, his energy his enthusiasm, his determination of character, were contagious, and inspired others with the same courage and lofty purpose. Each man became a Nehemiah [a reformer] in his own sphere, and helped to make stronger the hand and heart of his neighbor; and soon feebleness was succeeded by strength and courage.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 12}


“Here is a lesson for ministers and others who are laboring for the salvation of souls. Those who believe that we have the truth, that God has made us the depositaries of his law, should manifest the same earnestness and zeal that characterized Nehemiah. If ministers are inactive and irresolute, destitute of godly zeal, what can be expected of those to whom they minister? In some instances they may rise above the moral level of their teachers, but not often. But when ministers broaden their plans, and show that they are in earnest, the people will respond to their efforts; and disunited, dispirited workers will become united, strong, hopeful, and eager.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 13}


“It is a sin to be heedless, purposeless, and indifferent in any work in which we may engage, but especially in the work of God. Every enterprise connected with his cause should be carried forward with order, forethought, and earnest prayer. Faithful standard-bearers for God and his truth are wanted, and many are ready to respond to the call. As these see the iniquity and violence that exist in consequence of making void the law of God, they will see greater reason than ever to reverence that law, and will greatly prize its righteous, restraining influences. Contempt and reviling increases their love for the precepts of Jehovah. With David they will say, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” {RH March 18, 1884, par. 14}


Cooking on the Sabbath



“After all the experiences of Israel and the pledges of God to his people, we marvel at their hardness and their unbelief. But the expression of the feelings of one is contagious, and Satan stands by to inspire other hearts with the very same spirit. Their present inconvenience, their thoughts of what might be, the hopeless, discouraging picture of the desolate wilderness, they were inspired by Satan to charge upon Moses and Aaron. They accused their leaders of bringing them from the slavery of Egypt to kill them and their children with hunger. All their lives they had been accustomed to walk by sight. Here they had every evidence that they had an unseen Leader. He had just given them a statute, assuring them how much he would do for them if they would keep his commandments. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Please read this whole chapter. {RH June 8, 1897, par. 1}


“And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” The Lord had graciously promised to relieve all their grievances. He desired to give them a religious training under the eye of God, “that I may prove them,” he said, “whether they will walk in my law, or no.” The first lesson taught them was that their constant dependence for daily nourishment was upon God, and that by him their wants would be abundantly supplied. {RH June 8, 1897, par. 2}


“Speak not lightly of the restrictions placed upon Israel in Sinai regarding the cooking of manna. The Lord has placed barriers around his Sabbath, that it may not be regarded with the least carelessness or irreverence. When the Lord said, “Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe,” he meant that Friday should be our preparation day, in which we are to do all our cooking. The Sabbath is not to be a day when titbits shall be prepared or cooked. If it is really essential to have beans on the Sabbath, let them be cooked on Friday, and kept warm in the oven. They need not be eaten cold unless preferred. But let no remarks be made as though it were a very light thing whether or not we regard the special requirements of God in regard to the Sabbath. It is not left for any man or woman to venture to disregard one requirement of God.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 3}


“I see no question in this matter as to what we shall have on the Sabbath day. The food which we have provided on the preparation day can be placed on the table warm, especially in cold weather. In traveling, persons eat cold lunches for days together, and realize no inconvenience or harm. We want palatable, healthful food every day of the week; but upon the Sabbath, let your cook have her day of rest, in the place of cooking for a family. Let every provision be made on Friday. But do not let the Sabbath be regarded as a day in which to get something especially gratifying to eat. Educate your children and every member of the family to enjoy plain, simple food, and to be ready to receive the blessing which the Lord of the Sabbath is waiting to bestow upon all who are in an attitude to receive it. He has this for every one who shows his love for God in keeping holy the Sabbath day, God’s great memorial of creation. Speak softly, walk softly. Let not a word of lightness or trifling come from your lips. This is God’s day. He has blessed the seventh day, as his Sabbath, to be sacredly observed.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 4}


“The Sabbath is not to be a gloomy day, a day of unrest and uneasiness. Parents may take their children outdoors, in the groves, in the flower garden, and teach them that the Lord has given them these beautiful things as an expression of his love. Christ has said: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 5}


“Let the mind be directed to the lessons of the book of nature, and to nature’s God, who made the world in six days, and rested on the seventh; “wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Do not make light of the Sabbath requirements; and when it comes to eating on the Sabbath, those who would feed on Christ, who would have the rich blessing of God, will partake of a very simple diet on that day.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 6}


“The thoughts are not to be educated to be full of what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed. We need to prepare for the Sabbath. The clothing that we shall wear on that day is to be put in order. The boots should not be left unblacked or unpolished until the Sabbath. You dishonor God by doing this work on that day. How easy it is to allow reckless neglect of the preparation for the Sabbath!” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 7}


“Teach the children that God means just what he says. The very same Jesus who has given us the Sabbath, and has directed us how to keep it holy, is the Alpha of Genesis, and carries us step by step through the ages, through the incarnation, through his offering of himself as a living sacrifice for the redemption of a fallen world. He was tried, but was not condemned, because there was nothing to condemn. After the trial Pilate said, “I find no fault in him.” Yet he gave himself up to be murdered because his own nation was jealous of him, and hated him. Christ died as a malefactor on the cross of Calvary. He was laid in the grave. The third day he rose from the dead, and proclaimed, over the rent sepulcher of Joseph: “I am the resurrection, and the life.” He ascended to his Father, and today he is our advocate in the courts of heaven.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 8}


“We trace Christ all through the Old Testament and the New. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 9}


“Here we have the Alpha of Genesis and the Omega of Revelation. The blessing is promised to all those who keep the commandments of God, and who co-operate with him in the proclamation of the third angel’s message. ‘I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.’ That which Christ has spoken in the Old Testament is for all the world. What he has said in reference to his commandments is not yea and nay, but yea and amen.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 10}


“In this perilous period, when we see universal contempt placed upon the law of God, when the world is choosing between the holy Sabbath of the fourth commandment and the spurious sabbath, shall we say one word that will detract from the words of the Lord of the Sabbath? The Lord God of heaven knew what a deadening influence the abounding iniquity would have upon the chosen believers, what a paralyzing power it would be against piety and true loyalty to God. In giving us the statement of the occurrences which would mark the approach of the second advent of our Lord and Saviour, Christ says, ‘Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.’ We see this fulfilled to the letter. The experience of many is becoming dwarfed and sickly and wonderfully deformed. Everything that surrounds us creates an atmosphere that is saturated with unrighteousness. Even under the most faithful surroundings, it is difficult to hold fast the Christian profession of faith unto the end, to stand decidedly and earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. But it is most difficult to keep true and loyal to God’s holy commandments, when there are few in number to help and encourage one another, and when many of these are sickly and ready to die because they do not honor God by keeping his commandments truly and loyally.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 11}


“Much so-called Christianity passes for genuine, faithful soundness, but it is because those who profess it have no persecution to endure for the truth’s sake. When the day comes when the law of God is made void, and the church is sifted by the fiery trials that are to try all that live upon the earth, a great proportion of those who are supposed to be genuine will give heed to seducing spirits, and will turn traitors and betray sacred trusts. They will prove our very worst persecutors. “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them;” and many will give heed to seducing spirits.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 12}


“Those who have lived on the flesh and blood of the Son of God—his holy word—will be strengthened, rooted, and grounded in the faith. They will see increased evidence why they should prize and obey the word of God. With David, they will say, “They have made void thy law. Therefore love I thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” While others count them dross, they will arise to defend the faith. All who study their convenience, their pleasure, their enjoyment, will not stand in their trial. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” Precious words! “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 13}


“The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is to be read, studied, and practised. ‘Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drouth, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 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. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 14}


“Let no one yield to temptation and become less fervent in his attachment to God’s law because of the contempt placed upon it; for that is the very thing that should make us pray with all our heart, and soul, and voice, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Therefore, because of the universal contempt, I will not turn traitor when God will be most glorified and most honored by my loyalty.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 15}


“What! shall Seventh day Adventists relax their devotedness when all their capabilities and powers should be placed on the Lord’s side; when an unflinching testimony, noble and uplifting, should come from their lips? ‘Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.’  When the law of God is most derided and brought into the most contempt, then it is time for every true follower of Christ, for those whose hearts have been given to God, and who are fixed to obey God, to stand unflinchingly for the faith once delivered to the saints. ‘Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.’ It is time to fight when champions are most needed.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 16}


“Those who make light of the third angel’s message do so because they know little of Daniel or the Revelation. They have not read these prophecies with a determination to find out the meaning by prayer, by study, and by fasting. If they had had the experience of Daniel or of John, they would know that the third angel’s message will go forth unto perfect victory. Those who proclaim that message because they see and believe it, will understand that very much is comprehended by it. The third angel is represented as flying through the heavens with a banner on which is inscribed, ‘The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ All who will gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their defections, and loyalty from their treason, will triumph with the third angel’s message.” {RH June 8, 1897, par. 17}