THE REPAIRING OF 

SAM BROWN  

 AN ADVENTURE IN TRUTH

 Chapter 4 - part 1

SARAH BROWN was ready with an extra-appetizing supper that evening, as a reward for the victory she was sure Sam must have achieved when he and the minister combined forces in a brush with that heretic Richards. But when he appeared, her hopes were dashed. He was glum and grumpy.
          "How did it come out! How do you feel?" she hastened to ask.
          "I feel as if Iíd been in the preacherís car with him and he was going sixty, and someone hit us head on, crumpled the bumper and the front fenders, bent back the radiator, drove the hood through the windshield, sprinkled us with glass, and jammed the motor through the rear end. Iím wrecked!" and Sam slumped dejectedly down in his chair.
          Aghast, Sarah gradually got it all out of him. Then indignation took the place of surprise. To think that her respected husband, Deacon Brown, and above all the minister of their church, should back down before a mere stripling who was carried off by this new wind of doctrine! Preposterous! After all, these men! It takes a woman with intelligence and backbone to straighten such people out. As her husband read the paper and tried to forget and give his mind a rest, she thought it all out and planned her campaign.
          "Sam," she said, as they went to bed, "Iíve decided on something. Iím going over to see that woman Richards tomorrow when I get my work done. Iíll think up some excuse. Iíll settle her on this question, and we will be able to convince her stubborn husband through her. It takes the women to fix such things up. Howís that for a plan!" But the tired and crestfallen Sam was already breathing heavily. With a scornful "Humph!" Sarah gazed into the blackness, and thought and thought and thought.
          There was a different expression on her face when she sat across the supper table from her husband the next evening, and Sam noticed it.
          "Well, how did the visit with the heretic come out!" he asked.
          "Donít call her that," urged Sarah with a pained look.
          "Well, wouldnít that sideswipe you!" gasped her husband, stopping in the midst of the mastication of a mouthful to scrutinize his heretofore sane wife. "Whatís coming over us?"
          "Would you think it, Sam, she went on, ignoring his surprise and question, "sheís the sweetest little woman, and weíre friends already. Theyíre poor, but the house and her clothes, and even the childrenís, are clean and neat. And those kiddies are the dearest and best-behaved little things. I wish,ó " and childless Sarah looked far off out the window, while a tear glistened in her eye. Sam sat speechless in the almost sacred presence of her master emotion.
          "With all their poverty and hardship," resumed Sarah, recovering and touching her eyes with her handkerchief, "they are happy, Sam, happier than we are, with all we have. I wish you could see that home.

Chapter 4 - part 2

          "But, Sarah," Sam interjected, at last coming back to himself, "what about the Sabbath question?"
          "Oh," she said, "I almost forgot, didnít I? Iíve just about made up my mind that that doesnít amount to much after all.
          "Donít amount to much!"
          "I mean our side of it doesnít. It was this way. I took my embroidery and went over, and made the excuse that neighbors whose husbands are in the same work ought to be friendly. At first I was so taken with her and the children, I almost forgot what I came for. And then I was ashamed to start the subject, she was so nice, and so grateful for the hints I gave her about cooking and other things. But we got around to religion after a while. We went over some of the same points you and her husband did; and I confess I was flabbergasted. I didnít know what to say. How that woman knows the Bible is a caution. But I remembered the last three points in our ten, and I brought those up.
          "What did she say to them?"
          "She said as to Godís Spirit and our conscience telling what day is right to keep, that our conscience tells us to do right, but does not tell us what is right. Some peopleís consciences tell them that stealing or lying is right, if they do not get caught at it, but that does not make stealing and lying right. Our moral judgment tells us what is right, and our morals are decided by our training, and our training must be based on an authority. The authority for the Christian is the Bible, and if our conscience is trained according to that, and it says to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, then our conscience will tell us to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

Chapter 4 - part 3

          "There are two kinds of spirits, she said, evil and good spirits, and we must try the spirits (1 John 4:1) to see if they are of God or of the devil. And the way to try them is told in Isaiah 8:20, which says, íTo the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.í And the Saturday commandment is right in the midst of the law with which we are to test the spirits. Therefore, any spirit that tells us to keep some other day cannot be the Spirit of God.
         "Christ said that His Spirit would come and guide us into all truth, but that the Spirit would not speak of Himself, but would speak what He hears from God. (John 16:13.) And always God has commanded the seventh-day Sabbath. And, too, the Spirit reproves the world of sin (John 16:9)ó and sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). So, logically, the Spirit of God would reprove the world of Sabbath breaking, which would be to reprove it for Sunday keeping.
          "When I asked her why it wasnít found out before, and why learned theologians and great Christians didnít keep it, she told me some interesting history of how the Sabbath was really Ďas old as the hills,í for it was made at creation; and how it was kept very carefully by Godís chosen people up to and past the time of Christ; and then it was lost to most menís knowledge for centuries, but that always some few have kept it. The people of Christís day thought the doctrines that Jesus and the apostles taught were new, but these teachers proved to the people that what they taught was very ancient, but that the knowledge of the doctrines had been lost and only the rediscovery of them was new. Every reformer is accused of teaching something new and strange, but he is just bringing the people back to the old truths. The fact is, Sunday keeping is a very new thing compared with Sabbath keeping.
          "She said the truth of God has never been popular with the masses and the great men of earth. Christianity was once very unpopular and was despised. But we are glad now that someone espoused that unpopular truth and passed it on to us. The great and wise men in Christís day did not accept His truth, nor did they in Lutherís day accept the Reformation. We must not despise the day of small things. Every great movement for right started in a small and obscure way. The many go in the broad way that leads to destruction. Paul said, ĎNot many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.í (1 Corinthians 1:26.) Christ thanked God that He had hid these things from the wise and prudent, and had revealed them unto babes. (Matthew 11:25.) The world does not learn God by wisdom, but by simply believing in His written word.
          "She told me how and why the Sabbath was obscure for a long time, and how Sunday keeping started. I wish you could have heard that little woman reel off the history; and you would think to look at her that all she knew or thought of was making a living and keeping house. It seems that reliable histories record that Sunday was not kept as a sabbath during the early centuries of the Christian church, but that Saturday was. The apostles were dead long before a change was even suggested. And when the change did come it came so gradually during two or three centuries that people did not pay much attention to it. A number of causes helped the change: Christians turned against the Jews more and more because they had crucified Christ, and so would have nothing to do with anything Jewish; and they thought of the seventh-day Sabbath as Jewish. Sunday was held in some honor because it was the resurrection day, but was not observed at first as a sabbath any more than was Friday the crucifixion day. Then, too, the Church was trying hard to convert the heathen, and the heathen had for centuries worshiped on the first day of the week in honor of the sun god. In fact, the day was named for that god, Sun-day. The church became worldly and wanted to be popular, and it compromised with the heathen by all together keeping the Ďvenerable day of the sun,í as it was called.
          "Then Christianity became the state religion, and Sunday laws were made, and the true Sabbath was crowded out altogether. The pope didnít exactly change the day, but what is now known as the Roman Catholic Church slowly brought in Sunday keeping as a mark of its power. In Daniel 7:25 it was prophesied that such a power would think to change Godís law; and history says it did just that; and the Catholics boast they did it, and they offer a large money reward to any Protestant who will show even one text to prove from the Bible that we ought to keep Sunday. The Catholics claim authority from God to command men and make laws, and they are responsible for Sunday keeping, and they laugh at Protestants for being so inconsistent as to take the Bible and the Bible only as their rule of faith and practice, yet keep Sunday, for which there is no Bible authority. Christ said of them, ĎIn vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.í Matthew 15:9.

Chapter 4 - part 4

          "And, Sam, one look at the glory in that womanís face as she rejoices in her belief was enough to make me ashamed to bring up our tenth objection. Why, if she is right and doing Godís will, what difference does ridicule make! I do admire a person who will face anything to follow his convictions. The majority has always been wrong, Sam, and has laughed at those who have stood for right. Think of Jesus Himself, and Paul, and Luther, and Wesley. They were all laughed to scorn, but they were right. It is always lot of people who do things to be laughed at. If I thought I was right, Iíd do it, no matter what people said. Wouldnít you, Sam?"
          "Of course I would, Sarah; Iíd rather have God on my side than have the good will of the neighbors when they are in the wrong. Iíve been having some pretty serious thoughts during the past twenty-four hours. It looks to me as if Richards is right about this Sabbath business. But it would be mighty hard to arrange my business to keep Saturday when others keep Sunday.
          "Oh, you ought to have heard Mrs. Richards hold forth on that this afternoon," commented Sarah, all enthusiastic in the praises of her new-found friend. "She said they were going to obey God if they starved, and that she believed God was only testing their faith. But she says she is not going to starve, and quotes David to the effect that he had never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. She told me how they had been jumping from pillar to post since they began to keep the Sabbath, but they had never lacked yet for the necessities of life, though they had gotten down pretty low at times. Sam, you canít conquer people like that. I know God is with them, and I feel shaky about His being with us, she added.
          "I donít want to conquer them, Sarah," ejaculated her husband. "Itís them thatís conquered us, looks like to me. And I donít feel so bad over it, either. And Godís going to be on our side, too, wife, as sure as my nameís Samuel Billington Brown. Let the repair business go hang. If I canít do that and serve God too, Iíll find some other way to make a living. What do you say?"
          "Thatís just what I was going to say myself, she answered, the tears of joy flowing unchecked down her cheeks, "but I was afraid to propose it. Mrs. Richards and I had prayer together before I left, and I seem to be a changed woman."
          Sam pushed back his chair with some racket, blew his nose violently, and came around the table to plant a kiss on his wifeís brow.

CONTINUE - CHAPTER 5

 

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