In studying the commandments it is always well to remember the introductory statement, "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." We are then prepared to see that all the commandments have a distinct relation to our moral and spiritual freedom; or, to be more exact, to the process of acquiring and retaining it. We may not at once see that all are of vital importance, that we cannot obey in one particular and offend in another, but the great Teacher has said, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." It is true that his sense of moral obligation was different from that of his contemporaries and coreligionists, so different that the scribes and Pharisees failed utterly to understand him and thought him a lawbreaker; but he verified the proverb, "Wisdom is justified of all her children." On more than one occasion they thought to convict him of Sabbath-breaking because he healed the sick on the Sabbath day, and also when his disciples plucked some ears of corn. It was on this latter occasion that he made the memorable and oft-quoted reply, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."

The statement that the Sabbath was made for man may be said to explain the whole problem. Man's real needs are spiritual, and the institution of the Sabbath was a wise and merciful provision for this need. Mortals seek to satisfy their restless longings in the pursuit of material pleasures, and then they are driven by the scourage of an incessant demand for material sustenance: "What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" and it is at this point that we are bidden, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." The "first day of the week" should thus mark for each one a resurrection out of the beliefs of materiality, and it will bring blessings to every other day of the week, if we carry the spiritual sense then gained into all the days and all the problems.

We can never think that Jesus desecrated any day by mere indolence or the pursuit of pleasure. The "Father's business"—the establishment of the kingdom—was too vital a consideration to be forgotten for a moment. It was always "first" with him, and it should be so with us. Our revered Leader says of Christ Jesus, "He knew that men can ... observe the Sabbath, make long prayers, and yet be sensual and sinful" (Science and Health, p. 20). We have all seen instances where a strict observance of the Sabbath was unaccompanied by consistent Christian conduct, but this is no argument against its true observance. It only shows the necessity for greater spirituality, for without this we cannot keep any of the commandments in the spirit as well as in the letter. Paul says, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The Sabbath should ever be characterized by joy and gladness, for these are fruits of the Spirit; and we should "remember" the joy as inseparable from the holiness.

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September 18, 1909

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