The Principles and the Privilege of Sabbath Keeping

“The Lord has placed barriers around his Sabbath, that it may not be regarded with the least carelessness or irreverence.”

“By observing the true Sabbath Christians are ever to bear to the world faithful witness of their knowledge of the true and living God as distinguished from all false gods, for the Lord of the Sabbath is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One exalted above all other gods.”1

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“We should spend a portion of the Sabbath in religious meditation, and in considering the blessings and wonders of God in his created works, manifested alike amid the rugged mountain scenery, where mountain top rises above mountain top, where terrible ravines, and rocks broken apart by the earthquakes, and the lightnings, bear the unmistakable marks of One who has trodden the mountains in his anger; and in the softer aspect of nature, where the lofty trees, the babbling brooks, the green grass and tinted flowers express the love of the Infinite God. When we behold rugged mountains, the lesson of Sinai should be repeated to us, and we should contemplate that scene when Jehovah spake his law in the hearing of all the vast army of Israel.”2

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“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 tidbits 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.

“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.

“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?’ . . .

“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!

“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.”3

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“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.”4

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“Every working of Christ in miracles was essential, and was to reveal to the world that there was a great work to be done on the Sabbath day for the relief of suffering humanity, but the common work was not to be done. Pleasure seeking, ball playing, swimming, was not a necessity, but a sinful neglect of the sacred day sanctified by Jehovah. Christ did not perform miracles merely to display his power, but always to meet Satan in afflicting suffering humanity. Christ came to our world to meet the needs of the suffering, whom Satan was torturing.”5

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“The . . . Sabbath was a day of earnest activity. From ‘Sunnyside’ and the school, two teams and a boat were sent to Dora Creek to bring to the meetings those who were not able to walk so far. The people had been invited to bring their lunch, and come to the meeting prepared to spend the day, and they responded freely to the invitation. Some were much surprised that we would exert ourselves on the Sabbath to bring them to the meeting. They had been taught that Sunday-keeping consisted largely in physical inactivity; and they thought that because we were zealous in the matter of Sabbath-keeping, we would keep it according to the teachings of the Pharisees. We told our friends that in the matter of keeping the Sabbath, we studied the example and teachings of Christ, whose Sabbaths were often spent in earnest effort to heal and to teach; that we believed that one of our sisters who was nursing a sick family was keeping the Sabbath as much as the one who was leading a division in the Sabbath-school; that Christ could not please the Pharisees of his day, and that we did not expect that our efforts to serve the Lord would satisfy the Pharisees of our day.”6

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“Although we are to stand firm as a rock to principle, we should be courteous and Christ-like in our dealings with all men. In meekness and love we should tell the people why we cannot accept the papal Sabbath, because it is a mark of special dishonor to God, whom we love and worship. But while we sacredly observe the Sabbath of the Lord, it is not our work to compel others to observe it. God never forces the conscience. That is Satan’s work. But God is the author of the Sabbath, and it must be presented to men in contrast with the false Sabbath, that they may choose between the truth of God and the error of the enemy.”7


1. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 256.

2. Signs of the Times, February 28, 1878.

3. Review and Herald, June 8, 1897.

4. Ibid., March 18, 1884.

5. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 258.

6. Review and Herald, October 18, 1898.

7. Ibid., February 7, 1893.