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“For once the king remembered his promise, and Mr. James was sent to join the noble army of martyrs.”—“History of Dissenters," Vol. I, p. 155.
Nothing daunted, the number of Sabbath keepers increased. In a letter by Edward Stennet (between 1668 and 1670), it is stated.
“Here in England are about nine or ten churches that keep the Sabbath, besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved in this tottering day, when many once eminent churches have been shattered in pieces.”—Cox, “Sabbath Literature,” Vol. I, p. 268.
Francis Bampfield was formerly an influential minister of the Church of England, and prebendary of Exeter Cathedral, but later pastor of a Sabbath-keeping congregation meeting in the Pinners Hall, off Broad Street, near the Bank of England. Calamy said of him:
“He was one of the most celebrated preachers in the west of England, and extremely admired by his hearers, till he fell into the Sabbatarian notion, of which he was a zealous asserter.”—“Non-Conformist Memorial,” Vol. II, p. 152.
He was arrested while in the pulpit preaching, and in 1683 died of hardships in Newgate prison, for the Sabbath of the Lord. An old writer says that his body was followed to burial by “a very great company of factious and schismatical people;" in other words, dissenters from the state church.
Thomas Bampfield, his brother, Speaker of the House of Parliament at one time, under Cromwell, published a book in defense of the Sabbath of the Lord. In fact, many published the truth in this manner, and doctors of divinity and even bishops wrote replies.
"Sabbatarian Baptists," these English witnesses to God's Sabbath were first called in those times, and then “Seventh Day Baptists." In 1664 Stephen Mumford, from one of these London congregations, was sent over to New England. He settled in Rhode Island, where the Baptist pioneer of religious liberty, Roger Williams, had founded his colony. In 1671 the first Sabbatarian church in America was formed in Rhode Island. Evidently this movement created a stir; for the report went over to England that the Rhode Island colony did not keep the "Sabbath” -- meaning Sunday. Roger Williams wrote to his friends in England denying the report, but calling attention to the fact that there was no Scripture for “abolishing the seventh day,” and adding:
“You know yourselves do not keep the Sabbath, that is the seventh day.”—“Letters of Roger Williams,” Vol. VI, p. 346 (Narragansett Club Publications).
Through the following century numbers of Seventh Day Baptist churches were founded in America.*
Sabbath keepers were springing up also on the continent of Europe, in Bohemia, Moravia, Transylvania, and Russia, where here and there Bible believers saw that trad tion had made void one of the commandments of God. Then, as the events at the end of the long period of papal supremacy had moved Bible students to the earnest study of the prophecies, and as the predicted signs of the near approach of Christ's coming began to appear, there arose the great advent awakening in the earlier decades of the nineteenth century.
The prophecies regarding the work of the Papacy in seeking to change the law of God began to be understood, and it was seen that the last message of the everlasting gospel was a call to turn from human traditions to the New Testament standard - "the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12. Then began the great movement for
” Sabbath reform and the proclamation of Christ's second coming, which has given rise to the Seventh-day Adventist people, with a work spreading through all lands, leading thousands every year to keep the Lord's blessed Sabbath day.
* In connection with this topic of Sabbath observance in colonial America, it is of interest to note that Count Zinzendorf, the leader of the Moravian missionary movement, was a believer in the sanctity of the Sabbath of God's appointment. In his life, by Bishop Spangenberg, it is stated that the Sabbath question was discussed by Zinzendorf with the Moravians, on his visit to Pennsylvania in 1741. The record states :
As a special circumstance it is to be remarked that he determined, with the church in Bethlehem, to celebrate the seventh day as a rest day. The matter was previously fully gone over in the church council, with consideration of all the reasons for and against it. when the unanimous agreement was reached to observe the day Sabbatically. The Count had already long held the seventh day of the week in special honor.” — Zinzendorf's “Leben, band 5, pp. 1921, 11,22.
The Bethlehem congregation evidently did not follow the practice long. “ But as for himself," says Spangenberg, “ with his house, he adhered firmly to this aforementioned practice until his end."- Id., p. 1437.
Soon Christ is to be revealed in righteousness and judgment. One burden of God's message for the last days is:
“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Isa. 56:1, 2.
Through all the dark centuries, the Lord had somewhere a little remnant keeping the light of the Sabbath truth glowing. They, too, overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, loving not their lives unto the death. Now, with the clear light shining from the open Book, it is for Christians everywhere to turn from tradition to the way of God's commandments and the example of Jesus Christ. THE LAW OF GOD
It is a common saying, “The majesty of the law.” It means that the character and genius of a government are embodied and expressed in its laws. The words of Inspiration declare to us the majesty of the law of the Most High.
The Character of God's Law The infinite perfection of the divine character is reflected in it.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Ps. 19: 7.
As God is holiness and justice and goodness, so also is His law.
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Rom. 7: 12.
Its Office The law of God gives knowledge of the righteousness of its great Author.