A SABBATH RESCUE FROM DROWNING
AT the close of Mr. Anderson’s service in the parlor, Mr. Spaulding, in company with Mr. Gregory, had sought a quiet place on deck to discuss what had been said and done. They were both much agitated, though the latter was inclined to acknowledge the truth of many things he had heard.
But while they talked together, Captain Mann passed near. Mr. Spaulding called to him.
“Captain, just a moment of your time. I simply want to make an appeal. Can we not devise some plan to stop further spread of this Sabbath talk? It is not producing the best results, inasmuch as it stirs up the spirit of unwholesome argument, and sooner or later may be the means of unsettling the views of some very good Christian people who are aboard. That young man with the marked Bible is already completely out of the way, and I notice that he is influencing some people whose good sense ought to shield them. You see, captain, I am terribly afraid of fanaticism.”
“By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”
“Well, Mr. Spaulding, you are aware that you are at liberty to plan as you wish. The freedom of the vessel is yours. But let me say to you, in the brief moment that I may stop, that the young man of whom you speak, Harold Wilson, has become, during the brief period since we left San Francisco, such a splendid Christian, such a trustworthy and capable co- worker, that I marvel. From a profligate, a drinking, swearing, gambling, thieving criminal, as I have known him, he has been transformed into the sober, praying, industrious, honest young man you behold to-day. This certainly must be the fruit of a good tree. And I confess that I myself have tasted and been made better.
“I must hasten; but let me assure you that this is something of which you need not be afraid. It is not fanaticism. There is a large amount of zeal, but it is founded on knowledge of the Bible. No one can go far astray who studies the Word in order to live it. And Harold Wilson is living it.”
The captain passed quickly on and into the parlor.
The view that met his eyes as he entered was one which he was never to forget. There sat Mr. Severance, bowed over the table, with face buried in his hands. And as he entered, Harold Wilson, with Bible in hand, and with an arm thrown over the shoulder of the merchant, was bearing witness to him of the surety of God’s promise, and of the wonderful blessing that had come to him in the truth of the fourth commandment.
As Captain Mann beheld the spirit manifested by Harold — the spirit of the real soul winner and helper of those in trouble — his emotions overcame him, and tears filled his eyes. How strange, yet how beautiful, was this expression of tenderness in this hardy veteran of the sea!
But not a word escaped his lips. He simply stepped over to Mr. Anderson, gripped his hand strongly and feelingly, and with quivering lip hastened on to duty.
A shriek startled the little group in the dining room, and almost immediately the cry, “Woman overboard!” began to sound from one end of the vessel to the other.
“Who is it? Who is it?” was on everybody’s tongue. But no one knew.
The two clergymen — Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Gregory — rushed to the opposite side of the vessel, reaching the rail just in time to see Harold Wilson emerge from the main parlor, quickly lay down his bible, take off his coat, and plunge into the sea.
“Ah, How foolish! How foolish!” exclaimed Mr. Spaulding. “It means two lives instead of one. No living man can handle himself in the wake of this vessel.”
“But God help him!” was Mr. Gregory’s response.
And God surely did help. The brave act of Harold was one of faith; and even while he battled with the waters, his thoughts went up to God for help and deliverance, and his prayer was graciously answered.
His eye caught sight of a hand as it appeared for an instant above the swirling waters a few feet away, and he threw himself toward it with all the might at his command.
The drowning woman’s dress was now in his hand, and quickly and deftly he made sure of his human treasure and started toward the vessel.
“Thank God!” called out Mr. Spaulding. The passengers cheered and wept.
Meanwhile Captain Mann had ordered the engines reversed, and the great “Tenyo Maru” was brought to a dead stop, a lifeboat was lowered, and Harold and the yet unknown woman were soon safely lifted to the deck.
Mr. Gregory pressed his way to the center of the scene, that he might grasp the hand of the young hero, and incidentally to be of whatever service possible. But as he was about to reach for Harold’s hand, the face of the rescued woman, now partially resuscitated, was before him.
His face blanched, his strength gave way, and he fell heavily to the deck.
It was his wife!
The Fate She Had Hoped For Harold
“Mr. Wilson,” said Mrs. Gregory, as she lay in her stateroom, “I must tell you why I have sent for you. My husband here must know also.
“I was at the service yesterday in the parlor, and heard the Rev. Mr. Anderson discuss the Sabbath question; and while I am ashamed to say it, I was really angry at some things that were said. I didn’t like to hear them, and I didn’t want others to hear. And of course, I blamed you. Some one had told me that it was because of your relations with the Rev. Mr. Anderson that the service was held; and when, at the last, I heard you say ‘Amen,’ I said to myself, ‘I wish that young upstart would fall overboard, and thus deliver us from any more Sabbath talk.’
“After the meeting, I came to my room, and tried to forget the whole thing; but I couldn’t, so I returned after a time, and as I saw you still there, I was more bitter than ever. I passed the parlor door; but as I did so, my feelings overcame me, I grew dizzy (I have such spells when my feelings run away with me), and — well, I knew no more until I awakened on deck and learned that I had been delivered from a watery grave. And you, the object of my evil wishes, were chosen of God to be my rescuer!
“Mr. Wilson, I am begging your forgiveness, which I am sure you will give; but I am begging more — I am going to ask you to take your Bible and tell me more about the truth which I have been trying to reject. Will you do it?”
Harold humbly acknowledged his great ignorance, and asked if she would not rather study with Mr. Anderson.
“Do you think he would be willing to come?” she asked.
“Oh, I am sure he would!” was the reply. And Harold hastened to bring his good friend.
“Dr. Anderson,” said Mrs. Gregory, “I am deeply in earnest to-day, and husband and I both desire further instruction. The terrible happening of yesterday was from God, to correct us and make us willing to receive unadulterated teaching. Now, what I want to ask is, Why do you specially emphasize the question of the seventh-day Sabbath? Does God require you to do it? And why is it that so many people, especially the ministers, are so determined not to listen to your message?”
“Sister, your questions are rather broad, and really require more study than the circumstances will permit. However, they are to the point, and I am glad the Scriptures can give you an answer.
“Let me call your attention first to the fact that along with marriage, the Sabbath is one of the great blessings that have come down to us from the Eden home. Marriage was designed to preserve a sacred relationship between members of the human family; the Sabbath, to preserve a sacred relationship between the human family and the Creator.
“The most casual reading of the fourth commandment shows the great purpose of the Sabbath.
‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth.’ It is the memorial of that great work. It keeps before the mind God’s creative power. It calls upon us to obey Him because He is Creator, and, in its service, bequeaths to us the power necessary to overcome. True Sabbath keeping means constant surrender to God, and therefore has always been the one thing that has kept man from idolatry. ”This is beautifully brought out in the words of Exodus 31:17; ‘It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.’ And Ezekiel tells us, ‘I [the Lord] gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they may know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.’ Ezekiel 20:12, 20. The reason is that God, or Christ, puts Himself, His own presence, into the day, and through its acceptance, into the Sabbath keeper’s heart, and thus every Sabbath renews and strengthens faith in the Creator.
A Bond Between God and His People Forever
“You will note that the Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel forever. This refers not only to Jews, the mere fleshly descendants of Abraham, for they soon gave up real Sabbath keeping, and therefore did not know the Sabbath as a blessing. ‘Israel’ means more than Jews. The term is one that includes the true believer in all ages, and down to the end of time. All Christians are spiritual Israelites. See Romans 2:28, 29; John 1:47; Galatians 3:29. Hence all who would be kept in the way of righteousness will keep Sabbath, and find it a sign, a memorial, of His redeeming power.
Creation and redemption, you see, are the same, both calling for the Sabbath memorial.”
“Yes, brother, I can see that,” said Mrs. Gregory. “Isn’t it beautiful!”
“With this thought in mind, it is very easy to see why the Lord has always emphasized the truth of the Sabbath. As you remember, it was the test that God brought to Israel in Egypt (Exodus 5:5); it was the test thirty days before they came to Sinai (Exodus 16); and at Sinai, the fourth commandment was specially revealed. Nehemiah 9:14. All the commandments are important —this goes without saying; but only the Sabbath is He said to have made ‘known.’ The Sabbath is peculiarly vital.
“And now note this: When the time came that God permitted His people to go into captivity, to lose their place and their nation, He told them plainly it was because of Sabbath breaking, — that is, forgetfulness of Him. Compare Jeremiah 17:19-27 and 2 Chronicles 36:14-21. Had they been faithful to His Sabbath, had they preserved their knowledge of Him as their Creator and Sovereign, the Babylonians could never have carried them away.
“Listen also to the striking word of Isaiah, the gospel prophet: ‘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, . . . then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth.’ Isaiah 58:13, 14. How plain the prophet makes it, doesn’t he, that all spiritual power and uplift were to be found in the Sabbath of God!
“I have said that Isaiah is ‘the gospel prophet.’ He is. This which we have read has reference to our own gospel time. God is calling, in Isaiah’s message, for us to turn our feet from the Sabbath, — to stop trampling it underfoot. And the promise is actually fulfilled to those who obey.”
“Brother Anderson, Harold Wilson impresses me as having found a great blessing,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Yes, and in this very truth. He has kept only one Sabbath, but he found a remarkable blessing in it. Really, dear people, it was what came into his soul from the Sabbath, that carried him over the ship’s side yesterday. He has told me this. And he is certain that God regarded his obedience, and answered his prayer in his finding you. He calls you his ‘Sabbath-saved woman.’ “
“I don’t doubt it, not for a moment,” Mrs. Gregory replied; “and that is why I am really and truly opening my heart to-day.”
Many Will Not Obey Their Convictions
“But let me continue a bit further. In the fifty-six chapter of his book, Isaiah prophesies of a great Sabbath reform among the gentiles of these last days. Read verses 1-8, and you will see that it is specially a gospel message, and promises those who enter into a Sabbath covenant with Him ‘a place and a name better than of sons and daughters,’ He will give them ‘an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.’ Everlasting life is involved.
“Surely, then, some one must preach that Sabbath message at this time. Some one must specially emphasize its importance, even as God asks.”
“Well, Brother Anderson, why is it, then, that the ministers — those of other denominations — do not accept these plain statements? They certainly are plain, though I never read them before. But the ministers have read them.”
“I can tell you why some of them do not accept,” said Mr. Gregory.
“They are a little too much as I am. They do not like to acknowledge that they have been wrong. If all the clergymen who really see the truth of this Sabbath question were to confess their convictions, there would be few left to offer opposition. I know whereof I affirm. Scores of them have privately admitted to me that the Sabbatarians are right.”
“Well, husband, you have never said that before in my presence. I call that dishonesty.”
“Better not say that wife. Rather look at it as a blindness, which for a time hinders them from reading their own motives,” said Mr. Gregory.
“Pardon me, dear friends,” said Mr. Anderson. “I have not completed the study, but I am sure you are both weary. The strain of yesterday’s experience has told on your strength, and you had better rest. I will therefore go. The Lord quickly restore you to your full strength. Good-by!”