IN DEFENSE OF THE FAITH
Truth About Seventh-day Adventists
REPLY TO CANRIGHT
4. THE TWO LAWS
THERE are set forth in
the Bible two very distinct and separate codes of laws. One of these was
God directly to His
people as He spoke it from Sinai and as He wrote it upon tables of stone
with His own
finger. The other was
given through Moses. The first constituted the standard of morals, while
dealt primarily with
ceremonies connected with the service of God. The transgression of the
moral law, or
Ten Commandments, was
sin. The second law, dealing with ceremonies, was given only because of
transgression of the
first. The first was eternal, while the second was temporary in its
only to the cross.
This great fundamental
truth of the gospel which has 'been almost universally accepted by the
Protestant world, is
fiercely attacked by Mr. Canright, as will be seen from the following
his book written when
'be became a Baptist:
There was no such
thing as two separate laws given to the Jews. Seventh-day Adventism
'ceremonial law.' Adventists use these two terms as freely as though the
Bible was full of
them.... If there were
two distinct laws given to Israel, so opposite in their nature, it is
strange that there is
no record of it, no
reference to it in the Bible. Ibid., p. 309.
If the reader will
bear in mind once for all that 'the law' is the whole Mosaic code, he
will easily dispose of
all their proof
texts. Ibid., p. 372.
The law was given,
only to the Jews. Ibid., p. 320.
The whole Mosaic
system ended at the cross. Surely this is so plainly taught all through
Testament that no one
should deny it. But we have clearly proved that 'the law' included the
whole code of
laws given to Israel at
Sinai, moral, civil, and ceremonial precepts, Ten Commandments and
ends the Ten
Commandments. -Ibid., p. 334.
MR. CANRIGHT THE ADVENTIST SPEAKS
Now we will again
permit Mr. Canright to reply to his own arguments. While he was still an
the binding claims of
the Ten Commandments, he wrote an excellent treatise on this subject,
we take the following
The agitation of the
Sabbath question is perceptibly changing the position of ministers and
touching the Ten
Commandments. Till this question came to be urged upon their attention,
orthodox churches were
almost unanimously agreed in teaching the binding force of all the Ten
Commandments in the New
Testament. They solemnly affirmed this in their creeds, disciplines, and
confessions of faith;
they strongly defended it in their sermons and writings; and their
children were taught
it in their catechisms
and Sunday schools.
But if the Ten
Commandments are unrepealed, then the seventh day is the Sabbath and
wherever the Sabbath question is agitated we find representatives of the
churches, in order to
avoid that conclusion, quite largely giving up the old positions upon
the perpetuity of
the Ten Commandments,
and advocating the abrogation of all the Ten Commandments!
The entire strength
of the opposition consists in jumbling together the ceremonial and moral
then affirming that
they are all abolished altogether. Plainly settle the distinction
between the two laws, and
the controversy is
ended. The author confidently believes that this is done in the
following pages. The
Two Laws (1886, three
years before he printed Seventh-day Adventism Renounced), Preface.
Now let us read on. Mr.
Canright is still speaking:
Do we, then, make
void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.' Rom.
Having abolished in
His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in
Both these texts are
in the New Testament, and both were written by the same apostle; yet one
the law has not been
abolished by Christ, and the other declares as positively that the law
abolished. How is this
seeming contradiction to be reconciled? By the simple fact that Paul is
two entirely different
laws. The first text relates to the Ten Commandments; the second, to the
We will now show
that there were two systems of law running parallel from the fall of
Adam to the death
of Christ; and that
then one expired, while the other was confirmed and established.
In the beginning,
man was placed upon probation under such conditions that he could have
life by simple
obedience to God. Adam was placed in Eden and given free access to the
tree of life and all
the trees, except the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen. 2:8-17. As long as he could
eat of the tree of
life, just so long he would live. Gen. 3:22. To Adam the Lord said, 'Of
every tree of the
garden thou may freely
cat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not
eat of it; for in
the day that thou eats
thereof thou shall surely die.' Gen. 2:16,17. Then the day of his death
would not come
till the day when he
disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit. Had he never disobeyed
God, he never
would have died. But
death came in consequence of sin, as Paul says, 'Wherefore, as by one
entered into the world,
and death by sin.' Rom. 5:12....
Now, [our first
parents] having disobeyed God and become sinners, it thereby became
Christ should die to
save fallen men. Hence the Redeemer was immediately promised, in the
that the seed of the
woman should bruise the serpent's head. Gen. 3:15. And so it is said
that Jesus was a
Lamb 'slain from the
foundation of the world.' Rev. 13:8. But it was to be many ages before
would come; hence it
became necessary to offer sacrifices as types and shadows of the death
thereby to show their
faith in the coming Redeemer; also to confess thereby that they were
sinners. To offer a
sacrifice, they must have an altar upon which to offer it; they must
have a priest properly
set apart to officiate
at the altar; this priest must be supported; and finally a temple with
all its ceremonies
became necessary. To
regulate all these a law was necessary. Hence the introduction of the
law relating to
types and shadows,
commonly called the ceremonial law.
The least reflection
will show that this law never would have existed if man had not
transgressed the other
- the moral law. No precept relating to sacrifices, types, shadows, the
the temple, would ever
have been given if man had not first broken the moral law, and thus
needing a Savior. . . .
Many references to
both these laws may be seen in Genesis. In chapter 3:21 we learn that
Lord clothed Adam and
Eve with skins. This intimates that beasts had been slain in sacrifice.
a sacrifice of the
firstlings of his flock. Gen. 4:4. He did this by faith, as Paul tells
us in Hebrews 11:4. By
this he showed his
faith in the death of the Lamb of God who was to come. But the infidel
Cain, having no
faith in the coming of
Christ, simply brought of the fruit of the ground a thank offering. Gen.
4:1 This the
Lord would not accept,
as it showed no faith in the coming Redeemer.
Noah built an altar
and offered upon it burnt offerings. Gen. 8:20. So did Abraham. Gen.
Melchizedek 'was the
priest of the most high God' (Gen. 14:18), whom Abraham honored and to
paid tithes. Verse 20.
This shows that at an early day the Lord had regularly ordained priests,
and a law for
maintenance. Isaac offered sacrifices (Gen. 26:25); so did Jacob (Gen.
31:54). ibid., pp. 5-11.
HOW THE MORAL LAW WAS GIVEN
After thus showing the
distinction between the nature of the moral and ceremonial laws, Mr.
proceeds to show how
the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments was given at Mount
pictures the solemnity
and significance of this event in the following words (remember that we
quoting Mr. Canright
the Adventist in reply to himself)
Notice in what a
solemn and impressive manner the moral law was given. After the people
had for three
days made special
preparations to meet with the Lord, He came down in great majesty upon
Mt. Sinai. 'And
it came to pass on the
third day in the morning that there were thunders and lightnings, and a
upon the mount, and the
voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in
trembled. And Moses
brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they
stood at the
nether part of the
mount. And Mt. Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord
descended upon it in
fire; and the smoke
thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked
19:16-18. Paul says
that the Lord's voice then shook the earth. Heb. 12:26. 'Moses says,
And the Lord
spoke unto you out of
the midst the fire; you heard the voice of the words, but saw no
similtude, only you
heard a voice. And He
declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even
Commandments; and He
wrote them upon two tables of stone.' Deut. 4:12, 13.
Some have denied
that the Ten Commandments is ever called a law; but in this they
contradict the plainest
teachings of the Bible.
Thus the Lord said to Moses, 'Come up to Me into the mount, and be
there; and I
will give thee tables
of stone, and law, and commandments which I have written, that thou may
Ex. 24:12. What did God
write? The Ten Commandments; nothing more nor less. That which the 'Lord
wrote on tables of
stone is here directly declared to be a law. So in Deuteronomy 33:2,
speaking of the
descent of the Lord
upon Mt. Sinai, Moses says, 'From His right hand went a fiery law for
went from God's right
hand? The Ten Commandments; and this is here again called a law. Moses
particular to mention
the fact that when the Lord had spoken just the Ten Commandments, 'He
more; and He wrote them
in two tables of stone.' Deut. 5:22. This indicates that it was a
complete law. And
when Moses had broken
the first tables, the Lord wrote just the same Ten Commandments the
Deut. 10:13. This shows
that the Lord had a design in selecting those commandments above any
through the Bible the
Ten Commandments is referred to and quoted as 'the law.' Ibid., pp.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE TWO LAWS
Mr. Canright knew there
was a marked distinction between the two laws, as is evidenced by the
statements published by
him before he renounced Seventh day Adventism:
Evidently the Lord
designed to mark a plain distinction between the two laws in the manner
in which He
gave them to the
people. As we have seen, the Ten Commandments were given in the
1. God Himself spoke it
from heaven with His own voice. Ex. 19:1619; Deut. 4:12, 13.
2. He wrote it twice
with His own finger. Ex. 31:18; 32:16; Deut. 10:13.
3. He engraved it upon
stone. Ex. 32:16.
4. It was placed in the
ark under the cherubim in the most holy place. Ex. 25:16, 22; Deut.
Now notice how
differently the other law was given:
1. Moses went up
into the mount alone, where, being instructed by an angel, he wrote it
out with his own
hand. (See Ex.
24:15-18; Deut. 31:9, 24.) And so Paul says, 'It was ordained by angels
in the hand of a
mediator.' Gal. 3:19.
Hence also it is called 'the handwriting of ordinances.' Col. 2:14. For
the same reason
it is often called 'the
law of Moses' (Acts 15:5), not because Moses was the author of the law,
the Lord gave it
through Moses. The Lord was the real author of the law, but Moses was
through whom it was
made known to the people. Hence it is sometimes called 'the law of the
sometimes 'the law of
Moses.' (See Luke 2:22, 23, where both terms are used.) But mark this
fact: The Ten
Commandments are never
in a single instance called the law of Moses. [Italics his.]
2. Moses wrote the
ceremonial law in a book of parchment. Deut. 31:24.
3. Moses spoke this
law to the people. Deut. 1:33; 31:1; 32:45, 46. 'And Moses made an end
all these words to all
Israel. And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which
among you this day,
which you shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of
Deut. 32:45, 46.
4. This book of the
law was then put, not into the ark, but by the side, as Dr. Horne
renders it. 'And it came
to pass when Moses had
made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were
that Moses commanded
the Levites which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Saying, Take
of the law, and put it
in the side of the ark of the covenant.' Deut. 31:24-26.
Thus we see there
was one law in the ark, and another outside the ark. One law on the
tables of stone,
another in the book;
one law written by God, another by Moses; one law spoken by God, another
one law relating to
moral duties, and another to ceremonial duties. Who will deny the
existence of two
laws, when the
distinction is so plain? And this distinction is everywhere kept up,
both in the Old and in the
New Testament. Thus in
2 Kings 21:8, the Lord says, 'Neither will I make the feet of Israel
move any more
out of the land which I
gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all
that I have
commanded them, and
according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.' Here the
makes a plain
distinction between what He Himself had commanded them and what Moses
commanded them. The
same fact is distinctly mentioned in Nehemiah 9:13, 14: 'Thou came down
upon Mt. Sinai and
spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, and true
commandments, and made known unto them Thy holy Sabbath.' We know that
this refers to
the Ten Commandments,
for the Lord did come down upon Sinai and speak them from heaven, while
other law was thus
given. Notice the character ascribed to this law. It is called 'right,'
'true,' and 'good.'
this holy law which God gave, the prophet adds, 'And commanded them
statutes, and laws, by
the hand of Moses, Thy servant.' Here we have, first, one set of
'commandments' spoken to them by the voice of God. Then, secondly,
another set of
and 'laws' by the hand of Moses. This makes it certain that there were
two laws given to
the people. . . .
In the New Testament
we find the same distinction recognized. 'But there rose up certain of
the sect of the
believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them and to command
them to keep the
law of Moses.' Acts
15:5. Circumcision is the question, and the law regulating it is called
'the law of
Moses.' But Paul says,
'I had not known sin, except the law had said, Thou shall not covet.'
Rom. 7:7. This
law he immediately
calls 'the law of God.' Verse 22. Why so plain a distinction in the two
recognized by all
inspired writers? Ibid., pp. 20-24.
LAWS OF MOSES ABOLISHED BY THE CROSS
We are now prepared
to show that the law of Moses, the ceremonial law, relating to the whole
system of the Old
Testament. Such as the priesthood, the sacrifices, circumcision, etc.,
etc., together with
those civil precepts
which God granted on account of their blindness and hardness of heart,
of which we
have spoken before, was
abolished at the cross, and that these were the only laws there
passage which speaks of
a law being done away refers to these, never to the Ten Commandments or
any moral precept or
teaching of the Old Testament. The whole typical system pointed directly
to Christ. Col.
2:14-17. When He came,
in the very nature of things, it must cease. But why should any moral
done away there? There
is neither reason nor Scripture for such a position. Ibid., pp. 25,
We ask, What is
there in the moral law that would indicate that it terminated at the
coming of Christ? That
law forbids idolatry,
profanity, Sabbath breaking, disobedience to parents, murder, theft,
etc. Did man's
relation to these moral
duties change at the coming of Christ? Did the death of Christ alter any
certainly not Ibid., p. 64.
THE TWO LAWS CONTRASTED BY D. M. CANRIGHT
pamphlet on The Two Laws published in 1886, only three years before the
Adventism Renounced, he clearly sets forth in the following table the
the moral law contained
in the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial law pertaining to ordinances
ceremonies of the Old
Testament sacrificial system. Concerning this table he makes the
by way of preface:
That the reader may
appreciate more forcibly the contrast between the two laws, I have drawn
following table of
comparison between what is said of the great moral law of God as
in the Ten
Commandments, but including their various branches, the moral precepts
of the Old Testament,
as well as of the New,
and what is said of the law of types as given through Moses. The moral
law we will
call Number 1, and the
ceremonial law Number 2.
Number 1. Existed in
Eden before the fall.
Number 2. Was given
after the fall.
No. 1. Was violated
in the transgression which caused the fall. Gen. 3:6.
No. 2. Was given in
consequence of that transgression of No. 1. Gal. 3:19.
No. 1. Relates only
to moral duties. Ex. 20:1-17, etc.
No. 2. Is wholly
ceremonial, pointing to the promised Seed. Heb. 9:10.
No. 1. Was spoken by
God from heaven. Deut. 4:12.
No. 2. Spoken by
Moses. Deut. 14:1-6.
No. 1. Was written
by God. Ex. 31:18.
No. 2. Was written
by Moses. Deut. 31:9.
No. 1. Was engraved
upon stone. Deut. 4:13.
No. 2. Was written
in a book. Deut. 31:24.
No. 1. Christ said,
'Whosoever, therefore, who sha11 break one of these least commandments,
teach men so, he shall
he called the least in the kingdom of heaven.' Matt. 5:19.
No. 2. The apostles
said, 'We gave no such commandment that you should keep the law.' Acts
15:24. . . .
No. 1. Contains the
whole duty of man. Eccl. 12:13.
No. 2. 'Stood only
in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances.' Heb.
9:10. . . .
No. 1. Was 'the
royal law.' James 2:8.
No. 2. Was the law
of Moses. Acts 15:5....
This list might be
greatly extended, but the above points of contrast are sufficient to
show that all inspired
writers have recognized
and noted the distinction between the two laws, the moral and
Now here is a
bewildering situation. In 1889 Mr. Canright, in his book in which he
boldly states that
there was no such thing as two separate laws given to the Jews.
And he adds, 'There
were two distinct laws
given to Israel, so opposite in their nature, it is strange that there
is no record of it,
no reference to it in
the Bible. Seventh-day Adventism Renounced, pp. 308, 309. But just
before, in 1886, he had
published the above table, listing many definite points of distinction
two laws, and citing
numerous Scripture references as proof that such distinction exists. He
said, This list
might be greatly
extended, thus recognizing the fact that the Scriptures contain many
more such evidences
of the existence of two
distinct codes of laws, and added that all inspired writers have
noted the distinction
between the two laws.
Three years later he
declares it impossible to find any such record of the existence of two
laws in the Bible! In
1886 he finds many references to it; in 1889 these references have all
1886 he recognizes many
definite points of distinction; in 1889 there is no difference. There is
law. We frankly admit
that we cannot understand the process of a man's mind when he can thus
from clear Scriptural
evidence and renounce what he admittedly knew to be the teaching of the