JUDY STEPS OUT
An Escape from Purgatory!
Judy Makes a Promise and Breaks It
TO SAY that Dr. Cameron Lea was thunderstruck by Judy's turning her back upon him on the station platform as she alighted from the train that had brought her back from her visit home, would be stating the case far too mildly. For a moment he was entirely at a loss as to what to do as he beheld Judy's form rapidly disappearing among the crowd.
Lack of decision, however, was never one of Cam's faults. His medical training had further taught him to act, and act quickly. Suddenly emerging from the fog of bewilderment that surrounded him, Cam set out at a rapid pace to overtake Judy.
"Judy--Judy. Wait a bit, will you?" This as Cam was still three steps to the rear. If Judy had been secretly hoping that Cam would overtake her, she had certainly not shown it by her actions, for she had been walking as rapidly as the weight of luggage she was carrying would permit. Now, knowing that Cam was a most determined young man, and that she could be no match for him, laden as she was, she paused and rested her load on the platform.
"What is it now, Cam? II wish you'd not bother me." In spite of her stern resolution not to show her feelings, Judy found it impossible to keep a plaintive note out of her voice--a note that brought Cam's heart into his throat.
"Look, Judy, what's the harm in letting me help you to a cab?" Here Cam smiled his most disarming smile and reached for the two cases. "Furthermore, I know that you must be hungry. Why can't we get a bite to eat, and you can at least tell me what's gone wrong;"
"Oh--all right, then." Later Judy admitted that she knew the battle was lost when she said those words. That she loved Cam with all her heart she had long since admitted to herself and to him. She furthermore knew that she would always love him and that she could not force herself to do otherwise.
There was more than this that prompted her action now, although it was not until later that Judy was able to analyze her actions well enough to realize it. For, although she had told her mother that she would give up her study of the Bible and go back to the Catholic Church of her parents, as the train had brought her closer to the city she had increasingly realized that never again would she be able to be truly a Roman Catholic. Already too many revelations of the discrepancies between the teachings of the Church and the Bible had been found in the studies she and Cam had been having together.
"Now, Judy, tell me what's the trouble. What have I done to make you not want to see me?" Cam and Judy were seated in a corner booth in a downtown cafe, and Judy was uneasily wondering how she could parry the onslaught of persuasion that she felt was coming.
"Nothing, Cam. It's not that I don't like you any more. It's my folks--my mother." Here Judy's eyes threatened to fill with tears, but she blinked them back and went on. "I tried to tell the folks about the things we've studied out together, and about you. Well, you know mother isn't well and it was almost too much for her," and Judy poured out the whole narrative of the happenings in her home that had led her to try to terminate her friendship with Cam.
"And so you see, Cam, it will be better if we just call quits and do not see each other any more."
"No, Judy, I can't agree that you are right about that," Cam answered earnestly, aware that he must weigh his words carefully.
"Let's reason this out a bit. I don't want to persuade you to do anything against your conscience, or against your mother and father. But when we started to study together we did it because we wanted to know the truth. I'll admit that I had other motives--as you know--but my preconceived ideas about religion have been upset about as much as yours have. Now, if we are going to do what is right we are going to have to do it because it is right; not because it is what someone else does or wants us to do. Isn't that true?"
Judy nodded solemnly.
"Well, it's on that basis that I think you'll have to decide. But I think we ought to talk things over at least once more, no matter what you decide. Will you let me see you to-morrow night, after you're rested a bit and have had time to think things over calmly?" Cam concluded his plea soberly and waited for Judy to answer.
"Yes, Cam, I will. I'm sorry I tried to run away from you. I didn't mean to be rude--I just didn't want to do what I had said I wouldn't do, see?"
With this the two left the cafe and made their way to the hospital, where Cam parted with Judy at the nurses' quarters. To Cam it seemed a long time until the appointment on the evening of the following day, but hospital duties do not wait for even young people in Love, and the pressure of many duties made the time pass more quickly than either Cam or Judy had thought possible.
"Come in, Cam." Judy's quick smile seemed as bright as ever as she greeted Cam at the door of the nurses' parlour.
"I want to tell you something, Cam," Judy interrupted as Cam began to speak when they were seated in their accustomed place by the fire. "I've been thinking hard about what you said in the cafe, and I have prayed about it, too it's wonderful to be able to pray to God for yourself and know that He hears you, isn't it? Well, Cam, I know now that I just can't do it--I mean that I just can't be a Catholic any longer. I will have to do what the Bible says I should do. So, Cam, let's keep on with our studying."
Needless to say it was not necessary to do any persuading on Judy's part to get Cam to agree to this. The happy interlude that followed Judy's declaration need not concern us. Following this portion of the evening's events, Judy ran to her room and returned with the Bible and the notebook in which they had been jotting down texts.
"What do you think we should study about next?" she inquired eagerly.
"You may be surprised. You know I've had such a shaking up in regard to my religious ideas that I wonder just how many wrong ideas I have had in the past. I suppose they're like the ideas a lot of people have about medical matters, and we know how ridiculous many of them are.
"Well, I've been thinking the last few days about these two intern chaps, Dave and Gus, who are neither Catholics nor regular Protestants like the average Protestant. You've heard me talk about them, and as we know now, they are Seventh-day Adventists. They have a lot of unusual ideas about religion and general practices in daily living, but I think the most unusual is the fact that they consider Saturday a sacred day instead of Sunday. A year ago I would have just dismissed them with the idea that they were a bit queer and that was that, but now I certainly would not want to say that without knowing what the truth actually is.
"The funny part about it is that I was telling them the other day about our discoveries on the question of life after death, and they said that that is exactly what their belief has always been. Could be that they are right about this Saturday business, too, although I'll admit it sounds pretty queer."
"Well, I think I feel about the way you do, Cam. Where do we start?" Judy, now that her decision was made, was more eager than ever for a greater knowledge of the Bible.
"I suppose that we'll have to do it the hard way," answered Cam, opening the now familiar concordance. "Let's begin by looking for Sunday. Hm-m, isn't there, apparently. Let me think. Oh, sure) I remember learning in school that our names of the days of the week are all from pagan mythology. Naturally they would not be in the Bible. But I do remember that my grandmother always called Sunday the Sabbath. Let's see if Sabbath is here--yes, here is a whole list of references. Look up Exodus 16:23-26, please."
"'And he said to them: This is what the Lord hath spoken: To-morrow is the rest of the Sabbath sanctified to the Lord. Whatsoever work is to be done, do it: and the meats that are to be dressed, dress them: and whatsoever shall remain, lay it up until the morning. And they did so as Moses had commanded, and it did not putrefy, neither was there worm found in it. And Moses said: Eat it to-day, because it is the Sabbath of the Lord: to-day it shall not be found in the field. Gather it six days: but on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord; therefore it shall not be found.' "
"At least this is a start on what we are looking for. It says that the seventh day was the Sabbath. I think that this refers to the falling of the manna during the time that the Israelites were in the wilderness. As I remember the story from my Sunday School days, the manna fell only on six days of the week. I had never realized before, though, that it was particularly to teach the people which day of the week was the Sabbath. But, I guess that is what it was for."
"Which day did it say was the Sabbath. Cam?" inquired Judy thoughtfully.
"'The seventh day is the Sabbath,' is what it says here." "H'm. Well, what's next:"
"Well, here's a reference in Exodus 20, verses 8-11. Read it, will you, please?"
"'Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works. But on the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh clay; therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.' "
"This text says the seventh day of the week, too, Judy," remarked Cam thoughtfully. "Say, what day of the week is Sunday, anyway"
"The nest day, of course, silly--look at that calendar on the wall there," Judy giggled.
"Well, that seems to settle that, then. Oh, it can't be actually that simple. I mean if Saturday is the seventh day of the week, as it certainly is, and the Bible says that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, surely everyone would observe Saturday as the Sabbath." Cam frowned thoughtfully. He well knew the danger of oversimplification, which this seemed to be, and he was not satisfied.
"What do you suppose it says in the New Testament?" Judy offered.
"That's it!" Cam snapped his fingers excitedly. "All the Jews still observe Saturday, don't they? And they believe only the Old Testament. The Christians observe Sunday, and they believe the New Testament. The direction to Christians to keep the first day of the week must be in the New Testament. Why, we shouldn't have even tried to find anything in the Old Testament, for I don't suppose that there would be a single text directing our attention to the first day of the week as a sacred day. It's funny, though; do you know, I never before had even thought which day of the week Saturday and Sunday were!"
"Neither had I, as a matter of fact. Next time, though, we'll know, and we will start right in with the New Testament," said Judy, closing her Bible thoughtfully. She and Cam had many things to talk about after her holiday visit home, and it was already getting late. Hence there was no more study on that particular evening.
Matters Reach a Crisis
TO-NIGHT, Judy, we're going to find out what the New Testament has to say about which day is the Sabbath, or holy day for Christians," stated Cam at the beginning of their next Bible study. "Before we start, though, I'll tell you that I've been doing a little reading about the days of the week, and I find in the encyclopedias that the week is the oldest measurement of time, other than the day itself, known to man. The seven-day week has been used by most of the world as long as we know anything about the history of man, and the order of the days is the same as it was in the beginning. Both historians and astronomers agree to this."
"It almost seems that God may have been protecting the week, especially, doesn't it?" asked Judy reverently.
"It really does. Anyway, whatever the Bible says is right about the Sabbath, we can be sure is right about the week to-day."
"What are we going to use as a starting point in the New Testament?" asked Judy.
"Well, in the New Testament we expect to find that the first day of the week is said to be a holy day--not the seventh day; so I think we ought to see what it has to say about the first day. Let's see what we find." Cam paused a moment as he opened the Bible and the concordance before him. "Here's a text about the first day, Matthew 28:1. Read it, please."
"'And in the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.' This is about the resurrection, isn't it?"
"Yes," answered Cam, with a troubled expression on his face. "But it doesn't say anything like what I expected to find. Look--it says 'in the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week.' According to this, Matthew still thought that the Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, even after the resurrection."
"Let's not get too excited over one text--there may be a good many more," Judy counselled.
"You're probably right; you generally are." Cam allowed himself a glance of warm admiration at Judy's sweet countenance across the table from him. "Let's see what Mark 16:1, 2 has to say on the subject."
"'And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen.' "
"Same thing," muttered Cam, who had already started to search for the next reference. "Seems funny to me, if the first day of the week were supposed to be sacred, that Matthew and Mark should not have said something about it. Try Luke 23:54-56; 24:1."
"'And it was the day of the Parasceve, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women that were come with Him from Galilee, following after, saw the sepulchre, and how His body was laid. And returning, they prepared spices and ointments; and on the Sabbath day they rested, according to the commandment. And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.' "
Parasceve. That is, the eve, or day of preparation for the Sabbath." From note, in the Douay Versos of the Bible.
"Why, that's still worse," Cam cried excitedly. "Did you notice what it said? The women that were with Jesus at the time of the crucifixion certainly did not know that the first day was supposed to be holy--if it was--for it says that they were particular to rest on the seventh day. They even postponed part of the embalming of the body of Jesus on that account. It seems queer that these women who knew Jesus so well wouldn't have known that He had changed the Sabbath, doesn't it?" If Cam had been puzzled before, he was now doubly so.
"It certainly does," answered Judy. "And it seems funny, if they did find out later that they were keeping the wrong day, that Luke did not mention it here."
"Read John 20:1," said Cam, doggedly. "Let's get to the bottom of this."
"'And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre."'
"Nothing new there. Wait, here's another one in John--chapter 20, verse 19. Please read it," Cam asked impatiently.
"'Now when it was late that same day, the first day of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you."
"That's a little different, but I can't see any light on the subject there either. If this had been a religious meeting of the disciples on the first day of the week, it would be interesting indeed, but it just says that they were gathered together, 'for fear of the Jews,' evidently with no thought of a religious meeting at all. Well, that takes care of the four Gospels. Here's a reference in Acts 20:6-8 that you might read.
"'But we sailed from Philippi after the days of the Azvmes, and came to them to Troas in five days, where we abode seven days. And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with them, being to depart on the morrow: and he continued his speech until midnight. And there were a great number of lamps in the upper chamber where we were assembled."'
"Well now," exulted Cam, "we're getting somewhere. There are two significant things in this text. It says that they broke bread, which probably meant communion, and that Paul 'discoursed,' or preached. It seems quite evident that the disciples must have thought that the first day was a holy day by this time."
"Yes, it surely does," agreed Judy. "But it seems sort of odd that we haven't read anything about when and how they learned about the change. Maybe we should study this text some more and see if it will help us on this point."
"You're right. Let's see. Suppose we find out for sure if we can--that this 'breaking bread' meant communion. Here's a cross reference where the same expression is used in the book of Acts, 2:46."
And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart,' Well. Cam, that reads as if they 'broke bread' every day, doesn't it?" inquired Judy.
"Surely does. So we're stalled on that one. If they 'broke bread' every day the fact that they did it on the first day of the week doesn't mean anything so far as the sacredness of that day is concerned."
"There's another thing that bothers me, Cam," interposed Judy. "Did you notice that this seems to have been a farewell meeting, too? In verse 11 it says, 'Having talked a long time to them, until daylight, so he departed.' "
"That's right. Well, we at least will have to mark this text 'inconclusive.' So far we have no inkling of a command to change to the first day of the week. The breaking of bread does not seem to have been necessarily significant, and this seems to have been a farewell meeting and not necessarily a meeting because it was on the first day of the week. Let us see if there is anything more." *
"There seems to be just one more, Judy," continued Cam, "I Corinthians 16:1, 2."
"'Now concerning the collections that are made for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so do ye also. On the first day of the week let every one of you put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be made.' "
"H'm-m. That's another hard one. Do you get it? Paul says that everyone was to put money 'apart with himself' for the saints. Surely if they had been having church services on the first day of the week they would have taken up a collection there. Doesn't that seem reasonable?"
"It surely does, Cam. It really seems that we were just as far wrong about this matter as we were about life after death, doesn't it?" said Judy earnestly.
"But I tell you it can't be. And I don't believe it, either!"
* Author's note: Later, when they became better students of the Bible, Cam and Judy learned that this meeting was on what we term Sunday today, actually on Saturday night. This is indicated by the fact that the text says. "He continued his speech until midnight. And there were a great number of lamps in the upper chamber." In Bible times there was only one dark part of each day--that portion beginning with sundown and extending until sunrise. In other words, the days of the week extended from sundown to sundown. Since this was during the dark part of the first day of the week it was actually what we would term Saturday night. Had it been the following evening it would have been the second day of the week, according to Bible reckoning. (See Leviticus 23:32 and Mark 1:32.) Any Jew today will tell you that this is the Biblical way of reckoning time.
Cam's religious background was now coming into conflict with his findings in the Bible, and although he did not realize it at the moment, he was now going through somewhat the same emotional upheaval in that respect, as had few weeks before.
"Just a moment, Cam--not so fast." Judy slipped her small hand under Cam's, on the table top. "We're going by what the Bible says, and what God wants us to do, aren't we? and not according to what we think or the world thinks. Isn't that what we agreed, Cam?" and Judy looked earnestly into Cam's eyes. She sensed the inward conflict that was now raging, and wished to help Cam over the hurdle that was confronting his mental processes.
"Sure, Judy, you're right--absolutely right. I think you always are! BUT" and Cam's fist hit the table a resounding blow"--What I'd like to know, what I'm going to know, is how it happens that everybody seems to think he is supposed to keep the first day of the week holy when the Bible says nothing about it!"
As it happened, it was not Cam at all, but Judy, who found out the answer to this question. And in a most surprising way.
Father Brien Tries Again
WELL, my child, how are you this fine morning?" It was Father Brien speaking as he smiled down at Judy, fresh and vivid in tier crisp nurse's uniform. "I'm just fine, Father Brien, and it seems good to see you again. I've been gone on my holiday, you know," answered Judy
"Aha! I thought I hadn't been seeing you around here lately. Step inside my study just a bit. Surely you have time to visit a minute," and the priest opened the door with an inviting smile.
"What has become of your deep studies in theology?" Father Brien queried, as Judy sat down across the desk from him. The priest had noticed several things about Judy that had given him some concern of late. He had not dealt with human beings intensively for a score of years for nothing. He had deduced that she might be in love with one of the young interns--that would certainly not be anything new in the history of the hospital. But in the back of his mind he had also her queries about the Bible, and in addition to that he had noticed that she had not been as regularly to mass as usual. It had been a long time, too, since she had been to confession. Since Judy had been in the past a very devout Catholic, these lapses were the more noticeable. "Did you find the books that I lent you helpful in answering your questions?"
"Oh, yes, Father. I found all the answers very clearly." This time Judy was much more poised and sure of herself than during the first interview. As we know, she was exceptionally quick-witted, and just now she parried the first question while at the same time conceiving a bold plan to gain more information.
"You know, Father, you helped me so much about that question that I would like to ask you about another matter. One of the Protestants here in the hospital says that there is nothing in the Bible that says that Sunday is a sacred day. I'm sure this must be wrong, but I don't know how to prove it. Can you tell me what is the answer?"
"See here, Young Lady, you haven't got yourself mixed up in a discussion with one of these Seventh-day Adventist interns, have you:" Father Brien frowned as he asked this pointed question. Could it be that this was the solution to Judy's unaccustomed behaviour during the past weeks?
"No, Father Brien, I surely haven't. It was not one of them who told me about this," and Judy looked demurely at her shoe-tips, hoping that the priest would go no farther into the matter of personalities.
"That's good. Well, as a matter of fact--to answer your question about Sunday--there is nothing in the Bible which says that Sunday is sacred. The sacredness of the day was transferred from the seventh day of the week, which the Jews called Sabbath, to the first day by the authority of the Catholic Church. One of the marks of the only true Church is her God--given power to do such things. Protestants are to be pitied in that, while they deny the power of the Church and claim to follow the Bible alone, they follow us in observing a day which has no sacredness other than that conferred upon it by the Church that they profess to despise. A good Catholic is of all people most consistent, my dear girl. You should be glad to be able to say that you are a Catholic."
"That's certainly very interesting and helpful, Father Brien, but what proof is there that I could refer to?"
"Proof? Plenty of it! Do you still have those books I gave you? Look in them. And here are several more. Keep them. It will do you good to read them through. You're a bright girl, and it won't hurt you to read a bit--but be sure you read the right books." The priest reached into a desk drawer and produced two paperbound pamphlets which he gave Judy.
"0, thank you so much. And now," glancing at her watch, "I'm afraid I must hurry or I'll not get my ward done in time for lunch."
"That's quite all right, my child. Run along. I'm glad to know that all is well with you. Come and see me any time," and Father Brien led the way to the door, thinking with satisfaction that he had strengthened Judy's faith in the Church.
"Cam, I've done it again! Look what I've got." Judy was noticeably excited as she deposited on the table the two books that Father Brien had given her, with the other Catholic books she had obtained in her previous interview.
"What's this, Judy? What have you here?" Cam was immediately interested as he gathered that Judy had information bearing on their last study together.
"Well, you remember when we got stuck on the question of life after death, we found in those Catholic books that Father Brien gave me, that apparently the Church is responsible for some of the wrong ideas people have about that question. Yesterday Father Brien called me into his office for a visit and I asked him about this question of Sunday being a sacred day. Well, he told me that the Church is responsible for Sunday being sacred instead of the seventh day of the week, and he said I would find the proof in the books that he lent me the time I asked him about the teaching of the Church on the state of the dead, and then he gave me these two additional books. So, let's see what they actually say about it, shall we?" Judy paused expectantly.
"Sure thing," Cam answered eagerly. "It surely seems that we wouldn't find anything in the Bible about a change in the day of worship; yet we know that the world worships on the first day of the week. Every effect has a cause; now let us find the cause!"
Cam reached over and picked up a little book bound in orange-coloured paper. "The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine," he read from the cover.
"Let me see," Cam continued, opening the catechism to the index. "'The Ten Commandments.' That's probably what I'm looking for. Let's see ... 'third commandment"
'Which is the Sabbath day?' Say, listen while I read this; it seems to be exactly what we're looking for. It reads like this: 'Saturday is the Sabbath day. Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.'" (Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, Geiermann, p. 50.)
'Actually the fourth commandment. Catholic books leave out the second commandment, thus making the fourth commandment the third. The tenth commandment is divided to provide enough divisions to make ten.
"See there, Cam, that's exactly what Father Brien said!" Judy exclaimed excitedly. "The reason we did not find it in the Bible is that it's not there!"
"Huh! Certainly sounds as if the Father knows what he's talking about. I'm still wondering, though, how it is that the Protestants worship on Sunday if it was the Catholics who were responsible. Well, let's see what's in some of these other books.
"Here's another catechism, the Catechism of Christian Doctrine. Here's what we are looking for, on page 61.
"'Question: Are the Sabbath day and the Sunday the same.' Answer: The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and is the day which was kept holy in the old law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is kept holy in the new law. Question: Why does the Church command us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath? Answer: The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.'"
"That's not quite as plain as the other one, is it Cam," suggested Judy. "But still it does say that the Church made the change, doesn't it?"
"Yes, indeed. And I can't see that the fact that Christ rose on the first day of the week, or that He sent the Holy Spirit on that day, has much to do with making it the Sabbath, unless the Bible says so. And, you remember that when we read about the resurrection we did not find anything about the first day being made the Sabbath, but rather the contrary."
"That's right, Cam. And after all, we want to know what the Bible says, don't we?"
"Well, there are still some more books. Let's have a look at this, Manual of Theology for the Laity, by Geiermann. Here we are, on page 310.
"'By His positive law, however, God insisted on the sanctification of the Sabbath, or seventh day of the week. On this day He Himself rested after the six days of creative work. From the beginning of the world till after the introduction of Christianity the Sabbath was specially sacred to God's people. . . . The Church decreed in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336), that all Catholics should keep holy Sunday as the "Lord's day." . This change the Church was authorized to make by the power conferred upon her by Jesus Christ when He said, "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 23:18) : That looks like more of the same. I presume that the Geiermann who wrote this is the same man who wrote the Catechism, and this is about like what we found in it."
"Here's one more, Cam, that I'd like to see. Find what it sails," requested Judy.
"This 'Question Box" you mean? Oh, yes, here on page 179." Cam scanned the page briefly and then whistled in astonishment. "Just listen to this, will you?
"'What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath froth the seventh to the first day of the week? Who gave the Pope the authority to change a command of God? If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. But Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority established by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, which in Apostolic times made Sunday the day of rest.... Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Church?'
"Ha! I should say it is strange--it's more than that, it's downright fantastic," exclaimed Cam, snapping the book shut vehemently. "I tell you, I never heard anything like it!"
"Well, that's just what Father Brien told me, isn't it? And we certainly did not find anything in the Bible that said the day had been changed." Just at this point Judy was not nearly as puzzled as Cam. She had always been accustomed to recognize the authority of the Church, while Cam, a Protestant, had always believed that his church followed the teachings of the Bible.
"What you say is all very true, Judy, although I'll admit it is a little hard for me to swallow. Say! Do you know what I'm going to do?" asked Cam, his face lighted by a sudden thought.
1 "The Question Box Answers:' by Rev. Bertrand L. Coney. The Paulist Press, New York. Edition of 1915. (This quotation is not found in newer editions.)
"No, Cam, what:"
"I'm going to ask the chaplain out at the air base. He's a well-educated chap, and as a Protestant he ought to know the answers to some of these things. Surely the Protestants don't admit officially, that these things are so."
HELLO, Doc. What can I do for you:" Canadian Army Chaplain Donlevy looked up from his desk as Dr. Cameron Lea paused at the threshold of the room.
"Hi, Padre," answered Cam, in the familiar term of the army. "Mind if I bother you for a minute or two?"
A part of Cam's day was ordinarily spent at the army air base near the outskirts of the city, for he was still under army orders at all times. Routine clinical work was divided up among the interns to give them practical experience and at the same time relieve the army doctors of routine work that was distasteful to them.
Donlevy's welcome to Cam was immediate and sincere. He had a real regard for the men of the air force and never neglected an opportunity to become better acquainted with them. "What's on your mind?" he inquired.
"Well, you'd never think it to look at me," Cam halt apologized, "but I've got tangled up in my theology. You see another--another person and I have been thrashing out some things in the Bible, and lately we got interested in the origin of the sacredness of the day of rest--Sunday as it is to most people. Tell me, Padre, what's the reason people keep Sunday sacred, anyway? Is the reason Biblical, or is there some other explanation?" Cam paused expectantly.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I've never spent a great deal of time studying that particular question. As I think of it, though, I don't believe you will find it in the Bible. After all, the Bible was written by Jews, and the Jews have always observed the seventh day of the week."
"That's what we seemed to find out," Cam rejoined. "Of course I know that the Bible was written by Jews, but after all, it was written for the whole world, wasn't it?"
"I suppose it was. At least it is the best book on religion that we have up to the present time. However, to get back to the question that you started with, I don't think it matters particularly whether you find the basis for keeping Sunday in the Bible, or not. After all, the custom is well established all over Christendom. It gives us a day of worship and relaxation when we can turn our thoughts to the better things of life. That's really all that matters, isn't it?" And Chaplain Donlevy directed an inquiring glance at Cam.
"H'm. Well--I don't know about that. You know there are so many ideas about religion in the world that I've just about decided that the only way to know what is right and proper is to go entirely by the Bible." Cam knew that there were "modernistic" preachers who did not believe in the literal truth and inspiration of the Bible. Up to this time, however, lie had never really troubled his mind as to just what their attitude of mind might mean in practical Christian living. Just now he felt more than a little shocked by Donlevy's casual attitude toward his question.
"Well, of course, if you are going to be a Biblical literalist I imagine that you will find very little basis, Biblically, for keeping sacred the first day of the week. I don't mean to disparage your attitude, but I do think it's unnecessary," and Donlevy smiled tolerantly.
"That brings me to another question, if you will permit me to ask another. If there is actually nothing in the Bible saying that the first day of the week is sacred, and the churchesor at least the Protestant churchesmerely keep Sunday as a matter of custom, then how did the custom start?" And here Cam related his and Judy's findings in the Catholic books that Father Brien had lent them.
"Really, Padre, what I want to know is, Did the Catholic Church do what these books say it did, and do the Protestant churches admit it? There's always the possibility that what is in those books is not true, of course." Cam was very much in earnest note, and intensely interested in any answer he might get.
"Well, Lea, offhand I really couldn't answer your question. I have never concerned myself with theological controversy about these points of dogma. I'll be glad to lend you any of the books here in the office, though, and perhaps you can find the answer to your question yourself. I'm very sorry not to be of more help. Let's see what's here that might bear on such a matter," and Donlevy led the way to the bookshelves around two sides of the office, glad to be able to terminate an interview that seemed not to be to his credit with the young air-force doctor. "if you'll be so kind as to excuse me I have an appointment at Staff Headquarters in five minutes," lie concluded.
"Certainly, Sir. I'll browse around and see what I call find," Cam respectfully answered. "Seems he's in a bit of a hurry to get away," he mused to himself as he heard the door close behind the chaplain.
Cam busied himself at the bookshelves, taking out several volumes and examining the indexes. Finally he left the office with a number of them under his arm, intending to go through them before his next meeting with Judy.
"Well, Cam, any luck: I've been wondering all day what you might find out from the Padre," Judy asked excitedly as Cam was being ushered into the parlour the following evening.
"Yes, I think I found out some things of interest. The first thing I found out was that my Protestant chaplain was not nearly as well informed as Father Brien, nor was he as much interested, or at least it seemed that way. But he did give me permission to look in his library to see what I could find."
"And did you find anything that would help us?"
"Yes, I did. And to me, what I found is most astounding. Listen to this. It is front the author of the Baptist Church Manual, Reverend Edward T. Hiscox, and it reads like this: 'There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges, and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week. I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people.' "
"That certainly is emphatic," observed Judy, "but it does not say anything about the Catholic Church's having been responsible for the change."
"No, it's true that it doesn't. However, it does point out that the author had the same experience that we did in searching through the Bible for authority for the change from the seventh day of the week to the first. And, if a change without Bible authority has been made, then some human agency is responsible. But waithere's another reference.
"This is from the Lutheran document, 'The Augsburg Confession of Faith,' section 10, part 2. Listen: 'The observance of the Lord's day (Sunday) is founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the Church.
.. They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord's day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears; neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the Church, since it dispensed with one of the ten commandments.' Article XXVIII."
""That certainly agrees exactly with what our Catholic books tell us," nodded Judy.
"Right," emphatically agreed Cam. "The Bible says nothing about the day being changed, the Catholic books say that the Catholic Church is responsible for the change, and now these Protestant sources agree with the claim. For instance, here's another one This is from a book called History of the Christians, page 418. by Professor N. Summerbell, a prominent minister and author of the Christian church. It reads as follows: 'It [the Roman Catholic Church] has reversed the fourth commandment, doing away with the Sabbath of God's Word, and instituting Sunday as a holy day.' "
"Are there any more?" inquired Judy. "That's really enough to convince me--of course I thought from the beginning that the Catholic Church was probably right in saying that it did it."
"Yes, I have one more, 'The seventh-day Sabbath was ... solemnized by Christ, the apostles, and primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did in a manner quite abolish the observation of it.. ..The Council of Laodicea [about A.D. 361] . first settled the observation of the Lord's day.' From Dissertation on the Lord's Day, by William Prynne." Cam concluded reading this last quotation and sat a moment in deep reflection.
"I'll have to confess again, Judy, that I have been just as far astray in my thinking along religious lines as you have--yes, even farther. I have flattered myself that because I am a Protestant I knew the Bible, whereas I have merely had the opportunity of knowing the Bible but have never before taken advantage of it. And what little I did know was not right," Cam concluded a trifle bitterly. He remained silent a moment, and then taking Judy's hands in his across the table he said, "Judy, I owe you an apology. I have been an ignorant egotist. In my own mind I thought myself to be much better, religiously, than the average Catholic. Forgive me for having had such thoughts--will you, Judy?'
"Surely I will, Cam. Shouldn't we both be honest and admit that after all we only thought we knew what is right? The thing that matters, after all, is that we found out what is right--before it was too late. And ..." here Judy spoke more warmly, "isn't it interesting that this wonderful knowledge came to us just at the right time?"
"And brought us closer together than we ever could have been in any other way!" exclaimed Cam.
Escape From Purgatory
THIS is the biggest thing in the world! Do you hear, Judy? The biggest thing in the world!" Cam, Judy, Dave and Gus were seated before the familiar fireplace of the nurses' home parlour. As was quite typical, Cam was leading out in the conversation now taking place.
Thoroughly convinced, after his conversation with Chaplain Donlevy, that the true weekly rest day is the seventh day of the week, Cam had suggested that he and Judy get better acquainted with the two Seventh-day Adventist interns. "We know that they are right about life after death, and the Sabbath, when almost all the rest of the world is wrong. If they are straight on these things, it's likely that they are on the rest of their doctrines, whatever they are," Cam had said, and Judy had agreed. Thus it was that the two interns were delighted to receive Judy's invitation to join Cam and her in a discussion of religion. Without knowing just what was taking place between the two, they had guessed that Cam and his erstwhile Catholic girl friend had become involved in some sort of serious religious discussion.
For the past hour now the four had been talking. Most of the talking had been done by Dave, who had been kept busy answering the rapid fire of searching questions asked him by the eager Cam.
Through this method Cam and Judy learned that more than a half million earnest Christians all over the world faithfully observe the seventh day of the week. That they believe the Bible doctrine of the mortal nature of man and his unconscious state in death, Cam and Judy already knew. Just now Cam had been asking questions about the organization of the church, and Judy and he had learned that a world-wide programme of evangelism is being carried on by the church and that this is being done in the belief that in so doing the church is fulfilling the command of the Saviour in Matthew 28:19, 20: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you away, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
With this text Dave coupled another: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come," Matthew 21:14. In so doing he pointed out that the church also believes that as soon as the true gospel is preached to all the world Jesus will return in literal person to set up His everlasting kingdom.
This belief, Dave explained, gives Seventh-day Adventist missions great impetus and has carried representatives of the church into the far corners of the earth, until now more than four hundred countries and islands are occupied for the Master by Seventh-day Adventist missionaries. These loyal workers include evangelists, teachers, nurses, and doctors, Dave said, and he further stated that both he and his fellow intern intended to give their lives to the furtherance of the gospel.
It was when Cam realized the prophetic significance of what the church is doing, as well as the magnitude of its work, that he uttered the words recorded at the head of the chapter.
"Of course there are many prophecies concerning our times and the beliefs of the church that you have not discovered thus far," Dave said. "But you have done so remarkably well in studying out what you have learned thus far that I have no fear for your future success in learning the system of truth to be found in the Bible."
"Does the fact that you boys do not use tobacco, and do not dance and play poker like the rest of the interns, have anything to do with your religion?" asked Judy, adding quickly, "1 feel sure that it has."
"I wondered when that question would come," laughed Dave. "In fact, I'm surprised that it did not come sooner. Yes, our religion does keep us from doing those things; or I should say that it teaches us better than to do them. We think that we are far better off without them, even if we did not base our abstinence on religious grounds. But our reasons make quite a long story that perhaps should wait until some future time."
"Probably so," agreed Judy, "although I can see that ii the Saviour is coming soon we must be living right to be able to meet Him gladly when He comes. Some of these things seem pretty small in comparison, don't they?"
"That's just what I was thinking, Judy," Cam said in an awed voice, as the four stood in preparation to their breaking up for the evening.
The conversation just recorded was only the first of many engaged in by the four. Although Cam and Judy did not give up their personal searching of the Scriptures, nor relax their insistence on basing any beliefs they adopted upon the plain commands of the Bible, they found that they progressed much more quickly with Dave's guidance. The little group became closely knit together as the weeks went by until each one felt almost as though all the others were a part of the same family.
Autumn had come again, and with it cold evenings that made the crackling fire in the fireplace seem very friendly as Judy entered the parlour to await Cam's arrival. For some reason, known only to her own feminine heart, Judy had dressed with unusual care to-night, and she had dressed exactly as she had on the previous belated "Christmas" when Cam had first told her he loved her.
"The same old white magic," exclaimed Cam delightedly a moment later as he stood in the doorway and looked into
Judy's eyes. "You look just as lovely as you did the first time I saw you in that dress. Lovelier, if possible!"
"I'm very glad you think so, Cam," said Judy. "You look nice, too."
"You think so, young lady?" Cam assumed a commanding air. "Come and sit down--I've something I want to talk to you about," and taking her by the hand he led her to the hassock by the fire.
"A few months ago you were a Catholic and I was an ordinary Protestant," Cam began when they were seated across from each other. "Tell me, Judy, what are you now?"
"There's only one answer to that Cam, that I can give. Although I haven't joined any church yet, in belief I am a Seventh-day Adventist. Aren't you too?"
"Yes, Judy, I am." Here Cam paused a long while.
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