The Infidel Lawyer and
The Ten Commandments
(as told by H.M.S. Richards)

"I was shown that if the true Sabbath had always been kept, there would never have been an
infidel or an atheist. The observance of the Sabbath would have preserved the world from
idolatry." -- Testimonies for the Church v. 1 p. 76

Pastor Edwin W. Webster was a good friend of mine; one day he had an extremely interesting
experience with a professed infidel. The subject of controversy was the Ten Commandments.

This infidel said that he has been to every preacher in the community. He would invite them home,
have a good dinner and then give them arguments and distress them till they would have to leave

One day he invited Brother Webster home. After lunch he said "Mr. Webster, I want to ask you a
question about the Ten Commandments. I would be ashamed to write such a law; school boys
could do better!" Webster was startled and said "is that so?" "Did you ever study the law very
carefully?" "Yes, I have, and I am convinced that it is nothing but a childish effort to intimidate
ignorant people." "Well," Webster said; "Would you mind studying it with me for a while?" "I can, if
it would please you, but it won't do you any good!" Said the lawyer.

To begin with, Webster said, Inspiration says this law is spiritual. So spiritual that it discerns the
thoughts and intents of the heart. So comprehensive but so closely related to the individual
commandments. So interlocked with one another that if we offend in one point, we are guilty of all.
Here we have it in Romans 7:12 that the law is holy and the commandment is holy, just and good.
The law is spiritual and James 2:10 says: "for whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend
in one point he is guilty of all."

Now, let's start with the 4th commdandment. I want to show you that anyone that breaks one
commandment is guilty of all. He quoted Exodus 20:8-11: "Remember the sabbath day to keep it
holy…" Now, said Webster, if a person works on the 7th day he has broken the 4th commandment
hasn't he? Yes, I suppose, said the lawyer. But the commandment says the 7th day is the
Sabbath of the Lord thy God. It is His day! Not man's, not ours. And if a person takes for himself
what belongs to another, what is he doing? Well, I suppose he might be stealing, said the lawyer.
He has not only broken the 4th commandment, but has broken the 8th, as well! If he steals, he
has a legitimate desire for the thing he steals. What has he done here? He is coveting, and that is
the 10th commandment said Webster. He has broken "Thou shalt not covet!"

The lawyer's eyes opened wider as Webster said, when a man puts himself so entirely first, and
so fully before God as to covet what belongs to God, and steal from Him, what other
commandment has he broken? Well, I suppose the 1st, "Thou shalt have no other gods before
me. But a man is not god, said the lawyer.

Do you suppose we could get such absurd things as that from the Bible? What can a man do but
put himself in the place of God? If he puts himself above God and takes what belongs to Him and
steals from Him. Man is called a God in the Bible, a false God, or idol. With God as their belly we
read in Philippians 3:19, they ever made their stomach a God. Some have the almighty dollar as
their God. Many a man makes an idol of himself. There he has broken the 2nd commandment.
Well this man was really getting disturbed. The more he sat there the more he wiggled around in
his chair. Brother Webster said two more commandments have been broken. In breaking the
Sabbath, that makes a total of five commandments that he has broken already. The lawyer moved
about very, very disturbed.

God's name is in the 4th commandment said Webster. The name Jehovah is there as the Creator
of heaven and earth. When we treat his commandments in such a reckless and vain way, are we
not using His name in vain? What does the 3rd commandment say? "Thou shalt not take the
name of the Lord thy God in vain." This command forbids more than outspoken oaths. Any vain
use of God's name would destroy our reverence for Him! That's not all, many people say it makes
no difference which day you keep. Just say you keep one day holy, but God has signed his own
name to this commandment. He says the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Is that not a
vain use of the commandment? A vain use of God's name? Well the infidel looked rather chagrin.
Again if an individual has not spoken the truth about it, what other commandment has he broken?
God said the 7th day, but some people say it makes no difference and they have broken that
other commandment: "Thou shalt not bear false witness!" Another commandment has been
broken in breaking this one. In regard to saying that it makes no difference in which day one
keeps. I want to suggest 1 or 2 other thoughts on that point.

It says that God rested on that day. His resting and blessing it made it the Sabbath. Now, if all the
people in the world should keep another day, it would not make it the Sabbath! It takes God's
personal presence in the Sabbath to make it holy. God blessed and sanctified it (Genesis 2:3). He
puts his presence into that day. If we do not actually discern the difference between the Sabbath,
and the 1st day of the week, it is a fact that God's own presence is in it, and He said it is the
important thing. We have done something very serious here. God is our Father, and if we haven't
honored him, we are breaking the 5th commandment. In 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 God says: "I will
receive you and I will be a father unto you and you shall be my sons and daughters." So you see
how serious this is: Very serious indeed! We have broken 8 commandments thus far. Now, if we
break this one 4th commandment this is very clear. Well the infidel lawyer was certainly
astonished and he didn't conceal it. "I confess, I've never heard or seen such things before." But
my friend, we have not finished yet, said Webster, there are 2 more commandments. I wish first to
show you a few texts.
Romans 6:23  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord."

Ezekiel 18:4  "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is
mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

1 John 3:4  "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of
the law."

This law of the Ten Commandments is the law that points out sin without which we could not tell
what sin is. In this wholesale transgression of God's law, we've been speaking of, what does the
sinner bring upon himself? Well said the infidel, Do you mean that he is taking his own life? That's
exactly right! I do. Then what commandment is he breaking? The 6th commandment says: "Thou
shalt not kill!"

But you can't get the 7th commandment in here! How will it be done? That's the one! You can't
get the infidel said. There's no possible way that you can break the commandment forbidding
adultery in breaking the 4th commandment. We will see said Webster, and he went on: Turn to
Isaiah 54:5  "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer
the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called."

Notice that God is the husband of all that He has made. Israel backslid from God by uniting with
the nations around them. Of her, God says, surely as a wife treacherously departed from her
husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me. God says also that she had played the harlot
and commited adultery. In Jeremiah 3 and James 4:4, we read: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a
friend of the world is the enemy of God." This spiritual adultery is forbidden by the 7th
commandment just as truly as the carnal natural form of breaking the law. Therefore in the
transgression of the 4th commandment, the 7th is broken as truly as all the other 9

Webster says: "I pitied the poor man. He looked ashamed and confused, but I felt I had to
continue and carry my reasons right on to a conclusion for his own sake. And here is my
argument in a nutshell.

I wished to ask you Mr. Jones, a few questions now and sum it all up in a few sentences. First,
how can a man take God's Sabbath for his own selfish use without stealing, and this without
breaking the 8th commandment? How can he steal a thing without first coveting it, and breaking
the 10th commandment? How can he in this way put himself first, even before God, without
breaking the 1st commandment? How can he make such an idol of himself without breaking the
2nd commandment? And how can he not break the 3rd commandment, since God has placed His
holy name right there within the 4th commandment? How can he show such disrespect for his
heavenly Father without breaking the 5th commandment? How can he commit such sin when God
has said that the sure result of sin is death, without being guilty of the 6th commandment, and
taking his own life? How can he do all of this, and justify his words and say that he is telling the
truth, and break the 9th commandment? And last but not least, how can he go so completely
away from his spiritual spouse and join with the sinful world, without being guilty of the 7th

Can you now think that the 4th commandment is of no consequence? That it makes no difference
which day we keep? Really is not this the very heart of the law of God? Is it possible for one law to
be greater than another? Friend, the discarding and disregarding of His day involves the violation
of every one of the Ten Commandments; And doesn't the substitution of another day in it's place,
without God's direction to do so, add even greater guilt to the transgressor?

How would you like it if someone should steal your car before your very eyes and instead give you
an old, broken down, rattle trap of a car and say it was just as good? Well the infidel was certainly
convicted. Without realizing what he had done, he stood up and moved his chair nervously and
seated himself again where better light from the window could fall on his face and reveal the
grave surprise, which was the evidence of deep conviction in his heart. Now said Webster, for
some questions on the law as a whole. In all honesty sire, have you ever seen any other law so
brief, and yet so comprehensive? With each section or commandment distinct and complete in
itself, and yet the whole is entirely one? Each commandment is so related to the other that it is
impossible to transgress one without transgressing every other one in the same act? I would like
to ask you: "Where did Moses get that law?" Can you tell me? Do you think any human mind
could have devised it? Can you write as good a law?

After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, he said: "I must admit Mr. Webster, this is the first
time that I have been beaten by a minister. I have no more to  say now. I must take time to think of
this thing more seriously. I admit that your reason is logical and if the Bible is true at all, I am

Well my friend, this is not my wisdom, Webster said, I don't gloat over beating you at all. It is only
the little knowledge I have of God's Word and his law aided by the Holy Spirit that enables me to
reason in this way. For it is written in Psalms 19:7  "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the
soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."