By CHRISTIAN EDWARDSON
(Revised) Copyright, 1943
NEW TESTAMENT REST DAY
p 80 --Christ
is "the way, the truth, and the life." John 14: 6. He has gone all the
way before us, "leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps"
(I Peter 2:21), and "he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also
so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2: 6), and all will admit that
the footsteps of Jesus cannot lead any one astray. Let us therefore
agree to follow His steps in regard to Sabbath observance. He worked
as a "carpenter" at Nazareth during "the six working days," but rested
on the seventh-day Sabbath. (Mark 6: 2, 3; Ezekiel 46: 1; Luke 4: 16.)
And after He began His ministry, He faithfully continued His Sabbath-keeping.
While He taught
His disciples that such necessary work as eating, healing the sick,
or lifting a sheep out of a pit, was lawful to do on the Sabbath
days (Matthew 12: 1-12), He thereby acknowledged the claims of the Sabbath
law, which makes ordinary work not lawful on that day.
It was "the Spirit of Christ" in the prophets (I Peter 1: 10, 11) who
instructed His people to "bear no burden on the Sabbath day" through
the gates of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17: 21, 22, 27). And when fore-telling
the destruction of that city (which took place A. D. 70) Jesus warned
His disciples saying: "But pray ye that your flight be not . . . on
the Sabbath day." Matthew 24: 20. This warning was not, as some would
have us believe, on account of the gates being closed on that day, for
in the same connection Jesus says: "Let him which is on the housetop
not come down."' V. 17. But how could he flee without coming down from
the housetop? There can be only one answer. There was an elevated road
from one flat roof to another on which they could flee till they reached
the wall, where they could be let down. (See Acts 9: 25; Joshua 2: 15;
1 Samuel 19: 12.) In such a case closed
p 81 -- gates
could hardly come into consideration. This instruction shows Christ's
sacred regard for the Sabbath, and His anxiety that His church should
keep it properly. A Lutheran minister says: "
When God gave the third [fourth] commandment,
. . . He designated definitely the seventh day, which already had been
sanctified by Him at creation, as this rest day. And as Christ says
that He had not come to destroy the law (Matthew 5: 17), so He has also
in the words of His last prophetic speech (Matthew 24: 20), which has
reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the flight of the Christian
church from the
doomed city, expressly emphasized the Sabbath, or Saturday, as the still
valid rest day, by saying: 'Pray, that your flight be not on the Sabbath'
(on which day ye according to the third [fourth] commandment should
rest, and not undertake any long journey). For this reason many godly
Christians have solemnly upbraided the Christian church for keeping
Sunday instead of Saturday: it [the church] can have no right to change
God's commandment, and, if in the catechism the whole commandment had
been embodied verbatim in its entire wording from Exodus 20: 8-11, as
has been done in the Heidelberg Catechism, then we should still keep
the Saturday holy, and not the Sunday." -- ''Opbyggelig
Katekismus undervisning," ("Edifying Instruction in the Catechism,")
K. A. Dachsel, pp. 23, 24. Bergen: 1887.
"'Neither on the
Sabbath day.' The Jewish Christians might entertain scruples against
traveling on the Sabbath beyond the legal distance, which was about
five furlongs." -- "A
Commentary on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark," John J. Owen, D.
D., LL. D., p. 314. New York: Scribner and Co., 1868.
Christ had so carefully
instructed His followers about proper Sabbath-keeping, that they would
not even anoint His sacred body on the Sabbath. They "prepared spices
and ointments" on Friday, "and rested the Sabbath day according
to the commandment,"
but early the next morning, " the first day of the week, " they
came to the grave to anoint Him. (Luke 23:52-56; 24:1.) They left their
work unfinished from Friday evening
p 82 -- until
Sunday morning, because they "rested the Sabbath day according to the
commandment." Luke wrote this thirty-five years after the resurrection.
Some claim that the Sabbath was abolished at the cross, and that therefore
the Sabbath commandment is not mentioned in the New Testament. But here
we find the Sabbath commandment in the New Testament, and we find that
it enjoins the keeping of the "Sabbath" which comes between Friday and
the "first day of the week" and that Christ's followers were keeping
The apostles are
entirely silent in regard to any change of the day of rest from the
seventh to the first day of the week. Paul, while working among the
Gentiles, knew of no change. At Antioch he preached on the Sabbath,
and when asked by the Gentiles to preach the same sermon again, he did
not suggest a meeting on Sunday, but waited till "the next Sabbath day."
(Acts 13: 14, 42, 44.) He knew of no other weekly rest day than the
Sabbath, for he worked at his trade as tent maker during the " six working
days " (Ezekiel 46: 1), but " he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath,
and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks" (Acts 18: 1-4). And this was
his custom. (Acts 17: 2.) When he came where there were no Jewish synagogues,
he did not stay in the hustling, bustling, heathen city on God's holy
day, but the record says: "And on the Sabbath we went out of the city
by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made." Acts 16: 12, 13.
This shows it was a matter of conscience with him to keep the Sabbath.
He says: " Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea,
we establish the law." Romans 3: 31.
If Christ or
the apostles had changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first
day of the week, does it not seem strange that they never informed
us about it in the New Testament, which is the only record they left
us? Could they have neglected to inform us regarding so important
a matter? Paul declares emphatically: "I kept back nothing that was
profitable unto you." Acts 20: 20. History reveals that most of the
Christian church kept the seventh-day Sabbath till the seventh century.
SABBATH IN HISTORY
p 83 --
As we continue our study of the Sabbath question, we shall first consult
an eyewitness, who had traveled over the greater part of Christendom:
Socrates, the Greek historian, who was born about 380 A. D. M'Clintock
says of him: "He is generally
the most exact and judicious of the three continuators of the history
of Eusebius, being less florid in his style and more careful in his
statements than Sozomen, and less credulous than Theodoret. 'His impartiality
is so strikingly displayed,' says Waddington, 'as to make his orthodoxy
questionable to Baronius, the celebrated Roman Catholic historian; but
Valesius, in his life, has shown that there is no reason for such suspicion.'"
-- Vol. IX, art. "Socrates," p. 854.
Socrates says of
the year 391 A. D: "For
although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred
mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the
Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition,
refuse to do this. The Egyptians in the neighborhood of Alexandria,
and the inhabitants of Thebais, hold their religious meetings on the
Sabbath, but do not participate of the mysteries in the manner usual
among Christians in general: for . . . in the evening . . . they partake
of the mysteries. " -- "Ecclesiastical History," Book 5, chap.
22, page 289. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1892.
The footnote which
accompanies the foregoing quotation explains the use of the word "Sabbath."
It says: "That
is, upon the Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never called
'the Sabbath' (to sabbaton) by the
ancient Fathers and historians. . . . The Latins kept the Sabbath as
a fast, the Greeks as a feast; and the 64th of the Apostolical Canons
forbids any of the clergy to fast on the Sabbath (Saturday) under pain
of being deposed, and likewise a lay-
p 84 --
under the penalty of excommunication." -- Id., p. 289.
This shows that
all the churches throughout the world kept Saturday as the Sabbath in
391, but that some did not have the Lord's Supper till in the evening.
There had sprung up a hot controversy in regard to fasting on the Sabbath.
Who was it that urged this Sabbath fasting against the will of the churches
in general? Pope Sylvester (314-335) was the first to order the churches
to fast on Saturday, and Pope Innocent (402-417) made it a binding law
in the churches that obeyed him.
Dr. Peter Heylyn
says: " Innocentius
did ordaine the Saturday or Sabbath to be alwayes fasted. . . . It was
by him intended for a binding law. [Most of the churches refused, however,
to obey him.] And in this difference it stood a long time together,
till in the end of the Roman Church obtained the cause, and Saturday
became a fast, almost through all the parts of the Westerne world.
I say the Westerne world, and of that alone: The Easterne
Churches being so farre from altering their ancient custome, that in
the sixth Councell of Constantinople, Anno 692, they did admonish
those of Rome to forbeare fasting on that day, upon pain of censures.
Which I have noted here, in its proper place, that we might know the
better how the matter stood betweene the Lord's Day, and the
Sabbath; how hard a thing it was for one to get the mastery of
the other." -- " History of the Sabbath," part 2,
chap. 2, pp. 44, 45. London: 1636. (The original spelling is retained.)
This shows how
the popes tried to get rid of the Sabbath. They knew that the churches
generally would not give it up willingly, and as yet the popes did not
have the power to force them to do it. But if the Sabbath was made a
day of fasting, the children would soon tire of it, and after a few
generations the majority would gladly give up the gloomy fast day. This
effort continued from about A. D. 391 to 692, and even then it was hard
for the Sunday to get the mastery over the Sabbath, says
Dr. Heylyn. Here
we can readily see that it was not changed at the time of the apostles.
Rev. Joseph Bingham,
M. A., says:
p 85 -- "The
ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday,
or the seventh day, which was the ancient Jewish Sabbath. Some observed
it as a fast, others as a festival; but all unanimously agreed in keeping
it as a more solemn day of religious worship and adoration. In the Eastern
church it was ever observed as a festival, one only Sabbath excepted,
which was called the Great Sabbath, between Good Friday and Easter-day.
. . . From hence it is plain, that all, the Oriental churches, and the
greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival. . .
. Athanasius likewise tells us, that they held religious assemblies
on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to
worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same."
-- " Antiquities of the Christian, Church," Vol. II, Book
XX, chap. 3, Sec. 1, pp. 1137, 1138. London: 1852.
PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANS -- Bishop Jeremy Taylor says: "The
primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews; . . . therefore
the Christians, for a long time together, did keep their conventions
upon the Sabbath, in which some portions of the law were read: and this
continued till the time of the Laodicean council; which also took care
that the reading of the Gospels should be mingled with their reading
of the law." -- " The Whole Works" of Jeremy Taylor, Vol.
IX, p. 416 (R. Heber's Edition, Vol. XII, p. 416). London: 1822.
The edict here
mentioned is "Canon XVI, " which reads: "Canon
XVI. -- The Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath Day, with the
other Scriptures." -- " Index Canonum," John Fulton,
D. D., LL. D., p. 255. New York: 1883.
Dr. T. H. Morer
(a Church of England divine) says: "'The
primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent
the day in devotion and sermons. And it is
not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles
themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose." --
"Dialogues on the Lord's Day," p. 189. London: 1701. TOP
p 86 --
Dr. Theodore Zahn (Lutheran Professor in Theology at the University
of Erlangen) says: "The
Apostles could not have conceded to any other than one man the right
to 'change the customs Moses had given:' the Son of Man, who had called
Himself Lord also of the Sabbath day; but of Him they knew that He had
neither transgressed nor abolished the Jewish Sabbath, but truly sanctified
it. And they knew also, how He had threatened any of His disciples who
might dare to abolish even one of the least of the commands of Moses.
"But this has no
one dared to do with the Sabbath commandment during the time of the
Apostles. Certainly not within the territory of the Jewish Christendom;
for they continued to keep the actual Sabbath. . . . Nor could any one
have thought of such a thing within the Gentile Christian domain as
far as Paul's influence reached." -- " Sondagens Historie"
(History of Sunday), pp. 33, 34. Christiania: P. T. Mallings,
AND COMMAND OF JESUS -- Dr. Zahn further says in regard to the early
observed the Sabbath in the most conscientious manner: otherwise, they
would have been stoned. Instead of this, we learn from the book of the
Acts that at times they were highly respected even by that part of their
own nation that remained in unbelief. . . . That the observance,of Sunday
commenced among them would be a supposition which would have no seeming
ground for it, and all probability against it. . . . The Sabbath was
a strong tie which united them with the life of the whole people, and
in keeping the Sabbath holy, they followed not only the example, but
also the command of Jesus."Geschichte des Sonntags, " pp.
of Norway (Lutheran) says: "The
early Christians were of Jewish descent, and the first Christian church
in Jerusalem was a Jewish-Christian church. It conformed, as could be
expected, to the Jewish law and Sabbath-custom; it had no express instruction
from the Lord
p 87 --
to do otherwise."
-- "Sondagens Historie" p. 13. Christiania, Norway: Den norske
Lutherstiftelses Forlag, 1886.
After citing the
fact that Christ arose on the first day, he continues:
"But, one could reason, that for all this it does not follow
that one should give up and forsake the 'Sabbath' which God If has
commanded, . . nor that we should transfer this to another day of
the week, even if that is such a memorable day. To do this would require
an equally definite command from God, whereby the former command is
abolished, but where can we find such a command? It is true, such
a command is not to be found." -- Id., p. 18.
Doctor John C.
L. Gieseler says: "
While the Jewish Christians of Palestine retained the entire Mosaic
law, and consequently the Jewish festivals, the Gentile Christians observed
also the Sabbath and the passover (1 Corinthians
5: 6 - 8), with reference to the last scenes of Jesus' life, but without
Jewish superstition." -- " A Compendium of Ecclesiastical
I, chap. 2, sec. 30, p. 92. Edinburgh: 1846.
A little later
we shall trace Christ's true followers from the days of the apostles
to our own time, and show how they retained the Bible Sabbath with the
other parts of the apostolic faith. But we will here break off this
narrative, and trace step by step how Sunday-keeping came into the popular
church, and the influences which worked together to accomplish the change
from the seventh to the first day of the week.
IN THE EARLY CHURCH
p 88 --
The word "Sunday"
is not found in the Bible, but the "first day" of the week is mentioned
just nine times. Let us examine these nine texts.
1. -- The
first day of the week originated as a work day. This world was created
on a Sunday, so that, wherever one goes, he is reminded of God's Sunday
work. (Genesis 1: 1-5.)
2. -- "In
the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of
the week, came Mary Magdalene," Matthew 28: 1. Here we notice that Sunday
is an ordinary "week" day, not a holy day, and that the New Testament
says the Sabbath is over when the first day begins.
3. -- "When
the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James,
and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint
Him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came
unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves,
Who shall roll us away the stone." Mark 16: 1-3. Here again we see that
Sunday is a working day on which work was resumed.
(The fourth text
we will examine a little later.) TOP
5. -- Christ
was buried on Friday, "and that day was the preparation" for the Sabbath.
After the burial, His followers returned home "and prepared spices and
ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they
came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices." Luke 23: 54-56; 24: 1.
Here three, consecutive days are mentioned: They prepared the spices
on Friday, rested on the Sabbath, and early Sunday morning they went
to finish the work left over from Friday. So we see that Sunday is a
working day, which follows immediately after the Sabbath of the New
p 89 -- 6.
-- "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was
yet dark, unto the sepulcher." John 20: 1. This is simply a repetition
of the other texts.
7. -- "Then
the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors
were shut, where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,"
Jesus appeared. John 20:19. "Here," says some one, "you see
the disciples were gathered to keep the new Sabbath in memory of the
resurrection." But the text does, not say that they were gathered in
honor of the day, but " for fear of the Jews. " Let us now examine the
4. -- "Now
when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first
to Mary Magdalene. . . . She went and told them that had been with Him,
as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that He was
alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that He
appeared" to the two who went to Emmaus. They returned and told the
rest: "neither believed they them. Afterward He appeared
unto the eleven
as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and
hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen
Him after He was risen." Mark 16: 9-14.
This is the same
meeting which is recorded in John 20:19. We ask: How could they be gathered
to celebrate Sunday in honor of Christ's resurrection, when they
did not believe He had risen? No, the disciples were simply in their
common living quarters, and were having their evening meal when Jesus
came, and they gave Him some fish and honey that was left. (Mark 16:
14; Luke 24: 36 - 43.)
8. -- In
Acts 20: 7 we have the only place in the New Testament where a religious
meeting is said to be held on the "first day of the week," and this
was a farewell meeting, when, of course, it was natural to celebrate
the Lord's supper in parting. (7, 25.) Besides this, the believers gathered
"daily," breaking bread" (Acts 2: 46), so there was nothing in the act
to indicate that the day was holy. Then too, the meeting at Troas was
held on Saturday night. In the Bible reckoning, every day begins and
ends at sunset, because God began the work of
p 90 -- creation
with the dark part and ended the day with the light part. "The evening
and the morning were the first day." Genesis 1: 1-5. "From even unto
even, shall ye celebrate your
Sabbath." Leviticus 23: 32. TOP
"And at even, when
the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased." Mark
1: 32. They would not bring them until after the Sabbath; but "at even,
when the sun did set," the first working day of the week began. Therefore
the Sabbath began at sunset Friday, and ended at sunset Saturday, and
the first day of the week began at sunset on our Saturday evening, and
ended at sunset on our Sunday evening. The only dark part of the first
day, was therefore the night that preceded it, as the night following
it was part of the second day. The meeting at Troas was held at night,
for "there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they
were gathered together," and Paul "continued his speech until midnight."
Being "the first day of the week," it must have been our Saturday night.
(Acts 20: 7, 8.) Having spent the Sabbath together, they simply had
a farewell meeting in the evening. Professor McGarvey says: "I
conclude that the brethren met on the night after the Jewish Sabbath
which was still observed as a day of rest by all of them who were Jews
or Jewish proselytes; and considering this the beginning of the first
day of the week, spent it in the manner above described. On Sunday morning
Paul and his companions resumed their journey. " -- " Commentary
on Acts, under Acts 20: 7.
Conybeare and Howson
was the evening which succeeded the Jewish Sabbath. . . . On the Sunday
morning the vessel was about to sail. The Christians of Troas were gathered
together at this solemn time. . . . The night was dark. . . . Many lamps
were burning in the room where the congregation was assembled." --
" Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul," pp. 520, 521. New York.
If Sunday was their
holy day, why then would Paul stay with the brethren at Troas seven
days, and leave them on
p 91 -- Sunday
morning to walk eighteen and one-half miles that day, " for so
had he appointed." This was planning quite a work for Sunday!
(Acts 20: 6, 13.)
9. -- "Upon
the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store."
1 Corinthians 16: 2. This text says that every one should " lay by
him in store. " The new Swedish and new Norwegian Bibles read, at
"home by himself." Weymouth's reads: "Let each of you put on one side
and store up at his home." Ballantine's translation reads: "Let each
of you lay up at home." And the Syriac has it: "Let every one of you
lay aside and preserve at home." So the text proves the opposite of
what is often claimed for it.
The apostle Paul
was instructing the believers to take time on Sunday to lay aside at
home from the wages received during the preceeding week, such an amount
as they could afford to give for the relief of their poor brethren at
Jerusalem. If we always remembered on Sunday to take something from
our previous week's earnings and lay it up at home, we would find a
larger ready offering at hand, when the call comes, than if we wait,
and give what we happen to have on hand. The fact that they should sit
down and figure up their accounts to see how "God hath prospered " them,
and give accordingly, would indicate that the day was not considered
a holy day. Then, too, Sunday is never given a sacred title in the New
LORD'S DAY -- Some claim that "the Lord's day" of Revelation
1: 10, refers to Sunday, but this text does not say which day is meant,
and Sunday is not called the Lord's day in any other place in the New
Testament. There is therefore no evidence that Sunday is meant here.
It is generally agreed that John wrote his Gospel two years after he
wrote Revelation. If the term " Lord's day " had become the designation
for Sunday, when John wrote Revelation, then he would have used that
name for it two years later when he wrote the Gospel, but he simply
calls it " the first day of the week." John 20: 1. The only day
p 92 --
has designated as His day, is the seventh. (Exodus 20: 10; Isaiah
58: 13; Mark 2: 28.) TOP
says: "Many suppose that they
must denominate the first day of the week the 'Lord's day'; but
we have no certain Scripture for this. The phrase 'Lord's day,' occurs
but once in the Bible: 'I was in the spirit on the Lord's day,'
and there probably refers to the day of which Christ said: 'The Son
of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day,' as the whole book of Revelation
has a strong Jewish bearing." -- " History of the Christian Church,"
p. 152. Cincinnati: 1873.
W. B. Taylor says:
"If a current day was intended,
the only day bearing this definition, in either the Old or New Testaments,
is Saturday, the seventh day of the week." -- "Obligation of the
Sabbath," p. 296.
Dr. Peter Heylyn
remarks: " Take which you
will, either of the Fathers, or the Modernes, and we shall find no Lord's
day instituted by any Apostolic Mandate, no Sabbath
set on foot by them upon the first day of the weeke, as some
would have it: much lesse than any such Ordinance should be hence
collected, out of the words of the apostle." -- "History of the
Sabbath," (original spelling), Part 2, p. 27. London: 1636.
CONCLUSION -- Dr.
William Smith, LL. D., after carefully examining all the texts in the
New Testament usually adduced in favor of the first day, comes to this
separately, perhaps, and even all together, these passages seem scarcely
adequate to prove that the dedication of the first day of the week to
the purposes above mentioned was a matter of apostolic institution,
or even of apostolic practice." -- "A Dictionary of the Bible,
art. "Lord's Day," p. 356. Hartford: Burr and Hyde, 1871.
p 93 --
The learned Dr. John Kitto sums up those texts in the following words:
then, we cannot say that the evidence for any particular observance
of this day amounts to much; still less does it appear what purpose
or object was referred to. We find no mention of any commemoration,
whether of the resurrection or any other event in the Apostolic records.
-- " Cyclopcedia of Biblical Literature (2-vol. Ed.), Vol.
II, art. "Lord's Day," p. 269. New York.
"'But,' say some,
'it was changed from the seventh to the first day.' Where?
when? and by whom? No man can tell. No, it never was changed,
nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for
the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect
to the reason, can be changed!! It
is all old wives' fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from
the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august
personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio
-- think his name is DOCTOR ANTICHRIST. " -- Alexander Campbell,
in "The Christian Baptist," revised by D. S. Burnet, from the
Second Edition, with Mr. Campbell's last corrections, page 44. Cincinnati:
D. S. Burnet, 1835. TOP
A tract widely
circulated against those who keep the seventh day as the Sabbath has
this to say in its fourteenth proposition:
"If Christians are to keep the Sabbath day, how do you account for the
fact that the apostles preached the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria, to
Cornelius the Gentile, and to many others, without commanding a single
individual to keep it? Did they under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
fail to instruct their converts?"
We answer: The
Christians everywhere were keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, and there
was an acknowledged law enforcing its observance. There was, therefore,
no occasion for giving any commandment on this point. (Luke 23: 52-56;
16:17; Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:31.) And the apostles by their example
and teaching had educated both Jewish and Gentile believers to keep
the seventh-day Sabbath. ( Acts 13:
p 94 --
42-44; 18: 1-4;
17: 2; 16: 12, 13; 1 Corinthians 7: 19; Romans 7: 12; 3: 31.) What more
could they have done in this direction?
But if a new day
(Sunday) was to be instituted among God's people, how can we account
for the fact that the apostles preached the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria,
to Cornelius the Gentile, and to many others, without ever mentioning
the institution of Sunday in place of the Sabbath, or ever commanding
any one to keep Sunday, the first day of the week? If the day of rest
was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, how can we
account for the fact that the New Testament is entirely silent about
any such change, and that the apostles wrote four Gospels, and twenty-one
letters to instruct the churches, besides the Acts and the Revelation,
and never instructed the Christians to keep Sunday, or even mentioned
it with any sacred title, but always as a "week" day; that is, a work
day? Did the apostles, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, fail
to instruct their converts properly? (See Acts 20: 26, 27.)
The new Christian
institutions of baptism and the Lord's supper are clearly taught in
the New Testament. We can point to the chapter and verse where they
are commanded. Then why should not so important an institution as
a new Christian rest day be mentioned? To this there can be but one
answer: The silence of the New Testament as to any change of the weekly
rest day is an indisputable evidence that no such change was made
till after the New Testament canon was closed. TOP
A WORKING DAY -- Dr. Francis White, Lord Bishop of Ely, says:
" In S. Hieromes days [420
A. D.], and in the very place where he was residing, the devoutest Christians
did ordinary worke upon the Lord's day*, when the service of
the Church was ended." -- " Treatise of the Sabbath-Day,"
p. 219. London: 1636.
"The Catholic Church
for more than six hundred yeares
Sunday was called "Lord's Day" in England in the seventeenth century
when Bishop White wrote this; he therefore uses this designation of
the day. Jerome is here spelled Hierome.
p 95 --
after Christ, permitted labour, and gave license to many Christian people,
to worke upon the Lord's-day [Sunday], at such houres, as they were
not commanded to bee present at the publike service, by the precept
of the church." -- Id., pp. 217, I8.
Bishop Jeremy Taylor
says: "St. Ignatius expressly
affirms: . . .'The Christian is bound to labor, even upon that day.'
. . . And the primitive Christians
did all manner of works upon the Lord's day, even in the times of persecution,
when they are the strictest observers of all the divine commandments:
but in this they knew there was none." -- " Whole Works" of Jeremy
Taylor, D. D. (R. Heber, ed.), Vol. XII, Book 2, chap. 2, rule 6,
par. 59, p. 426. London: 1822.
Dr. John Kitto,
D. D., F. S. A., says: "
Chrysostom (A. D. 360) concludes one of his Homilies by dismissing his
audience to their respective ordinary occupations." -- "Cyclopoedia
of Biblical Literature, Vol. 2, art. "Lord's Day," p. 270.
Dr. Peter Heylyn
quotes St. Jerome as telling us that, when the services were ended
on Sunday morning, the holy women, "
After their returne from thence, . . . set themselves unto their tasks
which was the making garments for themselves or others: a thing which
questionlesse so good a woman had not done, and much lesse ordered
it to be done by others; had it beene then accounted an unlawful Act.
And finally S. Chrysostome . . . confesseth, . . . that after the
dismission of the Congregation, every man might apply himselfe to
his lawfull businesse. . . . As for the time appointed to these publicke
exercises, it seemes not to be very long . . . an houre, or two at
the most." -- " History of the Sabbath" (original spelling)
Part 2, chap. 3, par. 7, 8, pp. 79, 80. London: 1636.
Dr. Heylyn says
further that the people in the country worked freely on Sunday, and
that those "in populous cities"
" might lawfully
apply themselves to their severall businesses,
p 96 --
the exercises being ended" in
the church. (Id., pp. 80, 81.) And
of the Christians of the East he says: "It
was neere 900 yeares from our Saviour's birth, if not quite so much,
before restraint of husbandry on this day, had beene first thought of
in the East: and probably being thus restrained, did finde no
more obedience there, then it had done before in the Westerne
parts." -- Id., chap. 5, par. 6, p. 140.
in the Easterne Churches had no great prerogative above other
dayes, especially above the Wednesday and the Friday."
-- Id., chap. 3, par. 4, p. 73.
Some may wonder
why these early morning meetings were held on Sunday, when the Christians
considered it only a working day. We shall see that there was a natural
cause for it, when we learn that the heathen living around them were
sun worshipers, who met at their temples Sunday morning, and prostrated
themselves before the rising sun. Christians are a missionary people,
and to win their neighbors they held a meeting at the time when their
neighbors were used to worshiping their sungod. And, as it takes a
crowd to draw a crowd, the church leaders requested their members
to gather at this early morning hour, after which all went to their
respective places of business. But this custom became a steppingstone
toward eventually adopting the heathen Sunday, as we soon shall see.
Other influences also led in the same direction. TOP
97 -- Mithraism,
an outwardly refined sun worship, invaded the Roman Empire in B.C. 67,
and made way for itself by gathering under its wing all the gods of
Rome, so that "in the middle
of the third century [A. D.] Mithraism seemed on the verge of becoming
the universal religion." -- Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol.
XVIII, art. "Mithras," p. 624, 11th edition, 1911.
That which made
Mithraism so popular was the fact that the Roman Caesars adopted it,
and the soldiers planted its banner wherever they went. The higher schools
of Greek learning also accepted it, as did also the nobility, or the
better classes of society, which gave it great prestige. Its"Mysteries"
had a bewitching and fascinating influence on the people. And Sunday,
"the venerable day of the sun," was the popular holiday of Mithraism.
On the other hand,
the primitive Christian religion appeared to the learned Greek scholastics
and their followers of eminent nobility only as "foolishness" (see 1
Corinthians 1: 18-23), and the Romans looked down upon the Christians
with disdain and utter contempt. After the Jews had rebelled against
the Roman government (Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed by Titus,
A. D. 70, and multitudes of the Jews were sold as slaves), hatred and
contempt for them had become quite general among the Romans, and everything
Jewish was despised. Thus Sunday, in the Roman world, stood for what
was eminent and popular, while the Sabbath, kept by the Jews, stood
for what was despised and looked down upon. The temptations placed before
an aspiring Man, therefore, lay all in one direction. Dr. J. L. Mosheim
profound respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman mysteries, and
the extraordinary sanctity that was at-
p 98 --
tributed to them, were additional circumstances that induced the Christians
to give their religion a mystic air, in order to put it upon an equal
footing, in point of dignity, with that of the Pagans. For this purpose,
they gave the name of mysteries to the institutions of the
Gospel, and decorated particularly the holy sacrament with that solemn
title. They used in that sacred institution, as also in that of baptism,
several of the terms employed in the Heathen mysteries, and proceeded
so far, at length, as even to adopt some of the ceremonies of which
those renowned mysteries consisted. . . . A great part, therefore,
of the service of the Church, in this century, had a certain air of
the Heathen mysteries, and resembled them considerably in many particulars."
-- " History of the Church" (2-vol. Ed.) Vol. I, Cent. 2, part
2, chap. 4, par. 5, p. 67. New York: 1871. TOP
Gradually, as the
church lowered its standards, many of the Greek scholars accepted Christianity
(while they retained their heathen philosophy), and they carried with
them into the church more or less of their former viewpoint and teaching.
Then, as heathenism assailed the church, and the Roman government persecuted
it, these men, such as Origen, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, et al., wrote
"apologies" and "treatises" to vindicate Christianity. They, however,
sadly mixed heathen sentiments with Christian doctrines, and the church
gradually became permeated with the teachings of these men, who now
had become the new leaders. Dr. Cummings says: "The
Fathers who were really most fitted to be the luminaries of the age
in which they lived were too busy in preparing their flocks for martyrdom
to commit anything to writing. . . . The most devoted and pious of the
Fathers were busy teaching their flocks; the more vain and ambitious
occupied their time in preparing treatises. If all the Fathers who signalized
the age had committed their sentiments to writing, we might have had
a fair representation of the theology of the church." -- " Lectures
on Romanism," p. 203; quoted in "History of the Sabbath,"
J. N. Andrews, pp. 199, 200.
In a very short
time, the customs of Mithraism became incor-
p 99 --
porated into Christianity. John Dowling, D. D., says: "There
is scarcely anything which strikes the mind of the careful student of
ancient ecclesiastical history with greater surprise, than the comparatively
early period at which many of the corruptions of Christianity, which
are embodied in the Romish system, took their rise." -- " History
of Romanism," Book II, chap. 1, par. 1, p. 65.
became so much like Mithraism that there was only a step between them.
Frantz Cumont (who is probably the best informed man of our age on the
subject of Mithraism) says of Christianity and Mithraism:
two opposed creeds moved in the same intellectual and moral sphere,
and one could actually pass from one to the other without shock or interruption.
. . . The religious and mystical spirit of the Orient had slowly overcome
the whole social organism and prepared all nations to unite in the bosom
of a universal church. " -- "Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism,"
pp. 210, 211. Chicago, Ill.: Open Court Pub.Co., 1911.
Essay by Grant Showerman says:
" Nor did Christianity stop here. It took from its opponents their
own weapons and used them; the better elements of paganism were transferred
to the new religion. " -- Id., PP XI, xii.
It would be too
long a story to trace the doctrines of Mithraism that were brought into
the church. We must confine ourselves to our subject, Sunday-keeping.
Mr. Cumont says further: "The
ecclesiastical authorities purified in some degree the customs which
they could not abolish."
assigned to the dies Solis [Sunday] by Mithraism also certainly
contributed to the general recognition of Sunday as a holiday [among
Christians]. " -- "Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and
Romans," pp. 171, 162, 163. New York: 1912. TOP
"Sunday, over which
the Sun presided, was especially holy. . . .
" [The worshipers
of Mithra] held Sunday sacred, and celebrated the birth of the Sun on
the twenty-fifth of December." --
p 100 --
"The Mysteries of Mithra,"
pp. 167, 191. Chicago: Open Court Pub. Co., 1911.
Murray, MA, D.Litt., LL.D., F.B.A., Professor of Greek in Oxford University,
since Mithras was 'The Sun, the Unconquered,' and the Sun was 'The royal
Star,' the religion looked for a King whom it could serve as the representative
of Mithras upon earth: . . . The Roman Emperor seemed to be clearly
indicated as the true King. In sharp contrast to Christianity, Mithraism
recognized Caesar as the bearer of the divine Grace, and its votaries
filled the legions and the civil service. . . .
"It had so much
acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world its own
Sunday in place of the Sabbath, its Sun's birthday, twenty-fifth December,
as the birthday of Jesus. " -- " History of Christianity in the
Light of Modern Knowledge," Chap. III; cited in "Religion and
Philosophy," pp. 73, 74. New York: 1929.
Rev. William Frederick
likewise states the same historic fact: "The
Gentiles were an idolatrous people who worshiped the sun, and Sunday
was their most sacred day. Now, in order to reach the people in this
new field, it seems but natural, as well as necessary, to make Sunday
the rest day of the church. At this time it was necessary for the church
to either adopt the Gentiles' day or else have the Gentiles change their
day. To change the Gentiles' day would have been an offence and stumbling
block to them. The church could naturally reach them better by keeping
their day. There was no need in causing an unnecessary offence by
dishonoring their day." -- " Sunday and the Christian Sabbath,"
pp. 169, 170; quoted in Signs of the Times, Sept. 6, 1927.
Thomas H. Morer
makes a similar acknowledgment. He says:
being the day on which the Gentiles solemnly adored that planet, and
called it Sunday, . . . the Christians thought fit to keep the same
day and the same name of it, that
p 101 --
they might not
appear causelessly peevish, and by that means hinder the conversion
of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice than might be otherwise
taken against the gospel." -- "Dialogues on the Lord's Day,"
p. 23. London: 1701. TOP
British Review gives the following reasons for the Christians'
adopting the heathen Sunday:
very day was the Sunday of their heathen neighbors and respective countrymen,
and patriotism gladly united with expediency in making it at once their
Lord's day and their Sabbath. . . . That primitive church, in fact,
was shut up to the adoption of the Sunday, -- until it became established
and supreme, when it was too late to make another alteration." --
Vol. XVIII, P. 409. Edinburgh: Feb., 1853.
a clergyman of the English Church, gives the following reasons why the
early Christians could not continue to keep the Bible Sabbath among
the heathen, nor change the heathen custom from Sunday to Saturday:
" Christians should not have done well in changing, or in endeavouring
to have changed their [the heathen's] standing service-day, from Sunday
to any other day of the week; and that for these reasons:
" 1. Because
of the contempt, scorn and derision they thereby should be had in among
all the Gentiles with whom they lived; and toward whom they ought by
St. Paul's rule to live inoffensively, I Cor. 10: 32, in things indifferent.
If the Gentiles thought hardly, and spoke evil of them, for that they
ran not into the same excess of riot with them: 1 Pet. 4: 4, what would
they have said of Christians for such an innovation as would have been
made by their change of their standing service-day? If long before this,
the Jews were had in such disdain among the Gentiles for their Saturday-Sabbath,
. . . how grievous would be their taunts and reproaches against the
poor Christians living with them, and under their power, for their new
set Sacred day, had the Christians chosen any other than the Sunday?
Most Christians then were either Servants or of the
p 102 --
poorer sort of
People: and the Gentiles (most probably) would not give their servants
liberty to cease from working on any other set day constantly, except
on their Sunday. . . .
"5. It would
have been but labour in vain for them to have assayed the same, they
could never have brought it to pass." -- " A Brief Tract on the
Fourth Commandment . . . About the Sabbath-Day," pp. 61, 62. London:
St. Paul's Church Yard, 1692.
after much research, writes of the heathen nations: "And
it is also respectable, that the most ancient Germans being Pagans,
and having appropriated their first Day of the Week to the peculiar
adoration of the Sun, whereof that Day doth yet in our English Tongue
retain the name of Sunday." -- "Restitution of Decayed Intelligence
in Antiquities," p. 11. London: 1673.
Speaking of the
Saxons, he says: "First
then unto the day dedicated unto the especial adoration of the Idol
of the Sun, they gave the name of Sunday, as much as to say the Sun's-day,
or the day of the Sun. This Idol was placed in a Temple, and there
adored and sacrificed unto, for that they believed that the Sun in
the Firmament did with or in this Idol correspond and co-operate.
The manner and form whereof was according to this ensuing Picture."-
Id., p. 74. (Capitalization as given in this ancient book.)
It is hardly fair
to accuse the Roman Catholic Church of exchanging God's holy Sabbath
for a heathen festival without giving her the opportunity to deny or
acknowledge this accusation; so we will now let her state the fact in
her own words, frankly. She says: "The
Church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against
the heathen. . . . She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian
Sunday. . . . There is, in truth, something royal, kingly about the
sun, making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of Justice. Hence the
Church in these countries would seem to have said, 'Keep that old, pagan
name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified.' And thus the pagan
p 103 --
Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to
Jesus." -- " Catholic World," March, 1894, p. 809.
So willing were
church leaders to adopt the popular heathen festivals, that even heathen
authors reproached them for it. Faustus accused St. Augustine as follows:
"You celebrate the solemn
festivals of the Gentiles, their calends and their solstices; and as
to their manners, those you have retained without any alteration. Nothing
distinguishes you from the pagans except that you hold your assemblies
apart from them. " -- Cited in "History of the Intellectual Development
Dr. J. W. Draper, Vol. 1, p. 310. New York: 1876.
had been made earlier, for Tertullian answers them, making the following
with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that
the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact
that we pray toward the east, or because we make Sunday a
day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? . . . It
is you, at all events, who have even admitted the sun into the calendar
of the week; and you have selected its day, in preference to the preceding
day. . . . You who reproach us with the sun and Sunday should consider
your proximity to us." -- "Ad Nationes," Book I, chap. 13;
in " Ante-Nicene Fathers," Vol. III, p. 123, ed. by Drs. Roberts
and Donaldson. New York: 1896.
no other excuse for their Sunday-keeping than that they did not do worse
than the heathen. Not only did the Church adopt heathen festivals, but
Gregory Thaumaturgus allowed their celebration in the degrading manner
of the heathen: "When
Gregory perceived that the ignorant multitude persisted in their idolatry,
on account of the pleasures and sensual gratifications which they enjoyed
at the pagan festivals, he granted them a permission to indulge themselves
in the like, pleasures, in celebrating the memory of the holy martyrs,
hoping that, in process of time, they would return of their own accord,
to a more virtuous and regular course of life." -- " Ecclesiastical
History, " J. L. Mosheim, DD, Vol. I, Second Century,
p 104 --
chap. 4, par. 2, footnote (Dr. A. Maclaine's 2-vol. Ed., p. 66). New
York: 1871. TOP
then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and
to transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon-worship to
an evangelical use. . . . the rulers of the Church from early times
were prepared, should the occasion arise, to adopt, or imitate, or sanction
the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy
of the educated class. . . .
"The same reason,
the need of holy days for the multitude, is assigned by Origen, St.
Gregory's master, to explain the establishment of the Lord's Day. .
" We are told in
various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend the
new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward ornaments
to ' which they had been accustomed in their own. . . . Incense, lamps,
and candles; . . . holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons. . . .
the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images . . . are all of pagan
origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the Church." -- "Development
of Christian Doctrine, " pp. 371-373. London: 1878.
have sometimes obtained in parts of Christendom from its intercourse
with the heathen. . . . As philosophy has at times corrupted her divines,
so has paganism corrupted her worshipers. " -- Id., pp. 377,
" The church . .
. can convert heathen appointments into spiritual rites and usages.
. . . Hence there has been from the first much variety and change, in
the Sacramental acts and instruments which she has used." -- Id.,
Speaking of the
immoral pagan feast he says: "It
certainly is possible that the consciousness of the sanctifying power
in Christianity may have acted as a temptation to sins, whether of deceit
or of violence; as if the habit or state of grace destroyed the sinfulness
of certain acts, or as if the end justified the means. " -- Id.,
The terrible nature
of these sensual gratifications of the
p 105 --
pagan festivals, in which the leaders of the Church now allowed its
members to indulge, a person can hardly imagine till the sickening
facts are spread before one's eyes by Livy. (Hist., lib. xxxix,
chap. 9-17.) The learned Englishman, George Smith, F.A.S., in his
"Sacred Annals," Vol. III, on the "Gentile Nations," pp. 487-489,
says that this "most revolting
and abandoned villiany"
was so general, that when the Roman Senate had to proceed against
its worst features, "Rome was almost deserted, so many persons,
feeling themselves implicated in the proceedings, sought safety in
A church that will
take in such members, without conversion, and then allow them
to continue in the most putrid corruption, must have lost all respect
for morality (not to say true Christianity), and cannot be in possession
of the divine power of the gospel; which changes the hearts and lives
of people. (Romans 1: 16; 2 Corinthians 5: 17.) The Apostle Paul had
foretold this "falling away" of the church. (Acts 20: 28-30; 2 Thessalonians
And it was during this fallen condition that the Church changed its
weekly rest day from the Sabbath to the Sunday. Dr. N. Summerbell says:"The
Roman church had totally apostatized. . . . It reversed the Fourth Commandment
by doing away with the Sabbath of God's word, and instituting Sunday
as a holiday." -- "The Christian Church," p. 415. Cincinnati:
Now, long after
the Sabbath has been changed, Protestants are at a loss to find authority
in the Bible for this change. They have rejected the authority of the
Roman church to legislate on Christian
faith, and cannot accept tradition, therefore they know not where to
turn. Professor George Sverdrup, a leading man in the Lutheran Church,
gives expression to this predicament in the following words: "For,
when there could not be produced one solitary place in the Holy Scriptures
which testified that either the Lord Himself or the apostles had ordered
such a transfer of the Sabbath to Sunday, then it was not easy to answer
the question: Who has transferred the Sabbath, and who has had the right
to do it?"
p 106 --
Skrifter i Udvalg, " Andreas Helland, Vol. I, PP - 842, 343. Minneapolis,
Hook, DD, Vicar of Leeds, expresses the same thought: "The
question is, whether God has ordered us to keep holy the first day of
the week. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are undoubted ordinances of
God; we can quote the chapter and verse in which we read of their being
ordained by God. But as to the Lord's Day [Sunday], we are not able
to refer to a single passage in all the Scriptures of the New Testament
in which the observance of it is enjoined by God. If we refer to tradition,
tradition would not be of value to us on the point immediately under
consideration. The Romanist regards the tradition of the Church as of
authority equal to that of Scripture. But we are not Romanists. . .
. But on this point there is not even tradition to support us. . . .
There is no tradition that God ordained the first day of the week to
be a Sabbath. . . . The change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday
was never mentioned, or, as far as I can discover, thought of by the
early Christians. The Sabbath, that is to say, the observance of Saturday
as a day to be devoted to God's service, to rest of body and repose
of mind, was an ordinance of God. This ordinance relating to Saturday
could be changed by God and by God only. We, as Protestants, must appeal
to the Bible, and the Bible only, to ascertain the fact that God has
changed the day -- that God has Himself substituted Sunday for Saturday.
. . . It is no answer to this to say that the apostles seem to have
sanctioned the assembly of Christians for public worship on the Lord's
Day, or that St. John in the Apocalypse speaks of the Lord's Day and
may possibly allude to the Sunday festival. For this is one of those
arguments which prove too much. We ourselves keep Easter Day; this is
no proof that we do not keep Christmas Day, or that Easter has been
substituted for Christmas. And if we have instances of the first day
of the week being kept holy by the apostles, we have more instances
of their observing the Jewish Sabbath." -- " Lord's Day,"
p. 94. London: 1856; quoted in "The
p 107 --
Literature of the Sabbath Question," Robert Cox,
Vol. II, pp. 369,370. TOP
Dr. Edward T. Hiscox,
author of the "Baptist Manual," says: "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; and the only reason
that it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought and in
religious discussions, is because the Christian world has settled down
content on the conviction that somehow a transference has taken place
at the beginning of Christian history. . . .
"To me it seems
unaccountable that Jesus during three years' intercourse with His disciples,
often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussing it
in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false glosses, never
alluded to any transference of the day; also that during forty days
of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as
we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance
all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question.
Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding
churches, counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach
" Of course,
I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history
as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other
sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism,
p 108 -- with
the name of the sun-god, when adopted and sanctioned by the
papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!"
-- A paper read before a New York Ministers' Conference, held Nov.
13, 1893. From a copy furnished by Dr. Hiscox for the "Source Book,"
pp. 513, 514. Wash., D. C.: Review and Herald, 1922. TOP
Bishop Skat Rordam,
of Denmark, says: "As
to when and how it became customary to keep the first day of the week
the New Testament gives us no information....
"The first law about
it was given by Constantine the Great, who in the year 321 ordained
that all civil and shop work should cease in the cities, but agricultural
labor in the country was permitted. . . . Still no one thought of basing
this command to rest from labor on the 3rd [4th] commandment before
the latter half of the sixth century. From that time on, little by little,
it became the established doctrine of the church during its 'Dark Ages,'
that the holy church and its teachers, or the bishops with the Roman
Pope at their head, as the Vicar of Christ and His apostles on earth,
had transferred the Old Testament Sabbath with its glory and sanctity
over onto the first day of the week." -- "Report of the Second
Ecclesiastical Meeting in Copenhagen," Sept. 13-15, 1887,"
P. Taaning, pp. 40, 41. Copenhagen: 1887.
Bishop A. Grimelund,
of Norway, says:
" Now, summing up what history teaches regarding the origin of
Sunday and the development of the doctrine about Sunday, then this is
the sum: It is not the apostles, not the early Christians, not the
councils of the ancient church which have imprinted the name and stamp
of the Sabbath upon the Sunday, but it is the Church of the Middle Ages
and its scholastic, teachers." -- " Sondagens Historie
" (The History of Sunday), p. 37. Christiania: 1886.
"What do we learn
from this historical review? . . . That it is a doctrine which originated
in the papal church that the sanctification of the Sunday is enjoined
in the 3rd [4th] commandment, and that the essential and permanent in
this commandment is a command from God to keep holy one day in each
week." -- Ibid., Pp. 47, 48.
p 109 -- CONSTANTINE
-- Constantine had been watching, he
said, those Caesars who had persecuted the Christians, and found that
they usually had a bad end, while his father, who was favorable toward
them, had prospered. So, when he and Licinius met at Milan in 313 A.
D., they jointly prepared an edict, usually called "The Edict of
Milano," which gave equal liberty to Christians and pagans.
stopped here, he might have been honored as the originator of religious
liberty in the Roman Empire, but he had different aims in view. The
Roman Empire had been ruled at times by two, four, or even six Caesars
jointly, and in his ambition to become the sole Emperor, Constantine,
as a shrewd statesman, soon saw that the Christian church had the
vitality to become the strongest factor in the empire. The other Caesars
were persecuting the Christians. If he could win them without losing
the good will of the pagans, he would win the game. He therefore set
himself to the task of blending the two religions into one. As H.
G. Heggtveit (Lutheran) says: "Constantine
labored at this time untiringly to unite the worshipers of the old
and the new faith in one religion. All his laws and contrivances are
aimed at promoting this amalgamation of religions. He would by all
lawful and peaceable means melt together a purified heathenism and
a moderated Christianity. . . . His injunction that the. 'Day of the
Sun' should be a general rest day was characteristic of his standpoint.
. . . Of all his blending and melting together of Christianity and
heathenism none is more easy to see through than this making of his
Sunday law. 'The Christians worshiped their Christ, the heathen their
sun-god; according to the opinion of the Emperor, the objects for
worship in both religions were essentially the same." -- "Kirkehistorie
" (Church History), pp. 233, 234. Chicago: 1898. TOP
law of 321 A. D. reads as follows: "On
the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing
in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In
p 110 -- the
country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully
continue their pursuits; because it often happens that
another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine planting;
lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty
of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine
being consuls each of them for the second time." -- "Codex Justinianus,
lib. 3, tit. 12, 3 "; translated in "History of the Christian
Church," Philip Schaff, D. D., (7-vol. Ed.) Vol. III, p. 380. New
Dr. A. Chr. Bang
(Lutheran bishop, Norway), says:
Sunday law constituted no real favoritism towards Christianity. . .
. It is evident from all his statutory provisions, that the Emperor
during the time 313 - 323 with full consciousness has sought the realization
of his religious aim: the amalgamation of heathenism and Christianity.
" -- " Kirken og Romerstaten" (" The
Church and the Roman State "), p. 256. Christiania: 1879.
by his Sunday law intended only to enforce the popular heathen festival
is acknowledged by Professor Hutton Webster, Ph.D. (University of Nebraska),
who says: "This
legislation by Constantine probably bore no relation to Christianity;
it appears, on the contrary, that the emperor, in his capacity as Pontifex
Maximus, was only adding the day of the sun, the worship of which was
then firmly established in the Roman Empire, to the other ferial days
of the sacred calendar." -- "Rest Days," p. 122. New York:
A. H. Lewis, D.
D., who spent years of study and research on this subject, declares,
that "the pagan religion of
Rome had many holidays, on which partial or complete cessation of business
and labor were demanded," and
that Constantine by his Sunday law was "merely adding one more
festival to the festi of the empire." -- " A Critical History
of Sunday Legislation from 321 to 1888 A. D., " pp. 8, 12. New York:
D. Appleton and Co., 1888.
This is clearly
seen when we carefully examine all the circumstances presented by Dr.
Constantine's Sunday edict was given March 7, 321. The
p 111 -- very
next day he issued an edict commanding purely heathen superstition.
" The August Emperor Constantine to Maximus:
" If any part of the palace or other public works shall be struck
by lightning, let the soothsayers, following old usages, inquire into
the meaning of the portent, and let their written words, very carefully
collected, be reported to our knowledge." -- Id., p. 19.
2. The Caesars
for over a century had been worshipers of the sun-god, whose weekly
holiday was Sunday. Dr. Lewis says: "The
sun-worship cult had grown steadily in the Roman
Empire for a long time." -- Id., p. 20. He then
quotes the following from Schaff in regard to Elagabalus, a Roman Caesar
of a century before Constantine's time:
" The abandoned youth, El-Gabal or Heliogabalus (218 - 222), who polluted
the throne by the blackest vices and follies, tolerated all religions
in the hope of at last merging them in his favorite Syrian worship of
the sun with its abominable excesses. He himself was a priest of the
god of the sun, and thence took his name."-- Id.,
pp. 20, 21.
Dean H. H. Milman
says: "It was openly asserted
that the worship of the sun, under the name of Elagabalus, was to supersede
all other worship. If we may believe the biographies in the Augustan
history, a more ambitious scheme of a universal religion had dawned
upon the mind of the emperor. The Jewish, the Samaritan, even the Christian,
were to be fused and recast into one great system, of which the Sun
was to be the central object of adoration." -- "History of Christianity,"
Vol. II, Book 2, chap. 8, par. 22, p. 178,179. New York: 1881.
Dr. Lewis further
says that Aurelian, who reigned from 270-276 A. D., embellished the
temple of the Sun with "above
fifteen thousand pounds of gold." -- " History of Sunday Legislation,"
p. 23. Diocletian, who reigned from 284 to 305, "appealed
in the face of the army to the all-seeing deity of the sun." -- Ibid.,
p 112 --
"Such were the
influences which preceded Constantine and surrounded him when he came
into power. The following extract shows still plainer the character
of Constantine and his attitude toward the sun-worship cults, when
the first 'Sunday edict' was issued: "'But
the devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius
of the Sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology. . . . The sun
was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of
Constantine.' " -- Id., pp. 26, 27. TOP
"These facts combine
to show that Sunday legislation was purely pagan in its origin." --
Id., p. 31.
"In this law he
only sought to give additional honor to the 'venerable day' of his patron
deity, the sun-god." -- Id., p. 32.
"His attitude toward
Christianity was that of a shrewd politician rather than a devout adherent."--
Id., p. 6.
Dr. Lewis quotes
from Dr. Schaff a very fitting conclusion to his remarks regarding Constantine:
"'And down to the end of his
life he retained the title and dignity of pontifex maximus, or
high-priest of the heathen hierarchy. His coins bore on the one side
the letters of the name of Christ, on the other the figure of the sun-god,
and the inscription 'Sol invictus."'--Id., p. 10.
That the Christians
at this time were still keeping the Sabbath can be seen from the following
statement of Hugo Grotiu's, quoted by Robert Cox, F. S. A. Scot.: "He
refers to Eusebius for proof that Constantine, besides issuing his well-known
edict that labor should be suspended on Sunday, enacted that the people
should not be brought before the law courts on the seventh day of the
week, which also, he adds, was long observed by the primitive Christians
as a day for religious meetings. . . . And this, says he, 'refutes those
who think that the Lord's day was substituted for the Sabbath -- a thing
nowhere mentioned either by Christ or His apostles."' -- "Opera
Omnia Theologica," Hugo Grotius (died 1645), (London: 1679); quoted
in "Literature of the Sabbath Question," Cox, Vol. 1, p. 223.
Edinburgh: Maclachlan and Stewart, 1865.
p 113 -- Pope
Sylvester co-operated with Constantine to bring paganism into the Christian
church (especially Sunday-keeping). This caused the true Christians
to have repugnance for him. The Waldenses believed he was the Antichrist.
Dr. Peter Allix quotes the following from a prominent Roman Catholic
author regarding the Waldenses: "'They
say that the blessed Pope Sylvester was the Antichrist, of whom mention
is made in the Epistles of St. Paul, as being the son of perdition,
who extols himself above every thing that is called God; for, from that
time, they say, the Church perished. . . .'
"He lays it down
also as one of their opinions, 'That the Law of Moses is to be kept
according to the letter, and that the keeping of the Sabbath . . .
and other legal observances, ought to take place."' -- " Ecclesiastical
History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont," p. 169. Oxford:
154 in the edition of 1690. TOP
a glimpse of the opposition of God's people to this falling away, let
us now return to our subject, to get a view of the novel means Constantine
employed to make converts in accordance with his amalgamation scheme.
Edward Gibbon says: "The
hopes of wealth and honors, the example of an emperor, his exhortations,
his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among the venal and obsequious
crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace. . . . As the lower
ranks of society are governed by imitation, the conversion of those
who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon
followed by dependent multitudes. The salvation of the common people
was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that, in one year, twelve
thousand men were baptized at Rome . . . and that a white garment,with
twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the emperor to every convert."
-- " Decline and Fall," chap. par.
gave the following instruction to the bishops
p 114 -- at
the Council of Nicaea, which shows his constant policy:
"'In all ways unbelievers must be saved. It was not every one who would
be converted by learning and reasoning. Some join us from desire of
maintenance; some for preferment; some for presents: nothing is so rare
as a real lover of truth. We must be like physicians, and accommodate
our medicines to the diseases, our teaching to the different minds of
all." -- "Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church,"
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Lecture 5, p. 271. New York: 1875.
The bishops were
only too willing to follow the emperor's instruction, and the result
was disastrous to the church. J. A. W. Neander in the following paragraph
gives us some of the results of this policy: "
Such were those who, without any real interest whatever in the concerns
of religion, living half in Paganism and half in an outward show of
Christianity, composed the crowds that thronged the churches on the
festivals of the Christians, and the theaters on the festivals of the
pagans." -- " History of the Christian Religion and Church,"
Vol. II, Sec. 3, Part 1, Div. 1, par. 1, p. 223. Boston: 1855.
No wonder Rev.
H. H. Milman exclaims: "Is
this Paganism approximating to Christianity, or Christianity degenerating
into Paganism?" -- " History of Christianity," pp. 341, 342.
He answers this question later by saying:
"With a large portion of mankind, it must be admitted that the religion
itself was Paganism under another form." -- Id., P. 412.
of Caesarea, and an admirer of Constantine, cooperated with him in bringing
" the venerable day of the sun " into the Christian church. Speaking
of Pope Sylvester, Constantine, and himself, he says:
things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these we
have transferred to the Lord's day, as more appropriately belonging
to it, because it has a precedence and is first in rank, and more honorable
than the Jewish Sabbath. For on that day, in making the world, God said,
'Let there be light, and there was light.' " -- " Commentary on
the Psalms"; quoted in
p 115 --
"Literature on the
Sabbath Question," Robert Cox, Vol. I, p. 361. TOP
used the strongest argument he knew as proof for Sunday-keeping; but
advocates of this new holiday had probably not yet conceived the idea
that Christ's resurrection would be an argument in favor of Sunday-keeping,
so he used creation instead.
AND NEW CHURCH MEMBERS -- The church at this time consisted
of two widely different kinds of church members: 1. The old
class, with their devoted leaders, had accepted Christianity in the
primitive way, by genuine conversion and separation from the world,
suffering for Christ and His unpopular truth. This class lived mostly
in the country and in out-of-the-way places. 2. The new
converts lived mainly in the large cities, and had come in through a
mass movement, following the crowd in what was most popular, attracted
by the hopes of temporal gain or honor, or they had been forced in by
the secular arm. These were devoid of any personal Christian experience,
but constituting the majority, they elected bishops of their own kind.
The elections of
bishops were attended with secret corruption and bloody violence, which
was only too natural for that kind of "Christians." Edward Gibbon says
of these elections:
"While one of the
candidates boasted the honors of his family, a second allured his judges
by the delicacies of a plentiful table, and a third, more guilty than
his rivals, offered to share the plunder of the church among the accomplices
of his sacrilegious hopes. " -- "Decline and Fall," chap.
XX, par. 22.
Rev. H. H. Milman
within the Church itself, the distribution of the superior dignities
became an object of fatal ambition and strife. The streets of Alexandria
and of Constantinople were deluged with blood by the partisans of rival
bishops." -- "History of Christianity," Book 3, chap. 5, par.
2, p. 410. New York: 1881.
that "many are elected on
account of their
p 116 --
badness, to prevent the
mischief they would otherwise do." -- "History of the Christian
Church," Vol. III, Sec. 49, par. 2, note 5, p. 240.
Even the sanctity of the church was not respected by the fighting
parties. Milman, speaking of the installation of a bishop at Constantinople,
says: "In the morning, Philip
[the prefect of the East] appeared in his car, with Macedonius by
his side in the pontifical attire; he drove directly to the church,
but the soldiers were obliged to hew their way through the dense and
resisting crowd to the altar. Macedonius passed over the murdered
bodies (three thousand are said to have fallen) to the throne of Christian
prelate." -- " History of Christianity," Vol. XI, p. 426.
New York: 1870. Socrates
("Ecclesiastical History," Bk. II, chap. 17, p. 96) gives the
number slain as 3150 .TOP
Can we wonder at
the lack of spiritual insight and sound judgment of such bishops when
they met at their councils to formulate the creed of Christendom? They
decreed in favor of image worship, purgatory, prayers for the dead,
veneration of relics, and many other heathen customs, persecuting all
who would not fall in line with their mongrel customs. At the Council
of Laodicea, A. D. 364, they anathematized Sabbath-keepers in the following
way: " Christians must not
judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather
honoring the Lord's Day; and if they can, resting then as Christians.
But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be Anathema from
Christ. " -- Canon XXIX, "Index Canonum," John Fulton, D.
D., LL. D., p. 259.
That the Christians
were then keeping the Sabbath we see from Canon XVI of the same council,
in which they decreed: "The
Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath Day, with the other Scriptures.
" -- Id., p. 255.
Dr. Heylyn also
declares that the Christians were keeping the Sabbath at that time:
"Nor was this onely the particular
will of those two and thirty Prelates, there assembled; it was the practice
generally of the Easterne Churches; and of some churches of the west.
. . .
p 117 --
For in the Church
of Millaine [Milan]; . . . it seemes the Saturday was held in a farre
esteeme. . . . Not that the Easterne Churches, or any of the rest which
observed that day, were inclined to ludaisme [Judaism]; but that they
came together on the Sabbath day, to worship lesus [Jesus] Christ the
Lord of the Sabbath." -- " History of the Sabbath" (original
spelling retained), Part 2, par. 5, pp. 73, 74. London: 1636.
The true Christians
paid very little attention to the anathema of the bishops, for they
continued to keep the true Sabbath, as the following quotations show:
apostles' time until the council of Laodicea, which was about the year
364, the holy observation of the Jews' Sabbath continued, as may be
proved out of many authors; yea, notwithstanding the decree of the council
against it." -- "Sunday a Sabbath," John Ley, p. 163. London:
That the Sabbath
was kept, "notwithstanding the decree of the council against it,"
is also seen from the fact that Pope Gregory I (A. D. 590-604) wrote
against "Roman citizens
[who] forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day." -- " Nicene
and Post-Nicene Fathers," Second Series, Vol. XIII, p. 13, epist.
As late as 791
A. D. Christians kept the Sabbath in Italy. Canon 13 of the council
at Friaul states: "Further,
when speaking of that Sabbath which the Jews observe, the last day of
the week, and which also our peasants observe, He said only Sabbath,
and never added unto it, 'delight,' or 'my' " -- Mansi, 13, 851;
Quoted in "History of the Sabbath," J.
N. Andrews, p. 539. 1912.
Bishop Hefele summarizes
the canon in the following words: "The
celebration of Sunday begins with Saturday evening. It is enjoined
to keep Sunday and other church festivals. The peasants kept Saturday
in many cases." -- " Conciliengesch.," 3, 720, sec. 404;
Quoted in "History of the Sabbath," Andrews, pp. 539, 540.
-- While Constantine's
purchased converts, and the superficial multitude followed the popular
church, there were many honest, God-fearing Christians, who resented
this sinful compromise with paganism; and, when they saw that all their
protests were useless, they withdrew to places where they could more
freely follow their conscience and bring up their children away from
the contamination of the fallen church, which they looked upon as the
"Babylon" of Revelation 17. Several hundred Sabbath-keeping Christian
churches were established in southern India, and some were found even
in China. Likewise the original Celtic Church in England, Scotland,
and Ireland kept the seventh-day Sabbath, as will be shown in the next
The majority of
these original Christians settled, however, in the Alps, a place naturally
suited for their protection, being situated where Switzerland, France,
and Italy join. They could, therefore, more easily get protection in
one or another of these countries, as it would be harder for the Papacy
to get joint action of all these countries in case of persecution. Then,
too, these mountains were so steep and high, the valleys so narrow,
and the passes into them so difficult, that it would seem as though
God had prepared this hiding place for His true church and truth during
the Dark Ages' William Jones says: "Angrogna,
Pramol, and S. Martino are strongly fortified by nature on account of
their many difficult passes and bulwarks of rocks and mountains; as
if the all-wise Creator, says Sir Samuel Morland, had, from the beginning,
designed that, place as a cabinet, wherein to put some inestimable jewel,
or in which to reserve many thousand souls, which should not bow the
knee before Baal." -- " History of the Christian Church,"
Vol. I, p. 356, third ed. London: 1818.
p 119 -- Sophia
V. Bompiani, in "A Short History of the Italian Waldenses"
(New York: 1897), quotes from several unquestionable authorities to
show that the Waldenses, after having withdrawn to the Alps because
of persecution, fully separated from the Roman church under the work
of Vigilantius Leo, the Leonist of Lyons, who vigorously protested
against the many false doctrines and practices that had been adopted
by the Church. Jerome (A. D. 403-406) wrote a very cutting book against
him in which he says: "'That
monster called Vigilantius . . . has escaped to the region where King
Cottius reigned, between the Alps and the waves of the Adriatic. From
thence he has cried out against me and, ah, wickedness! there he has
found bishops who share his crime."' Sophia
V. Bompiani then remarks: "This region, where King Cottius
reigned, once a part of Cisalpine Gaul, is the precise country of
the Waldenses. Here Leo, or Vigilantius, retired for safety from persecution,
among a people already established there of his own way of thinking,
who received him its a brother, and who thenceforth for several centuries
were sometimes called by his name [Leonists]. Here, shut up in the
Alpine valleys, they handed down through the generations the doctrines
and practices of the primitive church, while the inhabitants of the
plains of Italy were daily sinking more and more into the apostasy
foretold by the Apostles. " -- " A Short History of the Italian
Waldenses," pp. 8, 9.
"The ancient emblem
of the Waldensian church is a candlestick with the motto, Lux lucet
in tenebris ['The light shineth in darkness']. A candlestick in
the oriental imagery of the Bible is a church, and this church had power
from God to prophesy in sackcloth and ashes twelve hundred and sixty
days or symbolic years." -- Id., p. 17.
Dr. W. S. Gilly,
an English clergyman, after much research, wrote a book entitled: "Vigilantius
and His Times," giving the same information.
writers try to evade the apostolic origin of the Waldenses, so as to
make it appear that the Roman is the
p 120 --
only apostolic church, and that all others are later novelties. And
for this reason they try to make out that the Waldenses originated with
Peter Waldo of the twelfth century. Dr. Peter Allix says: "Some
Protestants, on this occasion, have fallen into the snare that was set
for them. . . It is absolutely false, that these churches were ever
founded by Peter Waldo. . . . It is a pure forgery." -- " Ancient
Church of Piedmont," pp. 192. Oxford: 1821.
" It is not true,
that Waldo gave this name to the inhabitants of the valleys: they were
called Waldenses, or Vaudes, before his time, from the valleys in which
they dwelt. " -- Id., p. 182.
On the other hand,
he "was called Valdus, or
Waldo, because he received his religious notions from the inhabitants
of the valleys." -- " History of the Christian Church," William
Jones, Vol. II, p. 2. See
also Sir Samuel Morland's "History of the Evangelical Churches
of the Valleys of Piedmont," pp. 29, 30.
Henri Arnaud, a
leading pastor among the Waldenses, says: "Their
proper name, Vallenses, is derived from the Latin word vallis,
and not, as has been insinuated, from Valdo, a merchant of Lyons." --
" The Glorious Recovery by the Vaudois," Henri Arnaud, p. xiii.
The Roman Inquisitor,
Reinerus Sacho, writing about 1230 A. D., says:
heresy of the Vaudois, or poor people of Lyons, is of great antiquity.
Among all sects that either are, or have been, there is none more dangerous
to the Church, than that of the Leonists, and that for three reasons:
the first is, because it is the sect of the longest standing
of any; for some say that it has been continued down ever since the
time of Pope Sylvester; and others, ever-since that of the apostles.
The second is, because it is the most general of all sects; for
scarcely is there any country to be found where this sect hath not spread
itself. And the third, because it has the greatest appearance
of piety; because, in the sight of all, these men are just and honest
in their transactions, believe of God what ought to be believed, receive
all the articles
p 121 -- of
the Apostles' Creed, and only profess to hate the Church of Rome.
" -- Quoted on page 22 of William Stephen Gilly's " Excursion,"
fourth edition. London: 1827. TOP
Now it must be
clear as the noonday sun, that Reinerus would not have written as he
did, if the Waldenses had originated with Peter Waldo, only seventy-five
years before; nor could Waldo's followers have multiplied and spread
over the whole world in so short a time, under great persecution, and
with so slow means of travel.
Henri Arnaud, a
Waldensian pastor, says of their origin: "
Neither has their church been ever reformed, whence arises its title
of Evangelic. The Vaudois are, in fact, descended from those
refugees from Italy who, after St. Paul had there preached the gospel,
abandoned their beautiful country and fled, like the woman mentioned
in the Apocalypse, to these wild mountains, where they have to this
day handed down the gospel from father to son in the same purity and
simplicity as it was preached by St. Paul." -- " The Glorious
Recovery by the Vaudois," p. xiv of preface by the Author, translated
by Acland. London: 1827.
WALDENSIAN FAITH -- The Waldenses took the Bible as their
only rule of faith, abhorred the idolatry of the papacy, and the main
body rejected its traditions and holidays, but kept the seventh-day
Sabbath, and used the apostolic mode of baptism. (See "Ancient Churches
of Piedmont," by P. Allix, pp. 152-260.) Their old catechism shows
that they believed in justification by faith in the grace of Christ
alone, and that obedience to the Ten Commandments was the sure fruit
of living faith:
-- By what means do we hope for grace? A. -- By the Mediator
Jesus Christ. . . . Q.
-- What is a living faith? A. -- That which worketh by charity.
Q. -- What is a dead faith? A. -- According to St. James,
that faith which is without works, is dead. . . . Q. -- By what
means canst thou know that thou believest in God? A. -- By this:
because I know that I have given myself
p 122 -- to
the observation of the commandments of God. Q. -- How many
commandments of God are there? A. -- Ten, as it appeareth in
Exodus and Deuteronomy. . . . Q. -- Upon what do all these
commandments depend? A. -- Upon the two great commandments,
that is to say: Thou shalt love God above all things, and thy neighbor
as thyself." -- " Waldenses," Perrin, Part III, Book I, pp.
1-10. (1624 A. D.) "The Glorious Recovery by the Vaudois,"
Henri Arnaud, pp. xcvi, xcvii, cv. London: 1827. TOP
Dr. Peter Allix
quotes the following from a Roman Catholic author: "'They
say that blessed Pope Sylvester was the Antichrist, of whom mention
is made in the Epistles of St. Paul, as being the son of perdition,
who extols himself above everything that is called God; for, from that
time, they say, the Church perished.' . . .
"He lays it down
also as one of their opinions; 'That the Law of Moses is to be kept
according to the letter, and that the keeping of the Sabbath, circumcision,
and other legal observances, ought to take place. "' -- "Ancient
Churches of Piedmont," p. 169 (page 154, edition of 1690). Oxford:
In regard to the
accusation that the Waldenses practiced circumcision, Mr. Benedict truthfully
says: " The
account of their practicing circumcision is undoubtedly a slanderous
story, forged by their enemies, and probably arose in this way: because
they observed the seventh day they were called, by way of derision,
Jews, as the Sabbatarians are frequently at this day, and if they were
Jews, it followed, of course, that they either did, or ought to, circumcise
their followers." -- "General History of the Baptist Denomination,"
Vol. II, p. 414, edition of 1813.
That this was exactly
the way this slander was fastened on Sabbath-keepers, we can see from
the "Epistle " written against them by Pope Gregory I (A. D. 590-604),
in which he says: "It
has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among
you some things that are wrong and opposed
p 123 --
to the holy faith,
so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. . . .
"For, if any one
says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that
carnal sacrifices are to be offered: he must say, too, that the commandment
about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained." -- "
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers" (Second Series), Vol. XIII, Book
13, epist. 1, p. 92. New York: 1898.
Going back to Judaism
was considered by the Roman Catholic Church as one of the most serious
heresies, punishable with death. And any one at all familiar with
the tactics of Romanists knows that it has been a practice, only too
common among them, to blacken the character of those whom they would
destroy, so as to justify their destruction. Dr. Peter Allix says:
"It is no
great sin with the Church of Rome to spread lies concerning those
that are enemies of the faith. . . . There is nothing more common
with the Romish party, than to make use of the most horrid calumnies
to blacken and expose those who have renounced her communion. . .
. Calumny is a trade the Romish party is perfectly well versed in."
-- "Ancient Church of Piedmont," pp. 224, 225. (Pages 205,
206 in edition of 1690.) TOP
William Jones says:
" Louis XII, King of
France, being informed by the enemies of the Waldenses, inhabiting a
part of the province of Province, that several heinous crimes were laid
to their account, sent the Master of Requests, and a certain doctor
of the Sorbonne, who was confessor to his majesty, to make inquiry into
this matter. On their return, they reported that they had visited all
the parishes where they dwelt, had inspected their places of worship,
but that they had found there no images, nor signs of the ornaments
belonging to the mass, nor any of the ceremonies of the Romish church;
much less could they discover any traces of those crimes with which
they were charged. On the contrary, they kept the Sabbath day, observed
the ordinance of baptism, according to the primitive church, instructed
their children in the articles of the Christian faith, and the commandments
p 124 -- God.
The King having heard the report of his commissioners, said with an
oath that they were better men than himself or his people." -- "
History of the Christian Church," Vol. 2, pp. 71, 72, third edition.
OF THE WALDENSES -- John P. Perrin of Lyons writes of how
the Waldenses went under different names, either from the territory
in which they lived, or from the name of the missionary they had sent
to that country. He says: "
First therefore they called them . . . Waldenses; of the countries of
Albi, Albigeois [Albigenses]. . . .
"And from one of
the disciples of Valdo, called loseph [Joseph], who preached in Dauphiney
in the diocesse of Dye, they were called Iosephists [Josephites]. .
"Of one of their
pastors who preached in Albegeois, named Arnold Hot, they were called
Arnoldists. . . .
"And because they
observed no other day of rest but the Sabbath dayes, they called them
Insabathas, as much as to say, as they observed no Sabbath.
"And because they
were alwayes exposed to continuall sufferings, from the Latin word Pati,
which signifieth to suffer, they called them Patareniens.
"And for as much
as like poore passengers, they wandered from one place to another, they
were called Passagenes," -- "Luther's Fore-Runners," (original
spelling) pp. 7, 8. London: 1624.
This author quotes
the following from the Waldensian faith: "That
we are to worship one only God, who is able to help us, and not the
Saints departed; that we ought to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that
there was no necessity of observing other feasts." -- Id.,
p. 38. TOP
Goldastus, a learned
German historian (A. D. 1576-1635) says of them: They were called "Insabbatati,
not because they were
p 125 -- circumcised,
but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath." "Circumcisi forsan illi
fuerint, qui aliis Insabbatati, non quod circumciderentur, inquit Calvinista
[Goldastus] sed quod in Sabbato judaizarent.
" -- Robert Robinson, in "Ecclesiastical Researches," chap,
10, p. 303. (Quoted in "History of the Sabbath," J., N. Andrews,
p. 412, ed. 1887.)
M. A., says: " Robinson
gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps,
who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, but more frequently
Inzabbatati. 'One says they were so named from the Hebrew word
Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the Lord's day. Another
says they were so called because they rejected all the festivals." --
" General History of the Baptist Denomination,"
Vol. II, p. 413. Boston: 1813.
Dr. J. L. Mosheim
says: " Pasaginians .
. . had the utmost aversion to the dominion and
discipline of the church of Rome; . . . and celebrated the Jewish Sabbath."
-- "Ecclesiastical History" (two-volume edition), Cent. 12,
Part 2, Chap. 5, Sec. 14, Vol. I, p. 333. New York: Harper and Brothers,
" The papal
author, Bonacursus, wrote the following against the Pasagini ": "Not
a few, but many know what are the errors of those who are called Pasagini.
. . . First, they teach that we should obey the law of Moses according
to the letter -- the Sabbath, and circumcision, and the legal precepts
still being in force. . . .furthermore, to increase their error, they
condemn and reject all the church Fathers, and the whole Roman Church."
-- " D'Achery, Spicilegium I, f. 211-214; Muratory, Antiq. med.
aevi. 5, f. 152, Hahn,
3,209. Quoted in "History of the Sabbath," J N. Andrews, pp.
547, 548. 1912.
The Roman Catholic
Church has always had a special enmity toward the Bible Sabbath and
Sabbath-keepers. Mr. Benedict says: "
It was the settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige of opposition
to her doctrines and decrees, everything heretical,
p 126 -- whether
persons or writings, by which the faithful would be liable to be contaminated
and led astray. In conformity to this, their fixed determination,
all books and records of their opposers were hunted up, and committed
to the flames." -- " History of the Baptist
Denomination," p. 50. 1849. TOP
Dr. De Sanctis,
who for years was a Catholic official at Rome, and at one time Censor
of the Inquisition, but who later became a Protestant, reports in his
book a conversation of a Waldensian scholar as he pointed to the ruins
of the Palatine Hill at Rome: "'See,'
said the Waldensian, 'a beautiful monument of ecclesiastical antiquity.
These rough materials are the ruins of the two great Palatine libraries,
one Greek and the other Latin, where the precious manuscripts of our
ancestors were collected, and which Pope Gregory I, called the Great,
caused to be burned."' -- " Popery, Puseyism, Jesuitism,"
De Sanctis, p. 53.
will reveal how many precious manuscripts have been destroyed by Rome
in its effort to blot out all traces of apostolic Christianity.
We have now seen
that the ancient apostolic church, scattered by persecution, and often
in hiding, went under various names. Being peaceful, virtuous, and industrious
citizens, they were tolerated, or even shielded, by princes who understood
their value to the country, while the Catholic Church hunted them down
like wild beasts. After the Waldenses and Albigenses had lived quietly
in France for many years, Pope Innocent III wrote the following instruction
to his bishops: "Therefore
by this present apostolical writing we give you a strict command that,
by whatever means you can, you destroy all these heresies and expel
from your diocese all who are polluted with them. You shall exercise
the rigor of the ecclesiastical power against them and all those who
have made themselves suspected by associating with them. They may not
appeal from your judgments, and if necessary, you may cause the princes
and people to suppress them with the sword." -- " A Source Book
for Mediaeval History," Oliver J. Thatcher and E. H. McNeal, p.
210 New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905.
p 127 -- Philippus
van Limborch, Professor of Divinity at Amsterdam, speaking of the way
the liberty of the people was suppressed after 1050, says: "In
the following ages the affairs of the church were so managed under the
government of the Popes, and all persons so strictly curbed by the severity
of the laws, that they durst not even so much as whisper against the
received opinions of the church. Besides this, so deep was the ignorance
that had spread itself over the world, that men, without the least regard
to knowledge and learning, received with a blind obedience every thing
that the ecclesiastics ordered them, however stupid and superstitious,
without any examination; and if any one dared in the least to contradict
them, he was sure immediately to be punished; whereby the most absurd
opinions came to be established by the violence of the Popes." --
" History of the Inquisition," p. 79. London: 1816.
Ignorance and superstition
generated vice of the basest sort, and brought the Christian world into
the darkest of the Dark Ages, which made the Reformation of the sixteenth
century an absolute necessity. And, as "the darkest hour of the night
is just before dawn," so the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries were
the darkest in the Christian Era. For a time, however, there were still
a few dawn lights shining on the religious horizon, shedding their mild
gospel light into the dense darkness. But when these were extinguished,
the darkness became well-nigh complete. 1. The Celtic church
of Scotland and Ireland had sent their missionaries with an open Bible
into almost every country of Europe. The gospel lamp of Scotland was
extinguished in 1069; that of Ireland in 1172; that of the ancient Albigenses
in 1229; the Assyrian lamp of the East was extinguished at Malabar,
India, by the Inquisition in 1560; and the Waldensian lamp, that had
been shining the longest, and had sent its mild rays over Europe for
centuries, was extinguished in 1686. The history of these evangelical
churches during this dark period is very interesting and has many valuable
lessons for our day.
The Waldenses and
Albigenses were quiet and industrious
p 128 -- people,
and followed the Bible standard of morality, which actually caused
their persecution. TOP
"But their crowning
offence was their love and reverence for Scripture, and their burning
zeal in making converts. The Inquisitor of Passau informs us that they
had translations of the whole Bible in the vulgar tongue, which the
Church vainly sought to suppress, and which they studied with incredible
assiduity. . . . Many of them had the whole of the New Testament by
heart. . . . Surely if ever there was a God-fearing people it was these
unfortunates under the ban of Church and State. . . . The inquisitors
. . . [declare] that the sign of a Vaudois, deemed worthy of death,
was that he followed Christ and sought to obey the commandments of God."
-- " History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages," H. C.
Lea, Vol. I, pp. 86, 87. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1888.
"In fact, amid the
license of the Middle Ages ascetic virtue was apt to be regarded as
a sign of heresy." -- Id., p. 87.
On the other hand,
the licentious lives of the Catholic clergy placed insurmountable barriers
for a Waldensian ever to become a Catholic. When in 1204 Pope Innocent
III sent his commissioners to crush the peaceful Waldenses and Albigenses
in Southern France "with fire and sword," these monks returned to the
pope asking for help to reform the lives of the Catholic priests. Lea
legates . . . appealed to him for aid against prelates whom they had
failed to coerce, and whose infamy of life gave scandal to the faithful
and an irresistible argument to the heretic. Innocent curtly bade them
attend to the object of their mission and not allow themselves to be
diverted by less important matters." -- Id., p. 129.
van Limborch writes: "It
was the entire study and endeavour of the popes, to crush, in its infancy,
every doctrine that any way opposed their exorbitant power. In the year
1163, at the synod of Tours, all the bishops and priests in the country
of Tholouse, were commanded 'to take care, and to forbid, under the
pain of excom-
p 129 -- munication,
every person from presuming to give reception, or the least assistance
to the followers of this heresy, which first began in the country
of Tholouse, whenever they shall be discovered. Neither were they
to have any dealings with them in buying or selling; that by being
thus deprived of the common assistances of life, they might be compelled
to repent of the evil of their way. Whosoever shall dare to contravene
this order, let them be excommunicated, as a partner with them in
their guilt. As many of them as can be found, let them be imprisoned
by the Catholic princes, and punished with the forfeiture of all their
" Some of the Waldenses,
coming into the neighbouring kingdom of Arragon, king Ildefonsus, in
the year 1194, put forth, against them, a very severe and bloody edict,
by which 'he banished them from his kingdom, and all his dominions,
as enemies of the cross of Christ, prophaners of the Christian religion,
and public enemies to himself and kingdom.' He adds: 'If any, from this
day forwards, shall presume to receive into their houses, the aforesaid
Waldenses and Inzabbatati, or other heretics, of whatsoever profession
they be, or to hear, in any place, their abominable preachings, or to
give them food, or to do them any kind office whatsoever; let him know,
that he shall incur the indignation of Almighty God and ours; that he
shall forfeit all his goods, without the benefit of appeal, and be punished
as though guilty of high treason."' -- " History of the Inquisition,"
pp. 88, 89. London: 1816.
To destroy completely
these heretics Pope Innocent III sent Dominican inquisitors into France,
and also crusaders, promising "a plenary remission of all sins, to those
who took on them the crusade . . . against the Albigenses." When Raymond
VI, Earl of Tholouse, shielded these innocent people, who were such
an asset to his country, he was " deposed by the pope." * Being frightened
by the savage crusaders Raymond submitted, and
* -- Catholic
Vol. XII, art. " Raymond Vl, " p. 670.
p 130 --
the papal legate had him publicly whipped twice till "he was so grievously
torn by the stripes" that he had to leave the church by a back door.
(Id., pp. 98, 100.) He later appealed to Innocent III. "The pope,
however, ceded the estates of Raymond to Simon de Montfort," (1215)*.
Thousands of God's people were tortured to death by the Inquisition,
buried alive, burned to death, or hacked to pieces by the crusaders.
While devastating the city of Biterre the soldiers asked the Catholic
leaders how they should know who were heretics; Arnold, Abbot of Cisteaux,
answered: "Slay them all, for the Lord knows who is His." -- Id.,
pp. 98, 101.
In 1216 to 1221
Raymond reconquered his land, and after his death (1221) his son became
Earl, and "the Inquisition was banished from the country of Tholouse."
But Pope Honorius III "proclaimed an holy war, to be called the 'Penance
war,' against the heretics," and "to subdue the Earl of Tholouse, he
sent letters to King Louis " of France to make war on Raymond, which
he did. But treachery, which has always been one of the most successful
weapons of the Papacy against God's people, had to be resorted to here:
When the Pope's legate saw that he could not take the city of Avignon
by force, he "scrupled
not to adopt the vilest treachery and to practice the basest hypocrisy.
-- He offered to suspend hostilities, and to pave the way for peace,
if the besieged would admit a few priests, only to inquire concerning
the faith of the inhabitants: and those terms being agreed upon and
sealed by mutual oaths; the priests entered, but in direct violation
of their solemn engagement, brought the French army with them, who thus
fraudulently triumphed over the unsuspecting citizens; they plundered
the city, killed or bound in chains the inhabitants. " -- Id.,
(This is in perfect
harmony with the Catholic teaching and practice, that they need not
keep faith with a heretic, as carried out in the case of John Huss.
In spite of the safe-conduct from the Emperor Sigismund, he was imprisoned,
November 28, 1414, and burned July 6, 1415.)
* -- Catholic
Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. "Raymond VI,"
p. 670. TOP
p 131 -- HUNTED
LIKE WILD BEASTS -- The Earl of Tholouse was finally forced
to bow to Rome, and God's people were hunted as wild beasts everywhere.
Here are some of the laws of Louis IX, King of France, A. D. 1229: "
Canon 3. --The lords of the different districts shall have the
villas, houses, and woods diligently searched, and the hiding-places
of the heretics destroyed. Canon 4. -- If any one allows a heretic
to remain in his territory, he loses his possession forever, and his
body is in the hands of the magistrates to receive due punishment. Canon
5. -- But also such are liable to the law, whose territory has been
made the frequent hiding-place of heretics, not by his knowledge, but
by his negligence. Canon 6. -- The house in which a heretic is
found, shall be torn down, and the place or land be confiscated. Canon
14. -- Lay members are not allowed to possess the books of either
the Old or the New Testament." -- " Hefele's Councils," Vol.
V, pp. 981, 982. ("History of the Sabbath," New, p. 558).
These laws were
only echoes of the "Bulls" of the popes. But while the Waldenses on
the French side of the Alps were being exterminated, the pope had a
more difficult task to destroy them in the Piedmont Alps. From Pope
Lucius III (A. D. 1181-1185) to the Reformation in the sixteenth century
the persecution of the Waldenses was the subject of many papal "anathemas."
Army after army was sent against them, and all manner of trickery was
resorted to in order to destroy these honest, plain, Christian people.
In 1488 Albert Cataneo, the papal legate came with an army into the
midst of Val Louise. The inhabitants fled into a cavern for shelter,
and the soldiers started a fire at the mouth of the cavern and smothered
the entire population of 3,000, including 400 children. Then Cataneo
entered the Piedmont side. Here the Waldenses retreated to Pra del Tor,
their "Shiloh of the Valleys." Cataneo ordered his soldiers into the
dark, narrow chasm that formed the only path to this citadel. The poor
Waldenses were now bottled up, and their enemies were proceeding towards
them, sure of their prey, but God heard earnest prayers:
p 132 -- "A
white cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, unobserved by the Piedmontese,
but keenly watched by the Vaudois, was seen to gather on the mountain's
summit. . . . That cloud grew rapidly bigger and blacker. It began
to descend . . . . It fell right into the chasm in which was the Papal
army . . . . In a moment the host were in night; they . . . could
neither advance nor retreat. [The Waldenses] tore up huge stones and
rocks, and sent them thundering down into the ravine. The papal soldiers
were crushed where they stood. . . . Panic impelled them to flee,
. . . they threw each other down in the struggle; some were trodden
to death; others were rolled over the precipice, and crushed on the
rocks below, or drowned in the torrent, and so perished miserably."
-- " History of the Waldenses," J. A. Wylie, pp. 48, 49.
In 1544 the treacherous
and heartless Catholic leader, D'Oppede caused the terrible butchery
of thousands of Waldenses. At Cabrieres he wrote a note to the people,
saying that if they would open the gates of their city he would do them
no harm. They, in good faith, opened the gates, and D'Oppede cried out:
"Kill them all." Men, women,
and children were massacred or burned alive. In 1655 there was another
massacre of Waldeuses. After the Catholic leaders had made several vain
attempts to break into the fastnesses of the mountains where the Waldenses
lived, and were defeated, the Marquis of Pianesse wrote the various
Waldensian towns to entertain certain regiments of soldiers to show
their good faith. These Christian people, who always had such sacred
regard for their own word, never seemed to learn that it is a fundamental
Catholic doctrine, that Catholics need not, and should not, keep faith
with heretics, when the interest of the "Church" is at stake. After
they had sheltered the soldiers, and fed them of their scanty store,
a signal was given at 4 A. M., April 24, 1655, and the butchery began.
children, Leger says, were torn from the arms of their mothers, dashed
against the rocks, and cast carelessly away. The sick or the aged, both
men and women, were either burned in their houses, or hacked in pieces;
or mutilated, half murdered,
p 133 --
and flayed alive, they
were exposed in a dying state to the heat of the sun, or to flames,
or to ferocious beasts. " -- "Israel of the Alps," Dr. Alexis
Muston, Vol. I, pp. 349, 350.
These people suffered
tortures too terrible to mention, which only devils in human form could
have invented. The towns in the beautiful valleys were left smoldering
ruins. A few people saved themselves by flight to the mountains.
DESTRUCTION -- In
1686 another terrible edict was issued against them, and
an army raised to exterminate them. And again it was the same story
of treachery. Gabriel of Savoy himself wrote them: "'Do
not hesitate to lay down your arms; and be assured
that if you cast yourselves upon the clemency of his royal highness,
he will pardon you, and that neither your persons nor those of your
wives or children shall be touched."' -- " Israel of the Alps,"
Alexis Muston, Vol. I, P. 445.
The Waldenses accepted
the official document in good faith and opened their entrenchments.
But the Catholic officials, true to the nature of their church doctrines,
rushed in and butchered men, women, and children in cold blood. Unspeakable
tortures were inflicted on the innocent people, while a few escaped
to the mountains. All the towns of the valleys were smoldering and charred
ruins. Rome had at last quenched the ancient lamp. "The
school of the prophets in the PRA del Tor is razed. No smoke is seen
rising from cottage, and no psalm is heard ascending from dwelling or
sanctuary. . . . and no troop of worshipers, obedient to the summons
of the Sabbath bell, climbs the mountain paths." -- " History
of the Waldenses," Wylie, p. 173.
As these exiled
Waldenses fled from country to country, they were persecuted and harassed,
but they sowed the seeds of truth as they went. Let us now consider
the experiences of other
branches of the apostolic church, that were scattered by persecution
and by early missionary endeavors to the outskirts of civilization.
(See the chapter "Wycliffe, Huss," etc.) TOP
-- We know from
several sources that Christianity entered the British Isles in apostolic
times. (Colossians 1: 23.) Rev. Richard Hart, B. A., Vicar of Catton,
says: "That the light
of Christianity dawned upon these islands in the course of the first
century, is a matter of historical certainty." -- " Ecclesiastical
Records," p. vii. Cambridge: 1846. Tertullian,
about 200 A. D., included the Britons among the many nations which believed
in Christ, and he speaks of places among "the Britons -- inaccessible
to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ." -- " Answer to the Jews,"
chap. vii. Dr.Ephraim ~~~~~ Dr. Ephraim Pagit ~~~~~~~~~~~~, in his "
Christianography," printed in London, 1640, gives an interesting
account of the early Christians in these islands.
Before the church
in the British Isles was forced under the papal yoke, it was noted for
its institutions of learning. The Rev. Mr. Hart says:
learning and piety flourished in these islands during the period of
their independence is capable of the most satisfactory proof, and Ireland
in particular was so universally celebrated, that students flocked thither
from all parts of the world." -- "Ecclesiastical Records,"
He says, some came
to " Ireland for the sake
of studying the Scriptures." -- Id., p. xi.
COMING OF PATRICK -- Patrick, a son of a Christian family
in southern Scotland, was carried off to Ireland by pirates about 376
A. D. Here, in slavery, he gave his heart to God and, after six years
of servitude, escaped, returning to his home in Scotland. But he could
not forget the spiritual need of these poor heathen, and after ten years
he returned to Ireland as a missionary of the Celtic
p 135 -- church.
"He had now reached his thirtieth year [390 A. D.]." -- "The
Ancient British and Irish Churches," William Cathcart, D. D., p.
Dr. E. Pagit says
that "Saint Patricke had in
his day founded there 365 churches." -- " Christianography,
"Part 2, p. 10.
Dr. August Neander
says of Patrick: "The
place of his birth was Bonnaven, which lay between the Scottish towns
Dumbarton and Glasgow, and was then reckoned to the province of Britain.
This village, in memory of Patricius, received the name of Kil-Patrick
or Kirk-Patrick. His father, a deacon in the village church, gave him
a careful education. " -- " General History of the Christian Religion
and Church," Vol. II, p. 122. Boston: 1855.
writes in his "Confession": "
I , Patrick, . . . had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son of
the late Potitus, the presbyter. . . . I was captured. I was almost
sixteen years of age . . . and taken to Ireland in captivity with
many thousand men." -- "The Ancient British and Irish Churches,"
William Cathcart, D. D., p. 127. TOP
NOT A CATHOLIC -- To those who have heard of Patrick only
as a Catholic saint, it may be a surprise to learn that he was not a
Roman Catholic at all, but that he was a member of the original Celtic
church. There is no more historic evidence for Patrick's being a Roman
Catholic saint, than for Peter's being the first pope. Catholics claim
that Pope Celestine commissioned Patrick as a Roman Catholic missionary
to Ireland; but William Cathcart, D. D., says:
is strong evidence that Patrick had no Roman commission in Ireland."
"As Patrick's churches
in Ireland, like their brethren in Britain, repudiated the supremacy
of the popes, all knowledge of the conversion of Ireland through his
ministry must be suppressed [by Rome, at all cost.]" -- Ibid.,
p 136 -- The
popes who lived contemporary with Patrick never mentioned him. "There
is not a written word from one of them rejoicing over Patrick's additions
to their church, showing clearly that he was not a Roman missionary.
. . . So completely buried was Patrick and his work by popes and other
Roman Catholics, that in their epistles and larger publications, his
name does not once occur in one of them until A. D. 634." -- Id.,
"Prosper does not
notice Patrick. . . . He says nothing of the greatest success ever given
to a missionary of Christ, apparently because he was not a Romanist."
-- Id., p. 84.
"Bede never speaks
of St. Patrick in his celebrated 'Ecclesiastical History.' --
Id., p. 85.
But, writing of
the year 431, Bede says of a Catholic missionary: "
Palladius was sent by Celestinus, the Roman pontiff, to the Scots [Irish]
that believed in Christ." -- "Ecclesiastical History," p.
22. London: 1894.
But this papal
emissary was not received any more favorably by the church in Ireland,
than was Augustine later received by the Celtic church of Scotland,
for "he left because he did
not receive respect in Ireland." -- " The Ancient British and
Irish Churches," William Cathcart, D. D., p. 72.
No Roman Catholic
church would have dared to ignore a bishop sent them by the pope.
This proves that the churches in the British Isles did not recognize
the pope. TOP
Dr. Todd says:
"The 'Confession' of St. Patrick
contains not a word of a mission from Pope Celestine. One object of
the writer was to defend himself from the charge of presumption in having
undertaken such a work as the conversion of the Irish, rude and unlearned
as he was. Had he received a regular commission from the see of Rome,
that fact alone would be an unanswerable reply. But he makes no mention
of Pope Celestine, and rests his defense altogether on the divine
call which he believed himself to have received for his work." --
Id., pp. 81, 82.
p 137 --
"Muirchu wrote more than two
hundred years after Patrick's death. His declaration is positive that
he did not go to Rome." -- Id., p. 88.
There are three
reasons why Patrick could not have been a Roman Catholic missionary:
1. -- Early Catholic historians and popes avoided mentioning
Patrick or his work; until later legendary histories represented him
as a Catholic Saint.* 2. -- When papal missionaries arrived
in Britain, 596 A. D., the leaders of the original Celtic church refused
to accept their doctrines, or to acknowledge the papal authority, and
would not dine with them. (Compare 1 Corinthians 5: 11; 2 John 8-11.)
They "acted towards the Roman party exactly 'as if they had been pagans.'"
-- "Ecclesiastical Records," by Richard Hart, pp. viii,
xiv. 3. -- The doctrines of the Celtic church of Patrick's
day differed so widely from those of the Roman church, that the latter
could not have accepted it as "Catholic." Patrick must have been a Sabbath-keeper,
because the churches he established in Ireland, as well as the mother
church in Scotland and England, followed the apostolic practice of keeping
the seventh-day Sabbath, and of working on Sunday, as we soon shall
see. But this was considered deadly heresy by the Papacy.
-- Another leader in the Celtic church deserves to be mentioned:
Columba, who was born in Ireland, A. D. 521. Animated by the zeal and
missionary spirit he found in the schools established by Patrick, Columba
continued the work of his predecessor, and selecting twelve fellow workers,
he established a missionary center on the island of Iona. This early
Celtic church sent its missionaries not only among the heathen Picts
of their own country, but also into the Netherlands, France, Switzerland,
Germany, and Italy. This Sabbath-keeping church (as did their Waldensian
brethren) kept the torch of truth burning during the long, dark night
of papal supremacy, till finally they
* -- These
legendary histories of St. Patrick, written during the Dark Ages,
are so full of childish superstition and fabricated miracles, that
they have to be rejected as actual history. TOP
p 138 -- were
conquered by Rome in the twelfth century. Professor Andrew Lang says
of them: "
They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner." --
"A History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation," Vol. I, p.
96. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1900.
Dr. A. Butler says
of Columba: "Having
continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly
foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his
disciple Diermit: 'This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the rest
day, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labors.
' " -- "Butler's Lives of the Saints," Vol. I, A. D. 597,
art. "St. Columba," p. 762. New York: P. F. Collier.
In a footnote to
Blair's translation of the Catholic historian, Bellesheim, we read:
"We seem to see here an allusion
to the custom, observed in the early monastic Church of Ireland, of
keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or the Sabbath." -- " History
of the Catholic Church in Scotland," Vol. I, p. 86.
C. Moffatt, D. D., Professor of Church History at Princeton, says: "It
seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times,
in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath,
as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally
upon the seventh day of the week." -- " The Church in Scotland,"
p. 140. Philadelphia: 1882.
But the church
of Rome could never allow the light of pure apostolic Christianity to
shine anywhere, for that would reveal her own religion to be apostasy.
Pope Gregory I, in 596, sent the imperious monk Augustine, with forty
other monks, to Britain. Dr. A. Ebrard says of this "mission": "Gregory
well knew that there existed in the British Isles, yea, in a part of
the Roman dominion, a Christian church, and that his Roman messengers
would come in contact with them. By sending these messengers, he was
not only intent upon the conversion of the heathen, but from the very
beginning he was
p 139 -- also
bent upon bringing this Irish-Scotch church, which had hitherto been
free from Rome, in subjection to the papal chair." -- "Bonifacius,"
p. 16. Guetersloh, 1882. (Quoted in Andrews' "History of the Sabbath,"
fourth edition, revised and enlarged, 532). TOP
influence, and with magnificent display, the Saxon king, Ethelbert of
Kent, consented to receive the pope's missionaries, and "Augustine baptized
ten thousand pagans in one day" by driving them in mass into the water.
Then, relying on the support of the pope and the sword of the Saxons,
Augustine summoned the leaders of the ancient Celtic church, and demanded
of them: "'Acknowledge the
authority of the Bishop of Rome.' These are the first words of the Papacy
to the ancient Christiaps of Britain." They
meekly replied: "'The only submission we can render him is that
which we owe to every Christian.' " -- "History of the Reformation,"
D'Aubigne, Book XVII, chap. 2. "'But as for further obedience, we
know of none that he, whom you term the Pope, or Bishop of Bishops,
can claim or demand.'" -- " Early British History," G.
H. Whalley, Esq., M. P., p. 17 (London: 1860): and " Variation of
Popery," Rev. Samuel Edger, D. D., pp. 180-183, New York: 1849.
Then in 601, when the British bishops finally refused to
have any more to do with the haughty messenger of the pope, Augustine
proudly threatened them with secular punishment. He said:
"'If you will not have peace
from your brethren, you shall have war from your enemies; if you will
not preach life to the Saxons, you shall receive death at their hands.'
Edelfred, King of Northumbria, at the instigation of Augustin, forthwith
poured 50,000 men into the Vale Royal of Chester, the territory of Prince
of Powys, under whose auspices the conference had been held. Twelve
hundred British priests of the University of Bangor having come out
to view the battle, Edelfred directed his forces against them as they
stood clothed in their white vestments and totally unarmed, watching
the progress of the
battle -- they were massacred to a man. Advancing to the university
itself, he put to death every priest and student therein,
p 140 -- and
destroyed by fire the halls, colleges, and churches of the university
itself; thereby fulfilling, according to the words of the great Saxon
authority called the Pious Bede, the prediction, as he terms it, of
the blessed Augustine. The ashes of this noble monastery were smoking;
its libraries, the collection of ages, having been wholly consumed."
-- " Early British History," G. H. Whalley, Esq., M. P., p.
18. London: 1860. See also "Six Old English Chronicles," pp.
275, 276; edited by J. A. Giles, D. C. L. London: 1906. TOP
of Augustine: "A national
tradition among -the Welsh for many ages pointed to him as the instigator
of this cowardly butchery. Thus did Rome loose the savage Pagan against
the primitive church of Britain." -- " History of the Reformation,"
D'Aubigne, book 17, chap. 2.
This was a master
stroke of Rome, and a great blow to the native Christians. With their
university, their colleges, their teaching priests, and their ancient
manuscripts gone, the Britons were greatly handicapped in their struggle
against the ceaseless aggression of Rome. Still they continued the struggle
for more than five hundred years longer, till finally, in the year 1069,
Malcolm, the King of Scotland, married the Saxon princess, Margaret,
who, being an ardent Catholic, began at once to Romanize the primitive
church, holding long conferences with its leaders. She was assisted
by her husband, and by prominent Catholic officials. Prof. Andrew Lang
Scottish Church, then, when Malcolm wedded the sainted English Margaret,
was Celtic, and presented peculiarities odious to the English lady,
strongly attached to the establishment as she knew it at home. . . .
The Celtic priests must have disliked the interference of an Englishwoman.
" First there was
a difference in keeping Lent. The Kelts did not begin it on Ash Wednesday.
. . . They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a sabbatical manner."
-- " History of Scotland," Vol. I, p. 96.
William F. Skene
next point was that they did not duly reverence the
p 141 --
Lord's day, but
in this latter instance they seem to have followed a custom of which
we find traces in the early Monastic Church of Ireland, by which they
held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their
labours." -- " Celtic Scotland," Vol. II, P. 349. Edinburgh:
David Douglas, printer, 1877.
"They held that
Saturday was properly the Sabbath on which they abstained from work."
-- Id., p. 350.TOP
"They were wont
also to neglect the due observance of the Lord's day, prosecuting their
worldly labours on that as on other days, which she likewise showed,
by both argument and authority, was unlawful. " -- Id., p.
UNDER QUEEN MARGARET -- Professor Andrew Lang relates the
same fact thus: "The
Scottish Church, then, when Malcolm wedded the saintly English Margaret,
was Celtic, and presented peculiarities odious to an English lady, strongly
attached to the Establishment as she knew it at home. . . .
"They worked on
Sunday, but kept Saturday in a sabbatical manner. . . . These things
Margaret abolished." -- " A History of Scotland from the Roman
Occupation," Vol. I, p. 96. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1900.
The Catholic historian,
Bellesheim, says of Margaret:
queen further protested against the prevailing abuse of Sunday desecration.
'Let us,' she said, 'venerate the Lord's day, inasmuch as upon it our
Saviour rose from the dead: let us do no servile work on that day.'
The Scots in this matter had no doubt kept up the traditional practice
of the ancient monastic Church of Ireland which observed Saturday, rather
than Sunday, as a day of rest." -- " History of the Catholic Church
in Scotland," Vol. I, pp. 249, 250.
Finally the queen,
the king, and three Roman Catholic dignitaries held a three-day council
with the leaders of the Celtic church. Turgot, the queen's confessor,
was another custom of theirs to neglect the reverence
p 142 -- due
to the Lord's day, by devoting themselves to every kind of worldly business
upon it, just as they did upon other days. That this was contrary to
the law, she proved to them as well by reason as by authority. 'Let
us venerate the Lord's day,' said she, 'because of the resurrection
of our Lord, which happened upon that day, and let us no longer do servile
works upon it; bearing in mind that upon this day we were redeemed from
the slavery of the devil. The blessed Pope Gregory affirms the same,
saying: "We must cease from earthly labour upon the Lord's day."' .
. . From that time forward . . . no one dared on these days either to
carry any burdens himself or to compel another to do so." -- " Life
of Queen Margaret," Turgot, Section 20; cited in "Source Book,"
p. 506, ed. 1922.
Thus Rome triumphed
at last in Scotland. In Ireland also the Sabbath-keeping church established
by Patrick was not long left in peace: "Giraldus
Cambrensis informs us that in the year 1155 [Henry II, King of England,
was entrusted by Pope Adrian IV with the mission of] invading Ireland
[with devastating war] to extend the boundaries of the church,
[so that even the Irish would become] faithful to the Church of Rome."
wrote Henry: "'You,
our beloved son in Christ, have signified to us your desire of invading
Ireland, . . . and that you are also willing to pay to St. Peter the
annual sum of one penny for every house. We therefore grant a willing
assent to your petition, and that the boundaries of the Church
may be extended. . . . permit you to enter the island.' "
-- "Ecclesiastical Records of England, Ireland, and Scotland,"
Rev. Richard Hart, B. A., pp. xv, xvi. TOP
Thus we see, that
in Scotland an English queen "introduced
changes which, in Ireland, came in the wake of conquest and the sword.
For example, the ecclesiastical novelties which. St. Margaret's influence
gently thrust upon Scotland, were accepted in Ireland by the Synod of
Cashel (1172) under Henry IL Yet there remained, in the Irish Church,
a Celtic and an Anglo-Norman party, 'which hated one another with as
p 143 --
hatred as if they rejoiced
in the designation of Protestant and Papist.' " -" History of
Scotland," Andrew Lang, Vol. 1, p. 97.
But whether this
triumph of Catholicism over the' native Celtic faith was accomplished
by the devastating wars of Henry II, or by Queen Margaret's appeal to
Pope Gregory, and her threat of the civil law, in either case it lacked
an appeal to plain Bible facts, accompanied by the convicting power
of the Holy Spirit. And, while the leaders of the Celtic church
might reluctantly yield to the civil authorities, the people,
who had kept the Bible Sabbath for centuries, requested divine authority
for Sunday-keeping. For some time the papal missionaries, who preached
this strange gospel to the Britons, fabricated all kinds of stories
about miraculous punishments that had befallen those who worked on Sunday:
Bread baked on Sunday, when it was cut, sent forth a flow of blood;
a man plowing on Sunday, when cleaning his plow with an iron, had it
grow fast to his hand, so that he had to carry it around to his shame
for two years.
LETTER FROM CHRIST -- When the Abbot Eustace, 1200 A. D.,
was continually confronted with requests for a divine command for Sunday-keeping,
he finally retired to Europe, and returned the next year with a spurious
letter from Jesus Christ, claimed to have fallen down from heaven upon
St. Simon's altar at Golgotha. This letter declared: "I
am the Lord. . . . It is my will, that no one, from the ninth hour on
Saturday [3 P. M.] until sunrise on Monday, shall
do any work. . . . And if you do not pay obedience to this command,
. . . I swear to you . . . I will rain upon you stones, and wood, and
hot water, in the night. . . . Now, know ye, that you are saved by the
prayers of my most holy Mother, Mary." -- "Roger de Hoveden's
Annals," Vol. II, pp. 526, 527, Bohn's edition. London: 1853.
In that superstitious
age such childish fabrications might, to some extent, satisfy some
people, but four hundred years later the trouble flared up again.
p 144 -- "Upon
the publication of the 'Book of Sports' in 1618, a violent controversy
arose among English divines on two points: first, whether the Sabbath
of the fourth commandment was in force among Christians; and, secondly,
whether, and on what ground, the first day of the week was entitled
to be distinguished and observed as 'the Sabbath.' In 1628 Theophilus
Brabourne, a clergyman, published the first work in favor of the seventh
day, or Saturday, as the true Christian Sabbath. He and several others
suffered great persecution. " -- Haydn's Dictionary of Dates,
art. "Sabbatarians," p. 602. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1883.
ministers arose in England about this time who defended the Bible Sabbath,
and who were bitterly persecuted by the state church. John Trask was
put in prison; his wife, a schoolteacher of a devout Christian character,
remained in prison for fifteen years. On November 26, 1661, John James,
a godly Sabbath-keeping preacher, was hanged for advocating the Sabbath
truth, "and his head was set upon a pole opposite the meeting house
in which he had preached the gospel. " -- "History
of the Baptists," Dr. J. M. Cramp, p. 351. London: Elliot Stock,
Dr. Thomas Bampfield,* who had been speaker in one of Cromwell's parliaments,
wrote two books defending the seventh-day Sabbath (1692, 1693), but
he also was imprisoned. In 1664, Edward Stennet, an English minister,
wrote a book entitled: "The Seventh Day Is the Sabbath of the Lord."
But like the rest, he had to spend a long time in prison. In 1668 he
wrote the following letter to his Sabbath-keeping brethren in America:
a poor unworthy servant of Jesus Christ, to the remnant in Rhode Island,
who keep the commandments of God, and the testimonies of Jesus, sendeth
* -- See
Robert Cox's "Literature of the Sabbath Question," Vol. II,
p 145 -- "I
rejoice in the Lord on your behalfs that He hath been graciously pleased
to make known to you His holy Sabbath in such a day as this, when truth
falleth in the streets, and equity cannot enter. And with us we can
scarcely find a man that is really willing to know whether the Sabbath
be a truth or not, and those who have the greatest parts, have the least
anxiety to meddle with it.
"We have passed
through great opposition for the truth's sake, repeatedly from our brethren,
which makes the affliction heavier; I dare not say how heavy, lest it
should seem incredible; but the Lord has been with us, affording us
strength according to our day. And when lovers and friends seem to be
moved far from us, the Lord was near us, comforting our souls, and quickening
us, with such quick and eminent answers to our prayers, has encouraged
and established us in the truth for which we suffer. But the opposers
of truth seem much withered, and at present the opposition seems declining
away; the truth is strong, and this spiritual fiery law will burn all
those thorns which men set up before it. For was there ever any ceremonial
law given us? But this law was given from the mouth of God, in the ears
of so many thousands -- written on tables of stone with His own finger
-- promised to be written on the tables of their hearts and confirmed
by a miracle for the space of forty years in the wilderness, the manna
not keeping good any other day but the Sabbath. . . .
"It is our duty
as Christians, to carry it with all meekness and tenderness to our brethren,
who, through the darkness of their understanding in this point, differ
from us. We have abundant reason to bless our dear Father, who hath
opened our eyes to behold the wonders in His law, while many of His
dear servants are in the dark; but the Lord has in this truth as in
others, first revealed it unto babes, that no flesh shall glory in His
presence. Our work is to be at the feet of the Lord in all humility,
crying unto Him, that we may be furnished with all grace to fit us for
His work; that we may be instruments in His
p 146 -- hands,
to convince our brethren (if the Lord will) who at present differ from
us. . . ."Truly,
dear brethren, it is a time of slumbering and sleeping with us, though
God's rod is upon our backs. Oh! pray for us to the Lord, to quicken
us, and set us upon watch-towers. Here are, in England, 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. The Lord alone be exalted,
for the Lord has done this, not for our sakes, but for His own name's
sake. My dear brethren, I write these lines at a venture, not knowing
how they will come to your hand. I shall commit them and you to the
blessing of our dear Lord, who hath loved us, and washed away our sins
in His own blood. If these lines come to you safely, and I shall hear
from you, hereafter I will write to you more largely. The grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Original History of the Religious Denominations, I.
Daniel Rupp, p. 71. Philadelphia:
HUSS, AND ZINZENDORF
and the devastating wars which the popes and the Councils directed against
the Albigenses and Waldenses during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
had scattered some of them over Europe, where they settled mostly in
Germany, Poland, and Bohemia. "Others turning to the west obtained refuge
in Britain." * Everywhere these God-fearing people worked quietly
for the salvation of souls, and thus prepared the way for the Reformation.
But the books of heaven alone contain the true record of the work done
by these humble Waldenses.
"John Wycliffe was
the herald of reform, not for England alone, but for all Christendom.
The great protest against Rome which it was permitted him to utter,
was never to be silenced. That protest opened the struggle which was
to result in the emancipation of individuals, of churches, and of nations."
-- " The Great Controversy, "pp. 79, 80.
In Bohemia, Huss
and Jerome were, in their labor, animated by the writings of Wycliffe,
so that the light of truth, which the Papacy had quenched in the "Vallies"
was flaring up in England and Bohemia. Dr. Fr. Nielsen, of Denmark,
says of the papal opposition: "The
struggle against the Waldenses . . . was as nothing compared to the
trouble that broke out in the Bohemian church when Wycliffism had taken
root in that country. . . . About the year 1400 Jerome, MA, of Prague
had been at Oxford, and from thence had brought with him to Prague Wycliffe's
'Dialogus' and 'Trialogus,' and in 1403 John Huss stepped out openly
as one of Wycliffe's disciples. " -- " Haandbog i Kirkens Historie,"
* -- See
" Dissertation on the Prophecies," by Bishop Thomas Newton,
p. 518, and "History of the Evangelical Churches of . . . Piedmont,"
by Samuel Morland, Esq., p 191, (London, 1658).
p 148 -- (Handbook
of Church History), Vol. II, p. 874, ed. of 1893. Copenhagen.
After Huss was
burned, July 6, 1415, and Jerome, May 30, 1416, their work of reform
was carried on by their followers. But they were divided into two
camps, the conservative of Prague, and the radical of Tabor. Dr. Nielson
continues: "All Hussites
were agreed upon yielding obedience to the 'law of God.' . . . Those
of Prague . . . rejected only that which conflicted with the law of
God, [while the] Taborites . . . would acknowledge only what was expressly
mentioned in the Scriptures . . . . The Taborites read the Scriptures
with their own eyes . . . . The radical party rejected all holidays,
even Sunday . . . . Some longed for the condition of the apostolic
times . . . . The religious enlightenment among the Taborites was
great, and their women had a better knowledge of the Scriptures than
the Italian priests. . . . In Germany the Waldenses had, without doubt,
as in Bohemia, several places prepared the way for the Hussitism.
" If any one after
the middle of the fifteenth century wanted to find genuine disciples
of Wycliffe and Huss in Bohemia he had to go to the eastern border where
the remnant of the Taborites, as 'the quiet in the land' in strict discipline
endeavored to follow the law of God. At the close of the fifteenth century
there were in Bohemia and Moravia about two hundred churches of the
'Brethren,' who rejected all connection with the Roman church and had
their own ministers and bishops, who through a Waldensian Bishop from
Austria believed they had preserved the apostolic succession. . . .
Time and again they were subject to bloody persecutions. " -- Id.,
pp. 886 - 888; 896, 897.
We shall now show
that these Waldensian and Hussite brethren were Sabbath-keepers. Dr.
R. Cox says: " I find from
a passage in Erasmus that at the early period of the Reformation when
he wrote, there were Sabbatarians in Bohemia, who not only kept the
seventh day, but were said to be . . . scrupulous in resting on it."
Erasmus' statement follows:
"Now we hear that among the Bohemians a new kind of Jews has
p 149 --
observe the Sabbath." -- " Literature of the Sabbath Question,"
Cox, Vol. II, pp. 201, 202.
Bishop A. Grimelund
of Norway speaks of them as
"the anciently arisen, but later vanished sect of Sabbatarians in Bohemia,
Moravia, and Hungary." -- " Sondagens Historie" (History
of Sunday), pp. 46, 47. Christiania: 1886.
About the year
1520 many of these Sabbath-keepers found shelter on the estate of
Lord Leonhard, of Lichtenstein,
"as the princes of Lichtenstein held to the observance of the true
Sabbath." -- " History of the Sabbath," J. N. Andrews, p.
649, ed. 1912. Lord Leonhard asked the Sabbatarians to
submit to him a statement of their belief, which was sent to Wolfgang
Capito, a leading Strassburg Reformer, and to Caspar Schwenkfeld.
This document is lost, but Schwenkfeld's answer to it (printed in
1599) contains several quotations from it, showing that their arguments
for the seventh day were much the same as those used by Seventh-day
Adventists today. In 1535 they were driven from their homes by persecution,
but "once more they were
granted respite." Finally
in 1547 the king of Bohemia, yielding to the constant urging of the
Roman church, expelled them. "The Jesuits contrived to publish
this edict just before harvest and vintage. . . . They allowed them
only three weeks and three days for their departure; it was death
to be found even on the boarders of the country beyond the expiration
of the hour. . . . At the border they filed off, some to Hungary,
some to Transylvania, some to Wallachia, others to Poland." --
See J. N. Andrews, "History of the Sabbath," pp. 641-649. TOP
ZINZENDORF -- Scattered and torn by persecution, the old
sect of Moravian Brethren wandered about till about the year 1720 Count
Zinzendorf invited them to his estate, later called Herrnhut. He began
to keep the Sabbath, and became the leader of these Brethren and the
head of a great missionary movement. Bishop A. G. Spangenberg says of
p 150 -- "He
loved to stick to the plain text of the Scriptures,
believing that rather simplicity than art is required to understand
it. When he found anything in the Bible stated in such plain language
that a child could understand, he could not well bear to have one depart
from it." -- "Leben Des Grafen Zinzendorf " (Life
of Count Zinzendorf), pp. 3, 546, 547,1774.
In 1738 Zinzendorf
wrote of his keeping the Sabbath thus: "That
I have employed the Sabbath for rest many years already, and our Sunday
for the proclamation of the gospel -- that I have done without design,
and in simplicity of heart." -- "Budingsche Sammlung," Sec.
8, p. 224. Leipzig: 1742.
some of Zinzendorf's reasons for keeping the seventh day holy: "On
the one hand, he believed that the seventh day was sanctified and set
apart as a rest day immediately after creation; but on the other hand,
and principally, because his eyes were directed to the rest of our Saviour
Jesus Christ in the grave on the seventh day." -- " Leben Des
Grafen Zinzendorf " pp. 5, 1422, note.
In 1741 he journeyed
to Bethlehem, Pa., where some Moravian Brethren had settled. Of his
work there Spangenberg relates: "As
a special instance it deserves to be noticed that he is resolved with
the church at Bethlehem to observe the seventh day as rest day. The
matter had been previously considered by the church council in all its
details, and all the reasons pro and con were carefully weighed, whereby
they arrived at the unanimous agreement to keep the said day as Sabbath."
-- Id., pp. 5, 1421, 1422. (See also "Varnhagen von Ense
Biographische Denkmale," pp. 5, 301. Berlin: 1846.
The church records
of the Bethlehem Moravian Church (now in the Moravian Seminary archives,
and dated June 13 0. S., or June 24 N. S., 1742) has this paragraph:
is to be observed in quietness and in fervent communion with the Saviour.
It is a day that was given to all
p 151 -- nations
according to the law for rest, for the Jews observed it not so much
as Jews as human beings."
IN THE UNITED STATES -- But even in the United States,
Sabbath-keepers had endured more or less persecution, and when, on
the second of October, 1798, a member of their Ephrata society was
haled into court for working on Sunday, the judge read a letter, which
George Washington wrote to the Baptists of Virginia, dated August
4, 1798, in which he assured them of full religious liberty. It was
not easy, however, for the people to grasp the truth that religious
liberty is an inherent right, and that governments are instituted
to protect the individual in his God-given rights, and that church
and state are to be kept separate. (Luke 20: 25.) The champions of
liberty had a long, hard fight to secure the adoption and ratification
of the Federal Constitution and its First Amendment, and it will take
the utmost watchfulness by the friends of freedom to retain the liberty
When the Constitution
was drafted and made its appearance, the friends of religious liberty,
especially those who had been oppressed under the religious establishments
of the colonies, felt that liberty of conscience was not sufficiently
secured by the proposed Constitution. While Article 6 forbade religious
tests as a qualification for office under the government, there was
no gauranty against religious tests and religious intolerance to those
not in office. So on May 8, 1789, the United Baptist churches of
Virginia addressed a communication to George Washington, in which they
gave expression to the prevailing fears in this matter. Washington replied
as follows: "If I could have
entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed
by the convention where I had the honor to preside might possibly endanger
the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would
never have placed my signature to it; and if I could now conceive that
the general government might ever be so administered as to render the
liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded that no
one would be more
p 152 -- zealous
than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual
tyranny and every species of religious persecution. For, you doubtless
remember, I have often expressed my sentiments that any man, conducting
himself as a good citizen and being accountable to God alone for his
religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according
to the dictates of his own conscience." -- " History
of the Baptists," Thomas Armitage, D. D., pages 806, 807.
About a month later,
James Madison, with the approval of George Washington, introduced in
the first Congress that met under the new Constitution, the first ten
amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, the first of which
enjoins Congress from all religious legislation. It is as follows: "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of
the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Thus the champions
of liberty secured for the citizens of the new republic full liberty
of conscience to worship, freedom of speech and of the press, and
it will take eternal vigilance to retain these rights unimpaired.
See "American State Papers," William Addison
Blakely, pp. 152, 153, revised edition. Washington, D. C.: 1911.
ORIGIN -- We
shall now briefly trace the apostolic Christian Sabbath-keepers from
Antioch in Syria to their farthest mission stations in old China. Thomas
Yeates in his "Indian Church History" (London: 1818), has collected
from several sources statements that all agree on the points he presents,
that the apostle Thomas traveled through Persia into India, where he
raised up many churches. "From
thence he went to China, and preached the gospel in the city of Cambala,
[which is] supposed to be the same with Pekin, and there he built a
church. " -- " Indian Church History
" p. 73.
" In the year 1625, there was found in a town near Si-ngan-fu, the metropolis
of the province of Shin-si, a stone having the figure of a cross, and
inscriptions in two languages, . . . Chinese and Syriac. . . as follows:
'This Stone was erected to the honor and eternal ,memory of the law
of light and truth brought from Ta-Cin, and promulgated in China.'
[The inscription consists of 736 words, giving] a summary of the fundamental
articles of the Christian faith." -- Id., pp. 86-88.
That the missionaries
who brought the gospel to China were Sabbath-keepers can be seen by
the following extract from the inscription: "
the seventh day we offer sacrifice, after having purified our
hearts, and received absolution for our sins. This religion, so perfect
and so excellent, is difficult to name, but it enlightens darkness by
its brilliant precepts." -- "Christianity in China," M. l'Abbe
Huc, Vol. I, chap. 2, pp. 48, 49, seq. New York: 1873.
Returning to India
we shall find traces of the Sabbath among those churches also. And they
had retained the Bible in the ancient language used by the church at
Antioch, where the name
"Christians" originated. (Acts 11: 26.)
p 154 -- "
It was in these sequestered
regions that copies of the Syriac Scriptures found a safe asylum from
the search and destruction of the Romish inquisitors, and were found
with all the marks of' ancient purity." -- " Indian Church History,"
T. Yeates, p. 167. " Whatever
may be the future use and importance of those manuscripts, one thing
is certain, and that is, they establish the fact that the Syrian Christians
of India have the pure unadulterated Scriptures in the language of the
ancient church of Antioch, derived from the very times of the Apostles.
" -- Id.,p. 169.
shows that they kept "Saturday,
which amongst them is a festival day, agreeable to the ancient practice
of the church." -- Id., pp. 133, 134. TOP
of India and Persia had evidently received their faith from the same
source as the other Christians of India. Rev. Claudius Buchanan, D.
D., says of them: "The Armenians
in Hindostan are our own subjects. . . . They have preserved the Bible
in its purity; and their doctrines are, as far as the Author knows,
the doctrines of the Bible. Besides, they maintain the solemn observance
of Christian worship, throughout our Empire, on the seventh day; and
they have as many spires pointing to heaven among the Hindoos, as we
ourselves." -- " Christian Researches in Asia," p. 143. Philadelphia:
another branch of the original Christians of' India, can add one more
link to this evidence. Samuel Purchas, the noted geographer and compiler,
said of them: "They keep Saturday
holy, nor esteem the Saturday fast lawful, but on Easter even. They
have solemn service on Saturdays, eat flesh, and feast it bravely, like
the Jews." -- "Pilgrimmes," Part 2, Book 8, chap. 6, p. 1269.
London: 1625. (We must remember that the papal church demanded
all to fast on the Sabbath, but these Christians refused to obey her.)
J. W. Massie says
of these Indian Christians: "
Remote from the busy haunts of commerce, or the populace seats of manufacturing
industry, they may be regarded as the
p 155 --
Eastern Piedmontese, the Vaudois of Hindustan, the witnesses prophesying
in sackcloth through revolving centuries, though indeed their bodies
lay as dead in the streets of the city which they had once peopled."
-- " Continental india," Vol. 2, p. 120.
PERSECUTION -- Mr. Massie further says of these Christians:
from the Western world for a thousand years, they were naturally ignorant
of many novelties introduced, by the councils and decrees of the Lateran;
and their conformity with the faith and practice of the first ages
laid them open to the unpardonable guilt of heresy and schism, as
estimated by the church of Rome. ' We are Christians, and not idolaters,'
was their expressive reply when required to do homage to the image
of the Virgin Mary. . . . LaCroze states them at fifteen hundred churches
and as many towns and villages. They refused to recognize the pope,
and declared they had never heard of him; they asserted the purity
and primitive truth of their faith since they came, and their bishops
had for thirteen hundred years been sent, from the place where the
followers of Jesus were first called Christians. " -- Id.,
Vol. II, pp. 116, 117. TOP
When the Portuguese
(Roman Catholics) came to Malabar, India, in 1503, "they
were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian churches
on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity
and simplicity of their worship, they were offended. ' These churches,'
said the Portuguese, 'belong to the Pope.' ' Who is the Pope?' said
the natives, ' we never heard of him.' The European priests were yet
more alarmed, when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained
the order and discipline of a regular church under Episcopal jurisdiction:
and that, for 1300 years past, they had enjoyed a succession of Bishops
appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. ' We,' said they, 'are of the
true faith, whatever you from the West may be; for we came from the
place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians."
-- " Christian
p 156 --
Researches in Asia,"
Claudius Buchanan, D. D., p. 60. Philadelphia: 1813.
met the Portuguese as natural friends and allies, and rejoiced at
their coming: -- but the Portuguese were much disappointed at finding
the St. Thome Christians firmly fixed in the tenets of a primitive
church; and soon adopted plans for drawing away from their pure faith
this innocent, ingenuous, and respectable people." -- " Indian
Church History," Thomas Yeates, p. 163. London: 1818.
When the Jesuit,
Francis Xavier, and his colaborers, were sent to India, they displayed
the true spirit of Romanism. "The
Inquisition was set up at Goa, in the Indies, at the instance of Francis
Xaverius, who signified by letter to Pope [King] John III, Nov. 10,
1545, ' that the Jewish wickedness spread every day more and more in
the parts of the East Indies, subject to the kingdom of Portugal, and
therefore he earnestly besought the said king, that to cure so great
an evil, he would take care to send the office of the Inquisition into
those countries. [Accordingly the Inquisition was erected there.] The
first Inquisitor was Alexius Diaz Falcano, sent by Cardinal Henry, March
15, A. D. 1560. . . . The language of F. Xavier, used on this occasion,
is truly suspicious, and that under the mask of correcting ' the Jewish
wickedness,' is rather to be construed an avowed design against the
liberties, the independence, and the firmness of the native Christians
of Malabar, who refused to acknowledge the Pope's supremacy, and with
a true Protestant zeal bravely resisted the Catholic tyranny." --
Id., pp. 139, 140.
The Jewish wickedness " of which Xavier complained was evidently
the Sabbath-keeping among those native Christians, as we shall see in
our next quotation. When one of these Sabbath-keeping Christians was
taken by the Inquisition, he was accused "
of having Judaized; which means, having conformed to the ceremonies
of the Mosaic law; such as not eating pork, hare, fish without scales,
&c., of having attended the solemnization of the Sabbath." --
" Account of the Inquisition at Goa," Dellon, p. 56. London:
p 157 -- "
The Inquisitors, by degrees, begin to urge him in this way -- 'If thou
hast observed the law of Moses, and assembled on the Sabbath
day as thou sayest, and thy accusers have seen thee there, as appears
to have been the case; to convince us of the sincerity of thy repentance,
tell us who are thine accusers, and those who have been with thee at
Dellon then suggests
that in the mind of the Inquisitors " the witnesses of the Sabbath
are considered as accomplices." -- Id., p. 58.
Some have thought
that these Sabbath-keepers were relapsed Jews, but Dellon declares:
an hundred persons condemned to be burnt as Jews, there are scarcely
four who profess that faith at their death; the rest exclaiming and
protesting to their last gasp that they are Christians, and have been
so during their whole lives." -- Id., p. 64. TOP
"The prisoner, who
was entirely innocent, would be given over to the civil arm to be burned,
unless he confessed the very crimes of which he was accused, and signed
his confession, and also named six or seven of his accusers. But, not
being told who they were, he might have to name many before striking
the right ones, and, as his accusers were supposed to have been eyewitnesses
to his Sabbath-keeping, they might be Sabbath-keepers, who, like himself,
were in the clutches of the Inquisition. His only hope, therefore, was
to name some of his brethren, who would then be taken by the inquisitors,
and forced to repeat the experience to free themselves. Thus the prison
would be filled with people who were tortured for guilt of which they
were innocent, or to remain in solitary confinement and terrible suspence
and agony of mind until the Auto DA Fe, or public burning, which took
place every two or three years. " -- Id., pp. 53-60, 67.
whether they were released or executed, their property was confiscated
to the Inquisition. Dr. C. Buchanan says:
" When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their purpose,
they invaded these tranquil Churches, seized some of the Clergy, and
devoted them to the death of heretics. . . .
p 158 -- They
seized the Syrian Bishop Mar Joseph, and sent him prisoner to Lisbon:
and then convened a Synod at one of the Syrian Churches called Diamper,
near Cochin, at which the Romish Archbishop Menezes presided. At this
compulsory Synod 150 of the Syrian Clergy appeared. They were accused
of the following practices and opinions: ' That they had married wives;
that they owned but two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper; that
they neither invoked Saints, nor worshipped Images, nor believed in
Purgatory; and that they had no other orders of names of dignity in
the church, than Bishop, Priest, and Deacon.' These tenets they were
called on to abjure, or to suffer suspension from all Church benefices.
It was also decreed that all Syrian books on ecclesiastical subjects
that could be found, should be burned; 'in order,' said the Inquisitors,
' that no pretended apostolical monuments may remain."' -- " Christian
Researches in Asia," p. 60.
The papacy had
adopted the policy that all remains of the pure, apostolic church, whether
persons or books, should be carefully eradicated, so that no trace of
them might betray the sad fact that the Roman church had fallen away
from the apostolic purity. And she, has also tried to destroy all accounts
of her persecution during the Dark Ages, so that her tracks would be
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Step 5 (Part 3 of 4) - Facts