(Revised) Copyright, 1943
NEW TESTAMENT REST DAY
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. (V. 31.)
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
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:
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.,
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
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 it.
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.
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
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 and Strong's
Cyclopedia says of him: "He is generally considered
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,"
says of the year 391 A. D:
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.
footnote which accompanies the foregoing quotation explains
the use of the word "Sabbath." It says:
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 layman
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.
Peter Heylyn says:
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.)
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. TOP
Joseph Bingham, M. A., says:
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.
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.
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.
T. H. Morer (a Church of England divine) says:
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
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
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, 1879.
EXAMPLE AND COMMAND OF JESUS
Zahn further says in regard to the early Christians:
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. 13, 14.
Grimelund of Norway (Lutheran) says:
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
87 -- to do otherwise." -- "Sondagens Historie"
p. 13. Christiania, Norway: Den norske Lutherstiftelses
After citing the fact that Christ arose on the first day,
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. TOP
John C. L. Gieseler says:
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 History,"
Vol. I, chap. 2, sec. 30, p. 92. Edinburgh: 1846.
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
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.
-- 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.)
-- "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.
-- "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.
fourth text we will examine a little later.) TOP
-- 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 Testament.
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.
-- "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 fourth text.
-- "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.)
-- 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. (Vs 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
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
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.
and Howson write:
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.
Sunday was their holy day, why then would Paul stay with
the brethren at Troas seven days, and leave them on
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.)
-- "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.
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
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 which
92 -- the Lord has designated as His day, is the seventh.
(Exodus 20: 10; Isaiah 58: 13; Mark 2: 28.) TOP
"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.
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.
Peter Heylyn remarks:
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.
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 conclusion:
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.
93 -- The learned Dr. John Kitto sums up those texts
in the following words:
far, 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.
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
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
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:
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?
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.)
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.
A WORKING DAY
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
96 -- the exercises being ended" in the church. (Id.,
pp. 80, 81.) And of the Christians of the East he says:
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.
Sunday 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.
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.
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.
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 says: "The profound
respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman mysteries,
and the extraordinary sanctity that was at-
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
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.
a very short time, the customs of Mithraism became incor-
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,
soon 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: "The 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.
Introductory 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.
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."
pre-eminence 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
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." --
100 -- "The Mysteries of Mithra," pp. 167,
191. Chicago: Open Court Pub. Co., 1911.
Gilbert Murray, MA, D.Litt., LL.D., F.B.A., Professor of
Greek in Oxford University, says: "Now, 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. . . .
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.
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.
H. Morer makes a similar acknowledgment. He says: "Sunday
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
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
North British Review gives the following reasons
for the Christians' adopting the heathen Sunday: "That 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.
Chafie, 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
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?
2. Most Christians then were either Servants or of the
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. . . .
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
Verstegen, 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.
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.) TOP
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
103 -- Sunday, dedicated to Balder,
became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus." -- " Catholic
World," March, 1894, p. 809.
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 of Europe," Dr. J.
W. Draper, Vol. 1, p. 310. New York: 1876.
reproaches had been made earlier, for Tertullian answers
them, making the following admission: "Others, 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:
had 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,
104 -- Part II, chap. 4, par. 2, footnote
(Dr. A. Maclaine's 2-vol. Ed., p. 66). New York: 1871. TOP
Newman says: "Confiding 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. . . .
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.
superstitions 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, 378.
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., p. 379.
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., p. 379.
terrible nature of these sensual gratifications of the
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 flight."
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 2: 1-7.) 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: 1873.
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?"
106 -- -- "Samlede Skrifter i Udvalg,
" Andreas Helland, Vol. I, PP - 842, 343. Minneapolis, Minn.:
Farquhar 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
107 -- Literature of the Sabbath Question,"
Robert Cox, Vol. II, pp. 369,370. TOP
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. .
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 this subject.
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, and
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
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....
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:
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.
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." -- Id.,
Pp. 47, 48.
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
Constantine 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
Sunday 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
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 York: 1884.
A. Chr. Bang (Lutheran bishop, Norway), says: "This 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:
Constantine 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: 1916.
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.
is clearly seen when we carefully examine all the circumstances
presented by Dr. Lewis:
Constantine's Sunday edict was given March 7, 321.
111 -- very next day he issued an edict commanding purely
heathen superstition. We quote:
" 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. TOP
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.
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:
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. 24.
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
facts combine to show that Sunday legislation was purely
pagan in its origin." -- Id., p. 31.
this law he only sought to give additional honor to the
'venerable day' of his patron deity, the sun-god." -- Id.,
attitude toward Christianity was that of a shrewd politician
rather than a devout adherent."-- Id., p. 6.
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.
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.
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. . .
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:
1821. Page 154 in the edition of 1690. TOP
obtained 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.
gave the following instruction to the bishops
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.
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.
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.,
bishop 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: "All 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";
115 -- "Literature on the Sabbath Question,"
Robert Cox, Vol. I, p. 361. TOP
Eusebius evidently 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
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
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:
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.
H. H. Milman says: "Even 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.
declares that "many are elected on account of their
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
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.
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.
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. . . .
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.
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: "From the 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: 1640.
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. 1.
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.
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. 1912. TOP
118 -- 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 chapter.
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.
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. TOP
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.,
W. S. Gilly, an English clergyman, after much research,
wrote a book entitled: "Vigilantius and His Times,"
giving the same information.
Catholic writers try to evade the apostolic origin of the
Waldenses, so as to make it appear that the Roman is the
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:
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.
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.
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. London: 1827.
Roman Inquisitor, Reinerus Sacho, writing about 1230 A.
D., says: "The 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
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
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.
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
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:
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.' . . .
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:
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.
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
123 -- to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being
done on the Sabbath day. . . .
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.
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
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 of
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. London:
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]. . . .
from one of the disciples of Valdo, called loseph [Joseph],
who preached in Dauphiney in the diocesse of Dye, they were
called Iosephists [Josephites]. . . .
one of their pastors who preached in Albegeois, named Arnold
Hot, they were called Arnoldists. . . .
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.
because they were alwayes exposed to continuall sufferings,
from the Latin word Pati, which signifieth to suffer, they
called them Patareniens.
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.
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
a learned German historian (A. D. 1576-1635) says of them:
They were called "Insabbatati, not because they were
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.)
Benedict, 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.
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.
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
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
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.
alone will reveal how many precious manuscripts have been
destroyed by Rome in its effort to blot out all traces of
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
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.
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.
Waldenses and Albigenses were quiet and industrious
128 -- people, and followed the Bible standard of morality,
which actually caused their persecution. TOP
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.
fact, amid the license of the Middle Ages ascetic virtue
was apt to be regarded as a sign of heresy." -- Id.,
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 says: "The 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.
Philippus 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-
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 substance.'
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.
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
-- Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. " Raymond
Vl, " p. 670.
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.
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.,
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
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.
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:
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. TOP
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.
Little 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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.)
134 -- 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.
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: "That 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," p. viii.
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
135 -- church. "He had now reached his thirtieth year
[390 A. D.]." -- "The Ancient British and Irish
Churches," William Cathcart, D. D., p. 70.
E. Pagit says that "Saint Patricke had in his day founded
there 365 churches." -- " Christianography, "Part
2, p. 10.
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.
himself 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: "There is strong evidence that Patrick had no
Roman commission in Ireland."
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.]" -- Id., p. 85.
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., p. 83.
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.
never speaks of St. Patrick in his celebrated 'Ecclesiastical
History.' -- Id., p. 85.
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.
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.,
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
James 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.
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
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
political 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
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.
says 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.
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 says: "The 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.
F. Skene says: "Her next point was that they did not duly
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.
held that Saturday was properly the Sabbath on which they
abstained from work." -- Id., p. 350.TOP
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. 348.
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. .
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.
Catholic historian, Bellesheim, says of Margaret: " The
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,
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, says: "It was another
custom of theirs to neglect the reverence
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.
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." The pope 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
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 perfect a
143 -- hatred as if they rejoiced in the designation
of Protestant and Papist.' " -" History of Scotland,"
Andrew Lang, Vol. 1, p. 97.
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:
that superstitious age such childish fabrications might,
to some extent, satisfy some people, but four hundred years
later the trouble flared up again. TOP
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,
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, 1868. 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
"Abington, Berkshire, England,
Stennet, 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 greeting:
-- See Robert Cox's "Literature of the Sabbath Question,"
Vol. II, pp. 86-91.TOP
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.
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. . . .
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
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
"An Original History of the Religious Denominations,
I. Daniel Rupp, p. 71. Philadelphia: 1844. TOP
HUSS, AND ZINZENDORF
147 -- The
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
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.
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).
148 -- (Handbook of Church History), Vol.
II, p. 874, ed. of 1893. Copenhagen.
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. TOP.
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.
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 arisen called
149 -- Sabbatarians, who observe the Sabbath." --
" Literature of the Sabbath Question," Cox, Vol.
II, pp. 201, 202.
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.
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 him:
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.
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:
gives 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.
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.
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: "The Sabbath
is to be observed in quietness and in fervent communion
with the Saviour. It is a day that was given to all
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 there guaranteed.
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
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.
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."
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.
153 -- APOSTOLIC 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.
the missionaries who brought the gospel to China were Sabbath-keepers
can be seen by the following extract from the inscription:
" On 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.
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.)
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.
Thomas Yeates 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
The Armenians 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: 1813.
The Jacobites, 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.)
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
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: "Separated 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
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
156 -- Researches in Asia," Claudius
Buchanan, D. D., p. 60. Philadelphia: 1813.
Christians 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. TOP
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: 1815.
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 these assemblies."'
then suggests that in the mind of the Inquisitors "
the witnesses of the Sabbath are considered as accomplices."
-- Id., p. 58.
have thought that these Sabbath-keepers were relapsed Jews,
but Dellon declares: "Of 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
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.
And 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.
. . .
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.
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 covered up.
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