2 of 4)
By CHRISTIAN EDWARDSON
(Revised) Copyright, 1943
NEW TESTAMENT REST DAY
p 80 --Christ
is "the way, the truth, and the life." John 14: 6. He has gone
all the way before us, "leaving us an example, that ye should
follow His steps" (I Peter 2:21), and "he that saith he abideth
in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John
2: 6), and all will admit that the footsteps of Jesus cannot lead
any one astray. Let us therefore agree to follow His steps in
regard to Sabbath observance. He worked as a "carpenter" at Nazareth
during "the six working days," but rested on the seventh-day Sabbath.
(Mark 6: 2, 3; Ezekiel 46: 1; Luke 4: 16.) And after He began
His ministry, He faithfully continued His Sabbath-keeping. (V.
taught His disciples that such necessary work as eating, healing
the sick, or lifting a sheep out of a pit, was lawful to
do on the Sabbath days (Matthew 12: 1-12), He thereby acknowledged
the claims of the Sabbath law, which makes ordinary work
not lawful on that day. It was "the Spirit of Christ" in
the prophets (I Peter 1: 10, 11) who instructed His people to
"bear no burden on the Sabbath day" through the gates of Jerusalem
(Jeremiah 17: 21, 22, 27). And when fore-telling the destruction
of that city (which took place A. D. 70) Jesus warned His disciples
saying: "But pray ye that your flight be not . . . on the Sabbath
day." Matthew 24: 20. This warning was not, as some would have
us believe, on account of the gates being closed on that day,
for in the same connection Jesus says: "Let him which is on the
housetop not come down."' V. 17. But how could he flee without
coming down from the housetop? There can be only one answer. There
was an elevated road from one flat roof to another on which they
could flee till they reached the wall, where they could be let
down. (See Acts 9: 25; Joshua 2: 15; 1 Samuel 19: 12.) In such
a case closed
p 81 --
gates could hardly come into consideration. This instruction
shows Christ's sacred regard for the Sabbath, and His anxiety
that His church should keep it properly. A Lutheran minister says:
" When God gave
the third [fourth] commandment,
. . . He designated definitely the seventh day, which already
had been sanctified by Him at creation, as this rest day. And
as Christ says that He had not come to destroy the law (Matthew
5: 17), so He has also in the words of His last prophetic speech
(Matthew 24: 20), which has reference to the destruction of Jerusalem,
and the flight of the Christian church from the
doomed city, expressly emphasized the Sabbath, or Saturday, as
the still valid rest day, by saying: 'Pray, that your flight be
not on the Sabbath' (on which day ye according to the third [fourth]
commandment should rest, and not undertake any long journey).
For this reason many godly Christians have solemnly upbraided
the Christian church for keeping Sunday instead of Saturday: it
[the church] can have no right to change God's commandment, and,
if in the catechism the whole commandment had been embodied verbatim
in its entire wording from Exodus 20: 8-11, as has been done in
the Heidelberg Catechism, then we should still keep the Saturday
holy, and not the Sunday." -- ''Opbyggelig Katekismus
undervisning," ("Edifying Instruction in the Catechism,")
K. A. Dachsel, pp. 23, 24. Bergen: 1887.
on the Sabbath day.' The Jewish Christians might entertain scruples
against traveling on the Sabbath beyond the legal distance, which
was about five furlongs." -- "A
Commentary on the Gospels of Matthew and Mark," John J. Owen,
D. D., LL. D., p. 314. New York: Scribner and Co., 1868.
so carefully instructed His followers about proper Sabbath-keeping,
that they would not even anoint His sacred body on the Sabbath.
They "prepared spices and ointments" on Friday, "and rested the
Sabbath day according to the commandment,"
but early the next morning, " the first day of the week, "
they came to the grave to anoint Him. (Luke 23:52-56; 24:1.) They
left their work unfinished from Friday evening
p 82 --
until Sunday morning, because they "rested the Sabbath day
according to the commandment." Luke wrote this thirty-five years
after the resurrection. Some claim that the Sabbath was abolished
at the cross, and that therefore the Sabbath commandment is not
mentioned in the New Testament. But here we find the Sabbath commandment
in the New Testament, and we find that it enjoins the keeping
of the "Sabbath" which comes between Friday and the "first day
of the week" and that Christ's followers were keeping it.
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
or the apostles had changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the
first day of the week, does it not seem strange that they never
informed us about it in the New Testament, which is the only record
they left us? Could they have neglected to inform us regarding
so important a matter? Paul declares emphatically: "I kept back
nothing that was profitable unto you." Acts 20: 20. History reveals
that most of the Christian church kept the seventh-day Sabbath
till the seventh century.
SABBATH IN HISTORY
p 83 --
As we continue our study of the Sabbath question, we shall first
consult an eyewitness, who had traveled over the greater part
of Christendom: Socrates, the Greek historian, who was born about
380 A. D. M'Clintock and
says of him: "He is
the most exact and judicious of the three continuators of the
history of Eusebius, being less florid in his style and more careful
in his statements than Sozomen, and less credulous than Theodoret.
'His impartiality is so strikingly displayed,' says Waddington,
'as to make his orthodoxy questionable to Baronius, the celebrated
Roman Catholic historian; but Valesius, in his life, has shown
that there is no reason for such suspicion.'" -- Vol.
IX, art. "Socrates," p. 854.
says of the year 391 A. D: "For
although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate the
sacred mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the Sabbath of every week,
yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some
ancient tradition, refuse to do this. The Egyptians in the neighborhood
of Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Thebais, hold their religious
meetings on the Sabbath, but do not participate of the mysteries
in the manner usual among Christians in general: for . . . in
the evening . . . they partake of the mysteries. " -- "Ecclesiastical
History," Book 5, chap. 22, page 289. London: G. Bell and
which accompanies the foregoing quotation explains the use of
the word "Sabbath." It says: "That
is, upon the Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never
called 'the Sabbath' (to sabbaton)
by the ancient Fathers and historians. . . . The Latins kept the
Sabbath as a fast, the Greeks as a feast; and the 64th of the
Apostolical Canons forbids any of the clergy to fast on the Sabbath
(Saturday) under pain of being deposed, and likewise a lay-
p 84 --
under the penalty of excommunication." -- Id., p. 289.
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.
Heylyn says: "
Innocentius did ordaine the Saturday or Sabbath to be alwayes
fasted. . . . It was by him intended for a binding law. [Most
of the churches refused, however, to obey him.] And in this difference
it stood a long time together, till in the end of the Roman
Church obtained the cause, and Saturday became a fast,
almost through all the parts of the Westerne world. I say the
Westerne world, and of that alone: The Easterne
Churches being so farre from altering their ancient custome, that
in the sixth Councell of Constantinople, Anno 692, they
did admonish those of Rome to forbeare fasting on that
day, upon pain of censures. Which I have noted here, in its proper
place, that we might know the better how the matter stood betweene
the Lord's Day, and the Sabbath; how hard a thing
it was for one to get the mastery of the other." -- "
History of the Sabbath," part 2, chap. 2, pp. 44, 45. London:
1636. (The original spelling is retained.)
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
Here we can readily see that it was not changed at the time
of the apostles. TOP
Bingham, M. A., says:
p 85 --
"The ancient Christians
were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh
day, which was the ancient Jewish Sabbath. Some observed it as
a fast, others as a festival; but all unanimously agreed in keeping
it as a more solemn day of religious worship and adoration. In
the Eastern church it was ever observed as a festival, one only
Sabbath excepted, which was called the Great Sabbath, between
Good Friday and Easter-day. . . . From hence it is plain, that
all, the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world,
observed the Sabbath as a festival. . . . Athanasius likewise
tells us, that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath,
not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus,
the Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same." --
" Antiquities of the Christian, Church," Vol. II, Book
XX, chap. 3, Sec. 1, pp. 1137, 1138. London: 1852.
PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANS -- Bishop Jeremy Taylor says:
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.
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,"
D. D., LL. D., p. 255. New York: 1883.
Dr. T. H.
Morer (a Church of England divine) says: "'The
primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and
spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is
not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles
themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose."
-- "Dialogues on the Lord's Day," p. 189. London: 1701.
p 86 --
Dr. Theodore Zahn (Lutheran Professor in Theology at the University
of Erlangen) says: "The
Apostles could not have conceded to any other than one man the
right to 'change the customs Moses had given:' the Son of Man,
who had called Himself Lord also of the Sabbath day; but of Him
they knew that He had neither transgressed nor abolished the Jewish
Sabbath, but truly sanctified it. And they knew also, how He had
threatened any of His disciples who might dare to abolish even
one of the least of the commands of Moses.
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.
AND COMMAND OF JESUS -- Dr. Zahn further says in regard to
the early Christians: "They
observed the Sabbath in the most conscientious manner: otherwise,
they would have been stoned. Instead of this, we learn from the
book of the Acts that at times they were highly respected even
by that part of their own nation that remained in unbelief. .
. . That the observance,of Sunday commenced among them would be
a supposition which would have no seeming ground for it, and all
probability against it. . . . The Sabbath was a strong tie which
united them with the life of the whole people, and in keeping
the Sabbath holy, they followed not only the example, but also
the command of Jesus."Geschichte des Sonntags, " pp.
of Norway (Lutheran) says: "The
early Christians were of Jewish descent, and the first Christian
church in Jerusalem was a Jewish-Christian church. It conformed,
as could be expected, to the Jewish law and Sabbath-custom; it
had no express instruction from the Lord
p 87 --
to do otherwise."
-- "Sondagens Historie" p. 13. Christiania, Norway:
Den norske Lutherstiftelses Forlag, 1886.
the fact that Christ arose on the first day, he continues:
"But, one could reason, that for all this it does not follow
that one should give up and forsake the 'Sabbath' which God If
has commanded, . . nor that we should transfer this to another
day of the week, even if that is such a memorable day. To do this
would require an equally definite command from God, whereby the
former command is abolished, but where can we find such a command?
It is true, such a command is not to be found." --
Id., p. 18. TOP
C. L. Gieseler says: "
While the Jewish Christians of Palestine retained the entire Mosaic
law, and consequently the Jewish festivals, the Gentile Christians
observed also the Sabbath and the passover
(1 Corinthians 5: 6 - 8), with reference to the last scenes of
Jesus' life, but without Jewish superstition." -- " A Compendium
Vol. I, chap. 2, sec. 30, p. 92. Edinburgh: 1846.
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
"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
-- "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.
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.
p 89 --
6. -- "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early,
when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher." John 20: 1. This is
simply a repetition of the other texts.
"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.
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. (7, 25.) Besides
this, the believers gathered "daily," breaking bread" (Acts 2:
46), so there was nothing in the act to indicate that the day
was holy. Then too, the meeting at Troas was held on Saturday
night. In the Bible reckoning, every day begins and ends at
sunset, because God began the work of
p 90 --
creation with the dark part and ended the day with the light
part. "The evening and the morning were the first day." Genesis
1: 1-5. "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your
Sabbath." Leviticus 23: 32. TOP
"And at even,
when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased."
Mark 1: 32. They would not bring them until after the Sabbath;
but "at even, when the sun did set," the first working day of
the week began. Therefore the Sabbath began at sunset Friday,
and ended at sunset Saturday, and the first day of the week began
at sunset on our Saturday evening, and ended at sunset on our
Sunday evening. The only dark part of the first day, was therefore
the night that preceded it, as the night following it was part
of the second day. The meeting at Troas was held at night, for
"there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they
were gathered together," and Paul "continued his speech until
midnight." Being "the first day of the week," it must have been
our Saturday night. (Acts 20: 7, 8.) Having spent the Sabbath
together, they simply had a farewell meeting in the evening. Professor
McGarvey says: "I
conclude that the brethren met on the night after the Jewish Sabbath
which was still observed as a day of rest by all of them who were
Jews or Jewish proselytes; and considering this the beginning
of the first day of the week, spent it in the manner above described.
On Sunday morning Paul and his companions resumed their journey.
" -- " Commentary on Acts, under Acts 20: 7.
and Howson write: "It
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.
was their holy day, why then would Paul stay with the brethren
at Troas seven days, and leave them on
p 91 --
Sunday morning to walk eighteen and one-half miles that day,
" for so had he appointed." This was planning quite a work
for Sunday! (Acts 20: 6, 13.)
-- "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.
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 Testament.
LORD'S DAY -- Some claim that "the Lord's day" of Revelation
1: 10, refers to Sunday, but this text does not say which day
is meant, and Sunday is not called the Lord's day in any other
place in the New Testament. There is therefore no evidence that
Sunday is meant here. It is generally agreed that John wrote his
Gospel two years after he wrote Revelation. If the term " Lord's
day " had become the designation for Sunday, when John wrote Revelation,
then he would have used that name for it two years later when
he wrote the Gospel, but he simply calls it " the first day
of the week." John 20: 1. The only day which
92 -- the
Lord has designated as His day, is the seventh. (Exodus 20: 10;
Isaiah 58: 13; Mark 2: 28.) TOP
says: "Many suppose
that they must denominate the first day of the week the 'Lord's
day'; but we have no certain Scripture for this. The phrase
'Lord's day,' occurs but once in the Bible: 'I was in the spirit
on the Lord's day,' and there probably refers to the day
of which Christ said: 'The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath
day,' as the whole book of Revelation has a strong Jewish bearing."
-- " History of the Christian Church," p. 152. Cincinnati:
W. B. Taylor
says: "If a current
day was intended, the only day bearing this definition, in either
the Old or New Testaments, is Saturday, the seventh day of the
week." -- "Obligation of the Sabbath," p. 296.
Heylyn remarks: " Take
which you will, either of the Fathers, or the Modernes, and we
shall find no Lord's day instituted by any Apostolic
Mandate, no Sabbath set on foot by them upon the first
day of the weeke, as some would have it: much lesse than any
such Ordinance should be hence collected, out of the words
of the apostle." -- "History of the Sabbath," (original
spelling), Part 2, p. 27. London: 1636.
CONCLUSION -- Dr.
William Smith, LL. D., after carefully examining all the texts
in the New Testament usually adduced in favor of the first day,
comes to this conclusion: "Taken
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.
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
D. S. Burnet, 1835. TOP
A tract widely
circulated against those who keep the seventh day as the Sabbath
has this to say in its fourteenth proposition:
"If Christians are to keep the Sabbath day, how do you account
for the fact that the apostles preached the gospel in Jerusalem,
Samaria, to Cornelius the Gentile, and to many others, without
commanding a single individual to keep it? Did they under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit fail to instruct their converts?"
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?
But if a
new day (Sunday) was to be instituted among God's people, how
can we account for the fact that the apostles preached the gospel
in Jerusalem, Samaria, to Cornelius the Gentile, and to many others,
without ever mentioning the institution of Sunday in place of
the Sabbath, or ever commanding any one to keep Sunday, the first
day of the week? If the day of rest was changed from the seventh
to the first day of the week, how can we account for the fact
that the New Testament is entirely silent about any such change,
and that the apostles wrote four Gospels, and twenty-one letters
to instruct the churches, besides the Acts and the Revelation,
and never instructed the Christians to keep Sunday, or even mentioned
it with any sacred title, but always as a "week" day; that is,
a work day? Did the apostles, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, fail to instruct their converts properly? (See Acts 20:
The new Christian
institutions of baptism and the Lord's supper are clearly taught
in the New Testament. We can point to the chapter and verse where
they are commanded. Then why should not so important an institution
as a new Christian rest day be mentioned? To this there can be
but one answer: The silence of the New Testament as to any change
of the weekly rest day is an indisputable evidence that no such
change was made till after the New Testament canon was closed.
A WORKING DAY -- Dr. Francis White, Lord Bishop of
Ely, says: " In S. Hieromes
days [420 A. D.], and in the very place where he was residing,
the devoutest Christians did ordinary worke upon the Lord's
day*, when the service of the Church was ended." -- " Treatise
of the Sabbath-Day," p. 219. London: 1636.
Church for more than six hundred yeares
Sunday was called "Lord's Day" in England in the seventeenth century
when Bishop White wrote this; he therefore uses this designation
of the day. Jerome is here spelled Hierome.
p 95 --
after Christ, permitted labour, and gave license to many Christian
people, to worke upon the Lord's-day [Sunday], at such houres,
as they were not commanded to bee present at the publike service,
by the precept of the church." -- Id., pp. 217, I8.
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.
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.
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.
says further that the people in the country worked freely on Sunday,
and that those "in populous
cities" " might
lawfully apply themselves to their severall businesses,
p 96 --
the exercises being ended" in
the church. (Id., pp. 80, 81.)
And of the Christians of the East he says: "It
was neere 900 yeares from our Saviour's birth, if not quite so
much, before restraint of husbandry on this day, had beene first
thought of in the East: and probably being thus restrained,
did finde no more obedience there, then it had done before in
the Westerne parts." -- Id., chap. 5, par. 6,
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.
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,
made Mithraism so popular was the fact that the Roman Caesars
adopted it, and the soldiers planted its banner wherever they
went. The higher schools of Greek learning also accepted it, as
did also the nobility, or the better classes of society, which
gave it great prestige. Its"Mysteries" had a bewitching and fascinating
influence on the people. And Sunday, "the venerable day of the
sun," was the popular holiday of Mithraism.
On the other
hand, the primitive Christian religion appeared to the learned
Greek scholastics and their followers of eminent nobility only
as "foolishness" (see 1 Corinthians 1: 18-23), and the Romans
looked down upon the Christians with disdain and utter contempt.
After the Jews had rebelled against the Roman government (Jerusalem
and its temple were destroyed by Titus, A. D. 70, and multitudes
of the Jews were sold as slaves), hatred and contempt for them
had become quite general among the Romans, and everything Jewish
was despised. Thus Sunday, in the Roman world, stood for what
was eminent and popular, while the Sabbath, kept by the Jews,
stood for what was despised and looked down upon. The temptations
placed before an aspiring Man, therefore, lay all in one direction.
Dr. J. L. Mosheim says: "The
profound respect that was paid to the Greek and Roman mysteries,
and the extraordinary sanctity that was at-
p 98 --
tributed to them, were additional circumstances that induced the
Christians to give their religion a mystic air, in order to put
it upon an equal footing, in point of dignity, with that of the
Pagans. For this purpose, they gave the name of mysteries
to the institutions of the Gospel, and decorated particularly
the holy sacrament with that solemn title. They used in that sacred
institution, as also in that of baptism, several of the terms
employed in the Heathen mysteries, and proceeded so far, at length,
as even to adopt some of the ceremonies of which those renowned
mysteries consisted. . . . A great part, therefore, of the service
of the Church, in this century, had a certain air of the Heathen
mysteries, and resembled them considerably in many particulars."
-- " History of the Church" (2-vol. Ed.) Vol. I, Cent.
2, part 2, chap. 4, par. 5, p. 67. New York: 1871.
as the church lowered its standards, many of the Greek scholars
accepted Christianity (while they retained their heathen philosophy),
and they carried with them into the church more or less of their
former viewpoint and teaching. Then, as heathenism assailed the
church, and the Roman government persecuted it, these men, such
as Origen, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, et al., wrote "apologies"
and "treatises" to vindicate Christianity. They, however, sadly
mixed heathen sentiments with Christian doctrines, and the church
gradually became permeated with the teachings of these men, who
now had become the new leaders. Dr. Cummings says: "The
Fathers who were really most fitted to be the luminaries of the
age in which they lived were too busy in preparing their flocks
for martyrdom to commit anything to writing. . . . The most devoted
and pious of the Fathers were busy teaching their flocks; the
more vain and ambitious occupied their time in preparing treatises.
If all the Fathers who signalized the age had committed their
sentiments to writing, we might have had a fair representation
of the theology of the church." -- " Lectures on Romanism,"
p. 203; quoted in "History of the Sabbath," J. N. Andrews,
pp. 199, 200.
In a very
short time, the customs of Mithraism became incor-
p 99 --
porated into Christianity. John Dowling, D. D., says: "There
is scarcely anything which strikes the mind of the careful student
of ancient ecclesiastical history with greater surprise, than
the comparatively early period at which many of the corruptions
of Christianity, which are embodied in the Romish system, took
their rise." -- " History of Romanism," Book II, chap.
1, par. 1, p. 65.
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.
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,
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:
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." --
-- "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. . . .
"It had so
much acceptance that it was able to impose on the Christian world
its own Sunday in place of the Sabbath, its Sun's birthday, twenty-fifth
December, as the birthday of Jesus. " -- " History of Christianity
in the Light of Modern Knowledge," Chap. III; cited in "Religion
and Philosophy," pp. 73, 74. New York: 1929.
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.
Morer makes a similar acknowledgment. He says:
being the day on which the Gentiles solemnly adored that planet,
and called it Sunday, . . . the Christians thought fit to keep
the same day and the same name of it, that
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:
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:
a clergyman of the English Church, gives the following reasons
why the early Christians could not continue to keep the Bible
Sabbath among the heathen, nor change the heathen custom from
Sunday to Saturday:
" Christians should not have done well in changing, or in
endeavouring to have changed their [the heathen's] standing service-day,
from Sunday to any other day of the week; and that for these reasons:
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
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 Yard, 1692.
after much research, writes of the heathen nations: "And
it is also respectable, that the most ancient Germans being Pagans,
and having appropriated their first Day of the Week to the peculiar
adoration of the Sun, whereof that Day doth yet in our English
Tongue retain the name of Sunday." -- "Restitution of Decayed
Intelligence in Antiquities," p. 11. London: 1673.
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
It is hardly
fair to accuse the Roman Catholic Church of exchanging God's holy
Sabbath for a heathen festival without giving her the opportunity
to deny or acknowledge this accusation; so we will now let her
state the fact in her own words, frankly. She says: "The
Church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith
against the heathen. . . . She took the pagan Sunday and made
it the Christian Sunday. . . . There is, in truth, something royal,
kingly about the sun, making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun
of Justice. Hence the Church in these countries would seem to
have said, 'Keep that old, pagan name. It shall remain consecrated,
sanctified.' And thus the pagan
-- Sunday, dedicated
to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus." --
" Catholic World," March, 1894, p. 809.
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
Dr. J. W. Draper, Vol. 1, p. 310. New York: 1876.
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: 1896.
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,
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. . . .
reason, the need of holy days for the multitude, is assigned by
Origen, St. Gregory's master, to explain the establishment of
the Lord's Day. . . .
" We are told
in various ways by Eusebius, that Constantine, in order to recommend
the new religion to the heathen, transferred into it the outward
ornaments to ' which they had been accustomed in their own. .
. . Incense, lamps, and candles; . . . holy water; asylums; holy
days and seasons. . . . the ring in marriage, turning to the east,
images . . . are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their
adoption into the Church." -- "Development of Christian
Doctrine, " pp. 371-373. London: 1878.
have sometimes obtained in parts of Christendom from its intercourse
with the heathen. . . . As philosophy has at times corrupted her
divines, so has paganism corrupted her worshipers. " -- Id.,
pp. 377, 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.
nature of these sensual gratifications of the
-- 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." TOP
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.
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
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?"
"Samlede Skrifter i Udvalg, " Andreas Helland, Vol. I,
PP - 842, 343. Minneapolis,
Hook, DD, Vicar of Leeds, expresses the same thought: "The
question is, whether God has ordered us to keep holy the first
day of the week. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are undoubted ordinances
of God; we can quote the chapter and verse in which we read of
their being ordained by God. But as to the Lord's Day [Sunday],
we are not able to refer to a single passage in all the Scriptures
of the New Testament in which the observance of it is enjoined
by God. If we refer to tradition, tradition would not be of value
to us on the point immediately under consideration. The Romanist
regards the tradition of the Church as of authority equal to that
of Scripture. But we are not Romanists. . . . But on this point
there is not even tradition to support us. . . . There is no tradition
that God ordained the first day of the week to be a Sabbath. .
. . The change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday was never
mentioned, or, as far as I can discover, thought of by the early
Christians. The Sabbath, that is to say, the observance of Saturday
as a day to be devoted to God's service, to rest of body and repose
of mind, was an ordinance of God. This ordinance relating to Saturday
could be changed by God and by God only. We, as Protestants, must
appeal to the Bible, and the Bible only, to ascertain the fact
that God has changed the day -- that God has Himself substituted
Sunday for Saturday. . . . It is no answer to this to say that
the apostles seem to have sanctioned the assembly of Christians
for public worship on the Lord's Day, or that St. John in the
Apocalypse speaks of the Lord's Day and may possibly allude to
the Sunday festival. For this is one of those arguments which
prove too much. We ourselves keep Easter Day; this is no proof
that we do not keep Christmas Day, or that Easter has been substituted
for Christmas. And if we have instances of the first day of the
week being kept holy by the apostles, we have more instances of
their observing the Jewish Sabbath." -- " Lord's Day,"
p. 94. London: 1856; quoted in "The
-- Literature of the Sabbath Question," Robert
Cox, Vol. II, pp. 369,370. TOP
T. Hiscox, author of the "Baptist Manual," says:
was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that
Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with
some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the
seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges,
and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject,
which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record
of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament, absolutely
not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath
institution from the seventh to the first day of the week.
" I wish to
say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is the gravest
and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions
which at present claims attention from Christian people; and the
only reason that it is not a more disturbing element in Christian
thought and in religious discussions, is because the Christian
world has settled down content on the conviction that somehow
a transference has taken place at the beginning of Christian history.
. . .
"To me it
seems unaccountable that Jesus during three years' intercourse
with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath
question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing
it from its false glosses, never alluded to any transference of
the day; also that during forty days of His resurrection life,
no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit,
which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever
that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did
the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches,
counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach
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 christened
-- 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.
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....
law about it was given by Constantine the Great, who in the year
321 ordained that all civil and shop work should cease in the
cities, but agricultural labor in the country was permitted. .
. . Still no one thought of basing this command to rest from labor
on the 3rd [4th] commandment before the latter half of the sixth
century. From that time on, little by little, it became the established
doctrine of the church during its 'Dark Ages,' that the holy church
and its teachers, or the bishops with the Roman Pope at their
head, as the Vicar of Christ and His apostles on earth, had transferred
the Old Testament Sabbath with its glory and sanctity over onto
the first day of the week." -- "Report of the Second Ecclesiastical
Meeting in Copenhagen," Sept. 13-15, 1887," P. Taaning,
pp. 40, 41. Copenhagen: 1887.
Grimelund, of Norway, says:
" Now, summing up what history teaches regarding the origin
of Sunday and the development of the doctrine about Sunday, then
this is the sum: It is not the apostles, not the early Christians,
not the councils of the ancient church which have imprinted the
name and stamp of the Sabbath upon the Sunday, but it is the Church
of the Middle Ages and its scholastic, teachers." -- "
Sondagens Historie " (The History of Sunday), p.
37. Christiania: 1886.
"What do we
learn from this historical review? . . . That it is a doctrine
which originated in the papal church that the sanctification of
the Sunday is enjoined in the 3rd [4th] commandment, and that
the essential and permanent in this commandment is a command from
God to keep holy one day in each week." -- Ibid.,
Pp. 47, 48.
-- Constantine had been watching, he
said, those Caesars who had persecuted the Christians, and found
that they usually had a bad end, while his father, who was favorable
toward them, had prospered. So, when he and Licinius met at Milan
in 313 A.
D., they jointly prepared an edict, usually called "The Edict
of Milano," which gave equal liberty to Christians and pagans.
stopped here, he might have been honored as the originator of
religious liberty in the Roman Empire, but he had different aims
in view. The Roman Empire had been ruled at times by two, four,
or even six Caesars jointly, and in his ambition to become the
sole Emperor, Constantine, as a shrewd statesman, soon saw that
the Christian church had the vitality to become the strongest
factor in the empire. The other Caesars were persecuting the Christians.
If he could win them without losing the good will of the pagans,
he would win the game. He therefore set himself to the task of
blending the two religions into one. As H. G. Heggtveit (Lutheran)
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
-- 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.
Dr. A. Chr.
Bang (Lutheran bishop, Norway), says:
Sunday law constituted no real favoritism towards Christianity.
. . . It is evident from all his statutory provisions, that the
Emperor during the time 313 - 323 with full consciousness has
sought the realization of his religious aim: the amalgamation
of heathenism and Christianity. " -- " Kirken
og Romerstaten" (" The Church and the Roman State
"), p. 256. Christiania: 1879.
by his Sunday law intended only to enforce the popular heathen
festival is acknowledged by Professor Hutton Webster, Ph.D. (University
of Nebraska), who says: "This
legislation by Constantine probably bore no relation to Christianity;
it appears, on the contrary, that the emperor, in his capacity
as Pontifex Maximus, was only adding the day of the sun, the worship
of which was then firmly established in the Roman Empire, to the
other ferial days of the sacred calendar." -- "Rest Days,"
p. 122. New York: 1916.
A. H. Lewis,
D. D., who spent years of study and research on this subject,
declares, that "the
pagan religion of Rome had many holidays, on which partial or
complete cessation of business and labor were demanded," and
that Constantine by his Sunday law was "merely adding one
more festival to the festi of the empire." -- " A
Critical History of Sunday Legislation from 321 to 1888 A. D.,
" pp. 8, 12. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1888.
This is clearly
seen when we carefully examine all the circumstances presented
by Dr. Lewis:
Constantine's Sunday edict was given
March 7, 321. The
-- 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.
Dean H. H.
Milman says: "It was
openly asserted that the worship of the sun, under the name of
Elagabalus, was to supersede all other worship. If we may believe
the biographies in the Augustan history, a more ambitious scheme
of a universal religion had dawned upon the mind of the emperor.
The Jewish, the Samaritan, even the Christian, were to be fused
and recast into one great system, of which the Sun was to be the
central object of adoration." -- "History of Christianity,"
Vol. II, Book 2, chap. 8, par. 22, p. 178,179. New York: 1881.
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.
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,
combine to show that Sunday legislation was purely pagan in its
origin." -- Id., p. 31.
"In this law
he only sought to give additional honor to the 'venerable day'
of his patron deity, the sun-god." -- Id., p.
toward Christianity was that of a shrewd politician rather than
a devout adherent."-- Id., p. 6.
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.
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.
-- 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:
say that the blessed Pope Sylvester was the Antichrist, of whom
mention is made in the Epistles of St. Paul, as being the son
of perdition, who extols himself above every thing that is called
God; for, from that time, they say, the Church perished. . . .'
"He lays it
down also as one of their opinions, 'That the Law of Moses is
to be kept according to the letter, and that the keeping of the
Sabbath . . . and other legal observances, ought to take place."'
-- " Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont,"
p. 169. Oxford: 1821. Page
154 in the edition of 1690. TOP
a glimpse of the opposition of God's people to this falling away,
let us now return to our subject, to get a view of the novel means
Constantine employed to make converts in accordance with his amalgamation
scheme. Edward Gibbon says: "The
hopes of wealth and honors, the example of an emperor, his exhortations,
his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among the venal and
obsequious crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace.
. . . As the lower ranks of society are governed by imitation,
the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of
power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes.
The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate,
if it be true that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptized
at Rome . . . and that a white garment,with twenty pieces of gold,
had been promised by the emperor to every convert." -- " Decline
and Fall," chap. par.
gave the following instruction to the bishops
-- 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.
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:
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.
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"; quoted in
on the Sabbath Question," Robert Cox, Vol. I, p. 361. TOP
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 creation instead.
AND NEW CHURCH MEMBERS -- The church at this time consisted
of two widely different kinds of church members: 1. The
old class, with their devoted leaders, had accepted Christianity
in the primitive way, by genuine conversion and separation from
the world, suffering for Christ and His unpopular truth. This
class lived mostly in the country and in out-of-the-way places.
2. The new converts lived mainly in the large cities,
and had come in through a mass movement, following the crowd in
what was most popular, attracted by the hopes of temporal gain
or honor, or they had been forced in by the secular arm. These
were devoid of any personal Christian experience, but constituting
the majority, they elected bishops of their own kind.
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:
of the candidates boasted the honors of his family, a second allured
his judges by the delicacies of a plentiful table, and a third,
more guilty than his rivals, offered to share the plunder of the
church among the accomplices of his sacrilegious hopes. " --
"Decline and Fall," chap. XX, par. 22.
Rev. H. H.
Milman 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.
that "many are elected
on account of their
-- badness, to prevent
the mischief they would otherwise do." -- "History of the
Christian Church," Vol. III, Sec. 49, par. 2, note 5, p. 240.
Even the sanctity of the church was not respected by the fighting
parties. Milman, speaking of the installation of a bishop at Constantinople,
says: "In the morning,
Philip [the prefect of the East] appeared in his car, with Macedonius
by his side in the pontifical attire; he drove directly to the
church, but the soldiers were obliged to hew their way through
the dense and resisting crowd to the altar. Macedonius passed
over the murdered bodies (three thousand are said to have fallen)
to the throne of Christian prelate." -- " History of Christianity,"
Vol. XI, p. 426. New York: 1870. Socrates
("Ecclesiastical History," Bk. II, chap. 17, p. 96) gives
the number slain as 3150 .TOP
Can we wonder
at the lack of spiritual insight and sound judgment of such bishops
when they met at their councils to formulate the creed of Christendom?
They decreed in favor of image worship, purgatory, prayers for
the dead, veneration of relics, and many other heathen customs,
persecuting all who would not fall in line with their mongrel
customs. At the Council of Laodicea, A. D. 364, they anathematized
Sabbath-keepers in the following way:
" Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must
work on that day, rather honoring the Lord's Day; and if they
can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to
be judaizers, let them be Anathema from Christ. " -- Canon
XXIX, "Index Canonum," John Fulton, D. D., LL. D., p. 259.
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.
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. . . .
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.
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.
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.
As late as
791 A. D. Christians kept the Sabbath in Italy. Canon 13 of the
council at Friaul states: "Further,
when speaking of that Sabbath which the Jews observe, the last
day of the week, and which also our peasants observe, He
said only Sabbath, and never added unto it, 'delight,' or 'my'
" -- Mansi, 13, 851; Quoted in "History of the Sabbath,"
N. Andrews, p. 539. 1912.
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,
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.
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:
-- 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.
emblem of the Waldensian church is a candlestick with the motto,
Lux lucet in tenebris ['The light shineth in darkness'].
A candlestick in the oriental imagery of the Bible is a church,
and this church had power from God to prophesy in sackcloth and
ashes twelve hundred and sixty days or symbolic years."
-- Id., p. 17.
Dr. W. S.
Gilly, an English clergyman, after much research, wrote a book
entitled: "Vigilantius and His Times," giving the same
writers try to evade the apostolic origin of the Waldenses, so
as to make it appear that the Roman is the
-- 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.
On the other
hand, he "was called
Valdus, or Waldo, because he received his religious notions from
the inhabitants of the valleys." -- " History of the Christian
Church," William Jones, Vol. II, p. 2. See
also Sir Samuel Morland's "History of the Evangelical
Churches of the Valleys of Piedmont," pp. 29, 30.
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.
Inquisitor, Reinerus Sacho, writing about 1230 A. D., says:
heresy of the Vaudois, or poor people of Lyons, is of great antiquity.
Among all sects that either are, or have been, there is none more
dangerous to the Church, than that of the Leonists, and that for
three reasons: the first is, because it is the sect of
the longest standing of any; for some say that it has been continued
down ever since the time of Pope Sylvester; and others, ever-since
that of the apostles. The second is, because it is the
most general of all sects; for scarcely is there any country to
be found where this sect hath not spread itself. And the third,
because it has the greatest appearance of piety; because, in the
sight of all, these men are just and honest in their transactions,
believe of God what ought to be believed, receive all the articles
-- of the Apostles'
Creed, and only profess to hate the Church of Rome. " -- Quoted
on page 22 of William Stephen Gilly's " Excursion,"
fourth edition. London: 1827. TOP
Now it must
be clear as the noonday sun, that Reinerus would not have written
as he did, if the Waldenses had originated with Peter Waldo, only
seventy-five years before; nor could Waldo's followers have multiplied
and spread over the whole world in so short a time, under great
persecution, and with so slow means of travel.
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
-- to the observation of the commandments of God. Q.
-- How many commandments of God are there? A. -- Ten, as
it appeareth in Exodus and Deuteronomy. . . . Q. -- Upon
what do all these commandments depend? A. -- Upon the two
great commandments, that is to say: Thou shalt love God above
all things, and thy neighbor as thyself." -- " Waldenses,"
Perrin, Part III, Book I, pp. 1-10. (1624 A. D.) "The Glorious
Recovery by the Vaudois," Henri Arnaud, pp. xcvi, xcvii, cv.
London: 1827. TOP
Allix quotes the following from a Roman Catholic author: "'They
say that blessed Pope Sylvester was the Antichrist, of whom mention
is made in the Epistles of St. Paul, as being the son of perdition,
who extols himself above everything that is called God; for, from
that time, they say, the Church perished.' . . .
"He lays it
down also as one of their opinions; 'That the Law of Moses is
to be kept according to the letter, and that the keeping of the
Sabbath, circumcision, and other legal observances, ought to take
place. "' -- "Ancient Churches of Piedmont," p. 169
(page 154, edition of 1690). Oxford: 1821.
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.
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
the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath
day. . . .
"For, if any
one says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs
say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered: he must say, too,
that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still
to be retained." -- " Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers"
(Second Series), Vol. XIII, Book 13, epist. 1, p. 92. New York:
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
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
-- 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: 1818.
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]. . . .
one of the disciples of Valdo, called loseph [Joseph], who preached
in Dauphiney in the diocesse of Dye, they were called Iosephists
[Josephites]. . . .
"Of one of
their pastors who preached in Albegeois, named Arnold Hot, they
were called Arnoldists. . . .
they observed no other day of rest but the Sabbath dayes, they
called them Insabathas, as much as to say, as they observed no
they were alwayes exposed to continuall sufferings, from the Latin
word Pati, which signifieth to suffer, they called them Patareniens.
"And for as
much as like poore passengers, they wandered from one place to
another, they were called Passagenes," -- "Luther's Fore-Runners,"
(original spelling) pp. 7, 8. London: 1624.
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
but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath." "Circumcisi forsan
illi fuerint, qui aliis Insabbatati, non quod circumciderentur,
inquit Calvinista [Goldastus] sed quod in Sabbato judaizarent.
" -- Robert Robinson, in "Ecclesiastical Researches,"
chap, 10, p. 303. (Quoted in "History of the Sabbath,"
J., N. Andrews, p. 412, ed. 1887.)
M. A., says: "
Robinson gives an account of some of the Waldenses of the Alps,
who were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, but more
frequently Inzabbatati. 'One says they were so named from
the Hebrew word Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the
Lord's day. Another says they were so called because they rejected
all the festivals." -- " General History of the Baptist
Vol. II, p. 413. Boston: 1813.
Dr. J. L.
Mosheim says: "
Pasaginians . . . had the utmost aversion to the dominion and
discipline of the church of Rome; . . . and celebrated the Jewish
Sabbath." -- "Ecclesiastical History" (two-volume edition),
Cent. 12, Part 2, Chap. 5, Sec. 14, Vol. I, p. 333. New York:
Harper and Brothers, 1871.
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.
Catholic Church has always had a special enmity toward the Bible
Sabbath and Sabbath-keepers. Mr. Benedict says: "
It was the settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige
of opposition to her doctrines and decrees, everything heretical,
-- whether persons or writings, by which
the faithful would be liable to be contaminated and led astray.
In conformity to this, their fixed determination, all books and
records of their opposers were hunted up, and committed to the
flames." -- " History of the Baptist
Denomination," p. 50. 1849. TOP
Dr. De Sanctis,
who for years was a Catholic official at Rome, and at one time
Censor of the Inquisition, but who later became a Protestant,
reports in his book a conversation of a Waldensian scholar as
he pointed to the ruins of the Palatine Hill at Rome: "'See,'
said the Waldensian, 'a beautiful monument of ecclesiastical
antiquity. These rough materials are the ruins of the two great
Palatine libraries, one Greek and the other Latin, where the precious
manuscripts of our ancestors were collected, and which Pope Gregory
I, called the Great, caused to be burned."' -- " Popery,
Puseyism, Jesuitism," De Sanctis, p. 53.
alone will reveal how many precious manuscripts have been destroyed
by Rome in its effort to blot out all traces of apostolic Christianity.
We have now
seen that the ancient apostolic church, scattered by persecution,
and often in hiding, went under various names. Being peaceful,
virtuous, and industrious citizens, they were tolerated, or even
shielded, by princes who understood their value to the country,
while the Catholic Church hunted them down like wild beasts. After
the Waldenses and Albigenses had lived quietly in France for many
years, Pope Innocent III wrote the following instruction to his
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
-- 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.
and Albigenses were quiet and industrious
-- people, and followed the Bible standard of morality, which
actually caused their persecution. TOP
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.
amid the license of the Middle Ages ascetic virtue was apt to
be regarded as a sign of heresy." -- Id., p. 87.
On the other
hand, the licentious lives of the Catholic clergy placed insurmountable
barriers for a Waldensian ever to become a Catholic. When in 1204
Pope Innocent III sent his commissioners to crush the peaceful
Waldenses and Albigenses in Southern France "with fire and sword,"
these monks returned to the pope asking for help to reform the
lives of the Catholic priests. Lea 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-
-- 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.' TOP
" 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.
completely these heretics Pope Innocent III sent Dominican inquisitors
into France, and also crusaders, promising "a plenary remission
of all sins, to those who took on them the crusade . . . against
the Albigenses." When Raymond VI, Earl of Tholouse, shielded these
innocent people, who were such an asset to his country, he was
" deposed by the pope." * Being frightened by the savage crusaders
Raymond submitted, and
* -- Catholic
Vol. XII, art. " Raymond Vl, " p. 670.
-- the papal legate had him publicly whipped twice till "he
was so grievously torn by the stripes" that he had to leave the
church by a back door. (Id., pp. 98, 100.) He later appealed
to Innocent III. "The pope, however, ceded the estates of Raymond
to Simon de Montfort," (1215)*. Thousands of God's people were
tortured to death by the Inquisition, buried alive, burned to
death, or hacked to pieces by the crusaders. While devastating
the city of Biterre the soldiers asked the Catholic leaders how
they should know who were heretics; Arnold, Abbot of Cisteaux,
answered: "Slay them all, for the Lord knows who is His." --
Id., pp. 98, 101.
In 1216 to
1221 Raymond reconquered his land, and after his death (1221)
his son became Earl, and "the Inquisition was banished from the
country of Tholouse." But Pope Honorius III "proclaimed an holy
war, to be called the 'Penance war,' against the heretics," and
"to subdue the Earl of Tholouse, he sent letters to King Louis
" of France to make war on Raymond, which he did. But treachery,
which has always been one of the most successful weapons of the
Papacy against God's people, had to be resorted to here: When
the Pope's legate saw that he could not take the city of Avignon
by force, he "scrupled
not to adopt the vilest treachery and to practice the basest hypocrisy.
-- He offered to suspend hostilities, and to pave the way for
peace, if the besieged would admit a few priests, only to inquire
concerning the faith of the inhabitants: and those terms being
agreed upon and sealed by mutual oaths; the priests entered, but
in direct violation of their solemn engagement, brought the French
army with them, who thus fraudulently triumphed over the unsuspecting
citizens; they plundered the city, killed or bound in chains the
inhabitants. " -- Id., pp. 104-106.
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
* -- Catholic
Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, art. "Raymond
VI," p. 670. TOP
-- HUNTED LIKE WILD BEASTS -- The
Earl of Tholouse was finally forced to bow to Rome, and God's
people were hunted as wild beasts everywhere. Here are some of
the laws of Louis IX, King of France, A. D. 1229: "
Canon 3. --The lords of the different districts shall have
the villas, houses, and woods diligently searched, and the hiding-places
of the heretics destroyed. Canon 4. -- If any one allows
a heretic to remain in his territory, he loses his possession
forever, and his body is in the hands of the magistrates to receive
due punishment. Canon 5. -- But also such are liable to
the law, whose territory has been made the frequent hiding-place
of heretics, not by his knowledge, but by his negligence. Canon
6. -- The house in which a heretic is found, shall be torn
down, and the place or land be confiscated. Canon 14. --
Lay members are not allowed to possess the books of either the
Old or the New Testament." -- " Hefele's Councils," Vol.
V, pp. 981, 982. ("History of the Sabbath," New, p. 558).
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
-- "A white cloud,
no bigger than a man's hand, unobserved by the Piedmontese, but
keenly watched by the Vaudois, was seen to gather on the mountain's
summit. . . . That cloud grew rapidly bigger and blacker. It began
to descend . . . . It fell right into the chasm in which was the
Papal army . . . . In a moment the host were in night; they .
. . could neither advance nor retreat. [The Waldenses] tore up
huge stones and rocks, and sent them thundering down into the
ravine. The papal soldiers were crushed where they stood. . .
. Panic impelled them to flee, . . . they threw each other down
in the struggle; some were trodden to death; others were rolled
over the precipice, and crushed on the rocks below, or drowned
in the torrent, and so perished miserably." -- " History
of the Waldenses," J. A. Wylie, pp. 48, 49.
In 1544 the
treacherous and heartless Catholic leader, D'Oppede caused the
terrible butchery of thousands of Waldenses. At Cabrieres he wrote
a note to the people, saying that if they would open the gates
of their city he would do them no harm. They, in good faith, opened
the gates, and D'Oppede cried out: "Kill
them all." Men, women, and children were massacred or burned alive.
In 1655 there was another massacre of Waldeuses. After the Catholic
leaders had made several vain attempts to break into the fastnesses
of the mountains where the Waldenses lived, and were defeated,
the Marquis of Pianesse wrote the various Waldensian towns to
entertain certain regiments of soldiers to show their good faith.
These Christian people, who always had such sacred regard for
their own word, never seemed to learn that it is a fundamental
Catholic doctrine, that Catholics need not, and should not, keep
faith with heretics, when the interest of the "Church" is at stake.
After they had sheltered the soldiers, and fed them of their scanty
store, a signal was given at 4 A. M., April 24, 1655, and the
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, half murdered,
-- 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.
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.
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.
exiled Waldenses fled from country to country, they were persecuted
and harassed, but they sowed the seeds of truth as they went.
Let us now consider the experiences of other
branches of the apostolic church, that were scattered by persecution
and by early missionary endeavors to the outskirts of civilization.
(See the chapter "Wycliffe, Huss," etc.) TOP
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.
church in the British Isles was forced under the papal yoke, it
was noted for its institutions of learning. The Rev. Mr. Hart
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.
some came to " Ireland
for the sake of studying the Scriptures." -- Id., p.
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
-- church. "He had
now reached his thirtieth year [390 A. D.]." -- "The
Ancient British and Irish Churches," William Cathcart, D.
D., p. 70.
Dr. E. Pagit
says that "Saint Patricke
had in his day founded there 365 churches." -- " Christianography,
"Part 2, p. 10.
Neander says of Patrick: "The
place of his birth was Bonnaven, which lay between the Scottish
towns Dumbarton and Glasgow, and was then reckoned to the province
of Britain. This village, in memory of Patricius, received the
name of Kil-Patrick or Kirk-Patrick. His father, a deacon in the
village church, gave him a careful education. " -- " General
History of the Christian Religion and Church," Vol. II, p.
122. Boston: 1855.
writes in his "Confession": "
I , Patrick, . . . had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son
of the late Potitus, the presbyter. . . . I was captured. I was
almost sixteen years of age . . . and taken to Ireland in captivity
with many thousand men." -- "The Ancient British and Irish
Churches," William Cathcart, D. D., p. 127. TOP
NOT A CATHOLIC -- To those who have heard of Patrick
only as a Catholic saint, it may be a surprise to learn that he
was not a Roman Catholic at all, but that he was a member of the
original Celtic church. There is no more historic evidence for
Patrick's being a Roman Catholic saint, than for Peter's being
the first pope. Catholics claim that Pope Celestine commissioned
Patrick as a Roman Catholic missionary to Ireland; but William
Cathcart, D. D., says:
is strong evidence that Patrick had no Roman commission in Ireland."
churches in Ireland, like their brethren in Britain, repudiated
the supremacy of the popes, all knowledge of the conversion of
Ireland through his ministry must be suppressed [by Rome, at all
cost.]" -- Ibid., p. 85.
-- 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.
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.
speaks of St. Patrick in his celebrated 'Ecclesiastical History.'
-- Id., p. 85.
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.
papal emissary was not received any more favorably by the church
in Ireland, than was Augustine later received by the Celtic church
of Scotland, for "he
left because he did not receive respect in Ireland." -- " The
Ancient British and Irish Churches," William Cathcart, D.
D., p. 72.
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
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.
-- "Muirchu wrote
more than two hundred years after Patrick's death. His declaration
is positive that he did not go to Rome." -- Id.,
three reasons why Patrick could not have been a Roman Catholic
missionary: 1. -- Early Catholic historians and popes avoided
mentioning Patrick or his work; until later legendary histories
represented him as a Catholic Saint.* 2. -- When
papal missionaries arrived in Britain, 596 A. D., the leaders
of the original Celtic church refused to accept their doctrines,
or to acknowledge the papal authority, and would not dine with
them. (Compare 1 Corinthians 5: 11; 2 John 8-11.) They "acted
towards the Roman party exactly 'as if they had been pagans.'"
-- "Ecclesiastical Records," by Richard Hart, pp.
viii, xiv. 3. -- The doctrines of the Celtic church
of Patrick's day differed so widely from those of the Roman church,
that the latter could not have accepted it as "Catholic." Patrick
must have been a Sabbath-keeper, because the churches he established
in Ireland, as well as the mother church in Scotland and England,
followed the apostolic practice of keeping the seventh-day Sabbath,
and of working on Sunday, as we soon shall see. But this was considered
deadly heresy by the Papacy.
-- Another leader in the Celtic church deserves to
be mentioned: Columba, who was born in Ireland, A. D. 521. Animated
by the zeal and missionary spirit he found in the schools established
by Patrick, Columba continued the work of his predecessor, and
selecting twelve fellow workers, he established a missionary center
on the island of Iona. This early Celtic church sent its missionaries
not only among the heathen Picts of their own country, but also
into the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy.
This Sabbath-keeping church (as did their Waldensian brethren)
kept the torch of truth burning during the long, dark night of
papal supremacy, till finally they
-- These legendary
histories of St. Patrick, written during the Dark Ages, are so
full of childish superstition and fabricated miracles, that they
have to be rejected as actual history. TOP
-- were conquered by Rome in the twelfth century. Professor
Andrew Lang says of them: "
They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner."
-- "A History of Scotland from the Roman Occupation,"
Vol. I, p. 96. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1900.
Dr. A. Butler
says of Columba: "Having
continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly
and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June,
said to his disciple Diermit: 'This day is called the Sabbath,
that is, the rest day, and such will it truly be to me; for it
will put an end to my labors. ' " -- "Butler's Lives of
the Saints," Vol. I, A. D. 597, art. "St. Columba," p. 762.
New York: P. F. Collier.
In a footnote
to Blair's translation of the Catholic historian, Bellesheim,
we read: "We seem to
see here an allusion to the custom, observed in the early monastic
Church of Ireland, of keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or
the Sabbath." -- " History of the Catholic Church in Scotland,"
Vol. I, p. 86.
James C. Moffatt, D. D., Professor of Church History at Princeton,
seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times,
in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath,
as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment
literally upon the seventh day of the week." -- " The Church
in Scotland," p. 140. Philadelphia: 1882.
But the church
of Rome could never allow the light of pure apostolic Christianity
to shine anywhere, for that would reveal her own religion to be
apostasy. Pope Gregory I, in 596, sent the imperious monk Augustine,
with forty other monks, to Britain. Dr. A. Ebrard says of this
well knew that there existed in the British Isles, yea, in a part
of the Roman dominion, a Christian church, and that his Roman
messengers would come in contact with them. By sending these messengers,
he was not only intent upon the conversion of the heathen, but
from the very beginning he was
-- 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).
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
battle -- they were massacred to a man. Advancing to the university
itself, he put to death every priest and student therein,
-- and destroyed
by fire the halls, colleges, and churches of the university itself;
thereby fulfilling, according to the words of the great Saxon
authority called the Pious Bede, the prediction, as he terms it,
of the blessed Augustine. The ashes of this noble monastery were
smoking; its libraries, the collection of ages, having been wholly
consumed." -- " Early British History," G. H. Whalley,
Esq., M. P., p. 18. London: 1860. See also "Six Old English
Chronicles," pp. 275, 276; edited by J. A. Giles, D. C. L.
London: 1906. TOP
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.
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:
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.
Skene says: "Her
next point was that they did not duly reverence the
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.
that Saturday was properly the Sabbath on which they abstained
from work." -- Id., p. 350.TOP
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. . . .
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.
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, 250.
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:
was another custom of theirs to neglect the reverence
-- 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.
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
Thus we see,
that in Scotland an English queen "introduced
changes which, in Ireland, came in the wake of conquest and the
sword. For example, the ecclesiastical novelties which. St. Margaret's
influence gently thrust upon Scotland, were accepted in Ireland
by the Synod of Cashel (1172) under Henry IL Yet there remained,
in the Irish Church, a Celtic and an Anglo-Norman party, 'which
hated one another with as perfect a
-- hatred as if
they rejoiced in the designation of Protestant and Papist.' "
-" History of Scotland," Andrew Lang, Vol. 1, p. 97.
this triumph of Catholicism over the' native Celtic faith was
accomplished by the devastating wars of Henry II, or by Queen
Margaret's appeal to Pope Gregory, and her threat of the civil
law, in either case it lacked an appeal to plain Bible facts,
accompanied by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. And, while
the leaders of the Celtic church might reluctantly yield
to the civil authorities, the people, who had kept the
Bible Sabbath for centuries, requested divine authority for Sunday-keeping.
For some time the papal missionaries, who preached this strange
gospel to the Britons, fabricated all kinds of stories about miraculous
punishments that had befallen those who worked on Sunday: Bread
baked on Sunday, when it was cut, sent forth a flow of blood;
a man plowing on Sunday, when cleaning his plow with an iron,
had it grow fast to his hand, so that he had to carry it around
to his shame for two years.
LETTER FROM CHRIST -- When the Abbot Eustace, 1200
A. D., was continually confronted with requests for a divine command
for Sunday-keeping, he finally retired to Europe, and returned
the next year with a spurious letter from Jesus Christ, claimed
to have fallen down from heaven upon St. Simon's altar at Golgotha.
This letter declared: "I
am the Lord. . . . It is my will, that no one, from the ninth
hour on Saturday [3 P. M.] until sunrise
on Monday, shall do any work. . . . And if you do not pay obedience
to this command, . . . I swear to you . . . I will rain upon you
stones, and wood, and hot water, in the night. . . . Now, know
ye, that you are saved by the prayers of my most holy Mother,
Mary." -- "Roger de Hoveden's Annals," Vol. II, pp.
526, 527, Bohn's edition. London: 1853.
In that superstitious
age such childish fabrications might, to some extent, satisfy
some people, but four hundred years later the trouble flared up
-- "Upon the publication
of the 'Book of Sports' in 1618, a violent controversy
arose among English divines on two points: first, whether the
Sabbath of the fourth commandment was in force among Christians;
and, secondly, whether, and on what ground, the first day of the
week was entitled to be distinguished and observed as 'the Sabbath.'
In 1628 Theophilus Brabourne, a clergyman, published the first
work in favor of the seventh day, or Saturday, as the true Christian
Sabbath. He and several others suffered great persecution. " --
Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, art. "Sabbatarians," p. 602.
New York: Harper and Brothers, 1883.
ministers arose in England about this time who defended the Bible
Sabbath, and who were bitterly persecuted by the state church.
John Trask was put in prison; his wife, a schoolteacher of a devout
Christian character, remained in prison for fifteen years. On
November 26, 1661, John James, a godly Sabbath-keeping preacher,
was hanged for advocating the Sabbath truth, "and his head was
set upon a pole opposite the meeting house in which he had preached
the gospel. " -- "History
of the Baptists," Dr. J. M. Cramp, p. 351. London: Elliot
Dr. Thomas Bampfield,* who had been speaker in one of Cromwell's
parliaments, wrote two books defending the seventh-day Sabbath
(1692, 1693), but he also was imprisoned. In 1664, Edward Stennet,
an English minister, wrote a book entitled: "The Seventh Day
Is the Sabbath of the Lord." But like the rest, he had to
spend a long time in prison. In 1668 he wrote the following letter
to his Sabbath-keeping brethren in America:
"Abington, Berkshire, England,
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
-- "I rejoice in
the Lord on your behalfs that He hath been graciously pleased
to make known to you His holy Sabbath in such a day as this, when
truth falleth in the streets, and equity cannot enter. And with
us we can scarcely find a man that is really willing to know whether
the Sabbath be a truth or not, and those who have the greatest
parts, have the least anxiety to meddle with it.
"We have passed
through great opposition for the truth's sake, repeatedly from
our brethren, which makes the affliction heavier; I dare not say
how heavy, lest it should seem incredible; but the Lord has been
with us, affording us strength according to our day. And when
lovers and friends seem to be moved far from us, the Lord was
near us, comforting our souls, and quickening us, with such quick
and eminent answers to our prayers, has encouraged and established
us in the truth for which we suffer. But the opposers of truth
seem much withered, and at present the opposition seems declining
away; the truth is strong, and this spiritual fiery law will burn
all those thorns which men set up before it. For was there ever
any ceremonial law given us? But this law was given from the mouth
of God, in the ears of so many thousands -- written on tables
of stone with His own finger -- promised to be written on the
tables of their hearts and confirmed by a miracle for the space
of forty years in the wilderness, the manna not keeping good any
other day but the Sabbath. . . .
"It is our
duty as Christians, to carry it with all meekness and tenderness
to our brethren, who, through the darkness of their understanding
in this point, differ from us. We have abundant reason to bless
our dear Father, who hath opened our eyes to behold the wonders
in His law, while many of His dear servants are in the dark; but
the Lord has in this truth as in others, first revealed it unto
babes, that no flesh shall glory in His presence. Our work is
to be at the feet of the Lord in all humility, crying unto Him,
that we may be furnished with all grace to fit us for His work;
that we may be instruments in His
-- hands, to convince
our brethren (if the Lord will) who at present differ from us.
. . ."Truly,
dear brethren, it is a time of slumbering and sleeping with us,
though God's rod is upon our backs. Oh! pray for us to the Lord,
to quicken us, and set us upon watch-towers. Here are, in England,
about nine or ten churches that keep the Sabbath, besides many
scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved in this
tottering day, when many once eminent churches have been shattered
in pieces. The Lord alone be exalted, for the Lord has done this,
not for our sakes, but for His own name's sake. My dear brethren,
I write these lines at a venture, not knowing how they will come
to your hand. I shall commit them and you to the blessing of our
dear Lord, who hath loved us, and washed away our sins in His
own blood. If these lines come to you safely, and I shall hear
from you, hereafter I will write to you more largely. The grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
"An Original History of the Religious Denominations, I.
Daniel Rupp, p. 71. Philadelphia:
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
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.
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,
of Church History), Vol. II, p. 874, ed. of 1893. Copenhagen.
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.
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
who observe the Sabbath." -- " Literature of the Sabbath
Question," Cox, Vol. II, pp. 201, 202.
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.
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:
-- "He loved to
stick to the plain text of the Scriptures,
believing that rather simplicity than art is required to understand
it. When he found anything in the Bible stated in such plain language
that a child could understand, he could not well bear to have
one depart from it." -- "Leben Des Grafen Zinzendorf
" (Life of Count Zinzendorf), pp. 3, 546, 547,1774.
In 1738 Zinzendorf
wrote of his keeping the Sabbath thus: "That
I have employed the Sabbath for rest many years already, and our
Sunday for the proclamation of the gospel -- that I have done
without design, and in simplicity of heart." -- "Budingsche
Sammlung," Sec. 8, p. 224. Leipzig: 1742.
gives some of Zinzendorf's reasons for keeping the seventh day
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,
In 1741 he
journeyed to Bethlehem, Pa., where some Moravian Brethren had
settled. Of his work there Spangenberg relates: "As
a special instance it deserves to be noticed that he is resolved
with the church at Bethlehem to observe the seventh day as rest
day. The matter had been previously considered by the church council
in all its details, and all the reasons pro and con were carefully
weighed, whereby they arrived at the unanimous agreement to keep
the said day as Sabbath." -- Id., pp. 5, 1421, 1422.
(See also "Varnhagen von Ense Biographische Denkmale,"
pp. 5, 301. Berlin: 1846.
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
-- 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.
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
-- zealous than
myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of
spiritual tyranny and every species of religious persecution.
For, you doubtless remember, I have often expressed my sentiments
that any man, conducting himself as a good citizen and being accountable
to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected
in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."
-- " History of the Baptists," Thomas Armitage,
D. D., pages 806, 807.
About a month
later, James Madison, with the approval of George Washington,
introduced in the first Congress that met under the new Constitution,
the first ten amendments, commonly known as the Bill of Rights,
the first of which enjoins Congress from all religious legislation.
It is as follows: "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom
of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably
to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
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.
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
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.)
-- " 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.
may be the future use and importance of those manuscripts, one
thing is certain, and that is, they establish the fact that the
Syrian Christians of India have the pure unadulterated Scriptures
in the language of the ancient church of Antioch, derived from
the very times of the Apostles. " -- Id.,p. 169.
shows that they kept "Saturday,
which amongst them is a festival day, agreeable to the ancient
practice of the church." -- Id., pp. 133, 134. TOP
of India and Persia had evidently received their faith from the
same source as the other Christians of India. Rev. Claudius Buchanan,
D. D., says of them: "The
Armenians in Hindostan are our own subjects. . . . They have preserved
the Bible in its purity; and their doctrines are, as far as the
Author knows, the doctrines of the Bible. Besides, they maintain
the solemn observance of Christian worship, throughout our Empire,
on the seventh day; and they have as many spires pointing to heaven
among the Hindoos, as we ourselves." -- " Christian Researches
in Asia," p. 143. Philadelphia: 1813.
another branch of the original Christians of' India, can add one
more link to this evidence. Samuel Purchas, the noted geographer
and compiler, said of them:
"They keep Saturday holy, nor esteem the Saturday fast lawful,
but on Easter even. They have solemn service on Saturdays, eat
flesh, and feast it bravely, like the Jews." -- "Pilgrimmes,"
Part 2, Book 8, chap. 6, p. 1269. London: 1625. (We
must remember that the papal church demanded all to fast on the
Sabbath, but these Christians refused to obey her.)
J. W. Massie
says of these Indian Christians: "
Remote from the busy haunts of commerce, or the populace seats
of manufacturing industry, they may be regarded as the
-- Eastern Piedmontese,
the Vaudois of Hindustan, the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth
through revolving centuries, though indeed their bodies lay as
dead in the streets of the city which they had once peopled."
-- " Continental india," Vol. 2, p. 120.
PERSECUTION -- Mr. Massie further says of these Christians:
from the Western world for a thousand years, they were naturally
ignorant of many novelties introduced, by the councils and decrees
of the Lateran; and their conformity with the faith and practice
of the first ages laid them open to the unpardonable guilt
of heresy and schism, as estimated by the church of Rome. ' We
are Christians, and not idolaters,' was their expressive reply
when required to do homage to the image of the Virgin Mary. .
. . LaCroze states them at fifteen hundred churches and as many
towns and villages. They refused to recognize the pope, and declared
they had never heard of him; they asserted the purity and primitive
truth of their faith since they came, and their bishops had for
thirteen hundred years been sent, from the place where the followers
of Jesus were first called Christians. " -- Id., Vol.
II, pp. 116, 117. TOP
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
in Asia," Claudius Buchanan, D. D., p. 60. Philadelphia:
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.
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.
-- " 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."'
suggests that in the mind of the Inquisitors " the witnesses
of the Sabbath are considered as accomplices." -- Id.,
thought that these Sabbath-keepers were relapsed Jews, but Dellon
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.
who was entirely innocent, would be given over to the civil arm
to be burned, unless he confessed the very crimes of which he
was accused, and signed his confession, and also named six or
seven of his accusers. But, not being told who they were, he might
have to name many before striking the right ones, and, as his
accusers were supposed to have been eyewitnesses to his Sabbath-keeping,
they might be Sabbath-keepers, who, like himself, were in the
clutches of the Inquisition. His only hope, therefore, was to
name some of his brethren, who would then be taken by the inquisitors,
and forced to repeat the experience to free themselves. Thus the
prison would be filled with people who were tortured for guilt
of which they were innocent, or to remain in solitary confinement
and terrible suspence and agony of mind until the Auto DA Fe,
or public burning, which took place every two or three years.
" -- Id., pp. 53-60, 67.
whether they were released or executed, their property was confiscated
to the Inquisition. Dr. C. Buchanan says:
" When the power of the Portuguese became sufficient for their
purpose, they invaded these tranquil Churches, seized some of
the Clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. . . .
-- 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.
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.
Facts of Faith