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History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week

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    The pope becomes the head of all the churches - The people of God retire into the wilderness - Sunday to be traced through the Dark Ages in the history of the Catholic church - State of that festival in the sixth century - It did not acquire the title of Sabbath for many ages - Time when it became a day of abstinence from labor in the east - When in the west - Sunday canon of the first council of Orleans - Of the council of Arragon - Of the third council of Orleans - Of a council at Mascon - At Narbon - At Auxerre - Miracles establishing the sacredness of Sunday - The pope advises men to atone, by the pious observance of Sunday, for the sins of the previous week - The Sabbath and Sunday both strictly kept by a class at Rome who were put down by the pope - According to Twisse they were two distinct classes - The Sabbath, like its Lord, crucified between two thieves - Council of Chalons - At Toledo, in which the Jews were forbidden to keep the Sabbath and commanded to keep Sunday - First English law for Sunday - Council at Constantinople - In England - In Bavaria - Canon of the archbishop of York - Statutes of Charlemagne and canons of councils which he called - The pope aids in the work - Council at Paris originates a famous first-day argument - The councils fail to establish Sunday sacredness - The emperors besought to send out some more terrible edict in order to compel the observance of that day - The pope takes the matter in hand in earnest and gives Sunday an effectual establishment - Other statutes and canons - Sunday piety of a Norwegian king - Sunday consecrated to the mass - Curious but obsolete first-day arguments - The eating of meat forbidden upon the Sabbath by the pope - Pope Urban II. ordains the Sabbath of the Lord to be a festival for the worship of the Virgin Mary - Apparition from St. Peter - The pope sends Eustace into England with a roll that fell from Heaven commanding Sunday observance under direful penalties - Miracles which followed - Sunday established in Scotland - Other Sunday laws down to the Reformation - Sunday always only a human ordinance.

    The opening of the sixth century witnessed the development of the great apostasy to such an extent that the man of sin might be plainly seen sitting in the temple of God. 12 Thessalonians 2. The western Roman Empire had been broken up into ten kingdoms, and the way was now prepared for the work of the little horn. 2Daniel 7. In the early part of this century, the bishop of Rome was made head over the entire church by the emperor of the east, Justinian. 4Daniel 7:8, 24, 25; Revelation 13:1-5. The dragon gave unto the beast his power, and his seat, and great authority. From this accession to supremacy by the Roman pontiff, date the “time, times, and dividing of time,” or twelve hundred and sixty years of the prophecies of Daniel and John.HSFD 369.1

    The true people of God now retired for safety into places of obscurity and seclusion, as represented by the prophecy: “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” 1Revelation 12. Leaving their history for the present, let us follow that of the Catholic church, and trace in its record the history of the Sunday festival through the period of the Dark ages. Of the fifth and sixth centuries, Heylyn bears the following testimony:-HSFD 369.2

    “The faithful being united better than before, became more uniform in matters of devotion; and in that uniformity did agree together to give the Lord’s day all the honors of an holy festival. Yet was not this done all at once, but by degrees; the fifth and sixth centuries being well-nigh spent before it came into that height which hath since continued. The emperors and the prelates in these times had the same affections; both [being] earnest to advance this day above all other; and to the edicts of the one and ecclesiastical constitutions of the other, it stands indebted for many of those privileges and exemptions which it still enjoyeth.” 2Hist. Sab. part ii. chap 4. sect. 1.HSFD 370.1

    But Sunday had not yet acquired the title of Sabbath. Thus Brerewood bears testimony:-HSFD 370.2

    “The name of the Sabbath remained appropriated to the old Sabbath; and was never attributed to the Lord’s day, not of many hundred years after our Saviour’s time.” 3Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 73, ed. 1631.HSFD 370.3

    And Heylyn says of the term Sabbath in the ancient church:-HSFD 370.4

    “The Saturday is called amongst them by no other name than that which formerly it had, the Sabbath. So that whenever for a thousand years and upwards, we meet with Sabbatum in any writer of what name soever, it must be understood of no day but Saturday. 4Hist. Sab. part ii, chap 2, sect. 12.HSFD 370.5

    Dr. Francis White, bishop of Ely, also testifies:-HSFD 370.6

    “When the ancient fathers distinguish and give proper names to the particular days of the week, they always style the Saturday, Sabbatum, the Sabbath, and the Sunday, or first day of the week, Dominicum, the Lord’s day.” 1Treatise of the Sabbath Day, p. 202.HSFD 371.1

    It should be observed, however, that the earliest mention of Sunday as the Lord’s day, is in the writings of Tertullian; Justin Martyr, some sixty years before, styling it “the day called Sunday;” while the authoritative application of that term to Sunday was by Sylvester, bishop of Rome, more than one hundred years after the time of Tertullian. The earliest mention of Sunday as Christian Sabbath is thus noted by Heylyn:-HSFD 371.2

    “The first who ever used it to denote the Lord’s day (the first that I have met with in all this search) is one Petrus Alfonsus - he lived about the time that Rupertus did - [which was the beginning of the twelfth century] who calls the Lord’s day by the name of Christian Sabbath.” 2Hist. Sab. part ii. chap 5. sect. 13.HSFD 371.3

    Of Sunday labor in the eastern church, Heylyn says:-HSFD 371.4

    “It was near nine hundred years from our Saviour’s birth if not quite so much, before restraint of husbandry on this day had been first thought of in the east; and probably being thus restrained did find no more obedience there than it had done before in the western parts.” 3Id. part ii. chap 5. sect. 6.HSFD 371.5

    Of Sunday labor in the western church, Dr. Francis White thus testifies:-HSFD 371.6

    “The Catholic church for more than six hundred years after Christ, permitted labor, and gave license to many Christian people to work upon the Lord’s day, at such hours as they were not commanded to be present at the public service by the precept of the church.” 1Treatise of the Sabbath Day, pp. 217, 218.HSFD 371.7

    But let us trace the several steps by which the festival of Sunday increased in strength until it attained its complete development. These will be found at present mostly in the edicts of emperors, and the decrees of councils. Morer tells us that,HSFD 372.1

    “Under Clodoveus king of France met the bishops in the first council of Orleans [A.D. 507], where they obliged themselves and their successors, to be always at the church on the Lord’s day, except in case of sickness or some great infirmity. And because they, with some other of the clergy in those days, took cognizance of judicial matters, therefore by a council at Arragon, about the year 518 in the reign of Theodorick, king of the Goths, it was decreed that ‘No bishop or other person in holy orders should examine or pass judgment in any civil controversy on the Lord’s day.’” 2Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, pp. 263, 264.HSFD 372.2

    This shows that civil courts were sometimes held on Sunday by the bishops in those days; otherwise such a prohibition would not have been put forth. Hengstenberg, in his notice of the third council of Orleans, gives us an insight into the then existing state of the Sunday festival:-HSFD 372.3

    “The third council of Orleans, A.D. 538, says in its twenty-ninth canon: ‘The opinion is spreading amongst the people, that it is wrong to ride, or drive, or cook food, or do anything to the house, or the person on the Sunday. But since such opinions are more Jewish than Christian, that shall be lawful in future, which has been so to the present time. On the other hand agricultural labor ought to be laid aside, in order that the people may not be prevented from attending church.’” 3The Lord’s Day, p. 58.HSFD 372.4

    Observe the reason assigned. It is not lest they violate the law of the Sabbath, but it is that they may not be kept from church. Another authority states the case thus:-HSFD 373.1

    “Labor in the country [on Sunday] was not prohibited till the council of Orleans, A.D. 538. It was thus an institution of the church, as Dr. Paley has remarked. The earlier Christians met in the morning of that day for prayer and singing hymns in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, and then went about their usual duties. 1Dictionary of Chronology p. 813, art. Sunday.HSFD 373.2

    In A.D. 588, another council was holden, the occasion of which is thus stated:-HSFD 373.3

    “And because, notwithstanding all this care, the day was not duly observed, the bishops were again summoned to Mascon, a town in Burgundy, by King Gunthrum, and there they framed this canon: ‘Notice is taken that Christian people, very much neglect and slight the Lord’s day, giving themselves as on other days to common work, to redress which irreverence, for the future, we warn every Christian who bears not that name in vain, to give ear to our advice, knowing we have a concern on us for your good, and a power to hinder you to do evil. Keep then the Lord’s day, the day of our new birth.’” 2Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, p. 265.HSFD 373.4

    Further legislation being necessary, we are told:-HSFD 373.5

    “About a year forward, there was a council at Narbon, which forbid all persons of what country or quality soever, to do any servile work on the Lord’s day. But if any man presumed to disobey this canon he was to be fined if a freeman, and if a servant, severely lashed. Or as Surius represents the penalty in the edict of King Recaredus, which he put out, near the same time to strengthen the decrees of the council, ‘Rich men were to be punished with the loss of a moiety of their estates, and the poorer sort with perpetual banishment,’ in the year of grace 590. Another synod was held at Auxerre a city in Champain, in the reign of Clotair king of France, where it was decreed.... ... ‘that no man should be allowed to plow, nor cart, or do any such thing on the Lord’s day.’” 1Id. pp. 265, 266; Hist. Sab. part ii. chap 4. sect 7.HSFD 373.6

    Such were some of the efforts made in the sixth century to advance the sacredness of the Sunday festival. And Morer tells us that,HSFD 374.1

    “For fear the doctrine should not take without miracles to support it, Gregory of Tours [about A.D. 590] furnishes us with several to that purpose.” 2Dialogues on the Lord’s Day. p. 68.HSFD 374.2

    Mr. Francis West, an English first-day writer, gravely adduces one of these miracles in support of first-day sacredness:-HSFD 374.3

    “Gregory of Tours reporteth, ‘that a husbandman, who upon the Lord’s day went to plough his field, as he cleaned his plough with an iron, the iron stuck so fast in his hand that for two years he could not be delivered from it, but carried it about continually to his exceeding great pain and shame.’” 3Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord’s Day, p. 174.HSFD 374.4

    In the conclusion of the sixth century, Pope Gregory exhorted the people of Rome to “expiate on the day of our Lord’s resurrection what was remissly done for the six days before.” 4Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, p. 282. In the same epistle, this pope condemned a class of men at Rome who advocated the strict observance of both the Sabbath and the Sunday, styling them the preachers of Antichrist. 5Fleury, Hist. Eccl. Tome viii. Livre xxxvi. Sect 22; Heylyn’s Hist. Sab. part ii. chap 5. sect. 1. Dr. Twisse, however, asserts that the pope speaks of two classes. He gives Gregory’s words as follows: “Relation is made unto me that certain men of a perverse spirit, have sowed among you some corrupt doctrines contrary to our holy faith; so as to forbid any work to be done on the Sabbath day: these men we may well call the preachers of Antichrist.... Another report was brought unto me; and what was that? That some perverse persons preach among you, that on the Lord’s day none should be washed. This is clearly another point maintained by other persons, different from This shows the intolerant feeling of the papacy toward the Sabbath, even when joined with the strict observance of Sunday. It also shows that there were Sabbath-keepers even in Rome itself as late as the seventh century; although so far bewildered by the prevailing darkness that they joined with its observance a strict abstinence from labor on Sunday.HSFD 374.5

    In the early part of the seventh century arose another foe to the Bible Sabbath in the person of Mahomet. To distinguish his followers alike from those who observed the Sabbath and those who observed the festival of Sunday, he selected Friday, the sixth day of the week, as their religious festival. And thus “the Mahometans and the Romanists crucified the Sabbath, as the Jews and the Romans did the Lord of the Sabbath, between two thieves, the sixth and first day of the week.” 1The idea is suggested by the language of an anonymous first-day writer of the seventeenth century, Irenaeus Philalethes, in a work entitled “Sabbato-Dominica,” pref. p. 11, London, 1643. For Mahometanism and Romanism each suppressed the Sabbath over a wide extent of territory. About the middle of the seventh century, we have further canons of the church in behalf of Sunday:-HSFD 375.1

    “At Chalons, a city in Burgundy, about the year 654, there was a provincial synod which confirmed what had been done by the third council of Orleans, about the observation of the Lord’s day, namely that ‘none should plow or reap, or do any other thing belonging to husbandry, on pain of the censures of the church; which was the more minded, because backed with the secular power, and by an edict menacing such as offended herein; who if bondmen, were to be soundly beaten, but if free, had three admonitions, and then if faulty, lost the third part of their patrimony, and if still obstinate were made slaves for the future. And in the first year of Eringius, about the time of Pope Agatho there sat the twelfth council of Toledo in Spain, A.D. 681, where the Jews were forbid to keep their own festivals, but so far at least observe the Lord’s day as to do no manner of work on it, whereby they might express their contempt of Christ or his worship.’” 1Dialogues on the Lord’s Day, p. 267.HSFD 375.2

    These were weighty reasons indeed for Sunday observance. Nor can it be thought strange that in the Dark Ages a constant succession of such things should eventuate in the universal observance of that day. Even the Jews were to be compelled to desist from Sabbath observance, and to honor Sunday by resting on that day from their labor. The earliest mention of Sunday in English statutes appears to be the following:-HSFD 376.1

    A.D. 692. “Ina, king of the west Saxons, by the advice of Cenred his father, and Heddes and Erkenwald his bishops, with all his aldermen and sages, in a great assembly of the servants of God, for the health of their souls, and common preservation of the kingdom, made several constitutions, of which this was the third: ‘If a servant do any work on Sunday by his master’s orders, he shall be free, and the master pay thirty shillings; but if he went to work on his own head, he shall be either beaten with stripes, or ransom himself with a price. A freeman, if he works on this day, shall lose his freedom or pay sixty shillings; if he be a priest, double.’” 2Id. p. 283.HSFD 376.2

    The same year that this law was enacted in England, the sixth general council convened at Constantinople, which decreed that,HSFD 376.3

    “If any bishop or other clergyman, or any of the laity, absented himself from the church three Sundays together, except in cases of very great necessity, if a clergyman, he was to be deposed; if a layman, debarred the holy communion.” 1Dialogues, etc. p. 268.HSFD 376.4

    In the year 747, a council of the English clergy was called under Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of Egbert, king of Kent, and this constitution made:-HSFD 377.1

    “It is ordered that the Lord’s day be celebrated with due veneration, and wholly devoted to the worship of God. And that all abbots and priests, on this most holy day, remain in their respective monasteries and churches, and there do their duty according to their places.” 2Id. pp. 283, 284.HSFD 377.2

    Another ecclesiastical statute of the eighth century was enacted and Dingosolinum in Bavaria, where a synod met about 772, which decreed that,HSFD 377.3

    “If any man shall work his cart on this day, or do any such common business, his team shall be presently forfeited to the public use, and if the party persists in his folly, let him be sold for a bondman.” 3Id. p. 268.HSFD 377.4

    The English were not behind their neighbors in the good work of establishing the sacredness of Sunday. Thus we read:-HSFD 377.5

    A.D. 784. “Egbert, archbishop of York, to show positively what was to be done on Sundays, and what the laws designed by prohibiting ordinary work to be done on such days, made this canon:‘Let nothing else, saith he, be done on the Lord’s day, but to attend on God in hymns and psalms and spiritual songs. Whoever marries on Sunday, let him do penance for seven days.’” 4Id. p. 284.HSFD 377.6

    In the conclusion of the eighth century further efforts were made in behalf of this favored day:-HSFD 377.7

    “Charles the Great summoned the bishops to Friuli, in Italy, where ... they decreed [A.D. 791] that all people should, with due reverence and devotion, honor the Lord’s day.... Under the same prince another council was called three years later at Frankford in Germany, and there the limits of the Lord’s day were determined from Saturday evening to Sunday evening. 1Dialogues, etc. p. 269.HSFD 377.8

    The five councils of Mentz, Rheims, Tours, Chalons, and Arles, were all called in the year 813 by Charlemagne. It would be irksome to the reader to dwell upon the several acts of these councils in behalf of Sunday. They are of the same character as those already quoted. The council of Chalons, however, is worthy of being noticed in that, according to Morer,HSFD 378.1

    “They entreated the help of the secular power, and desired the emperor [Charlemagne] to provide for the stricter observation of it[Sunday]. Which he accordingly did, and left no stone unturned to secure the honor of the day. His care succeeded; and during his reign, the Lord’s day bore a considerable figure. But after his day, it put on another face.” 2Id. p. 270.HSFD 378.2

    The pope lent a helping hand in checking the profanation of Sunday:-HSFD 378.3

    “And thereupon Pope Eugenius, in a synod held at Rome about 826, ... gave directions that the parish priest should admonish such offenders and wish them to go to church and say their prayers, lest otherwise they might bring some great calamity on themselves and neighbors.” 3Id. p. 271.HSFD 378.4

    All this, however, was not sufficient, and so another council was summoned. At this council was brought forward - perhaps for the first time - the famous first-day argument now so familiar to all, that Sunday is proved to be the true Sabbath because that men are struck by lightning who labor on that day. Thus we read:-HSFD 378.5

    “But these paternal admonitions turning to little account, a provincial council was held at Paris three years after ... in 829, wherein the prelates complain that ‘The Lord’s day was not kept with reverence as became religion ... which was the reason that God had sent several judgments on them, and in a very remarkable manner punished some people for slighting and abusing it. For, say they, many of us by our own knowledge, and some by hearsay know, that several countrymen following their husbandry on this day have been killed with lightning, others, being seized with convulsions in their joints, have miserably perished. Whereby it is apparent how high the displeasure of God was upon their neglect of this day.’ And at last they conclude that ‘in the first place the priests and ministers, then kings and princes, and all faithful people he beseeched to use their utmost endeavors and care that the day be restored to its honor, and for the credit of Christianity more devoutly observed for the time to come.’” 1Dialogue, etc. p. 271; Hist. Sab. part ii, chap 5. sect. 7.HSFD 378.6

    Further legislation being necessary,HSFD 379.1

    It was decreed about seven years after in a council at Aken, under Lewis the Godly, that neither pleadings nor marriages should be allowed on the Lord’s day.” 2Dialogues, etc. p. 272.HSFD 379.2

    But the law of Charlemagne, though backed with the authority of the church, as expressed in the canons of the councils already quoted, by the remissness of Lewis, his successor became very feeble. It is evident that canons and decrees of councils, though fortified with the mention of terrible judgments that had befallen transgressors, were not yet sufficient to enforce the sacred day. Another and more terrific statute than any yet issued was sought at the hands of the emperor. Thus we read:-HSFD 379.3

    “Thereupon an address was made to the emperors, Lewis and Lotharius, that they would be pleased to take some care in it, and send out some precept or injunction more severe than what was hitherto extant, to strike terror into their subjects, and force them to forbear their ploughing, pleading, and marketing, then grown again into use; which was done about the year 853; and to that end a synod was called at Rome under the popedom of Leo IV.” 1Dialogue, etc. p. 261.HSFD 379.4

    The advocates of the first-day Sabbath have in all ages sought for a law capable of striking terror into those who do not hallow that day. They still continue the vain endeavor. But if they would honor the day which God set apart for the Sabbath, they would find in that law of fire which proceeded from his right hand a statute which renders all human legislation entirely unnecessary. 2Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 33:2.HSFD 380.1

    At this synod the pope took the matter in hand in good earnest. Thus Heylyn testifies that under the emperors, Lewis and Lotharius, a synod was held at Rome A.D. 853, under pope Leo IV.,HSFD 380.2

    “Where it was ordered more precisely than in former times that no man should from thenceforth dare to make any markets on the Lord’s day, no, not for things that were to eat: neither to do any kind of work that belonged to husbandry. Which canon being made at Rome, confirmed at Compeigne, and afterwards incorporated as it was into the body of the canon law, became to be admitted, without further question, in most parts of Christendom; especially when the popes had attained their height, and brought all Christian princes to be at their devotion. For then the people, who before had most opposed it, might have justly said, ‘Behold two kings stood not before him, how then shall we stand?’ Out of which consternation all men presently obeyed, tradesmen of all sorts being brought to lay by their labors; and amongst those, the miller, though his work was easiest, and least of all required his presence.” 3Hist. Sab. part ii, chap 5, sect. 7; Morer, p. 272.HSFD 380.3

    This was a most effectual establishment of first-day sacredness. Five years after this we read as follows:-HSFD 380.4

    A.D. 858. “The Bulgarians sent some questions to Pope Nicholas, to which they desired answers. And that [answer] which concerned the Lord’s day was that they should desist from all secular work, etc.” 1Hist. Sab. part. ii, chap 5, sect. 7; Morer, p. 272.HSFD 381.1

    Morer informs us respecting the civil power, that,HSFD 381.2

    “In this century the emperor [of Constantinople] Leo, surnamed the philosopher, restrained the works of husbandry, which, according to Constantine’s toleration, were permitted in the east. The same care was taken in the west, by Theodorius, king of the Bavarians, who made this order, that ‘If any person on the Lord’s day yoked his oxen, or drove his wain, his right-side ox should be forthwith forfeited; or if he made hay and carried it in, he was to be twice admonished to desist, which if he did not, he was to receive no less than fifty stripes.’” 2Dialogues, etc. pp. 261, 262.HSFD 381.3

    Of Sunday laws in England in this century, we read:-HSFD 381.4

    A.D. 876. “Alfred the Great, was the first who united the Saxon Heptarchy, and it was not the least part of his care to make a law that among other festivals this day more especially might be solemnly kept, because it was the day whereon our Saviour Christ overcame the devil; meaning Sunday, which is the weekly memorial of our Lord’s resurrection, whereby he overcame death, and him who had the power of death, that is the devil. And whereas before the single punishment for sacrilege committed on any other day, was to restore the value of the thing stolen, and withal lose one hand, he added that if any person was found guilty of this crime done on the Lord’s day, he should be doubly punished.” 3Id. pp. 284, 285.HSFD 381.5

    Nineteen years later, the pope and his council still further strengthened the sacred day. The council of Friburgh in Germany, A.D. 895, under Pope Formosus, decreed that the Lord’s day, men “were to spend in prayers, and devote wholly to the service of God, who otherwise might be provoked to anger.” 1Dialogues, etc. p. 274. The work of establishing Sunday sacredness in England was carried steadily forward:-HSFD 381.6

    “King Athelston, ... in the year 928, made a law that there should be no marketing or civil pleadings on the Lord’s day, under the penalty of forfeiting the commodity, besides a fine of thirty shillings for each offense.” 2Id. p. 285.HSFD 382.1

    In a convocation of the English clergy about this time, it was decreed that all sorts of traffic and holding of courts, etc., on Sunday should cease. “And whoever transgressed in any of these instances, if a freeman, he was to pay twelve orae, if a servant, be severely whipt.” We are further informed that,HSFD 382.2

    “About the year 943, Otho, archbishop of Canterbury, had it decreed that above all things the Lord’s day should be kept with all imaginable caution, according to the canon and ancient practice.” 3Id. p. 286.HSFD 382.3

    A.D. 967. King Edgar “commanded that the festival should be kept from three of the clock in the afternoon on Saturday, till day-break on Monday.” 4Ib. Ib.HSFD 382.4

    “King Ethelred the younger, son of Edgar, coming to the crown about the year 1009, called a general council of all the English clergy, under Elfeagus, archbishop of Canterbury, and Wolstan, archbishop of York. And there it was required that all persons in a more zealous manner should observe the Sunday, and what belonged to it.” 5Id. pp. 286, 287.HSFD 382.5

    Nor did the Sunday festival fail to gain a footing in Norway. Heylyn tells us of the piety of a Norwegian king by the name of Olaus, A.D. 1028.HSFD 382.6

    “For being taken up one Sunday in some serious thoughts, and having in his hand a small walking stick, he took his knife and whittled it as men do sometimes, when their minds are troubled or intent on business. And when it had been told him as by way of jest how he had trespassed therein against the Sabbath, he gathered the small chips together, put them upon his hand, and set fire to them, that so, saith Crantzius, he might revenge that on himself what unawares he had committed against God’s commandment.” 1Hist. Sab. part ii, chap 5, sect. 2.HSFD 383.1

    In Spain also the work went forward. A council was held at Coy, in Spain, A.D. 1050, under Ferdinand, king of Castile, in the days of Pope Leo IX., where it was decreed that the Lord’s day “was to be entirely consecrated to hearing of mass.” 2Dialogues, etc. p. 274.HSFD 383.2

    To strengthen the sacredness of this venerable day in the minds of the people, the doctors of the church were not wanting. Heylyn makes the following statement:-HSFD 383.3

    “It was delivered of the souls in purgatory by Petrus Damiani, who lived A.D. 1056, that every Lord’s day they were manumitted from their pains and fluttered up and down the lake Avernus, in the shape of birds.” 3Hist. Sab. part ii, chap 5, sect. 2.HSFD 383.4

    At the same time, another argument of a similar kind was brought forward to render the observance still more strict. Morer informs us respecting that class who in this age were most zealous advocates of Sunday observance:-HSFD 383.5

    “Yet still the others went on in their way; and to induce their proselytes to spend the day with greater exactness and care, they brought in the old argument of compassion and charity to the damned in hell, who during the day, have some respite from their torments, and the case and liberty they have is more or less according to the zeal and degrees of keeping it well.” 1Dialogues, etc. p. 68.HSFD 383.6

    If therefore they would strictly observe this sacred festival, their friends in hell would reap the benefit, in a respite from their torments on that day! In a council at Rome, A.D. 1078, Pope Gregory VII decreed that as the Sabbath had been long regarded as a fast day, those who desired to be Christians should on that day abstain from eating meat. 2Binius, vol. iii, p. 1285, ed. 1606. In the eastern division of the Catholic church, in the eleventh century, the Sabbath was still regarded as a festival, equal in sacredness with Sunday. Heylyn contrasts with this the action of the western division of that church:-HSFD 384.1

    “But it was otherwise of old in the church of Rome, where they did labor and fast.... And this, with little opposition or interruption, save that which had been made in the city of Rome in the beginning of the seventh century, and was soon crushed by Gregory then bishop there, as before we noted. And howsoever Urban of that name the second, did consecrate it to the weekly service of the blessed virgin, and instituted in the council held at Clermont, A.D. 1095, that our lady’s office should be said upon it, and that upon that day all Christian folks should worship her with their best devotion.” 3Hist. Sab. part. ii, chap 5, sect. 13.HSFD 384.2

    It would seem that this was a crowning indignity to the Most High. The memorial of the great Creator was set apart as a festival on which to worship Mary, under the title of mother of God! In the middle of the twelfth century, the king of England was admonished not to suffer men to work upon Sunday. Henry II. entered on the government about the year 1155.HSFD 384.3

    “Of him it is reported that he had an apparition at Cardiff (... in South Wales) which from St. Peter charged him, that upon Sundays throughout his dominions, there should be no buying or selling, and no servile work done.” 1Morer, p. 288; Heylyn, part 2, chap 7, sect. 6.HSFD 385.1

    The sacredness of Sunday was not yet sufficiently established, because a divine warrant for its observance was still unprovided. The manner in which this urgent necessity was met is related by Roger Hoveden, a historian of high repute who lived at the very time when this much-needed precept was furnished by the pope. Hoveden informs us that Eustace the abbot of Flaye in Normandy, came into England in the year 1200, to preach the word of the Lord, and that his preaching was attended by many wonderful miracles. He was very earnest in behalf of Sunday. Thus Hoveden says:-HSFD 385.2

    “At London also, and many other places throughout England, he effected by his preaching, that from that time forward people did not dare to hold market of things exposed for sale on the Lord’s Day. 2Roger de Hoveden’s Annals, Bohn’s ed. vol. ii, p. 487.HSFD 385.3

    But Hoveden tells us that “the enemy of mankind raised against this man of God the ministers of iniquity,” and it seems that having no commandment for Sunday he was in a strait place. The historian continues:-HSFD 385.4

    “However, the said abbot, on being censured by the ministers of Satan, was unwilling any longer to molest the prelates of England by his preaching, but returned to Normandy, unto his place whence he came.” 3Id. Ib.HSFD 385.5

    But Eustace, though repulsed, had no thought of abandoning the contest. He had no commandment from the Lord when he came into England the first time. But one year’s sojourn on the continent was sufficient to provide that which he lacked. Hoveden tells us how he returned the following year with the needed precept:-HSFD 385.6

    “In the same year [1201], Eustace, abbot of Flaye, returned to England, and preaching therein the word of the Lord from city to city, and from place to place, forbade any person to hold a market of goods on sale upon the Lord’s day. For he said that the commandment under-written, as to the observance of the Lord’s day, had come down from Heaven:-HSFD 386.1

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