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    Quite a number of customs that “crept silently into use and then claimed the rank of divine institutions” have already been noted, and there are still others; but the one which has obtained the strongest foothold, and whose false claim to the rank of a divine institution is most generally allowed, is the Sunday. We shall, in the course of our investigation, have the benefit of the best evidence that history has to offer in its behalf, and therefore begin with the following oft-quoted testimony of Mosheim:—
    “The Christians of this century [the first], assembled for the worship of God and for their advancement in piety, on the first day of the week, the day on which Christ re-assumed his life; for that this day was set apart for religious worship by the apostles themselves, and that, after the example of the church of Jerusalem, it was generally observed, we have unexceptionable testimony.”—Ecclesiastical History, book 1, cent. 1, part 2, chap. 4, sec. 4.
    FACC 292.3

    Without doubt thousands have had their questionings as to the correctness of Sunday observance quieted by this brief statement by Dr. Mosheim; and many will think it a presumptuous thing to class Sunday among the institutions introduced without divine authority. But it will do no harm to investigate its claims. We shall find that when Mosheim penned the words just quoted he wrote as a churchman and not as a historian. When he writes on matters purely historical, we, in common with all Protestants, accept his testimony as reliable. He drew his information from sources that are accessible to comparatively few, and we accept him as a faithful transcriber of what he found. But when he says of Sunday that it was set apart for religious worship “by the apostles themselves,” he is upon ground where even the unlearned may safely challenge him. The New Testament is the only source of information as to what the apostles did, and that contains not a word about the setting apart of Sunday by the apostles or by anybody else.FACC 293.1

    If it were true, as Mosheim says, that the observance of Sunday was sanctioned by divine authority, a child fourteen years of age could read the evidence from the New Testament just as readily as could a doctor of divinity; and in that case Sunday-keepers would, without hesitation, refer to the Scripture record for the authority for their practice. We should then find no such testimony as the following:— “Some plant the observance of the Sabbath [Sunday] squarely on the fourth commandment, which was an explicit injunction to observe Saturday, and no other day, as a ‘holy day unto the Lord.’ So some have tried to build the observance of Sunday upon apostolic command, whereas the apostles gave no command on the matter at all.... The truth is, so soon as we appeal to the litera scripta [the plain text] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the best of the argument.”—Christian at Work, April 19, 1883.FACC 293.2

    In the same strain is the following from an article by Dr. Charles S. Robinson, in the Sunday School Times of January 14, 1882:—
    “It is not wise to base the entire Sabbath [Sunday] argument on the fourth precept of the decalogue.... We shall become perplexed, if we attempt to rest our case on simple legal enactment. Our safety in such discussions consists in our fastening attention upon the gracious and benevolent character of the divine institution.”
    FACC 294.1

    That is to say, there is no trace of a divine command for Sunday observance, and therefore when people ask for something definite, something upon which they can depend, their minds must be diverted by a pleasing fiction, so that they may not discover the truth. Is there not in this something akin to the “pious” fraud?FACC 294.2

    Lastly, we quote again from the Christian at Work:—
    “We hear less than we used to about the apostolic origin of the present Sunday observance, and for the reason that while the Sabbath and Sabbath rest are woven into the warp and woof of Scripture, it is now seen, as it is admitted, that we must go to later than apostolic times for the establishment of Sunday observance.”—Christian at Work, 1884.
    FACC 294.3

    The fact that nearly a century and a half after Mosheim wrote his history, editors of religious journals devoted to the Sunday-Sabbath should feel obliged to make such admissions as those just quoted, should be accepted as evidence that the Bible affords no authority for the keeping of Sunday. We are not concerned to show that Sunday was not observed to some extent very early in the Christian era. We are willing to give it a place with “pious” frauds, purgatory, relic and “saint” worship, etc.; our only point is that, like the things just mentioned, it has no divine sanction. When it is once admitted that the designation of Sunday as a Sabbath rests solely on the authority of “the church” (and that is where all Sunday argument finally ends) the Sabbatarian has only the simple task of showing how much the “custom of the church” is worth. From the testimonies already cited he will have no difficulty in showing that it is worth nothing. The testimony yet to be given will make this still more evident.FACC 294.4

    Now that we have shown from the advocates of Sunday observance that the practice finds no sanction in either the precept or the practice of the apostles, but that “we must go to later than apostolic times for the establishment of Sunday observance,” we may consider ourselves justified in classing Sunday among those institutions which “crept silently into use.” The testimony of the Rev. Dr. Scott, the eminent commentator, seems to have been intended expressly for the purpose of establishing this point. He says:—
    “The change, from the seventh to the first, appears to have been gradually and silently introduced, by example rather than by express precept.”—Comment on Acts 20:7.
    FACC 295.1

    The following, also, from the Christian at Work of January 8, 1885, will be a good thing to keep in mind:—“We rest the designation of Sunday [as a sacred day] on the church having ‘set it apart of its own authority.’ The seventh-day rest was commanded in the fourth commandment.... The selection of Sunday, thus changing the particular day designated in the fourth commandment, was brought about by the gradual concurrence of the early Christian church, and on this basis and none other does the Christian Sabbath, the first day of the week, rightly rest.”FACC 295.2

    The setting apart of Sunday by the church, “of its own authority,” consisted in “gradually and silently” falling into a heathen custom; but why this custom should be perpetuated, while others that rest on the same authority are rejected, is one of the things for which not even an excuse can be given.FACC 296.1

    While Mosheim’s statement concerning the observance of Sunday is very extensively quoted, there is something in the immediate connection which we have never seen quoted by first-day writers. It is the following:—
    “Moreover, those congregations which either lived intermingled with Jews, or were composed in great measure of Jews, were accustomed also to observe the seventh day of the week, as a sacred day, for doing which the other Christians taxed them with no wrong. As to annual religious days, they appear to have observed two; the one, in memory of Christ’s resurrection; the other, in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. To these may be added, those days on which holy men met death for Christ’s sake; which, it is most probable, were sacred and solemn days, from the very commencement of the Christian church.”—Ecclesiastical History, book 1, cent. 1, part 2, chap 4, sec. 4.
    FACC 296.2

    This is from the same section as the other, and immediately follows it. Here we find that the memorial days of the martyrs have as much claim upon us as Sunday has, for they have an equal place in the customs of the church; but that they were of apostolic origin we think few will allow. Note 4 to the above quotation from Mosheim says:—“Perhaps, also (Good Friday), the Friday on which our Saviour died, was, from the earliest times, regarded with more respect than other days of the week.”FACC 296.3

    Just as is stated in the “Catholic Christian Instructed,” “Sundays and holy days all stand upon the same foundation, namely, the authority of the church.”FACC 297.1

    In harmony with what Mosheim has said, that the seventh day of the week was also observed as a sacred day, Bingham says:—
    “Saturday also, or the Sabbath, in every week was observed as a religious festival in many churches. And therefore on this day likewise they generally received the communion.... I have already produced the several testimonies of these writers at large upon another occasion, and therefore it is sufficient here to make a brief reference to them. By all this it appears undeniably, that in many churches they had the communion four times every week, on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, besides incidental festivals, which were very frequent, for, as Chrysostom tells us, there was scarce a week passed in the year but they had one or two commemorations of martyrs.”—Antiquities, book 15, chap. 9.
    FACC 297.2

    Concerning the seventh day of the week he again says:—
    “Next to the Lord’s day 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.”
    FACC 297.3

    “Other authors are more particular in describing the religious service of this day; and so far as concerns public worship, they make it in all things conformable to that of the Lord’s day; which is a further evidence of its being a festival.”—Id., book 20, chap. 3.FACC 298.1

    We do not quote this testimony concerning the Sabbath in the early church, with the idea of thereby strengthening the Sabbath argument. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is all the authority needed for the observance of the seventh day. If all the world kept that day it would not be one whit more sacred, and if it were universally violated by mankind, its sacredness would be just as great as when in Eden the Lord blessed and sanctified it. But the evidence in regard to Sunday would not be complete if we omitted to mention the Sabbath. As Dr. Scott said, Sunday observance came in “gradually and silently,” and that would indicate that the Sabbath was as gradually and silently robbed of its rightful honor by the church. It was not until after Constantine had made Sunday a legal holiday (A. D. 321), and the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 343-381) had forbidden Christians to observe the “Jewish Sabbath,” that Sunday may be said to have fairly usurped the place which the Sabbath had formerly occupied in the church. But even in this council, allegiance to the Sunday was carried no further than to enact that Christians “shall, if possible, do no work on that day.” (See Hefele’s History of the Church Councils, vol. 2, p. 316; also McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia, art. Sunday.) There has never been a time, however, when there were not Christians who observed the Sabbath of the Lord, but they were, of course, after the above-mentioned council, regarded by “the church” as heretics.FACC 298.2

    Lest some should feel too much elated over the fact that at the time of the Council of Laodicea, the church, as a whole, was observing Sunday, it may not be amiss to state that it was the twenty-ninth canon, or rule, of the council which forbade Sabbath-keeping, and that the thirtieth canon forbade Christian men, especially the clergy, from promiscuous bathing with women! Doubtless such a prohibition was necessary, or the council would not have made it; but the fact that Sunday was quite generally observed in a church where such a prohibition was necessary, will hardly be an addition to its prestige.FACC 299.1

    Concerning public worship, Mosheim, writing of the third century, says:—
    “All the monuments of this century which have come down to us, show that there was a great increase of ceremonies. To the causes heretofore mentioned, may be added the passion for Platonic philosophy, or rather, the popular superstition of the oriental nations respecting demons, which was adopted by the Platonists, and received from them by the Christian doctors. For from these opinions concerning the nature and the propensities of evil spirits, many of these rites evidently took their rise.”
    FACC 299.2

    “That the Christians now had in most provinces certain edifices in which they assembled for religious worship, will be denied by no candid and impartial person. Nor would I contend strenuously, against those who think these edifices were frequently adorned with images and other ornaments. As to the forms of public worship, and the times set apart for it, it is unnecessary here to be particular, as little alteration was made in this century. Yet two things deserve notice. First, the public discourses to the people underwent a change. For not to mention Origen, who was the first so far as we know that made long discourses in public, and in his discourses expounded the sacred volume, there were certain bishops, who being educated in the schools of the rhetoricians, framed their addresses and exhortations according to the rules of Grecian eloquence, and their example met the most ready approbation. Secondly, the use of incense was now introduced, at least into many churches. Very learned men have denied this fact; but they do it in the face of testimony which is altogether unexceptionable.”—Ecclesiastical History, book 1, cent. 3, part 2, chap. 4, sec. 1, 2.FACC 299.3

    In a note to the above, Von Einem says:—
    “The regular seasons for public worship were all Sundays, Good Friday, Easter and Whitsunday. The anniversaries of the local martyrdoms were also observed.”
    FACC 300.1

    Schlegel, in another note to the above, says:—
    “The Christians originally abhorred the use of incense in public worship, as being a part of the worship of idols. Yet they permitted its use at funerals, against offensive smells. Afterwards it was used at the induction of magistrates and bishops, and also in public worship, to temper the bad air of crowded assemblies in hot countries, and at last it degenerated into a superstitious rite.”
    FACC 300.2

    If, after all that has been given concerning the customs of the early church, the reader feels that the authority of the church is sufficient ground to warrant his continued observance of Sunday, there is still another “holy day” which he must by no means disregard, and that is Christmas.FACC 300.3

    Concerning the origin of Christmas, “McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia” has the following:—
    “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of New Testament origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the New Testament, or, indeed, from any other source. The Fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity.... ‘The institution may be sufficiently explained by the circumstance that it was the taste of the age to multiply festivals, and that the analogy of other events in our Saviour’s history, which had already been marked by a distinct celebration, may naturally have pointed out the propriety of marking his nativity with the same honored distinction. It was celebrated with all the marks of respect usually bestowed on high festivals, and distinguished also by the custom, derived probably from heathen antiquity, of interchanging presents and making entertainments.’ At the same time, the heathen winter holidays (Saturnalia, Juvenalia, Brumalia) were undoubtedly transformed, and, so to speak, sanctified by the establishment of the Christmas cycle of holidays; and the heathen customs, so far as they were harmless (e. g., the giving of presents, lighting of tapers, etc), were brought over into Christian use.”
    FACC 300.4

    “Chambers’ Encyclopedia” gives the following account of the origin of Christmas:—
    “It does not appear, however, that there was any uniformity in the period of observing the nativity among the early churches; some held the festival in the month of May or April, others in January. It is, nevertheless, almost certain that the 25th of December cannot be the nativity of the Saviour, for it is then the height of the rainy season in Judea, and shepherds could hardly be watching their flocks by night in the plains.”
    FACC 301.1

    “Not casually or arbitrarily was the festival of the nativity celebrated on the 25th of December. Among the causes that co-operated in fixing this period as the proper one, perhaps the most powerful was, that almost all the heathen nations regarded the winter solstice as a most important point of the year, as the beginning of the renewed life and activity of the powers of nature, and of the gods, who were originally merely the symbolical personifications of these. In more northerly countries, this fact must have made itself peculiarly palpable—hence the Celts and Germans, from the oldest times, celebrated the season with the greatest festivities. At the winter solstice the German held their great Yule-feast, in commemoration of the return of the fiery sun-wheel; and believed that, during the twelve nights reaching from the 25th of December to the 6th January, they could trace the personal movements and interferences on earth of their great deities, Odin, Berchta, etc. Many of the beliefs and usages of the old Germans, and also of the Romans, relating to this matter, passed over from heathenism to Christianity, and have partly survived to the present day.”FACC 301.2

    Prof. J. G. Muller, the author of the article on the worship of the sun, in the “Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia,” after mentioning that the sun was worshipped by the Persians, under the form of Mithras, which finally became the Sol Deus Invictus of the Romans, says:—
    “The Mithras-worship even exercised its influence upon the fixing of the Christian Christmas festival in December. As the new birth of the sun-god was celebrated at the end of December, so, likewise, in Christ the new sun in the field of spiritual life was adored.”
    FACC 302.1

    And the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” after mentioning the obscurity in which the origin of the Christmas festival rests, proceeds thus:—
    “By the fifth century, however, whether from the influence of some tradition, or from the desire to supplant heathen festivals of that period of the year, such as the Saturnalia, the 25th of December had been generally agreed upon.”
    FACC 302.2

    Bingham gives the following account of the “Christian” method of keeping this heathen festival:—
    “As to the manner of keeping this festival, we may observe, they did it with the greatest veneration. For they always speak of it in the highest terms, as the principal festival of Christians, from which all others took their original. Chrysostom styles it the most venerable and tremendous of all festivals, and the metropolis or mother of all festivals.... And we may observe, that the day was kept with the same veneration and religious solemnity as the Lord’s day.... Neither did they let this day ever pass without a solemn communion.”
    FACC 302.3

    “Finally, to show all possible honor to this day, the church obliged all persons to frequent religious assemblies in the city churches, and not go to any of the lesser churches in the country, except some necessity of sickness or infirmity compelled them so to do. And the laws of the State prohibited all public games and shows on this day, as on the Lord’s day.”—Book 20, chap. 4.FACC 303.1

    We seldom see statements of this character quoted by first-day writers; but people who “rest the designation of Sunday on the church having set it apart of its own authority,” should certainly keep Christmas more strictly than they do Sunday, for so did “the church.”FACC 303.2

    The same author says of the festivals adopted from the heathen into the Christian church:—
    “As to those festivals which were purely civil, we are to observe that some of them were of long standing in the Roman Empire, and no new institution of Christians, but only reformed and regulated by them in some particulars, to cut off the idolatrous rites and other corruptions that sometimes attended them.”—Antiquities, book 20, chap. 1.
    FACC 303.3

    That Sunday was one of these festivals of long standing among all the ancient heathen, and that its adoption by the Christian church was the adoption of heathenism, will be clearly shown in the next chapter.FACC 303.4

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