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    INTRODUCTORY

    There is probably no question that has occupied a more prominent place in religious investigations and discussions in the last quarter of a century than that of the change of the Sabbath. Without stopping to state the causes that first gave rise to this agitation, it is sufficient to say that thousands, both in Europe and America, have been led by it carefully to review the ground of their faith and practice, and to change their practice, accepting the seventh day of the week, instead of the first, as the Sabbath. This fact has tended to increase the agitation of the question as to the true Sabbath. As men and women who have been reared in Christian families, and who have been Christians from their youth, occupying prominent positions in their churches, have abandoned the time-honored custom of Sunday observance, and calmly and deliberately begun the observance of the seventh day, many others have been led to study anew the comparative claims of the two days.SOOCC 5.1

    That the original Sabbath was the seventh day and not the first is virtually admitted by everyone who argues to uphold the “change” of the day. That the Jews kept the seventh day, and were doing so at the time of Christ, is beyond all question. That Christ recognized the day that they observed, is also an undoubted fact. That the same day that the Jews observed is uniformly called the Sabbath, throughout the New Testament, no one who is acquainted with the Scriptures will deny. We do not argue anything from apostolic observance; we do not base any argument for the observance of the seventh day on the fact that numerous religious services were held by Christ and the apostles on that day; but here is a point that is worthy of a place in the argument, and which, of itself, is sufficient to settle the whole matter:—SOOCC 6.1

    The New Testament was all written from six to sixty years after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, therefore it was well into what is called “the Christian dispensation.” It was written for Christians, by Christian men. Those men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, so that their words were not their own, but were the words of God. See 1 Corinthians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13. They were, therefore, not swayed by early training or Jewish prejudice, for the Holy Spirit is not susceptible to such influences. Therefore the fact that the seventh day of the week is everywhere in the New Testament called “the Sabbath-day,” is evidence that that is its rightful name—that the term “Sabbath” belongs to it, and to no other day. The Holy Spirit makes no mistakes; therefore the fact that it calls the seventh day the Sabbath thirty years after the resurrection is ample evidence that the seventh day was still the Sabbath. And, further, it is also evidence that the Holy Spirit designed that all who should read the New Testament should understand that that day is the Sabbath. Therefore the Holy Spirit would have all men now regard the seventh day as the Sabbath.SOOCC 6.2

    But now we are met by the fact that nearly all the professed Christians in the world are keeping, with varying degrees of strictness, the first day of the week. No one can deny this. Nor can it be denied that this has been the case for centuries. While there has never been a time when there were not people who kept the seventh day holy, as the Sabbath of the Lord, there is no question but that for more than fifteen hundred years the large majority of professed Christians have disregarded the seventh day, and have observed the first day, although not by any means always as the Sabbath-day.SOOCC 7.1

    The question therefore naturally arises: How did this come about? If the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Bible, of the New Testament as well as of the Old, why is the professed church of Christ generally keeping another day? This is a fair question, and to answer it fairly is the object of this little pamphlet.SOOCC 7.2

    Some have argued that the fact that the day is generally observed is sufficient evidence that it ought to be observed. They consider it almost sacrilege to question the practice of “the church.” They think that when the practice of the church is known, that ought to put an end to controversy and bar all further investigation. To such we would quote the words of the pious and learned Dr. Alexander Carson, in his great work, entitled “Baptism, Its Mode and Subjects,” p. 6.:—SOOCC 8.1

    “With respect to religious doctrines and institutions, there is no antecedent probability that those in existence at any time are actually in Scripture. The vast majority of religious rites used under the Christian name are the mere inventions of men; and not a single institution of the Lord Jesus, as it is recorded in the New Testament, has been left unchanged; and it is no injustice to put each of them to the proof, because, if they are in Scripture, proof is at all times accessible.”SOOCC 8.2

    Our tracing of the Sunday institution, unfortunately, does not lead us into the Bible, for there is no trace of it there. This negative proposition is amply proved by the fact that in both the Old and the New Testament, the seventh day alone is recognized as the Sabbath. For the full Scripture argument on the Sabbath question the reader is referred to works especially devoted to that question, notably, “The History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week,” by J. N. Andrews. It is true that there are many who claim that Sunday observance is traceable to Christ and the apostles, as Mosheim, the church historian, says:—SOOCC 8.3

    “The Christians in 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 reassumed 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, century 1, part 2, chapter 4, section 4. (Murdock’s translation, London, 1845.)SOOCC 9.1

    But Mosheim has not given in this instance his “unexceptionable testimony,” as he has on almost every other point, for the reason that there is no testimony which a historian would regard as unexceptionable. If it were true that the apostles set apart the first day of the week for rest and worship, then we could find the record of that setting apart either in the Acts of the Apostles or in their Epistles; but that record does not appear. If it did, a child could read it as easily as a doctor of divinity. And in that case we should find no such statements as this coming from those who practice and strongly uphold Sunday observance, even to the extent of desiring a law to compel all to observe it:—SOOCC 9.2

    “Some plant the observance of the Sabbath [by which term the writer meant 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 literal writing] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the best of the argument.”—Christian at Work (editorial) April 19, 1883.SOOCC 9.3

    Dr. Charles S. Robinson, of New York, is an eminent Baptist preacher and writer, and in an article in the Sunday School Times of January 14, 1882, he said:—SOOCC 10.1

    “It is not wise to base the entire Sabbath [meaning 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 institution.”SOOCC 10.2

    That is to say, there is no precept in the Bible which authorizes Sunday observance, and the only way to avoid confusion when the matter comes up in argument is to lead the discussion as far as possible away from the subject. Not thus would the learned Dr. Robinson do if infant baptism were the subject of discussion.SOOCC 10.3

    Again we quote from the Christian at Work, which in one of its issues in January, 1884, contains the following:—SOOCC 10.4

    “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.”SOOCC 10.5

    Acts 20:7 is one of the principal texts from which the observance of Sunday by the apostles is inferred; yet it is on his comment on this very text that the Rev. Dr. Scott says:—SOOCC 11.1

    “The change from the seventh to the first appears to have been gradually and silently introduced, by example rather than by express precept.”SOOCC 11.2

    We quote again from a prominent Protestant journal:—SOOCC 11.3

    “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.”—Christian at Work, Jan. 8, 1885.SOOCC 11.4

    This is in harmony with the statements made by Dr. Scott and Dr. Robinson. Surely all this is enough to warrant us in looking elsewhere than in the New Testament for the origin of Sunday observance.SOOCC 11.5

    That many things were “gradually and silently introduced” into the church, without any Scripture warrant, every Protestant believes. He knows that the Roman Catholic Church is full of such things to-day, as, for instance, auricular confession, image-worship, indulgences, etc. And these blots on the face of professed Christianity came in at an early day. Dr. Killen, a Presbyterian theologian and teacher of church history, says in the preface to his book, entitled “The Ancient Church”:—SOOCC 11.6

    “In the interval between the days of the apostles and the conversion of Constantine, the Christian commonwealth changed its aspect. The bishop of Rome—a personage unknown to the writers of the New Testament—meanwhile rose into prominence, and at length took precedence of all other churchmen. Rites and ceremonies, of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions.”SOOCC 12.1

    This is exactly in harmony with what we have already read concerning the Sunday institution. Being assured, then, both by the silence of Scripture, and by the admission of eminent first-day observers, that the observance of the day has no warrant in the Scripture nor in apostolic times, we are prepared to begin our search for it outside of the circle of men whom God sent. In this investigation we expect to establish the following points:—SOOCC 12.2

    1. Sun-worship is the oldest and most widespread form of idolatry,—the form which has from the most ancient times stood in opposition to the worship of the true God,—and the first day of the week has been the day especially devoted to the wild revelries with which the sun-god was worshiped.SOOCC 12.3

    2. The church rapidly degenerated after the days of the apostles, being corrupted especially by the infusion of heathen philosophy; and as the result, by the close of the third century A.D., the great body of the professed church was scarcely to be distinguished from the heathen. The forms, ceremonies, and festivals of the church had been very largely borrowed from paganism.SOOCC 12.4

    3. During the same time paganism as such had been undergoing an outward change. As a system of religion it had been greatly weakened by the large numbers who had left it and had enrolled themselves in the church. Also, partly through the influence of the church and Judaism, and largely by the new philosophy which arose in response to the demand for some new form of error to oppose the advance of truth, paganism had become in a manner monotheistic. That is, it recognized one supreme god, relegating all other gods to a subordinate place; and that one divinity was represented by the sun. Thus the church and the world were mutually preparing to unite.SOOCC 13.1

    4. It having been demonstrated that it was impossible to bring about unity in the Roman Empire by the extirpation of Christianity, some of the more politic emperors conceived the idea of uniting Christianity and paganism into one system, thus doing away with the great cause of dissension in the empire.SOOCC 13.2

    5. Sunday was the platform on which paganism and Christianity united; it was the link that united Church and State. The adoption of day by the church marked the completion of the paganizing of the church.SOOCC 13.3

    Let the reader watch carefully through the following pages, and see if these points are not established by abundant evidence.SOOCC 14.1

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