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    CONSTANTINE DID NOT DISPLACE THE SABBATH

    But the most decisive objection that I bring against the assumption herein noticed is, that Constantine did nothing whatever that can be construed into changing the Sabbath. This is important ground, upon which we are strongly fortified, as I propose to show. There is absolutely nothing to give the least color of plausibility to the assumption, except the words of Eusebius, wherein he says that “we” have transferred the duties of the Sabbath to the Lord’s day. But he gives us no hint whereby we may judge to whom the “we” refers; nor does he produce a single act of anybody, which can possibly be construed into such a transfer. He speaks of Constantine’s care for the Lord’s day as evidence of his great interest in Christianity-a declaration in which there is not a particle of truth. The “Encyclopedia Britannica” justly says of Eusebius:-OGSO 52.2

    “He was undoubtedly more of a courtier than was becoming in a Christian bishop, and in his ‘Life of Constantine’ has written an extravagant panegyric, rather than a biography of the emperor.”OGSO 53.1

    Considering the character of Constantine, the adulations of Eusebius are anything but pleasing to the Christian reader. Of the disposition of the bishops, who were intoxicated with the favors they received from the emperor, to flatter him, Neander (vol. 2, p.23) says:-OGSO 53.2

    “One of them congratulated him as constituted by God as ruler over all in the present world, and destined to reign with the Son of God in the world to come.”OGSO 53.3

    When such flatterers state what Constantine did in behalf of Christianity, we must ask to have the distinct actions set forth, and then we must judge by the actions and not by the statements. Concerning the matter in question, the action is entirely wanting, and the statement is extravagant. The statement contains the first idea of the transfer of the duties of the Sabbath, but no evidence of the change.OGSO 53.4

    Now we will consider what Constantine did, and the bearing of those actions.OGSO 53.5

    1. It is proved that the law of Constantine was the first law enforcing rest on the Sunday; and as Dr. Schaff says, it was done in accordance with his worship of Apollo, the sun-god.OGSO 54.1

    2. It enforced rest on the judges, artisans, trades-people, etc., of the towns or cities. But it had no regard for classes-no relation at all to the professors of Christianity. It was in no sense a law of, or for, the church.OGSO 54.2

    3. It did not restrain from labor in the country; and there, as in the cities, it had no regard for classes. In the towns it forbade all labor, whether by pagans or Christians. In the country it permitted all to labor, both pagans and Christians.OGSO 54.3

    4. Constantine, in his decrees, said not one word either for or against keeping the Sabbath of the Bible. To this he did not refer in any way. Let not the reader suppose that he may have spoken concerning this in some other decree. I have now on my table a compilation of all the imperial and kingly decrees concerning the Sunday, compiled directly from the Codes, given in the originals. But two decrees of this nature are set down to Constantine, and these are both given in this article. The second was made in June, 321, as an explanation or modification of the first, the first being in March of the same year.OGSO 54.4

    It is safe to affirm that there was nothing done in the time of Constantine, either by himself or any other, that has the least appearance of changing the Sabbath. It is said that he advised to have nothing in common with the Jews; perhaps he did, but it is certain that he did not refer in any way to the Sabbath in any law. It would have been well for the church and for Christianity if they had feared the Jews less, and refused to have anything in common with the pagans.OGSO 54.5

    Constantine died a. d. 337. The date assigned to the Council of Laodicea is a. d. 364-27 years later. The canons of this council were accepted by the churches (vide McClintock & Strong), and have always been considered Catholic. This was a church assembly, an ecclesiastical congress. Did it do anything that appeared like changing the Sabbath?-It did. It required Christians to rest on the Lord’s day, meaning Sunday, and forbade their resting on the Sabbath, under penalty of being accursed from Christ-the severest penalty that they could pronounce. It peremptorily forbade the keeping of the Sabbath, and peremptorily required the keeping of the Sunday. If that council had had supreme power, and had avowed its intention to change the Sabbath, what could it have done more than it did in this canon? And if anyone yet denies that this was changing the Sabbath, will he please to frame a canon that would have had the effect to change the Sabbath-an improvement on this canon 29 of Laodicea? I would very much like to see someone make the attempt. Now, I claim that I have completely shown the time, the place, and the power that changed the Sabbath. And to make this matter sure, this voice of the Council of Laodicea has met a continual response from the Catholic Church in all ages, as it is easy to show. Charlemagne did more than any other emperor to make this part of the faith of the church effective, and in his first decree he referred directly to this canon of the Council of Laodicea.OGSO 55.1

    Here I will notice that some capital has been made of the expression in this canon that they should rest on the Sunday as far as they were able, as if it were not peremptory. This is but a thoughtless cavil; for we must remember that there was a law of the empire that permitted labor in the country on Sunday, and over this law the council had no control. If Christians were, under service. in the country, to unbelieving masters, they could not rest from labor on the Sunday. The mandate was peremptory as far as the power of the church could reach.OGSO 56.1

    In this manner the matter stood for several centuries. The law of Constantine was the law of rest for the empire, and the canon of Laodicea the Sabbath law, or law of rest, for the church, though the Sunday did not for many centuries bear the name of the Sabbath.OGSO 56.2

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