Seventh-day Adventism RENOUNCED

Chapter XII - Sabbatarian Positions on the History of Sunday Refuted

What answer do Sabbatarians make to all the preceding testimony? This:

1. "The Bible, the Bible only, is our rule. We don't go by history." Reply: Why then do they themselves appeal to history? No people depend so much upon history, none refer to it so often, none make so great claims from it as Seventh-day Adventists. Thus Andrew's book on the Sabbath contains 512 pages. Of these 192 are on the Bible and 320 on history. Yet they don't go by history! Wherever they can find a scrap in their favor they make the most of it. Of their reliance on history Elder Smith says: "One of the grandest facts we have to present is that God has always had witnesses to his holy Sabbath from the days of Adam till now." Replies to Canright, pages 41-42. Mark: One of the grandest facts they have to present in favor of Saturday is what? Bible testimony? No, but witness from history. Yet, they don't go by history! The fact is they quote history whenever they possibly can. Why, then, cry out against history when we follow them there? Because it is against them.

2. They say that "the early fathers are unreliable, fools, apostates, forgers and frauds." Listen to them: Of one of the fathers Elder Smith says: "A fraud, an impostor, a forger.... An old forger of the second century who wrote things too silly to be repeated and too shameful to quote." Replies to Elder Canright, page 39. Hear Elder Waggoner: "Surely insanity could not produce any more driveling nonsense than this." "Such childish nonsense is seldom seen under the heading of reason." "It would have been a blessing to the world if they had all been lost." Fathers of the Catholic Church, pages 206, 209, 217. This is the way they dispose of all the Christian fathers who said a word in favor of Sunday. No doubt it would have been better for those who keep the Jewish Sabbath if all the Christian fathers had been lost and, better still, if the New Testament also had been lost, for both these are against them. Why this effort to break down the testimony of these early Christian writers? Because they are against them and Sabbatarians know it. Whatever crude notions those fathers might have had, they could state a simple fact of their own days as to whether they did, or did not, keep Sunday. They all agree that they did and their testimony is decisive.

But how much is there to their charge of fraud, forgery, etc.? Just this: In those days the author's name was not always signed to his book; hence it sometimes happened that a book was attributed to the wrong author by mistake. No fraud or forgery was designed or practiced by any one. Look at Hebrews. No name is signed to it. It is still a disputed point as to who wrote it, Paul, Barnabas, or some other apostle. Shall we, therefore, call it a "fraud" and throw it out of the Bible? No. So of the epistle of Barnabas for instance. No name was signed to it, yet it was generally attributed to the apostle Barnabas and was read in all the churches as authority as early as A.D. 120. Some attributed it to others; but all agree that it was written as early as A.D. 120 by some Christian and gave the opinion and customs of the church at that time. "Fraud, fraud," cry the Sabbatarians, "Barnabas never wrote it." Well, what of it? Some Christian wrote it within twenty-five years of John's death and it says that Christians then kept Sunday.

3. "None of the fathers call Sunday the Sabbath." So say the Sabbatarians. That is about right. The early church said with Paul, Col. 2:16, that the Sabbath was abolished with other Jewish rites. The first day was not the Sabbath, but "the Lord's Day," "the eighth day," "resurrection day," etc.

4. Sabbatarians say that Christians worked on Sunday during the first century or longer. Their evidence for this is very questionable as we will soon see. Yet possibly at first the day may not have been observed as strictly as later on; but still it was the day on which all Christians met for their worship according to the custom of the apostles. This is what we claim and have abundantly proved.

5. Sabbatarians say: "The Christians kept the Sabbath for centuries after Christ." Reply: All history abundantly shows that the Jewish Christians observed the Sabbath, circumcision, Passover, etc., for a long time. In some churches where the Jewish element predominated, the Gentiles may have also kept the Sabbath, but all parties kept Sunday at the same time. These are the facts about Sabbath-keeping in the early church as proved above.

6. Seventh-day Adventists quote so-called "eminent historians" to prove their assertions. With these authors they deceive the people and deceive themselves. They quote them as "reliable historians," "high authorities," "eminent divines," "all friends of Sunday," etc. But who are they? Look at Andrews' History of the Sabbath, their standard work. All others relating to the history of the Sabbath are only a re-hash of this. It is served up on all occasion and his authors are quoted over and over by writers and preachers. But the great bulk of his quotations are from such men as Heylyn, Domville, Morer, Cox, Brerewood, White, etc., Episcopal clergymen of England who were bitter opposers of Sunday sacredness.

-1. Brerewood, in the seventeenth century, was only a college professor, not of note enough to be even named in any cyclopedia I have seen, and I have consulted many. He was a fiery erratic, and argued that the Sabbath law was given only to the master. See The Sabbath by Gilfillin, pages 122-123.

-2. Coleman, an American writer of our own times, scarcely mentioned in any cyclopedia.

-3. Dr. Cox, a Scottish anti-Sunday writer last century, not even named in any cyclopedia. See Gilfillin, page 168. Yet Andrews quotes him TWENTY-TWO TIMES, long quotations, as a friend of Sunday! He might as well quote one of his own party. In proof of this read the following from Dr. Lewis, Seventh- day Baptist, in his "History of Sabbath and Sunday": "A pastor of the Mill Yard Seventh-day Baptist Church in London, Robert Cornthwaite, published five works upon the Sabbath question." Of the last book Lewis says: "Robert Cox quotes largely from this work." Pages 337-339. Exactly; then Andrews calls this man a friend of Sunday!!

-4. Domville, another anti-Sunday writer of the nineteenth century, not in any cyclopedia. He denies that there was any authority in the Bible for observing Sunday, even as a day for meetings. Gilfillin, page 143. Yet Andrews quotes him THIRTEEN TIMES as a standard Sunday authority!

-5. Heylyn was the friend of the infamous Laud of England. In 1618 Charles I of England issued a "Book of Sports" for Sunday, allowing of dancing, wrestling and various games on Sunday. See Gilfillin, page 85. Pious people opposed the declaration as a desecration of Sunday. Laud, by the Kings command, hired this Heylyn and Dr. White to write against Sunday sacredness, and in favor of the King's book. In four months a large volume was written, printed and delivered according to order, to prove what was wanted against Sunday. The Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge says of Heylyn: "He was a very voluminous controversial writer, but his works are of no value now." From this man Andrews makes THIRTY-SIX quotations, many of them long, as his chief evidence on his main points!

-6. White, the man associated with Heylyn, as the hireling of Laud in writing the above book, is quoted ELEVEN TIMES by Andrews as a reliable DEFENDER of Sunday! He might as well quote Elder Waggoner as a defender of Sunday.

-7. Morer is a writer of the eighteenth century, mentioned in no cyclopedia. He wrote to disprove the divine origin of Sunday observance. See Gilfillin, page 142. Of one of his statements, which happened to favor Sunday, Elder Waggoner says: "Dishonest as it manifestly is," etc. Replies to Elder Canright, page 146. From this "dishonest" man Elder Andrews makes no less than FORTY-SEVEN QUOTATIONS, many of them long!

-8. Jeremy Taylor, of the seventeenth century, the friend and chaplain of the villainous Laud, wrote against the divine authority of Sunday, and yet is quoted by Andrews as the friend of Sunday!

These are samples of his authors. Most of them were members of the Church of England, and that, too, during the worst period of that church; a church which permits the widest range in theological opinions, such as Unitarianism, Universalism, future probation, annihilation, rationalism, high church, low church, etc. How much then does it signify as to the soundness of one's opinion to state that he is a minister of that church?

Take from the historical part of Andrew's history his quotations and arguments from the above authors and you would hardly have a skeleton left. And even quotations from these are one-sided. Waggoner, Smith, Butler, and all the lesser lights among Seventh-day Adventists who have come after Andrews simply use these quotations which he gathered for them. But they might as well quote Ingersoll and Tom Paine as "friends of the Bible" as to quote these men as "friends of the Sunday Sabbath." Each of them wrote on purpose to refute the claims of Sunday as a Sabbath of divine authority. Thousands of readers ignorant of history are misled, as I was once, by these quotations used by the Adventists. If they had the truth they would not be compelled to rely upon such authors.

The Pagan Romans Never Kept Sunday

Seventh-day Adventists affirm that keeping Sunday was adopted from the pagan Romans by the Catholics and from the Catholics by the Protestants. This idea they industriously teach everywhere. They say that these pagans kept Sunday in worship of the sun. See Andrews' History of the Sabbath, pages 258-2664. Such statements are utterly false. Each day of the week was named after some god and, in a certain sense, was devoted to the worship of that god, as Monday to the moon, Saturday to Saturn, Sunday to the sun, etc. But did they cease work on these days? No; if they had they would have kept every day in the week. Did they observe Sunday by ceasing to work? No, indeed. No such thing was taught or practiced by the Romans. They had no weekly rest day.

Prof. A. Rauschinbusch of Rochester Theological Seminary quotes Lotz thus: "'It is a vain thing to attempt to prove that the Greeks and Romans had anything resembling the Sabbath. Such opinion is refuted even by this, that the Roman writers ridicule the Sabbath as something peculiar to the Jews.' In proof he cites many passages from the Roman poets, and one from Tacitus. Seneca also condemned the Sabbath observance of the Jews as a waste of time by which a seventh part of life was lost." Saturday or Sunday? Page 83. Herzog says: "No special religious celebration of any one day of the week can be pointed out in any one of the pagan religions." Article Sabbath. This fact is accidentally confessed by Elder Waggoner. Of Constantine's law, A.D. 321, he says: "Though the venerable day of the sun had long - very long - been venerated by them and their heathen ancestors, THE IDEA OF REST FROM WORLDLY LABOR IN ITS WORSHIP WAS ENTIRELY NEW." Replies to Elder Canright, page 130. Mark this confession for it gives up the main pillar of their argument in their effort to prove that Sunday-keeping was taken from the pagans. THE PAGASN NEVER KEPT SUNDAY. It was a common work day like other days of the week. The idea and the custom of keeping Sunday as a day of rest from work originated with the Christians, not with pagans. So much for that falsehood. Again: Saturday was sacred to Saturn as Sunday was to the sun. So Adventists are keeping a heathen day the same as Sunday-keepers are!

Constantine Did Not Change the Sabbath

It has been common for Sabbatarians to point to the law of Constantine as a chief factor in changing the Sabbath to Sunday. There never was any truth in the charge; but Elder Waggoner now owns it all up and confesses that it has nothing whatever to do in changing the Sabbath. "Constantine, in his decrees, said not one word either for or against keeping the Sabbath of the Bible." "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." Replies to Elder Canright, page 150. That is the truth and a good confession, though it contradicts all that they have said heretofore. Now let them revise their old books to harmonize with this truth and they will be much smaller.

Constantine's Sunday Law and Its Object

A.D. 321, Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, issued the following edict:

"Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades, rest on the venerable day of the sun, but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty, attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest, the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven."

The simple facts about this law are these: Christians from the days of the apostles had kept the first day of the week; but there was no civil law to protect or aid them in it. By this time they had become very numerous in the empire and their influence was rapidly gaining. The old pagan religion was falling before them. Constantine, to say the least, was favorable to Christianity. His parents were Christians. He was shrewd enough to see that it was for his interest to favor this new and rising religion. Hence, as soon as he publicly professed Christianity, he issued several edicts favoring it in various ways, this one concerning Sunday among the rest. The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia well says: "He was no doubt convinced of the superior claims of Christianity as the rising religion; but his conversion was a change of policy, rather than of moral character. He knew Christianity well, but only as a power in the Roman Empire and he protected it as a wise and far-seeking statesman... His first edict concerning the Christians (Rome, 312) is lost. By the second (Milan, 313) he granted them, not only free religious worship and the recognition of the state, but also reparation of previously incurred losses... A series of edicts of 315, 316, 319, 321, and 323, completed the revolution. Christians were admitted to the offices of the state... An edict of 321 ordered Sunday to be celebrated by cessation of all work in public."

It will be seen that this edict was only one of seven issued to favor Christians. 1.) It was not made to please or favor the pagans, for, as seen above, they did not keep Sunday. 2.) As we have proved, the Christians did all keep Sunday, hence this law would favor and please them. 3.) The edict was not addressed to Christians for they needed no such law for themselves as they kept that day voluntarily. 4.) It was not worded in Christian terms, "Lord's Day," as it was addressed to pagans. 5.) It was couched in pagan terms, "day of the sun," that pagans might understand it and that it might offend them less. This law, then, made no change in the observance of Sunday on the part of Christians; but it did secure to that day a better observance by requiring everyone, pagans and all, to cease work that day. But it is said that this law of Constantine, A.D. 321, was the first law ever made prohibiting work on Sunday. Very true, but why? Because none but Christians believed it wrong to work that day; and up to that date Constantine had no power to make laws and hence could not have made a law for keeping Sunday if they had desired to. It is noticeable that the first emperor who favored Christianity made, among other laws favoring Christians, a civil law prohibiting work on Sunday.

That this law was made at the request of Christians is now admitted by Adventists. Thus Elder A.T. Jones in the Battle Creek Journal, December 11, 1888, says: "It is demonstrated that the first Sunday law that ever was enacted was at the request of the church; it was in behalf of the church, and it was expressly to help the church." Exactly, and this proves that the church kept Sunday before that law was made. It is an absurdity to say that the pagans had always kept Sunday and yet had never made a law concerning it. As Adventists all agree, the first Sunday law was made to favor Christians. This shows that Sunday observance was then regarded as an essential part of Christianity. Of this law Mosheim says: "The first day of the week, which was the ordinary and stated time for the public assemblies of the Christians, was, in consequence of a peculiar law enacted by Constantine, observed with greater solemnity than it had formerly been." Mosheim, century 4, part 2, chapter 4, section 5.

This law, addressed to pagans who had always worked on Sunday, required the cessation of business on that day and so secured to Christians a better observance of Sunday than before. The ecclesiastical historian, Sozomen, writing of Constantine, says: "He also enjoined the observance of the day termed the Lord's Day... He honored the Lord's Day because on it Christ rose from the dead." Ecc. Hist., page 22. It was, then, in behalf of Sunday as a Christian day, not as a pagan festival, that this law was made.

Found At Last - The Exact Time and Place the Pope Changed the Sabbath!

I pressed the Adventists to name the time and place when and where the Sabbath was changed by the pope, and to name the pope and the facts about such a change if it ever occurred. Nettled by this, Elder Waggoner undertook the Herculean task. A worse sample of assumption and perversion of facts it would be hard to find. At last he settles on the council of Laodicea, A.D. 364, as the place and time when and where the Sabbath was changed. The 29th canon of that council read thus: "Christians ought not to Judaize and to rest in the Sabbath, but to work in that day; but preferring the Lord's Day, should rest, if possible, as Christians. Wherefore if they shall be found to Judaize, let them be accursed from Christ." On this the Elder says: "Now, if any one can imagine what would be changing the Sabbath, if this is not, I would be extremely happy to learn what it could be." "Now I claim that I have completely met this demand; I have shown the time, the place, and the power that changed the Sabbath." Replied to Canright, pages 141, 151. He claims that this was "a Catholic council" and that "historians early and late have made much mention" of this council. Now let us examine his position.

1. If the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the pope right here, as he affirms, then certainly it was not changed before nor after at any other place. So if this fails their whole cause is lost. Let the reader mark the importance of this fact.

2. He admits what every scholar knows, that till after the time of Constantine the bishop of Rome had no "authority whatever above the other bishops" and so could not have changed the Sabbath before that time. He says: "It was Constantine himself that laid the foundation of the papacy." Replies to Elder Canright, page 148. Surely the papacy did not exist before its foundation was laid.

3. He admits, as above, that Constantine did nothing to change the Sabbath.

4. But we have abundantly proved in preceding pages that all Christians long before this date were unanimous in observing the Lord's Day. This one simple facts proves the utter absurdity of the claim that it was changed at Laodicea, A.D. 364, or by the papacy at any time.

5. In the year 324, or just 40 years before the council of Laodicea, Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, Palestine, wrote his celebrated history of Christianity. He had every possible opportunity to know what Christians did throughout the world. He says: "And all things whatsoever that it was the duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's Day as more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath." Quoted in Sabbath Manual, page 127.

That is the way the Sabbath and Sunday stood in the church 40 years before Laodicea. They did not keep the Sabbath, but did keep the Lord's Day, had transferred all things to it. How much truth, then, can there be in the position that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the pope 40 years later? Shame on such brazen attempts to pervert the truth. But let us look at the real facts about the council at Laodicea. Seventh-day Adventists claim two things, viz: that the Sabbath was changed by the Roman church, and that it was done by the authority of the pope. Then they select Laodicea as the place and time, but,

1. Laodicea is not Rome. It is situated in Asia Minor over 1,000 miles east of Rome. It was in Asia not in Europe. It was an Eastern, not a Western town, an oriental, not a Latin city.

2. It was a Greek, not a Roman city.

3. The pope of Rome did not attend this council at Laodicea, A.D. 364. Does Waggoner claim that he did? No, he does not dare to.

4. The pope did not attend, nor did he send a legate or a delegate or any one to represent him. In fact, neither the Roman Catholic church nor the pope had anything to do with the council in any way, shape or manner. It was held without even their knowledge or consent.

5. At this early date, A.D. 364, the popes, or rather bishops of Rome, had no authority over other bishops. It was 200 years later before they were invested with authority over Western churches. Even their authority was stoutly resisted for centuries in the East where this council was held. See Bower's History of the Popes, or any church history. Speaking of Sylvester, who was bishop of Rome A.D. 314 to 336, only 28 years before this council at Laodicea, Elder Waggoner says: "The bishop of Rome had not then yet attained to any authority whatever above the other bishops." Replies to Canright, page 143. This is true. Did they in the next twenty-eight years gain authority to change the keeping of the Sabbath from one day to another throughout the whole world? Preposterous!

6. Liberius was bishop of Rome at the time of this council of Laodicea. He was degraded from his office, banished, and treated with the utmost contempt. Bowers says that in order to end his exile, Liberius "wrote in a most submissive and cringing style to the eastern bishops." History of the Popes, Vol. I, page 64. And this was the pope who changed the Sabbath at a council of these same eastern bishops, 1,000 miles away, which he never attended!

7. The council of Laodicea was only a local council, a small, unimportant affair and not a general council at all. Elder Waggoner magnifies it into a great "Catholic [general] council," a claim which is utterly false. The general councils are: 1.) That at Nice, A.D. 325. 2.) That at Constantinople, A.D. 381. 3.) That at Ephesus, A.D. 431, etc. See the list in Johnson's Cyclopedia, or any history. Bower in his extensive work, the "History of the Popes," gives an account of all the general councils, the important local councils, and all with which Rome or the popes had to do, but does not even mention this one at Laodicea. He mentions many councils held about that time, but not this one. He says: "Several other councils were held from the year 363 to 368, of which we have no particular account." Vol. I, page 79. I have searched through a number of cyclopedias and church histories and can find no mention at all of the council at Laodicea, in most of them, and only a few lines in any. Rev. W. Armstrong, a scholar of Canton, Pa., says: "This council is not even mentioned by Mosheim, Milner, Ruter, Reeves, Socrates, Sozomen, nor by four other historians on my table." McClintock and Strong_s Cyclopedia says: "Thirty-two bishops were present from different provinces in Asia." All bishops of the Eastern church, not one from the Roman church! And yet this was the time and place when and where the Roman church and the pope changed the Sabbath!

8. Now think of it: this little local council of thirty-two bishops revolutionizes the whole world on the keeping of the Sabbath!

9. The fact is that this council simply regulated in this locality an already long established institution, the Lord's Day, just the same as council after council did afterwards. If this changed the Sabbath to Sunday, then it has been changed a hundred times since! Sabbatarians point to these different regulations as so many acts in changing the Sabbath, when they have not the remotest relation to such a thing any more than have the resolutions with regard to keeping Sunday which are passed year by year now in all religious assemblies. Elder Waggoner makes this truthful statement: "The decrees of councils have not as a general thing been arbitrary laws telling what MUST BE, so much so they have been the formulation of the opinions and practices largely prevalent at the time... Infallibility had been attributed to the pope hundreds of years before it became a dogma of the church." Fathers of the Catholic Church, page 333, Exactly, and just so the Lord's Day had been kept by the church hundreds of years before the council of Laodicea mentioned it.

10. The church of Laodicea where this council was held was raised up by Paul himself, Col. 4:13, 16; 1Tim. 6: to close of the epistle. It was one of the seven churches to which John wrote. Rev. 3:14. Hence it is certain it was well instructed and grounded in the doctrines of the apostles. Between Paul and this council, that is A.D. 270, Anatolius was a bishop of Laodicea. He wrote: "Our regard for the Lord's resurrection, which took place on the Lord's Day, will lead us to celebrate it on the same principle." Canon 16. Here we have that church keeping Sunday one hundred years before this council.

11. Finally, if the council of Laodicea changed the Sabbath, as Adventists say, then it was changed by the Greek church instead of the Roman church; changed by the eastern churches over which Rome had no authority; changed before the papacy was established, before the pope had any authority over the east, by a small local council which neither the pope nor any of his servants attended. The absurdity of this claim is manifest without further argument.

For many years I accepted these false statements of Sabbatarian writers as undoubted truths, as all their converts do. I had no means of knowing better. I preached strongly what I read in their books and led hundreds still more ignorant than myself to believe it. Gradually the truth dawned upon me that I was being misled, but it then took me years to learn the real facts in the case and free myself from the superstition which bound me. Now I have investigated the matter till I am fully satisfied for myself that, to sustain their false theories, they have done great violence to the plainest facts of history. The assertion that the pope changed the Sabbath is a fair sample of the rest.

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