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    Chapter 7

    Testimony of Tertullian, A. D. 200

    This writer contradicts himself in the most extraordinary manner concerning the Sabbath and the law of God. He asserts that the Sabbath was abolished by Christ, and elsewhere emphatically declares that he did not abolish it. He says that Joshua violated the Sabbath, and then expressly declares that he did not violate it. He says that Christ broke the Sabbath, and then shows that he never did this. He represents the eighth day as more honorable than the seventh, and elsewhere states just the reverse. He asserts that the law is abolished, and in other places affirms its perpetual obligation. He speaks of the Lord’s day as the eighth day, and is the second of the early writers who makes an application of this term to Sunday, Clement of Alexandria, A. D. 194, being the first. But though he thus uses the term like Clement he also like him teaches a perpetual Lord’s day, or, like Justin Martyr, a perpetual Sabbath in the observance of every day. And with the observance of Sunday as the Lord’s day he brings in “offerings for the dead” and the perpetual use of the sign of the cross. But he expressly affirms that these things rest, not upon the authority of the Scriptures, but wholly upon that of tradition and custom. And though he speaks of the Sabbath as abrogated by Christ, he expressly contradicts this by asserting that Christ “did not at all rescind the Sabbath,” and that he imparted an additional sanctity to that day which from the beginning had been consecrated by the benediction of the Father. This strange mingling of light and darkness plainly indicates the age in which this author lived. He was not so far removed from the time of the apostles but that many clear rays of divine truth shone upon him; and he was far enough advanced in the age of apostasy to have its dense darkness materially affect him. He stood on the line between expiring day and advancing night. Sometimes the law of God was unspeakably sacred; at other times tradition was of higher authority than the law. Sometimes divine institutions were alone precious in his estimation; at others he was better satisfied with those which were sustained only by custom and tradition.TFTC 63.3

    Tertullian’s first reference to Sunday is found in that part of his Apology in which he excuses his brethren from the charge of sun-worship. Thus he says:-TFTC 64.1

    “Others, again, certainly with more information and greater verisimilitude, believe that the sun is our God. We shall be counted Persians, perhaps, though we do not worship the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, having himself everywhere in his own disk. The idea, no doubt, has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer. But you, many of you, also, under pretense sometimes of worshiping the heavenly bodies, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way, if we devote Sunday to rejoicing, from a far different reason than sun-worship, we have some resemblance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury, though they, too, go far away from Jewish ways, of which indeed they are ignorant.” - Thelwell’s Translation, sect. 16.TFTC 64.2

    Several important facts are presented in this quotation.TFTC 65.1

    1. Sunday was an ancient heathen festival in honor of the sun.TFTC 65.2

    2. Those Christians who observed the festival of Sunday were claimed by the heathen as sun-worshipers.TFTC 65.3

    3. The entrance of the Sunday festival into the church in an age of apostasy when men very generally honored it, was not merely not difficult to be effected, it was actually difficult to be prevented.TFTC 65.4

    It would seem from the closing sentence that some of the heathen used the seventh day as a day of ease and luxury. But Mr. Reeve’s Translation gives a very different sense. He renders Tertullian thus:-TFTC 65.5

    “We solemnize the day after Saturday in contradistinction to those who call this day their Sabbath, and devote it to ease and eating, deviating from the old Jewish customs, which they are now very ignorant of.”TFTC 65.6

    The persons here mentioned so contemptuously could not be heathens, for they do not call any day “their Sabbath.” Nor could they be Jews, as is plain from the form of expression used. If we accept Mr. Reeve’s Translation, these persons were Christians who observed the seventh day. Tertullian does not say that the Sunday festival was observed by divine authority, but that they might distinguish themselves from those who call the seventh day the Sabbath.TFTC 65.7

    Tertullian again declares that his brethren did not observe the days held sacred by the Jews.TFTC 66.1

    “We neither accord with the Jews in their peculiarities in regard to food, nor in their sacred days.” - Apology, sect. 21.TFTC 66.2

    But those Christians who would not keep the Sabbath because the festival of Sunday was in their estimation more worthy of honor, or more convenient to observe, were greatly given to the observance of other days, in common with the heathen, besides Sunday. Thus Tertullian charges home upon them this sin:-TFTC 66.3

    “The Holy Spirit upbraids the Jews with their holy days. ‘Your sabbaths, and new moons, and ceremonies,’ says he, ‘my soul hateth.’ By us (to whom Sabbaths are strange, and the new moons, and festivals formerly beloved by God) the Saturnalia and New Year’s and mid-winter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented - presents come and go - New Year’s gifts - games join their noise - banquets join their din! Oh! better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself! Not the Lord’s day, not Pentecost, even if they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens! If any indulgence is to be granted to the flesh, you have it. I will not say your own days, but more too; for to the heathens each festive day occurs but once annually; you have a festive day every eighth day.” - On Idolatry, chap 14.TFTC 66.4

    These Sunday-festival Christians, “to whom Sabbaths” were “strange,” could not have kept Sunday as a Sabbath. They had never heard that by divine authority the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, and that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath. Let any candid man read the above words from Tertullian, and then deny, if he can, that these strangers to the Sabbath, and observers of heathen festivals, were not a body of apostatizing Christians!TFTC 66.5

    Hereafter Tertullian will give an excellent commentary on his quotation from Isaiah. It seems from him that the so-called Lord’s day came once in eight days. Were these words to be taken in their most obvious sense, then it would come one day later each week than it did the preceding week, and thus it would come successively on all the days of the week in order, at intervals of eight days. He might in such case well say:-TFTC 67.1

    “However, every day is the Lord’s; every hour, every time, is apt for baptism; if there is a difference in the solemnity, in the grace, distinction there is none.” - On Baptism, chap 19.TFTC 67.2

    But it seems that Tertullian by the eighth day intended Sunday. And here is something from him relative to the manner of keeping it. Thus he says:-TFTC 67.3

    “In the matter of kneeling also, prayer is subject to diversity of observance, through the act of some few who abstain from kneeling on the Sabbath; and since this dissension is particularly on its trial before the churches, the Lord will give his grace that the dissentients may either yield, or else indulge their opinion without offense to others. We, however, (just as we have received), only on the day of the Lord’s resurrection, ought to guard not only against kneeling, but every posture and office of solicitude; deferring even our businesses, lest we give any place to the devil. Similarly, too, in the period of Pentecost; which period we distinguish by the same solemnity of exultation. But who would hesitate every day to prostrate himself before God, at least in the first prayer with which we enter on the daylight.” - On Prayer, chap 23.TFTC 67.4

    A more literal translation of this passage would expressly connect the term Lord’s day with the day of Christ’s resurrection, the original being “die dominico resurrexionis.” The special weekly honor which Tertullian would have men confer solely upon Sunday was to pray on that day in a standing posture. And somewhat to his annoyance, “some few” would thus act with reference to the Sabbath. There is, however, some reference to the deferral of business on Sunday. And this is worthy of notice, for it is the first sentence we have discovered that looks like abstinence from labor on Sunday, and we shall not find another before the time of Constantine’s famous Sunday law, A. D. 321.TFTC 67.5

    But this passage is far from asserting that labor on Sunday was sinful. It speaks of “deferring even our business;” but this does not necessarily imply anything beyond its postponement during the hours devoted to religious services. And we shall find nothing in Tertullian, nor in his contemporaries, that will go beyond this, while we shall find much to restrict us to the interpretation of his words here given. Tertullian could not say that Sabbaths were strange to him and his brethren if they religiously refrained from labor on each Sunday. But let us hear him again concerning the observance of Sunday and kindred practices:-TFTC 68.1

    “We take also in meetings before daybreak, and from the hand of none but the presidents, the sacrament of the Eucharist, which the Lord both commanded to be eaten at meal times, and enjoined to be taken by all [alike]. As often as the anniversary comes round, we make offerings for the dead as birth-day honors. We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from Easter to Whitsunday. We feel pained should any wine or bread, even though our own, be cast upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign [of the cross].TFTC 68.2

    “If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom, as their strengthener, and faith, as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has.” - De Corona, Sects. 3 and 4.TFTC 69.1

    The things which he counted unlawful on Sunday he expressly names. These are fasting and kneeling on that day. But ordinary labor does not come into his list of things unlawful on that day. And now observe what progress apostasy and superstition had made in other things also. “Offerings for the dead” were regularly made, and the sign of the cross was repeated as often as God would have men rehearse his commandments. See Deuteronomy 6:6-9. And now if you wish to know Tertullian’s authority for the Sunday festival, offerings for the dead, and the sign of the cross, he frankly tells you what it is. He had no authority from the Scriptures. Custom and tradition were all that he could offer. Modern divines can find plenty of authority, from the Scriptures, as they assert, for maintaining the so-called Lord’s day. Tertullian knew of none. He took the Sunday festival, offerings for the dead, and the sign of the cross, on the authority of custom and tradition; if you take the first on such authority, why do you not, also, the other two?TFTC 69.2

    But Tertullian finds it necessary to write a second defense of his brethren from the charge of being sun-worshipers, a charge directly connected with their observance of the festival of Sunday. Here are his words:-TFTC 69.3

    “Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes worshiping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise? It is you, at all events, who have even admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day [Sunday], in preference to the preceding day, as the most suitable in the week for either an entire abstinence from the bath, or for its postponement until the evening, or for taking rest, and for banqueting. By resorting to these customs, you deliberately deviate from your own religious rites to those of strangers. For the Jewish feasts are the Sabbath and the Purification, and Jewish also are the ceremonies of the lamps, and the feasts of unleavened bread, and the ‘litteral prayers,’ all which institutions and practices are of course foreign from your gods. Wherefore, that I may return from this digression, you who reproach us with the sun and Sunday should consider your proximity to us. We are not far off from your Saturn and your days of rest.” - Ad Nationes, b. i. chap 13.TFTC 70.1

    Tertullian in this discourse addresses himself to the nations still in idolatry. The heathen festival of Sunday, which was with some nations more ancient, had been established among the Romans at a comparatively recent date, though earlier than the time of Justin Martyr, the first Christian writer in whom an authentic mention of the day is found. The heathen reproached the early Sunday Christians with being sun-worshipers, “because,” says Tertullian, “we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity.” And how does Tertullian answer this grave charge? He could not say we do it by command of God to honor the first day of the week, for he expressly states in a former quotation that no such precept exists. So he retorts thus: “What then? Do you [heathen] do less than this?” And he adds: “You have selected its day [Sunday] in preference to the preceding day” (Saturday), etc. That is to say, Tertullian wishes to know why, if the heathen could choose Sunday in preference to Saturday, the Christians could not have the same privilege! Could there be a stronger incidental evidence that Sunday was cherished by the early apostatizing Christians, not because commanded of God, but because it was generally observed by their heathen neighbors, and therefore more convenient to them?TFTC 70.2

    But Tertullian next avows his faith in the ten commandments as “the rules of our regenerate life,” that is to say, the rules which govern Christian men; and he gives the preference to the seventh day over the eighth:-TFTC 71.1

    “I must also say something about the period of the soul’s birth, that I may omit nothing incidental in the whole process. A mature and regular birth takes place, as a general rule, at the commencement of the tenth month. They who theorize respecting numbers, honor the number ten as the parent of all the others, and as imparting perfection to the human nativity. For my own part, I prefer viewing this measure of time in reference to God, as if implying that the ten months rather initiated man into the ten commandments; so that the numerical estimate of the time needed to consummate our natural birth should correspond to the numerical classification of the rules of our regenerate life. But inasmuch as birth is also completed with the seventh month, I more readily recognize in this number than in the eighth the honor of a numerical agreement with the Sabbatical period; so that the month in which God’s image is sometimes produced in a human birth, shall in its number tally with the day on which God’s creation was completed and hallowed.” - De Anima, chap 37.TFTC 71.2

    This kind of reasoning is of course destitute of any force. But in adducing such an argument Tertullian avows his faith in the ten commandments as the rule of the Christian’s life, gives the preference to the seventh day as the Sabbath, and deduces the origin of the Sabbath from God’s act of hallowing the seventh day at creation.TFTC 71.3

    Though Tertullian elsewhere, as we shall see, speaks lightly of the law of God, and represents it as abolished, his next testimony most sacredly honors that law, and while acknowledging the Sabbath as one of its precepts, he recognizes the authority of the whole code. Thus he says:-TFTC 72.1

    “Of how deep guilt, then, adultery - which is likewise a matter of fornication, in accordance with its criminal function is to be accounted, the law of God first comes to hand to show us, if it is true [as it is], that after interdicting the superstitious service of alien gods, and the making of idols themselves, after commending [to religious observance] the veneration of the Sabbath, after commanding a religious regard toward parents, second [only to that] toward God, [that law] laid, as the next substratum in strengthening and fortifying such counts, no other precept than ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery.’” - On Modesty, chap 5.TFTC 72.2

    And of this precept Tertullian presently tells us that it stands “in the very fore front of the most holy law, among the primary counts of the celestial edict.”TFTC 72.3

    In this treatise “On Fasting,” chapter 14., he terms “the Sabbath - a day never to be kept as a fast except at the passover season, according to a reason elsewhere given.” And in chapter 15., he except from the two weeks in which meat was not eaten “the Sabbaths” and “the Lord’s days.”TFTC 72.4

    But in his “Answer to the Jews,” chapter 2., he represents the law as variously modified from Adam to Christ; he denies “that the Sabbath is still to be observed;” classes it with circumcision; declares that Adam was“inobservant of the Sabbath;” affirms the same of Abel, Noah, Enoch, and Melchizedek, and asserts that Lot “was freed from the conflagration of the Sodomites” “for the merits of righteousness, without observance of the law.” And in the beginning of chapter three, he again classes the Sabbath with circumcision, and asserts that Abraham did not “observe the Sabbath.”TFTC 72.5

    In chapter 4., he declares that “the observance of the Sabbath” was “temporary.” And he continues thus:-TFTC 73.1

    “For the Jews say, that from the beginning God sanctified the seventh day, by resting on it from all his works which he made; and that thence it was, likewise, that Moses said to the people: ‘Remember the day of the Sabbaths,’” etc.TFTC 73.2

    Now see how Tertullian and his brethren disposed of this commandment respecting the seventh day:-TFTC 73.3

    “Whence we [Christians] understand that we still more ought to observe a Sabbath from all ‘servile work’ always, and not only every seventh day, but through all time.”TFTC 73.4

    That is to say in plain language, they would, under pretense of keeping every day as a Sabbath, not only work on the seventh day of the week, but on all the days of the week. But this plainly proves that Tertullian did not think the seventh day was superseded by the first. And thus he proceeds:-TFTC 73.5

    “And through this arises the question for us, what Sabbath God willed us to keep.”TFTC 73.6

    Our first-day friends quote Tertullian in behalf of what they call the Christian Sabbath Had he believed in such an institution he would certainly have named it in answer to this question. But mark his answer:-TFTC 73.7

    “For the Scriptures point to a Sabbath eternal and a Sabbath temporal. For Isaiah, the prophet says, ‘Your Sabbaths my soul hateth.’ And in another place he says, ‘My Sabbaths ye have profaned.’ Whence we discern that the temporal Sabbath is human, and the eternal Sabbath is accounted divine.”TFTC 74.1

    This temporal Sabbath is the seventh day; this eternal Sabbath is the keeping of all days alike, as Tertullian affirms that he and those with him did.TFTC 74.2

    He next declares that Isaiah’s prediction respecting the Sabbath in the new earth (Isaiah 66:22, 23), was “fulfilled in the time of Christ, when all flesh - that is, every nation came to adore in Jerusalem God the Father.” And he adds: “Thus, therefore, before this temporal Sabbath [the seventh day], there was withal an eternal Sabbath foreshown and foretold,” i.e., the keeping of all days alike. And this he fortifies by the assertion that the holy men before Moses did not observe the seventh day. And in proof that the Sabbath was one day to cease, he cites the compassing of Jericho for seven days, one of which must have been the Sabbath. And to this he adds the case of the Maccabees who fought certain battles on the Sabbath. In due time we shall see how admirably he answers such objections as these of his own raising.TFTC 74.3

    In chapter 6, he repeats his theory of the “Sabbath temporal” [the seventh day], and the “Sabbath eternal” or the “Spiritual Sabbath,” which is “to observe a Sabbath from all ‘servile works’ always, and not only every seventh day, but through all time.” He says that the ancient law has ceased, and that “the new law” and the Spiritual Sabbath has come.TFTC 74.4

    In the twentieth chapter of his first book against Marcion, Tertullian cites Hosea 2:11, and Isaiah 1:13, 14, to prove that the Sabbath is now abrogated. And in his fifth book against Marcion, chapter 4., he quotes Galatians 4:10; John 19:31; Isaiah 1:13, 14; Amos 5:21, and Hosea 2:11, to prove that “the Creator abolished his own laws,” and that he “destroyed the institutions which he set up himself.” These quotations are apparently designed to prove that the Sabbath is abolished, but he does not enter into argument from them; But in the nineteenth chapter of the book he quotes Galatians 2:16, 17, and simply says of the law: “The apostle here teaches clearly how it has been abolished, even by passing from shadow to substance - that is, from figurative types to the reality, which is Christ.” This remark is truthful and would justly exclude the moral law from this abolition.TFTC 75.1

    But in chapter twenty-one of his second book against Marcion, he answers the very objection against the Sabbath which himself has elsewhere urged, as we have noticed, drawn from the case of Jericho. He says to Marcion:-TFTC 75.2

    “You do not, however, consider the law of the Sabbath: they are human works, not divine, which it prohibits. For it says, ‘Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.’ What work? Of course your own. The conclusion is, that from the Sabbath day he removes those works which he had before enjoined for the six days, that is, your own works; in other words, human works of daily life. Now, the carrying around of the ark is evidently not an ordinary daily duty, nor yet a human one; but a rare and a sacred work, and, as being then ordered by the direct precept of God, a divine one.... Thus, in the present instance, there is a clear distinction respecting the Sabbath’s prohibition of human labors, not divine ones. Accordingly, the man who went and gathered sticks on the Sabbath day, was punished with death. For it was his own work which he did; and this the law forbade. They, however, who on the Sabbath carried the ark round Jericho, did it with impunity. For it was not their own work, but God’s, which they executed, and that, too, from his express commandment.”TFTC 75.3

    In the following chapter he again cites Isaiah 1:11-14, as proof that the Sabbath is abolished. He will however presently explain this text which he has so many times used against the Sabbath, and show that it actually has no such bearing. In the mean time he will again declare that Joshua did not break the Sabbath, and having done this he will find it in order again to assert that “the Sabbath was actually broken by Joshua.” In his fourth book against Marcion, chapter 12., he discusses the question whether Christ as Lord of the Sabbath had the right to annul the Sabbath, and whether in his life he did actually violate it. To do this he again cites the case of Jericho, and actually affirms that the Sabbath was broken on that occasion, and at the same time denies it. Thus he says:-TFTC 76.1

    “If Christ interfered with the Sabbath, he simply acted after the Creator’s example; inasmuch as in the siege of the city of Jericho the carrying around the walls of the ark of the covenant for eight days running, and therefore on a Sabbath day, actually annulled the Sabbath, by the Creator’s command - according to the opinion of those who think this of Christ [Luke 6:1-5] in their ignorance that neither Christ nor the Creator violated the Sabbath, as we shall by-and-by show. And yet the Sabbath was actually then broken by Joshua, so that the present charge might be alleged also against Christ.”TFTC 76.2

    The Sabbath was not violated in the case of Jericho, and yet it certainly was there violated! Tertullian adds that if Christ hated the Sabbath he was in this like the Creator himself who declares [Isaiah 1:14] that he hates it. He forgets that the Creator has expressly declared his great regard for the Sabbath by this very prophet [chap. 58:13, 14], and overlooks the fact that what God hates is the hypocritical conduct of the people as set forth in Isaiah 1. In his fourth book against Marcion, chapter 16., Christ is mentioned as the Lord of the Sabbath, but nothing is said bearing upon Sabbatic obligation. In chapter 30., of this same book, he alludes to the cure wrought by Christ upon the Sabbath day, mentioned in Luke 13:11-16, and says, “When, therefore, he did a work according to the condition prescribed by the law, he affirmed, instead of breaking, the law,” etc.TFTC 77.1

    In the twelfth chapter of this book, however, he asserts many things relative to Christ. He says that the disciples in rubbing out the ears of corn on the Sabbath “had violated the holy day. Christ excuses them and became their accomplice in breaking the Sabbath.” He argues that as the Sabbath from the beginning, which he here places at the fall of the manna though elsewhere dating it from the creation, had never been designed as a day of fasting, the Saviour did right in justifying the act of the disciples in the cornfield. And he terms the example of David a “colorable precedent” to justify the eating of the corn. But though he represents the Saviour as “annulling the Sabbath” at this time, he also asserts that in this very case “he maintains the honor of the Sabbath as a day which is to be free from gloom rather than from work.” He justifies the Saviour in his acts of healing on the Sabbath, declaring that in this he was doing that which the Sabbath law did not forbid. Tertullian next affirms precisely the reverse of many things which he has advanced against the Sabbath, and even answers his own objections against it. Thus he says:-TFTC 77.2

    “In order that he might, whilst allowing that amount of work which he was about to perform for a soul, remind them what works the law of the Sabbath forbade - even human works; and what it enjoined - even divine works, which might be done for the benefit of any soul, he was called ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ because he maintained the Sabbath as his own institution. Now, even if he had annulled the Sabbath, he would have had the right to do so, as being its Lord, [and] still more as he who instituted it. But he did not utterly destroy it, although its Lord, in order that it might henceforth be plain that the Sabbath was not broken by the Creator, even at the time when the ark was carried around Jericho. For that was really God’s work, which he commanded himself, and which he had ordered for the sake of the lives of his servants when exposed to the perils of war.” Book iv. chap 12.TFTC 78.1

    In this paragraph Tertullian explains the law of God in the clearest manner. He shows beyond all dispute that neither Joshua nor Christ ever violated it. He also declares that Christ did not abolish the Sabbath. In the next sentence he goes on to answer most admirably his own repeated perversion of Isaiah 1:13, 14, and to contradict some of his own serious errors. Listen to him:-TFTC 78.2

    “Now, although he has in a certain place expressed an aversion of Sabbaths, by calling them ‘your Sabbaths,’ reckoning them as men’s Sabbaths, not his own, because they were celebrated without the fear of God by a people full of iniquities, and loving God ‘with the lip, not the heart,’ he has yet put his own Sabbaths (those, that is, which were kept according to this prescription) in a different position; for by the same prophet, in a later passage, he declares them to be ‘true, delightful, and inviolable.’ [Isaiah 58:13; 56:2.] Thus Christ did not at all rescind the Sabbath: he kept the law thereof, and both in the former case did a work which was beneficial to the life of his disciples (for he indulged them with the relief of food when they were hungry), and in the present instance cured the withered hand; in each case intimating by facts, ‘I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it,’ although Marcion has gagged his mouth by this word.”TFTC 78.3

    Here Tertullian shows that God did not hate his own Sabbath, but only the hypocrisy of those who professed to keep it. He also expressly declares that the Saviour “did not at all rescind the Sabbath.” And now that he has his hand in, he will not cease till he has testified to a noble Sabbatarian confession of faith, placing its origin at creation, and perpetuating the institution with divine safeguards and additional sanctity. Moreover he asserts that Christ’s adversary [Satan] would have had him do this to some other days, a heavy blow as it happens upon those who in modern times so stoutly maintain that he consecrated the first day of the week to take the place of the Creator’s rest-day. Listen again to Tertullian, who continues as follows:-TFTC 79.1

    “For even in the case before us he fulfilled the law while interpreting its condition; [moreover] he exhibits in a clear light the different kinds of work, while doing what the law except from the sacredness of the Sabbath, [and] while imparting to the Sabbath day itself which from the beginning had been consecrated by the benediction of the Father, an additional sanctity by his own beneficent action. For he furnished to this day divine safeguards - a course which his adversary would have pursued for some other days, to avoid honoring the Creator’s Sabbath, and restoring to the Sabbath the works which were proper for it. Since, in like manner, the prophet Elisha on this day restored to life the dead son of the Shunammite woman, you see, O Pharisee, and you too, O Marcion, how that it was [proper employment] for the Creator’s Sabbaths of old to do good, to save life, not to destroy it; how that Christ introduced nothing new, which was not after the example, the gentleness, the mercy, and the prediction also of the Creator. For in this very example he fulfills the prophetic announcement of a specific healing: ‘The weak hands are strengthened’, as were also ‘the feeble knees’ in the sick of the palsy.” - Tertullian against Marcion, b. iv. chap 12.TFTC 79.2

    Tertullian mistakes in his reference to the Shunammite woman. It was not the Sabbath day on which she went to the prophet. 2 Kings 4:23. But in the last three paragraphs quoted from him, which in his work form one continuous statement, he affirms many important truths which are worthy of careful enumeration. They are as follows:-TFTC 80.1

    1. Christ, in determining what should, and what should not, be done on the Sabbath, “was called ‘Lord of the Sabbath,’ because he maintained the Sabbath as his own institution.”TFTC 80.2

    2. “The Sabbath was not broken by the Creator, even at the time when the ark was carried around Jericho.”TFTC 80.3

    3. The reason why God expressed his aversion to “your Sabbaths,” as though they were “men’s Sabbaths, not his own,” was “because they were celebrated without the fear of God, by a people full of iniquities.” See Isaiah 1:13, 14.TFTC 80.4

    4. “By the same prophet [Isaiah 58:13; 56:2], declares them [the Sabbaths] to be ‘true and delightful and inviolable.’”TFTC 80.5

    5. “Thus Christ did not at all rescind the Sabbath.”TFTC 80.6

    6. “He kept the law thereof.”TFTC 80.7

    7. “The Sabbath day itself, which from the beginning had been consecrated by the benediction of the Father.” This language expressly assigns the origin of the Sabbath to the act of the Creator at the close of the first week of time.TFTC 81.1

    8. Christ imparted to the Sabbath “an additional sanctity by his own beneficent action.”TFTC 81.2

    9. “He furnished to this day divine safeguards, - a course which his adversary would have pursued for some other days, to avoid honoring the Creator’s Sabbath, and restoring to the Sabbath the works which were proper for it.”TFTC 81.3

    This last statement is indeed very remarkable. Christ furnished “the Creator’s Sabbath,” the seventh day, with “divine safeguards.” His adversary [THE adversary of Christ is the devil] would have had this course “pursued for some other days.” That is to say, the devil would have been pleased had Christ consecrated some other day, instead of adding to the sanctity of his Father’s Sabbath. What Tertullian says that the devil would have been pleased to have Christ do, that our first-day friends now assert that he did do in the establishment of what they call the Christian Sabbath! Such an institution, however, was never heard of in the days of the so-called Christian fathers. Notwithstanding Tertullian’s many erroneous statements concerning the Sabbath and the law, he has here borne a noble testimony to the truth, and this completes his words.TFTC 81.4

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