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    Testimony of the Poem on Genesis

    “The seventh came, when God
    At his works’ end did rest, DECREEING IT
    Lines 51-53.
    TFTC 108.3

    Here again we have an explicit testimony to the divine appointment of the seventh day to a holy use while man was yet in Eden the garden of God. And this completes the testimony of the fathers to the time of Constantine and the Council of Nice.TFTC 108.4

    One thing is everywhere open to the reader’s eye as he passes through these testimonies from the fathers: they lived in what may with propriety be called the age of apostatizing. The apostasy was not complete, but it was steadily developing itself. Some of the fathers had the Sabbath in the dust, and honored as their weekly festival the day of the sun, though claiming for it no divine authority. Others acknowledge the Sabbath as a divine institution which should be honored by all mankind in memory of the creation, and yet at the same time they exalt above it the festival of Sunday which they acknowledge had nothing but custom and tradition for its support. The end may be foreseen: in due time the Sunday festival obtained the whole ground for itself, and the Sabbath was driven out. Several things conspired to accomplish this result:-TFTC 109.1

    1. The Jews who retained the ancient Sabbath, had slain Christ. It was easy for men to forget that Christ as Lord of the Sabbath had claimed it as his institution, and to call the Sabbath a Jewish institution which Christians should not regard.TFTC 109.2

    2. The church of Rome as the chief in the work of apostasy took the lead in the earliest effort to suppress the Sabbath by turning it into a fast.TFTC 109.3

    3. In the Christian church almost from the beginning men voluntarily honored the fourth, the sixth, and the first days of the week to commemorate the betrayal, the death, and the resurrection of Christ, acts of respect in themselves innocent enough.TFTC 109.4

    4. But the first day of the week corresponded to the widely observed heathen festival of the sun, and it was therefore easy to unite the honor of Christ with the convenience and worldly advantage of his people, and to justify the neglect of the ancient Sabbath by stigmatizing it as a Jewish institution with which Christians should have no concern.TFTC 109.5

    The progressive character of the work of apostasy with respect to the Sabbath is incidentally illustrated by what Giesler the distinguished historian of the church says of the Sabbath and first-day in his record of the first, the second, and the third centuries. Of the first century he says:-TFTC 110.1

    “Whilst the Christians of Palestine, who kept the whole Jewish law, celebrated of course all the Jewish festivals, the heathen converts observed only the Sabbath, and, in remembrance of the closing scenes of our Saviour’s life, the passover (1 Corinthians 5:6-8), though without the Jewish superstitions, Galatians 4:10; Colossians 2:16. Besides these the Sunday as the day of our Saviour’s resurrection (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10, e kuriake emera, was devoted to religious worship.” - Giesler’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. sect. 29, edition 1836.TFTC 110.2

    Sunday having obtained a foothold, see how the case stands in the second century. Here are the words of Giesler again:-TFTC 110.3

    “Both Sunday and the Sabbath were observed as festivals; the latter however without Jewish superstitions therewith connected.” - Id. sect. 52.TFTC 110.4

    This time, as Giesler presents the case, Sunday has begun to get the precedence. But when he gives the events of the third century he drops the Sabbath from his record and gives the whole ground to the Sunday and the yearly festivals of the church. Thus he says:-TFTC 110.5

    “In Origen’s time the Christians had no general festivals, excepting the Sunday, the Parasceve (or preparation), the passover, and the feast of Pentecost. Soon after, however, the Christians in Egypt began to observe the festival of the Epiphany, on the sixth of January.” - Id. vol. i. sect. 70.TFTC 111.1

    These three statements of Giesler, relating as they do to the first, second, and third centuries, are peculiarly calculated to mark the progress of the work of apostasy. Coleman tersely states this work in these words:-TFTC 111.2

    “The observance of the Lord’s day was ordered while the Sabbath of the Jews was continued; nor was the latter superseded until the former had acquired the same solemnity and importance, which belonged, at first, to that great day which God originally ordained and blessed....But in time, after the Lord’s day was fully established, the observance of the Sabbath of the Jews was gradually discontinued, and was finally denounced as heretical.” - Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap 26., sect. 2.TFTC 111.3

    We have traced the work of apostasy in the church of Christ, and have noted the combination of circumstances which contributed to suppress the Sabbath, and to elevate the first day of the week. And now we conclude this series of testimonies out of the fathers by stating the well-known but remarkable fact, that at the very point to which we are brought by these testimonies, the emperor Constantine while yet, according to Mosheim, a heathen, put forth the following edict concerning the ancient Sunday festival:-TFTC 111.4

    “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.”TFTC 111.5

    By the act of a wicked man the heathen festival of Sunday has now ascended the throne of the Roman Empire. We cannot here follow its history through the long ages of papal darkness and apostasy. But as we close, we cite the words of Mosheim respecting this law as a positive proof that up to this time, as shown from the fathers, Sunday had been a day of ordinary labor when men were not engaged in worship. He says of it:-TFTC 112.1

    “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 ii. chap 4. sect. 5.TFTC 112.2

    This law restrained merchants and mechanics, but did not hinder the farmer in his work. Yet it caused the day to be observed with greater solemnity than formerly it had been. These words are spoken with reference to Christians, and prove that in Mosheim’s judgment, as a historian, Sunday was a day on which ordinary labor was customary and lawful with them prior to A. D. 321, as the record of the fathers indicates, and as many historians testify.TFTC 112.3

    But even after this the Sabbath once more rallied, and became strong even in the so-called Catholic church, until the council of Laodicea A. D. 364 prohibited its observance under a grievous curse. Thence forward its history is principally to be traced in the records of those bodies which the Catholic church has anathematized as heretics.TFTC 112.4

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