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    Having found that the first law for Sunday rest gave it a heathen title, that the name is altogether of heathen origin, I proceed to inquire on what basis the law stood, that is, what was the nature of the edict-what the motive which actuated Constantine in giving this decree? This also can be settled to a certainty. Many interested religionists, with far more zeal than piety or regard for the precepts of Jehovah, speak of Constantine’s edict as a law for the Christian observance of the Lord’s day. The very title that he gave it, the origin of that title, and the known use of the title in those times, disprove their assertion. Indeed, their knowledge of the origin of the title ought to cause them to blush when they make such assertions. But our proof is explicit on the point of the motive that gave rise to the first Sunday law. We are not straitened for testimonies in regard to this; they are so numerous that I cannot give a tithe of them. And their importance on the subject under consideration cannot be overestimated.OGSO 23.3

    1. The fact that Constantine gave it the title by which it was known in pagan worship, shows that it was not enforced as a Christian institution.OGSO 24.1

    2. It was dated March 7, 321, and on the next day, March 8, he issued a decree for the examination of the entrails of beasts, for the determination of portents, or for ascertaining the causes of public calamities. This was a heathen custom, and showed the heathenism and superstitions that swayed his mind at that time.OGSO 24.2

    3. At the time when these decrees were issued, he had made no profession of Christianity. Indeed, authorities have been quite willing to place the time of his professed conversion after the time when he presided over the Council of Nicæa, that it might be after the commission of many of his most perfidious and criminal acts.OGSO 24.3

    4. Historians freely testify that at and after the time of issuing his Sunday decree, he was a worshiper of Apollo, the sun-god, and to the close of his life, about 337, retained the title of Pontifex Maximus, or high priest of the heathen hierarchy.OGSO 24.4

    Milman, in the “History of Christianity,” book 3, chap. 1, says:-OGSO 24.5

    “It is the day of the sun which is to be observed by the general veneration; the courts were to be closed, and the noise and tumult of public business and legal litigation were no longer to violate the repose of the sacred day. But the believer in the new paganism, of which the solar worship was the characteristic, might acquiesce, without scruple, in the sanctity of the first day of the week.”OGSO 24.6

    This is well expressed. It was, indeed, a new phase of paganism; for, 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. Gibbon also gives a clear testimony on the character of Constantine as a sun-worshiper. In chapter 20, paragraph 3, of “History of the Decline and Fall of the Empire,” he says:-OGSO 25.1

    “The devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius of the sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology; and he was pleased to be represented with the symbols of the God of light and poetry.... The altars of Apollo were crowned with the votive offerings of Constantine; and the credulous multitude were taught to believe that the emperor was permitted to behold with mortal eyes the visible majesty of their tutelary deity.... The sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine.”OGSO 25.2

    In a note to the above is found the following:-OGSO 25.3

    “The panegyric of Eumenius which was pronounced a few months before the Italian war, abounds with the most unexceptionable evidence of the pagan superstition of Constantine and of his particular veneration of Apollo, or the sun.”OGSO 25.4

    Dr. Hessey, in his “Bampton Lectures,” p. 60, says:-OGSO 25.5

    “Others have looked at the transaction in a totally different light, and refused to discover in the document, or to suppose in the mind of the enactor, any recognition of the Lord’s day as a matter of divine obligation They remark, and very truly, that Constantine designates it by its astrological or heathen title Dies Solis, and insist that the epithet venerabilis with which it is introduced has reference to the rites performed on that day in honor of Hercules, Apollo, or Mithras.”OGSO 25.6

    Keightly, “History of Rome,” speaking of Constantine at and after his profession of Christianity, says:-OGSO 26.1

    “Constantine, however, was still a polytheist, and his principal object of worship was the sun-god, Apollo. At the same time, with the compliant spirit of polytheism, he held the God of the Christians and the Author of their faith in respect and reverence.”OGSO 26.2

    And Dr. Schaff testifies to exactly the same thing; in his “Church History,” vol. 2, pp. 14, 15, he says:-OGSO 26.3

    “At first Constantine, like his father, in the spirit of Neo-platonic syncretism of dying heathendom, reverenced all the gods as mysterious powers, especially Apollo, the god of the sun, to whom, in the year 308, he presented munificent gifts. Nay, so late as the year 321, he enjoined the regular consultation of the soothsayers in public misfortunes, according to ancient heathen usage; even later, he placed his new residence, Byzantium, under the protection of the God of the martyrs and the heathen goddess of fortune; and down to the end of his life he retained the title and dignity of Pontifex Maximus, or high priest of the heathen hierarchy. His coins bore on the one side the letters of the name of Christ, on the other side the figure of the sun-god, and the inscription, Sol Invictus.”OGSO 26.4

    On this point in regard to Constantine’s Christianity after he professed it, the “Religious Encyclopedia” says:-OGSO 26.5

    “The notion of conversion in the sense of a real acceptance of the new religion and a thorough rejection of the old, is inconsistent with the hesitating attitude in which he stood toward both. Much of this may indeed be due to motives of political expediency, but there is a good deal that cannot be so explained. Paganism must still have been an operative belief with the man who, almost down to the close of his life, retained so many pagan superstitions. He was at best only half heathen, half Christian, who could seek to combine the worship of Christ with the worship of Apollo, having the name of the one and the figure of the other impressed upon his coins, and ordaining the observance of Sunday under the name of dies solis in his celebrated decree of March, 321, though such, a combination was far from uncommon in the first Christian centuries. Perhaps the most significant illustration of the ambiguity of his religious position is furnished by the fact that in the same year in which he issued his Sunday decree, he gave orders that if lightning struck the imperial palace, or any public building, the haruspices, according to ancient usage, should be consulted as to what it might signify, and a careful report of the answer should be drawn up for his use.”OGSO 26.6

    Mosheim, in “Historical Commentaries” (century 4, section 7, note 1), on the same point says:-OGSO 27.1

    “How long Constantine retained these vague and undecided views of religion and religious worship, regarding the Christian religion as excellent, and salutary to the Roman State, yet not esteeming other religions, or those of inferior gods, as vain, pernicious, and odious to God, ... it is difficult to determine. Zosimus, as is well known, reports that Constantine did not openly profess Christianity, and show himself hostile to the Romish sacred rites until after the slaughter of his son Crispus and his wife Fausta; which truly detestable crimes were perpetrated in the year 326.”OGSO 27.2

    It cannot be disguised that, at the time of issuing his Sunday decree, he was a pagan of no very high grade; and his profession of Christianity never raised him much above the average pagan. The “Encyclopedia Britannica” gives a just estimate of his character. Speaking of the title of “The Great” being conferred upon him, it says:-OGSO 27.3

    “Tested by character, indeed, he stands among the lowest of all those to whom the epithet has in ancient or modern times been applied.”OGSO 28.1

    Dr. Schaff is justly esteemed as a man of extensive learning, and whose testimony regarding facts no one would call in question. He is a theologian, and a warm friend of Sunday-keeping. But his theological relations have not prevented his giving the facts in to the first Sunday law. He says:-OGSO 28.2

    “He enjoined the observance, or, rather, forbade the public desecration, of Sunday, not under the name of Sabbatum or dies Domini, but under its own astrological or heathen title, dies solis, familiar to all his subjects, so that the law was as applicable to the worshipers of Hercules, Apollo, or Mithras, as to the Christians.”-History of the Christian Church, period 3, sec. 2.OGSO 28.3

    And indeed it was more applicable to the worshipers of Hercules, Apollo, or Mithras, than to Christians, for it referred to heathen, and not at all to Christian, worship. Again Dr. Schaff says:-OGSO 28.4

    “He enjoined the civil observance of Sunday, though not as dies Domini but as dies solis, in conformity to his worship of Apollo, and in Company with an ordinance for the regular consultation of the haruspex, 321.”-Id.OGSO 28.5

    Concerning its claim to be considered a sacred day, it is not necessary to add much to what has already been said by the writers quoted. It would be presumption in the extreme to claim that God ever conferred any blessing or sanctification directly upon it. By a system of false reasoning, they try to make out that the blessing that was conferred upon the seventh day was transferred to the first; but of course no scripture is ever quoted to justify the claim. The authorities here given say that it was dedicated to the sun; and that dedication is its only claim to sanctity. J In perfect harmony with these, is the following from the “Douay Catechism:”-OGSO 28.6

    “It is also called Sunday from the old Roman denomination, dies solis, the day of the sun, to which it was sacred.”OGSO 29.1

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