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truth of God, and the full exaltation of the man of sin. 2 Thessalonians 2. The falling away came. As Dr. Killen (Presbyterian), of Ireland, says in the preface to his “Ancient Church: "
"In the interval between the days of the apostles and the conversion of Constantine, the Christian commonwealth changed its aspect. Rites and ceremonies, of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions."
In his “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," Cardinal Newman (Roman Catholic) tells how rites and ceremonies were borrowed from paganism:
“Confiding then in the power of Christianity to resist the infection of evil, and tɔ transmute the very instruments and appendages of demon worship to an evangelical use, ... the rulers of the church from early times were prepared, should the occasion arise, to adopt, or imitate, or sanction the existing rites and customs of the populace, as well as the philosophy of the educated class.”- Pages 371, 372.
Thus along with other adaptations came “the venerable day of the sun” (Sunday). It was by gradual process that it supplanted the Sabbath. Sir William Domville wrote:
“Centuries of the Christian era passed away before Sunday was observed by the Christian church as a Sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in A. D. 321.”— “Examination of Six Texts,” p. 291.
This law of Constantine's was as follows:
“On the venerable day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment, for such operations, the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time.)" - Schaff, “History of the Christian Church,” Vol. III, chap. 5, sec. 75.
Commenting on this law, Prof. Hutton Webster, of the University of Nebraska, says:
“This legislation by Constantine probably bore no relation to Christianity; it appears, on the contrary, that the emperor, in his capacity of
Pontifex Maximus, was only adding the day of the sun, the worship of which was then firmly established in the Roman Empire, to the other ferial days of the sacred calendar."
“What began, however, as a pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation; and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labor on Sunday.”- “Rest Days," pp. 122, 270.
Dean Stanley (Church of England) writes:
“The retention of the old pagan name Dies Solis, or Sunday, for the weekly Christian festival, is, in a great measure, owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects, pagan and Christian alike, as the 'venerable day of the sun.'”—“History of the Eastern Church,” lecture 6, par. 15.
Thus the Sunday institution comes in, marked by its pagan origin, and adapted to ecclesiastical purposes by the church of the "falling away" that grew into the Roman Papacy. To quote again from the Baptist author, Dr. Hiscox:
“Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism.”— New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893.
No wonder that with the coming of the latter days, and the proclamation of the message of preparation for Christ's second coming, there should come a call to Christians to follow Christ and Holy Scripture in keeping God's holy Sabbath.
Again the voice of Jesus is heard in protest against traditions that make void the commandment of God.
"Every plant," He says, "which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." Matt. 15: 13.
Made for Man
TÁE God that made the earth,
And all the worlds on high, Who gave all creatures birth,
In earth, and sea, and sky, After six days in work employed, Upon the seventh a rest enjoyed.
The Sabbath day was blessed,
Hallowed, and sanctified; It was Jehovah's rest,
And so it must abide; 'Twas set apart before the fall, 'Twas made for man, 'twas made for all.
And when from Sinai's mount,
Amidst the fire and smoke,
And all His precepts spoke,
The Son of God appeared
With tidings of great joy;
He came not to destroy;
Our Saviour did not die
To render null and void
Which cannot be destroyed;
- R. F. Cottrell
Not at once did the innovation of Sunday observance set aside the Sabbath of the Lord in the practice of even the general church. And through history, when the general church had fallen away, we catch glimpses here and there of faithful witnesses to God's holy Sabbath truth.
First Centuries An old English writer, Professor Brerewood, of Gresham College, London, put in shortest phrase what many writers say:
“They know little who do not know that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed by the Eastern churches three hundred years after our Saviour's passion.”—“Treatise on the Sabbath,” p. 77.
Fourth Century Canon 29, of the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 364), shows that the ecclesiastical system was laboring to put an end to Sabbath keeping: