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“Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday (the Sabbath), but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day (as they called Sunday) they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they be found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.”— Hefele, “History of the Councils of the Church,” Vol. II, book 6, sec. 93, canon 29.
Fifth Century Sozomen's Ecclesiastical History shows Rome evidently leading in the effort to abolish any recognition whatever of the Sabbath:
“The people of Constantinople, and of several other cities, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the next day; which custom is never observed at Rome, or at Alexandria."- Book 7, chap. 19.
Seventh Century There were true Sabbath keepers in Rome itself, teaching the truth of God among the people, and bringing upon themselves the denunciation of Pope Gregory the Great, who wrote “to his most beloved sons the Roman citizens:"
"It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these but preachers of Antichrist?”_"History of the Councils” (Labbe and Cossart), Vol. V, col. 1511; see also “Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers," Vol. XIII, book 13, epistle 1.
Eleventh Century The Pope's legates at Constantinople (A. D. 1054) were called to discuss with Nicetas, “one of the most learned men at that time in the East,” says Bower, whose position was “that the Sabbath ought to be kept holy, and that priests should be allowed to marry.”—“History of the Popes," Vol. II, p. 358.
The people of north Scotland, the ancient Culdee church founded by Columba and his followers, far removed from direct papal influence, was still keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in the eleventh century. Of this church Andrew Lang says in his "History of Scotland:”
“They worked on Sunday, but kept Saturday in a Sabbatical manner.” — Volume 1, p. 96.
Skene, in his classic work, "Celtic Scotland," says of these Sabbath keepers:
“They seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath, on which they rested from all their labors.” — Book 2, chap. 8.
Margaret, of England, married Malcolm the Great, the Scottish king, in 1069. An ardent Catholic, Queen Margaret at once set about Romanizing the Celtic church. She called in the church leaders, and held long discussions with them. At last, with the help and authority of her royal husband, and quoting the instructions of “the blessed Pope Gregory,” she succeeded in turning the ancient Culdee church in Scotland away from the Sabbath. (See “Life of St. Margaret,” by Turgot, her confessor.)
Twelfth to Fourteenth Century Among the numerous sects of southern Europe and the Alpine valleys, that were pursued and persecuted by Rome, were at least some who saw and obeyed the Sabbath truth. Thus, of one of these bodies, the historian Goldastus says:
“They were called Insabbatati, not because they were circumcised, but because they kept the Sabbath according to the Jewish law.”“Deutsche Biographie,” Vol. IX, art. “Goldast.," p. 327.
Fifteenth Century Sabbath keepers in Norway drew the condemnation of a church council held in 1435:
“The archbishop and the clergy assembled in this provincial council at Bergen do decide that the keeping of Saturday must never be permitted to exist, except as granted in the church law.”—Keyser's “Norske Kirkes Historie," Vol. II, p. 488.
Sixteenth Century With the setting free of the Word of God by the Reformation, and the protest against the doctrine of papal tradition, multitudes saw that the Sunday institution was not of divine origin; while not a few went farther, recognizing the claims of God's Sabbath. Moravia was a refuge, in those early Ref
WALDENSES HUNTED BY THE
“Destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the
Heb. 11:37, 38.
ormation days, for many believers in the Reformed doctrines, and among these were Sabbath-keeping Christians:
“Even most prominent men, as the princes of Lichtenstein, held to the observance of the true Sabbath. When persecution finally scattered them, the seeds of truth must have been sown by them in the different portions of the Continent which they visited. . . . We have found them [Sabbath keepers) in Bohemia. They were also known in Silesia and Poland. Likewise they were in Ilolland and northern Germany. There were at this time Sabbath keepers in France, 'among whom were M. de la Roque, who wrote in defense of the Sabbath against Bossuet, Catholic bishop of Meaux.' That Sabbatarians again appeared in England by the time of the Reformation, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (A. D. 1533-1603), Dr. Chambers testifies in his Cyclopedia (art. *Sabbath”).”—Andrews and Conradi, “History of the Sabbath,” pp. 649, 650.
In this century also, Sabbath keepers appeared in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. In 1554 King Gustavus Vasa, of Sweden, addressed a letter of remonstrance “to the common people in Finland," because so many were turning to keep the seventh day.
Seventeenth Century There was much discussion in England over the authority for Sunday observance. When other church festivals were ignored, as Easter, King Charles I wanted to know why Sunday should be kept. He wrote:
“It will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is discharged to be kept, or turned into the Sunday; wherefore it must be the church's authority that changed the one and instituted the other; therefore my opinion is that those who will not keep this feast (Easter) may as well return to the observation of Saturday, and refuse the weekly Sunday.”— Cox, “Sabbath Laws,” p. 333.
It was during this time that the idea first obtained of enforcing Sunday obligation by the fourth commandment and calling it the Sabbath. It was argued that any “one day in seven was what the commandment meant. ment, John Milton, the statesman-poet, wrote:
“It is impossible to extort such a sense from the words of the commandment; seeing that the reason for which the command itself was originally given, namely, as a memorial of God's having rested from
Of this arguthe creation of the world, cannot be transferred from the seventh day to the first; nor can any new motive be substituted in its place, whether the resurrection of our Lord or any other, without the sanction of a divine commandment.”—“Prose Works" (Bohn), pp. 70, 71.
Again Milton wrote, in a manuscript which his publishers at the time feared to print:
“If we under the gospel are to regulate the time of our public worship by the prescriptions of the decalogue, it will surely be far safer to observe the seventh day, according to the express commandment of God, than on the authority of mere human conjecture to adopt the first.” — Cox, “Sabbath Literature," Vol. II, p. 54.
While kings and poets and ecclesiastics discussed, here and there believers began to follow the plain Word of God and Christ's example in Sabbath keeping.
“Loved Not Their Lives unto the Death” In 1618 John Traske and his wife, of London, were condemned for keeping the Sabbath of the Lord, the man being whipped from Westminster to the old Fleet Prison, near Ludgate Circus. Both were imprisoned. Mr. Traske recanted under the pressure, after a year, but Mrs. Traske, a gifted school-teacher, was given grace to hold out for sixteen years, for a time in Maiden Lane prison, and then in the Gate House, by Westminster, - dying in prison for the word of the Lord. An estimable woman she was, says one old chronicler, save for this “whimsy” of hers, that she would keep the seventh day. All that she asked of men, on her prison deathbed, was that she might be buried “in the fields."
By 1661 Sabbath keepers in London had further increased. In that year John James was minister to a considerable congregation, meeting in East London, off the Whitechapel Road. As part of the stern proceedings against dissenting sects after the restoration of the monarchy, he was arrested and condemned to death on "Tyburn Tree." His wife knelt at the feet of King Charles II as he came out of St. James's Palace one day, and pleaded for her husband's life; but the king scornfully rejected her plea, and said that the man should hang. Bogue says: