Over one hundred years ago the Catholic Mirror ran a series of articles discussing the right of the Protestant churches to worship on Sunday. The articles stressed that unless one was willing to accept the authority of the Catholic Church to designate the day of worship, the Christian should observe Saturday. Those articles are presented here in their entirety.
For ready reference purposes here are verses quoted in the article below. New Testament verses relating to the topic of the apostles assembling the "first day of the week" Luke 24:33-40; John 20:19; John 20:26-29; Acts 2:1; Acts 20:6-7; Acts 2:46; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 18:4
Why Do Protestants Keep Sunday?
FEBRUARY 24, 1893, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists adopted certain resolutions appealing to the government and people of the United States from the decision of the Supreme Court declaring this to be a Christian nation, and from the action of Congress in legislating upon the subject of religion, and remonstrating against the principle and all the consequences of the same. In March 1893, the International Religious Liberty Association printed these resolutions in a tract entitled Appeal and Remonstrance. On receipt of one of these, the editor of the Catholic Mirror of Baltimore, Maryland, published a series of four editorials, which appeared in that paper September, 2, 9, 16, and 23, 1893. The Catholic Mirror was the official organ of Cardinal Gibbons and the Vatican in the United States. These articles, therefore, although not written by the Cardinal's own hand, appeared under his official sanction, and as the expression of the Church to Protestantism, and the demand of the Church that Protestants shall render to the Church an account of why they keep Sunday and also of how they keep it. The following material (except where noted) is a verbatim reprint of these editorials, including the title on page 2.
(Note: Keep in mind that in 1893, political correctness had not been invented yet. Some readers may whince at the tone of the article. It would do well to note that having principles and the convictions to articulate them was a more admired characteristic in those days, than a concern for who might take offense. The tone, if anything, reflects the Church Militant prior to it's late 20th century feminization, and older readers may recognize the Church of their childhood in the manner in which the convictions are so firmly held. It should also be noted that the following article was written from the Roman Catholic point of view and is being presented to show the difference between Catholic thinking and true "Protestant" thinking.)
THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH -- THE GENUINE OFFSPRING OF THE UNION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HIS SPOUSE. THE CLAIMS OF PROTESTANTISM TO ANY PART THEREIN PROVED TO BE GROUNDLESS, SELF-CONTRADICTORY, AND SUICIDAL. [From the Catholic Mirror of Sept. 2, 1893]
Our attention has been called to the above subject in the past week by the receipt of a brochure of twenty-one pages, published by the International Religious Liberty Association, entitled, "Appeal and Remonstrance," embodying resolutions adopted the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists (Feb. 24, 1893). The resolutions criticize and censure, with much acerbity, the action of the United States Congress, and of the Supreme Court, for the invading the rights of the people by closing the World's Fair on Sunday.
The Adventists are the only body of Christians with the Bible as their teacher, who can find no warrant in its pages for the change of the day from the seventh to the first. Hence their appellation, "Seventh-day Adventists." Their cardinal principle consists in setting apart Saturday for the exclusive worship of God, in conformity with the positive command of God himself, repeatedly reiterated in the sacred books of the Old and New Testaments, literally obeyed by the children of Israel for thousands of years to this day, and endorsed by the teaching and practice of the Son of God whilst on earth.
Per contra, the Protestants of the world, the Adventists excepted, with the same Bible as their cherished and sole infallible teacher, by their practice, since their appearance in the sixteenth century, with the time-honored practice of the Jewish people before their eyes, have rejected the day named for His worship by God, and assumed, in apparent contradiction of His command, a day for His worship never once referred to for that purpose, in the pages of that Sacred Volume.
What Protestant pulpit does not ring almost every Sunday with loud and impassioned invectives against Sabbath violation? Who can forget the fanatical clamor of the Protestant ministers throughout the length and breadth of the land against opening the gates of the World's Fair on Sunday? the thousands of petitions, signed by millions, to save the Lord's Day from desecration? Surely, such general and widespread excitement and noisy remonstrance could not have existed without the strongest grounds for such animated protests. And when quarters were assigned at the World's Fair to the various sects of Protestantism for the exhibition of articles, who can forget the emphatic expressions of virtuous and conscientious indignation exhibited by our Presbyterian brethren, as soon as they learned of the decision of the Supreme Court not to interfere in the Sunday opening? The newspapers informed us that they flatly refused to utilize the space accorded them, or open their boxes, demanding the right to withdraw the articles, in rigid adherence to their principles, and thus decline all contact with the sacrilegious and Sabbath-breaking Exhibition.
Doubtless, our Calvinistic brethren deserved and shared the sympathy of all the other sects, who, however, lost the opportunity of posing as martyrs in vindication of the Sabbath observance.
They thus became a "spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men," although their Protestant brethren, who failed to share the monopoly, were uncharitably and enviously disposed to attribute their steadfast adherence to religious principle, to Pharisaical pride and dogged obstinacy. Our purpose in throwing off this article, is to shed such light on this all-important question (for were the Sabbath question to be removed from the Protestant pulpit, the sects would feel lost, and the preachers be deprived of their "Cheshire cheese") that our readers may be able to comprehend the question in all its bearings, and thus
reach a clear conviction.
The Christian world is, morally speaking, united on the question and practice of worshiping God on the first day of the week. The Israelites, scattered all over the earth, keep the last day of the week sacred to the worship of the Deity. In this particular, the Seventh-day Adventists (a sect of Christians numerically few) have also selected the same day. Israelites and Adventists both appeal to the Bible for the divine command, persistently obliging the strict observance of Saturday. The Israelite respects the authority of the Old Testament only, but the Adventist, who is a Christian, accepts the New Testament on the same ground as the Old: viz., an inspired record also. He finds that the Bible, his teacher, is consistent in both parts, that the Redeemer, during His mortal life, never kept any other day than Saturday. The Gospels plainly evince to him this fact; whilst, in the pages of the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse, not the vestige of an act canceling the Saturday arrangement can be found.
The Adventists, therefore, in common with Israelites, derive their belief from the Old Testament, which position is confirmed by the New Testament, endorsing fully by the life and practice of the Redeemer and His apostles the teaching of the Sacred Word for nearly a century of the Christian era.
Numerically considered, the Seventh-day Adventists form an insignificant portion of the Protestants population of the earth, but, as the question is not one of numbers, but of truth, and right, a strict sense of justice forbids the condemnation of this little sect without a calm and unbiased investigation; this is none of our funeral.
The Protestant world has been, from its infancy, in the sixteenth century, in thorough accord with the Catholic Church, in keeping "holy," not Saturday, but Sunday. The discussion of the grounds that led to this unanimity of sentiment and practice of over 300 years, must help toward placing Protestantism on a solid basis in this particular, should the arguments in favor of its position overcome those furnished by the Israelites and Adventists, the Bible, the sole recognized teacher of both litigants, being the umpire and witness. If however, on the other hand, the latter furnish arguments, incontrovertible by the great mass of Protestants, both cases of litigants, appealing to their common teacher, the Bible, the great body of Protestants, so far from clamoring, as they do with vigorous pertinacity for the strict keeping of Sunday, have no other [recourse] left than the admission that they have been teaching and practicing what is Scripturally false for over three centuries, by adopting the teaching and practice of what they have always pretended to believe an apostate church, contrary to every warrant and teaching of sacred Scripture. To add to the intensity of this Scriptural and unpardonable blunder, it involves one of the most positive and emphatic commands of God to His servant, man: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
No Protestant living today has ever yet obeyed that command, preferring to follow the "apostate church" referred to than his teacher the Bible, which, from Genesis to Revelation, teaches no other doctrine, should the Israelites and Seventh-day Adventists be correct. Both sides appeal to the Bible as their "infallible" teacher. Let the Bible decide whether Saturday or Sunday be the day enjoined by God. One of the two bodies must be wrong, and, whereas a false position on this all-important question involves terrible penalties, threatened by God Himself, against the transgressor of this "perpetual covenant," we shall enter on the discussion of the merits of the arguments wielded by both sides. Neither is the discussion of this paramount subject above the capacity of ordinary minds, nor does it involve extraordinary study. It resolves itself into a few plain questions easy of solution:
To the above three questions we pledge ourselves to furnish as many intelligent answers, which cannot fail to vindicate the truth and uphold the deformity of error.
Conformably to our promise in our last issue, we proceed to unmask one of the most flagrant errors and most unpardonable inconsistencies of the Sola Scriptura rule of faith. Lest, however, we be misunderstood, we deem it necessary to premise that Protestantism recognizes no rule of faith, no teacher, save the "infallible Bible." As the Catholic yields his judgment in spiritual matters implicitly, and with the unreserved confidence, to the voice of his church, so, too, the Protestant recognizes no teacher but the Bible. All his spirituality is derived from its teachings. It is to him the voice of God addressing him through his sole inspired teacher. It embodies his religion, his faith, and his practice. The language of Chillingworth, "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants," is only one form of the same idea multifariously convertible into other forms, such as "the Book of God," "the Charter of Our Salvation," "the Oracle of Our Christian Faith," "God's Text-Book to the race of Mankind," etc., etc. It is, then, an incontrovertible fact that the Bible alone is the teacher of Protestant Christianity. Assuming this fact, we will now proceed to discuss the merits of the question involved in our last issue.
Recognizing what is undeniable, the fact of a direct contradiction between the teaching and practice of Protestant Christianity -- the Seventh-day Adventists excepted -- on the one hand, and that of the Jewish people on the other, both observing different days of the week for the worship of God, we will proceed to take the testimony of the teacher common to both claimants, the Bible. The first expression with which we come in contact in the Sacred Word, is found in Genesis 2:2 "And on the seventh day He [God] rested from all His work which He had made." The next reference to this matter is to be found in Exodus 20, where God commanded the seventh day to be kept, because He had himself rested from the work of creation on that day; and the sacred text informs us that for that reason He desired it kept, in the following words; "wherefore, the Lord blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." (1) Again we read in chapter 31, verse 15: "Six days you shall do work; in the seventh day is the Sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord;" sixteenth verse: "it is an everlasting covenant," "and a perpetual sign," "for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and in the seventh He ceased from work." ---------- (1) Of course the scriptures quoted throughout in these editorials are from the Douay, or Catholic, Version, --ED.
In the Old Testament, reference is made one hundred and twenty-six times to the Sabbath, and all these texts conspire harmoniously in voicing the will of God commanding the seventh day to be kept, because God Himself first kept it, making it obligatory on all as "a perpetual covenant." Nor can we imagine any one foolhardy enough to question the identity of Saturday with the Sabbath or seventh day, seeing that the people of Israel have been keeping the Saturday from the giving of the law, A.M. 2514 to A.D. 1893, a period of 3383 years. With the example of the Israelites before our eyes today, there is no historical fact better established than that referred to; viz., that the chosen people of God, the guardians of the Old Testament, the living representatives of the only divine religion hitherto, had for a period of 1490 years anterior to Christianity, preserved the weekly practice the living tradition of the correct interpretation of the special day of the week, Saturday, to be kept "holy to the Lord," which tradition they have extended by their own practice to an additional period of 1893 years more, thus covering the full extent of the Christian dispensation. We deem it necessary to be perfectly clear on this point, for reasons that will appear more fully hereafter. The Bible -- the Old Testament -- confirmed by the living
tradition of a weekly practice for 3383 years by the chosen people of God, teaches, then, with absolute certainty, that God had, Himself, named the day to be "kept holy to Him",-- that the day was Saturday, and that any violation of that command was punishable with death. "Keep you My Sabbath, for it is holy unto you; he that shall profane it shall be put to death; he that shall do any work in it, his soul shall perish in the midst of his people." Ex 31:14.
It is impossible to realize a more severe penalty than that so solemnly uttered by God Himself in the above text, on all who violate a command referred to no less than one hundred and twenty-six times in the old law. The ten commandments of the Old Testament are formally impressed on the memory of the child of the Biblical Christian as soon as possible, but there is not one of the ten made more emphatically familiar, both in Sunday School and pulpit, than that of keeping "holy" the Sabbath day.
Having secured the absolute certainty the will of God as regards the day to be kept holy, from His Sacred Word, because He rested on that day, which day is confirmed to us by the practice of His chose people for thousands of years, we are naturally induced to inquire when and where God changed the day for His worship; for it is patent to the world that a change of day has taken place, and inasmuch as no indication of such change can be found within the pages of the Old Testament, nor in the practice of the Jewish people who continue for nearly nineteen centuries of Christianity obeying the written command, we must look to the exponent of the Christian dispensation; viz., the New Testament, for the command of God canceling the old Sabbath, Saturday.
We now approach a period covering little short of nineteen centuries, and proceed to investigate whether the supplemental divine teacher -- the New Testament -- contains a decree canceling the mandate of the old law, and, at the same time, substituting a day for the divinely instituted Sabbath of the old law, viz., Saturday; for, inasmuch as Saturday was the day kept and ordered to be kept by God, divine authority alone, under the form of a canceling decree, could abolish the Saturday covenant, and another divine mandate, appointing by name another day to be kept "holy," other than Saturday, is equally necessary to satisfy the conscience of the Christian believer. The Bible being the only teacher recognized by the Biblical Christian, the Old Testament failing to point out a change of day, and yet another day than Saturday being kept "holy" by the Biblical world, it is surely incumbent on the reformed Christian to point out in the pages of the New Testament the new divine decree repealing that of Saturday and substituting that of Sunday, kept by the Biblicals since the dawn of the Reformation. Examining the New Testament from cover to cover, critically, we find the Sabbath referred to sixty-one times. We find, too, that the Saviour invariably selected the Sabbath (Saturday) to teach in the synagogues and work miracles. The four Gospels refer to the Sabbath (Saturday) fifty-one times. In one instance the Redeemer refers to Himself as "the Lord of the Sabbath," as mentioned by Matthew and Luke, (2) but during the whole record of His life, whilst invariably keeping and utilizing the day (Saturday), He never once hinted at a desire to change it. His apostles and personal friends afford to us a striking instance of their scrupulous observance of it after His death, and, whilst His body was yet in tomb, Luke (23:56) informs us:
"And they returned and prepared spices and ointments, and rested on the sabbath day according to the
commandment." "but on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came, bringing the spices they had prepared." The "spices" and "ointments" had been prepared Good Friday evening, because "the Sabbath drew near." Verse 54. This action on the part of the personal friends of the Saviour, proves beyond contradiction that after His death they kept "holy" the Saturday, and regarded the Sunday as any other day of the week. Can anything, therefore, be more conclusive than the apostles and the holy women never knew any Sabbath but Saturday, up to the day of Christ's death?
We now approach the investigation of this interesting question for the next thirty years, as narrated by the evangelist, St. Luke, in his Acts of the Apostles. Surely some vestige of the canceling act can be discovered in the practice of the Apostles during that protracted period. ----------- (2) It is also referred to in Mark 2:28.---ED.
But, alas! we are once more doomed to disappointment. Nine (3) times do we find the Sabbath referred to in the Acts, but it is the Saturday (the old Sabbath). Should our readers desire the proof, we refer them to chapter and verse in each instance. Acts 13:14, 27, 42, 44. Once more, Acts 15:21; again, Acts 16:13; 17:2; 18:4. "And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and Greeks." thus the Sabbath (Saturday) from Genesis to Revelation!!! Thus, it is impossible to find in the New Testament the slightest interference by the Saviour or his Apostles with the original Sabbath, but on the contrary, an entire acquiescence in the original arrangement; nay a plenary endorsement by Him, whilst living; and an unvaried, active participation in the keeping of that day and not other by the apostles, for thirty years after His death, as the Acts of the Apostles has abundantly testified to us.
(3) This should be eight.
Hence the conclusion is inevitable; viz., that of those who follow the Bible as their guide, the Israelites and Seventh-day Adventists have exclusive weight of evidence on their side, whilst the Biblical Protestant has not a word in self-defense for his substitution of Sunday for Saturday. More anon.
When his satanic majesty, who was "a murderer from the beginning," "and the father of lies," undertook to open the eyes of our first mother, Eve, by stimulating her ambition, "You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil," his action was but the first of many plausible and successful efforts employed later, in the seduction of millions of her children. Like Eve, they learn too late, alas! the value of the inducements held out to allure her weak children from allegiance to God. Nor does the subject matter of this discussion form an exception to the usual tactics of his sable majesty.
Over three centuries since, Satan plausibly represented to a large number of discontented and ambitious Christians the bright prospect of the successful inauguration of a "new departure," by the abandonment of the Church instituted by the Son of God, as their teacher, and the assumption of a new teacher -- the Bible alone -- as their newly fledged oracle. The sagacity of the Evil One foresaw but the brilliant success of this maneuver. Nor did the result fall short of his most sanguine expectations.
A bold and adventurous spirit was alone needed to head the expedition. Satan soon found in the apostate monk, Luther, who himself repeatedly testifies to the close familiarity that existed between his master and himself, in his "Table talk," and other works published in 1558, at Wittenberg, under the inspection of Melancthon. His colloquies with Satan on various occasions, are testified to by Luther himself -- a witness worthy of all credibility. What the agency of the serpent tended so effectually to achieve in the garden, the agency of Luther achieved in the Christian world. "Give them a pilot to their wandering fleet, Bold in his art, and tutored to deceit; Whose hand adventurous shall their helm misguide To hostile shores, or "whelm them in the tide."
As the end proposed to himself by the Evil One in his raid on the Church of Christ, was the destruction of Christianity, we are now engaged in sifting the means adopted by him to insure his success therein. So far, they have been found to be misleading, self-contradictory, and fallacious. We will now proceed with the further investigations of this imposture. Having proved to a demonstration that the Redeemer, in no instance, had, during the period of His life, deviated from the faithful observance of the Sabbath (Saturday), referred to by the four evangelists fifty-one times, although He had designated Himself "Lord of the Sabbath," He never having once, by command or practice, hinted at a desire on His part to change the day by the substitution of another and having called special attention to the conduct of the apostles and the holy women, the very evening of His death, securing beforehand spices and ointments to be used in embalming His body the morning after the Sabbath (Saturday), as St. Luke so clearly informs us (Luke 24:1), thereby placing beyond peradventure, the divine action and will of
the Son of God during life by keeping the Sabbath steadfastly; and having called attention to the action of His living representatives after his death, as proved by St. Luke; having also placed before our readers the
indisputable fact that the apostles for the following thirty years (Acts) never deviated from the practice of their divine Master in this particular, as St. Luke (Acts 18:4) assures us: "And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogues every Sabbath [Saturday], and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." The Gentile converts were, as we see from the text, equally instructed with the Jews, to keep the Saturday, having been converted to Christianity on that day, "the Jews and the Greeks" collectively.
Having also called attention to the texts of the Acts bearing on the exclusive use of the Sabbath by the Jews and Christians for thirty years after the death of the Saviour as the only day of the week observed by Christ and His apostles, which period exhausts the inspired record, we now proceed to supplement our proofs that the Sabbath (Saturday) enjoyed this exclusive privilege, by calling attention to every instance wherein the sacred record refers to the first day of the week.
The first reference to Sunday after the resurrection of Christ is to be found in St. Luke's Gospel, chapter 24, verses 33-40, and St. John 20:19. The above texts themselves refer to the sole motive of this gathering of the part of the apostles. It took place on the day of the resurrection (Easter Sunday), not for the purpose of inaugurating "the new departure" from the old Sabbath (Saturday) by keeping "holy" the new day, for there is not a hint given of prayer, exhortation, or the reading of the Scriptures, but it indicates the utter demoralization of the apostles by informing mankind that they were huddled together in that room in Jerusalem "for fear of the Jews," as St. John, quoted above, plainly informs us.
The second reference to Sunday is to be found in St. John's Gospel, 20th chapter, 26th to 29th verses: And after eight days, the disciples were again within, and Thomas with them." The resurrected Redeemer availed Himself of this meeting of all the apostles to confound the incredulity of Thomas, who had been absent from the gathering on Easter Sunday evening. This would have furnished a golden opportunity to the Redeemer to change the day in the presence of all His apostles, but we state the simple fact that, on this occasion, as on Easter day, not a word is said of prayer, praise, or reading of the Scriptures.
The third instance on record, wherein the apostles were assembled on Sunday, is to be found in Acts 2:1: "The apostles were all of one accord in one place." (Feast of Pentecost -- Sunday.) Now, will this text afford to our Biblical Christian brethren a vestige of hope that Sunday substitutes, at length, Saturday? For when we inform them that the Jews had been keeping this Sunday for 1500 years, and have been keeping it for eighteen centuries after the establishment of Christianity, at the same time keeping the weekly Sabbath, there is not to be found either consolation or comfort in this text. Pentecost is the fiftieth day after the Passover, (4) which was called the Sabbath of weeks, consisting of seven times seven days; and the day after the completion of the seventh weekly Sabbath day, was the chief day of the entire festival, necessarily Sunday. What Israelite would not pity the cause that would seek to discover the origin of the keeping of the first day of the week in his festival of Pentecost, that has been kept by him yearly for over 3,000 years? Who but the Biblical Christian, driven to the wall for a pretext to excuse his sacrilegious desecration of the Sabbath, always kept by Christ and His apostles, would have resorted to the Jewish festival of Pentecost for his act of rebellion against his God and his teacher, the Bible?
Once more, the Biblical apologists for the change of day call our attention to the Acts, chapter 20, verses 6 and 7: "and upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread," etc. To all appearances, the above text should furnish some consolation to our disgruntled Biblical friends, but being Marplot, we cannot allow them even this crumb of comfort. We reply by the axiom: "Quod probat nimis, probat nihil" -- "What proves too much, proves nothing." Let us call attention to the same Acts 2:46: "And they, continuing daily in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house," etc. Who does not see at a glance that the text produced to prove the exclusive prerogative of Sunday, vanishes into thin air -- an ignis fatuus -- when placed in juxtaposition with the 46th verse of the same chapter? What Biblical Christian claims by this text for Sunday alone the same authority, St. Luke, informs us was common to every day of the week: "And they continued daily in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house." ------------ (4) The Passover was always the fourteenth day of the first month, without any reference whatever to any particular day of the week, and therefore it was impossible that the Pentecost should always be "necessarily Sunday," as stated. This note is inserted merely in the interests of accuracy, and not with the intention that it should have any bearing on the controversy in the text. -- ED.
One text more presents itself, apparently leaning toward a substitution of Sunday for Saturday. It is taken from St. Paul, 1 Cor. 16:1,2: "Now concerning the collection for the saints," "On the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store," etc. Presuming that the request of St. Paul had been strictly attended to, let us call attention to what had been done each Saturday during the Saviour's life and continued for thirty years after, as the book of Acts informs us. The followers of the Master met "every Sabbath" to hear the word of God; the Scriptures were read "every Sabbath day." "And Paul, as his manner was to reason in the synagogue every Sabbath, interposing the same of the Lord Jesus Christ," etc. Acts 18:4. What more absurd conclusion that to infer that reading of the Scriptures, prayer, exhortation, and preaching, which formed the routine duties of every Saturday, as had been abundantly proved, were overslaughed by a request to take up a collection on another day of the week? In order to appreciate fully the value of this text now under consideration, it is only needful to recall the action of
the apostles and holy women on Good Friday before sundown. They brought spices and ointments after He was taken down from the cross; they suspended all action until the Sabbath "holy to the Lord" had passed, and then took steps on Sunday morning to complete the process of embalming the sacred body of Jesus. Why, may we ask, did they not proceed to complete the work of embalming on Saturday? -- Because they knew well that the embalming of the sacred body of their Master would interfere with the strict observance of the Sabbath, the keeping of which was paramount; and until it can be shown that the Sabbath day immediately preceding the Sunday of our text had not been kept (which would be false, inasmuch as every Sabbath had been kept), the request of St. Paul to make the collection on Sunday remains to be classified with the work of the embalming of Christ's body, which could not be effected on the Sabbath, and was consequently deferred to the next convenient day; viz., Sunday, or the first day of the week.
Having disposed of every text to be found in the New Testament referring to the Sabbath (Saturday), and to the first day of the week (Sunday); and having shown conclusively from these texts, that, so far, not a shadow of pretext can be found in the Sacred Volume for the Biblical substitution of Sunday for Saturday; it only remains for us to investigate the meaning of the expressions "Lord's Day," and "day of the Lord," to be found in the New Testament, which we propose to do in our next article, and conclude with apposite remarks on the incongruities of a system of religion which we shall have proved to be indefensible, self-contradictory, and suicidal.
In the present article we propose to investigate carefully a new (and the last) class of proof assumed to convince the Biblical Christian that God had substituted Sunday for Saturday for His worship in the new law, and that the divine will is to be found recorded by the Holy Ghost in apostolic writings.
We are informed that this radical change has found expression, over and over again, in a series of texts in which the expression, "the day of the Lord," or "the Lord's day," is to be found.
The class of texts in the New Testament, under the title "Sabbath," numbering sixty-one in the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles; and the second class, in which "the first day of the week," or Sunday, having been critically examined (the latter class numbering nine [eight]); and having been found not to afford the slightest clue to a change of will on the part of God as to His day of worship by man, we now proceed to examine the third and last class of texts relied on to save the Biblical system from the arraignment of seeking to palm off on the world, in the name of God, a decree for which there is not the slightest warrant or authority from their teacher, the Bible.
The first text of this class is to be found in the Acts of the Apostles 2:20: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord shall come." How many Sundays have rolled by since that prophecy was spoken? So much for that effort to pervert the meaning of the sacred text from the judgment day to Sunday!
The second text of this class is to be found in 1 Cor.1:8: "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." What simpleton does not see that the apostle here plainly indicates the day of judgment? The next text of this class that presents itself is to be found in the same Epistle, chapter 5:5 "To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." The incestuous Corinthian was, of course, saved on the Sunday next following!! How pitiable such a makeshift as this!
The fourth text, 2 Cor. 1:13,14: "And I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus." Sunday or the day of judgment, which?
The fifth text is from St. Paul to the Philippians, chapter 1, verse 6: "Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." The good people of Philippi, in attaining perfection on the following Sunday, could afford to laugh at our modern rapid transit!
We beg to submit our sixth of the class; viz., Philippians, first chapter, tenth verse: "That he may be sincere without offense unto the day of Christ." That day was next Sunday, forsooth! not so long to wait after all.
The seventh text, 2 Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." The application of this text to Sunday passes the bounds of absurdity.
The eighth text, 2 Peter 3:12: "Waiting for and hastening unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved," etc. This day of the Lord is the same referred to in the previous text, the application of both of which to Sunday next would have left the Christian world sleepless the next Saturday night.
We have presented to our readers eight of the nine texts relied on to bolster up by text of Scripture the sacrilegious effort to palm off the "Lord's day" for Sunday, and with what result? Each furnishes prima facie evidence of the last day, referring to it directly, absolutely, and unequivocally.
The ninth text wherein we meet the expression "the Lord's day," is the last to be found in the apostolic writings. The Apocalypse, or Revelation, chapter 1:10, furnishes it in the following words of John: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day;" but it will afford no more comfort to our Biblical friends than its predecessors of the same series. Has St. John used the expression previously in his Gospel or Epistles? -- Emphatically, NO. Has he had occasion to refer to Sunday hitherto? --Yes, twice. How did he designate Sunday on these occasions? Easter Sunday was called by him (John 20:1) "the first day of the week." Again, chapter twenty, nineteenth verse: "Now when it was late that same day, being the first day of the week." Evidently, although inspired, both in his Gospel and Epistles, he called Sunday "the first day of the week." On what grounds, then, can it be assumed that he dropped that designation? Was he more inspired when he wrote the Apocalypse, or did he adopt a new title for Sunday, because it was now in vogue? A reply to these questions would be supererogatory especially to the latter, seeing that the same expression had been used eight times already by St. Luke, St. Paul and St. Peter, all under divine inspiration, and surely the Holy Spirit would not inspire St. John to call Sunday the Lord's day, whilst He inspired Sts. Luke, Paul, and Peter, collectively, to entitle the day of judgment "the Lord's day." Dialecticians reckon amongst the infallible motives of certitude, the moral motive of analogy or induction, by which we are enabled to conclude with certainty from the known to the unknown; being absolutely certain of the meaning of an expression can have only the same meaning when uttered the ninth time, especially when we know that on the nine occasions the expressions were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Nor are the strongest intrinsic grounds wanting to prove that this, like its sister texts, contains the same
meaning. St. John (Rev. 1:10) says "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day; "but he furnishes us the key to this expression, chapter four, first and second verses: "After this I looked and behold a door opened in heaven." A voice said to him: "Come up hither, and I will show you the things which must be hereafter." Let us ascend in spirit with John. Whither? -- through that "door in heaven," to heaven. And what shall we see? -- "The things that must be hereafter," chapter four, first verse. He ascended in spirit to heaven. He was ordered to write, in full, his vision of what is to take place antecedent to, and concomitantly with, "the Lord's day," or the day of judgment; the expression "Lord's day" being confined in Scripture to the day of judgment exclusively.
We have studiously and accurately collected from the New Testament every available proof that could be adduced in favor of a law canceling the Sabbath day of the old law, or one substituting another day for the Christian dispensation. We have been careful to make the above distinction, lest it might be advanced that the third commandment was abrogated under the new law. Any such plea has been overruled by the action of the Methodist Episcopal bishops in their pastoral 1874, and quoted by the New York Herald of the same date, of the following tenor: "The Sabbath instituted in the beginning and confirmed again and again by Moses and the prophets, has never been abrogated. A part of the moral law, not a part or tittle of its sanctity has been taken away." The above official pronunciamento has committed that large body of Biblical Christians to the permanence of the third commandment under the new law.
We again beg to leave to call the special attention of our readers to the twentieth of "the thirty-nine articles of religion" of the Book of Common Prayer; "It is not lawful for the church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's written word."
We have in this series of articles, taken much pains for the instruction of our readers to prepare them by presenting a number of undeniable facts found in the word of God to arrive at a conclusion absolutely irrefragable. When the Biblical system put in an appearance in the sixteenth century, it not only seized on the temporal possessions of the Church, but in its vandalic crusade stripped Christianity, as far as it could, of all the sacraments instituted by its Founder, of the holy sacrifice, etc., etc., retaining nothing but the Bible, which its exponents pronounced their sole teacher in Christian doctrine and morals.
Chief amongst their articles of belief was, and is today, the permanent necessity of keeping the Sabbath holy. In fact, it has been for the past 300 years the only article of the Christian belief in which there has been a plenary consensus of Biblical representatives. The keeping of the Sabbath constitutes the sum and substance of the Biblical theory. The pulpits resound weekly with incessant tirades against the lax manner of keeping the Sabbath in Catholic countries, as contrasted with the proper, Christian, self-satisfied mode of keeping the day in Biblical countries. Who can ever forget the virtuous indignation manifested by the Biblical preachers throughout the length and breadth of our country, from every Protestant pulpit, as long as yet undecided; and who does not know today, that one sect, to mark its holy indignation at the decision, has never yet opened the boxes that contained its articles at the World's Fair?
These superlatively good and unctuous Christians, by conning over their Bible carefully, can find their counterpart in a certain class of unco-good people in the days of the Redeemer, who haunted Him night and day, distressed beyond measure, and scandalized beyond forbearance, because He did not keep the Sabbath in as straight-laced manner as themselves. They hated Him for using common sense in reference to the day, and He found no epithets expressive enough of His supreme contempt for their Pharisaical pride. And it is very probably that the divine mind has not modified its views today anent the blatant outcry of their followers and sympathizers at the close of this nineteenth century. But when we add to all this the fact that whilst the Pharisees of old kept the true Sabbath, our modern Pharisees, counting on the credulity and simplicity of their dupes, have never once in their lives kept the true Sabbath which their divine Master kept to His dying day, and which His apostles kept, after His example, for thirty years steward, according to the Sacred Record, the most glaring contradiction, involving a deliberate sacrilegious rejection of a most positive precept, is presented to us today in the action of the Biblical Christian world. The Bible and the Sabbath constitute the watchword of Protestantism; but we have demonstrated that it is the Bible against their Sabbath. We have shown that no greater contradiction ever existed than their theory and practice. We have proved that neither the Biblical ancestors nor themselves have ever kept one Sabbath day in their lives.
The Israelites and Seventh-day Adventists are witnesses of their weekly desecration of the day named by God so repeatedly, and whilst [Protestant Bible Christians] have ignored and condemned their teacher, the Bible, they have adopted a day kept by the Catholic Church. What Protestant can, after perusing these articles, with a clear conscience, continue to disobey the command of God, enjoining Saturday to be kept, which command his teacher, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, records as the will of God?
The history of the world cannot present a more stupid, self-stultifying specimen of dereliction of principle than this. The teacher demands emphatically in every page that the law of the Sabbath be observed every week, by all recognizing it as "the only infallible teacher," whilst the disciples of that teacher have not once for over three hundred years observed the divine precept! That immense concourse of Biblical Christians, the Methodists, have declared that the Sabbath has never been abrogated, whilst the followers of the Church of England, together with her daughter, the Episcopal Church of the United States, are committed by the twentieth article of religion, already quoted, to the ordinance that the Church cannot lawfully ordain anything "contrary to God's written word." God's written word enjoins His worship to be observed on Saturday absolutely, repeatedly, and most emphatically, with a most positive threat of death to him who disobeys. All the Biblical sects occupy the same self-stultifying position which no explanation can modify, much less justify.
How truly do the words of the Holy Spirit apply to this deplorable situation! "Iniquitas mentita est sibi" -- "Iniquity hath lied to itself." Proposing to follow the Bible only as teacher, yet before the world, the sole teacher is ignominiously thrust aside, and the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church -- "the mother of abomination," when it suits their purpose so to designate her -- adopted, despite the most terrible threats pronounced by God Himself against those who disobey the command, "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath."
Before closing this series of articles, we beg to call the attention of our readers once more to our caption, introductory of each; viz., 1. The Christian Sabbath, the genuine offspring of the union of the Holy Spirit with the Catholic Church His spouse. 2. The claim of Protestantism to any part therein proved to be groundless, self-contradictory, and suicidal.
The first proposition needs little proof. The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. We say by virtue of her divine mission, because He who called Himself the "Lord of the Sabbath," endowed her with His own power to teach, "he that heareth you, heareth Me;" commanded all who believe in Him to hear her, under penalty of being placed with "heathen and publican;" and promised to be with her to the end of the world. She holds her charter as teacher from Him -- a charter as infallible as perpetual. The Protestant world at its birth found the Christian Sabbath too strongly entrenched to run counter to its existence; it was therefore placed under the necessity of acquiescing in the arrangement, thus implying the Church's right to change the day, for over three hundred years. The Christian Sabbath is therefore to this day, the acknowledged offspring of the Catholic Church as spouse of the Holy Ghost, without a word of remonstrance from the Protestant world.
Let us now, however, take a glance at our second proposition, with the Bible alone as the teacher and guide in faith and morals. This teacher most emphatically forbids any change in the day for paramount reasons. The command calls for a "perpetual covenant." The day commanded to be kept by the teacher has never once been kept, thereby developing an apostasy from an assumedly fixed principle, as self-contradictory, self-stultifying, and consequently as suicidal as it is within the power of language to express. Nor are the limits of demoralization yet reached. Far from it. Their pretense for leaving the bosom of the Catholic Church was for apostasy from the truth as taught in the written word. They adopted the written word as their sole teacher, which they had no sooner done than they abandoned it promptly, as these articles have abundantly proved; and by a perversity as willful as erroneous, they accept the teaching of the Catholic Church in direct opposition to the plain, unvaried, and constant teaching of their sole teacher in the most essential doctrine of their religion, thereby emphasizing the situation in what may be aptly designated "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare."
[EDITORS' NOTE. -- It was upon this very point that the Reformation was condemned by the Council of Trent. The Reformers had constantly charged, as here stated, that the Catholic Church had "apostatized from the truth as contained in the written word. "The written word," "The Bible and the Bible only," "Thus saith the Lord," these were their constant watchwords; and "the Scripture, as in the written word, the sole standard of appeal," this was the proclaimed platform of the Reformation and of Protestantism. "The Scripture and tradition." The Bible as interpreted by the Church and according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers," this was the position and claim of the Catholic Church. This was the main issue in the Council of Trent, which was called especially to consider the questions that had been raised and forced upon the attention of Europe by the Reformers. The very first question concerning faith that was considered by the council was the question involved in this issue. There was a strong party even of the Catholics within the council who were in favor of abandoning tradition and adopting the Scriptures only, as the standard of authority. This view was so decidedly held in the debates in the council that the pope's legates actually wrote to him that there was "a strong tendency to set aside tradition altogether and to make Scripture the sole standard of appeal." But to do this would manifestly be to go a long way toward justifying the claims of the Protestants. By this crisis there was developed upon the ultra-Catholic portion of the council the task of convincing the others that "Scripture and tradition" were the only sure ground to stand upon. If this could be done, the council could be carried to issue a decree condemning the Reformation, otherwise not. The question was debated day after day, until the council was fairly brought to a standstill. Finally, after a long and intensive mental strain, the Archbishop of Reggio came into the council with substantially the following argument to the party who held for Scripture alone: "The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only. They profess to hold the Scripture alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the Church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestants claim, that they stand upon the written word only, is not true. Their profession of holding the Scripture alone as the standard of faith, is false.
PROOF: The written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they do truly hold the scripture alone as their standard, they would be observing the seventh day as is enjoined in the Scripture throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the Church. Consequently the claim of 'Scripture alone as the standard,' fails; and the doctrine of 'Scripture and tradition' as essential, is fully established, the Protestants themselves being judges." [Archbishop Reggio made his speech at the last opening session of Trent, on the 18th of January, 1562. -- J. H. Holtzman, Canon and Tradition, published in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 1859, page 263.]
There was no getting around this, for the Protestants' own statement of faith -- the Augsburg Confession, 1530 -- had clearly admitted that "the observation of the Lord's day" had been appointed by "the Church" only. The argument was hailed in the council as of Inspiration only; the party for "Scripture alone," surrendered; and the council at once unanimously condemned Protestantism and the whole Reformation as only an unwarranted revolt from the communion and authority of the Catholic Church; and proceeded, April 8, 1546, "to the promulgation of two decrees, the first of which, enacts under anathema, that Scripture and tradition are to be received and venerated equally, and that the deutero-canonical [the apocryphal] books are part of the canon of Scripture. The second decree declares the Vulgate to be the sole authentic and standard Latin version, and gives it such authority as to supersede the original texts; forbids the interpretation of Scripture contrary to the sense received by the Church, 'or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers,'" etc. This was the inconsistency of the Protestant practice with the Protestant profession that gave to the Catholic Church her long-sought and anxiously desired ground upon which to condemn Protestantism and the whole Reformation movement as only a selfishly ambitious rebellion against the Church authority. And in this vital controversy the key, the chiefest and culminative expression, of the Protestant inconsistency was in the rejection of the Sabbath of the Lord, the seventh day, enjoined in the Scriptures, and the adoption and observance of the Sunday as enjoined by the Catholic Church. And this is today the position of the respective parties to this controversy. Today, as this document shows, this is the vital issue upon which the Catholic Church arraigns Protestantism, and upon which she condemns the course of popular Protestantism as being "indefensible", self-contradictory, and suicidal." What will these Protestants, what will this Protestantism, do?]
Should any of the reverend parsons, who are habituated to howl so vociferously over every real or assumed desecration of that pious fraud, the Bible Sabbath, think well of entering a protest against our logical and Scriptural dissection of their mongrel pet, we can promise them that any reasonable attempt on their part to gather up the disjecta membra of the hybrid, and to restore to it a galvanized existence, with be met with genuine cordiality and respectful consideration on our part.
But we can assure our readers that we know these reverend howlers too well to expect a solitary bark from them in this instance. And they know us too well to subject themselves to the mortification which a further dissection of this anti scriptural question would necessarily entail. Their policy now is to "lay low," and they are sure to adopt it.
The challenge issued by Rome over 100 years ago remains: Either the Catholic Church is right, or the Seventh Day Adventists are right. There can be no other choice. And if one choose neither, then the whole doctrine of Sola Scriptura collapses, and with it, the pillar upon which all of Protestantism stands.
What one has left is an invented religion, an invented God, and an invented set of beliefs that suits man's
purpose, and not the Creator's. Like Satan and Luther before them, Protestants have spoken the creed, in action and in thought, if not in word, "I Will Not Serve." The challenge remains -- yet you will find no response, not from any Evangelical, Fundamentalist, or mainline Protestant denomination anywhere. Ultimately, it is the clear authority of the Catholic Church as vested in Her by God Himself, that rules the day. That the SDA is at least principled enough to follow Sola Scriptura to the ends of its ridiculous claims, is hardly an argument in their favor -- to be completely and wholly wrong, is no better than being partly wrong, especially when the eternal salvation of souls is concerned.
As Christians, though, we can grant and recognize in them the courage of their convictions, and yet still move to pray that the Holy Spirit, through the Mother of God, will soften their hearts, open their eyes, and grant them the peace and grace that comes to us from God in the Holy Catholic Church.
For all other Protestants, an indictment remains unanswered, standing unanswered now for 500 years. They have been arraigned in Council, and have convicted themselves. We must always pray for them, that they too may see the grace and boundless forgiveness that God holds for all men, and that the foolish pride, that is at the root of all of Christian disunity between themselves and Holy Mother Church, melts away in the light of God's love, and the unbreakable promise given by Christ Himself that the "gates of Hell shall not prevail" against His Church, neither in the guise of Luther, nor in the modern materialism and rationalism that is currently buffeting the Church. Amen.
This article should show any thinking Protestant Christian, who claims to believe in the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, that in keeping Sunday, he is following not the commandments of God, but the traditions of man. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men. . . " Mark 7:7, 8