From there book


THE  ENGLISH  SUNDAY

 

Edward R. Bernard, M.A.


Published 1903



LECTURE III


THE LORD'S DAY IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH


WE will now consider the beginnings of the Christian festival of the Lord's Day. But let me first recapitulate the results at which we have arrived with regard to the Sabbath. The Sabbath although a special ceremonial ordinance for the Hebrew nation was not a mere ceremonial ordinance. It had moral contents and purposes, it met needs always felt by all mankind when brought into relation with the true God.


(1) It was a day of rest from worldly employments, and^mofeover a clear space for higher thoughts and for approach to God.


(2) It was a commemoration of creation and still more of redemption, of a special relation to God brought about by His past dealings with those to whom the ordinance was given.


(3) It was a sign marking off those who acknowledged that special relation, and binding them together, separating them from the world around them.


(4) It was a kind of first fruits, like the literal offerings of first fruits, By the dedication of which men acknowledged that all the days of human life belonged to Him and His service.


Upon the foundation of this simple ordinance Judaism after the Exile built up a fabric of elaborate rules for its observance. These so far from promoting the original purposes of the Sabbath, darkened, obscured, and absolutely frustrated them. The Sabbath was to be a day given to God. The best way of serving God is as Isaiah had taught Byi works of love to man (Is. lviii. 7). But it was just these that the Scribes forbade. The law and the prophets were the two mutually counterbalancing forces in the religion of Israel, and the long silence of prophecy from Malachi to John the Baptist gave the whole field to the law, unchecked and uncorrected by contemporary prophetic teaching. The coming of Christ with His forerunner was something much greater than the revival of prophecy, but it was the revival of prophecy.


Thus when He came, He had to vindicate the true purpose of the Sabbath, to clear it from its accretions, and this He did by deliberately challenging the teaching of the Scribes, and selecting the Sabbath for special works of  mercy.


He did not break the Sabbath in the sense of transgressing the Mosaic law, at least there is no record that He did, and it is highly improbable. It was a part of the law which He came not to destroy but to fulfil. It was His habit to attend Synagogue worship on that day. One incidental allusion is enough to show how He regarded it, and indeed might well be construed as approving the future observance of the day by Jewish believers at least until the destruction of Jerusalem. “Pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a Sabbath” [Matt. Xxiv. 20. Footnote 1]. He did not utter a single word to its abolition, but He left it purified and vindicated.


[MATT. 24 IS A PROPHECY CONCERNING JESUS’ COMING AGAIN IN GLORY AND POWER TO RULE THE WORLD. HENCE WE SEE JESUS  UPHELD  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT,  THE  7TH  DAY  SABBATH  AS  BEING  OBSERVED  TO  THE  VERY  END  OF  THIS  AGE  -  Keith Hunt]


Let us now turn to the Lord’s Day, which is the proper subject of the present lecture. We must be prepared to find very scanty traces of its early history, and none whatever of its having been enjoined as a command.


1 Dr   Hessey's   ingenious   explanation   of  this   passage (''Bampton Lectures," v.) will hardly satisfy a eandid reader.



There is the strongest possible contrast between the provision made by God for the Church of the Old Covenant, and that made by God in Christ for the Church of the New Covenant. For the first there is a great system of ceremonial law, feasts, and observances, extensive in itself, even if we narrow it down by assigning portions of it to a later date than that of Moses. But for the other, for the Church of the New Covenant, there was absolutely nothing provided by way of institutions except the two sacraments, and for those only the briefest possible directions were given, with no details as to methods of administration. Everything else that may be required is provided for by the gift of the Spirit. The system and organisation of the Church is left to grow up and to develope; to fall away, and to be renewed ; according to circumstances and needs. It was no longer the divine purpose to fix a single Eastern nation in unalterable customs. But looking forward to all the vast changes of Western life^jnd history, there was to be freedom, freeBorn under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so far as that guidance should be truly sought, freedom with all its risks and its inevitable mistakes.


The primitive  Church  then  was   left to develope and modify all matters of organisation and ceremonial. This being so it was left to develop its own weekly festival. It is pure imagination to suppose that directions were given for it by the Lord Himself. Had there been such, some tradition of them would certainly have been preserved for us by the Fathers of the second century. But though we have no ground for supposing a command we do find a certain authorisation and approval by Him of the first Lord's Day gathering which is mentioned, and most probably also of a second. Let us take them in order.


(1) "After eight days again his disciples were within" (John xx. 26). The day so described is the next First Day after that on which the Resurrection took place. The disciples were gathered, and He came.


[THIS DOES NOT SAY THE FIRST DAY WAS THEN MADE HOLY, OR WAS TO BE OBSERVED AS THE NEW TESTAMENT SABBATH - Keith Hunt]


(2) " When the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place" (Acts ii. 1). This again is a gathering of the disciples, probably of the believers as a body. It was in "a house" as we learn from v. 2. This has been generally understood to imply that they were assembled in the upper chamber mentioned in Acts i. 13, but Dr Chase (" Hulsean Lectures," p. 31) has with some probability suggested that "the Temple was the scene of the Pentecostal gift." "House" is the regular term both in the Septuagint and in Josephus for the chambers of the Temple. Here also we have most probably a divine recognition of the gathering for observance of the day, a fresh consecration of it by the Pentecostal gift. I say most probably, for the question whether the gift of the Spirit took place on a Sabbath or on a First Day depends on the interpretation of the accounts given as to the day of the Crucifixion.1


1 Without going into detail it is sufficient here to say that the three Synoptic Gospels seem to point to the Last Supper having been the real Passover meal, celebrated on the proper day at the proper hour. If that be so then Pentecost must have fallen on a Saturday. But if we follow the narrative of St John, and regard the Last Supper as an anticipatory Passover, and the Crucifixion as having taken place on Nisan 14 before the hour of the true Passover, then Pentecost would fall on a Sunday, and the conclusion which I have drawn from that supposition is maintained. There is, however, some doubt as to the rendering 'fully come' in Acts ii. 1.    See Blass's note in loc.


[THE  SADDUCEES  HAD  THE  CORRECT  COUNTING  TO  PENTECOST—— ALWAYS  ON  A  SUNDAY;  SEE  MY  STUDIES  REGARDING  PENTECOST.  BUT  PENTECOST  WAS  A  FEAST  DAY  OF  THE  LORD.  IT  HAS  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  THE  WEEKLY  SABBATH,  OR  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT  -  Keith Hunt]


(3) We hear nothing more of the First Day of the week in Jerusalem or Judear but twenty-five years later it meets us from the side of the Gentile Churches in an Epistle of St Paul. Writing to the Corinthians [1 Cor. xvi. 2] he mentions it as a suitable day for putting by what they could spare from the earnings of the week, for the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Like the Sabbath the first day was to be a day of works of mercy. The passage does not necessarily imply that Christians assemblies were held on that day, though of course it does not in any degree tell against their being so held. In the next century the Sunday assembly was the time for making such offerings, and this may have been already   the   custom   at   Corinth,  [JUST  NOT  SO  AT  ALL;  THERE  IS  NOT  ONE  WORD  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  THAT  SAYS  TRUE  SAINTS  OF  GOD  MET  AS  A  REGULAR  CUSTOM  ON  THE  FIRST  DAY  OF  THE  WEEK - Keith Hunt] but the offerings mentioned in 1 Cor. xvi.2 were to be kept in store by the givers till St. Paul came. In short the course enjoined by him resembled the missionary box kelp in a private house, with the addition of a special day selected for putting in the gifts.


[NOTHING  HERE  ABOUT  THE  FIRST  DAY  BECOMING  THE  WEEKLY  SABBATH,  OR  TAKING  THE  CHANGE  AND  PLACE  OF  THE  7TH  DAY  SABBATH.  PAUL  WOULD  COME  ON  THE  FIRST  DAY  AND  THEY  WERE  TO  HAVE  THEIR  GIFT  READY  FOR  HIM  TO  TAKE  TO  THE  POOR  SAINTS  AT  JERUSALEM  -  Keith Hunt]



(4) Then at a date shortly after the epistle referred to above, comes the incidental notice that when St. Paul came to Troas he attended a gathering on the first day of the week for the breaking of bread, that is for celebration of the Lord's Supper, combined as it then was with a meal taken in common. 


[THIS  WAS  A  FIRST  DAY,  SHALL  BE  SAY,  EVANGELISTIC  MEETING;  WHICH  CAN  BE  ON  ANY  DAY  OF  THE  WEEK.  IT  DOES  NOT  SAY  THE  FIRST  DAY  WAS  HOLY,  THE  SABBATH,  OR  OBSERVED  AS  A  REGULAR  DAY  OF  GATHERING.  AND  IT  HAD  NOTHING  TO  DO  WITH  CELEBRATING  THE  COMMEMORATION  OF  OUR  LORD’S  DEATH,  AS  I  PROVE  IN  OTHER  STUDIES  CONCERNING  WHEN  AND  HOW  OFTEN  THE  SAINTS  OF  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  OBSERVED  THE  CEREMONY  OF  THE  LORD’S  DEATH - Keith Hunt]


Whether the time of meeting was on Saturday evening or on Sunday evening does not much affect our present inquiry, though it is otherwise a matter of considerable inerterest, as it involves an important question.


It has been argued that if St. Luke is following the JEWISH MODE OF RECKONING, THEN HE CONSIDERS THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK TO BEGIN ON THE EVENING OF THE SEVENTH DAY. 


In that case the actual celebration of-the-Supper did not take place till after midnight on Saturday, i.e. early on Sunday morning.


EVEN IF THIS BE THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT IT PROVES A CUSTOM OF EARLY MORNING COMMUNIONS AT THIS PERIOD, since the prolongation of St. Paul’s discourse is noticed as unusual, and it is implied that this was the cause why the sacred meal did not take place sooner, I.e. before midnight. It is extremely improbable and unsupported so far as I know by other evidence, that an all night service leading up to a communion before daybreak was a primitive practice.


And it would certainly be strange if a meeting to celebrate week by week the Lord's Resurrection was held on Saturday evening, that is before, instead of after, the hour of the occurrence of the original event.


[THE  HISTORICAL  TRUTH  OF  HOW  OFTEN  THE  TRUE  SAINTS  OF  GOD  OBSERVED  THE  LORD’S  DEATH,  IS  FULLY  EXPOUNDED  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  UNDER  THIS  SECTION,  AND  THE  “HISTORY”  SECTION  -  Keith Hunt]


It is I think probable that St. Luke, Gentile as he was, did not feel strictly tied to the Jewish mode of reckoning, and therefore is here describing a  gathering which took place on Sunday evening.


Arriving out of the above comes the question, did St Paul start on his voyage (Acts xx. 7) on a Sunday morning? This would be the case if the gathering met on Saturday evening. In itself there is no improbability in this, but it has been sufficiently shown that any argument in favour of Sunday travelling based on this, rests upon an insecure footing. Before leaving the passage it may be added that the meeting for observance of the First Day at Troas, whether on Saturday evening or Sunday evening, is by far the most definite piece of evidence that we have on the subject, and that it is noticeable that it comes from a Gentile Church. 


[ONCE  MORE  THIS  PASSAGE  DOES  NOT  MAKE  SUNDAY  A  HOLY  DAY,  OR  THE  WEEKLY  SABBATH  THAT  NOW  CANCELLED  OUT  THE  WORDS  OF  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT.  NOTHING  IS  SAID  HERE  TO  JUSTIFY  SOME  NOW  CLAIMING  THE  FIRST  DAY  HAD  BECOME  THE  SABBATH  -  Keith Hunt]


(5) Lastly  we  have  the  words  of  Rev. 1. 10. “I was in  the Spirit on the Lord’s day.”


Here for the first time we have a name for the day, hitherto called "the first day of the week." Doubt has been cast upon this explanation of " the Lord's day," and other meanings have been suggested.


It has been said that in this highly prophetic book, the  Lord’s day is the Old Testament phrase, the “Day of the LORD”, IN A NEW FORM, AND THAT IT HERE MEANS THE DAY OF JUDGMENT TO WHICH ST. JOHN IS TRANSFERRED IN SPIRIT.


But there seems no good reason to doubt the traditional interpretation. 


[YES  INDEED  THERE  IS  BIG  HUGE  DOUBT!  THE  TRUE  SAINTS  OF  GOD  NEVER  OBSERVED  SUNDAY  AS  A  HOLY  DAY;  NEITHER  DID  THEY  SAY  ANYWHERE  THAT  SUNDAY  WAS  NOW  THE  WEEKLY  SABBATH  -  Keith Hunt]


There is nothing to surprise us in the occurrence of the phrase. In the second century this name for the First Day was universally accepted in the Church, and we should therefore expect to find it coming into use towards the close of the first century. The name, Lord's day, has been lost by the Teutonic races, but it has been preserved in the Romance languages. It is enough to remind you of the French name Dimanche which represents "Dominica," i.e. "dies Domini."


[I  PROVE  ELSEWHERE  THAT  FALSE  TEACHERS  DID  RISE  UP  IN  THE  TRUE  CHURCHES  OF  GOD;  WE  SEE  IT  IN  THE  WRITING  OF  PAUL  AND  JOHN.  BY  THE  SECOND  CENTURY  ROME  WAS  TAKING  A  LEADING  PART,  IN  LEADING  AWAY  FROM  THE  TRUTHS  OF  GOD;  THE  PASSOVER  WAS  REPLACED  WITH  EASTER.  AGAIN  ALL  THIS  HISTORY  IS  GIVEN  TO  YOU  ON  THIS WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt]


This then is the evidence for observance of the first day in Apostolic times. AND HOW VERY LITTLE IT ALL COMES TO!  On the other hand in the book of Acts alone, the Sabbath is mentioned not less than nine times, most often in connection with St. Paul’s missionary work. No doubt he went to the synagogues on the Sabbath for the sake of the easy opportunity  then given him of speaking to the Jews and the devout persons, but I think it would be a low estimate of his character which represented him as doing so merely for the sake of the opportunity. We feel so strongly the opposition between the Christianity of St. Paul and the anti-Christian prejudice of the Jews  with whom he came into conflict, that we are blinded to a sense of how much they had in common. We fail to realize the longing with which, in a heathen city, the wandering apostle would seek for communion in worship with those who like himself, knew and adored the living God.


I will here report, what I have already said (lee. ii), that there can be no doubt that the apostles generally observed  both  the  Sabbath and the first day of the week [NOT  AT  ALL,  JUST  WAY  WAY  OFF  FROM  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  MATTER;  THE  APOSTLES  NEVER  OBSERVED  THE  FIRST  DAY  AS  SOME  KIND  OF  SEMI-SABBATH;  NOR  DID  THEY  OBSERVE  EASTER,  BUT  THEY  OBSERVED  THE  PASSOVER  ON  THE  14TH  DAY  OF  THE  HEBREW  CALENDAR,  AS  THE  LORD’S  DEATH;  PROVED  IN  OTHER  STUDIES  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt]


But there is nothing whatever to show that the observance of the Lord’s Day was regarded as compulsory, either for Jewish Christians who had another day to keep, or for Gentile Christians who had no other day to keep. Indeed St Paul's protest against judging others in respect of their non-observance of feast days and Sabbath days (Col. ii. 16) though directed against Judaizers would apply equally well to the observance and non-observance of the Lord's Day. And the same is true of Rom. xiv. 5, "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike." This could not have been written had the observance of the Lord's Day been a universal rule of the  Church.


[THE  TRUTH  OF  COL. 2:16  AND  ROM. 14  IS  FULLY  EXPOUNDED  IN  OTHER  STUDIES  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt]


In short, the supposed transference in Apostolic times of the obligations of the Sabbath to the Lord’s Day is a Fiction, which grew up in and after the fourth century.


What did happen, was, for Gentile Churches, the observance of the Lord's Day came to be influenced by the great ideas and aspirations which the Sabbath had expressed, and did still express for their brethren the Jewish Christians. The connection between the two days was never formal, but it was none the less real and powerful.


[NOPE  IT  WAS  NEVER  REAL  PER  SE.  NOT  ONE  VERSE  OR  INSTRUCTION  IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT,  TELLS  US  TO  SET  A  DAY  ASIDE  TO  COMMEMORATE  THE  RESURRECTION  OF  CHRIST.  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT  NEVER  ENDORSES  THE  FIRST  DAY  AS  A  HOLY  DAY,  OR  A  SABBATH  DAY.  THE  TRUTH  OF  THE  RESURRECTION  WAS  PREACHED  AS  ONE  MIGHTY  HUGE  DOCTRINE  OF  GOD,  AS  WE  SEE  IN  1  COR. 15,  BUT  WE  ARE  NEVER  TOLD  TO  MAKE  THE  FIRST  DAY  AS  SOME  SEMI-SABBATH,  OR  TO  EVEN  GATHER  TOGETHER  IN  SOME  REGULAR  WAY  OF  WORSHIP  -  Keith Hunt]


With  the  beginning  of  the  second  century  we  pass  beyond  the  New  testament  to  the  Apostolic  Fathers  and  the  Apologists.


[AND  THOSE  GUYS  WERE  BY  THEN  GOING  INTO  THE  VARIANTS  OF  FALSE  DOCTRINES,  AS  WE  SEE  FROM  THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  LORD’S  DAY  AND  EASTER  -  Keith Hunt]


I must be content with four or five illustrations  of  the  definite  establishment  of  the  Lord’s  Day  in  this  century.  They are the stock instances, but they must not on that account be omitted.


(1) Ignatius writing quite early in the second century not only names the Lord’s Day, but speaks of living in conformity with it, thus giving it a central position in Christian life and practice. Yet further he speaks of Jewish Christians who had given up the Sabbath. He contrasts life according to the Lord’s Day with “sabbatizing” that is with Judaic manner of life of which the observance of the sabbath was a the centre and type. Here is a contrast between the contents of the two days not a transference of them from one to the other.


[CERTAINLY  WE  KNOW  BY  THE  EARLY  SECOND  CENTURY  THE  CHURCH  OF  ROME  HAD  TAKEN  ON  A  HUGE  INFLUENCE  IN  THE  “CHRISTIAN”  WORLD.  INDEED  THE  FIRST  DAY  WAS  PUSHING  OUT  THE  SABBATH  OF  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT;  EASTER  WAS  PUSHING  OUT  THE  OBSERVANCE  OF  THE  LORD’S  DEATH  ON  THE  14TH  OF  THE  FIRST  MONTH  OF  THE  JEWISH  CALENDAR;  IT  WAS  A  TIME  OF  GREAT  FALSE  DOCTRINES  COMING  INTO  AND  UNDER  THE  NAME  OF  “CHRISTIANITY”  -  Keith Hunt]



(2) The (so-called) Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is mainly a treatise on Christian worship, which we need not hesitate to place early in the second century. Here we have both the name of the Lord's day and an injunction to meet and break bread on that day, given as a rule known and accepted by all.


[ONLY  ACCEPTED  BY  THE  THEOLOGY  OF  THOSE  UNDER  THE  INFLUENCE  OF  THE  CHURCH  AT  ROME  -  Keith Hunt[


Then follow two more statements from very different quarters, which confirm the observance of Sunday as it now comes to be called.


[YES  THE  DAY  OF  SUN  WORSHIP  IN  THE  PAGAN  WORLD;  NOW  BEING  ADOPTED  BY  THE  CHRISTIANS  OF  ROME - Keith Hunt]


(3) Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, gives, in a letter to the Emperor Trajan, the account given to him by Christians who had recanted under pressure. The sum of their offending had been that they met on a stated day before dawn for worship, and a mutual oath (sacramentum) of abstinence from sin; and again (later, but at a time not specified) for a common meal. Though this passage only proves the observance of "a stated day," yet in the light of the other evidence from the same period, it must be interpreted to mean Sunday.   


[WOULD  HAVE  BEEN  SUNDAY  INDEED,  FOR  THAT  DAY  WAS  NOW  THROUGH  ROME,  TAKING  THE  PLACE  OF  THE  4TH  COMMANDMENT  SABBATH;  APOSTASY   WAS  WELL  ON  ITS  WAY  INTO  “CHRISTIANITY” - Keith Hunt] 


(4) Justin Martyr, the Christian apologist, to whom  we owe our first full account of Christian worship, says that the assemblies  for these purposes were hold on the day of the sun. And he prefixes to the motive of commemorating the Resurrection, a further reason for the observance of the day, namely that on the first day of the week, God dispelled darkness (by the creation of light), and changed chaos to order. 


[CLEVER  WAYS  TO  BRING  IN  A  THEOLOGY  OF  THEIR  OWN  MAKING;  WORSHIP  ON  THE  DAY  OF  THE  SUN;  GET  PAGANS  TO  ACCEPT  GOD  AND  CHRIST,  WHILE  CONTINUING  TO  KEEP  THEIR  TRADITIONS,  AND  TO  MOVE  AWAY  FROM  BEING  THOUGHT  OF  AS  “JEWISH” - Keith Hunt]


(5) The last testimony to be quoted comes from another apologist (Tertullian)  at the end of the same century. Here a new and distinct element of Sunday observance makes its appearance of which we have heard nothing hitherto, namely abstinence from business. Tertuilian has been speaking of the two postures in prayer, standing and kneeling, and he goes on to say, "On the Lord's day we ought not only to dispense with that attitude [i.e. the posture of kneeling in prayer], but also to lay aside every condition and every duty which involve anxiety, postponing, moreover, business, lest we give place to the devil" (Test. de Or. 23). 


You will see that no attempt is made to ground abstinence from business employments on Sabbath regulations, but they are to be avoided as inconsistent with the character of the day, and disturbing to the frame of mind which is proper to it. 


When we come to sum up the result of the present inquiry as to the true character of Sunday, we shall find that it cannot be better expressed than in these words of Tertullian.


[YES  WORDS,  IDEAS,  OF  MEN,  MAKING  UP  THEIR  OWN  RELIGION  TOWARDS  GOD;  WHICH  GOD  HAS  NEVER  GIVEN  THEM  THE  RIGHT  TO  DO.  JESUS  SAID,  “YOU  WORSHIP  ME  IN  VAIN,  TEACHING  FOR  DOCTRINES  THE  COMMANDMENTS  OF  MEN,  WHILE  BREAKING  THE  COMMANDMENTS  OF  GOD”  -  Keith Hunt]


This tendency to abstain from work and from everything else that might interfere with the ideal of the day as a day of worship received before long, legal recognition in the edict of Constantine, March 7, 321.


[YES  MAN  FINALLY  STAMPING  THE  RELIGION  OF  “CHRISTIAN”  ROME  ON  THE  EMPIRE  OF  ROME  -  Keith Hunt]


This edict must not be interpreted as a state interference with matters of religion, but rather as a legalisation of existing Christian custom. As, however, the decree was to extend in its effects to the whole empire, and not merely to the Christian portion of it, it was impossible to give the day its Christian name, or to put the observance of it on Christian grounds. I have endeavoured to examine the motive of the decree in a note at the end of this lecture.


Looking back on what has been said, we see that the Lord’s Day and its observance were not, in the beginning at least, built upon the Old Testament Sabbath, or the fourth Commandments. 


The day grew up as a Commemoration of the Resurrection, that great event which in Apostolic preaching filled even a larger space than the Cross itself. The Lord’s day was not prescribed by God to man, but spontaneously offered by man to God. Worship and communion were the ideas which distinguished it.


[MAN  MAKING  UP  HOW  HE  WOULD  WORSHIP  GOD;  MAKING  UP  HIS  OWN  WAYS  AND  CUSTOMS  HE  WOULD  WORSHIP  GOD  WITH.  THIS  WAS  NEVER  ALLOWED  BY  GOD,  HOW  COULD  IT  BE  AS  THERE  THEN  WOULD  BE  UTTER  CONFUSION  IN  THE  CHURCHES  OF  GOD  AROUND  THE  WORLD.  THE  DAY  OF  THE  RESURRECTION   OF  JESUS  WAS  NEVER  TOLD  TO  US,  TO  OBSERVE  NEITHER  IN  WORSHIP  SERVICES  OR  REFRAINING  TO  WORK  ON  THAT  DAY.  ALL  OF  THOSE  THINGS  ARE  THE  IDEAS  OF  MEN,  WHO  ROSE  UP  UNDER  THE  CHRISTIAN  BANNER  IN  THE  FIRST  CENTURY  EVEN  WHILE  THE  APOSTLES  LIVED  AND  PREACHED;  THE  SNOWBALL  GAINING  MORE  MASS  AND  POWER    DOWN  THE  HILL,  AS  THE  FOLLOWING  CENTURIES  UNFOLDED  -  Keith Hunt]   


Does this view of its origin tend to relax the strictness and completeness of our observance of it today? The very notion of an offering involves sacrifice and self-denial. Here, as elsewhere, David's rule applies, "I will not offer unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing."


[O  HOW  MAN  CAN  JUSTIFY  HIS  MADE  UP  WORSHIP  IDEAS;  AS  SOME  SAY,  “YOU  CAN  MAKE  THE  BIBLE  SAY  ANYTHING  YOU  WANT  IT  TO  SAY”  -  Keith Hunt]


NOTE.—On the Decree of Constantine


It has been argued that the decree of Constantine, dated MARCH 7, A.D. 321, was not Sabbatarian. 


This is true in the sense that the decree does not base the observance of the Sunday on that of the Sabbath. But it is Sabbatarian in the looser sense, that it was designed to promote the observance of the Sunday as a day of rest. The direction to suspend all artisan work on that day, and indeed, all work in towns, is perfectly clear, and the exception made in Faber of agricultural work on the part of dwellers in the country is an exception which is regarded as needing its justification to be expressed in the terms of the decree itself.


To regard the decree as principally concerned with legal proceedings, and the distinction between "dies fasti" and "nefasti," is to fix attention on a small portion of its scope to the exclusion of the rest.


And indeed Constantine’s motive, though he was not yet a professed Christian, was unmistakably a religious one, if, at least, we accept as trustworthy Eusebius’ comments in his life of Constantine (iv. 18), where we find that the emperor commanded a similar honour to be paid to Friday. In the case of Friday, no motive but a religious one could be assigned, and as will be seen, Eusebius classes together the Emperor’s action with regard to the two days. He (Eusebius), supposes the command to honour these days "was in memory of things related to have been accomplished by our common Saviour on these two days" (i.e. Friday and Sunday). That the observance of Friday was abandoned as impracticable would account for there being no mention of it in any extant decree. 


The above argument assumes as correct the conjecture of Valesius [Greek is given], a conjecture which, although rejected by Heinichen, is amply justified both by Sozomen H. E. I. 8., and by the context in Eusebius. See Zahn, " “Skizzen aus dem Leben," p. 370.


………………..


SO  WE  DO  SEE  CONSTANTINE   DID  HAVE  RELIGIOUS  MOTIVES  BEHIND  HIS  DECREES  REGARDING  SUNDAY  AND  FRIDAY,  AS  IT  FUSES  WITH  THE  IDEA  OF  “EASTER”  AND  THE  TEACHING  CHRIST  DIED  ON  FRIDAY  AND  ROSE  SUNDAY - Keith Hunt