1. THE way of the Christian life was set for us by Jesus Himself.
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6. “Leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21.
2. The footprints that Jesus set for us to follow, lead unvaryingly along the way of God’s commandments.
“I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:3.
3. The pathway is the same today as when Jesus walked in Judea.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Heb. 13:8.
4. When it is shown that Jesus kept the seventh day holy as our example, many ask, “Why have not scholars and church-men found out that there is no Bible authority for first-day sacredness?
The answer is, They have found it so, and have freely declared the fact.
Testimony of Eminent Men
5. The extracts that follow are from noted clergymen, scholars, and eminent writers, all of whom doubtless kept the Sunday as a matter of church custom. But they nevertheless bear witness that there is no Bible command for it.
Church of England Writers:
Archdeacon Farrar: “The Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week.” “The Christian church made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscious transference of the one day to the other.”- “The Voice From Sinai,” pages 163,167.
Canon Eyton (of Westminster): “There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday.” “The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday.” “Constantine’s decree was the first public step in establishing the first day of the week as a day on which there should be secular rest as well as religious worship. . . . Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters.”- “The Ten Commandments,” Trubners & Co.
Canon Knox-Little, replying to those who quote the example of Christ against the High-church ritualism, says:-
“It is certain that our Lord when on earth did observe Saturday, and did not observe Sunday.” “If they are consistent, as I have said, they must keep Saturday, not Sunday, as the day of rest.”- “Sacerdotalism,” Longman Company.
Sir William Domville: “Centuries of the Christian era passed away before the Sunday was observed by the Christian church as a Sabbath.”- “Examination of Six Texts,” chap. 8, page 291.
Writers of Other Churches
Bishop Grimelund, of Norway (Lutheran) : “The Christians in the ancient church very soon distinguished the first day of the week, Sunday; however, not as a sabbath, but as an assembly day of the church, to study the Word of God together.”- “Geschichte des Sonntags,” page 60.
Dr. R. W. Dale (British Congregationalist): “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath. . . . The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday. . . . There is not a simple line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”- “The Ten Commandments,” Hodder and Stoughton, pages 106, 107.
Dr. Lyman Abbott (American Congregationalist): “The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament.”- Christian Union, June 26, 1890.
Dr. Edward T. Hiscock (Baptist): “There was and is a commandment to ‘keep holy the Sabbath day,’ but that Sabbath was not Sunday. It will, however, be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. . . . Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament- absolutely not.”- The New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893.
Dr. D. H. Lucas (Disciple): “There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day the Lord’s day.”- Christian Oracle, Jan. 23, 1890.
Cardinal Gibbons (Roman Catholic): “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday.”- “Faith of Our Fathers,” edition 1892, page 111.
Prize Essay of American Sunday-school Union: “Up to the time of Christ’s death, no change had been made in the day. . . . So far as the record shows, they [the apostles] did not give any explicit command enjoining the abandonment of the seventh-day Sabbath, and its observance on the first day of the week.”- “Lord’s Day, ‘ pages 185, 186.
Encyclopedias and Church Manuals
“Dictionary of Christian Antiquities:” “The notion of a formal substitution by apostolic authority of the Lord’s day [meaning Sunday] for the Jewish Sabbath, and the transference to it, perhaps in a spiritualized form, of the Sabbatical obligation established by the promulgation of the fourth commandment, has no basis whatever, either in the Holy Scriptures or in Christian antiquity.”- Article “Sabbath,” Smith and Cheetham.
“Cyclopedia of Biblical Theology:” “It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.”- Article “Sabbath,” McClintock and Strong.
Methodist Episcopal “Theological Compend,” by Amos Binney: “It is true, there is no positive command for infant baptism. . . . Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week.”- Pages 180, 181.
Protestant Episcopal “Manual of Christian Doctrine:” “Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday?- None.”- Page 127.
Protestant Episcopal “Explanation of Catechism:” “The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day; . . . but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church.”
6. What influence do the Bible and history show working in the church immediately after apostolic days?
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” Acts 20:30.
NOTE.-“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 silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions.”- Dr. W. D. Killen’s (Presbyterian) “The Ancient Church,” Preface.
7. What did Christ say of worship based upon I the commandments of men?
“In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matt. 15:9.
8. What did He say should be done with every plant not planted by God?
“Every plant, which My Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Verse 13.