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Title: The Christian Sabbath - Is It Of Divine Origin?
Author: Remsburg, J. E., 1848-1919
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By J. E. Remsburg

Is the Christian Sabbath of divine origin? I propose to show that it is
not--that there is no more divinity attached to Sunday than to any other
day. I propose to show that the oft-repeated claim that it superseded
the Jewish Sabbath by divine authority is false; I propose to show that
it was originally a heathen holiday, borrowed from the pagan world--the
_venerabile die solis_ a day once consecrated to the orb of light, but
which has been obscured by the thick clouds of theological gloom, that
in the darkness Superstition's bats and owls may the more easily secure
their prey; I propose to show that this Puritanical institution, whose
decrepit form, supported by the crutches of state laws, still lingers
in our midst, is one of the most despicable frauds that a tyrannical
priesthood ever imposed upon credulous humanity. I propose to show that
he who deals in pious cant about "Sabbath desecration" is a knave, or

     "Most ignorant of what he's most assured."

The testimony that I bring is not the testimony of the enemies of
Christianity, but of its friends--of its most learned, most loyal, and
most honorable defenders. My witnesses include the great apostle, Paul;
the most eminent of the Christian fathers; the Protestant reformers; and
many more of the church's greatest scholars and divines.


"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day
alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind" (Rom. xiv, 5).

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of
a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days" (Colossians ii.


"You, because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious.... Our
God is not pleased with such observances" (Dialogues, chap. xii).

"You see that the heavens are not idle, nor do they observe the Sabbath"
(Ibid, chap, xxiii).


"These things [circumcision and Sabbath observance], therefore, which
were given for bondage, and for a sign to them, he [Christ] canceled by
the new covenant of liberty" (Against Heresies).


"The observance of the Sabbath is demonstrated to have been temporary"
(Answer to Jews).

"By us [Christians], to whom Sabbaths are strange" (On Idolatry).


"They [the patriarchs] did not therefore regard circumcision nor observe
the Sabbath, neither do we" (Ecclesiastical History, Book I., chap. iv).


"Jesus Christ hath redeemed thee. Henceforth reject all observance of
Sabbaths" (Savage's Sunday Observance).


"God regardeth not outward cessation from works more upon one day than
another" (Taylor's Works, Vol. XII).


"Considered in a purely Christian point of view all days are alike"
(Neander's Church History, Vol. III.).

"As soon as they [certain devout Christian women] returned home on the
Lord's day, they sat down severally to their work, and made clothes for
themselves and others" (Heylyn's History of the Sabbath, Part II., chap.


"As regards the Sabbath, or Sunday, there is no necessity for keeping
it" (Michelet's Life of Luther, Book IV., chap. ii).

"Paul and the apostles, after the gospel began to be preached and spread
over the world, clearly released the people from the observance of the
Sabbath" (Luther's Works, Vol. III., p. 73).

"If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day's sake--if anywhere
any one sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation--then I order
you to work on it, to dance on it, to ride on it, to feast on it--to do
anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit of
liberty" (Table Talk).


"The scripture allows that the observance of the Sabbath
has now become void, for it teaches that the Mosaic ceremonies are not
needful after the revelation of the gospel" (Augsburg Confession).

"The observance neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is
necessary" (Ibid).


"It is not only a superstition, but an apostasy from Christ, to think
that working on the Lord's day, in itself considered, is a sinful thing"
(Cox's Sabbath Laws, p. 289).


"It is lawful on the Lord's day, after divine service, for any man to
pursue his labors" (Ibid, p. 287).


"No cessation of work on the Lord's day is required of Christians"
(Ibid, p. 286).


"It is meet, therefore, that the keeping of the Sabbath day give
place to the commodity and profit of man" (Paraphrase on Mark).


"The Fathers frequently call the command for the Sabbath a
shadowy commandment, because it contains the external observance of the
day, which was abolished with the rest of the figures at the advent
of Christ.... The same day which put an end to the shadows admonishes
Christians not to adhere to a shadowy ceremony" (Institutes, Book II.,
chap. viii). "Christians, therefore, should have nothing to do with a
superstitious observance of days" (Ibid).


"The Jews were commanded to keep the Sabbath day, but we Christians are
not bound to such commandments of Moses's law" (Cranmer's Catechism).


"We be lords over the Sabbath, and may yet change it into Monday, or
into any other day as we see need, or may make every tenth day holy"
(Answer to More, Book I., chap. xxv).


"We are in manner as superstitious in the Sunday as they [the
Jews] are in the Saturday; yea, are we much madder; for the Jews have
the word for their Saturday, since it is the seventh day, and they are
commanded to keep the seventh day solemn; and we have not the word of
God for us, but rather against us, for we keep not the seventh day
as the Jews do, but the first, which is not commanded by God's law"
(Declaration of Baptism).


"The English Reformers took the same view of the day as Luther
and the early church" (Comments on Luther's Table Talk).


"The Reformers were nearly unanimous on this point. Sabbatarianism of
every phase was expressly repudiated by the chief reformers in almost
every country" (Bampton Lectures).


"The law of the Sabbath being thus repealed, that no
particular day of worship has been appointed in its place [by divine
authority] is evident" (Christian Doctrines, Book II., chap. vii).


"These things refute those who suppose that the first day of the week
was substituted in place of the Sabbath, for no mention is ever made of
such a thing by Christ or his apostles" (Annotations on Exodus).


"The observance of the Sabbath was not one of the articles enjoined by
the apostles" (Moral Philosophy, Book V., chap. vii).

"The opinion that Christ and his apostles meant to retain the duties of
the Jewish Sabbath, shifting only the day from the seventh to the first,
seems to prevail without sufficient reasons" (Ibid). "The resting on
that day from our employments, longer than we are detained from them
by attendance upon these assemblies, is, to Christians, an ordinance of
human institution" (Ibid).


"It is not merely that the apostles left us no
command perpetuating the observance of the Sabbath, and transferring the
day from the seventh to the first.... There is not even any tradition of
their having made such a change; nay, more, it is even abundantly plain
that they made no such change" (Notes on Paul).


"The Lord's day did not succeed in the place of the Sabbath, but the
Sabbath was wholly abrogated" (Taylor's Works, Vol. XII). "The primitive
Christians did all manner of works upon the Lord's day, even in times of
persecution, when they were the strictest observers of all the divine
commandments" (Ductor Dubitantium, Book II., chap. ii).


"In St. Jerome's days, and in the very place where he was
residing, the devoutest Christians did ordinarily work upon the Lord's
day, when the service of the church was ended" (Dialogues on the Lord's
Day, p. 236).


"The observance of the Sabbath is no more a natural duty than
circumcision" (Divine Legation, Book IV., sec. 6).


"To call any day of the week a Christian Sabbath is not Christian, but
Jewish" (Penn's Works).


"The notion of a formal substitution, by apostolic authority, of the
Lord's day for the Jewish Sabbath... has no basis whatever in holy
scripture or in Christian antiquity" (Lecture on Sabbath).


"Scholars are now generally agreed that the Sabbath obligation was not
transferred by Christ or his apostles to the first day; that there is
not in the Christian scriptures [New Testament] a single command to keep
the Sabbath in any form or on any day" (North American Review).


"The festival of Sunday is more ancient than the Christian religion, its
origin being lost in remote antiquity. It did not originate, however,
from any divine command nor from piety toward God; on the contrary, it
was set apart as a sacred day by the heathen world in honor of their
chief god, the sun" (History of the Sabbath, p. 258).


"Unto the day dedicated unto the especial adoration of the idol of the
sun, they [the pagans] gave the name of Sunday, as much as to say the
sun's day or the day of the sun. This idol was placed in a temple, and
there adored and sacrificed unto" (Antiquities, p. 68).


"Sunday being the day on which the gentiles solemnly adored that
planet, and called it Sunday,... the Christians thought fit to keep the
same day and the same name of it, that they might not appear causelessly
peevish, and by that means hinder the conversion of the gentiles"
(Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 22).


"The day of the sun would be willingly hallowed by almost all of the
pagan world" (History of Christianity, Book III., chap. iv).


"Centuries of the Christian era passed away before the Sunday was
observed by the Christian church as a Sabbath. History does not furnish
us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed
previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in a.d. 321" (Six Texts,
p. 241).

"Not any ecclesiastical writer of the first three centuries attributed
the origin of Sunday observance either to Christ or to his apostles"
(Six Texts, supplement).


"Though in later times we find considerable reference to a sort of
consecration of the day [Sunday], it does not seem at any period of the
ancient church to have assumed the form of such an observance as some
modern religious communities have contended for. Nor do these writers
in any instance pretend to allege any divine command, or even apostolic
practice, in support of it" (Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, Art.
Lord's Day).


"There is no evidence, however, that either at this, or at a period much
later, the observance was viewed as deriving any obligation from the
Fourth Commandment; it seems to have been regarded as an institution
corresponding in nature with Christmas, Good Friday, and other festivals
of the church" (Sabbath Laws, p. 281).


"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a
human ordinance" (Church History, Rose's translation, p. 186).


"The opinion that the Sabbath was transferred to Sunday was first
broached in its perfect form, and with all its consequences, in the
controversy which was carried on in England between the Episcopalians
and Presbyterians [about the close of the sixteenth century]. The
Presbyterians were now in a position which compelled them either to
give up the observance of the Sunday, or to maintain that a divine
appointment from God separated it from the other festivals. The first
they could not do.... They therefore decided upon the latter" (Lord's
Day, p. 66).


"The brethren had tried many ways to suppress them [church festivals]
formerly, as having too much in them of the superstitions of the church
of Rome, but they had found no way successful till they fell on this,
which was to set on foot some new Sabbath doctrine, and, by advancing
the authority of the Lord's-day Sabbath, to cry down the rest" (History
of the Sabbath). "Though Jewish and Rabbinical this doctrine was, it
carried a fair show of piety, at the least, in the opinion of the common
people, and such as did not stand to examine the true grounds thereof,
but took it upon the appearance; such as did judge, not by the
workmanship of the stuff, but the gloss and color, in which it is not
strange to see how suddenly men were induced, not only to give way unto
it, but without more ado to abet the same, till in the end, and in
very little time, it grew the most bewitching error and most popular
infatuation that ever was infused into the people of England" (Ibid).


"Read your Bible through a hundred times with reference to this
subject, and you will each time become more and more convinced of the
truthfulness of the following notable facts: 1. There is no divine
command for Sunday observance. 2. There is not the least hint of a
Sunday institution. 3. Christ never changed God's Sabbath to Sunday.
4. He never observed Sunday as the Sabbath. 5. The apostles never kept
Sunday for the Sabbath. 6. There is no prophecy that Sunday would ever
take the place of the Sabbath. 7. Neither God, Christ, angels, nor
inspired men have ever said one word in favor of Sunday as a holy day"
(The Truth Found).


"Read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a
single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday as a Sabbath"
(Faith of Our Fathers).


"There is no precept or command in the New Testament to compel by civil
law any man who is not a Christian to pay regard to the Lord's day.
It is without authority of the Christian religion. I write this
from principle. I have but one object in view--the suppression of an
anti-rational, anti-constitutional, and anti-scriptural confederation,
that I conscientiously believe to be dangerous to the community, and
inimical to civil and religious liberty; and while I am able to wield
pen, I will oppose every such encroachment on human right*" (Washington,
Pa., Reporter, 1821).

     St. Patrlck's   Cathedral,   New   York. Valued  at
     $800,000.    Not  Taxed.


in Congress, June 22, 1874, said: "The divorce between the church and
the state ought to be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no
church property, anywhere in any state, or in the nation, should be
exempted from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any
church organization, to that extent you impose a church tax upon the
whole community."

The census of 1890 gave the United States church property worth
$679,426,489. The 1906 census showed $1,257,575,867. The value had
nearly doubled in 16 years. Although church property doubles in
16 years, church membership would not double in' 70 years, for the
36,000,000 members in 1911 gained but a half million in 1912. Church
progress, then, is not counted in converts, but in dollars accumulated
through an exemption which in New York equals the cost of caring for all
the city's poor.


in his annual message of 1875 said: "In a growing country, where real
estate enhances so rapidly with time as in the United States, there is
scarcely a limit to the wealth that may be acquired by corporations,
religious or otherwise, if allowed to retain real estate without
taxation. The contemplation of so vast a property as here alluded to,
without taxation, may lead to sequestration without constitutional
authority, and through blood. I would suggest the taxation of all
property equally."

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