Historical Sketch Of The Christian Sabbath -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:3 (Aug 1844)
Article: Historical Sketch Of The Christian Sabbath
Author: Anonymous

Historical Sketch Of The Christian Sabbath

Rev. L. Coleman

Instructor in Ecclesiastical History, Auburn Theological Seminary.

The history of the christian sabbath presents an instructive topic of inquiry. The relations of the Christian to the Jewish sabbath, the sentiments of men in different ages and countries respecting the sanctity of the day, and their various customs connected with the observance of it, furnish an inviting field of inquiry which has not escaped the notice of German scholars. One of these authors, who has written with great ability, has nobly dared to lift his voice in defence of the divine authority of the Lord’s day, and fearlessly rebuke the profanations of it which the customs of the country have sanctioned for many ages, and which even its theology continues still to authorize. Under these circumstances, we hail with peculiar interest the slightest indication in protestant Europe, of the rise of better principles respecting the sanctification of the sabbath. As philanthropists, as patriots, as Christians, we rejoice in any indication, from whatever quarter, of the rise of a higher tone of public sentiment in regard to the religious observance of the day. While therefore the public attention is directed anew to this subject, we have thought that a brief sketch of the opinions of the church in past ages respecting it, might be acceptable to the readers of this journal. We shall confine ourselves particularly to a review of the doctrinal sentiments of the church in relation to the christian sabbath, beginning with the instructions and example of Christ and his apostles.1

Some have maintained that all the analogies between the Jewish and the christian sabbath are only fortuitous coincidences in the mode of celebrating two religious solemnities, which yet have no relation to each other. The theory, however, is only a gratuitous assumption in direct contradiction to the whole tenor both of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, and of the teachings of Christ. These unitedly indicate that the economy of the Old and of the

New Testament, is one and the same. The calling of Abraham, the covenants, and the promises to him and to his posterity, the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, the establishment of the theocracy, the sacrifices, the types and shadows, the law and the prophets all look forward to the accomplishment of God’s gracious plan of salvation through Christ Jesus. They are only so many stages in the development of this grace. The Old Testament points to the New. The promulgation of the law leads on the proclamation of the gospel. So the Jewish and the christian sabbath have one and the sam...

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