The Sabbath: The Change Of Observance From The Seventh To The Lord’s Day: Testimony Of The Fathers -- By: William De Loss Love

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 037:148 (Oct 1880)
Article: The Sabbath: The Change Of Observance From The Seventh To The Lord’s Day: Testimony Of The Fathers
Author: William De Loss Love


The Sabbath: The Change Of Observance From The Seventh
To The Lord’s Day: Testimony Of The Fathers

William De Loss Love

The proposition we are now seeking to establish is this: The first or Lord’s day in the new dispensation was the chief of all days with the apostles and early Christians, and was their special day for rest and religious worship. In adducing evidence to sustain this proposition, we have devoted our last two Articles on the Sabbath to a consideration of, First, The Lord’s Day during the Apostolic Age. We now consider:

Secondly, The Lord’s day during the Four Centuries next subsequent to the Era of the Apostles. In prosecuting this investigation, we expect to find evidence that overthrows the peculiar tenets on this subject of the following classes: the Seventh-day Sabbatarians, who hold that the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath was a corruption that came into the church not until some time after the earliest of the fathers who succeeded the apostles; the non-Sabbath Lord’s-day men, who hold that we cannot found the observance of the Lord’s day on the fourth commandment, and hence that it is abrogated; the large class who believe that the sacred observance of the Lord’s day was not established during the apostolic period, but by the church subsequently; and the Christian Sabbatarians, who fail to reinforce their own arguments for a Christian Sabbath from the passage in Col. 2:16 — holding, as they do, that the word “sabbaths” there does not refer to the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath.

If the testimony of the early fathers is really at variance with the peculiar sabbatic views of all the foregoing classes,

then the way of faith on the Sabbath question is made very clear; and if that way shall obtain general credence in the church, it will certainly lead to a far better observance of the Lord’s day than now exists. Such understanding of the patristic testimony, if it can be confirmed, fully sustains the view heretofore taken in these Articles concerning the Lord’s day during the apostolic age.

The early fathers — those nearly or quite contemporary with, and those soon succeeding, the apostles — speak definitely of the first or Lord’s day as religiously kept by themselves and their fellow-Christians. Respecting their testimony, it is not here claimed that it is exceedingly valuable in doctrine or wisdom, but that it has peculiar importance in respect to the history of customs and practices in the religious life of the early Christians. As Dr. Hessey says, “Those whose exegesis of Scripture is indifferent may be admitted as witnesses to matter of fact.”

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