From Saturday to Sunday
The text of Constantine's Sunday Law of 321 A.D. is :
Dr. A. Chr. Bang says regarding this Law :
"One the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing
in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however
persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits
because it often happens that another day is not suitable for gain-sowing or
vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the
bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being
consuls each of them the second time." Codex
Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the
Christian Church, Philip Schaff, D.D., (7-vol.ed.) Vol. III, p.380. New
Other good commentaries on Constantine's Sunday Law can be found in :
"This Sunday law constituted no real favoritism to Christianity..... It
is evident from all his statutory provisions that the Emperor during the time
313-323 with full consciousness has sought the realization of his religious aim: the amalgamation of heathenism and Christianity." Kirken og
Romerstaten (The Church and the Roman State) p.256. Christiania, 1879
Regarding the calendar itself and the Sabbath day :
- H.G. Heggtveit's book Kirkenehistorie; (Church History),
- Dr. A.H. Lewis's book A Critical History of Sunday Legislation from
321 to 1888 A.D., New York, D. Appleton and Co., 1888.
See also Prof. A.H. Sayce's work Higher Criticism and the Monuments,
"According to the Assyrian-Babylonian conception, the particular stress
lay necessarily on the number seven...The whole week pointed prominently
towards the seventh day, the feast day, the rest day, in this day it
collected, in this day it also consummated. 'Sabbath' is derived from both
'rest' and 'seven'. With the Egyptians it was the reverse...for them on the
contrary the sun-god was the beginning and origin of all things. The day of
the sun, Sunday, became necessarily for them the feast day...The holiday was
transferred from the last to the first day of the week." " Daglige
Liv i Norden, Vol.XIII, pp.54,55.
"The seven planetary names of the days were at the close of the second
century A.D., prevailing everywhere in the Roman Empire...This astrology
originated in Egypt, where Alexandria now so loudly proclaimed it to all...
'The day of the sun' was the Lord's day, the chiefest and first of the week.
The evil and fatal Saturn's day was the last of the week on which none could
celebrate a feast. Ibid pp.91,92
For information regarding Sabbath keeping as a Heresy, read John P. Perrion of
Lyons book Luther's Fore-Runners, London, 1624. Robert Robinsons's
book Ecclesiastical Researches, chap.10, p.303
When the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier arrived in India he immediately requested
to the pope to set up the Inquisition there.
"The Jewish wickedness" of which Xavier complained was evidently the
Sabbath-keeping among those native Christians as we shall see in our next
quotation. When one of these Sabbath-keeping Christians was taken by the
Inquisition he was accused of having *Judaized*; which means having conformed
to the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law; such as not eating pork, hare, fish
without scales, &c., of having attended the solemnization of the
Sabbath." Account of the Inquisition at Goa, Dellon, p.56.
"Of an hundred persons condemned to be burnt as Jews, there are
scarcely four who profess that faith at their death; the rest exclaiming and
protesting to their last gasp that they are Christians, and have been so
during their whole lives." Ibid p.64
"From the apostles' time until the council of Laodicea, which was about
the year 364, the holy observation of the Jew's Sabbath continued, as may be
proved out of many authors: yea, notwithstanding the decree of the council
against it. Sunday a Sabbath, John Ley, p.163 London 1640.
"Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in Milan
he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise to the
proverb 'When you are in Rome, do as Rome does,' " Heylyn, The
History of the Sabbath, 1613
The editor of the best biography of Columba says in a footnote:
Pope Gregory I (AD 590-604) said :
"Our Saturday. The custom to call the Lord's day Sabbath did not commence
until a thousand years later." Adamnan's Life of Columba,
p.230, Dublin, 1857.
"Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons, the Roman
citizens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have
disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the holy faith, so that
they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath. What shall I call
them except preachers of anti-Christ?." Epistles of Gregory I, b.13,
epist.1, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
In the 1st century.
Josephus says :
"There is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor
any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath
not come!" M'Clathie, Notes and Queries on China and Japan. (edited
by Dennys),Vol.4, Nos. 7,8, p.100.
In the 2nd Century
"The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews;...therefore the Christians for a long time together, did keep their conventions on the
Sabbath, in which some portion of the Law were read: and this continued till
the time of the Laodicean council." The Whole Works of Jeremey
Taylor, Vol. IX, p416 (R. Heber's Edition, Vol.XII, p.416)
"The gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath." Gieseler's Church
History, Vol.1, ch.2, par.30, p.93.
"The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and
did spend the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but
they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves, as appears by several
Scriptures to that purpose." Dialogues on the Lord's Day.
p.189. London: 1701. By Dr. T. H. Morer.(church of England divine)
"The Sabbath was a strong tie which united them with the life of the
whole people, and by keeping the Sabbath holy they followed not only the
example but the command of Jesus." Geschichte des Sonntags,
"It is certain that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed
(together with the celebration of the Lord's day by the Christians of the East
Church) three hundred years after the Saviour's death." A learned
Treatise of the Sabbath, p.77.
In the 3rd Century.
"The seventh-day Sabbath was.. solemnized by Christ, the Apostles, and
primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did in a manner quite abolish
the observation of it." Dissertation on the Lord's Day,
"As early as A.D.225 their existed large bishoprics or conferences of
the church of the East (Sabbath-keeping) stretching from Palestine to
India." Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity. Vol.10,
"Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased from His
work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a rest for
meditation of the Law, not for idleness of the hands." The Anti-Nivcene
Fathers, Vol.7, p 413, From Constitutions of the Holy Apostles,
A document of the 3rd and 4th centuries.
"After the festival of the unceasing sacrifice [the crucifixion] is
put the second festival of the Sabbath, and is fitting for whoever is
righteous among the saints to keep also the festival of the Sabbath. There
remaineth therefore a Sabbatismus, that is a keeping of the Sabbath, to the
people of God [Heb 4:9]" Homily on Numbers 23, par.4, in
Migne, Patrologia Greaca, Vol. 12, cols.749,750.
In the 4th Century.
"It was the practice generally of the Easterne Churches; and some
churches of the west....For in the church of Millaine [Milan];...it seems the
Saturday was held in farre esteeme...Not that the Easterne churches, or any of
the rest which observed that day, were inclined to Iudaisme [Judaism]; but
that they came together on the Sabbath day, to worship Iesus [Jesus] Christ
the Lord of the Sabbath." History of the Sabbath (original
Spelling retained) Part 2, par. 5, pp. 73,74, London: 1636, Dr. Heylyn.
"The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of
Saturday, or the seventh day...It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and
the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival....Athanasius
likewise tells us that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, not
because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the
Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same." Antiquities of the Christian
Church, Vol. II, Book XX, chap. 3, Sec. 1, 66.1137, 1138
"From the apostles' time until the council of Laodicea, which was
about the year 364, the holy observation of the Jew's Sabbath continued, as
may be proved out of many authors: yea, notwithstanding the decree of the
council against it. Sunday a Sabbath, John Ley, p.163 London
"Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in
Milan he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise
to the proverb 'When you are in Rome, do as Rome does,'
" Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, 1613
In the 5th Century.
"Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was
continued in the Christian church." Ancient Christianity
Exemplified, Lyman Coleman, Ch.26, sec. 2, p.527.
"In Jerome's day (420 A.D.) the devoutest Christians did ordinary work
on Sunday." Treatise of the Sabbath Day. by Dr. White, Lord
Bishop of Ely, p.210.
"For although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate the
sacred mysteries [the Lord's Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the
Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition,
refuse to do this." The footnote which accompanies the foregoing
quotation explains the use of the word "Sabbath" It says :
"That is, upon the Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never
called 'the Sabbath' by the ancient Fathers and historians." Socrates, Ecclesiastical
History, Book 5, chap. 22, p. 289.
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