Traces of the Sabbath During the Dark Ages
The Dark Ages defined - Difficulty of tracing the people of
God during this period - The Sabbath effectually suppressed in the Catholic
church at the close of the fifth century - Sabbath-keepers in Rome about A.D.
600 - The Culdees of Great Britain - Columba probably a Sabbath-keeper - The
Waldenses - Their antiquity - Their wide extent - Their peculiarities - Sabbatarian
character of a part of this people - Important facts respecting the Waldenses
and the Romanists - Other bodies of Sabbatarians - The Cathari - The Arnoldistae
- The Passaginians - The Petrobruysians - Gregory VII. about A.D. 1074 condemns
the Sabbath-keepers - The Sabbath in Constantinople
in the eleventh century - A portion of the Anabaptists - Sabbatarians in
With the accession of the Roman bishop to supremacy began the Dark Ages;1 and as he increased in strength, the gloom of darkness settled with increasing intensity upon the world. The highest elevation of the papal power marks the latest point in the Dark Ages before the first gray dawn of twilight.2 That power was providentially weakened preparatory to the reformation of the sixteenth century, when the light of advancing day began to manifestly dissipate the gross darkness which covered the earth. The difficulty of tracing the true people of God through this period is well set forth in the following language of Benedict:
"As scarcely any fragment of their history remains, all we know of them
is from accounts of their enemies, which were always uttered in the style
of censure and complaint; and without which we should not have known that
millions of them ever existed. It was the settled policy of
None of them could be admitted and preserved in the public libraries of
the Catholics, from the ravages of time and of the hands of barbarians with
which all parts of
The first five centuries of the Christian era accomplished the suppression of the Sabbath in those churches which were under the special control of the Roman pontiff. Thenceforward we must look for the observers of the Sabbath outside the communion of the church of Rome. It was predicted that the Roman power should cast down the truth to the ground.4 The Scriptures set forth the law of God as his truth.5 The Dark Ages were the result of this work of the great apostasy. So dense and all-pervading was the darkness, that God''s pure truth was more or less obscured even with the true people of God in their places of retirement.
About the year 600, as we have seen, there was in the city of
The Christians of Great Britain, before the mission of Augustine to that
country, A.D. 596, were not in subjection to the bishop of
"The Scottish church, when it first meets the eye of civilization, is not
Romish, nor even prelatical. When the monk Augustine, with his forty missionaries,
in the time of the Saxon Heptarchy, came over to
"The people in the south of
The Culdees, for the most part, had a simple and primitive form of Christianity,
"The Culdee went to
"After the success of Agustine and his monks in
There is strong incidental evidence that Columba, the leading minister of his time among the Culdees, was an observer of the ancient Sabbath of the Bible. On this point I quote two standard authors of the Roman Catholics. They certainly have no motive to put such words as I here quote, fraudulently into the mouth of Columba, for they claim him as a saint, and they are no friends of the Bible Sabbath. Nor can we see how Columba could have used these words with satisfaction, as he evidently did, when dying had he all his life long been a violator of the ancient rest-day of the Lord. Here are the words of Dr. Alvan Butler:
"Having continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday the ninth of June said to his disciple Diermit: `This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the day of rest, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labors.'' "11
Another distinguished Catholic author gives us his dying words thus:
"To-day is Saturday, the day which the Holy Scriptures call the Sabbath, or rest. And it will be truly my day of rest, for it shall be the last of my laborious life."12
These words show, 1. That Columba believed that Saturday was the true Bible Sabbath. 2. That he did not believe the Sabbath had been changed to Sunday. 3. That this confession of faith respecting the Bible Sabbath was made with evident satisfaction, though in view of immediate death. Did any first-day man ever recur with pleasure on his death-bed to the fact that Saturday is the Bible Sabbath?
But Gilfillan quotes these words of Columba as spoken in behalf of Sunday! In giving a list of eminent men who have asserted the change of the Sabbath, or who have called Sunday the Sabbath, and have taught that it should be observed as a day of sacred rest, he brings in Columba thus:
"The testimony of Columba is specially interesting, as it expresses the feelings of the heart at a moment which tests the sincerity of faith, and the value of a creed:
`This day,'' he said to his servant, `in the sacred volume is called the Sabbath, that is, rest; and will indeed be a Sabbath to me, for it is to me the last day of this toilsome life, the day on which I am to rest (sabbatize), after all my labors and troubles, for on this coming sacred night of the Lord (Dominica nocte), at the midnight hour, I shall, as the Scriptures speak, go the way of my fathers.'' "13
But this day which Columba said "will indeed be a Sabbath to me" was not Sunday but Saturday.
Among the dissenters from the Romish church in the period of the Dark Ages, the first place perhaps is due to the Waldenses, both for their antiquity and the wide extent of their influence and doctrine. Benedict quotes from their enemies respecting the antiquity of their origin:
"We have already observed from Claudius Seyssel, the popish archbishop, that one Leo was charged with originating the Waldensian heresy in the valleys, in the days of the Constantine the Great. When those severe measures emanated from the Emperor Honorious against re-baptizers, the Baptist left the seat of opulence and power, and sought retreats in the country, and in the valleys of Piedmont; which last place in particular became their retreat from imperial oppression."14
Dean Waddington quotes the following from Rainer Saccho, a popish writer, who had the best means of information respecting them:
"There is no sect so dangerous as the Leonists, for three reasons: first,
it is the most ancient-some say as old as Sylvester [pope in
Mr. Jones gives Saccho''s own opinion as follows:
"Their enemies confirm their great antiquity. Reinerius Saccho, an inquisitor, and one of their most cruel persecutors, who lived only eighty years after Waldo [A.D. 1160], admits that the Waldenses flourished five hundred years before that preacher. Gretser, the Jesuit, who also wrote against the Waldenses, and had examined the subject fully, not only admits their great antiquity, but declares his firm belief that the Toulousians and Albigenses condemned in the years 1177 and 1178, were no other than the Waldenses."16
Jortin dates their withdrawal into the wilderness of the
"A.D. 601. In the seventh century, Christianity was propagated in
President Edwards says:
"Some of the popish writers themselves own, that this people never submitted to the church of Rome. One of the popish writers, speaking of the Waldenses, says, The heresy of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy in the world. It is supposed that they first betook themselves to this place among the mountains, to hide themselves from the severity of the heathen persecutions which existed before Constantine the Great. And thus the woman fled into the wilderness from the face of the serpent. Rev.12:6, 14. `And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.'' The people being settled there, their posterity continued [there] from age to age; and being, as it were, by natural walls, as well as by God''s grace, separated from the rest of the world, they never partook of the overflowing corruption."18
Benedict makes other quotations relative to their origin:
"Theodore Belvedre, a popish monk, says that the heresy had always been in the valleys. In the preface to the French Bible the translators say that they [the Waldenses] have always had the full enjoyment of the heavenly truth contained in the Holy Scriptures ever since they were enriched with the same by the apostles; having in fair MSS. preserved the entire Bible in their native tongue from generation to generation."19
Of the extent to which they spread in the countries of
"In the thirteenth century, from the accounts of Catholic historians, all of whom speak of the Waldenses in terms of complaint and reproach, they had founded individual churches, or were spread out in colonies in Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania, Albania, Lombardy, Milan, Romagna, Vicenxa, Florence, Veleponetine, Constaninople, Philadelphia, Sclavonia, Bulgaria, Diognitia, Livonia, Sarmatia, Croatia, Dalmatia, Briton and Piedmont."20
And Dr. Edgar gives the words of an old historian as follows:
"The Waldensians, says Popliner, spread, not only through
According to the testimony of their enemies, they were to some extent divided among themselves. Dr. Allix quotes an old Romish writer who says of that portion of them who were called Cathari:-
"They are also divided amongst themselves; so what some of them say is again denied by others."22
"There were several sects of Waldenses or Albigenses, like as there are
of Dissenters in
Some of their enemies affirm that they reject the Old Testament; but others,
with much greater truthfulness, bear a very different testimony.24 Thus
a Romish inquisitor, as quoted by Allix, bears testimony concerning those
"They can say a great part of the Old and New Testaments by heart. They despise the decretals, and the sayings and expositions of holy men, and only cleave to the text of Scripture. . . . [They say] that the doctrine of Christ and the apostles is sufficient to salvation, without any church statutes and ordinances. That the traditions of the church are no better than the traditions of the Pharisees; and that greater stress is laid on the observation of human traditions than on the keeping of the law of God. Why do you transgress the law of God by your traditions? . . . They contemn all approved ecclesiastical customs which they do not read of in the gospel, as the observation of Candlemas, Palm Sunday, the reconciliation of penitents, the adoration of the cross on Good Friday. They despise the feast of Easter, and all other festivals of Christ and the saints, because of their being multiplied to that vast number, and say that one day is as good as another, and work upon holy days, where they can do it without being taken notice of."25
Dr. Allix quotes a Waldensian document of A.D. 1100, entitled the "Noble Lesson," and remarks:
"The author upon supposal that the world was drawing to an end, exhorts his brethren to prayer, to watchfulness, to a renouncing of all worldly goods. * * *
"He sets down all the judgments of God in the Old Testament as the effects of a just and good God; and in particular the decalogue as a law given by the Lord
233History of the Sabbath by J.N Andrews
of the whole world. He repeats the several articles of the law, not forgetting that which respects idols."26
Their religious views are further stated by Allix:-
"They declare themselves to be the apostles'' successors, to have apostolical
authority, and the keys of binding and loosing. They hold the church of Rome
to be the whore of
A considerable part of the people called Waldenses bore the significant designation of Sabbati, or Sabbatati, or Insabbatati. Mr. Jones alludes to this fact in the following words:
"Because they would not observe saints'' days, they were falsely suppose to neglect the Sabbath also, and called Insabbatati or Insabbathists."28
Mr. Benedict makes the following statement:
"We find that the Waldenses were sometimes called Insabbathos, that is, regardless of Sabbaths. Mr. Milner supposes this name was given to them because they observed not the Romish festivals, and rested from their ordinary occupations only on Sundays. A Sabbatarian would suppose that it was because they met for worship on the seventh day, and did regard not the first-day Sabbath."29
Mr. Robinson gives the statements of three classes of writers respecting the meaning of these names, which were borne by the Waldenses. But he rejects them all, alleging that these persons were led to these conclusions by the apparent meaning of the words, and not by the facts.
Here are his words:
"Some of these Christians were called Sabbati, Sabbatati, Insabbatati, and more frequently Inzabbatati. Led astray by sound without attending to facts, one says they were so named from the Hebrew word Sabbath, because they kept the Saturday for the Lord''s day. Another says they were so called because they rejected all the festivals or Sabbaths in the low Latin sense of the word, which the Catholic church religiously observed. A third says, and many with various alterations and additions have said after him, they were called so from sabot or zabot, a shoe, because they distinguished themselves from other people by wearing shoes marked on the upper part with some peculiarity. Is it likely that people who could not descend from their mountains without hazarding their lives through the furious zeal of the inquisitors, should tempt danger by affixing a visible mark on their shoes? Besides the shoe of the peasants happens to be famous in this country; it was of a different fashion, and was called abarca."30
Mr. Robinson rejects these these three statements, and then gives his own judgment that they were so called because they lived in the mountains.
These four views cover all that has been advanced relative to the meaning of these names.
But Robinson''s own explanation is purely fanciful, and seems to have been adopted by no other writer. He offers, however, conclusive reasons for rejecting the statement that they took their name from their shoes. There remain, therefore, only the first and second of these four statements, which are that they were called by these names because they kept the Saturday for the Lord''s day, and because they did not keep the sabbaths of the papists. These two statements do not conflict. In fact, if one of them be true, it almost certainly follows that the other one must be true also. There would be in such facts something worthy to give a distinguishing name to the true people of God, surrounded by the great apostasy; and the natural and obvious interpretation of the names would disclose the most striking characteristic of the people who bore them.
Jones and Benedict agree with Robinson in rejecting the idea that the Waldenses received these names from their shoes. Mr. Jones held, on the contrary, that they were given them because they did not keep the Romish festivals.31 Mr. Benedict favors the view that it was because they kept the seventh day.32 But let us now see who they are that make these statements respecting the observance of the Sabbath by the Waldenses, that Robinson alludes to in this place. He quotes out of Gretser the words of the historian Goldastus as follows:
"Insabbatati [they were called] not because they were circumcised, but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath."33
Goldastus was "a learned historian and jurist, born near Bischofszell in
He was a Calvinist writer of note.35 He certainly had no motive to favor the cause of the seventh day. Gretser objects to his statement on the ground that the Waldenses exterminated every festival; but this was the most natural thing in the world for men who had God''s own rest-day in their keeping. Gretser still further objects that the Waldenses denied the whole Old Testament; but this charge is an utter misrepresentation, as we have already shown in the present chapter.
Robinson also quotes on this point the testimony of Archbishop Usher. Though that prelate held that the Waldenses derived these names from their shoes, he frankly acknowledges that MANY understood that they were given to them because they worshiped on the Jewish Sabbath. This testimony is valuable in that it shows that many early writers asserted the observance of "the Saturday for the Lord''s day" by the people who were called Sabbatati.36
In consequence of the persecutions which they suffered, and because also
of their own missionary zeal, the people called Waldenses were widely scattered
"The barbes [the Waldensian pastors] were at first a little confused at seeing that the elders had to learn of their juniors; however, they were humble and sincere men, and the Basle doctor having questioned them on the sacraments, they confessed that through weakness and fear they had their children baptized by Romish priests, and that they even communicated with them and sometimes attended mass. This unexpected avowal startled the meek CEcolampadius."38
When the deputation returned word to the Waldenses that the reformers demanded
of them "a stricter reform," D''Aubigne says that it was "supported by some,
and rejected by others." He also informs us that the demand that the Waldenses
should "separate entirely from
This is a very remarkable statement. The light of many of these ancient
witnesses was almost ready to go out in darkness when God raised up the reformers.
They had suffered that woman Jezebel to teach among them, and to seduce the
servants of God. They had even come to practice infant baptism, and the priests
D''Aubigne makes a very interesting statement respecting the French Waldenses in the fifteenth century. His language implies that they had a different Sabbath from the Catholics. He tells us some of the stories which the priests circulated against the Waldenses. These are his words:
It seems that these Waldenses had a Sabbath peculiar to themselves. And
D''Aubigne himself alludes to something peculiar in their faith which he cannot
confess as the truth, and does not choose to denounce as error. He says, "Perhaps
the faith of these poor people was mingled with error." To speak of the observance
of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord by New Testament Christians,
subjects a conscientious first-day historian to this very dilemma. We have
a further account of the Waldenses in
"Louis XlI., king of
We further read concerning the Vaudois, or Waldenses, as follows:
"The respectable French historian, De Thou, says that the Vaudois keep the commandments of the decalogue, and allow among them of no wickedness, detesting perjures, imprecations, quarrels, seditions, &c."42
It may be proper to add that in 1686 the Waldenses were all driven out of the valleys of Piedmont, and that those who returned and settled in those valleys three years afterward, and from whom the present race of Waldenses is descended, fought their way back, sword in hand, pursuing in all respects a course entirely different from that of the ancient Waldenses.43
Another class of witnesses to the truth during the Dark Ages, bore the name of Cathari, that is, Puritans. Jones speaks of them as follows:
"They were a plain, unassuming, harmless, and industrious race of Christians,
patiently bearing the cross after Christ, and, both in their doctrines and
manners, condemning the whole system of idolatry and superstition which reigned
in the church of Rome, placing true religion in the faith, hope and obedience
of the gospel, maintaining a supreme regard to the authority of God in his
word, and regulating their sentiments and practices by that divine standard.
Even in the twelfth century their numbers abounded in the neighborhood of
That the Cathari did retain and observe the ancient Sabbath, is certified by their Romish adversaries. Dr. Allix quotes a Roman Catholic author of the twelfth century concerning three sorts of heretics, the Cathari, the Passagii, and the Arnoldistae. Allix says of the Romish writer that,
"He lays it down also as one of their opinions, `that the law of Moses is to be kept according to the letter, and that the keeping of the Sabbath, circumcision, and other legal observances, ought to take place. They hold also that Christ the Son of God is not equal with the Father, and that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, these three persons, are not one God and one substance; and as a surplus to these their errors, they judge and condemn all the doctors of the church, and universally the whole Roman Church. Now since they endeavor to defend this their error by testimonies drawn from the New Testament and prophets. I shall with [the] assistance of the grace of Christ stop their mouths, as David did Goliah''s, with their own sword.'' "45
Dr. Allix quotes another Romish author to the same effect:
"Alanus attributes to the Cathari almost the very same opinions [as those just enumerated] in his first book against heretics, which he wrote about the year 1192."46
Mr Elliott mentions an incident concerning the Cathari, which is in harmony with what these historians assert respecting their observance of the seventh day. He says:
"In this year [A.D. 1163] certain heretics of the sect of the Cathari, coming
from the parts of
These statements are made respecting three classes of Christian people who lived during the Dark Ages: The Cathari, or Puritans, the Arnoldistae, and the Passaginians. Their views are presented in the uncandid language of their enemies. But the testimony of ancient Catholic historians is decisive that they were observers of the seventh day. The charge that they observed circumcision also, will be noticed presently. Mr. Robinson understands that the Passaginians were that portion of the Waldenses who lived in the passes of the mountains. He says:
"It is very credible that the name Passageros or Passagini . . . was given to such of them as lived in or near the passes or passages of the mountains, and who subsisted in part by guiding travelers or by traveling themselves for trade."48
Mr. Elliott says of the name Passagini:-
"The explanation of the term as meaning Pilgrims, in both the spiritual and missionary sense of the word, would be but the translation of their recognized Greek appellation -------,and a title as distinctive as beautiful."49
Mosheim gives the following account of them:
Mr. Benedict speaks of them as follows:
"The account of their practicing circumcision is undoubtedly a slanderous story forged by their enemies, and probably arose in this way: because they observed the seventh day they were called by way of derision, Jews, as the Sabbatarians are frequently at this day; and if they were Jews, it followed of course that they either did, or ought to, circumcise their followers. This was probably the reasoning of their enemies; but that they actually practiced the bloody rite is altogether improbable."51
An eminent church historian, Michael Geddes, thus testifies:
"This [act] of fixing something that is justly abominable to all mankind upon her adversaries, has been the constant practice of the church of Rome."52
Dr. Allix states the same fact, which needs to be kept in mind whenever we read of the people of God in the records of the Dark Ages:
"I must desire the reader to consider that it is no great sin with the church of Rome to spread lies concerning those that are enemies of that faith."53
"There is nothing more common with the Romish party than to make use of the most horrid calumnies to blacken and expose those who have renounced her communion."54
Of the origin of the Petrobrusians, we have the following account by Mr. Jones:
"But the Cathari or Puritans were not the only sect which, during the twelfth
century, appeared in opposition to the superstition of the church of Rome.
About the year 1110, in the south of
That this body of French Christians, who, in the very
of the Dark Ages witnessed for the truth in opposition to the Romish church,
were observers of the ancient Sabbath is expressly certified by Dr. Francis
White, lord bishop of Ely. He was appointed by the king of
"In St. Bernard''s days it was condemned in the Petrobruysans."56
We have seen that, according to Catholic writers, the Cathari held to the observance of the seventh day. Dr. Allix confirms the statement of Dr. White that the Petrobrusians observed the ancient Sabbath, by stating that the doctrines of these two bodies greatly resembled each other. These are his words:
"Petrus Cluniacensis has handled five questions against the Petrobrusians which bear a great resemblance with the belief of the Cathari of Italy."57
The Sabbath-keepers in the eleventh century were of sufficient importance to call down upon themselves the anathema of the pope. Dr. Heylyn says that,
"Gregory, of that name the seventh [about A.D. 1074], condemned those who taught that it was not lawful to do work on the day of the Sabbath."58
This act of the pope corroborates the testimonies we have adduced in proof of the existence of Sabbath-keepers in the Dark Ages. Gregory the Seventh was one of the greatest men that ever filled the papal chair. Whatever class he anathematized was of some consequence. Gregory wasted nothing on trifles.59
In the eleventh century, there were Sabbath-keepers also in
"Humbert, likewise answered a piece that had been published by a monk of the monastery of Studium, [near Constantinople,] named Nicetas, who was deemed one of the most learned men at the time in the east. In that piece the monk undertook to prove, that leavened bread only should be used in the eucharist, that the Sabbath ought to be kept holy, and that priests should be allowed to marry. But the emperor, who wanted by all means to gain the pope, for the reasons mentioned above, was, or rather pretended to be, so fully convinced with the arguments of the legate, confuting those alleged by Nicetas, that he obliged the monk publicly to recant, and anathematize all who held the opinion that he had endeavored to establish, with respect to unleavened bread, the Sabbath, and the marriage of priests.
"At the same time Nicetas, in compliance with the command of the emperor, anathematized all who should question the primacy of the Roman church with respect to all other Christian churches, or should presume to censure her ever orthodox faith. The monk having thus retracted all he had written against the Holy See, his book was burnt by the emperor''s order, and he absolved, by the legates, from the censures he had incurred."60
This record shows that, in the dense darkness of the eleventh century, "one of the most learned men at that time in the east" wrote a book to prove that "the Sabbath ought to be kept holy," and in opposition to the papal doctrine of the celibacy of the clergy. It also shows how the church of Rome casts down the truth of God by means of the sword of emperors and kings. Though Nicetas retracted, under fear of the emperor and the pope, it appears that there were others who held the same opinions, for he was "obliged" to anathematize all such, and there is no evidence that any of these persons turned from the truth because of the fall of their leader. Indeed, if there had not been a considerable body of these Sabbatarians, the papal legate would never have deemed it worthy of his dignity to write a reply to Nicetas.
The Anabaptists are often referred to in the records of the Dark Ages. The term signifies rebaptizers, and was applied to them because they denied the validity of infant baptism. The designation is not accurate, however, because those persons whom they baptized, they considered as never having been baptized before, although they had been sprinkled or even immersed in infancy. This people have been overwhelmed in obloquy in consequence of the fanatical insurrection which broke out in their name in the time of Luther. Of those engaged in this insurrection, Buck says:
"The first insurgents groaned under severe oppressions, and took up arms in defense of their civil liberties; and of these commotions the Anabaptists seem rather to have availed themselves, than to have been the prime movers. That a great part were Anabaptists seems indisputable; at the same time it appears from history that a great part also were Roman Catholics, and a still greater part of those who had scarcely any religious principles at all."61
This matter is placed in the true light by Stebbing:-
"The overthrow of civil society, and fatal injuries to religion were threatened by those who called themselves Anabaptists. But large numbers appear to have disputed the validity of infant baptism who had nothing else in common with them, yet who for that one circumstance were overwhelmed with the obloquy, and the punishment richly due to a fanaticism equally fraudulent and licentious."62
The ancient Sabbath was retained and observed by a portion of the Anabaptists, or, to use a more proper term, Baptists. Dr. Francis White thus testifies:
"They which maintain the Saturday Sabbath to be in force, comply with some Anabaptists."63
In harmony with this statement of Dr. White, is the testimony of a French writer of the sixteenth century. He names all the classes of men who have borne the name of Anabaptists. Of one of these classes he writes thus:
"Some have endured great torments, because they would not keep Sundays and festival days, in despite of Antichrist: seeing they were days appointed by Antichrist, they would not hold forth any thing which is like unto him. Others observe these days, but it is out of charity."64
Thus it is seen that within the limits of the old Roman Empire, and in the
midst of those countries that submitted to the rule of the pope, God reserved
unto himself a people that did not bow the knee to Baal, and among these the
Bible Sabbath was observed from age to age. We are now to search for the Sabbath
among those who were never subjected to the Roman pontiff. In
"The Abyssinians do hold the Scriptures to be the perfect rule of the Christian faith; insomuch that they deny it to be in the power of a general council to oblige people to believe anything as an article of faith without an express warrant from thence."69
They practice circumcision, but for other reasons than that of a religious duty.70 Geddes further states their views:
"Transubstantiation and the adoration of the consecrated bread in the sacrament, were what the Abyssinians abhorred. . . . They deny purgatory, and know nothing of confirmation and extreme unction; they condemn graven images; they keep both Saturday and Sunday."71
Their views of the Sabbath are stated by the ambassador of the king of
"Because God, after he had finished the creation of the world, rested thereon; which day, as God would have it called the holy of holies, so the not celebrating thereof with great honor and devotion, seems to be plainly contrary to God''s will and precept, who will suffer heaven and earth to pass away sooner than his word; and that especially, since Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. It is not therefore in imitation of the Jews, but in obedience to Christ and his holy apostles, that we observe that day."72
The ambassador states their reasons for first-day observance in these words:
"We do observe the Lord''s day after the manner of all other Christians in memory or Christ''s resurrection."73
He had no scripture to offer in support of this festival, and evidently
rested its observance upon tradition. This account was given by the ambassador
in 1534. In the early part of the next century the emperor of
We have proved in a former chapter that the Sabbath was extensively observed
as late as the middle of the fifth century in the so-called Catholic church,
especially in that portion most intimately connected with the Abyssinians;
and that from various causes, Sunday obtained certain Sabbatic honors, in
consequence of which the two days were called sisters. We have also shown
in another chapter that the effectual suppression of the Sabbath in
These facts are strikingly corroborated by the case of the Abyssinians.
In consequence of their location in the interior of
The Armenians of the
"Remote from the busy haunts of commerce, or the populous seats of manufacturing industry, they may be regarded as the eastern Piedmontese, the Vallois of Hindoostan, the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth through revolving centuries, though indeed their bodies lay as dead in the streets of the city which they had once peopled."77
Geddes says of those in Malabar:-
"The three great doctrines of popery, the pope''s supremacy, transubstantiation,
the adoration of images, were never believed nor practiced at any time in
this ancient apostolical church. . . . I think one may venture to say that
before the time of the late Reformation, there was no church that we know
of, no, not that of the the Vaudois, . . . that had so few errors in doctrine
Mr. Massie further describes these Christians:
"The creed with which these representatives of an ancient line of Christians cherished was not in conformity with papal decrees, and has with difficulty been squared with the thirty-nine articles of the Anglican episcopacy. Separated from the western world for a thousand years, they were naturally ignorant of many novelties introduced by the councils and decrees of the Lateran; and their conformity with the faith and practice of the first ages, laid them open to the unpardonable guilt of heresy and schism as estimated by the church of Rome. ''We are Christians and not idolators,'' was their expressive reply when required to do homage to the image of the Virgin Mary. . . . La Croze states them at fifteen hundred churches, and as many towns and villages. They refused to recognize the pope, and declared they have never heard of him; they asserted the purity and primitive truth of their faith since they came, and their bishops had for thirteen hundred years been sent from the place where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians."79
The Sabbatarian character of these Christians is hinted by Mr. Yeates. He says that Saturday "amongst them in a festival day, agreeable to the ancient practice of the church."80
"The ancient practice of the church," as we have seen, was to hallow the
seventh day in memory of the Creator''s rest. This practice has been suppressed
wherever the great apostasy has had power to do it. But the Christians of
"The inquisition was set up at Goa in the Indies, at the instance of Francis Xaverius [a famous Romish saint] who signified by letters to Pope John lll., Nov. 10, 1545, `That the JEWISH WICKEDNESS spread every day more and more in the parts of the East Indies subject to the kingdom of Portugal, and therefore he earnestly besought the said king, that to cure so great an evil he would take care to send the office of the inquisition into those countries."81
"The Jewish wickedness" was doubtless the observance of Saturday as "a festival
day agreeable to the ancient practice of the church" of which this author
has just spoken. The history of the past, as we have seen, shows the hatred
of the papal church toward the Sabbath. And the struggle of that church to
suppress the Sabbath in
It appears therefore that this Jesuit missionary desired the pope and the
Since the time of Xavier, the
"The history of the Armenian church is very interesting. Of all the Christians
"The Bible was translated into the Armenian language in the fifth century, under very auspicious circumstances, the history of which has come down to us. It has been allowed by competent judges of the language, to be a most faithful translation. La Cruze calls it the `Queen of Versions.'' This Bible has ever remained in the possession of the Armenian people; and many illustrious instances of genuine and enlightened piety occur in their history. . . .
"The Armenians in Hindoostan are our own subjects. They acknowledge our
It has been said, however, that Buchanan might have intended Sunday by the term "seventh day." This is a very unreasonable interpretation of his words. Episcopalian clergymen are not accustomed to call Sunday the seventh day. We have, however, testimony which cannot with candor be explained away. It is that of Purchas, written in the seventeenth century. The author speaks of several sects of the eastern Christian "continuing from ancient times," as Syrians, Jacobites, Nestorians, Maronites, and Armenians. Of the Syrians, or Surians, as he variously spells the name, who, from his relation, appear to be identical with the Armenians, he says:
"They keep Saturday holy, nor esteem Saturday fast lawful but on Easter even. They have solemn service on Saturdays, eat flesh, and feast it bravely like the Jews."83
This author speaks of these Christians disrespectfully, but he uses the uncandid statements of their adversaries, which, indeed, are no worse than those often made in these days concerning those who hallow the Bible Sabbath. These facts clearly attest the continued observance of the Sabbath during the whole period of the Dark Ages. The church of Rome was indeed able to exterminate the Sabbath from its own communion, but it was retained by the true people of God, who were measurably hidden from the papacy in the wilds of Central Europe; while those African and East Indian churches, that were never within the limits of the pope''s dominion, have steadfastly retained the Sabbath to the present day.
1 Mr. Croly says: "With the title of `Universal Bishop,'' the power of the papacy, and the Dark Ages, alike began." - Croly on the Apocalypse, p. 173.
2 M`Clintock and Strong''s Cyclopedia, vol. iv. p. 591.
3 History of the Baptist Denomination, p. 50, ed. 1849.
6 See chap. xx. of this work.
7 M`Clintock and Strong''s Cyclopedia, vol. ii. pp. 600, 601; D`Aubigne''s History of the Reformation, book xvii.
8 M`Clintock and Strong''s Cyclopedia, vol. ii. p. 601.
12 The Monks of the West, vol. ii. p. 104.
13 Gilfillan''s Sabbath, p. 389.
15 Waddington''s History of the Church, part iv. chap. xviii.
16 Jones''s History of the Church, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 1.
17 Jortin''s Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. sect. 38.
18 Edward''s Hist. of Redemption, period iii. part iv. sect. 2.
19 Hist. Bapt. Denom. p. 32-33.
21 Variations of Popery, p. 52.
22 Eccl. Hist. of the Ancient Churches of
23 History of the English Baptists, vol. i. pref. p. 35.
24 Mr Jones, in his "Church History," vol. i. chap. iii., note at the end
of the chapter, explains this charge as follows: "But this calumny is easily
accounted for. The advocates of popery, to support their usurpations and innovations
25 Eccl. Hist. Ancient Churches of
28 Hist. Church, chap. v. sect. 1.
29 Gen. Hist. Bapt. Denom. vol. ii. p. 413, ed. 1813.
30 Ecclesiastical Researches, chap. x. pp. 303, 304.
32 General Hist. Baptist Denom. vol. ii. p. 413.
33 Circumcisi forsan illi fuerint, qui aliis Insabbatati, non quod circumciderentur, inquit Calvinista [Goldastus] sed quod in Sabbato judaizarent. - Eccl. Researches, chap. x. p. 303.
34 Thomas'' Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, article Goldast.
35 D''Aubigne''s Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. iii. p. 456.
36 Nec quod in Sabbato colendo Judaizarent, ut MULTI PUTABANT, sed a zapata. - Eccl. Researches, chap. x. p. 304; Usher''s De Christianar. Eccl. success et stat. cap. 7.
37 Jones''s Church History, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 2.
38 Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. iii. p. 249.
40 Reformation in the time of Calvin, vol. i. p. 349; D''Aubigne cites as his authority, "Histoire des Protestants de l''icardie" by L. Rossier, p. 2.
41 Jones''s Church History, vol. ii. chap. v. sect. 4.
42 History of the Vaudois by Bresse. p. 126.
43 Benedict''s Hist. Bapt. p. 41.
44 Hist. Church, chap. iv. sect. 3.
45 Eccl. Hist. of the Ancient Churches of
47 Horae Apocalypticae, vol. ii. p. 291.
48 Eccl. Researches, chap. x. pp. 305, 306.
49 Horae Apocalypticae, vol. ii. p. 342.
50 Eccl. Hist. cent. xii. part. ii. chap. v. sect. 14.
51 General Hist. Bapt. Denom. vol. ii. p. 414, ed. 1813.
52 Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper, p. 158,
53 Eccl. Hist. of the Ancient Churches of
55 Hist. of the Church, chap. iv. sect. 3.
56 Treatise of the Sabbath day, p. 8.
57 Eccl. Hist. of the Ancient Churches of
58 History of the Sabbath, part. ii. chap. v. sect. 1.
59 Bower says of Gregory; "He was a man of most extraordinary parts, of an unbounded ambition, of a haughty and imperious temper, of resolution and courage incapable of yielding to the greatest difficulties, perfectly acquainted with the state of the western churches, as well as with the different interests of the Christian princes." - History of the Popes, vol. ii. p. 378.
60 History of the Popes, vol. ii. p. 358.
61 Theological Dict. art. Anabaptists.
62 Hist. Church, vol. i. pp. 183, 184.
63 Treatise of the Sabbath day, p. 132. He cites Hist. Anabapt. lib. 6, p. 153.
64 The Rise, Spring. and Foundation of the Anabaptists or Rebaptized of our Times. By Guy de Brez, A.D. 1565.
65 Acts 8:26-40.
66 M`Clintock and Strong''s Cyclopaedia, vol. i. p. 40.
67 Dec. and Fall, chap. xlvii.
68 Maxson''s Hist. Sab. p. 33, ed. 1844.
69 Church Hist. of
71 Church Hist.
72 Ch. Hist. Eth. pp. 87, 88.
74 Gibbon, chap. xlvii.
75 Ch. Hist. Eth. pp. 311, 312; Gobat''s
76 Gibbon, chap. xlvii
78 Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Diamper, preface.
79 Continental India, vol. ii. pp. 116, 117.
82 Buchanan''s Christian Researches in
83 Purchas His Pilgrimes, part ii. book viii. chap. vi. sect. 5., p.1269,