Rome's Challenge continued
[From the Catholic Mirror of Sept. 23, 1893.]
Halting on crutches of unequal size,
One leg by truth supported, one by lies,
Thus sidle to the goal with awkward pace,
Secure of nothing but to lose the race.
In the present article we propose to investigate carefully a new (and the last) class of proof assumed to convince the Biblical Christian that God had substituted Sunday for Saturday for His worship in the new law, and that the divine will is to be found recorded by the Holy Ghost in apostolic writings.
We are informed that this radical change has found expression, over and over again, in a series of texts in which the expression, "the day of the Lord," or "the Lord's day," is to be found.
The class of texts in the New Testament, under the title "Sabbath," numbering sixty-one in the Gospels, Acts, and Epistles; and the second class, in which "the first day of the week," or Sunday, having been critically examined (the latter class numbering nine [eight]); and having been found not to afford the slightest clue to a change of will on the part of God as to His day of worship by man, we now proceed to examine the third and last class of texts relied on to save the Biblical system from the arraignment of seeking to palm off on the world, in the name of God, a decree for which there is not the slightest warrant or authority from their teacher, the Bible.
The first text of this class is to be found in the Acts of the Apostles 2:20: "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord shall come." How many Sundays have rolled by since that prophecy was spoken? So much for that effort to pervert the meaning of the sacred text from the judgment day to Sunday!
The second text of this class is to be found in I Cor. 1:8: "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." What simpleton does not see that the apostle here plainly indicates the day of judgment? The next text of this class that presents itself is to be found in the same Epistle, chapter 5:5: "To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." The incestuous Corinthian was, of course, saved on the Sunday next following!! How pitiable such a makeshift as this! The fourth text, 2 Cor. 1:13, 14: "And I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end, even as ye also are ours in the day of our Lord Jesus."
Sunday, or the day of Judgment, which? The fifth text is from St. Paul to the Philippians, chapter 1, verse 6: "Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." The good people of Philippi, in attaining perfection on the following Sunday, could afford to laugh at our modern rapid transit!
We beg leave to submit our sixth of the class; viz., Philippians, first chapter, tenth verse: "That he may be sincere without offense unto the day of Christ." That day was next Sunday, forsooth! not so long to wait after all. The seventh text, 2 Peter 3:10: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." The application of this text to Sunday passes the bounds of absurdity.
The eighth text, 2 Peter 3:12: "Waiting for and hastening unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved," etc. This day of the Lord is the same referred to in the previous text, the application of both of which to Sunday next would have left the Christian world sleepless the next Saturday night.
We have presented to our readers eight of the nine texts relied on to bolster up by text of Scripture the sacrilegious effort to palm off the "Lord's day" for Sunday, and with what result? Each furnishes prima facie evidence of the last day, referring to it directly, absolutely, and unequivocally.
The ninth text wherein we meet the expression "the Lord's day," is the last to be found in the apostolic writings. The Apocalypse, or Revelation, chapter 1:10, furnishes it in the following words of St. John: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day;" but it will afford no more comfort to our Biblical friends than its predecessors of the same series. Has St. John used the expression previously in his Gospel or Epistles? Emphatically, No. Has he had occasion to refer to Sunday hitherto? Yes, twice. How did he designate Sunday on these occasions? Easter Sunday was called by him (John 20:1) "The first day of the week."
Again, chapter twenty, nineteenth verse: "Now when it was late that same day, being the first day of the week." Evidently, although inspired, both in his Gospel and Epistles, he called Sunday "the first day of the week." On what grounds, then, can it be assumed that he dropped that designation? Was he more inspired when he wrote the Apocalypse, or did he adopt a new title for Sunday, because it was now in vogue?
A reply to these questions would be supererogatory especially to the latter, seeing that the same expression had been used eight times already by St. Luke, St. Paul, and St. Peter, all under divine inspiration, and surely the Holy Spirit would not inspire St. John to call Sunday the Lord's day, whilst He inspired Sts. Luke, Paul, and Peter, collectively, to entitle the day of judgment "the Lord's day." Dialecticians reckon amongst the infallible motives of certitude, the moral motive of analogy or induction, by which we are enabled to conclude with certainty from the known to the unknown; being absolutely certain of the meaning of an expression uttered eight times, we conclude that the same expression can have only the same meaning when uttered the ninth time, especially when we know that on the nine occasions the expressions were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Nor are the strongest intrinsic grounds wanting to prove that this, like its sister texts, contains the same meaning. St. John (Rev. 1:10) says: "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day;" but he furnishes us the key to this expression, chapter four, first and second verses: "After this I looked and behold a door was opened in heaven." A voice said to him: "Come up hither, and I will show you the things which must be hereafter." Let us ascend in spirit with John. Whither? through that "door in heaven," to heaven. And what shall we see? "The things that must be hereafter," chapter four, first verse. He ascended in spirit to heaven. He was ordered to write, in full, his vision of what is to take place antecedent to, and concomitantly with, "the Lord's day," or the day of judgment; the expression "Lord's day" being confined in Scripture to the day of judgment exclusively.
We have studiously and accurately collected from the New Testament every available proof that could be adduced in favor of a law canceling the Sabbath day of the old law, or one substituting another day for the Christian dispensation. We have been careful to make the above distinction, lest it might be advanced that the third commandment was abrogated under the new law. Any such plea has been overruled by the action of the Methodist Episcopal bishops in their pastoral 1874, and quoted by the New York Herald of same date, of the following tenor: "The Sabbath instituted in the beginning and confirmed again and again by Moses and the prophets, has never been abrogated. A part of the moral law, not a part or title of its sanctity has been taken away." The above official pronunciamento has committed that large body of Biblical Christians to the permanence of the third commandment under the new law.
We again beg leave to call the special attention of our readers to the twentieth of "the thirty-nine articles of religion" of the Book of Common Prayer: "It is not lawful for the church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's written word."
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