The Complete Testimony of the Fathers of the First Three Centuries Concerning the Sabbath and First Day



THE testimony for first-day sacredness is very meager in the Scriptures, as even its own advocates must admit. But they have been wont to supply the deficiency by a plentiful array of testimonies from the early fathers of the church. Here, in time past, they have had the field all to themselves, and they have allowed their zeal for the change of the Sabbath to get the better of their honesty and their truthfulness. The first-day Sabbath was absolutely unknown before the time of Constantine. Nearly one hundred years elapsed after John was in vision on Patmos, before the term “Lord’s day” was applied to the first day. During this time, it was called “the day of the sun,” “the first day of the week,” and “the eighth day.” The first writers who give it the name of “Lord’s day,” state the remarkable fact that in their judgment the true Lord’s day consists of every day of a Christian’s life, a very convincing proof that they did not give this title to Sunday because John had so named it on Patmos. In fact, no one of those who give this title to Sunday ever assign as a reason for so doing that it was thus called by John. Nor is there an intimation in one of the fathers that first-day observance was an act of obedience to the fourth commandment, nor one clear statement that ordinary labor on that day was sinful. In order to show these facts, I have undertaken to give every testimony of every one of the fathers, prior to A. D. 325, who mentions either the Sabbath or the first day. Though some of these quotations are comparatively unimportant, others are of very great value. I have given them all, in order that the reader may actually possess their entire testimony. I have principally followed the translation of the “Ante-Nicene Christian Library,” and have in every case made use of first-day translations. The work has been one of great labor to me, and I trust will be found of much profit to the candid reader. TFTC 3.1

J. N. ANDREWS. Jan. 1, 1873. TFTC 4.1