History of the Sabbath
and First Day of the Week
J. N. Andrews


[This book is published by Seventh-Day Adventist Publishing Association.
We do not know anything about Seventh-Day Adventists but feel the history included in this book is noteworthy.]




Part I - Bible History

Chapter 1 - The Creation
Time and eternity — The Creator and his work — Events of the first day of time— Of the second— Of the third— Of the fourth— Of the fifth— Of the sixth.

Chapter II - The Institution of the Sabbath
Event on the seventh day — Why the Creator rested — Acts by which the Sabbath was made — Time and order of their occurrence — Meaning of the word sanctified — The fourth commandment refers the origin of the Sabbath to creation — The second mention of the Sabbath confirms this fact — The Saviour's testimony — When did God sanctify the seventh day — Object of the Author of the Sabbath — Testimony of Josephus and of Philo — Negative argument from the book of Genesis considered — Adam's knowledge of the Sabbath not difficult to be known by the patriarchs.

Chapter III - The Sabbath Committed to the Hebrews
Object of this chapter — Total apostasy of the human family in the antediluvian age — Destruction of mankind — The family of Noah spared — Second apostasy of mankind in the patriarchal age — The apostate nations left to their own ways — The family of Abraham chosen — Separated from the rest of mankind — Their history — Their relation to God — The Sabbath in existence when they came forth from Egypt — Analysis of Ex. I6 — The Sabbath committed to the Hebrews.

Chapter IV - The Fourth Commandment
The Holy One upon Mount Sinai — Three great gifts bestowed upon the Hebrews — The Sabbath proclaimed by the voice of God — Position assigned it in the moral law — Origin of the Sabbath — Definite character of the commandment — Revolution of the earth upon its axis — Name of the Sabbatic institution — Seventh day of the commandment identical with the seventh day of the New Testament week — Testimony of Nehemiah — Moral obligation of the fourth commandment.

Chapter V - The Sabbath Written by the Finger of God
Classification of the precepts given through Moses — The Sabbath renewed — Solemn ratification of the covenant between God and Israel — Moses called up to receive the law which God had written upon stone — The ten commandments probably proclaimed upon the Sabbath — Events of the forty days — The Sabbath becomes a sign between God and Israel — The penalty of death — The tables of testimony given to Moses — And broken when he saw the idolatry of the people — The idolaters punished — Moses goes up to renew the tables — The Sabbath again enjoined — The tables given again — The ten commandments were the testimony of God — Who- wrote them — Three distinguished honors which pertain to the Sabbath — The ten commandments a complete code — Relation of the fourth commandment to the atonement — Valid reason why God himself should write that law which was placed beneath the mercy-seat.

Chapter VI - The Sabbath During the Day of Temptation
General history of the Sabbath in the wilderness — Its violation one cause of excluding that generation from the promised land — Its violation by their children in the wilderness one of the causes of their final dispersion from their own land — The statute respecting fires upon the Sabbath — Various precepts relative to the Sabbath — The Sabbath not a Jewish feast — The man who gathered sticks upon the Sabbath — Appeal of Moses in behalf of the decalogue — The Sabbath not derived from the covenant at Horeb — Final appeal of Moses in behalf of the Sabbath — The original fourth commandment — The Sabbath not a memorial of the flight from Egypt — What words were engraven upon stone — General summary from the books of Moses.

Chapter VII - The Feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths, of the Hebrews
Enumeration of the Hebrew festivals — The passover — The pentecost — The feast of tabernacles — The new moons — The first and second annual sabbaths — The third — The fourth —The fifth— The sixth and seventh— The sabbath of the land — The jubilee — None of these festivals in force until the Hebrews entered their own land — The contrast between the Sabbath of the Lord and the sabbaths of the Hebrews — Testimony of Isaiah— Of Hosea — Of Jeremiah — Final cessation of these festivals.

Chapter VIII - The Sabbath from David to Nehemiah
Silence of six successive books of the Bible relative to the Sabbath — This silence compared to that of the book of Genesis — The siege of Jericho — The standing still of the sun — David's act of eating the shew-bread — The Sabbath of the Lord, how connected with and how distinguished from the annual sabbaths — Earliest reference to the Sabbath after the days of Moses — Incidental allusions to the Sabbath — Testimony of Amos — Of Isaiah — The Sabbath a blessing to mankind — The condition of being gathered to the holy land — Not a local institution — Commentary on the fourth commandment — Testimony of Jeremiah — Jerusalem to be saved if she would keep the Sabbath — This gracious offer despised — The Sabbath distinguished from the other days of the week — The Sabbath after the Babylonish captivity — Time for the commencing of the Sabbath — The violation of the Sabbath caused the destruction of Jerusalem.

Chapter IX - The Sabbath from Nehemiah to Christ
Great change in the Jewish people respecting idolatry and Sabbath-breaking after their return from Babylon — Decree of Antiochus Epiphanes against the Sabbath — Massacre of a thousand Sabbath-keepers in the wilderness — Similar massacre at Jerusalem — Decree of the Jewish elders relative to resisting attacks upon the Sabbath — Other martyrdoms — Victories of Judas Maccabeus — How Pompey captured Jerusalem — Teaching of the Jewish doctors respecting the Sabbath — State of the Sabbatic institution at the first advent of the Saviour.

Chapter X - The Sabbath During the Last of the Seventy Weeks
Mission of the Saviour — His qualifications as a judge of Sabbatic observance — State of the institution at his advent — The Saviour at Nazareth — At Capernaum — His discourse in the corn-field — Case of the man with a withered arm — The Saviour among his relatives — Case of the impotent man — Of the man born blind — Of the woman bound by Satan — Of the man who had the dropsy — Object of our Lord's teaching and miracles relative to the Sabbath — Unfairness of many anti-Sabbatarians — Examination of Matt. 24:20 — The Sabbath not abrogated at the crucifixion — Fourth commandment after that event — Sabbath not changed at the resurrection of Christ — Examination of John 20:26 — Of Acts 2:1, 2 — Redemption furnishes no argument for the change of the Sabbath — Examination of Ps. 118:22- 24 — The Sabbath neither abolished nor changed as late as the close of the seventy weeks.

Chapter XI - The Sabbath During the Ministry of the Apostles
The knowledge of God preserved in the family of Abraham — The call of the Gentiles — The new covenant puts the law of God into the heart of each Christian — The new covenant has a temple in Heaven; and an ark containing the great original of that law which was in the ark upon earth — And before that ark a priest whose offering can take away sin — The Old and New Testaments compared — The human family in all ages amenable to the law of God — The good olive tree shows the intimate relation between the church of the New Testament and the Hebrew church — The apostolic church observed the Sabbath — Examination of Acts 13 — The assembly of the apostles at Jerusalem — Sabbatarian origin of the church at Philippi — Of the church of the Thessalonians — Of the church of Corinth — The churches in Judea and in many cases among the Gentiles began with Sabbath-keepers — Examination of 1 Cor. 16: 1, 2 — Self-contradiction of Dr. Edwards — Paul at Troas — Examination of Rom. 14:1-6 — Flight of the disciples from Judea — The Sabbath of the Bible at the close of the first century.

Part II - Secular History

Chapter XII - Early Apostasy in the Church
General purity of the apostolic churches — Early decline of their piety — False teachers arose in the church immediately after the apostles — The great Romish apostasy began before the death of Paul — An evil thing not rendered good by beginning in the apostolic age — How to decide between truth and error — Age cannot change the fables of men into the truth of God — Historical testimony concerning the early development of the great apostasy — Such an age no standard by which to correct the Bible — Testimony of Bower relative to the traditions of this age — Testimony of Dowling — Dr. Cumming's opinion of the authority of the fathers — Testimony of Adam Clarke — The church of Rome has corrupted the writings of the fathers — Nature of tradition illustrated — The two rules of faith which divide Christendom— The first-day Sabbath can only be sustained by adopting the rule of the Romanists.

Chapter XIII - The Sunday-Lord's Day not Traceable to the Apostles
General statement respecting the Ante-Nicene fathers — The change of the Sabbath never mentioned by one of these fathers — Examination of the historical argument for Sunday as the Lord's day — This argument compared with the like argument for the Catholic festival of the Passover.

Chapter XIV - The First Witnesses for Sunday
Origin of Sunday observance the subject of present inquiry — Contradictory statements of Mosheim and Neander — The question between them stated, and the true data for deciding that question — The New Testament furnishes no support for Mosheim's statement — Epistle of Barnabas a forgery — The testimony of Pliny determines nothing in the case — The epistle of Ignatius probably spurious, and certainly interpolated so far as it is made to sustain Sunday — Decision of the question.

Chapter XV - Examination of a Famous Falsehood
Were the martyrs in Pliny's time and afterward tested by the question whether they had kept Sunday or not? — Argument in the affirmative quoted from Edwards — Its origin — No facts to sustain such an argument prior to the fourth, century — A single instance at the opening of that century all that can be claimed in support of the assertion — Sunday not even alluded to in that instance — Testimony of Mosheim relative to the work in which this is found.

Chapter XVI - Origin of First-Day Observance
Sunday a heathen festival from remote antiquity — Origin of the name — Reasons which induced the leaders of the church to adopt this festival — It was the day generally observed by the Gentiles in the first centuries of the Christian era — To have taken a different day would have been exceedingly inconvenient — They hoped to facilitate the conversion of the Gentiles by keeping the same day that they observed — Three voluntary weekly festivals in the church in memory of the Redeemer — Sunday soon elevated above the other two — Justin Martyr — Sunday observance first found in the church of Rome — Irenaeus — First act of papal usurpation was in behalf of Sunday — Tertullian — Earliest trace of abstinence from labor on Sunday — General statement of facts — The Roman church made its first great attack upon the Sabbath by turning it into a fast.

Chapter XVII - The Nature of Early First-Day Observance
The history of first-day observance compared with that of the popes — First-day observance defined in the very words of each of the early fathers who mention it — The reasons which each had for its observance stated in his own words — Sunday in their judgment of no higher sacredness than Easter or Whitsunday, or even than the fifty days between those festivals — Sunday not a day of abstinence from labor — The reasons which are oflered by those of them who rejected the Sabbath stated in their own words.

Chapter XVIII - The Sabbath in the Record of the Early Fathers
The first reasons for neglecting the Sabbath are now mostly obsolete — A portion of the early fathers taught the perpetuity of the decalogue, and made it the standard of moral character — What they say concerning the origin of the Sabbath at Creation — Their testimony concerning the perpetuity of the ancient Sabbath, and concerning its observance — Enumeration of the things which caused the suppression of the Sabbath and the elevation of Sunday.

Chapter XIX - The Sabbath and First Day During the First Five Centuries
Origin of the Sabbath and of the festival of the sun contrasted — Entrance of that festival into the church — The Moderns with the Ancients — The Sabbath observed by the early Christians — Testimony of Morer — Of Twisse — Of Giesler — Of Mosheim — Of Coleman — Of Bishop Taylor — The Sabbath loses ground before the Sunday festival — Several bodies of decided Sabbatarians — Testimony of Brerewood — Constantine's Sunday law — Sunday a day of labor with the primitive church — Constantine's edict a heathen law, and himself at that time a heathen — The bishop of Rome authoritatively confers the name of Lord's day upon Sunday — Heylyn narrates the steps by which Sunday arose to power — A marked change in the history of that institution — Paganism brought into the church — The Sabbath weakened by Constantine's influence — Remarkable facts concerning Eusebius — The Sabbath recovers strength again — The council of Laodicea pronounces a curse upon the Sabbath-keepers — The progress of apostasy marked — Authority of church councils considered — Chrysostom — Jerome — Augustine — Sunday edicts — Testimony of Socrates relative to the Sabbath about the middle of the fifth century — Of Sozomen — Effectual suppression of the Sabbath at the close of the fifth century.

Chapter XX - Sunday During the Dark Ages
The pope becomes the head of all the churches — The people of God retire into the wilderness — Sunday to be traced through the Dark Ages in the history of the Catholic church — State of that festival in the sixth century — It did not acquire the title of Sabbath for many ages — Time when it became a day of abstinence from labor in the east — When in the west — Sunday canon of the first council of Orleans — Of the council of Arragon — Of the third council of Orleans — Of a council at Mascon — At Narbon — At Auxerre — Miracles establishing the sacredness of Sunday — The pope advises men to atone, by the pious observance of Sunday, for the sins of the previous week — The Sabbath and Sunday both strictly kept by a class at Rome who were put down by the pope — According to Twisse they were two distinct classes — The Sabbath, like its Lord, crucified between two thieves — Council of Chalons — At Toledo, in which the Jews were forbidden to keep the Sabbath and commanded to keep Sunday — First English law for Sunday — Council at Constantinople — In England — In Bavaria — Canon of the archbishop of York — Statutes of Charlemagne and canons of councils which he called — The pope aids in the work — Council at Paris originates a famous first-day argument — The councils fail to establish Sunday sacredness — The emperors besought to send out some more terrible edict in order to compel the observance of that day — The pope takes the matter in hand in earnest and gives Sunday an effectual establishment — Other statutes and canons — Sunday piety of a Norwegian king — Sunday consecrated to the mass — Curious but obsolete first-day arguments — The eating of meat forbidden upon the Sabbath by the pope — Pope Urban II. ordains the Sabbath of the Lord to be a festival for the worship of the Virgin Mary — Apparition from St. Peter — The pope sends Eustace into England with a roll that fell from Heaven commanding Sunday observance under direful penalties — Miracles which followed — Sunday established in Scotland — Other Sunday laws down to the Reformation — Sunday always only a human ordinance.

Chapter XXI - 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 Abyssinia and Ethiopia — The Armenians of the East Indies — The Sabbath retained through the Dark Ages by those who were not in the communion of the Romish church.

Chapter XXII - Position of the Reformers Concerning the Sabbath and First Day
The Reformation arose in the Catholic church — The Sabbath had been crushed out of that church, and innumerable festivals established in its stead — Sunday as observed by Luther, Melancthon, Zwingle, Beza, Bucer, Cranmer, and Tyndale — The position of Calvin stated at length and illustrated — Knox agreed with Calvin — Sunday in Scotland A. D. 1001 — How we should view the Reformers.

Chapter XXIII - Luther and Carlstadt
The case of Carlstadt worthy of notice — His difficulty with Luther respecting the Epistle of James — His boldness in standing with Luther against the pope — What Carlstadt did during Luther's captivity — How far he came under fanaticism — Who acted with Carlstadt in the removal of images from the churches, the suppression of masses, and the abolition of the law of celibacy — Luther on returning restored the mass and suppressed the simple ordinance of the supper — Carldstadt submitted to Luther's correction — After two years, Carlstadt felt constrained to oppose Luther respecting the supper — The grounds of their difference respecting the Reformation — Luther said Christ's flesh and blood were literally present in the bread and wine — Carlstadt said they were simply represented by them — The controversy which followed — Carlstadt refuted by banishment — His cruel treatment in exile — He was not connected with the disorderly conduct of the Anabaptists — Why Carlstadt has been so harshly judged — D'Aubigne's estimate of this controversy— Carlstadt's labors in Switzerland — Luther writes against him — Luther and Carlstadt reconciled — D'Aubigne's estimate of Carlstadt as a scholar and a Christian — Carlstadt a Sabbatarian — Wherein Luther benefited Carlstadt — Wherein Luther might have been benefited by Carlstadt.

Chapter XXIV - Sabbath-Keepers in the Sixteenth Century
The judgment of the martyr Frith — The Reformation brings Sabbath-keepers to light in various countries — In Transylvania — In Bohemia — In Russia — In Germany — In Holland — In France — In England.

Chapter XXV - How and When Sunday Appropriated the Fourth Commandment
The light of the Reformation destroyed many of the best Sunday arguments of the preceding Dark Ages — The controversy between the Presbyterians and Episcopalians of England brings Sunday sacredness to the test — The former discover the means of enforcing the observance of Sunday by the fourth commandment — How this can be done — Effects of this extraordinary discovery — History of the Sunday festival concluded.

Chapter XXVI - English Sabbath-Keepers
English Sabbatarians in the sixteenth century — Their doctrines — John Trask for these doctrines pilloried, whipt, and imprisoned — He recants — Character of Mrs. Trask — Her crime — Her indomitable courage — She suffers fifteen years' imprisonment, and dies in the prison — Principles of the Traskites — Brabourne writes in behalf of the seventh day — Appeals to King Charles I. to restore the ancient Sabbath — The king employs Dr. White to write against Brabourne, and Dr. Heylyn to write the History of the Sabbath — The king intimidates Brabourne and he recants — He returns again to the Sabbath — Philip Tandy — James Ockford writes "The Doctrine of the Fourth Commandment" — His book burned — Edward Stennett — Wm. Sellers — Cruel Treatment of Francis Bampfield — Thomas Bampfield — Martyrdom of John James — How the Sabbath cause was prostrated in England.

Chapter XXVII - The Sabbath in America
The first Sabbath-keeping church in America — Names of its members — Origin of the second — Organization of the Seventh-day Baptist General Conference — Statistics of the Denomination at that time — Nature of its organization — Present Statistics — Educational facilities — Missionary work — The American Sabbath Tract Society — Responsibility for the light of the Sabbath— The German S. D. Baptists of Pennsylvania — Reference to Sabbath-keepers in Hungary — In Siberia — The Seventh-day Adventists — Their origin — Labors of Joseph Bates — Of James White — The Publishing Association — Systematic Benevolence — The work of the preachers mainly in new fields — Organization of the S. D. Adventists — Statistics — Peculiarities of their faith— Their object— The S. D. Adventists of Switzerland — Why the Sabbath is of priceless value to mankind — The nations of the saved observe the Sabbath in the new earth.



The history of the Sabbath embraces the period of 6000 years. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. The acts which constituted it such were, first, the example the Creator; secondly, his placing his blessing upon the day; and thirdly, the sanctification or divine appointment of the day to a holy use. The Sabbath, therefore, dates from the beginning of our world's history. The first who Sabbatized on the seventh day is God the Creator; and the first seventh day of time is the day which he thus honored. The highest of all possible honors does, therefore, pertain to the seventh day. Nor is this honor confined to the first seventh day of time; for so soon as God had rested upon that day, he appointed the seventh day to a holy use, that man might hallow it in memory of his Creator.

This divine appointment grows out of the nature and fitness of things, and must have been made directly to Adam, for himself and wife were then the only beings who had the days of the week to use. As it was addressed to Adam while yet in his uprightness, it must have been given to him as the head of the human family. The fourth commandment bases all its authority upon this original mandate of the Creator, and must, therefore, be in substance what God commanded to Adam and Eve as the representatives of mankind.

The patriarchs could not possibly have been ignorant of the facts and the obligation which the fourth commandment shows to have originated in the beginning, for Adam was present with them for a period equal to more than half the Christian dispensation. Those, therefore, who walked with God in the observance of his commandments did certainly hallow his Sabbath.

The observers of the seventh day must therefore include the ancient godly patriarchs, and none will deny that they include also the prophets and the apostles. Indeed, the entire church of God embraced within the records of inspiration were Sabbath-keepers. To this number must be added the Son of God.

What a history, therefore, has the Sabbath of the Lord! It was instituted in Paradise, honored by several miracles each week for the space of forty years, proclaimed by the great Lawgiver from Sinai, observed by the Creator, the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and the Son of God! It constitutes the very heart of the law of God, and so long as that law endures, so long shall the authority of this sacred institution stand fast.

Such being the record of the seventh day, it may well be asked. How came it to pass that this day has been abased to the dust, and another day elevated to its sacred honors? The Scriptures nowhere attribute this work to the Son of God. They do, however, predict the great apostasy in the Christian church, and that the little horn, or man of sin, the lawless one, should think to change times and laws.

It is the object of the present volume to show, 1. The Bible record of the Sabbath; 2. The record of the Sabbath in secular history; 3. The record of the Sunday festival, and of the several steps by which it has usurped the place of the ancient Sabbath.

The writer has attempted to ascertain the exact truth in the case by consulting the original authorities as far as it has been possible to gain access to them. The margin will show to whom he is mainly indebted for the facts presented in this work, though it indicates only a very small part of the works consulted. He has given the exact words of the historians, and has endeavored, conscientiously, to present them in such a light as to do justice to the authors quoted.

It is not the fault of the writer that the history of the Sunday festival presents such an array of frauds and of iniquities in its support. These are, in the nature of the case, essential to its very existence, for the claim of a usurper is necessarily based in fraud. The responsibility for these rests with those who dare commit or uphold such acts. The ancient Sabbath of the Lord has never needed help of this kind, and never has its record been stained by fraud or falsehood.

J. N. A.
Battle Creek, Mich., Nov. 14, 1873.