BROTHER BEEBE: – I wish to inquire of your correspondents who use the word Sunday instead of Sabbath, whether it is proper, or a title name for the day of rest?
J. R. STINSON.
ALTHOUGH the inquiry is addressed to such of our correspondents as use the word Sunday instead of Sabbath, as we have uniformly called the first day of the week Sunday in we will give some of our reasons for our apparent singularity.
1, We are not aware that the scriptures have authorized any particular name for the first or for any other of the seven days of the week, to be observed under the gospel dispensation. The days of the week are called by their number in the New Testament.
2, Though the etymology of the names given to the several days of the week may be of heathen origin, yet the name given to the first day, Sunday, simply as a name to distinguish one day from another, is preferable to that of Sabbath because the use of the latter term implies a consent to the doctrine of modern Sabbatarians who hold that the first day of the week is by divine authority substituted in place of the Jewish seventh day Sabbath, and to be observed under the same rules and penalties; and it also goes to deny our faith in regard to what in reality constitutes the anti-typical Sabbath of the Lord our God.
That Sabbath day which we hold to be the anti-type of all the Sabbaths of the former dispensation, is “the Lord’s day,” “the day which the Lord has made.” It was ushered in more than eighteen hundred years ago by the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, and will continue so long as the sun endureth. – Psalms lxxxix. 36
It is true there is and has been, even in our own country of boasted liberty, a direct union of church and state in imposing on the citizens of the land a duty by secular and ecclesiastical power, to regard the first day of the week as a Sabbath. And should we use the term Sabbath in reference to that day, we should thereby grant or consent to what they claim. But as we find ourself bound by higher authority to suffer no man, whether ecclesiastical or secular, to judge us in meats or drinks, new moons, nor Sabbaths, we protest against the application of the name Sabbath to any one day of the week, and, with the authority of the New Testament, we use it exclusively to signify that rest into which all that believe have entered, and into which God hath sworn that unbelieving legalists shall not enter.
Christians are not at liberty to do wrong on any day; theirs is an every day religion; and if they see proper to meet for worship statedly on the first day of the week, instead of the second, or third, or any other, it is not because the time is more sacred, but because they are bound to meet, and not forsake the assembling of themselves together as the manner of some is; and every gospel church, or distinct branch of the church of Christ, has, in our judgment, the right to make her own appointments for social worship, and all her members are bound to obey, so far as they have ability.
It may be proper enough for those who believe that God is worshiped with men’s hands, and whose religion is of an external and mechanical kind, to observe Sabbath days and new moons, as the carnal Israelites under the ceremonial economy were required to do; but those who are permitted to worship God in spirit and in truth have but one Sabbath, and that is perpetual. They cease from their own works, as God ceased from the works of creation when he rested on the seventh day. To us it seems as inconsistent with the spirit and order of the gospel that christians should observe any one day of the week as a legal Sabbath, as it would be for them to observe the rite of circumcision; but for them to lay aside all secular concerns for the delightful privilege of the social worship of God on the first day, or on any other day or night, is perfectly consistent with the spirit of the gospel and the usage of the primitive church; and indeed the saints are admonished not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some is.
Our brother will bear in mind that the only weekly Sabbath anywhere in the bible enjoined on any nation or people was the seventh day Sabbath which God enjoined on the nation of Israel to be, with other typical rites, observed by them throughout their generations, as God’s sign between himself and that nation.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
February 15, 1847
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 755 – 577