Sayfadaki görseller

These quotations are sufficient to show | place of the Sabbath, the day we call what was the practice of the Apos- Sunday. tles.

This is confirmed by Paul's going into the temple and performing certain rights of purification, for the purpose of refuting slanderous reports about his practising contrary to the law; and in Acts xx. 17, he states that he had committed nothing against the customs of the fathers. And was it not contrary to their custom, to keep the first day of the week to the exclusion of the seventh? If so, then it is evident that Paul kept the seventh and not the first day of the week, for the Sabbath. The Jews, who were always ready to accuse them of wrong, never upbraided them with a violation of the Sabbath, which would have been the case, had there been an occasion. The opposition made to these sentiments, are supported by the feelings and circumstances of their opponents, and not by the word of God. But it may be necessary to refer to the practice of the early Christians.

ATHANASIUS, A. D. 340, "We assemble on Saturday, not that we are infected with Judaism, but only to worship Christ the Lord of the Sabbath."

SOCRATES, A. D. 412, "Touching the Communion, there are sundry observations; for almost all the churches throughout the world do celebrate and receive the holy mysteries every Sabbath. Yet the Egyptians adjoining Alexandria, together with the inhabitants of Thebes, of a tradition, do celebrate the Communion on Sunday, when the festival meeting throughout every week was come. I mean the Saturday, and the Sunday, upon which the Christians are wont to meet solemnly in the church," &c.

EUSEBIUS, A. D. 325, as quoted by Dr. Chambers, says that in his time the Sabbath was observed no less than Sunday.

CALVIN. The old Fathers put in the

SOZOMEN has delivered down a tradition, that at Constantinople, and almost among all the churches, Christians did assemble on the Sabbath, and also on the first day of the week; but at Rome and Alexandria, not so.-Magdebur. 4th Cent. fol. 224.

PHELPS.- -"Indeed so prevalent was this party (Sabbath-keepers) at one time, and so superstitious withal in their observance of the seventh day, that to counteract it, the council of Laodicea, about A. D. 350, passed a decree saying, It is not proper for Christians to Judaize, and to cease from labor on the Sabbath, but they ought to work on this day, and put especial honor upon the Lord's day, by refraining from labor, as Christians. If any one be found Judaizing, let him be anathematized."-Perpetuity Sab. p. 151.

KINGSBURY.-Those who lived immediately after Christ did not misunderstand allusions to these different institutions. They all understood Sabbath, when used alone, to refer to the seventh day, or Jewish rest, and never the first day. Nor was it till after the disputes between the Jewish and Gentile converts had mainly subsided, and civil rulers (Romans) had required the observance of Lord's day, and forbidden the keeping of the seventh, that the term Sabbath, was applied to the first day of the week. It was not until A. D. 603, that a papal decree was made prohibiting the observance of the Sabbath.-The Sab. p. 206.

With the light that the Bible reflects upon this subject, and from the practice of the early Christians, they are constrained to believe and practise as they do, notwithstanding the great body of the Christian world is arrayed against them; but they are assured that they have truth in their favor, and that it is mighty, and will ere long prevail.





About the year 1694, a controversy | popular church, some were driven into arose in the Protestant churches of Ger- Holland, some to Crefelt in the Duchy of many and Holland, in which vigorous at- Cleves, and the mother church voluntarily tempts were made to reform some of the removed to Serustervin, in Friesland ; and errors of the church, and with the design from thence emigrated to America in 1719, of promoting a more practical, vital reli- and dispersed to different parts of Pennsylgion. This party, at the head of which vania, to Germantown, Skippack, Oley, was the pious Spener, ecclesiastical super- Conestoga, and elsewhere. They formed intendent of the court of Saxony, was op- a church at Germantown in 1723, under posed, violently, and after having bestowed the charge of Peter Becker. The church upon them, in ridicule, the epithet of Pie- grew rapidly in this country, receiving tists, they were suppressed in their public members from the banks of the Wissahicministrations and lectures, by the Consis- con and from Lancaster county, and soon tory of Wittemberg. Notwithstanding they after a church was established at Muehlwere prohibited from promulgating, pub- bach, (Mill creek,) in that county. Of this licly, their views and principles, it led to community was one Conrad Beissel, a nainquiry among the people. This state of tive of Germany. He had been a Presbythings continuing, many learned men of terian, and fled from the persecutions of different universities left Europe and emi- that period. Wholly intent upon seeking grated to America, whilst others remained out the true obligations of the word of God, and persevered in the prosecution of the and the proper observance of the rites and work they had commenced with so much ceremonies it imposes, stripped of human diligence. In the year 1708, Alexander authority, he conceived that there was an Mack, of Schriesheim, and seven others in error among the Dunkers, in the obser. Schwartzenau, Germany, met together, re- vance of the day for the sabbath-that the gularly, to examine carefully and impar. seventh day was the command of the Lord tially, the doctrines of the New Testament, God, and that day being established and and to ascertain what are the obligations it sanctified, by the Great Jehovah, for ever, imposes on professing Christians ; deter- and no change, nor authority for change mining to lay aside all preconceived opin- ever having been announced to man, by ions and traditional observances. The any power sufficient to set aside the solemn result of their inquiries terminated in the decree of the Almighty-a decree which formation of the society now called the he declared that he had sanctified for ever, Dunkers, or First Day German Baptists. -he felt it to be his duty to contend for Meeting with much persecution as they the observance of that day. About the grew into some importance, as all did who year 1725, he published a tract entering had independence enough to differ from the into a discussion of this point, which

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

created some excitement and disturbance faith, their code of laws, and their church
in the Society at Mill Creek; upon which discipline. The property which belonged
he retired from the settlement, and went to the Society, by donation, and the labor
secretly to a cell on the banks of the Co. of the single brethren and sisters, was
calico, (in the same county,) which had common stock; but none were obliged to
previously been occupied by one Elimelich, throw in their own property, or give up
a hermit. His place of retirement was any of their possessions. The Society was
unknown for a long time to the people he supported by the income of the farm, grist
had left, and when discovered, many of mill, paper mill, oil mill, fulling mill, and
the Society at Mill Creek, who had become the labor of the brethren and sisters in the
convinced of the truth of his proposition cloister.
for the observance of the sabbath, settled The principles of the Seventh Day Bap-
around him in solitary cottages. They tist Society of Ephrata, but little under-
adopted the original sabbath-the seventh stood, generally, and much misrepresented
day-for public worship, in the year 1728; abroad, may be summed up in a few words,
which has ever since been observed by viz. :
their descendants, even unto the present 1. They believe, that “all Scripture is

given by inspiration of God, and is pro-
În the year 1732, the solitary life was fitable for doctrine, for correction, for in.
changed into a conventicle one, and a struction in righteousness, that the man of
Monastic Society was established as soon God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
as the first buildings erected for the pur. unto all good works ;" and, therefore, they
pose were finished—May, 1733,-consti- receive the Bible as the only rule of faith,
tuting, with the buildings subsequently covenant, and code of laws for church
erected by the community, the irregular, government. They do not admit the least
enclosed village of Ephrata. The habit license with the letter and spirit of the
of the Capuchins, or White Friars, was Scriptures, and especially the New Testa-
adopted by both the brethren and sisters; ment—do not allow one jot or tittle to be
which consisted of a shirt, trowsers, and added or rejected in the administration of
vest, with a long white gown and cowl, of the ordinances, but practise them precisely
woollen web in winter, and linen in sum- as they are instituted and made an example
mer. That of the sisters differed only in by Jesus Christ in his word.
the substitution of petticoats for trowsers, 2. They believe in the divinity of our
and some little peculiarity in the shape of Lord Jesus Christ, and the trinity of the
the cowl. Monastic names were given to Godhead; having unfurled this distinctive
all who entered the cloister. Onesimus banner on the first page of a hymn book
(Israel Eckerlin) was constituted Prior, which they had printed for the Society as
who was succeeded by Jabez, (Peter Mil- early as 1739, viz. : “ There are three
ler,) and the title of Father-spiritual that bear record in heaven, the Father, the
father-was bestowed by the Society, upon Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these
Beissel, whose monastic name was Fried- three are one. And there are three that
sam; to which the brethren afterwards bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the
added Gottrecht — implying, together, water, and the blood; and these three
Peaceable God-right. In the year 1740, agree in one.'
there were thirty-six single brethren in the 3. They believe that salvation is of
cloister, and thirty-five sisters; and at one grace, and not of works; and they rely
time, the Society, including the members solely on the merits and atonement of
living in the neighborhood, numbered near. Christ. They believe, also, that that
ly three hundred.

atonement is sufficient for every creatureThe community was a republic, in which that Christ died for all who will call upon all stood upon perfect equality and free- his name, and offer fruits meet for repentdom. No monastic vows were taken, ance; and that all who come unto Christ neither had they any written covenant, as are drawn of the Father. is common in the Baptist churches. The 4. They observe the original Sabbath, New Testament was their confession of the seventh day, finding no other day com

manded in the Scriptures to be regarded night, in imitation of our Saviour ;-washas holy time, hallowed and sanctified by ing at the same time each other's feet, the Lord, nor any other directed to be agreeably to his command and example, kept in its stead; and believing that it re- as is expressly stated in the 13th chapter quires an authority equal to the Great In. of the Evangelist John, 14th and 15th stitutor to alter any of His decrees, they verses. This is attended to on the evenreject any other substitute as the invention ing after the close of the sabbath—the of the Man of Sin, of whom it was fore. sabbath terminating at sunset of the seventh told by Daniel, that he would attempt to day; thus making the supper an imitation subvert the order of the Almighty, and of that instituted by Christ, and resemchange times and laws. They maintain bling also the meeting of the Apostles on that, as he blessed and sanctified that day the first day to break bread, which has forever, which has never been abrogated produced much consusion in some minds in his word, nor any Scripture to be found in regard to the proper day to be observed. to warrant that construction, it is still as They disclaim the right of withholding the binding as it was when it was reiterated holy sacrament from any disciple, who amid the thunders of Mount Sinai. To professes to love the Lord Jesus, and alter so positive and hallowed a command claims the privilege, as a follower of the ment of the Almighty, they consider would Crucified Redeemer, by presenting himself require an explicit edict from the Great at the table; without assuming to judge Jehovah. It was not foretold by any of who is worthy and who unworthy; but the prophets, that with the new dispensa- adhere to the words of Paul : Let a man tion there would be any change in the examine himself, and so let him eat of that sabbath, or any of the commandments. bread, and drink of that cup. 1 Cor. 9: 28. Christ, who declared himself the Lord of Therefore, judge nothing before the time, the Sabbath, observed the seventh day, until the Lord come, who will bring to and made it the day of his especial minis. light the hidden things of darkness, and trations; nor did he authorize any change. will make manifest the counsels of the The Apostles have not assumed to do hearts: and then shall every man have away the original sabbath, or give any praise of God. Id. 4: 5. They also con. command to substitute the first for the sider it essential to adhere literally to the seventh day. The circumstance of the time, manner, and practice of all the ordisciples meeting together to break bread dinances and injunctions of Christ, as they on the first day, which is sometimes used are recorded in the gospel, as near as they as a pretext for observing that day, is are capable of comprehending and imitatsimply what the seventh day people do at ing them; as they hold, that to deviate this day. The sacrament was not admi- from the letter, is to deviate from the spirit nistered by Christ nor by the Apostles on of it. the sabbath, but on the first day, counting Celibacy they consider a virtue, but as the people of Ephrata still do, the never require it, nor do they take any evening and the morning to make the vows in reference to it. They never proday.

hibited marriage and lawful intercourse, 5. They hold to the apostolic baptism between the sexes, as is stated by some -believers' baptism—and administertrine writers, but when two concluded to be immersion, with the laying on of hands joined in wedlock, they were aided by the and prayer, while the recipient yet remains Society. It celibacy) was urged as being kneeling in the water. And while they more conducive to a holy life, for Paul confine this ordinance to persons who have saith : “ They that are after the flesh, do arrived to years of maturity, children of mind the things of the flesh: but they that believing parents are dedicated unto the are after the spirit, the things of the spirit.” Lord, in the public Assembly, and re- And again : “He that is unmarried, careth ceived into the care of the Church, by the for the things that belong to the Lord, laying on of hands; according to the ex. how he may please the Lord; but he that ample of our blessed Saviour, Mark, 10;16. is married careth for the things of the

6. They celebrate the Lord's Supper at l world, how he may plcase his wife. There

[ocr errors]

is this difference between a wife and a vir- | brethren and sisters of the Cloister, and
gin. The unmarried women careth for laments the downfall, in prospect of any
the things of the Lord, that she may be declension, in most affecting strains. The
holy, both in body and in spirit : but she following is a stanza from the hymn above
that is married careth for the things of the alluded to:
world, how she may please her husband ;
-I say therefore to the unmarried and

Auch Ephrata, wird hier so lange stehen, widows: It is good for them if they abide Als Jungfrauen darinn am Reihen gehen; even as I.” And they also consider that Wann aber dieser Adel wird auf hæren, those who sacrifice the lusts of the flesh,

So wird die Rache diesen Ort verstæren. and live pare virgins, for Christ's sake, will be better fitted to, and will, enjoy the

They do not approve of paying their first places in glory. St. John, in the Re- ministers a salary. They think the gosvelation, says: “ I looked up, and lo, a pel was sent without money and without Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with him price, and that every one called to preach an hundred and forty and four thousand, the word, should do it from the love of the having his Father's name written in their cause, and in this matter to follow the adforeheads. And I heard a voice from vice and example of Paul. However, heaven, as the voice of many waters, and they never had any scruples in affording as the voice of a great thunder: and I their ministers such supplies of life as they heard the voice of harpers harping with possess themselves, and they gave them their harps : and they sung as it were a the same support the other brethren ennew song before the throne, and before the joyed. Individual members may give, as four beasts, and the elders : and no man presents, what to them seemeth fit, in could learn that song but the hundred and money, goods, &c.; and whenever the forty and four thousand, which were re- minister travels for religious purposes, if deemed from the earth. These are they needy, he is supplied with money out of that are not defiled with women ; for they the treasury to bear his expenses. are virgins. These are they which follow These are the great and leading tenets the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These and principles of the German Seventh were redeemed from among men, being Day Baptists of Pennsylvania. There the first fruits unto God and unto the are many other minor points of not suffi. Lamb.” This was a fond, cherished sub- cient importance to enumerate in detail, ject, and was constantly inculcated. It which may better be adverted to in reply. may be considered the ground of the in- ing to some errors which writers have stitution at Ephrata, whose prosperity and saddled upon them, and which cannot, advancement was dependent on it being properly, be considered as tenets and properly appreciated. It was sedulously principles, but only as peculiarities. I kept before them, by their ministers, in its cannot, here, go into an exposition of the brightest colors; and all the Scripture, peculiar views of this people, nor enter which was not a little, was brought to bear into the minutia of the manner of per. upon it, to inspire them with perseverance forming all the ceremonies and ordinances. and faithfulness. It promised capabilities I would merely remark in regard to their which others could not possess in the regular worship, that they commence with divine life, and also held out the brighter a hymn, then prayers, (kneeling,) and rewards of heaven. It was a prolific sub- after a second hymn, the minister requests ject for many of their hymns, which one of the brethren (any one) to read a seemed to hallow and sanctify virginity. chapter out of the Scriptures, which they I have seen one, an occasional hymn, for are at liberty to choose from any part of

they multiplied new hymns for every par- the Bible,-he then expounds the chapter ; 1|| ticular meeting or celebration-one of tracing its bearings and historical connec.

which is very beautiful indeed, and which tion with the prophets and the New Testa. was a prophecy respecting Ephrata—a ment; after which the Exhorters enforce prophecy which has been verified. It in the duties it inculcates, and should any vokes steadfastness of purpose among the l member, brother or single sister, be able

« ÖncekiDevam »