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Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 226

first—Sun-day—among the Christians?

"If we go back to the founding of the church, we find that the most marked feature of that age, so far as the church itself is concerned, is the grand division between the 'Jewish faction,' as it was called, and the followers of Paul. This division was so deep, so marked, so characteristic, that it has left its traces all through the New Testament itself. It was one of the grand aspects of the time, and the point on which they were divided was simply this: the followers of Peter, those who adhered to the teachings of the central church in Jerusalem, held that all Christians, both converted Jews and Gentiles, were under obligation to keep the Mosaic law, ordinances, and traditions. That is, a Christian, according to their definition, was first a Jew; Christianity was something added to that, not something taking the place of it.

"We find this controversy raging violently all through the early churches, and splitting them into factions, so that they were the occasion of prayer and counsel. Paul took the ground distinctly that Christianity, while it might be spiritually the lineal successor of Judaism, was not Judaism; and that he who became a Christian, whether a converted Jew or Gentile, was under no obligation whatever to keep the Jewish law, so far as it was separate from practical matters of life and character. We find this intimated in the writings of Paul; for we have to go to the New Testament for the origin of that which, we find, existed immediately after the New Testament was written. Paul says: 'One man esteemeth one day above another: another man esteemeth every day alike' (Rom. xiv. 5-9). He leaves it an open question; they can do as they please. Then: 'Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain' (Gal. iv. 10, 11). And if you will note this Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, you will find that the whole purpose of his writing it was to protest against what he believed to be the viciousness of the Judaizing influences. That is, he says: 'I have come to preach to you the perfect truth, that Christ hath made us free; and you are going back and taking upon yourselves this yoke of bondage. My labor is being thrown away; my efforts have been in vain.' Then he says, in his celebrated Epistle to the Colossians, that has never yet been explained away or met: 'Let no man therefore judge you any more in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days' (Col. ii. 16, 17), distinctly abrogating the binding authority of the Sabbath on the Christian church. So that, [Pg 395]if Paul's word anywhere means anything—if his authority is to be taken as of binding force on any point whatever—then Paul is to be regarded as authoritatively and distinctly abrogating the Sabbath, and declaring that it is no longer binding on the Christian church."[395:1]


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