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from a belief in their intrinsic importance and necessity, under the New Dispensation, as from habit, and a deeplyseated reverence, which it was impossible for them to shake off, for customs so venerable and sacred to their forefathers. Yet on this matter there soon began to exist differences of opinion and practice, as Paul writes to the Romans : "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike.” — (Rom. xiv. 5.) But the Apostle, so far from reproving one or commending the other opinion, adds, "Let every man be persuaded in his own mind”; as though he would say, the keeping of days is a matter of indifference, in respect to which every one is at liberty to think and act as he pleases. And so in Colossians : "Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (ii. 16, 17.) And Jerome, at a much later date, asserts, according to Neander, that "considered from the purely Christian point of view, all days are alike.” Neander also quotes another ancient writer, Socrates, as saying, that " Christ and the Apostles, conformably to Christian freedom, gave no law respecting feasts, but left everything open here to the free expression of the feelings."
Not only the Lord's day, but every day, at the first, was consecrated by the repetition of the symbolic Last Supper of which the Lord partook with His disciples before His passion. This, we must presume, is what is meant by the
breaking of bread,” in Acts ii. 42 and 46: "They continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayers." "And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” Respecting the earliest mode of observing the Lord's Supper, we are told, that, "After the model of the Jewish Passover, and the first institution, the Lord's Supper was originally united with a common meal. Both constituted a whole, representing not only the
communion of the faithful with their Lord, but also their brotherly cominunion with one another. Both together were. called the Supper of the Lord, * and the Supper of Love. It was the daily rite of Christian communion in the first church at Jerusalem, the phrase 'breaking bread,'* in Acts ii. 46, being, most probably, to be understood of them both together. In like manner, we find both united in the first Corinthian Church.” — (Neander's Church IIistory, Vol. 1, p. 450.) As they had no public places of assembly, they met alternately at each others' houses, to celebrate the Supper. And this practice of daily communion continued, in the Roman, Spanish, and Alexandrian churches, as late as the fourth century, though in other places much earlier discontinued. Even after the custom of weekly communion was substituted for the daily celebration, portions of the consecrated bread were taken home to be there partaken of daily, for spiritual refreshment.
But sooner or later, everywhere, external circumstances must have operated, with other causes, to interfere with, and prevent, these daily rites. And in assigning a particular day on which all could occasionally meet for this and other acts of worship, it is easy to conceive that the Lord's day, which early began to be marked by special observances, particularly by standing, instead of kneeling, at prayer, should have been the one specially assigned to religious purposes, when we recollect that the Resurrection of the Lord was, as it were, the corner-stone of their hope and belief. Even while paying that habitual respect to the (Jewish) Sabbath, which their education prompted, its recurrence could but remind them of another day, dearer to them, if not more sacred, in which their Lord rose triumphant over death and hell. In addition to this, Wednesday and Friday were observed as fasting days, in remembrance of the Lord's betrayal and crucifixion, and on these days, also, the churches were accustomed to meet together
* I omit here the original Greek phrases, which Neander quotes.
for prayer; so that they had as many as four days for public worship in each week.
In the Eastern communities, and especially those composed of Jewish converts, the Sabbath continued, for a long time, to be observed much in the same manner as the Lord's day, not excepting the administration of the Lord's Supper. And yet we find Ignatius saying, of Jewish converts, that they no longer kept the Sabbath, but observed the Lord's day.
Gradually, however, as we may presume, the Sabbath began to be held in less esteem, and to be regarded as a day proper for Jewish, rather than Christian, observance, until at length (how soon I find no account) the Lord's day alone came to be generally regarded and used as the day for public Christian worship.
Although the New Church has a greater light than that of the apostolic age shining upon it, and has therefore no need to look to the opinions or the example of the primitive Church for guidance, its history is nevertheless highly instructive, especially as furnishing noteworthy instances of the overruling care of the Divine Providence.
First, in regard to the Holy Supper : while in the earliest and most innocent age of the Church, it was a daily observance, it was afterwards, when the Church had declined from its original purity and simplicity, less frequently celebrated, and only approached after special previous preparation for it. While the Church was in its first innocent, and so to speak, infantile state, the daily commemoration of the sacred Supper might have been wholesome and useful; but when in a later and more degenerate state, it would have become more and more liable to profanation, it was permitted that it should be gradually removed from common use, by less frequent celebration, and clothed with external tokens of sanctity for its protection.
And again, in respect to the Love Feasts of the Primitive Church, which Swedenborg, who speaks of them in several places, calls Feasts of Charity: they were at first celebrated
in connection with the Holy Supper, as though to symbolize the union of love towards the Lord with brotherly or neighborly love, which then had place, when the believers all regarded each other with sincere affection as brethren, and as it were members of one family. But when these loves began to be distracted by the dissensions which subsequently arose, the feast of charity was separated from the Holy Supper, and finally, when the brotherly affection with which it was at first observed had almost passed away, and it had become only a cold and heartless ceremony, it was wholly discontinued.
There are two things more which seem worthy of observation in this connection. First, that though the Apostolic Church began with the idea that all were common heirs and partakers of a spiritual priesthood, and that the official priesthood was done away with; the indispensable necessity that the Church should have not only teachers and preachers, but those also who should perform all those spiritual uses which correspond to the natural uses which a shepherd performs for his flock, led to the building up of a Christian priesthood, not, it is true, without many abuses on the part of the clerical order, but even with, and in spite of, these abuses, preserving and keeping the Church together, during those dark ages which succeeded, when, without such an institution, it is doubtful whether it could well have survived.
Secondly, that while beginning with the assumption that all days were alike, and that one was not to be set up as more sacred than another, they came, by perhaps a sort of natural reaction, to multiply holy days in great number; the day which the Lord sanctified by His Resurrection continued to be kept and regarded, without doubt or dispute, as the peculiarly proper day for Christian worship, sacred above all the others.
If, then, the Lord's day is properly the Sabbath for the Christian Church, it would seem that, although the first day of the Jewish week, it should be reckoned the seventh day
of the Christian week; for the Sabbath can only really be a seventh day. A general carelessness and indifference in regard to matters of this kind, and ignorance of the correspondence and signification of the Sabbath, might seem sufficient to account for the neglect. And yet there seems to be a deeper reason than this for the permission. Owing to the low and external state in which the Church has been, and more especially to the prevalence of the doctrine of faith alone, it has come to pass that, as Swedenborg tells us, very few of its members have advanced much beyond the first state of regeneration, corresponding to the first day of creation. And therefore it seems most appropriate that their Sabbath should continue to be reckoned, in correspondence with their state, as the first day. But when the Church shall have arrived at that state of heavenly love and life which is inwardly denoted by the Sabbath, then it may come to be understood and reckoned as the seventh day. Nor will it then be any the less a day of light; but its light will be rather like that of the sun, instead of the more uncertain moonlight of the preceding state.
D. H. H.
WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD.
To walk with God! what a beautiful image is presented to the mind by these words! All the paternal tenderness of the Almighty Father, all the filial love and trust of His poor, dependant child, as they walk, hand in hand, the child looking up to the Father for everything, knowing that he cannot breathe without receiving his breath, his inspiration, from the Divine One at his side, glad and willing to go on the road where He is going, and sure that it is best — all this is obvious at first, but yet this is not all. As we must never let our trust and dependance on our Father relapse into inactivity, either of mind or body, so in thinking about this walking with God, let us not lose sight of the spiritual meaning of this word to "walk.” It is to move, to live, to