4th edition




This chapter
(717-719)... Sabbath Observance the Logical Result
(719-721)... Traske
(721-725)... Brabourne
(725-727)... Spread of Sabbatarians
(727-729)... The Stennet family
(729-731)... John James’ martyrdom
(731-733)... Bampfield
(733-734)... Status of English Seventh-day Baptists
(734).......... Causes for Decline
(734-735)... Mumford in New England
(735-736)... First Seventh-day Baptists Church at New port
(736-737)... Seventh-day Baptist General Conference
(737-739)... Israelites and Abrahamites
(739-743)... Sabbath Suppressed in Transylvania
(743-746)... Rabinowitch and his Work
(746-747)... Tennhardt
(747-752)... Tennhardt’s Writings and Labours
(752-754)... Count Zinzendorf a Sabbath keeper
(754-757)... Blessed Sabbaths at Bethlehem
(757).......... Konrad Beissel
(757-758)... Harmony Between Law and gospel
(758-759)... A New World Provided for the Sabbath Seed


The Edenic memorial of the creation of all things through Christ has not lacked faithful witnesses even in the darkest days of apostasy. Although the Reformers missed the priceless gem among the rubbish of man-made rest days’ although the Puritans tried even to place a counterfeit Sabbath in the divine setting of ten commandments, yet the true Israel, having the ten words written in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, held forth the true Sabbath to the gaze of honest souls, radiant with the luster of God’s own Word.

Then it was from the beginning, and so it was in England from the sixteenth century onward, as Chambers’s Cyclopedia attests:--

“In the reign of Elizabeth, it occurred to many conscientious and independent thinkers (as it had previously done to some Protestants in Bohemia) that the fourth commandment required of them the observance, not of the first, but of the specified seventh day of the week, and a strict bodily rest, as a service then due to God; while others, though convinced that the day had been altered by divine authority took up the same opinion as to the Scriptural obligation to refrain from work. The former class became numerous enough to make a considerable figure for more than a century in England, under the title of ‘Sabbatarians’ -- a word now exchanged for the less ambiguous appellation of ‘Seventh-day Baptists.’” 1

Papists had boldly challenged the Reformers: “If you turn from the church to the Scriptures, then you must keep the Sabbath with the Jews, which had been kept from the beginning of the world.”

Luther realized that if any one defended the morality and perpetuity of the ten commandments, “Sunday would have to give way, and the Sabbath must be kept holy.”

The learned Bishop Prideaux, in his discourse at the Oxford University (1622), pronounced this decision:-

“If they [the Puritans] observe it as a Sabbath, they must observe it because God rested on that day; and then they ought to keep that day whereon god rested, and not the first day, a now they do, whereon the Lord began his labours.” 2

And even Charles I queried of the Parliament commissioners (April 23, 1647):--

“I desire to be resolved of this question, Why the new reformers discharge the keeping of Easter? My reason for this query is, I conceive the celebration of this feast was instituted by the same authority which changed the Jewish Sabbath into the Lord’s day, or Sunday, for it will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is discharged to be kept, or turned into the Sunday; wherefore it must be the church’s authority that changed the one and instituted the other; therefore my opinion is, that those who will not keep this feast may as well return to the observation of Saturday, and refuse the weekly Sunday. When anybody can show me that herein I am in error, I shall not be ashamed to confess and amend it; till when you know my mind.” 3

Thorndike, in his “Principles of Christian Truth”, thus states the case;--

“Surely those simple people who of late times have taken upon them to keep the Saturday (though it were in truth and effect no less than the renouncing of their Christianity), did not more than pursue the grounds which their predecessors had laid, and draw the conclusion which necessarily follows upon the premises, that if the fourth commandment be in force, then either the Saturday is to be kept, or the Jews were never tied to keep it.” 4

And yet when some drew the only logical conclusion from this controversy between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians, they were regarded as heretics by both parties.


John Traske began to speak and write in favor of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord, about the time that King James I., and the archbishop of Canterbury, published the famous "Book of Sports for Sunday," in 1618. Bishop Cox says of Traske:--

“This writer is mentioned by Heylin (part 2, chap. 8, par. 10) as one who, following the Sabbatarian principles of the Puritans to their legitimate consequences, ’endeavored to bring back again the Jewish Sabbath, as that which is expressly mentioned in the fourth commandment, and abrogate the Lord’s day altogether, as having no foundation in it, nor warrant by it. . .For which his Jewish doctrines having received his censure in the Star Chamber, anno 1618, he was set on the pillory at Westminster, and thence whipped to the Fleet, and there put in prison, and about three years after wrote a recantation of all his former heresies and schismatically opinions.” 5

It was when Traske was before the Star Chamber that Bishop Andrews first brought forward that now famous First-day argument, that the early martyrs were tested by the question, “Hast thou kept the Lord’s day?”
See chapter 14 to understand the true question asked the early martyrs. The neuter dominium never signifies Lord‘s day, but the Lord’s supper.

The cruel treatment and the misery of the prison broke Traske’s spirit, his good wife, who had been a school-teacher of superior excellence, persevered. Pagitt says that she was particularly careful in her dealings with the poor, knowing that she would have to give an acoount for it, and then continues;--

“Therefore she [Mrs. Traske] resolved to go by the safest rule, rather against then for her private interest. . .She was a woman endued with many particular virtues, well worthy the imitation of all Christians, had no error in other things, especially a sprit of strange unparalleled opinionative ness and obstinacy in her private conceits. . . .At last for teaching only five days in the week, and resting upon Saturday, it being known upon what account she did it, she was carried to the new prison in Maiden Lane, a place then appointed for the restraint of several other persons of different opinions from the Church of England. . .

“Mrs Traske lay fifteen or sixteen years a prisoner for her opinion about the Saturday Sabbath; in all which time she would receive no relief from anybody, notwithstanding she wanted much, alleging that it was written, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ neither would she borrow, because it was written, ‘Thou shalt lend to many nations and shalt not borrow,’ So she deemed it a dishonor to her Head, Christ, either to beg or borrow. Her diet for the most part during her imprisonment, that is, till a little before her death, was bread and water, roots and herbs; no flesh nor wine, nor brewed drink. All her means was an annuity of forty shillings a year; what she lacked more to live upon she had of such prisoners as did employ her sometime to do business for them,” 6


But the chain of god’s witnesses is always preserved by the addition of new links, although a voice may be silenced in prison, or some may recant. A more ready pen was that of Theophilus Brabourne, a minister of the established church, at Norfolk. Of his book and person, Bishop Cox gives this full information:--

“Brabourne, T . . .A Discourse Upon the Sabbath Day; wherein are handled these particulars ensuing:
1. That the Lord’s day is not Sabbath day by divine institution.
2. An exposition of the fourth commandment, so far forth as may give light unto the ensuing discourse; and particularly here it is shown at what time the Sabbath day would begin and end, for the satisfaction of those who are doubtful on this point.
3. That the seventh-day Sabbath is not abolished.
4. That the seventh-day Sabbath is now still in force.
5. The author’s exhortation and reasons, that nevertheless there be no rent from our church as touching practise (A.D. 1628). Page 238

”Brabourne is a much abler writer than Traske, and may be regarded as the founder in England of the sect at first known as Sabbatarians, but now calling themselves Seventh-day Baptists. This sect arose in Germany in the sixteenth century. . .
“The argument for the observance of the Lord’s day from the practise of the apostles is thus handled by Brabourne: ‘Now touching the constant practise of the apostles alleged: I deny it;. . .where can it be shown that Peter ever preached twice in all his life, or Paul, . . On the Lord’s day? Or let them put all the apostles together, and were is it found that amongst them all they ever at any time preached two Lord’s days immediately and successively, one next following the other together?”. .. He even turns the argument against its employers: ‘Whereas they build upon the practise of the apostles; preaching, so as on what day they preached constantly, that day must needs be a Sabbath; why then, if this argument be a good one, Saturday, the Lord’s Sabbath on the seventh day, must needs be our Sabbath; for the apostles after Christ’ resurrection did constantly preach upon the Sabbath day, which was the day before the Lord’s day: see for the truth hereof these texts: Acts 13:14,42,44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4. Pages 33-36

“’And now let me propound unto your choice these two days: the Sabbath day on Saturday, or the Lords; day on Sunday. . . If you keep the Lord’s day, but profane the Sabbath day, you walk in great danger and peril (to say the least) of transgressing one of god’s eternal and inviolable laws, the fourth commandment; but on the other side if you keep the Sabbath day, though you profane the Lord’s day, you are out of all gunshot and danger, for so you transgress no law at all, since Christ nor his apostles did ever leave any law for it.’” page 220 7

Cox adds that the book is very poorly printed. Brabourne’s apology is, that by reason of some troubles raised up against himself and his book, he had to leave, and peruse and correct his proofs away from the press. It is noticeable that Bishop Cox recognizes the link between the Sabbatarians springing up on the Continent the previous century and those who arose in England. Soon afterward, Brabourne must have written his Defense, the second edition of which appeared in 1632, according to Cox;--

“A Defense of that most ancient and sacred ordinance of God’s, the Sabbath day. . . .Undertaken against all anti-Sabbatarians, both of Protestants, papists, antinomians, and Anabaptists.”. ..Second edition, 1632, page 633
“For maintaining, on the ground of the morality of the Sabbath, and the want of divine authority for transferring it to Sunday, that the seventh day of the week, not the first, ought to be kept holy, and for his boldness in dedicating so heretical a work as this Defense to Charles I, Brabourne was summoned before the high commission, ‘whose well tempered severity,’ says Fuller, ‘herein so prevailed upon him, that, submitting himself to a private conference, and perceiving the unsoundness of his own principles, he became a convert, conforming himself quietly to the Church of England. His followers, however, did not all accompany him back to orthodoxy.”8

In his Defense (page 1), he remarked: “I am tied in conscience, rather to depart with my life than with his truth; so captivated is my conscience and enthralled to the law of my God,”

Davis writes:

“For some reason, it is not possible to ascertain distinctly what, though probably overawed by the character of the assembly, he signed a recantation. . .Nevertheless, he continued to assert that if the Sabbatic institution be indeed moral and perpetually binding, the seventh day ought to be sacredly kept.” 9 That this is so, we find from the following notice of another book by T. Brabourne, called, “An Answer to Two Books on the Sabbath: the one by Mr. Ives, entitled, ‘Saturday No Sabbath Day;’ the other by Mr. Warren, ‘The Jews’ Sabbath Antiquated,’. London 1659” 10 That Brabourne, as Gilfillan claims, finally kept no day, proves that although he failed to continue to keep the seventh day amid the trial of persecution, yet he remained firmly settled to the end, that if any day should be kept, it must be the Sabbath of the Commandment, not Sunday. And no other man than the great poet Milton also arrived at that conclusion. He says, in a manuscript which Elzevir, feared to print--

“For if we under the gospel are to regulate the time of our public worship by the prescriptions of the Decalogue, it will surely be far safer to observe the seventh day, according to the express commandment of god, than on the authority of mere human conjecture to adopt the first.” 11

Fallible though Brabourne was in putting his trust in princes, and weak when his expectations failed, yet Charles I charged two of his most able men to refute the whole Sabbatarian controversy: Dr. Heylin, of Westminster, and Bishop T. White, of Ely. That Brabourne partly occasioned this action, Bishop White thus attests:--

“Now because this Brabourne’s treatise of the Sabbath was dedicated to his Royal Majesty, and the principles upon which he grounded all his arguments (being commonly preached, printed, and believed throughout the kingdom) might have poisoned and infected many people either with this Sabbatarian error or with some other of like quality; it was the king, our gracious master, his will and pleasure, that a treatise would be set forth to prevent further mischief, and to settle his good subjects (who have long time been distracted about Sabbatarian question) in the old and good way of the ancient and orthodoxies Catholic Church. Now that which his sacred Majesty commanded, I have by your Grace’s [Archbishop Laud] direction obediently performed,” 12

Bishop White defends Sunday simply as a church ordinance. To the soundness of Brabourne’s arguments against the Puritans, he pays this compliment:--

“Maintaining your own principles, that the fourth commandment is purely and simply moral and of the law of nature, it will be impossible for you, either in English or Latin, to solve Theophilus Brabourne’s objections.” 13

As to the indefinite time theory, his book contains this pithy notice:--“Because an indefinite time must either bind to all moments of time, as a debt, when the day of payment is not expressly dated, is liable to payment every moment, or else it binds to no time at all.” 14


Utter, in his Manual of Seventh-Day Baptists, mentions a number of other Sabbath-keepers of that time as follows:

“About this time. Philip Tandy began to promulgate in the northern part of England the same doctrine concerning the Sabbath. He was educated in the established church, of which he became a minister. Having changed his views respecting the mode of baptism and the day of the Sabbath, he abandoned that church, and ‘became a mark for many shots.’ He held several public disputes about his peculiar sentiments, and did much to propagate them.” 15

By this time the controversy about calling Sunday, “Sabbath” was at its height. Brabourne had, in his Defense (page 53), rightly complained that “by translating the name Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, the common people; when they read in the Scriptures anything of note touching the Sabbath day, presently catch that in their mind upon the Lord’s day, thinking it to be meant of that.” Dr. Pocklington’s book, following in the wake of Brabourne’s, was burned in 1640. Archbishop Usher, who assisted J.Ley with his book, “Sunday a Sabbath” (A.D. 1641), charged Brabourne with having given “occasion to the raising up of these unhappy broils.” 16

Then in 1642 the true Sabbath found a new vindication:--

“Ockford, James-- The Doctrine of the Fourth Commandment. 1642. This book, written by a follower of Brabourne, is said by Cawdrey and Palmer, in their Sabbatum Redivivum, to have been ‘confuted by fire, being adjudged to be burned,’ (Vol. 2, p. 427). He is answered by them in the same volume.” 17

The Puritans, then being in power, burned Ockford’s book. But then a pithy writer, E. Fisher, published his “Christian Caveat” against the Puritans, of whom he affirms that “because they are neither able to produce direct Scripture nor solid reason for what they say, they labour to support their conceits by fallacies, falsities, and wresting of God’s Holy Word.” By 1653 five editions had appeared.

But though the Puritans had no better arguments than to burn the books defending the Word of God and the logical conclusion of their own premises, yet God provided stronger witnesses.

That the Sabbatarians were then a distinct body, and that they had been such for some time previously to 1654, is seen from the fact that there were then about one hundred fifty adherents belonging to several groups in London. The Mill Yard Seventh-day Baptist organization exists in London to this day, and its records go back to 1673, when they had seventy members. Dr. Peter Chamberlain, who came from a long line of French Huguenot physicians, and had been physician in ordinary to three kings and queens of England before he joined the Sabbatarians, preached in Mill Yard Church as early as 1652; John James, about 1653; and William Sellers, 1657. 18

In 1658 Thomas Tillam was minister of the Seventh-day Baptists church at Colchester, and published a book, “The Seventh-day Sabbath Sought Out and Celebrated.” 19


The next book published, Cox mentions--

“”Stennet, Edward, an English dissenting minister.
The royal law contended for; or, some brief grounds serving to prove that the ten commandments are yet in full force, and shall so remain till heaven and earth pass away; also, the Seventh-day Sabbath proved from the beginning, from the law, from the prophets, from Christ and his apostles, to be a duty yet incumbent upon saints and sinners. London, 1658” 20

“Stennet, Edward. The Seventh day Is the Sabbath of the Lord. 1664.” 21
The author was born in the beginning of the century. He was an able minister of the established church, but on account of his dissent, he was deprived of his living. He then studied medicine, by the practise of which he could give his sons a liberal education and support himself. He had to suffer for his adherence to the Sabbath, experiencing much from those in power, by whom he was kept in prison for a long time. He wrote other treatises, now extinct, which all breathed the genuine spirit of Christianity. The Stennet family supplied able ministers to the Sabbath cause for four generations.

What strength the Sabbatarians had attained in England, and that their doctrines had already spread to America, proved from Stennet’s letters, dated Abingdon, Berkshire, 1668 and 1670:

To “the remnant in Rhode Island who keep the commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus.” “Here in England are about nine or ten churches that keep the Sabbath, besides many scattered disciples, who have been eminently preserved in this tottering day, when many once eminent churches have been shattered in pieces. The Lord alone be exalted.” 22

In 1671 Wm. Sellers wrote a treatise: “An Examination of a Late Book Published by Dr. Owen, Concerning a Saced Day of Rest.” Cox adds”

“In opposition to the opinion that some one day in seven is all that the fourth commandment requires t be set apart, the writer maintains the obligation of the Saturday Sabbath on the ground that ‘God himself directly in the letter of the text calls the seventh day the Sabbath day, giving both the names to one and the selfsame day, as all men know that ever read the commandments.”’23

The same Sellers, minister at Mill Yard published “An Appeal to the Consciences of the Chief Magistrated Touching the Sabbath Day,” as early as 1657, and a larger edition in 1679.


But as the Seventh-day Baptists increased in numbers, the enemy of the thruth increased in fury. Dr. Cramp thus bears testimony:--

The execution of John James was a horrible illustration of royal malice. John James was a Sabbatarian Baptist. His meeting-house was in Bulstrake Alley, Whitechapel, London. On the 19th October, 1661, he was dragged from his pulpit and committed to Newgate, on the charge of uttering treasonable words against the King. The principal witness against him was one Tipler, a journeyman pipe-maker, a man whose character was so well known, that the magistrate before whom Mr. James was taken refused to receive his deposition, unless some other witness would corroborate it. Others were found, who confirmed Tipler’s testimony; but one of them afterwards confessed that “he had sworn against Mr. James he knew not what.” In fact, there can be little doubt that the witnesses were suborned, probably bribed, to commit perjury. There is the more reason to believe this, because when the Lieutenant of the Tower read the information laid against Mr. James in the presence of his congregation, and asked them how they could hear such doctrines, they all replied, “that they never heard such words, as they shall answer it before the Lord, and they durst not lie.” But the death of the victim was predetermined. It was no difficult matter to procure a verdict against him. He was tried and convicted on the 19th of November, and sentenced the next day to be hanged, drawn, and quartered.

So flagrant was the injustice, that his wife was advised by her friends to present a petition to the King for his life, setting forth the facts which have been mentioned, and entreating his Majesty’s interposition. But they had miscalculated. Charles treated the heart-broken woman with gross brutality. “With some difficulty she met the King, and presented him with the paper, acquainting him who she was. To whom he held up his finger, and said, ‘Oh! Mr. James—he is a sweet, gentleman;’ but following him for some further answer, the door was shut against her. The next morning she attended again, and an opportunity soon presenting, she implored his Majesty’s answer to her request. Who then replied, ‘That he was a rogue, and should be hanged.’ One of the lords attending him asked him of whom she spake. The King answered, ‘Of John James, that rogue; he shall be hanged; yea, he shall be hanged.’

On the 26th of November, Mr. James was dragged, after the manner of traitors, from Newgate to Tyburn, the place of execution. His behavior under these awful circumstances was dignified and Christian. In his address to the multitude, referring to his denominational sentiments, he said, “I do own the title of a baptized believer. I own the ordinances and appointments of Jesus Christ. I own all the principles in Hebrews 6:1, 2.” He charged his friends to continue their religious assemblies, at all risk. His closing exhortations were remarkably solemn and impressive, reminding the people of the days of the old martyrs. “This is a happy day,” said one of his friends. “I bless the Lord,” he replied, “it is so.” When all was ready, he lifted up his hands; and exclaimed, with a loud voice, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.” So he died. His quarters were placed over the city gates, and his head was set upon a pole, opposite the meetinghouse in which he had preached the Gospel.24

Utter adds a few more details:--

“As he was asked what h had to say, why he ought not to be condemned, he said he would refer them to the following texts for consideration: Jer. 26:14,15; Psalms 116” “He was, however, sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. This awful sentence did not dismay him in the least. E calmly said, ‘Blessed by god; whom man condemneth, God justifieth,.’ While he lay in prison, under sentence of death, many persons of distinction visited him, who were greatly affected by his piety and resignation,: :Having finished his address, and kneeling down, he thanked God for covenant mercies and for conscious innocence; he prayed for the witnesses against him, for the executioner, for the people of God, for the removal of divisions, for the coming of Christ, for the spectators, and for himself, that he might enjoy a sense of God’s favor and presence, and an entrance into glory.” “After he was dead, his heart was taken out and burned, his quarters were were affixed to the gates of the city, and his head was set p in white chapel on a pole opposite to the alley in which his meeting house stood.” 25

Such was the experience of an English Sabbath keeper in the seventeenth century. It cast something to obey the fourth commandment in such times as those.


One of the most eminent Sabbatarian ministers of the last half of the seventeenth century was Francis Bampfield. He was originally a clergy man of the Church of England. The following extracts testify of his sufferings and earnestness:--

“But being utterly unsatisfied in his conscience with the conditions of conformity, he took his leave of his sorrowful and weeping congregation in 1662.
“After the act of uniformity, he continued preaching as he had opportunity in private, till he was imprisoned for five days and nights with twenty-five of his hearers, in one room,. . . .where they spent their time in religious exercises; but after some time he was released. Soon after, he was apprehended again, and lay nine years in Dorchester jail, though he was a person of unshaken loyalty to the king.”
“When he resided in London, he formed a church on the principles of the Sabbatharian Baptists, at Pinner’s hall, of which principles he was a zealous asserter. He was a celebrated preacher, and a man of serious piety.” 26
“All that knew him would acknowledge that he was a man of great piety. And he would in all probability have preserved the same character, with respect to his learning and judgment, had it not been for his opinion in two points; viz., that infants ought not to be baptized, and that the Jewish Sabbath ought still to be kept.” 27

On Feb. 17, 1682, he was arrested while preaching, and on March 28 was sentenced to forfeit all his goods and to be imprisoned in Newgate for life. In consequence of the hardships which he suffered in that prison, he died, Feb. 16, 1683. 28
“Bampfield,” says Wood, “dying in said prison of New gate, . . . Aged seventy years, his body was. . .followed with a very great company of factious and schismatically people to his grave.” 29

Bampfield published two works in behalf of the seventh day as the Sabbath, -- one in 1672, the other in 1677. In the first of these he thus sets forth the doctrine of the Sabbath:-

“The law of the seventh-day Sabbath was given before the law was proclaimed at Sinai, even from the creation, given to Adam. . .and in him to all the world. . .The Lord Christ’s obedience unto this fourth word Is observing in his lifetime the seventh day as a weekly Sabbath day, . . .and no other day of the week as such, is a part of that perfect righteousness which every sound believer doth apply to himself in order to his being justified in the sight of the God; and every such person is to conform unto Christ in all the acts of his obedience to the ten words.” 30

His brother, Mr. Thomas Bampfield, who had been speaker in one of Cromwell’s parliaments, wrote also in behalf of seventh-day observance, and was imprisoned for his religious principles in Ilchester jail. 31 His “Enquiry Regarding the Fourth Commandment,” was answered by Dr. Wallis, of Oxford; and Bampfield published “A Reply” in 1693.


That the Seventh-day Baptists caused quite a stir during the seventeenth century appears from the fact that they are so often referred to in the numerous works written in defense of Sunday. Their pleading for a definite day instead of “one in seven,” developed in response --(in addition to the gnostic no-day theory) a new conjecture-- that God’s seventh day was identical with Sunday. Astronomy, geology, the Gnostic play on figures, the round world, the arctic regions, etc., as well as persecution and slander, were brought forward to bolster up this new notion of “one in seven”. That persecution caused the Seventh-day Baptists trouble also from false, back sliding brethren, is seen from J. Cowell’s “The Snare Broken,” 1677; yet in 1702 they could show a list of eighteen churches in England.

In 1691 the Mill Yard Chapel was bought, which, being rebuilt on account of fire (1790) had to give way for railway extension in 1885. But with the eighteenth century their zeal vanished. Carlov (1724) and Cornthwaite, who wrote five treatises from 1733 to 1740, are their only representatives, until Burside arose, in 1825. The watchmen on the walls of Zion fell asleep; making the Sabbath of minor importance, they took charge of first-day churches, and thus lowered the standard of truth.


Crosby, a first-day historian, sets this matter in its true light:--

“If the seventh day ought to be observed as the Christian Sabbath, then all congregations that observe the first day as such must be Sabbath-breakers. . . .I must leave those gentlemen on th contrary side to their own sentiments; and to vindicate the practise of becoming pastors to a people whom in their conscience they must believe to be breakers of the Sabbath.” 32

The Sabbath was wounded in the house of its own friends. They took upon themselves the responsibility, after a time, of making the Sabbath of no practical importance, and of treating its violation as no very serious transgression of the law of God. Doubtless they hoped to win men to Christ and his truth by this course; but, instead of this, they simply lowered the standard of divine truth into the dust. The Sabbath-keeping ministers assumed the pastoral care of first-day churches, in some cases as their sole charge, in others, they did this in connection with the oversight of Sabbatarian churches. The result need surprise no one; as these Sabbath-keeping ministers and churches said to all men, in thus acting, that the fourth commandment might be broken with impunity, the people took them at their word.


Forty four years after the landing of the pilgrim Father, Stephen Mumford, sent out by the London Seventh-day Baptists, arrived in Rhode Island; Elder Wm.. Gibson followed in 1665, The historian Backus thus refers to the matter:--

“Stephen Mumford came over from London in 1664, and brought the opinion with him that the whole of the ten commandments, as they were delivered from Mount Sinai, were moral and immutable; and that it was the antichristian power which thought to change times and laws, that changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. Several members of the first church in Newport embraced this sentiment and yet continued with the church for some years, until two men and their wives, who had so done, turned back to the keeping of the first day again.” 33

The following records Mumford’s early success:--

“Stephen Mumford the first Sabbath -keeper in America, came from London in 1664. Tacy Hubbard commenced keeping the Sabbath March 11, 1665; Samuel Hubbard commenced April 1, 1665; Rachel Langworthy, Jan. 15, 1666; Roger Baxter, April 15, 1666, and Wiliam Hiscox, April 28, of that same year. These were the first Sabbath-keepers in America. A controversy, lasting several years, sprung up between their connection with the church, but were at last compelled to withdraw, that they might peaceably enjoy and keep God’s holy day.” 34

This report not only testifies of success, but it reveals the very weakness which caused the decline of the Sabbath cause in England; Mumford and his converts were willing to remain in church fellowship with the other Baptists, and four of his converts not only ceased to observe the Sabbath in 1668, but “wrote and spoke against it” Dr. Edward Stennet, being asked for advice thus counselled them:--

“If the church will hold communion with these apostates from the truth, you ought then to desire to be fairly dismissed from the church; which if the church refuse, you ought to withdraw yourselves.” 35


As the apostates would not withdraw from the first-day members, the seventh-day members had to do so, as Bailey states:--

“At the time of their change of sentiment and practise respecting the Bible Sabbath, they had no intention of establishing a church with this distinctive feature. God, evidently had a different mission for them, and brought them to it through the severe trial of persecution. They were forced to leave the fellowship of the Baptist Church, or abandon the Sabbath of the Lord their God.” 36
“these left the Baptist Church on Dec. 7, 1671.” 37
“On the twenty-third of December, just sixteen days after withdrawing from the Baptist Church, they covenanted together in a church organization.” 38

Such was the origin of the first Sabbath-keeping church in America. 39 The second of these churches owes its origin to this circumstance: About the year 1700, Edmund Dunham, of Piscataway, N.J., reproved a person for labouring on Sunday. He was asked for his authority from the Scriptures. On searching of this, he became satisfied that the seventh day is the only weekly Sabbath in the Bible, and began to observe it.

“Soon after, others followed his example, and in 1707 a Seventh-day Baptist church was organized, with seventeen members. Edmund Dunham was chose pastor, and sent to Rhode Island to receive ordination.” 40


The Seventh-day Baptist General Conference was organized in 1802. At its first annual session, It included in its organization eight churches, nine ordained ministers, and one thousand one hundred thirty members. 41 The conference was organized with only advisory powers, the Individual churches retaining the matters of discipline and church government in their own hands. 42

After learning how the Lord in His providence transplanted the seed of the Sabbath truth to the virgin soil of the New World, and how soon it there developed into an organized body, we shall again direct our attention to the Old World, considering especially Moravia and Bohemia.


With the brute force of arms, and by the most cruel intolerance, the Papacy succeeded in crushing not only the Sabbatarians and Baptists, but also Protestantism in general in in the Old World. Amid the persecution, the traces of the Sabbatarians there became extinct. In the edict of tolerance, which Emperor Joseph promulgated (1782), certain people called “Israelites” and “Abrahamites” were especially excluded, and they, with the “deists,” were enrolled in the army. An eye-witness took the pains to gather their history from their own mouths, and we quote the following extracts from his published report:--

“After the Reformation, the Protestant religion made rapid progress; but soon this doctrine was suppressed by the most cruel violence. Its adherents were executed and banished and those who remained had to hold their views very secretly.” “the more they were oppressed, the greater grew the dislike (transplanted form father to son) for the Catholic religion. They had no pastors. All Protestant theological books, especially the Bible, were forbidden by the most stringent orders, and taken from them whenever found.”
“Therefore every one formed for himself an idea of religion as well as he could. Some saw that the Jews enjoyed a tolerance denied to them. The Jews could read the Old Testament, but they could not. Thinking that the Old Testament was also god’s Word, they sought acquaintance with the Jews, to thus have access to the Bible. What was more natural than that, after several generations had passed, they should hold to the doctrines of the Old Testament, having no correct knowledge of the teachings of the New, of which they were deprived, and that they should be inclined to unite with the Jews, who were more tolerated than themselves, and with whom they enjoyed in common the Old Testament as a divine book? These people were called Israelites.” “Others, better read in the New Testament,. . . Also saw from the Old Testament that Abraham served God acceptably with the ceremonial law, and before it was instituted. . .They therefore rejected all human ordinances which displeased them in the Roman religion. . .They called themselves Abrahamites.” 43

How the Protestants became deists through the same intolerance, one thus testified:--

“I was a Protestant for fourteen years. I bought many Protestant books. Twice I procured the Holy Bible, with great difficulty. But again and again they were taken away. Finally, I began to think: “O Lord God, if thou constantly permitted the spoiling of my books, it is not thy will that I should serve thee according to the books, but rather in harmony with reason.’” 44

On page 16, the same author remarks:--

“I pray every honest Christian, who understands the value of zealously seeking after truth, to place himself into the position of these unfortunate people, from whom the divine revelation was taken away for centuries, although they still had a desire to learn from it. . .Whoever wishes to censure, should first blame those who so many times took from them the written Word.”

But what happened to these poor people? According to the imperial edict of March 11, 1783, all men, “without regard to age, size, or health,” were placed among the Hungarian regiments, stationed along the border, and not more than five or six were allowed in the same garrison. Or, as stated in the work from which we have just quoted (page 41);--

“In consequence of this decree there were (April 13, 1783) some one hundred twenty deists of both sexes, and also some so-called Israelites, or Christians who had apostatized to Judaism, conveyed under military guard to the different garrisons.”

It would be useless to attempt to determine to what extent these so-called Israelites had apostatized to Judaism; one thing we know, that after two hundred years of most cruel persecution in Bohemia and Moravia, there were Christian Sabbathkeepers till being persecuted.


As we consider the further history of the Sabbatarians in Transylvania, the continual persecution of Sabbath keepers will appear in still clearer light. Their history from 1635 to 1867 is thus described by Adolph Dux: --

“Among these was also Pechy, whom the prince soon afterwards imprisoned in one of his fortresses, and deprived of his goods. A number of Pechy’s faithful followers experienced the same fate; many were taken prisoners, incarcerated in different fortresses, and that in such numbers that they were unable to procure enough chains for them. Others were gathered in the chief church at Dees, whence they were marched off to different portions of the country to do hard work on the new fortifications. A goldsmith named Toroczkai was stoned by the enraged multitude at Dees. The condition of the Sabbatarians was dreadful”
In consequence of the catastrophe at Dees, their books and writings had to be delivered to the Karlsburg Consistory to become the spoil of flames. Thus only a few books were preserved. The Sabbatarians continued under the cover of one of the four state religions, but not in safety. Their customs being known, they were often scared out of their Sabbath rest, and forcibly compelled o labour. Persecuted as they were, no one wrote new books of prayer; they had to content themselves with the translation of a Jewish prayer-book. Their numbers diminished more and more until there remained only a few of them at Bozod-Ujfallu, and at the same time their connection with the Christian religion became more and more loosened until it ceased entirely.” 45

This description gives the gradual transition, and its causes. The “Evangelical - Lutheran Kirchenzeitung” throws still more light upon the subject:

“Henceforth the sect remained obsolete. Transylvania came under the immediate rule of the Hapsburg dynasty; the Roman Catholics again took possession of many of the church buildings, promising an indemnity, but never paying it; also at Weisenburg the Roman episcopate was restored. For a long time the secretiveness of the sect assured their peace; but in 1728 new trails were instigated against some of its adherents, on the charge of high treason. The empress Maria Theresa sent (1750) Roman priests there, who were protected by a detachment of soldiers. In the Hungarian portion of Transylvania, the sect disappeared entirely. More resistance, however, was offered in another portion of the country-- the free Szekler land. But even here the seventy to seventy-two villages of Pechy became mostly Catholic, while other communities turned Unitarians, and founded the school at Szkelykereszten. Joseph II’s edict of tolerance did not apply to the Sabbatarians, some of whom again lost all of their possessions.” 46

Numberless persecutions, loss of all property, incarceration of so many of their preachers and stanch men “that they were unable to procure enough chains for them,” destruction of their literature by fire, attempted conversions on the part of the Reformed, Catholic priests aided by soldiers forcing them to accept Romanism nominally, and compelling the remainder to labour on the Sabbath and to attend church on Sunday, -- these were the methods employed for two hundred fifty years to turn the Sabbatarians to the greater liberties of a lawless gospel.

By 1860 the thousands had dwindled down to one hundred fifty souls, who, instead of filling seventy-two villages, easily found shelter in one. Is it surprising that some of the small remnant, deprived of their shepherds, of their books, and of their possessions, should finally fall an easy prey to Jewish proselyte? Yet some of them kept up their profession of Christianity, as the author learned on a visit to Bozod-Ujfallu, May 10, 1890. At Maros-Vasarhely he met a certain Abraham Lipot, who had long lived among the Sabbatarians as a teacher, and had collected considerable money for them, which was partially spent in erecting a school. Jewish innkeepers, settling among the Sabbatarians after 1860, are said to have given the first occasion for their being proselyted. 47

Bozod-Ujfallu is a village of eight hundred inhabitants, consisting of Roman and Greek Catholic, United Greeks, Unitarians, Reformed, Jews, and a few Sabbatarians. To assure himself that some professing Christianity still kept the Sabbath, the author called on a Joseph Szallos, who met him at the gate, dressed in his national Sabbath dress. As he had served in the army, and had also been village judge for quite a time, he knew sufficient German to give details. As the law compelled every one to belong to some acknowledged religion, he was registered as a Roman Catholic, and because he paid his fees, the church closed its eyes to his Sabbath keeping. He still read his prayers out of their old books, and rejoiced to learn of Christian Sabbath keepers. The author had been in Szallos’ house scarcely half an hour when he was summoned to the priest, who had braced up his courage by something too strong even for him, and he stated that proselyting was contrary to the law.

The author went over to the Jewish school; and what a peculiar sight, and what a confusion of voices! Soon the day of Judgment will decide upon whom the greatest blame rests for thirty families finally having joined the Jews in 1874. The doctrine of the Sabbath is not the cause of this, but the chief blame rests with those who, because these persecuted people preferred the Bible to tradition and the divine institution to the papal, wrested from them the lamp to their feet, took their possessions away, deprived them of liberty of conscience, and left them in darkness. After all, who are the true witness of divine worship-- the brutal oppressors, or the unhappy oppressed?

We have followed this remarkable offshoot of the Sabbath movement from the time of the Reformation to our own day (1890) and have found some witnesses still left who, professing Christianity, rest on the Sabbath of Jehovah, as a sign of its wonderful vital force in the midst of fallen Christendom and blind Judaism.


In the sixteenth century we also found the Russian Sabbath movement suppressed by force, but not obliterated. Up to the present day there are some Subotniki, or Sabbatarians. Prof. F.M. von Waldeck attests the connection:--

“The Subotniki are in their doctrines near related to the Molokani; however, they observe Sabbath instead of Sunday, and hold that the Old Testament ordinances are still binding. They probably arose from a Judaizaing sect, which was founded in the fifteenth century by a Karaite.” 48

The first clear traces we next find, are in the eighteenth century: --

“Of these sects [fifteenth century] the Molokani have maintained themselves up to the present day. Persecuted in the government of Moscow, they went to that of Woronesh, and there we find in the district of Bobrow alone, three hundred souls belong to it, in the eighteenth century. At the same time quite a number lived in the government of Saratov. The Molokani kept the Sabbath and circumcised their boys. From among themselves they chose old men, well read in the Scriptures, to take charge of their worship.” 49
“By the latter half of the eighteenth century they had increased to some five thousand in the Woronesh government alone, a certain Uklein being the most active worker. But in 1769 they were found out and exiled. A number settled around the Sea of Azof, and some had to do penal work on the fortifications; but still their persecution in the northern provinces attracted the attention of honest people all the more, and so they kept spreading. During the mild reign of Alexander I they began to proselyte openly, and sent missionaries to the prairies of the Don, where in 1825 zealous Martin Godkow was seized and condemned to penal labour in the lead-mines of the Caucasus, for spreading the heresy.” 50

The correspondence between Count Kuscheleff-Bezborodko ( on whose estates the Subotniki lived in the Woronesh government) and his inspector, Bartosh, throws further light on this subject. In his letter of Dec. 24, 1826, replying to the inspector, the cunt charges him to be careful not to believe idle tales with regard to the matter of circumcision.

“If you have not caught any one at the deed, it is much wiser not to make a mistake, and to follow the principle that it is better to forbear with the guilty than to punish the innocent.” 51

However, the imperial government acted differently, and banished hundreds of these Subotniki to Siberia, and sent their children to penal colonies. The count dared to remonstrate with the representative of the minister, Lanskoy. The government became more forbearing, but the count had to submit three propositions to them, May 7, 1829:--

“Either join the Orthodox Church, or buy themselves free from the community of his possessions here, or to emigrate to his estates in the Crimea and the Caucasus.

“Many joined the Greek Church, but the majority moved to the Crimea and the Caucasus, where they remain true to their doctrines in spite of persecution until this present time. The people call them Subotniki, or Sabbatarians.” 52

But that even some who outwardly joined the Greek Catholic church still practised their former belief, is seen from the following;

“The Woronesh Eparchial, June, 1877, the organ of the bishop of Woronesh, reports that the Subotniki living in this government, who thus far had been good Orthodox Christians and visited the Orthodox churches, begin to avoid the Orthodox Christians and to neglect attending the church. They form small companies. . .Most of the Sabbatarians live in the districts of Palow and Bobrow. But some of the Orthodox in the neighboring territory of the Don, especially so at the station Michaelow, have accepted the Sabbatarian faith; they are regular Russian peasants.” 53

There are some exiles in Sibereia who still adhere to the Sabbath. Strong’s Cyclpedia bears witness of this, on the strength of Platon’s “Present State of the Greek Church in Russia,” page 273. Speaking of the nineteenth century, it states: --

“Here and there in different parts of Russian, travelers have discovered during this century, fragments of churches cherishing Jewish ideas; it is believed that these are remnants of the old sect of the Subotniki. In Irkutsk they exist under the name of ‘Selesnewschtschini.’ 54

Besides these authentic evidences, the author personally knows, from his contact with Sabbatarians in Russia, that the Subotnike exist in different parts of the country, representing all shades of belief between Christianity and Judaism. The same intolerance has produced the same results in Russia as elsewhere. The connecting links between the Russian Sabbath-keepers of the fourteenth and nineteen centuries have thus been amply set forth.


However, there is a brighter side to the picture. The efforts of noble Christian men to bring the gospel of Christ to the blinded children of natural Israel is bearing fruit. Since the New Testament has been translated into the Hebrew, quite a number have espoused the Christian faith. The late Joseph Rabin witch was especially successful.

During a visit in Palestine he became fully convinced that the great things was not a return to the Holy Land, but a reform within.

“Thus the light gradually dawned in the mind of this scribe that the only salvation of his people rested in their return to the old source of life, the Scriptures, and their accepting Jesus as our brother, in whom the ancient writings were fulfilled.” 55

But while his coverts accepted Christ, they retained the true Sabbath, which Dr. Luthardt thus approves: “From another letter of the same reported [Pastor Faltin] we learn that a Christian Sabbath service is thought of. From principle, we cannot deny their right to such a service, remembering that in some parts of the ancient church, as in Egypt and Asia Minor both Sabbath and Sunday were dept together for centuries. In the Greek Church the Sabbath still possesses this prerogative above the other weekdays, that no texts from the Old Testament are to be read on it.” 56

Past Faltin give the following account of the first Sabbath assembly held by them, on Jan, 19, 1885:--

“I have just returned from the first assembly of the Israelites of the new covenant. The house of worship was crowded. The Lord blessed abundantly. Texts were read from the New Testament. Our organ and small choir assisted. What a contrast, if I compare this live worship in the spirit of Christ with the formal services which I have heard in Switzerland on the part of the so-called Reform preachers.” 57

The blessing of god cannot fail if the natural Israel returns again to its Messiah, and again erects the eternal sign of the covenant between God and the faithful seed of Abraham.


There are also some traces of Christian Sabbath keepers in Germany, who have become convinced of the Sabbath truth since the Reformation. At the end of the eighteenth century there lived in Nuremberg a certain Tennhardt, a barber by trade. When he was but twenty years of age (1681), he came into possession of a Bible, which he diligently read, and over which he earnestly prayed, until, in 1704, he experienced a change of heart, and according to his own saying, he had revelations from the Lord. He practised total abstinence, and abhorred tobacco. Shortly afterward, he became convinced of the Sabbath.

Prelate Bengel thus describes his visit to him;

“Tennhardt received me very cordially; he is modest, temperate, crucifies his flesh, and is much concerned about his soul’s salvation. He hates lies with all his heart. He holds strictly to the doctrine of the Sabbath, because it is one of the ten commandments.” 58

He sates his own conviction as follows:

“It cannot be shown that Sunday has taken the place of the Sabbath, and that one must be observed instead of the other. Either the seventh day of the week must be retained, or all of the days of the week are alike. Then it is not certain that the early Christians observed both Sabbath and Sunday.” 59


Tennhardt had great difficulty in getting his writings printed, but he finally succeeded in Erfurt, outside of Bavaria. He fully refuted the Lutheran conception that even Christians cannot keep God’s law, commenting on Romans 3:31

“The law is established by faith, that it shall remain until the day of Judgement’ but it will remain only among the true believers. Unbelief tears it down, by saying: One cannot keep the law or the commandments; and it throws it down in such a manner that one part tumbles here, another there; but not so with faith, which makes new tables, and writes the law upon them, namely, upon the heart. The Holy Spirit reminds the believer continually, not to again transgress the law, while on the other hand the evil spirit says to the unbeliever, Thou canst not perfectly keep the ten commandments.” “they think themselves believing Christians, all confessing, I believe; yet they should remember that faith cannot only keep the commandments of God, but that it overcometh the whole world, with all that is therein, yea, not only can overcome, but already has overcome it.” 60

He remarks concerning the theory of one day in seven and the Sabbath:--

“Therefore, the Sabbath is a great blessing form the Lord; and men have shamefully rejected and changed it, as if it did not amount to much. They vainly think that if a person keep one day in the week, not necessarily Saturday, then they have sufficiently obeyed the fourth commandment, and thus have permitted the devil to lead them astray. And as the Lord God has sanctified the last day of the week as rest ay, and appointed it as much for himself as for man, Antichrist, on the other hand, has appointed the first day of the week (which the first Christians used as after-Sabbath, or assembly day), and by this means has converted the right rest day into the most noisy day of the week.” 61

Murdock’s English edition of Mosheim simply mentions Tennhardt’s name, 62 But the German edition gives the following details about him:--

“Finally he gave up his profession to devote himself entirely to his work of reformation. To the city council at Nuremberg he handed his biography and his two writings: Word of God, or a Small Tract on the So-called Spiritual Office;” and “words of God, or the Last Voice of Warning and Mercy of Jesus Christ.” He was imprisoned in 1708, and examined by the clergy. However, he again regained his liberty the same year.” 63

Tennhardt made extensive missionary tours as far as Berlin, Saxony, and Silesia; his first writing was published in Erfut in 1710, and it “caused such a stir that they wrote and preached against him publicly.” Returning to Nuremberg in 1714, he was imprisoned the second time, but was again released. He went to Frankfurt in 1717, and died at Cassel in 1720, on his way from Saxony. His efforts were not without fruit, as Mosheim thus confesses;--

“J.D. Winkler has in hisAnecd. Hist. Eccl. Nov. antiques St. 7,s. 136 f., printed a letter of Eisler to the superintendent Reimann of Hildesheim. From this it appears that Tennhardt had also a defender in Pastor Golther, who published, under the name of Alethophilus, a Scriptural Judicium Theol. Of J. Tennhardt, 1711.” 64

This treatise has eighty pages. It is divided into seven chapters. The sixth chapter deals with theSabbath. This Lutheran pastor, referring to Jer. 6:16,

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” thus defends Tennhardt’s views. “What Tennhardt writes by divine command about the Sabbath remains, therefore, a fact: this and no other day is to be kept, because it has in itself the special blessing of creation. . . .As to Col. 2:16, this refers to the after Sabbaths, for the Jews celebrated Easter and other feasts a whole week. . .These days were called Sabbaths, because they sprang from the great immovable Sabbath, and depended on it as the branches on the trunk of a tree. . .
If in this text the right Sabbath had been meant, then the later Christians could have easily decided the matter, and might then have abolished the Sabbath, which, however, according to the testimony of the church history, did not occur.
Therefore God’s institution has the preference above all church ordinances, no matter how ancient they may be, and how many councils affirmed them. Far better to set aside all other holidays instituted by man, than to neglect this rest day. Indeed, this pertains to the time and appointment of Antichrist, which already worked in secret in Paul’s days. 2 Thess. 2:7. The mystery of iniquity already worked inwardly as a hidden sore, which, in course of time, breaks forth. Then when the apostles had fallen asleep and had been removed, laws were made without fear, and god’s precepts abrogated thereby. This Tennhardt styles the long night of Antichrist, lasting fifteen hundred years, during which but few souls have known the deep things of Satan (Rev. 2:24) or the mystery of lawlessness, and recognized it; and those who have perceived such light have been swallowed up by the prevailing darkness of Antichrist.” 65

According to Mosheim, Tennhardt gained also a devoted adherent in Tobias Eisler, of Nuremberg, who had studied law, and for seven years acted as private secretary of the widowed duchess of Sachsen-Eisenach. He erected a monumnet in memory of Tennhardt, at Cassel, and published many of his writings and letters. 66

When the court preacher, J.C. Scheurer, attacked Tennhardt in a treatise, an anonymous Lutheran defended Tennhardt in a work of one hundred forty-four pages, setting forth Scheurer’s errors, and devoting eight pages to a review of his position on Sunday. Tennhardt was a great missionary worker, feeling urged to write letters to high and low, even to the emperor and princes. How zealously he labored, his own statement made in July, 1710, will show;--

“During the past month I have written in twenty-eight days, some four hundred twenty letters to different countries to Spain, Portugal, France, England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Moscow, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Savoy, Switzerland, Bohemia, Silesia, and divers places in Germany.” 67

Even to this day the effect of his writings still appears. There are people living in Wurtemberg and Hessia, who as a result of these writings began to see the light on the Sabbath, and later united with the Seventh-day Adventists. Some kindly gave the author his writings. Only eternity will reveal what this zealous, humble worker ofr god has accomplished in these many countries where he sent his letters, or where he personally labored.


But there was still a greater missionary who observed the Sabbath of the Lord at this time--Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, the founder and the first bishop of the Moravian Church, who accomplished great things indeed, in awakening the missionary spirit in behalf of the dark heathen world. But that which probably led him to the Sabbath was the fact that he believed God’s Word in all simplicity, and sought earnestly to do what he was right, through the strength of the saviour, whom he dearly loved. His successor, Bishop A.G. Spangenberg, thus describes his attitude toward Gods’ Word;--

“He loved to stick to the plain text of the Scriptures, believing that rather simplicity than art is required to understand it. When he found anything in the Bible stated in such plain language that a child could understand, he could not well bear to have one depart from it. Where it was manifest that either the intentions of the one speaking, or the connection of the speech with the preceding and the following, or else a still plainer passage of the Bible in speaking of the same matter, demanded another meaning of the words before him, then he was easily persuaded to depart from the sense which the words at first sight seem to convey,” 68

Such sound views, coupled with the love of Christ, must lead to truth. This very principle caused him, for example, to introduce feet-washing among the brethren:--

“Because Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and expressly said: ‘If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s fee;’ etc., he took these words as they read; and was of the opinion that feet-washing could by good right not be omitted in the living church of Christ.” 69

He expresses his won opinion in his sermon of Feb. 21, 1752:

“I have, as it is well know, introduced feet-washing again; and it has been with me until this day one of the most agreeable and respectable acts.” 70

As to his views about the Sabbath, we find the following words in a letter which he wrote from Texel “about the Jews,” etc., in 1738, before he departed for America:--

“That I have during my lifetime not eaten of the foods which were formerly forbidden them; that I have employed the Sabbath for rest many years already, and our Sunday for the proclamation of the gospel-- that I have done without design, and in simplicity of heart.” 71

In his provisory testament, which he made before his departure, on Dec. 27, 1738, he states: “The days which we keep are Sunday as the Lord’s resurrection day, and the Sabbath or the real rest day of our Lord, on which we keep the days of assembly and the Lord’s supper. 72
From this it clearly appears that he regarded the Sabbath as the real rest day, and had observed it as such for a number of years already, yea, that he had even celebrated the Lord’s supper on it with the church. But we shall find still further and clearer evidences.


But we shall find still further and clearer evidences. In 1741 Zinzendorf journeyed to Bethlehem, Pa., to which place a number of Moravian brethren from Holstein had emigrated. While he was presiding there, the whole church had, under his leadership, introduced the Sabbath, after careful consideration, as Spangenberg’s statement proves:

“As a special instance it deserves to be noticed that, be it resolved with the church at Bethlehem to observe the seventh day as rest day. The matter had been previously considered by the church council in all its details, and all the reasons pro and con were carefully weighted, whereby the arrived at the unanimous agreement to keep the said day as Sabbath.” 73

Spangenberg remarks concerning this:

“For considerable time previous, the count had held the seventh day of the week in special esteem; as far as possible, on this day he gladly refrained from labour requiring the power of body and mind. On the other hand, on this day he loved and sought what agreed with the rest in God, and the peace of Jesus Christ, and whatever was to their furtherance. So, for example, he gladly held the Lord’s supper and other liturgical meetings. Where there were children’s asylums, he was accustomed to hold love feasts on this day with them which he attended with other brethren and sisters, as well as with visiting friends. Where there were no children, he took the brethren and sisters home with him to the Sabbath love feasts, which he made agreeable as well as edifying, by charming and profitable speeches, songs and music. At these love feats they generally partook only of tea and white bread. The count intended to lighten the labours of his domestics, who served in the kitchen and were otherwise employed, taking such with him to the love feasts, while other brethren and sisters served.” 74

How the Lord blessed this body of Christian Sabbath-keepers at Bethlehem, Spangenberg thus informs us:--

“Moreover, the Saviour approved of the labours of the count in Bethlehem at this time, bestowing his special favor, and everything there took a very blessed course. This I gather from a letter from the church elder, Anna Nitschmannin, in which she states, among other things: ‘I cannot describe to you how charming and lovely everything appears at Bethlehem. In my whole life I have not felt so happy as there.”’75

Zinzendorf’s reasons for the observance of the Sabbath day were, according to Spangenberg:--

“On the one hand, he believed that the seventh day was sanctified ad set apart a s a rest day immediately after the creation; but on the other hand, and principally, because his eyes were directed to the rest of our Saviour Jesus Christ in the grave on the seventh day.” 76

Spangenberg, who herein differed from Zinzendorf, and under whose leadership the Sabbath disappeared among the Moravian brethren, sought to weaken the impression, by asserting that Zinzendorf had not done this on account of the law given to Moses, “for then he would have had the same, to keep the other precepts of Moses,” Here Spangenberg states his own opinion, and he evidently labours under the same cloud as did the popes and Reformers, not distinguishing between the Decalogue and the ceremonial law.

Though Zinzendorf esteemed Sunday in a certain sense (as a day on which he should do preaching, but not as a rest day), yet he experienced the severity of the Pennsylvania Sunday laws, under which we shall find that many observers of the true Sabbath have suffered, even unto the present day. One Sunday he, with his daughter, composed some hymns at Sobus. The justice of the peace found him writing, and on Monday he fined each of them six shillings, because they had written on Sunday, and were therefore Sabbath-breakers.77

Spangenberg further observes;

“He did not urge his opinion concerning the Sabbath upon any one. And although he introduced it at the founding of the church at Bethlehem, as mentioned above, yet he afterwards perceived the difficulty-- that people who had to maintain themselves by their daily toil, could not keep two days in the week; he expressed himself accordingly and left it with each one’s conscience. But as for himself with his house, he adhered firmly to this aforementioned practise until his end.” 78


But before Zinzendorf and the Moravians at Bethlehem thus began the observance of the Sabbth and prospered in spite of the fears of Spangenberg, there was a small body of German Sabbath-keepers in Pennsylvania.

These Sabbath keepers are found in the counties of Lancaster, York, Franklin, and Bedford, and in the central and western parts of the State. They originated in 1728 from the teachings of Conrad Beissel, a native of Germany. They practise trine immersion and the washing of feet, and observed open communion. They encourage celibacy, but make it obligatory upon none. Even those who have chosen this manner of life are at liberty to marry if at any time they choose to do so. They established and successfully maintained a Sabbath-school at Ephrata, their headquarters, forty years before Robert Raikes had introduced the system of Sunday-schools. These people have suffered much persecution because of their observance of the seventh day, the laws of Pennsylvania being particularly oppressive toward Sabbatarians. 79


Count Zinzendorf and Conrad Beissel corresponded with each other some, and the following extract shows how simple-minded men, filled with God’s spirit, solved the problem over which so many learned theologians have stumbled, yea, even a Luther, a Zwingli, a Calvin, and a Knox. Beissel writes, Nov. 9, 1741:--

The majority of true theologians have acknowledged that there is no more dangerous thing than if a man touches the gospel without the true works of a changed mind. The gospel has not the punishment but the forgiveness of sins. Therefore we admit that the gospel does not profit a man without the inward change of heart. For this very reason there are so few Christians, for, as the righteousness of the Jews does not suffice, and they therefore need conversion, so likewise the lawless Gentile rests in the gospel, whence such a lawless anti Christendom has arisen, as is manifest at the present time.” 80


Definite traces of Christian Sabbath-keepers during a period of eighteen hundred years have been discovered. An unbroken chain extends from Jerusalem to Plymouth Rock. The bright light of the apostolic church gradually darkened before the growing apostasy, until, in the providence of God, this darkness finally recedes before the ever-strengthening rays of light issuing from the divine Word.

The gospel church, full of life and sanctified energy, suffering from persecution from without and trouble from within, yet walking by faith in God’s commandments, was superseded by the intolerant supremacy of the man of sin, presuming to change God’s times a and law, and treading them, as well as his saints, under foot by establishing his own righteousness until, after the long night of the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of godliness prevailed. When God’s Word gained the victory over tradition, righteousness by faith conquered meritorious works, God’s commandments triumphed over lawlessness, the restorers of God’s law appeared, the foundation of many generations was built again as men turned their feet from the holy day of the Lord’s rest; faith once more established all of God’s commandments, the law and the gospel were fully harmonized, and men full of evangelical missionary zeal came upon the stage of action, who showed how God’s holy Sabbath becomes the truly blessed day in the dispensation of the Spirit. And, although the Sabbath of Jehovah seemed suppressed in the Old World, yet its seed was carried to the virgin soil of the New. Was the earth to help the church by the opening up of a new world, where, in divine providence, a liberal government was to spring up, a government that would foster the development of the seed into a vigorous plant whose grafts, full of new life, could be carried into all the world?

Such was the sure word of prophecy.

1. Chambers’s Cyclopedia, article, “Sabbath,” vol. 8, p. 402. 1867 Return>

2. Cox, Sab. Lit. I, 165 Return>

3. Cox, Sabbath Laws, p. 333, from Relig. Cor., p. 370 Return>

4. Works, Oxford edition., 2, 416 Return>

5. Cox. Sab. Lit., I 152, 14 Return>

6. Pagitt’s Heresiography, pp. 196-210, London, 1661 Return>

7. Cox. Sab. Lit. I pp. 157, 158 Return>

8. Cox. Sab. Lit. I 162 Return>

9. Davis, History of the Sabbath Churches, p. 127 Return>

10. Cox. Sab. Lit. 2,6, Return>

11. Cox. Sab lt. 2, 46-54 Return>

12. A Treatise of the Sabbath Day, London, 1635, p. 311 Return>

13. A Treatise of the Sabbath Day p. 110 Return>

14. Id. 73 Return>

15. Id. P. 73 Return>

16. Cox. Sab. Lit. I, 200 Return>

17. Id I, 226 Return>

18. “Sabbath Observer,” London 1907 Return>

19. Cox. Sab. Lit., 2, 447 Return>

20. Id., I, 267 Return>

21. Id.,2,10 Return>

22. Cox. Sabb.Lit., I, 268 Return>

23. Id., 2, 35 Return>

24. Cramp, History of the Baptists. pp. 312-315 Return>

25. Utter, Manual, etc. pp. 21-23 Return>

26. Neale, History Puritans, pt. 2 chap 10 Return>

27. Crosby, Hist. English Baptists vol. I p.367 Return>

28. Calamy’s Ejected Ministers, 2, pp. 258, 259; Lewis’s Sabbath and Sunday, pp. 188-193. Return>

29. Wood’s Athena Oxonienses, vol. 4, p. 128 Return>

30. Judgment for the Observation of the Jewish or Seventh-day Sabbath, pp. 6-8, 1672. Return>

31. Calamy, 2, 260 Return>

32. Crosby, Hist. English Baptists, 3, pp. 138,139 Return>

33. Backus, Church Hist. Of New England from 1783 to 1796, II, sec. 10 Return>

34. Hist. Of the Seventh-day Baptist Gen. Conf. By Jas. Bailey, pp. 237, 238 Return>

35. Seventh-day Baptist Memorial. I 27-29 Return>

34. Bailey’s Hist., pp. 9,10 Return>

37. Id., p. 237 Return>

38. Id., p. 238 Return>

39. Manual of the Seventh-day Baptist, pp. 39-40 Backus, chap. II, sec. 10 Return>

40. Hist. Seventh-day Baptist Gen. Conf., pp. 15, 238 Return>

41. Id., pp. 46-55 Return>

42. Id., pp. 57,58, 62, 74, 82 Return>

43. Geschichte der Abrahamiten, Israeliten und Deisten in Bohmen. Ein Beitrag zur Toleranz-Geshichte, 1783, Wiener Bibliothek Return>

44. Id., p. 15 Return>

45. Aus Ungarn, pp. 289-291, Leipzig, 1880 Return>

46. Jahrgang 1876, 2 254 Return>

47. Evan. Luth. Kirchenz. 1876, p. 254; Dux, Aus Ungarn pp. 275, 291 Return>

48. Wissen der Gegenwart, 49, 163 Return>

49. Sternberg, Geshichte der Juden I Polen, pp. 123,124 Return>

50. Sternberg. Geshichte der Juden in Polen. P. 124 Return>

51. Id., p. 125 Return>

52. Id., p. 126 Return>

53. Sternberg, Geschichte der Juden in Polen. P. 126. Return>

54. Vol. 9, 190 Return>

55. Dr. Luthardt, Evang.Luth. Kirchenz. 1885, No. 3, p. 51 Return>

56 Id., No. 4 p. 75 Return>

57. Dr. Luthardt, Evang. Luth. Kirchenz. 1885, No. 3, p. 74 Return>

58. Bengel’s Leben und Wirken, Burk, p. 579 Return>

59. Begel’s Leben und Wirken, Burk. P. 366 Return>

60. Worte, Gottes und Warnungs u. Erbauungs-stimme Jesu Christi, pp. 43,44.. Return>

61. Kl. Auszug aus Tennhardt’s Schrifen, p. 49, printed 1712 Return>

62. Eccl. Hist. Cent. 18, vol. 4, par. 16, p. 373 Return>

63. Kirchenges. Jahrh. 18, absch. 2, Hauptst. 9, p. 1076 Return>

64. Mosheim Kirchengesch., p. 1078, Anm. Return>

65. Schriftmaessiges Judicium, pp. 39-41 Return>

66. Mosheim, Kirchengesch., pp. 1077, 1078 Return>

67. Wore Gottes u. Lebenslauf, Tuebingen, 1838, 2, 409 Return>

68. Leben des Grafen Zinzendorf, 3, 546,547, 1774 Return>

69 Id., 3, 548 Return>

70. Id., 3, 549 Return>

71. Budingsche Sammlung, Leipzig, 1742, sec. 8, 224 Return>

72. Id. Sec. 8, 227 Return>

73. Zinzendorf’s Leben, 5, 1421, 1422, Varnhagen von Ense Biographische Denkmale, Berlin, 1846, 5, 301 Return>

74. Id., 5, 1422, note Return>

75. Id., 5, 1423,1424 Return>

76. Id., 5, 1422, note Return>

77. Id., 5, 1437 Return>

78. Id. P. 1423 Anm. Return>

79. Rupp’s History of all the Religious Denominations in the United States, pp. 109-123, second ed. ; Bailey’s History of Seventh-day Baptist Gen Corf., pp. 255-258 Return>

80. Budingsche Sammlung, 13, 64-67 Return>

History of the Sabbath, Table of Contents