On the subject of this rite, we regret to state, that a more careful study of the subject, as presented in the above results, will not permit us to speak as favorably of the practice of the Reformers, as we did in some of our former publications, twenty years ago, and even later. The positions above maintained, we think, cannot be successfully controverted, as our investigations of the original sources has been sufficiently extensive to dispel all doubt.
Note 1. See Koecher, p. 515.
Note 2. Funk’s Kirchenordnungen, pp. 189, 190.
Note 3. Mueller’s Symb. B., p. 364.
Note 4. Page 97.
Note 5. Mueller’s Symb. B., p. 185.
Note 6. Pleiffer, p. 534. [sic]
Note 7. Vol. iii. pt. 1, p. 125.
Note 8. Vol. i., pp. 199, 206.
Note 9. Vol. iv., p. 781.
Note 10. Lutheran Manual, p. 293.
The incalculable importance of the proper observation of the Christian Sabbath to the progress of the kingdom of Christ in general, and to the growth of piety in the heart of every Christian in particular, is a point on which, we are happy to state, there is no difference between the Plea and the Platform. Yet we cannot resist the conviction, that in our efforts to observe this day, not with the pharisaic formalities of the Jew, but with the conscientious spirituality of the Christian, the question whether in doing so, we are obeying an injunction of God, exhibited in the inspired example of his apostles, or are merely conforming to an uninspired regulation of the church, must be of great importance.
The lax views of the early reformers on this subject are so frequently met with in theological discussions, that we had not expected to find the position of the Platform disputed; but rather that the theory of the Reformers would be defended, as is done by writers of no mean name in Germany at the present day. The author of the Plea, however, takes a different view of the Confession, and affirms that this venerable document does not deny the divine institution and obligation of the Christian Sabbath. “Luther and Melancthon (says he,) had received from the older church, the doctrine and practice of the Christian Sabbath, as a holy day, as a divine institution and obligation, and they had not a word to say against this view of the Sabbath. But they had a great deal to say against the abuses, by which the bishops made the Sabbath a day of sin and dishonor to God and his church, instead of making it a day devoted to his glory,” p. 28.