"Worldly minded bishops, instead of caring for the salvation of their flocks, were often but too much inclined to travel about, and entangle themselves in worldly concerns." Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church, translated by Prof. Torrey, vol. 2, page 16.
What did the bishops determine to do? "This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and... the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and by their determination to make use of the power of the state for the furtherance of their alms." Ibid., page 132.
NOTE. - The "theocratical theory" was that of a government administered by the direct power of
What was the outgrowth of that theory among the Roman bishops? "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as Godsitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.
When and by whom was the Council of Nice convened? The Emperor Constantine, 325 A.D.
Under what authority were its decrees published? "The decrees... were published under the imperial authority, and thus obtained a political importance." Torrey's Neander, vol. 2, page 133.
What was one of the principal objects in calling that council? "The question relating to observance of Easter, which was agitated in the time of Anicetus and Polycarp, and afterward in that of Victor, was still undecided. It was one of the principal reasons for convoking the Council of Nice, being the most important subject to be considered after the Arian controversy." Boyle's Historical View of the Council of Nice, page 22, ed. of 1839.
What was the particular question to be settled concerning Easter? "It appears that the churches of Syria and Mesopotamia continued to follow the custom of the Jews, and celebrated Easter on the fourteenth day of the moon, whether falling on Sunday or not. All the other churches observed that solemnity on Sunday only, viz., those of Rome, Italy, Africa, Lydia, Egypt, Spain, Gaul, and Britain." Ibid.
How was the matter finally decided? "Easter day was fixed on the Sunday immediately following the new moon which was nearest after the vernal equinox." Ibid., page 23.
In his letter to the churches, urging the observance of this decree, what singular reason did Constantine assign for its observance? "Let us then have nothing in common with the most hostile rabble of the Jews." Ibid., page 52.
What did Sylvester, bishop of Rome under Constantine's reign, do by his "apostolic" authority, and with the approval of Constantine? "That he indeed changed the names of all the days of the week into festal days; as Polydorus mentions in book 6, chapt. 5. Metaphrastes, however, relates that he retained the names of the days familiar to the Hebrews; but that the name of the first day alone was changed, which he called the Lord's day. " Historia Ecclesiastica per M. Ludovicum Lucium, cent. 4, cap. 10, pages 739, 740, ed. Basilea, 1624. Library of Andover Theological Seminary.
What was decreed by the Council of Laodicea in 364 A.D.? That the churches should keep the Sunday, and that if they persisted in resting on the Sabbath, "let them be accursed." See Andrew's History of the Sabbath, page 362.
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