A. A. Hodge's "The Day Changed and the Sabbath Preserved"

Archibald Alexander Hodge's pamphlet, "The Day Changed and the Sabbath Preserved," is a brief yet powerful argument for the permanence of the Sabbath commandment in both old and new covenant administrations of the covenant of grace. If you've never seen a copy of the original pamphlet, you can find it on the Log College Press website

In the space of 22 small pages, Hodge states the grounds on which the church has held that the fourth commandment is a part of the unending moral law, and that the first day of the week has been substituted for the seventh day by the authority of Christ's apostles (and therefore of Jesus Himself). Here are his points, which he unpacks in sufficient detail given the scope of his work:

1. The particular day of the week on which the Sabbath was to be kept never was, or could be, of the essence of the institution itself.

2. The introduction of a new dispensation, in which a preparatory and particularistic national system is to be replaced by a permanent and universal one, embracing all nations to the end of time, is a suitable occasion to switch the day.

3. The amazing fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus on the first day of the week constitutes an evidently adequate reason for appointing that in the stead of the seventh day to be the Christian Sabbath.

4. During his life Jesus had affirmed that he was "Lord also of the Sabbath day."

5. From the time of John, who first gave the institution its best and most sacred title, "Lord's day," there is an unbroken and unexceptional chain of testimonies that the "first day of the week" was observed as the Christian's day of worship and rest. 

6. With this view the testimony of all the great Reformers and all historical branches of the modern Christian Church agree.

7. The change of the day by the apostolic church has thus been proved by historical testimony, to which much might be added if space permitted, but against which no counter-evidence exists. 

The strength of Hodge's pamphlet lies in that inclusion of historical testimony, both from the early church fathers and the Reformers. Hodge is aware that the Reformers made statements contradicting the view he is arguing for, but he contends that these statements, unguarded and unadvised as they were, were uttered in the context of the Romanists reasoning from the early church's altering a command of the decalogue to the power of Rome to impose obligations on Christians, even to the altering of divine laws. Hodge draws from the writings of the Reformers themselves to show that the Reformers spoke in accord with a right view of the Lord's Day as the Christian Sabbath in several places. 

In an age in which Sabbath keeping is ignored or anathema even amongst Christians, Hodge's pamphlet is an important piece of writing we are glad to made accessible again to the church.