This brief anonymous article was published 187 years ago today in the early American Baptist magazine The Columbian Star. It helpfully summarizes the New Testament reasons for observation of the Lord’s Day.
A correspondent has requested us to give in a small compass, the New Testament reasons for the observance of the Lord’s Day. This we attempt by exhibiting the following facts which may be easily remembered:
It was a day of assembly: “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together.” (Acts xx. 7.)
It was a day when the Lord’s Supper was celebrated: “The disciples came together to break bread.”
It was a day of preaching, or public discourses: “When the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them.”
It was not, apparently, when it could be avoided, a day of travelling: “Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow.”
It was a day when each was to lay something by, for the relief of the poor saints: “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store.” (1 Cor. xvi. 2).–This was no local custom, but a general ordinance: “As I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” (ver. 1.)
It was the day when the Lord Jesus arose from the dead, and re-appeared to his disciples. (Mark xvi. 9.)
It was named accordingly; and the name has, in the original, every appearance of having been a term in common use, generally employed for the purpose. “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day.” (Rev. i. 10.)
It was the day chosen a second time by our Lord, for a subsequent appearance to his disciples. (John xx. 26.)
It was a day when the disciples met, from the very first. That is, they met on the first Lord’s day (John xx. 19); they met on the second (ver. 26); and so they went on; for example, a few weeks after. (Acts ii. 1. Compare Lev. xxiii. 16.)
It was the day when the Lord the Spirit first descended. Acts ii. 1-4.)
It was the day when his gracious influences were afterwards especially imparted. (Rev. i. 10.)
Let us then keep holy this sacred day, with due reverence and solemnity, as being the Lord’s (“This is the day which the Lord hath made”); with joy of heart (“we will rejoice and be glad in it”); expecting an especial blessing thereon (“Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord! O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity”); looking for our Lord’s presence, especially in his house (“Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord”); proclaiming his Divinity (“God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light”); trusting in his atonement (“Bind the sacrifice with chords, even unto the horns of the altar”); calling upon his holy name, with blessings and thanksgivings (“Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou art my God, and I will exalt thee”); and encourage each other to this service (“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever”).