March 11, 1897
THE religious world in general has not entered upon that period of extra-biblical observances which culminates in the festival of Easter.
This festival has acquired an importance in the religious world which is in inverse proportion to the distinction accorded it in the Scriptures of divine truth. By Catholics and Protestants alike, it will be observed in a manner calculated to give the impression that it is a thing of the greatest importance to all Christians, instead of a mere innovation, as it is, without any standing whatever in the Word of God.
Why is this day observed? By Protestants, it is observed in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ. The underlying idea of the observance is that on Easter morning Christ arise from the dead. Easter day is not a weekly or monthly day, but a yearly day; and in its celebration Protestants recognize the fact that the day of Christ’s resurrection from the dead is a yearly day. Like any other event,—as for example the birth of the infant Christ,—the day of its happening would recur not once a week or once a month, but once a year. As well might it be claimed that Christmas or Independence day comes every week, as that this is true of the day of Christ’s resurrection.
The festival of Eastern we repeat, is on the part of Protestants at least, a recognition of this fact; for if the day of the resurrection comes once a week, it does not come once a year, but fifty-two times a year; and any yearly celebration of the day would be without any reason whatever.
But these same Protestants observe the first day of every week in commemoration of this same event. In this they contradict themselves with reference to Easter; and in the observance of Easter they contradict themselves with reference to Sunday.
Of course, being a yearly day, it could not come every year on Sunday; yet lo, by theological sleight-of-hand it is made to coincide every year with that day of the week! Equally marvelous with this is the fact that it does not have to occur each year in the same month. Sometimes is happens in March, sometimes in April, according as the moon may have fulled before or after the sun “crossed the line.” But whether in one month or the other, it is celebrated as the day of the resurrection of Christ.
Had this celebration been fixed on a certain date, as Christmas is, the religious world would have found itself celebrating, very often, some other day of the week than Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection. And this is the way it should be, if any attempt is to be made to celebrate the day at all. But this would be a contradiction of Sunday observance which even the most accomplished theologian would not be able to explain. Consequently it was decreed that the date must coincide with Sunday, and the month and day of the month were left to adjust themselves to a day of the week.
Of course, nobody knows the date of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, any more than the date of his birth. Doubtless it was not designed by the Almighty that these dates should be known. If God had wished either of them to be observed, he would have preserved them for that purpose; but their observance serves no purpose in His economy, and He would not give any people an excuse for observances which He has not commanded.
Would it not be better—infinitely so—to observe a day which God has plainly commanded, and which He Himself has fixed in the week? By resting on the seventh day after His six days’ labor, and blessing and sanctifying that day as a day of rest and blessing for mankind, the Creator established the weekly division of time, and fixed the seventh day of that period as the Sabbath. Why will the religious world turn aside from the one day which God has so plainly commanded, to do  honor to other days which he has never approved? Have they reasons for this which it is certain the Creator will accept?