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June 24, 1742

English Translation

Sunday, the Festival of Trinity, June 24, 1742

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At 10 o'clock in the morning Bro. Andreas Eschenbach preached on Acts 17:30 : The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now, etc.

This afternoon the first Congregation Council [This is the term used by the diarist, though strictly speaking no congregation had as yet been organized.]

Bro. Ludwig [Count Zinzendorf] proposed:

1. That it should be considered necessary for our Church to observe the Sabbath in this country;
a. because there is a denomination in this country that observes it; in this Way they would be deprived of a kind of righteousness of which hitherto they thought they alone could boast;

b. because it would have to be instituted among the Indian converts, if it should be established more fully that the Indians of this region are the ten tribes of Israel.

For the same reason we would also be obliged to introduce circumcision among them, for they ought to readopt their former regulations completely.

Apart from that, our Church had hinted at this [Sabbath observance] for a number of years past by observing its Bettage and the Communion on that day

This also had been noted by the Royal Commission in Herrnhut, and for that reason it had been positively opposed to their being observed on that day.

The Sabbath should be observed with complete quiet and most intimate fellowship with the Saviour. It is a day which was given to all peoples prior to the law, to provide them with rest. For the

Jews observe it not only as Jews but also as human beings.

Sunday was observed by the earliest Christian churches in honor of Christ's resurrection, in addition to the Sabbath. Later it [i.e. the Sabbath] was done away with out of sheer enmity towards the Jews (even as Easter was moved to another date for the same reason) and perhaps also because poverty prevented its observance, for one did not wish to allow work to be done on Sundays.

Even to our day the Sabbath afternoon remains free in the schools, and in some places people do not like to, work on it. It even seems as though on that day work were inherently burden some.

The members of the Ephrata community are quite right on that score. That they work on Sundays, however, just to annoy people of other persuasions and declare it to be a whores' day is going to the extreme.

Brethren who conscientiously object to observing the Sabbath should not maintain that Sunday is the day of rest and that it must be observed, but they must work on all days alike.

Bro. Anton Seifert was asked whether our material affairs could continue to be carried on if we kept the Sabbath.

An erudite brother raised the following objections with regard to this subject:
a. [Our observance of ] the Sabbath should be looked upon only as an act of condescension on our part for the sake of winning souls and not as an obligatory commandment from God, for according to Galatians 4: 10, Colossians 2:16, and Romans 14:6 it belongs to the disciplinary exercises of the law which have been abolished in the New Testament.

Answer: The Sabbath does not belong to the law but antedated the law and was given to all peoples and persons for their physical and spiritual rest, for collecting their thoughts-even to the animals also; to them, however, it does not matter when they rest.

So the Sabbath ought not at all to be looked upon as a commandment but as a benefaction.

b. Sacrifices also antedated the law.

Answer: Sacrifices have been abolished by Jesus' own sacrifice. The true antitype of the Sabbath, however, is the Sabbath rest that is still to come, Hebrews 4:1,9,10,11; Revelation 20.

It was finally decided by a unanimous vote that the Sabbath should be observed in future in the said manner, with no meetings or Bettage being held on it, though the Communion should continue to be celebrated on that day. However, in a later conference of the church workers it also was moved to Sunday.

Sunday was to be treated as a festival and memorial day, commemorating Christ's resurrection, and be spent in meetings and other public devotional activities. Further, the Bettage were to be moved to Sunday in future.

2. The brethren and sisters were asked to signify whether they would prefer to work in the congregational settlement at Bethlehem, promoting the material welfare of the whole, or render spiritual service to the adults and children of the townships, since both were needful.

The division as found in the list of classes under date of June 25 was in some cases made according to the desire and choice of the brethren; in others it was decided upon by the lot.

3. Along the road to Nazareth the brethren of the congregational settlement are to build dwellings at intervals of half an hour's walk each in preparation for the winter. These are to serve to prepare the messengers to the heathen for their isolation.



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