THE MEMORIAL ANNIVERSARY.
BROTHER Mott's letter, below, may be of general interest as supporting the views already presented in this journal on the subject. See our issues of March '91, April 1, '94 and March 15, '95.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--In the course of a study as to the origin and history of Easter Sunday, I discovered some facts which appear to confirm the view that the Lord's Supper should be observed as an annual memorial.
The Americanized Encyclopaedia Britannica, [We can supply this work at $5.00 per set of 20 volumes, paper covers, postpaid.], under the title "Ecclesiastical Calendar," contains the following:
"So early as the second century of our era, great disputes had arisen among the early Christians, respecting the proper time of celebrating Easter, which governs all the other movable feasts. The Jews celebrated their Passover on the 14th day of the first month, that is to say, the lunar month of which the 1st either falls on, or next follows, the day of the vernal equinox. Most Christian sects agreed the Easter should be celebrated on a Sunday. Others followed the example of the Jews, and adhered to the 14th of the moon; but these, as they usually happened to be the minority, were accounted heretics, and received the appellation of Quartodecimnians. In order to terminate dissensions, which produced both scandal and schism in the church, the Council of Nice, which was held in the year 325, ordained that the celebration of Easter should thenceforth always take place on the Sunday which immediately follows the full moon that happens upon, or next after, the day of the vernal equinox. Should the 14th of the moon, which is regarded as the day of full moon, happen on a Sunday, the celebration of Easter was deferred to the Sunday following, in order to avoid concurrence with the Jews and the above mentioned heretics."
It is conceded that there exists a great diversity of opinion as to the proper time for the observance of the Lord's Supper, indicating that early in the history of the Church this most important ordinance had been tampered with by the great apostasy, the mystery of iniquity, which began to work in apostolic times, but is now fully developed and recognized as the Man of Sin.
The difference of opinion which gave rise to the "great disputes" mentioned in the article quoted could not have been with reference to Easter, which, as every one knows, is intended to be in memory of the Resurrection--which could not by any process of calculation be made to fall upon the same day as the Passover of the Jews. It was clearly the Lord's death which was in question, and those poor "heretics" were contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, protesting, by their adherence to the true traditions of the Church, against the innovations of a corrupt and ambitious priesthood, who were willing to make any concessions to the pagan world in exchange for temporal power.
Pasch (Greek, pascha, for Passover) is defined by Webster as "The Feast of Easter."
The month of April was also called "Mensis Paschalis" (Passover Month), and "Easter Monath" in honor of the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eastra; which further supports our position that Easter is nothing but a heathen substitute for the Christian Passover, wholly unauthorized by the Lord or his apostles, and another of the vile counterfeits of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.
Yours for the One faith, E. C. MOTT.