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Sermons & Study Guides

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God Pt. 10 - Of The Sanctification Of The Lord’s Day.

James Dodson

Directory For The Publick Worship Of God

Of The Sanctification Of The Lord’s Day.

Question   1.—Is the Lord’s day so to be remembered before-hand, that all worldly business of our ordinary callings may be so ordered, and so timely and seasonably laid aside, as they do not become impediments to the due sanctifying of the day when it comes? Answer.—Yes. Ex. 20:8; Isa. 56:2, 6.  The Lord requires us not only to take heed of the matter  of  our  duties,  but  also  to  the  manner  of  them.    As  we  must  seek  God  in  due ordinances,  so  we  must  seek  Him  in  due  order,  1  Chron.  15:13.    We  must,  therefore, remember the sabbath before it come so as to provide for it.  So, Moses calls the people of  God to  mind  that  the  next  day  was  the  sabbath,  Ex.  16:23.    If  we  consider  our  natural unfitness for sabbath work, preparation will be found very needful.  For holy performances God requires us to make holy preparations, Ps. 26:6.  Under the law, the latter part of the day  preceding  the  sabbath  was  called  “the  day  of  preparation  for  the  sabbath,”  Luke 23:54.  This intimates that it is our duty to prepare for the sabbath before it come, and to do  it  on  the  day  preceding.    Additionally,  we  find  that  Nehemiah  ordered  the  gates  of Jerusalem  to  be  shut  when  it  began  to  be  dark  before  the  sabbath,  Neh.  13:19.    This teaches  us  to  give  over  our  trafficking  and  worldly  business  on  the  evening  before  the Lord’s  day,  and  not  to  follow  business  too  late,  lest  our  thoughts  be  embarrassed  with secular affairs and we become indisposed for the religious duties of the sabbath day. Question 2.—Ought the whole day to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in public and in private, as being the Christian sabbath? Answer.—Yes.  Ex.  20:10.    The  sabbath  or  Lord’s  day  is  to  be  sanctified  by  a  holy resting all the day.  The people of God, having made due preparation, celebrate the whole of the sabbath day by engaging in an holy rest, Luke 23:54, 56. Question   3.—To  this  end,  is  it  requisite  that  there  be  a  holy  cessation  from  all unnecessary labours, and an abstaining, not only from all sports and pastimes, but also from worldly words and thoughts? Answer.—Yes.  Ex.  31:14-16;  Lev.  23:3.   Worldly  employments  and  recreations  which are  lawful  on  other  days  must  cease,  Neh.  13:15-22.    Additionally,  we  must  cease  from worldly words and thoughts and give ourselves over to holy meditation upon this holy day, Isa. 58:13; Ezek. 33:30-32; Amos 8:5; Mal. 1:13. Question  4.—Should the diet on that day be so ordered, that none be unnecessarily detained from the public worship, or hindered from the sanctifying of that day? Answer.—Yes.  Ex.  16:23-30.    Care  ought  to  be  taken  that  none be  hindered  in  the attendance  upon  the  ordinances  of  God’s  worship  by  the  excessive  carefulness  of  diet.  The chief concern of the people of God ought to be feeding upon Christ in His word by His Spirit. Question  5.—Should there be private preparations of every person and family, by prayer for themselves, and for Gods assistance for the minister, and a blessing upon the ministry? Answer.—Yes. Deut. 5:14.  God ranks the state of prayerless families with that of the heathen, Jer. 10:25.  Each ought to beseech God to make the affairs of the day to profit, for the assistance of God for the minister and a blessing upon the ministry, Ps. 3:8. 
Question   6.—Is it proper by other holy exercises, as may further dispose them to communion with God in his public ordinances, to make preparations? Answer.—Yes.  2  John  8.    Whether  by  meditation,  reading,  self-examination  or  other holy  exercises,  God’s  people  ought  to  seek  to  dispose  themselves  to  a  right  communion with God in His ordinances.  They should seek to be “in the spirit,” Rev. 1:10. Question 7.—Is it proper for the people to meet so timely for public worship, that the whole congregation is present at the beginning, joins together in all parts of the public worship, and does not depart until the blessing? Answer.—Yes.  Zech.  8:21.    This  was  the  practice  of  the  ancient people  of  God,  and David  was  much  taken  with  it,  Ps.  122:1.    The  people  should  study  to  be  present  at  the beginning  of  worship  that  they  might  imitate  that  saying  of  Cornelius,  Acts  10:33.    They should be diligent to join in all the parts of the public worship, Luke 19:48; Col. 3:16.  They should  not  depart  until  they  receive  the  blessing,  1  Kings  8:14;  Ps.  133:3.    God  allows none, great or small, to go out before His worship is ended; both prince and people must meet and part at the same time, Ezek. 46:10. Question  8.—Should the vacant time, between or after the solemn meetings of the congregation in public, be spent in reading, meditation, or repetition of sermons? Answer.—Yes.  Deut.  11:18,  19.    We  are  not  only  commanded  to  lay  up  the  word  of God,  but  to  speak  of  it  when  we  walk  by  the  way.    This  was  the  practice  of  Christ’s disciples,  Luke  24:32.    The  psalmist  relates  how  what  we  have  heard  through  the  day ought to be the matter of our conversation and meditation, Ps. 62:11. Question  9.—Should the time be especially spent in calling their families to account of what they have heard, catechizing of them, holy conferences, prayer for a blessing upon the public ordinances and singing of psalms? Answer.—Yes.  Ex.  20:10;  Gen.  18:19.    It  is  the  duty  of  families  to  reflect  upon  the things  heard,  Deut.  11:19.    Catechizing is another  branch  of  domestic  duty  on  the  Lord’s day.  Children should be trained up in the way they should go and educated in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4.  Godly conference is also a great means of seasoning our speech with grace, that our lips like the righteous might feed many, Mal. 3:16.    Prayer  for  the  blessing  of  God  upon  the  ordinances  is  always  appropriate  for  it  is God  that  gives  the  increase,  1  Cor.  3:6,  7.    The  singing  of  Psalms  is  another  appointed means of increasing grace, Eph. 5:18, 19; and they have been given for the sabbath day, Ps. 92 title.Question  10.—May it also be taken up with visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity and mercy? Answer.—Yes.  1  Cor.  16:1,  2. Works  of  mercy  and  necessity  may  be  engaged  in  on the sabbath day.  It is part of the true religion, pure and undefiled, that it makes account of those in need, James 1:27. Question 11.—Should all that is done be done accounting the sabbath a delight? Answer.—Yes.  Isa.  58:13.    The  best  way  to  prevent  sabbath-breaking,  and  to  honor God on His own day, is to learn to “call the sabbath a delight.”  We do this when we make due  preparation  in  anticipation  of  its  approach  and delight  to  seek  God  our  chiefest  joy, Ps.  62:1;  43:4.    We  also  make  it  our  delight  when  we  become  dissatisfied  with  those things  which  hinder  us  from  the  right  keeping  of  the  sabbath;  when  we  count  and  order each moment as precious; and when we are glad to see it honored by those around us.