Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

The Sabbath's Sanctification.


The Sabbath's Sanctification.

James Dodson


I. The Grounds of the morality of the Sabbath.

II. Directions for sanctifying it.

III. Proofs that the Lord’s day is the Christians Sabbath.

IIII. Aberrations about the Sabbath.

      V. Motives to sanctify the Sabbath.

By W[illiam]. G[ouge].

LONDON, Printed by G. M. for Joshua Kirton, and Thomas Warren, at their shop in Paul’s Church-yard at the white Horse, 1641.


To the Reader.

Christian Reader,

This Treatise of the Sabbath’s Sanctification, hath in the private family of the Author, and in other families of his pious Friends been taught, and learned many years together. They who have been made partakers thereof, and made conscience of well using it, have found a singular help thereby for a comfortable and profitable passing through that day, which unto too too many seemeth very tedious, and (if at least they be under the Ministry or government of such as restrain them from those sensual works that satisfy the flesh) makes them complain, and say as the Jews of old did (Amos 8. 5.) when will the Sabbath be gone? But they who take notice of the variety of duties therein set down, and of their fit dependence one upon another, shall rather find want of time for a due performance of them, then superfluity. By care and conscience in aright observing of them, the Lord’s day will prove an holy spiritual market day, wherein we may procure, week after week, such spiritual provision for our souls, as will nourish and cherish them unto eternal life. The very life of piety is preserved by a due sanctification of the Lord’s day. They put a knife to the throat of religion, that hinder the same. Let such as desire and expect the blessed fruition of the eternal Sabbath to come, make conscience of well sanctifying the Christian Sabbath while here they live: for an help whereunto, this Treatise of the Sabbath’s Sanctification is published. To it is added another Treatise about Apostasy: which two may fitly go together, because a conscionable sanctifying of the Lord’s day will be an especial means to keep men from Apostasy.



1 Q. IS the Sabbath moral, or ceremonial?

A. Moral.

That is accounted moral, which (as a rule of life) bindeth all persons, in all places, at all times.

2 Q. How appears it to be moral?

A. 1 It was sanctified in Adam’s innocency. Gen. 2. 2, 3. Adam in his innocent estate was a public person, and bore in his loins all man-kind: and that without distinction of Jew and Gentile. That therefore which was given to him in charge, appertained to all that in any age should come from him.

2 It is one of the ten precepts of the moral law. Ex. 20. 8. It is not an appendix to another precept: but an entire precept in itself. If it be abrogated, or made ceremonial, there are but nine precepts of the moral law: contrary to these express Scriptures, Exod, 34. 28. Deut. 4. 13. & 10. 4.

3 Q. Of how many hours doth the Sabbath day consist?

A. Of four and twenty. Gen. 2. 3.

The Sabbath is called the seventh day: so as it is a seventh part of the week: therefore, so many hours as make up every of the other days (which are four and twenty) must be accounted to this day.

4 Q. Are all those hours to be sanctified?

A. Yes. Exod. 20. 11.

The Lord rested the whole seventh day: and all the time wherein he rested he sanctified. Gen. 2. 2, 3.

5 Q. How can all that time be sanctified?

A. 1. By observing things commanded. Jer. 17. 22.

2. By observing things permitted. Exod. 12. 16.

Duties commanded, by reason of God’s supreme sovereignty must be done. They are so proper to the day, as in a right performing of them, the sanctification of the Sabbath consisteth.

Matters permitted, by reason of God’s tender indulgency, having respect to our infirmity and necessity, may be done. And though the Sabbath be not properly sanctified in them, yet is it the better sanctified by them.

6 Q. What are the heads of Duties commanded?

A.         1. Duties of Piety. Luk. 4. 16.

            2. Duties of Mercy. Mark. 3. 4. Isa. 58. 13.

Duties of Piety are such as immediately tend to God’s honor, wherein and whereby he is worshipped: and withal they are such as directly tend to our spiritual edification. Wherefore the wise Lord, who affordeth us six days for secular and temporal affaires, seeth it meet that every seventh day should be set apart for divine and spiritual matters.

And because the works of our calling (wherein we are most employed in the six days) tend especially to our own profit, God will have us on his day to shew mercy to others that stand in need of our help. Many are the works of mercy which Christ did on Sabbath days, as appeareth, Mark. 1. 21, 25, 29, 34. & 3. 2, 5. Luk. 13. 10, 11. & 14. 1, &c. Joh. 5. 9. & 7. 23. & 9. 14.

7 Q. What kinds are there of works of Piety?

A. 1 Public. Act. 15. 21.

2. Private. Act. 16. 13.

3. Secret. Mar. 1. 35.

The several duties of piety which are comprised under these heads, are very helpful one to another, and cause the Sabbath to be more comfortably passed over, without any seeming tediousness, or wearisomeness.

8 Q. Where are public duties of piety done?

A. In the Church. 1 Cor. 4. 17. & 11. 20, 22, & 14. 19, 28. Heb. 2. 12.

Churches are public places, where many of several families meet together. There use to be most frequent assemblies to worship God. The doors of Churches use to stand open, for any that will to enter in. There the most solemn duties of piety are performed.

9 Q. By Whom are they performed?

A. 1 By the Minister. Act. 13. 16.

2 By the People. Act. 20. 7.

3 By all together. 1 Cor. 14. 24, 25.

A Minister on the one side, and people on the other, make up a true Church. The Minister is the mouth of God, in whose room he stands, to the people: and by reason thereof he declares out of God’s word, God’s will to the people.

A Minister is also the peoples mouth unto God: presenting their mind to God: which he doth for order sake. For if all should utter their own mind together, by their own several voices, what confusion would there be?

Yet are there also duties to be performed by the people jointly among themselves, but distinctly from the Minister: else that which the Minister doth will be in vain.

Yea there are also some duties wherein the Minister joineth with the people, and the people with the Minister, even in the same manner of performing them: as the particulars following will shew.

10 Q. What duties are done by the Minister?

A. 1 Reading the Word. Act. 13. 27. Col. 4. 16.

2 Preaching it. Luk. 4. 20, 21. Act. 13. 15.

3 Praying and praising God. 1 Cor. 14. 15, 16. Neh. 8. 6. & 9. 5. 6.

4 Administering Sacraments. Mat. 28. 19. & 26. 26. Act. 20. 11.

5. Blessing the people. Num. 6. 23.

In performing the two first (reading and preaching the word) and the two last (administering Sacraments, and blessing the people) the Minister stands in God’s room, and is his mouth: but in the middlemost duty (praying to God and praising him) he is the people’s mouth to God.

11 Q What duties are done by the people?

A. 1 Attending to the Word read and preached. Act. 10. 33.

2 Assenting to the prayers and praises. 1 Cor. 14. 16.

3 Partaking of the Sacraments. Mat. 3. 6. 1 Cor. 12. 13.

4 Saying AMEN, audibly to all. Neh. 8. 6.

If people attend not to the Word, it is like the seed sown in the way side, which the souls soon pick up, Mat. 13. 4, 19.

If they assent not to the prayers and praises, they are like those that draw near to God with their lips, but have their hearts far off. Mat. 15. 8.

If they partake not of the Sacraments, they cast themselves out of the communion of Saints. Gen. 17. 14. Num. 9. 13. Luk. 14. 24.

As for an audible pronouncing of Amen, if the [1] mind of them that pronounce it, have been upon that which the Minister uttered, and their heart have given consent thereto, it compriseth altogether as much as the Minister hath uttered. This is the only warrantable means for people to utter their mind in a Congregation. It must therefore be uttered by everyone, altogether, so loud, as the Minister may hear their consent, as well as they hear what he hath uttered in their name. For the one is as requisite as the other.

12 Q. What duties of piety are done by Minister and people all together?

A. Singing Psalms. Mat. 26. 30.

Singing of Psalms was always used by God’s people, not only in the Tabernacle, Temple and Synagogue of the Jews, but also in Christian Churches. Christ used it with his Disciples (Mat. 26. 30.) It is enjoined by the Apostle (Eph. 5. 19. Col. 3. 16.) and it was practiced by the primitive Church, (1. Cor. 14. 15, 26.) By this duty jointly performed by all, as our own spirits are quickened, so we quicken the spirits of others: and we are all made the more cheerful in serving God. On this ground they who are merry are enjoined to sing. Jam. 5. 13.

13 Q. Where are private duties of Piety done?

A. In a family or some other private place.

Herein lieth a difference betwixt performing public and private duties, that from the public none are excluded: but private are done by the mutual consent of a certain number: either of such as are under one roof (Josh. 24. 15. Act. 10. 2, 30.) or else of others that agree together for that end (Act. 16. 13.) By private meetings of such as are of the same mind and piously affected, Christians do bring much sweet consolation and mutual edification one to another: and the power and profit of public duties is much promoted thereby.

14 Q. What are private duties of Piety?

A. 1. Reading God’s Word. 1. Tim. 4. 13.

2. Praying and praising God. Act. 16. 13.

3. Catechizing, Deut. 6. 7.

4. Repeating Sermons. Act. 17. 11.

5. Holy conference. Luk. 24. 14.

6. Singing Psalms. Act. 16. 25. Jam. 5. 13.

By a conscionable and constant performance of these private duties, a private house is made God’s Church: and God will be there present, as he was in the house of Obed-edom (2. Sam. 6. 12.) to bless them. Yea wheresoever two or three duly meet for such purposes, Christ by his Spirit will be among them. Mat. 18. 20.

In performing these, it is requisite, that someone of ability be as it were, the mouth of the rest, in reading the Word, praying to God and praising him, instructing in the grounds of Religion, which is catechizing, and repeating Sermons: and the governor of the family if he be able, is the fittest to perform those duties.

By such kind of duties of piety performed, as we can, before we go to Church, we are the better fitted to the public, and after we come from Church, by these will public duties be made the more profitable: yea by these, much of that time wherein we are absent from Church, is sanctified.

15 Q Where are secret duties of piety done?

A. In some secret place between God and one’s self alone. Mat. 14. 23.

No place is exempted from secret duties, so as a Christian may be there alone, and none with him; In relation to such duties, thus saith the Lord, enter into thy Chamber, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray, Mat. 6. 6. Secret duties ought so to be performed, as none but God should know what we are about: so will thy soul be the more upright, and freed from hypocrisy and vain-glory: so will the duties bring the more comfort to the performers thereof.

16 Q. What are secret duties of Piety?

A. 1 Reading God’s word. Act. 8. 28.

2 Praying and praising God. Mar. 1. 35. Act. 10. 9. Psal. 119. 164.

3 Meditating. Gen. 24. 63. Psal. 63. 6.

4 Examining one’s self. Psal. 4. 4. 1 Cor. 11. 28.

The two former of these secret duties, are such as may be performed both in private and public: but the difference is in the manner of performing them. But the two latter (meditation and examination of one’s self) are most proper to be performed in the most secret places that may be: because they are actions of the mind, and concern a man’s own self in particular.

These secret duties of piety would especially be performed first in the morning, and last in the evening; that the Lord’s day may be begun with them, (for a better preparation to the other duties) and ended with them, as a means of atonement for all our failings past. The forenamed secret duties are of excellent use to both those purposes.

They who are conscionable in performing all the fore-mentioned duties of piety, public, private and secret, shall find time little enough from their rising up to their lying down: so as they shall have no cause to complain of the many hours, or to say, they know not what to do, or how to spend their time: especially if to those sundry duties of piety, they add duties of mercy.

17 Q. What kinds are there of works of mercy?

A. 1 Such as concern the soul. Joh. 7. 22, 23.

2 Such as concern the body. Mar. 1. 29, 30, 31.

Man consists of two parts: Soul and Body, and both of them are subject to many maladies, and many necessities: we may therefore afford much succor, and shew much mercy one to another, both in soul and body.

18 Q. What are the works of mercy which concern the soul?

A. 1 Instructing the ignorant. 1 Cor. 12. 1.

2 Establishing the weak. Act. 20. 35.

3 Resolving the doubtful. Luk. 24. 38, 39.

4 Comforting troubled souls. Joh. 11. 31, & 14. 1. 2 Cor. 2. 7. 1 Thes. 5. 14.

5 Informing such as are in error. Mar. 22. 29. & Jam. 5. 19, 20.

6 Reproving the sinner. Mar. 8. 33. Luk. 3. 19. 2 Cor. 2. 6.

7 Every way edifying others. 1 Thes. 5. 11. Rom. 15. 2.

These in one respect may be accounted works of piety, namely as they are instructions, directions and reprehensions gathered out of God’s word: but in another respect they are works of mercy, namely as they tend to the relief of our brother in regard of his spiritual distress and need of his soul. The matter of them makes them works of piety, the end whereto they tend makes them works of mercy.

There is therefore a double bond to tie us to a diligent performance of all these on the Lord’s day, as we can find any occasion of doing them: one, the bond of piety: the other, the bond of mercy. Yea as the soul is more excellent then the body, and the good of the soul more necessary then the good of the body, so these works of mercy which so much concern the good of the soul, ought with more diligence to be done, then those which concern the good of the body: which yet we must not neglect. These we ought to do, and not leave the other undone.

19 Q. What are the works of mercy which concern the body?

A. 1 Visiting the sick, and such as are otherwise restrained of liberty. Mark. 1. 29, 30. Mat. 25. 36.

2 Relieving the needy with what they want. Isa. 58. 7. 1 Cor. 16. 2. Mat. 25. 35, 36.

3 Pulling out of danger such as are therein. Mat. 12. 11. Luk. 13. 16.

4 Affording all other seasonable succor. Mat. 12. 1, 4.

These may be so ordered, as none of the forementioned duties of piety need to be omitted for them. If Christians rise in any seasonable time, they may perform both private and secret duties of piety before they go to Church in the fore-noon: and if they spend not too much time at dinner, they may do the like before Church-time in the afternoon. And when they come from the after-noon public service of the Church, either before, or after, the like private duties of piety, they may do some of the fore-mentioned works of mercy: and those such as concern the body. If they prove such as hinder works of piety, they belong to works permitted, which are hereafter distinctly set down.

20 Q. Are not duties of piety and mercy to be done on other days also.

A. Yes. Act. 2. 46. 2 Tim. 4. 2. 1 Thes. 5. 17, 18. Prov. 3. 28.

God every day continues the same God: and answerably he is to be so acknowledged: and in testimony thereof divine worship is every day to be performed. Under the law they had their morning and evening sacrifices every day, Exod. 29. 38, 39. By duties of piety to God, are our secular affaires sanctified and seasoned. Every day therefore are they to be performed. And because every day the necessities of some or other require works of mercy, we must be ready every day to do them so far as we are able. The rules for shewing mercy are especially these three,

•           1 Our brother’s necessity.

•           2 Our own ability.

•           3 God’s opportunity: that is, the occasion which by the divine providence is offered unto us. Luk. 10. 33, 34. 1 Joh. 3. 17.

21 Q. Wherein lieth the difference betwixt doing works of piety on the Sabbath, and on other days?

A. They are on the Sabbath as meat: on other days as sauce. Numb. 28. 9, 10.

We use to fill our bellies with meat: and to eat as much as we can (I speak of such as eat for strength and not for gluttony) but we take a little sauce, no more then will give a relish to the meat, and sharpen appetite. So on the Sabbath we ought to do as many duties of piety thereon as conveniently we can. To secret duties, private must be added: to secret and private, public. The greater part of the Sabbath day must be spent in these. But it is sufficient on other days, to perform secret and private duties of piety, morning and evening, to season and sanctify the works of our calling thereby: and that by craving pardon of sin, assistance and blessing, and by giving praise to God, yea and by learning directions out of God’s word. For which end, some part of the holy Scripture is to be read: and some opportunities are to be taken where they may be had, to hear Sermons on week days. But the greatest part of every of the six days is to be spent in the works of our calling, Exod. 20. 6.

22 Q. Wherein lieth the difference betwixt doing works of mercy on the Sabbath and on other days?

A. Opportunities for works of mercy, are to be sought on the Sabbath, and taken on other days, 1. Cor. 16. 2.

No Sabbath ought to pass over our heads wherein some work of mercy (if at least we be able) is not done. The time that we spare from duties of piety, and from a lawful refreshing of our bodies, ought to be spent in works of mercy. For which end it is requisite that we take due notice of such as are sick, or in prison, or otherwise restrained of liberty, or any way troubled and perplexed, and of such as are poor, and in want: yea if we know none such, to enquire after them, and to go to visit them, and comfort them, and relieve them. Where the Apostle enjoineth to lay up something in store every first day in the week (which is the Lord’s day) he implies that that is a very fit season not only to do works of mercy which then are offered to us, but also to prepare on that day for other times.

Surely if everyone would every Lord’s day lay something aside, as God hath prospered him, for a stock to give to the poor, much good might be done thereby. Thus will men have more to give: thus will they have in a readiness to give: (it being a sacred stock by their voluntary setting it apart to such an use, their conscience will account it sacrilege to lay it out any other way:) thus will they more cheerfully give, because the stock out of which they give is prepared beforehand: and thus will their benevolence on another day be a Sabbath-day’s work, because it is out of the stock which on the Sabbath day was laid aside. If poor men that live on their day’s labor, if servants that live on their wages would every Lord’s day lay up some tokens or pence for this end, they might have, without any sensible damage to themselves a stock for the poor: how much greater store would be for the poor, if rich men according to God’s blessing on them, would so do?

23 Q. What servile works are permitted on the Sabbath?

A. 1. Such as further the proper works of the Sabbath, Mat. 12. 3, 4, 5.

2. Such as hinder them, Mat. 12. 11.

Such is God’s wisdom, as in all things that he requires, he affords all means that may further the same. And withal, such is God’s tender respect to us, as he ordains and orders all things for our good. For our good, namely for the spiritual edification of our souls, he first ordained the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man, Mar. 2. 27. Therefore those ordinances wherein and whereby he is worshipped and honored, are the means of edifying and saving our souls.

But God did so aim at our spiritual good, as he would not on his day have the temporal good of our bodies neglected. If therefore our bodies stand in need of present succor, for the affording whereof duties of piety must be omitted, he suffers us to forbear the external works of piety: and thereby verifies that, which the Prophet of old testified (Hos. 6. 6.) and Christ once and again confirmed (Mat. 9. 13 and 12. 7.) I will have mercy and not sacrifice.

24 Q. What servile things may further the proper works of the Sabbath?

A. First, external rites about the performing of them, Levit. 24. 8. Num. 18. 9, 10.

Under the Law there were sundry rites which required much bodily labor that tended to that worship which God then required: as slaying sacrifices, flaying and cutting them in pieces, laying wood on the altar, and the sacrifices thereon, renewing the lamps, setting the shew-bread on the table: and many other the like: concerning which Christ thus saith of the performers thereof, The Priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless. Mat. 12. 5. that is, they do such things, as in other cases, not concerning the Worship of God, would be a profanation of the Sabbath. (If a butcher in his slaughter-house should so slay, flay, and cut beasts in pieces on the Sabbath, he would therein profane the Sabbath:) But in the case of God’s worship they are no profanation, and therefore the performers thereof may justly be acquitted of all blame therein. Thus Church-Wardens, and Clerks may provide good Bread and Wine for the Communion, and Water for Baptism, and bring them to Church. Thus Collectors may receive, tell out, and distribute money to the poor. Thus Ministers may study for their Sermons. And other like works may be done that tend to the principal duties of the Sabbath.

25 Q. What other servile things may further the proper works of the Sabbath?

A. Such as our weak bodies do stand in need of. Exod. 12. 16. Mat. 12. 1.

Man by sin hath brought many infirmities upon his body. By them is he much disabled and hindered from performing good duties. The Lord therefore every way endeavoring with his goodness to overcome man’s wretchedness, hath by his providence afforded him sufficient means to support and redress his infirmities. These means God is willing that man should use at all times, on all occasions, so far forth as may be needful and useful for him. The Lord is not like that cruel Tyrant who laid upon the Israelites, whom he held in hard bondage, [2] as much as they could do, if not more, and yet would not afford them ordinary means to do it. He rather will have his work intermitted, then man oppressed thereby.

26. Q. What are those particulars which our weak bodies do most need?

A. 1. Sleep. Eccles. 5. 12.

2. Food. Luke 14. 1.

3. Apparel. 2. Sam. 12. 20.

4. All other occasional helps. Mar. 2. 3, 4.

27. Q. Why is sleep requisite?

A. If we have not seasonable sleep the night immediately before the Sabbath (the latter part whereof, namely from midnight to the time we rise, is part of the Sabbath) the duties of the day will be so drowsily performed (if at all they be performed) as they cannot be acceptable to God, nor advantageable to our spiritual edification. Sleep doth much refresh our drowsy bodies, and cheer our dull spirits: and so make us much better perform the duties of the Sabbath. Therefore, sleep is said to be sweet, Eccles. 5. 12.

28 Q. Why is food needful?

A. Food is of special use to refresh the body and quicken the spirit, if it be seasonably, and moderately taken. Many men’s spirits will be ready to faint if they be not in due season refreshed with convenient food. Christ therefore on the Sabbath took his ordinary repast, Luke 14. 1. and made an apology for his Disciples refreshing themselves on that day, Luke 6. 1, &c. yea he sheweth that such mercy ought to be afforded to Beasts. Luke 13. 15.

29 Q. To what use is apparel?

A. Apparel also is needful and useful for refreshing the body, and for comeliness. It keepeth the body warm, it covereth our uncomely parts. Then especially are we to make ourselves comely when we go into great assemblies: and greatest assemblies use to be in Churches, on the Lord’s day. Of old they were wont to put on their best apparel when they went to the House of God (2. Sam. 12. 20) unless it were a time of humiliation, Exod. 33. 4, 5.

30 Q. What other helps are there?

A. There are sundry other helps, which occasionally arise from sundry accidents. As in case of lameness, or weakness of limbs by gout, spraining, or any other means, it is a great help to be carried to Church: and that carrying may prove to the bearers a laborious work: So where the Church is remote, the help of horse and coach by land, and boat by water is needful. It appears that many brought such friends to Christ as could not come of themselves, on the Sabbath, Mar. 1. 32. & 2. 3.

31 Q. How do the fore-mentioned means further duties of piety?

A. By enabling us the better to do them, Psal. 104. 14, 15.

We heard how they refresh our bodies, cheer our spirits, and support, yea and redress our manifold infirmities: thereby they enable us to do the things which we take in hand the more cheerfully, and steadily, and thereby further the same. A man that hath a long journey to ride, by resting some-time in an Inn, by taking repast himself, and giving his horse provender, enableth himself and horse to go further then other-wise they could: and so doth further his journey. Though in baiting he doth not travel, or go any whit of his way, but abide in his Inn, yet he helpeth forward his journey, and shall by that means better come to the end thereof. Even so, though in doing those servile things which are needful for our bodies the Sabbath be not properly sanctified, yet by them the sanctification thereof is furthered, in that the services tending thereto, are thereby better performed.

32 Q. What cautions are to be observed, for well using these on the Sabbath day?

A. First, no more time then needs, must be spent on them, Exod. 34. 4.

The Lord testifieth his respect to us, in affording us liberty to use the things whereof we stand in need: and time convenient therein to use them. It becometh us therefore to testify our respect to God, by giving to him and his service as much time as we can: and not to abuse his indulgency by spending on ourselves more time then is needful. Wherefore having had quiet rest in the night, we ought to rise betimes in the morning, and to be quick and speedy in attiring ourselves, that we may have the more time to serve God on his day. The like must be done by servants in the needful services which they do. So in sitting at table to eat meat, we must use all convenient speed. To rise the sooner from bed and table, and to do all needful servile works the more speedily, because it is the Lord’s day, argueth a good respect to God and his service.

33 Q. What other caution is to be observed?

A. Such servile works as are permitted on the Sabbath must be performed as Sabbath days’ works.

Such respect must be had to this sacred time, as we ought to endeavor to turn all things, so far as we can, to a sanctification of that day.

34 Q. How may they be so done?

A. 1. With due respect to the end.

2. With like respect to the manner.

The end and manner make much to the qualifying of that we do. An evil end and manner much pervert the things we do: but a good end and manner add much to the glory of warrantable things.

35 Q. What is the end to be aimed at?

A. To be better enabled to works of piety. 1. King. 19. 7.

This end (especially if indeed we do the better what we are enabled to do, which is the right use and proper effect of the end) this end maketh servile works to become Sabbath works. For instance, if going to bed the evening before the Sabbath, we pray to have quiet rest for this end that we may more cheerfully do the duties of the Sabbath, that sleep is a Sabbath sleep: so to eat and drink for that end is a Sabbath eating and drinking. So in other things.

36 Q. After what manner must they be done?

A. With raising matter of spiritual meditation from them. Luk. 14. 7.

On the Lord’s day our mind ought to be so heavenly, as thereby everything should be done after an heavenly manner: not only works of piety, but also every other work that we do thereon, should be so done. When we first wake, we should call to mind what day it is, and desire God to sanctify us to the duties thereof. Rising out of bed, should bring to our mind the first resurrection out of sin, and the second out of the grave. In appareling ourselves, we should meditate on the adorning of our souls. In washing face and hands, think on the cleansing of our souls. Servants in making and blowing the fire, should thence take occasion of stirring up the fire of God’s Spirit in them. In preparing meat, they should think of the food of their souls. There is nothing which may lawfully be done, from which a pious mind may not draw matter of heavenly meditation: whereby the things from which meditation is drawn, are sanctified.

37 Q. May servile works be done on the Sabbath, though they hinder duties of piety?

A. Yea. Mat. 12. 7.

God doth not so strictly tie us, as fall what will, or can fall out, we must go to Church. This phrase, not sacrifice (Hos. 6. 6.) implieth that there may be cases, wherein God doth not expect sacrifices, that is, external duties of piety to be performed by us.

38 Q. What are those servile works which may be done though they hinder duties of piety?

A. Such as are of an absolute necessity.

This absolute necessity hath relation to mans need: namely, that it is necessary that such and such things be done, or else some great damage or prejudice will come to man.

39 Q. How may that absolute necessity be known?

A. If that which must needs be done could not be done the day before, nor can be put off to the day after.

This implies a necessity of the present performance, even upon the Sabbath day. This first is laid down as a ground, that it must needs be done: then it is taken for grant, that it could not be done the day before, and also, that it cannot be put off to the day after: therefore, it remains that it must be done on the Lord’s day. For instance. A tile falls on a man’s head and sorely wounds him on the Lord’s day. It is necessary that succor be afforded to this man. The day before nothing could be done for his cure, because no man knew he would be hurt. Succor must not be put off to the day after, least the man perish for want of succor. Such therefore as are able to help him, must do it, though thereby the duties of piety be hindered. Note for this purpose, Joh. 7. 23.

40 Q. Of what sorts are those works of absolute necessity?

A. 1. Ordinary.

2. Extraordinary.

Ordinary are such as for the most part happen every Sabbath: and some-where or other are performed on that day.

Extraordinary are such as may fall out, and sometimes do fall out: but very seldom: and it is a lamentable accident when any of them do fall out.

41 Q. What instances may be given of ordinary servile works which hinder duties of piety?

A. 1. Tending young children.

2. Keeping sick and impotent persons.

3. Helping women in travel.

Most families have some young children which cannot look to themselves nor be brought to Church without disturbance of the whole Congregation.

Very oft it falls out in every City and Towne that some be sick, or otherwise impotent by age, or some casualty, so as they cannot go to Church, but require some to tarry with them, and to attend upon them. And in what day of the year doth it not fall out that some women in one place or other fall in travel? If every day, then also every Lord’s day. But it is requisite that more than one or two assist them in their travel.

All these therefore are ordinary servile works whereby some are kept from duties of piety, and yet are blameless. Instance Hannah who tarried from the Temple till her child was weaned (1 Sam. 1. 22.) and was blameless.

42 Q. What instances may be given of extraordinary servile works which hinder duties of piety?

A. 1. Quenching fire on houses.

2. Making up breaches of water.

3. Withstanding enemies.

4. Freeing living creatures out of present danger.

The three first of these concerning Fire, Water, and Enemies, are so violent, that if present help be not afforded against them, irrecoverable damage may soon follow thereupon. If therefore, in any cases that rule hold, mercy and not sacrifice (Hos. 6. 6. Mat. 12. 7.) most of all in these.

As for freeing living creatures out of danger, we have Christ’s express warrant, Mat. 13. 11. Luke 14. 5. If unreasonable creatures are instantly to be pulled out of danger, much more reasonable. Luk. 13. 15, 16.

By these particulars which are permitted, we may see, that a conscionable observing of the Sabbath is not so heavy a yoke, as many imagine it to be.

43 Q. Is our Lord’s day now the true Sabbath?

A. Yes.

44 Q. What grounds are there to prove it to be so?

A. 1. Divine authority.

This is the best ground that can be: even that which is sufficient to settle a man’s judgement and conscience. Divine authority is that which is set down in the holy Scriptures, either by express precept, or by approved practice. This later is it which is most apparent in Scripture. For it is noted, that Christ’s Disciples were assembled together the first day of the week (which is our Lord’s day) and so again eight days after (John 20. 19, 6.) which [3] inclusively was the first day of the next week. It was also the first day of the week, when after Christ’s Ascension they were with one accord in one place (Acts 2. 1.) and the Holy Ghost descended upon them in cloven tongues. Many years after that, it is noted of Christians, that on the first day of the week they came together to break bread (meaning Sacramental bread) and that Paul took that occasion to preach unto them (Acts 20. 7.) The manner of setting down their assembling together implieth their custom therein: which is yet more manifest (1. Cor. 16. 2.) where the Apostle adviseth them to take that opportunity of their assembling together, for laying up a stock to relieve such as were in distress. It is not set down as an act of one time, once only to be observed, but as a weekly act, to be observed every first day of the week. And why that day? Surely because of their great assembly whereby they might whet on one another, and their contribution be the more liberal: yea also because then was the time of observing God’s Ordinances, whereby their souls must needs be incited to more bountifulness and cheerfulness therein. The title of the Lord’s day, Rev. 1. 10. can be applied to no other day so well as to this. For by LORD, without all question is meant the Lord Christ (1. Cor. 8. 6.) It is an usual title given to him in the New Testament. Now what day can so fitly be applied to Christ, to have a denomination from him, and to be dedicated to the honor of his name, as the day of his Resurrection, whereon the Church so accustomed to meet together, as we heard before. On this ground, the first day of the week is styled the Lord’s day, to this very day. Now this day being by the Church dedicated to the honor of the Lord Christ, John gave himself to holy devotion, and the Spirit took that opportunity on that holy day to shew him the divine revelations mentioned in that book.

45 Q. What other ground is there for our Lord’s day?

A. The constant custom of Christ’s Church.

From the Apostles’ time hitherto hath the Church celebrated, as holy, the Lord’s day, and that under this title, The Lord’s day. Now the constant custom of the Church is not to be slighted. This Apostolical phrase (1. Cor. 11. 16.) If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God, sheweth that the custom of the Church is a matter to be regarded.

46 Q. What third ground is there?

A. Christ’s Resurrection which made all things new. 2. Cor. 5. 17.

This as it gives a ground for celebrating the day, so it shows the reason of altering it. Christ’s resurrection gave evidence of his full conquest over death, the punishment of sin; and over him that had the power of death, the Devil: yea it gave evidence of a full satisfaction to the justice of God, and of a clear pacification of the wrath of God. In these respects, Christ is said to be raised again for our justification. Rom. 4. 25. For God’s justice being satisfied, and wrath pacified, death and Devil being over-come, what can hinder our full redemption and justification.

This then is a work that far surpasseth the Creation: and much more deserveth a weekly memorial. Yea this greater work hath swallowed up the former, as the Temple did the Tabernacle (1. King. 8. 4.) And we that live after Christ’s Resurrection are as much bound to the celebration of the first of the week, as they that lived before, to the last.

47 Q. What fourth ground is there?

A. The substance of the Law which requireth a seventh day.

The words of the Law are these, The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. I deny not but that the Law hath a special relation to the first seventh day: but so as it was a memorial of that great work of Creation. When that was swallowed up with a greater, then the substance of the Law is to be observed in a sevenths day memorial of that greater work.

And it is observable, that the seventh which we celebrate is so ordered, as in the change no week had two Sabbaths, nor any week, as part of a week was without a Sabbath. Their Sabbath concluded their last week: and our Sabbath began our first week. The change could not have been so fit to any other day.

48 Q. When begins the Lord’s day?

A. In the morning. Act. 20. 7.

When Paul came to the Church at Troas, he had a mind to spend a Lord’s day with them, though he was in great haste to depart so soon as he could. He came therefore to their assembly at the time that they came together according to their custom: but he kept them till the end of that day: (for he would not travel on the Lord’s day) and having dismissed the assembly, he departed. Now it is said, that he continued his speech till midnight (Acts 20. 7) even till break of day (ver. 11.) and then departed: which departure of his is said to be on the morrow. By this punctual expression of the time it appears that the first day of the week, the Lord’s day, ended at midnight: and that then the morrow began. Now to make a natural day which consisteth of twenty-four hours, it must begin and end at the same time: for the end of one day is the beginning of another. There is not a minute betwixt them. As therefore the Lord’s day ended at midnight, so it must begin at midnight: when we count the morning to begin. Which is yet more evident by this phrase (Mat. 28. 1.) In the end of the Sabbath (namely of the week before, which was the former Sabbath) as it began to dawn (namely, on the next day, which was the Lord’s day) or (as Joh. 20. 1.) when it was yet dark there came divers to anoint the body of Jesus, but they found him not in the grave: he was risen before: so as Christ rose before the Sun.

49 Q. What reasons may be given of the Lord’s days beginning in the morning?

A. Other days then begin.

That they do so with us, is evident by the account of our hours. For midnight ended, we begin with one a clock: then the first hour of the day beginneth. And it appears to be so among the Jews: for when Aaron proclaimed (Exod. 32. 5, 6.) Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord, They rose up early on the morrow. I deny not but that sundry of the Jewish feasts began in the evening: as the Passover (Exod. 12. 6.) But it cannot be proved that their weekly Sabbaths so began. There were special reasons for the beginning of those feasts in the evening, which did then begin. As for the supposed beginnings of the first days gathered out of this phrase, (the evening and the morning were the first day) they cannot be necessarily concluded to be at evening. For the evening and the morning there importeth the moment of the evening and morning parting one from another, and the return to the same period: which moment is rather at the beginning of the morning then of the evening. The evening useth to be referred to the end of the day, and the morning to the beginning, as Exod. 29. 38, 39. 1. Sam. 17. 16. and 30. 17. Joh. 20. 19.

50 Q. What other reason is there of the Lord’s days beginning in the morning?

A. Christ then rose. Mar. 16. 2, 9.

Of Christ’s rising in the morning no question can be made, all the Evangelists agree in the narration thereof. Now the Lord’s day being a memorial of Christ’s Resurrection, if it should begin in the evening, the memorial would be before the thing itself: which is absurd to imagine. As all God’s works were finished before the first Sabbath, so all Christ’s sufferings before the Lord’s day. His lying dead in the grave was a part of his suffering: therefore, by his Resurrection was all ended. With his Resurrection therefore must the Lord’s day begin.

To make the evening before the Lord’s day a time of preparation thereunto, is a point of piety and prudence: but to make it a part of the Lord’s day is erroneous, and in many respects very inconvenient.

Hitherto of Directions. Aberrations follow.

Aberrations concern Men’s

•           Opinion.

•           Practice.

Some men’s opinion is erroneous in too much looseness: others in too much strictness.

Errors in too much looseness are four.

•           1. Denying the morality of the Sabbath.

•           2. Accounting the Lord’s day a matter arbitrary.

•           3. Judging external rest and rites sufficient.

•           4. Supposing servile works in case of hazard to be lawful.

The error in too much strictness is this, Thinking needful works to be unlawful.

Aberrations in practice respect others, or themselves.

Two respect others, viz.

•           Keeping others from sanctifying the day.

•           Scoffing at such as make conscience thereof.

Four respect men themselves.

•           Doing servile works openly.

•           Dividing the Lord’s day betwixt God and themselves.

•           Waxing weary of holy duties.

•           Profaning the Lord’s day under a pretense of keeping it.

51 Q. What aberrations are contrary to the Law of the Sabbath?

1. Denial of the morality and equity thereof.

There be many that account it no moral precept, but reckon it among the ceremonies which were appropriated to the Jews. Herein they may justly be reckoned in the number of those who make void the law of God, Psal. 119. 126. Much more they who account it too heavy a yoke for Christians to bear. Indeed, the sacrifices and other legal rites which were enjoined to the Jews, for the manner of solemnizing the Sabbath, are too heavy a burden now to be laid on Christians. But none of those are mentioned in the Moral Law. That which we account Moral, and to have a perpetual equity, is the substance of the Law. Yet against this do many also except, as a wrong done to Christians, in that thereby (as they allege) they are deprived of a seventh part of their time. Is man deprived of that time which is best spent? which is spent in serving God, edifying his soul, and promoting the eternal salvation thereof? Fie on such sensual and unreasonable conceits? who complains of being deprived of that time which is spent, or rather misspent in idleness and wickedness?

52 Q. What is a second aberration?

A. Making it a matter arbitrary.

There be that grant it to be a very meet and equal thing, that a day should be set apart to God’s honor, and our spiritual edification: but they hold it too strait a bond to be tied to a set and certain day: they would have it left to the liberty, if not of particular men, yet of the Church to set apart what time they think fit. What is this, but to suppose that men may be wiser then God? or at least, that men who live in after ages, when the Spirit hath withheld his extraordinary assistance and immediate inspiration, may better know how to order times, then they who were in special manner inspired and assisted by the Holy Ghost? yea what is this but to give liberty to man to break the Lord’s bonds, and to cast away his cords from them. This is a ready way to bring man to teach for doctrines the commandments of men: and so to worship God in vain, Mat. 15. 9.

53 Q. What is the third aberration?

A Judging external rest and rites sufficient.

This was one of the reasons, and that an especial one, which moved the Prophets to cry out against the Jews, for observing those ordinances which God himself had enjoined: namely, that they rested only in doing the outward works. In this respect, saith the Lord (Isa. 1. 13.) The Sabbath and calling of assemblies I cannot away with. Yet herewith do most content themselves. The external rites are only means and helps for sanctifying the day; the sanctification thereof doth not simply consist in them: much less in mere rest, and cessation from labor: for then a beast might sanctify the Sabbath.

54 Q. What is the fourth aberration?

A. Supposing servile works in case of Hazzard to be lawful.

Thus they pretend unwarrantable works of necessity, that is, such works to be of necessity, which are not so. What are to be accounted works of necessity, we heard before: namely such as require a present performance, in that they could not be done the day before, nor put off to the day after. To them many add such things as are in hazard, or whereof there is fear that they may be spoiled: as in harvest, if the weather have been foul a day or two before the Lord’s day, they think they may on the Lord’s day, if it be fair, make hay, reap corn, gather fruit, and do other like servile works. But these are not of an absolute necessity. For the weather may be fair after the Lord’s day, as well as upon it. The Law therefore hath expressly forbidden this. Exod. 34. 21. In earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest on the seventh day. To work on the Lord’s day on fear that the next day will be foul, is to distrust the divine providence.

These four are errors in overmuch looseness.

55 Q. What is the fifth aberration?

A. Thinking needful works to be unlawful on the Lord’s day.

This is an error in over-much strictness. For some are so over-strict, as they will not suffer a fire to be kindled on that day, nor any hot meat to be dressed, nor sundry works of mercy to be done: like the Jews who blamed Christ for the manifold cures he did on the Sabbath: and his Disciples for plucking and rubbing ears of corn, and eating the grain. The many proofs which Christ allegeth in defense of himself, and of his Disciples, and the many evidences which he giveth of the Jews’ superstition herein, are a sufficient refutation of this erroneous opinion. For this purpose, read Mat. 12. 1, 2, &c. Luke 13. 15, 16. & 14. 4, 5. Joh. 7. 23.

These five are errors in opinion.

Aberrations in practice follow, whereof two concern others.

56 Q. What is the sixth aberration?

A. Keeping others from sanctifying the Lord’s day. The Law layeth the charge of sanctifying the Sabbath on men, not only for themselves, but also for others, especially for such as are under their charge. For the Law thus expresseth the prohibition of servile works, In it thou shalt not do any Work, thou, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, nor thy man-servant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger Which is Within thy gates. Yet there be many so far from procuring others, and those under their charge, to sanctify the Lord’s day, as they hinder them, and suffer them not to do it. Such are they that use to make great feasts on the Lord’s day, rather for pomp, then necessity, or to relieve the poor; or set out interludes or such kind of solemnities for mere pleasure: and they who having others to attend upon them, spend all the fore-noon in attiring and adorning themselves: and all they who employ servants or others upon secular affaires contrary to the commandment. These, and other like to these, pull their own and others blood upon their own souls. They have cause to fear the doom denounced, Jer. 34. 16, 17.

57 Q. What is the seventh aberration?

A. Scoffing at such as make conscience of sanctifying the Lord’s day.

There are many not only deceived in their understanding, but also so perverted in their will, and so impious in their heart, as they cannot endure such as are better informed then themselves: or that bear and shew a better respect to God, and his worship then they do.

Therefore, to discourage men from their pious courses, they brand them with ignominious titles, as Precisians, Puritans, Sabbatarians and Jews. Herein they do exceedingly aggravate their sin: and shew themselves like him that was borne after the flesh, whose doom was to be cast out, Gen. 25. 9, 10. Gal. 4. 29, 30. David was troubled with such in his days: for thus he complains, Psal. 119. 51. The proud have had me greatly in derision. But yet mark his resolution in this that follows, yet have I not declined from thy Law. To which purpose note also 2. Sam. 6. 16, 20, 21, 22.

These two last aberrations in practice have respect to others. The four last that follow have respect to men themselves.

58 What is the eight aberration?

A. Doing servile Works openly on the Lord’s day.

Many that are convinced in their judgements concerning the equity of sanctifying the Lord’s day, yet have their hearts so possessed with covetousness, and their minds so filled with the affaires of this world, as they are loath to spare a day from their worldly employments to the honor of God, and the spiritual edification of their own souls. They are like those who being invited to a great supper, made their excuses from their secular affaires, Luke 14. 16, 18. Great was the zeal of Nehemiah against such, Neh. 13. 15, 16, 17. The fairs that in many places are kept, and open selling of commodities, are too public and open profanations of the Lord’s day.

59 Q. What is the ninth aberration?

A. Dividing the Lord’s day betwixt God and themselves.

Some think they do sufficiently sanctify the Lord’s day, if they go to Church, and serve God some part of the day, though they spend the other part thereof in their own affairs. Herein they shew themselves like to those who set their threshold by God’s thresholds, and their posts by God’s posts, whereby they defile God’s holy name, Ezek. 43. 8.

60 Q. What is the tenth aberration?

A. Wearisomeness in the duties of the Lord’s day.

Many that live in Countries, Cities, Townes, Parishes and Families, where good orders for sanctifying the Lord’s day are strictly observed, are thereby brought to perform the duties tending thereto, but because they have no delight therein they are exceeding weary thereof, and think it the longest, and most tedious day in the week, saying, When Will the Sabbath be gone, Amos 8. 5. This wearisomeness takes away all the glory and comfort of what they do: it is neither acceptable to God, nor profitable to their own souls. Therefore, let us not be weary in well-doing, Gal. 6. 9.

61 Q. What is the eleventh aberration?

A. Profaning the Lord’s day under a pretense of keeping it.

The Government under which men live, and the laws of their Governors which they dare not transgress, make many to forbear the ordinary works of their calling, the doing whereof is in all men’s opinions an apparent profanation of the Lord’s day: therefore Lawyers will forbear to plead at the bar: Tradesmen will shut up their shops: Husbandmen will forbear the ordinary tillage of their ground; work-men their usual labor, and others that which in the six days they busy themselves about: But yet under pretense of that external keeping the Lord’s day, they will take advantage of doing sundry other things which are plain profanations of the day: wherein they do not celebrate the Sabbath of the Lord, but the Sabbath of sundry other things: all which may be brought to four heads: and under them, all profanations of the Sabbath may be comprised, as the particulars following will shew.

62 Q. What is the first kind of Sabbath that is not the Lord’s?

A. The Sabbath of worldlings.

Worldlings are such as have their minds so set upon the things of this world, as they take all the advantages that possibly they can to get and heap up the things of this world: and to that end they will turn those things that are ordained to another end, even the means which are afforded to attain to eternal life, to their worldly advantages.

63 Q. What is the Sabbath of worldlings?

A. Doing his works on it.

In that ordinary works of a calling are forborne, there is a shew of keeping a Sabbath: but that forbearing of such works giveth occasion to worldlings to do other things that prove as advantageable to them, and which must be done at other times, if they were not then done. For instance, the Lawyer will on the Lord’s day (when he pleads not at the bar, because the Law suffers it not) appoint his Clients to come to him to inform him in their causes. The Trades-man that shuts up his shop, will then cast up his books, and send his servants to his Creditors to require his debts. The Farmer will then take his time to meet with his neighbors, to make bargains, to buy and sell their commodities. So in other cases advantages being taken for the things of this world from a shew of keeping the Lord’s Sabbath, makes it to be, not the Sabbath of the Lord, but the Sabbath of worldlings.

64 Q. What is a second kind of Sabbath that is not the Lord’s?

A. The Sabbath of Epicures.

There was a Philosopher called Epicurus, who held pleasure to be man’s summum bonum, his greatest happiness. Thereupon they that pursue their pleasures with all the might and main they can, and place a kind of content therein are called Epicures.

65 Q. What is the Sabbath of Epicures?

A. Satisfying men’s own delights in it.

They who are given to their pleasures, being on the Lord’s day restrained from their ordinary calling and the works thereof, take that opportunity to make pompous feasts, to follow their sports and pastimes, and other ways to satisfy their fleshly delights, neglecting God’s service. Thus the Sabbath which they keep, is not the Sabbath of the Lord, but the Sabbath of Epicures.

66 Q. What is the third kind of Sabbath that is not the Lord’s?

A. The Sabbath of Beasts.

Beasts being unreasonable creatures do not conceive any difference of days, nor the end why they rest from their accustomed labor and work. Thereupon that time wherein they are not put to work they spend in sleeping, grazing, or otherwise feeding, in standing still, or going idly here and there.

67 Q. What is the Sabbath of beasts?

A. Passing it over in idleness.

There be very many that do no more consider the end of intermitting the duties of their calling then beasts. But because they may not do them, they spend the Lord’s day in lying a bed, or otherwise sleeping, in attiring themselves, in eating and drinking, in vain talk, in sitting at doors to behold what comes to their eyes, in walking up and down, and such other idle courses. This is not to keep the Lord’s Sabbath, but the Sabbath of Beasts.

68 Q. What is the fourth kind of Sabbath that is not the Lord’s?

A. The Sabbath of Devils.

Devils are spirits of wickedness, doing all the evil they can, and taking all the occasions they can to do evil.

69 Q. What is the Sabbath of Devils?

A. Making it a day of sin.

Many that by their calling are all the six days restrained from outward notorious evil acts, make the Lord’s day a time to let loose the reins to all sin. Whoremongers and whores appoint the Lord’s day to meet on to commit their lewdness. Thieves set that day apart to break into houses, to rob and steal. Then drunkards meet together to make one another drunk. Others that have mischievous plots in their heads, will then meet to advise about the execution of them: and animate one another thereunto. Thus they serve the Devil: they do his works: they shew themselves herein like the very Devils. This therefore is to keep, not the Sabbath of the Lord, but the Sabbath of devils.

70 Q. What motives may be given for sanctifying the Sabbath?

A. 1. Express precept. Deut. 5. 12.

Were there no other motive, this were sufficient to a pious mind, that knoweth God to be the only Lord, the highest Sovereign over all: who hath an absolute power to command: to whose commandment obedience is expected, yea shall be exacted, and severe vengeance executed on such as refuse to obey.

71 Q. What other motive.

A. The item before that precept. Exod. 20. 8.

The item prefixed before the Precept concerning the Sabbath is this, Remember (remember the Sabbath day.) Where among sundry precepts a memento is set upon one, without question it implieth an especial heed to be given to it: as if more largely it were said, Of all that is given in charge let not this be forgotten: especially remember this, and give good heed thereto.

74 Q. Why is a MEMENTO especially set before the fourth Commandment?

A. First, the fourth Commandment bringeth a singular help to all the other precepts, as shall be distinctly shewed on the seventh motive.

Secondly, it intimates man’s averseness against this precept. The morality of none of the ten Commandments, written with God’s own fingers in the two Tables of stone, was ever questioned by such as professed themselves Christians, but this of the Sabbath. Indeed, Papists in setting down the ten Commandments (whether in [4] Catechisms or elsewhere) do leave out the words of the second Commandment: yet they do not deny the morality of it: for they render this reason of leaving out the words, The substance of the words left out is in the first Commandment: all that is left out is but an exposition of the first. Though the reason be not sound, much less sufficient to justify so audacious a fact, as the leaving out of that which God hath so expressly with his own fingers set down, yet it sheweth that, they deny not the morality of that precept. The memento then intends thus much, That though there may be many that deny the morality of the Sabbath, yet let such as bear a due respect to whatsoever is given in charge by the Law, remember this part thereof. Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Thus we see that this is a motive of moment.

75 Q. What third motive?

A. God’s honor. Isa. 58. 13.

To have one of the seven days weekly set apart for the worship of God, and to dedicate the same wholly thereunto, must needs make much to the honor of God. And who would not, who should not do all that he can, especially all that that is appointed by God himself, to the honor of God. Them that honor me, will I honor, saith the Lord, 1. Sam. 2. 30.

76 Q. What fourth motive?

A. God’s example. Gen. 2. 2. Exod. 20. 11.

The example of God in this particular is for this end expressly produced in the Law, that we should the rather be induced thereby to sanctify the Sabbath, Exod. 20. 11. To imitate God in that wherein he is to be imitated; must needs be acceptable to God: and most honorable it is in itself. It is a matter of good credit for a child to imitate a good Father, for a subject to imitate a prudent. Prince, yea for any to imitate those, whose example is worthy imitation. How much more to imitate God. This motive is much pressed in the holy Scriptures. Levit. 19. 2. Luk. 6. 35, 36. Eph. 5. 1.

77 Q. What fifth motive?

A. The practice of Saints. Luk. 4. 16. Act. 16. 30. 1. Cor. 16. 1, 2.

This, though it be not equal to the former motive, yet it is a motive of great moment: and it is also much pressed in sacred Scripture, as Ps. 99. 6. Heb. 6. 12. Jam. 9. 10. Patterns of Saints, who were men, subject to like passions that we be, shew that what we endeavor after is no other than that which appertaineth to man. Now for this duty, of sanctifying to God a seventh day, we have the examples of Saints before the Law (Exod 16. 30.) under the Law (Neh. 13. 19, 22.) after the Law (Act. 20. 7.)

78 Q. What sixth motive?

A. The equity of the duty. Exod. 20. 9.

The Lord might exact of us every day to be dedicated to the honor of his name. But it pleaseth him in tender respect to our need to afford us six days to do our own work therein. Is it not then most meet and equal, that we should give a seventh to God and to the honor of his Name? may not God in this case say, is not my demand equal? Do not they who take this day to themselves, deal worse with God then he did with his neighbor, who had many sheep of his own, yet took from his poor neighbor the one only one which he had. 2. Sam. 12. 4.

79 Q. What seventh motive?

A. The help it brings to keep the other Commandments?

An especial part of sanctifying the Lord’s day consists in reading God’s Word, in hearing it preached, in conferring about it, in meditating on it, and in calling upon God. Now by those duties which are about God’s Word we are instructed in God, and in our duties to him, how we may take him alone for our God, how we may worship him and honor his name aright: yea we are instructed also in all duties which we owe to our neighbor. By God’s Word also we are persuaded and induced to endeavor after those things wherein we are instructed. And prayer is an especial means to get the Holy Ghost (Luke 11. 13.) This precept therefore is to be observed, as simply in regard of itself, so relatively in respect to all other the precepts: and thereupon an especial memento is set before it alone.

80 Q. What eight motive?

A. The spiritual benefit thereof. Jer. 17. 26.

A conscionable sanctifying of the Lord’s day, by a due observing of those divine ordinances which God hath prescribed, is an especial means to convert such as have formerly lived in their natural corrupt estate, and to quicken and increase the graces which have been formerly wrought in us. We by reason of the flesh in us, are prone as heavy things to fall down: and as water to wax cold. But the Lord’s day by the ordinances thereof is an especial means of renewing what is decayed. As weights of a clock by oft winding up are kept continually going, so grace by the foresaid duties is kept in continual exercise. The Lord’s day is a spiritual market day, wherein we may get such spiritual provision, as may feed and sustain our souls the whole week following: and so week after week, while here we live in this world.

81 Q. What ninth motive?

A. The temporal benefit of it. Deut. 5. 14.

Surely a days rest in every week is very needful and useful for man and beast: especially for such as labor all the six days. Experience gives good proof thereof. Howsoever such as on no day take any great pains find no such benefit thereby: yet others do. And the wise God saw it to be so. For which end he expressly commanded that the beast should rest (Exod. 20. 10.) Now the beast can reap no other than a temporal benefit. There is therefore a temporal benefit thence arising. Some masters are so covetous and gripulous [greedy], as if there were not a seventh day for rest set apart, they would never afford any days rest to servants or cattle: but so weary them, as their strength would quickly be exhausted. It remains then that as the rest of every night, so the rest of every seventh day, is useful and needful: and a great temporal good is thereby brought to man and beast.

82 Q. What tenth motive?

A. Promises to observers thereof. Isa. 58. 13, 14.

Promises, great and precious promises being made by one that is able to perform what he promiseth, and withal is true and faithful, and in that kind will not fail to make good his word, are a strong motive to stir up men to do with the uttermost of their power the things whereunto such and such promises are made. But promises, great and many, by God himself, of whose power, and truth no question can be made, are made to such as are conscionable in keeping the Sabbath: as appears Isa. 56. 2, 4, 6. and 58. 13, 14. Jer. 17. 24, 25.

83 Q. What eleventh motive?

A. Threats against profaners of it.

What promises cannot do on hard hearts, threats may do. For they are of force to affright men: and in a manner to force men to obedience. The Lord therefore being willing every way to try how men may be wrought upon, useth this remedy: and the rather he useth it, that judgement, and the execution thereof may be prevented. For this is the proper end of threatenings beforehand, that after-judgements may be avoided: so as in regard of the end whereat they aim, they appear to be evidences of God’s favor. For these read Exod. 31. 14, 15. Jer. 17. 27. Ezek. 20. 13, 21.

84 Q. What twelfth motive?

A. Judgements executed on such as violated it.

Execution of judgement hath a threefold end.

The first aimeth at him on whom the judgement is executed: by the sense and smart thereof to be drawn to repentance. Thus was Manasseh wrought upon by a fearful judgement executed on him, 2. Chron. 33. 12, 13.

The second aimeth at others, that if they on whom the judgement is executed be so hardened, as it move them not, yet others may be warned thereby: For this end the judgements on impenitent sinners of old is set before Christians to admonish them. 1. Cor. 10. 6, &c. Heb. 3. 12. Jude ver. 5, 6, &c.

The third aimeth at God: that if neither they on whom judgements are executed, nor others that see them or hear of them, be wrought upon, yet God may be justified. In which respect he is said to be known by the judgment which he executeth (Psal. 9. 16.) He thereby is known to be a mighty, a just, a wise God, a God that hateth iniquity. Read Dan. 9. 7. and Neh. 9. 32, 33. Now judgements being terrible to such as feel, and to such as see them, or hear of them, they must needs be a forcible motive to restrain men from profaning the Sabbath. Instances of fearful judgements executed for this sin are in Numb. 15. 32. and 2 Chron. 36. 21. Neh. 13. 18.

85 Q. What thirteenth motive?

A. The safety of sanctifying it. Act. 4. 19.

There is great question about the Sabbath, whether it ought now to be sanctified, and wholly dedicated to God or no. Now to one that is not persuaded one way or other, I would propound this question, whether may be the safer, to sanctify it, or not to sanctify it?

If on the one side it still remains as a precept whereunto we are all bound, then it is a palpable transgression of the Law not to sanctify it: and in this case, woe to the transgressors thereof.

But suppose the precept do not still absolutely bind us, yet if voluntarily we set apart a seventh day to the honor of God, and the spiritual edification of our own souls (provided that superstition be not placed in the keeping of the day) surely there is no sin therein, nor any great inconvenience. So that questionless it must needs be the safest course to sanctify the day. Among other motives let this also be well considered.


[1] Of people’s uttering Amen, See The Guide to go to God § 243

[2] Exod. 5. 7, 8.

[3] Christ is said (Mar. 8. 31.) to rise again after three days: which is to be taken inclusively: the whole third day being included. Again where (Mat. 17 1. & Mar. 9. 2.) it is said that Christ went into the Mount where he was transfigured six days after, Luke (9. 28.) saith about eight days after, Matthew & Mark speak exclusively: leaving out the day wherein he was last with all his Disciples, and the day wherein he came to the Mount: and mean only the six days betwixt. Luke speaks inclusively: including the foresaid two days.

[4] Catechis. 1c uit []. Catechis. Vicelij [Georg Witzel]. Catechis. Bellarm [Robert Bellarmine]. Lege Alanum Copum cap. 21. Dialogi. 4.