Edward Leigh on the Fourth Commandment as Moral

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Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
"Six Arguments prove the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral:

1. It was delivered to Adam before the fall, when there was no Ceremony, Gen. 2. 2. which is not spoken by anticipation, but the context shows it was then sanctified to him, v. 3.
2. Moses takes it for granted, it was known to be moral, and known before the Law was given, Exod. 16. 25.
3. Unless this be moral there cannot be ten Commandments, Deut. 10. 4.
4. God would not put a Ceremonial Law in the midst of the Morals, and urge it with more words, reasons, repetitions, and particulars, then any of the Morals, as he does the Sabbath, Exod. 20. 8, 9, 10, 11.
5. Christ speaking of those days when all the ceremonial Law was dead and buried, shows the Sabbath stands still, Matth. 24. 20.
6. The Prophet prophesying of the days of the Gospel when Christ should be revealed, Isa. 56. 1. pronounces a blessing on them in those times that keep the Sabbath from polluting it, vers. 2. and puts the keeping of the Sabbath for the whole obedience of the Covenant, vers. 6. which he would not do if it were ceremonial, 1 Sam. 15. 22."

—Edward Leigh, A System, or Body of Divinity, Consisting of Ten Books (London: William Lee, 1654), https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A47625.0001.001, 821; some spelling modernized.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
3. Unless this be moral there cannot be ten Commandments, Deut. 10. 4.

I wonder if that statement has any bearing on the original intent of Article 7 of the 39 Articles, which states that the ten commandments remain valid in the New Testament - an assertion that would be wrong if the fourth commandment was no longer morally binding.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I wonder if that statement has any bearing on the original intent of Article 7 of the 39 Articles, which states that the ten commandments remain valid in the New Testament - an assertion that would be wrong if the fourth commandment was no longer morally binding.

I'm not sure what you're asking/saying, mainly because I am mostly ignorant of the Thirty-Nine Articles' history.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I'm not sure what you're asking/saying, mainly because I am mostly ignorant of the Thirty-Nine Articles' history.

VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I know what Article 7 of the Articles argues. I was just trying to figure out what kind of connection you were drawing between Leigh's words and the Articles, particularly by the phrase "has any bearing on." Sorry for my lack of clarity.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I know what Article 7 of the Articles argues. I was just trying to figure out what kind of connection you were drawing between Leigh's words and the Articles, particularly by the phrase "has any bearing on." Sorry for my lack of clarity.

The fault is mine, as the articles use the phrase "moral law" as opposed to "ten commandments." Maybe I am mistaken, but I am sure I have seen some versions of the 39 Articles that use "ten commandments." It is more likely that I have misremembered them, however.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
The fault is mine, as the articles use the phrase "moral law" as opposed to "ten commandments." Maybe I am mistaken, but I am sure I have seen some versions of the 39 Articles that use "ten commandments." It is more likely that I have misremembered them, however.

Ahhh, I see now. Thank you. So your concern is with the fact that "the Commandments" is qualified by the phrase "which are called moral," as if there is at least one Commandment (capital "C") that is not moral. Is that correct?
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
I was recently talking to my father, a strongly convinced dispensationalist, about the death penalty. Dad said the death penalty does not apply today because "we are not under the law but under grace". I tried to explain the Reformed view of the moral law, and Dad said, in a slightly astonished tone, if you believe that you would have to believe in the Sabbath!!

It is sad how dispensationalism distorts these important truths.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, that is what I am driving at.

The edition in James Dennison's Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries has: "no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments [little "c"] which are called moral." I'm not sure what we should do with Leigh's words with regard to this, and I don't know how we could determine is any light would be shed, especially considering the fact that when the Articles were penned, Leigh's parents probably weren't even born. It also looks like he wrote his Body of Divinity a few years after the Westminster Assembly (in 1654).

What were Anglicans' general view on the Sabbath before Westminster? For help interpreting the Articles on the Moral Law, would it be better to go to someone like Ussher? I know he was Church of Ireland, but I am also aware of his wide-reaching influence, even upon Westminster.

It is sad how dispensationalism distorts these important truths.

"Distorts" might be too mild a word.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The Westminster Assembly altered article 7 by adding a last line right after the line in question. "By the moral law, we understand all the Ten Commandments taken in their full extent." "By the moral law, we understand all the Ten Commandments taken in their full extent."
I wonder if they were afraid some would argue the fourth was not moral or if in fact some so argued that? The minutes of the assembly begin with session 76, the earlier minutes not surviving apparently and thus nothing on article 7. I also did not see anything in the published text of Lightfoot's
The fault is mine, as the articles use the phrase "moral law" as opposed to "ten commandments." Maybe I am mistaken, but I am sure I have seen some versions of the 39 Articles that use "ten commandments." It is more likely that I have misremembered them, however.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Yep; I should have remembered. That was exactly Thomas Rogers interpretation he put on the seventh article and in his updated exposition he explicitly ties the "error" of thinking the fourth is not ceremonial to Nicholas Bownd. Read to the top of page 90 if you follow the link.
The Westminster Assembly altered article 7 by adding a last line right after the line in question. "By the moral law, we understand all the Ten Commandments taken in their full extent." "By the moral law, we understand all the Ten Commandments taken in their full extent."
I wonder if they were afraid some would argue the fourth was not moral or if in fact some so argued that? The minutes of the assembly begin with session 76, the earlier minutes not surviving apparently and thus nothing on article 7. I also did not see anything in the published text of Lightfoot's
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
"Distorts" might be too mild a word.
Taylor, no doubt you are right. But I try to be charitable to Calvinistic Dispensations taught by MacArthur and/or the Masters Seminary. They share a degree of hermeneutical framework in common with Reformed theology. Yet I equally have to say their dispensationalism undermines the Reformation emphasis they teach. In this regard, in the past I have become annoyed with some Reformed Baptists who think they have more in common with Calvinistic dispensationalists than Reformed Paedobaptists!

You noted Isa 56:2 in your OP:
“How blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who takes hold of it;
Who keeps from profaning the sabbath,"

If only all Dispensationalists would take this seriously.
 
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