ON THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH [An original letter from Fuller]

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Puritan Board Doctor
ON THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH [An original letter.]
Aug. 25, 1805.

MY DEAR FRIEND, Kettering,

I RECEIVED yours yesterday, and, though my hands are full, I must write you a few thoughts on the Lord’s day. Your views on that subject, I am persuaded, are injurious to your soul, and to the souls of many more in – . It is one of those consequences which arise from an extreme attention to instituted worship, to the neglect of what is moral. If the keeping of a sabbath to God were not in all ages binding, why is it introduced in the moral law, and founded upon God’s resting from his works? If it were merely a Jewish ceremonial, why do we read of time being divided by weeks before the law? There was a day in the time of John the apostle which the Lord called his own; and as you do not suppose this to be the seventh, (for, if it were, we ought still to keep it,) you must allow it to be the first. The first day then ought to be kept as the Lord’s own day, and we ought not to think our own thoughts, converse on our own affairs, nor follow our own business on it. To say, as you do, that we must not eat our own supper on that day is requiring what was never required on the Jewish sabbath. Necessary things were always allowed.

Nor did my argument from 1 Cor. xi. suppose this. The argument was – the ordinance of breaking bread being called the Lord’s supper proved that they ought not to eat their own supper while eating that supper; therefore the first day being called the Lord’s day proves we ought not to follow our own unnecessary concerns while that day continues, but to devote it to the Lord, and this is a moral duty – that, whatever day we keep, we keep it to the Lord.

Your notions of instituted worship, to the overlooking of what is moral, I am persuaded have injured you as to family worship and family government. It is not said of Abraham that God gave him a special precept about commanding “his household after him,” but knew him that he would do it. It was one of those things, and so is the other, of which it might be said, “Ye need not that I write this unto you; for ye yourselves are taught of God to do these.”

But allowing your argument, that there is no sin in attending to worldly things on the Lord’s day, yet, according to Paul’s reasoning in 1 Cor. viii., you ought to refrain.

You cause others to offend God by breaking what they consider a Divine commandment. And the reasoning of Paul, in chap. viii. 8, applies to you: If you do these things you are not the better; and if you abstained you would not be the worse. Do you not hereby sin against Christ, and wound those whom you account your weaker brethren? You must also have done harm to your son, and to the waiters at the inn. Reckon me if you please a weak brother. But so fully convinced am I of the invariable obligation of keeping a day to the Lord, that if I had seen what I did on the Lord’s day morning, it would have marred all my comfort at the Lord’s supper, and I know not that I could have there united with you. I write not because I love you not, but the reverse . . . . but, alas! the taint of your old principles I fear will remain . . . . Oh that they did not!

My dear friend, I see in you so much to love that I cannot but long to see more; and particularly to see that old leaven purged out. “The knowledge of the holy is understanding.” It is this sort of leaven that makes those few Baptists at – afraid to unite with many of your Baptists; and I cannot but approve of their conduct. They would unite with any individual who comes to them and gives satisfactory evidence of his Christianity, and of his Christian walk; but if they unite with Baptists by whole companies, they are ruined. I was told at – that the way in which the Baptists in Mr.–‘s connexion take in members was by merely requiring an account of their faith, that is, a creed, and not of the influence of truth upon their own mind. The consequence is, as might be expected, great numbers of them are men of no personal godliness, but mere speculatists. Churches formed on such principles must (like what I have heard of many societies) sink into nothing, or worse than nothing, mere worldly communities, a sort of freemasons’ lodges. My dear friend, flee from the remains of such religion! I mean no reflection upon individuals. I trust Mr. – is a good man; and I have been told his church is in the main one of the best: but, on such a principle, it cannot stand.

Affectionately yours,
A. F.

The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller
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Puritan Board Doctor
Not yet, but I'm open...

Article 15 of the New Hampshire Confession of Faith 1833:

Of the Christian Sabbath

We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath (Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2; ) and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes (Exod. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:24, ) by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations (Isa. 58:13-14; 56:2-8; ) by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private Psa. 119:15 and public (Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Exod. 46:3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psa. 26:8; 87:3; ) and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God (Heb. 4:3-11. )

My blog should be interesting the next week or so as I post more quotes, etc. on this topic.


Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
The 1858 abstract of principles:

XVII. The Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.


Puritan Board Junior
As you know J.C Philpot saw the law not as the believer's rule of life, but he viewed the sabbath as very important, probely because because the sabbath is a creation ordinace. So you don't need to put the view of the weekly sabbath aside while not seeing the law as a believers rule of life.

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
This is a good read!!!!!!!


"Not that he is by the breach of one particular law, guilty of a breach of all the laws distinctly; not that by one sin he is as guilty as by many. But by one transgression he is as really a breaker of the whole law, as if he had broken all its commandments. The law is one, though it contains many commandments. The breach of any one of these commandments is a breach of the whole law, and, consequently, subjects the transgressor to the penalty of the law."—Alexander Carson, The Doctrine of the Atonement, pp. 44-45.
It must be recognized that while there is no difference in the fact of guilt between the transgression of one law and the transgression of several, yet there is a great deal of difference in the degree of guilt in this matter. The solidarity of the Decalog relates to the fact of guilt, and not to the degree of it. This is why no man could ever be justified by the deeds of the Law. For while he might possess a very low degree of guilt as compared to some notorious transgressor of the Law, there would be no difference in the fact of his guilt. He might never have transgressed but one of the Ten Commandments, or only transgressed once those commandments that he had broken but he is guilty nonetheless. (This is actually an impossible supposition—a mere hypothesis—chosen only for illustration’s sake, for no one ever comes near to keeping the whole law, for the best of genuine Christians are guilty of multiple transgressions every day of their lives. And he that thinks otherwise is grossly ignorant of his own heart.

This fact is also to be seen in that the New Testament restates or examples every one of the Ten Commandments as still binding upon Christians after the crucifixion of Christ. This is inconceivable upon any Antinomian grounds, but is perfectly clear upon the grounds that the Decalog is moral law that is always and everywhere binding.
As moral law, the Decalog is not only seen to be logically binding upon all men, but it is, in fact, felt by them to be binding upon them. And only by a man tampering with his own mental facilities will be able to convince himself that the Decalog has no authority over him. It is in the very nature of both the Decalog and man to recognize this fact. This brings us to consider therefore—
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