Reformed Covenanter blog posts on the Sabbath

This week's post comes from John Wallis; it focuses on the Sabbath before Sinai and its place in the Decalogue:

I agree also, that the Law of the Sabbath is one of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments delivered to Israel on Mount Sinai. Ex. 20. But I am willing to think it was a Law before. Not only because we find it observed, Exod. 16. (before the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, Ex. 20.) but especially because of that in Gen. 2. 3. God blessed the Seventh day and Sanctified it, because in it he rested from all his Work. And those who are most averse to the Morality (as it is wont to be called) or the Perpetuity of the Sabbath, or Day of Holy Rest, and are yet very zealous for the Holiness of Places, would be very fond of it if they could find so clear a Testimony, and so ancient, for the holiness of Place, as here is for that of Time.

I agree also that the Law of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments, though then given peculiarly to Israel, is Obligatory to Us also. For though some Clauses therein do peculiarly respect them; as that who brought thee out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage, and that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, (which I think is there said with a particular respect to the land of Canaan, which God gave to Israel, not to us; yet the Body of that Law and the preceptive part of it, I take to be Obligatory to others also, and to Us in particular; the Decalogue being Declarative of what was (I think) a Law before (however neglected or forgotten,) and is by Christ and his Apostles frequently cited as such, even to Gentiles as well as Jews.

For the reference, see:

 
This week's post for the Lord's Day comes from Richard Greenham on Adam's need for a Sabbath:

... Our first father then had a Sabbath to be put in mind of the Creator, and that without distraction he might the better be put in mind of the glorious kingdom to come, that more freely he might give himself to meditation, and that he might the better glorify God in six days. As the heretics then deny the necessity of the word, prayer and Sacraments: so we look for a new heaven, and a new earth, and then we hope and acknowledge, that we shall keep a continual Sabbath. But in the meantime, seeing the Sabbath which we now have, was before sin, we, since sin came into the world, have much more need of it, because that which was needful to continue Adam in innocence, is also as needful to recover us, and to continue us in our recovery. The Lord then having sanctified this day, it is not our day, but the Lord his own day. ...

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But in the meantime, seeing the Sabbath which we now have, was before sin, we, since sin came into the world, have much more need of it, because that which was needful to continue Adam in innocence, is also as needful to recover us, and to continue us in our recovery.
Well said, Mr. Greenham.

We need the Lord's Day. We should not only enjoy it as it comes, but even yearn for it, and long for the relief that we find in it. God has indeed designed it for our benefit.

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. - Psalm 84:2 KJV
 
This week's post for the Lord's Day comes from Jonathan Edwards on Sabbath-profanation as a way to hell:

A way of sabbath-breaking and of profaning God’s worship is a sure way to hell. Is not this a common thing amongst us? Are there not many amongst us, especially young people, that have no regard to holy time, but in their talk and actions do trample God’s sabbath underfoot and make no difference between holy time and other time? I think this may be taken for a rule, that those moral evils that were capital according to the law of Moses, that at all times, they are mortal damning sins: for God, by ordering that they should be punished with death, signified that they led to destruction and eternal death. But the profaning the sabbath was so to be capitally punished.

[In] Exodus 31:14, we are told that he that defiles the sabbath shall surely be put to death; that soul shall be cut off from the congregation. They were to be stoned with stones, which sort of death seems to be appointed more especially to represent God’s wrath poured upon the head of the sinner. And how many are there that not only profane the sabbath, but profane God’s public worship on the sabbath by an irreverent, indecent, rude behaviour. All such as make this a practice are going to hell. I need to offer [no] other places to prove it, but the third commandment: “That God will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” [Exodus 20:7–8].

For the reference, see:

 
John Holmes Agnew provides us with this Sabbath's post, which focuses on the Sabbath's relevance to patriotism:

Let every man who would lay claim to patriotism and be thought a good member of civil society, keep back his foot from polluting the Sabbath. It is manifest, from the preceding remarks, that the Sabbath-breaker strikes at the root of all that is peaceful and orderly, and opens the way for the spread of irreligion, infidelity, and moral death. The man who by his example weakens the pervading sense of obligation to God, and overthrows the authority of a Divine institution, does so much toward the ruin of his country, and is one of its worst enemies. He may not feel himself to be so, but he is so in reality.

We can little regard a man’s boasts of patriotism, his fourth of July orations, his flaming toasts, his shouldering of his musket on public days, when we see him regardless of the laws of God, and by an immoral example sapping the foundations of republican government. He is no patriot at heart. For the real friend of his country will avoid every course which is manifestly ruinous to its interests, and will uphold every institution which is promotive of its welfare. And what more so than the Sabbath? …

I repeat it, it is vanity for that man to lay claim of the tribute of patriotism, who by his example and influence in reference to the Sabbath, is subverting religion and morality, those great pillars of human happiness. He may have much of the milk of human kindness, may possess the sweet charities of life, may be amiable, and admired for his talents and usefulness in other respects, yet if he break the fourth commandment, and teach men so, he shall not only be of no esteem in the kingdom of heaven, but is certainly laying the axe at the root of his country’s brightest hopes.

For the reference, see:

 
This week's post is also from Richard Greenham; it addresses the subject of bearing with errors of weakness concerning the Sabbath:

In our days we see that because there hath been much crying out against holy days, some also will not stick to cry out against the Sabbath. Well, if a papist in all other general points of doctrine should be truly converted unto Christ, and for want of instruction doubteth of the Sabbath, we are in love to deal with him, and for a season to support his weakness. How be it we must remember that the weak must not always be born with, as appeareth by the Apostle’s words chap 15:2. Let every man please his neighbour in that, that is good to edification.

So long then as the error is of weakness, and that it is but an infirmity in the man, from which by the knowledge of the truth he would be rid and be delivered, he must be born with. But if it proceed of illusion, obstinacy, and of a prefract [sic] judgment as deceived by the devil, then he must not be borne with, no not even now a days: nay, if we be herein faulty, the error is not so tolerable in us, as it was in them, in that they wanted the old and New Testament, both which are so abundantly opened unto us. But if one truly repenting him of his sins, and faithfully believing in Christ, shall through ignorance be afraid of the Sabbath, as of a servile ceremony, he is so far to be borne with, as he desireth to come to the truth, and if he come once to be obstinate, he is no longer to be borne with.

For the reference, see:

 
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