Reformed Covenanter blog posts on the Sabbath

Reformed Covenanter

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I can’t believe this thread has been going for two years now. I’ve benefitted from it very much over that time, too.

I was actually just about to comment that this thread has been going on for just over two years. How time flies! There are now over two hundred entries in the Sabbath related blog-category.

Reformed Covenanter

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This week's post for the Lord's Day comes from Patrick Fairbairn. As I said elsewhere, the writings of the Disruption Worthies and other early Free Churchmen are a spiritual goldmine, though one that we have often forgotten to utilise. Of course, there are many good writings hidden away in old periodicals and newspapers, which are easy to overlook. Anyway, Fairbairn has the following to say about the Fourth Commandment's place in the new covenant:

... In short, by the terms of the new covenant, the people of God were not to have the law of the Ten Commandments imposed on them as the way by which they were to attain life, but breathed into them as the form and pattern of life already received from above; they were to become the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, because the law, in all the requirements of which he had perfected himself, and therefore that also, unto which they should be ever growing up, who, through the Spirit, were to be in all things “made conformable to his image.”

But if this be true of the Ten Commandments as a whole, it must, of course, be true of each individual part—of the Fourth Commandment, as well as any of the rest. This, undoubtedly, was included as an essential part of the law or covenant, which was formerly written without, and set up before, the people of God; but is now written within, and infused with living power into the feelings and affections of their heart.

Hence the framers of the English Liturgy, with a right understanding of this truth, have added, after the reading of the Ten Commandments in the public service, the following prayer, which is just the words of this prophecy turned into a petition, “And have mercy upon us, and write all these laws in our hearts” ...

For more, see Patrick Fairbairn on the new covenant and the fourth commandment.

Reformed Covenanter

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Thomas Cartwright provides this Sabbath's post, which deals with the important subject of due preparation for the Lord's Day. While works of immediate necessity are permissible on the Sabbath, we may find that we would have fewer such works of necessity if we prepared more carefully:

Q. What is to be observed in the word, Remember?

A. That although all the Commandments are needful diligently to be remembered, yet this more specially.

Q. Why so?

A. First, because this Commandment hath least light of nature, to direct us to the observation of it.

Secondly, for that we are naturally most negligent in the observation of this, suffering our selves to be withdrawn by our worldly business, from God’s service upon the Lord’s day; and therefore such a special warning is needful to be added.

Q. What is it that we should here remember, for the better sanctifying of the Sabbath?

A. That we so compass all our business within the six working days, that our worldly affairs enter not, or encroach into the possession of the Lord’s day; not only willingly, but not so much as by any forgetfulness: as when (through want of foresight, or forecasting) the payment of money, due by obligation, or any such businesses that might be prevented, shall fall out on that day.

For the reference, see Thomas Cartwright on remembering the Sabbath day through preparation.

Reformed Covenanter

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This week's post for the Lord's Day comes from A. A. Hodge:

Observe that the particular day of the week on which the Sabbath is to be kept, although fixed for revealed reasons by the will of God at the creation, never was, or could be, of the essence of the institution itself. The command to observe the Sabbath is essentially as moral and immutable as the commands to abstain from stealing, killing or adultery.

It has, like them, its ground in the universal and permanent constitution and relations of human nature. It was designed to meet the physical, moral, spiritual and social wants of men; to afford a suitable time for the public moral and religious instruction of the people and the public and private worship of God; and to afford a suitable period of rest from the wear and tear of secular labour.

It is therefore of the very essence of the institution that a certain proper proportion of time, regularly recurring and observed in common by the community of Christian people and of Christian nations, should be appointed and its observance rendered obligatory by divine authority. These essential elements are found unchanged under both dispensations.

For the reference, see A. A. Hodge on the Sabbath and human nature.

Reformed Covenanter

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This week's post from Amandus Polanus focuses on the differences between the Lord's Day and the Jewish Sabbath:

The Lord’s day is the first day of the week, wherein Christians do make solemn meetings to exercise the public worship of God. Act. 20.7. 1. Cor. 16.2. Revel. 1.10. But the Lord’s day is celebrated in stead of the sabbath for 3. causes, 1. that it might continually call to remembrance the benefit of the Lord’s resurrection. 2. That the believers might understand, that they are freed from the yoke of the Law. 3. That it might be a difference between us that are Christians, and the Jews, who as yet (but without cause) are addicted to the observation of the time.

For the reference, see Amandus Polanus on the Lord’s Day.

Reformed Covenanter

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The Sabbath-themed post for this week comes from one of Matthew Poole's continuators, John Collinges:

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (1 Corinthians 16:2)

From hence both divers of the ancients, and very many late divines, argue for the change of the sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first. It is plain from hence, that the gospel churches were wont to assemble upon that day; nor do we read in Scripture of any assembly of Christians for religious worship on any other day. On this day the apostle orders collections for the poor saints to be made, accordingly as God had prospered any in their employments; he directeth that they should every one lay by him something, not doing what he did with any ostentation, but having it ready when it should be called for: ...

For more, see John Collinges on the change of the Sabbath to the first day of the week.