Reformed Covenanter blog posts on the Sabbath


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Or to put it in the modern vernacular, "may I safely run around to amusement parks and malls, to dancings and drinkings, to feastings and indulgences, to violent entertainments, with such like wicked prophanations of the Lord’s day?" I wonder what modern equivalents of bear and bull baiting are?

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This post from Nathaniel Homes links the issues of infant baptism and the Sabbath:

Fourthly, (saith Mr. T[ombes].) Circumcision did sign Canaan; Baptism eternal life. This we have answered to afore, That Circumcision did sign Canaan as it was a type of heaven, Heb. 4. As baptism and the holy Supper under material elements signify and give us things spiritual and eternal. All this while I cannot see such a material difference between Circumcision and Baptism in the least to deface the analogy and semblance between the administration of the one and the other, to believers and their Infants, or to interrupt that consequence from the one to the other. What ever may be urged against the incapacity of children to be Baptized, may as well be argued against Circumcision.

By this that hath been answered candid men may see what reason Mr. T. hath to deny major, or consequence, or minor. If this argument be not restrainedly understood an egg is laid, out of which manifest Judaism may be hatched.

No fear, if we argue as the Apostle argues; who Colossians 2, 11. 12. (as we have cleared we hope) puts Baptism in the room of Circumcision. If we do not put those things in the place one of another, which God puts in (though but by practice and example) without looking for a new institution or command, there being a difference only of circumstances, I am bold to say, an egg is laid out of which may be hatched Antisabbatarianism a nulling of the Lords day, (as is frequent upon this very consequence, among the Anabaptists) and Exemption of women from the holy Supper with many the like inconveniencies, which we stay not now to name.

For the reference, see Nathaniel Homes on baptism and the hatching of the anti-Sabbatarian egg.

Reformed Covenanter

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This week's post for the Sabbath comes from the Westminster divine, Herbert Palmer. It is also relevant to the issue of man-made holy days:

Q. What is the fourth Commandment?

A. Remember, &c.

Q. What is the general meaning of the 4. Commandment?

2 A. The general meaning of the fourth Commandment, is that solemn times of worship, necessary to Religion at God’s own appointment, and chiefly a standing day in the week, free from worldly business to attend on God.

Is it not the solemn times of worship, necessary to Religion, at God's own appointment, and chiefly, a standing day in the week, of rest from worldly business to attend on God?


Or, May men of themselves appoint any days or times, as necessary to Religion?


Or, May we unnecessarily spend God’s Day upon our selves?


Or, Upon any worldly matters?


For the reference, see Herbert Palmer on the fourth commandment.

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The post for this Lord's Day comes from one of the Disruption Worthies, Robert Gordon. The early theologians of the Free Church of Scotland are, in my estimation, greatly neglected to our incalculable loss. Use these extracts as a means to acquaint yourself with their writings:

... No doubt, the Sabbath cannot be sanctified where worldly employments are not given up, and religious exercises engaged in; but it is also true, that the Sabbath is kept holy only in so far as the great subjects which it is designed to present are entertained, and dwelt upon with satisfaction and delight; and did those subjects occupy the place in our hearts which they ought to occupy—did we feel it to be a delightful exercise to meditate with admiration and gratitude on God’s wonderful work of creation, and his still more wonderful work of redeeming love—did we see it to be a most precious privilege, that we are permitted to hold fellowship with him in his ordinances—and were the hope of at last “entering into his rest” the main source of our consolation and comfort amidst the various ills of our present sinful condition; then we would have in our own minds a rule to guide us in the sanctification of the Sabbath—even the longing desire of engaging in its sacred duties, because it is a delight to us, and because we expect, to find in it a “season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” Amen. ...

For more, see Robert Gordon on true Sabbath observance.

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This week's Sabbath-themed post from Richard Baxter addresses a topic that may have confused us in the past:

Q. 34. Seeing the Lord’s day is for the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection, must we cease the commemoration of the works of creation, for which the seventh-day sabbath was appointed?

A. No: the appointing of the Lord’s day is accumulative, and not diminutive, as to what we were to do on the sabbath. God did not cease to be our Creator and the God of nature, by becoming our Redeemer and the God of grace; we owe more praise to our Creator, and not less. The greater and the subsequent and more perfect work comprehendeth the lesser, antecedent, and imperfect. The Lord’s day is to be spent in praising God, both as our Creator and Redeemer; the creation itself being now delivered into the hands of Christ.

For the reference, see Richard Baxter on commemorating redemption and creation on the Lord’s Day.

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Today's post for the Sabbath comes from the younger William Symington:

The Sabbath being thus as old as the creation of man, it does not surprise us to find it recognised by Moses and by the Israelites in the wilderness, at the time of the giving of the manna, as a familiar institution, by their regard to which God would test their obedience — “whether they would walk in His law or no.”

It is evident from the whole passage now referred to (Exod. xvi.) that the Sabbath is not there spoken of as a new and hitherto unknown observance; and though, during their long servitude in Egypt, the discharge of its sacred duties, and the observance of its rest, must have been to a great extent prevented, it had not been altogether forgotten; and it is quite natural to find them, after they have been freed from the yoke of bondage, dutifully returning to the keeping of the Sabbath which the Lord their God had given them.

For the reference, see William Symington II on the Sabbath before Sinai.

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This Sabbath's post comes from Archibald Alexander. If I may say so myself, it is one of the best extracts related to the Sabbath that I have posted of late. I will only post a brief extract here (the post is fairly long), but, if you have time, it is worth reading it in full at the below link:

... As, undoubtedly, the celebration of public worship and gaining divine instruction from the divine oracles, is the main object of the institution of the Christian sabbath, let all be careful to attend on the services of the sanctuary on this day. And let the heart be prepared by previous prayer and meditation for a participation in public worship, and while in the more immediate presence of the Divine Majesty, let all the people fear before him, and with reverence adore and praise his holy name.

Let all vanity, and curious gazing, and slothfulness, be banished from the house of God. Let every heart be lifted up on entering the sanctuary, and let the thoughts be carefully restrained from wandering on foolish or worldly objects, and resolutely recalled when they have begun to go astray. Let brotherly love be cherished, when joining with others in the worship of God. The hearts of all the church should be united in worship, as the heart of one man. Thus, will the worship of the sanctuary below, be a preparation for the purer, sublimer worship in the temple above. ...

For more, see Archibald Alexander on directions for observing the Lord’s Day.

Reformed Covenanter

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This week's Sabbath-themed post (give thanks that my internet is running again properly or else we would have missed this week's instalment) comes from Thomas Cartwright. It addresses the subject of the moving of the Sabbath to the first day of the week:

... Q. How came this day to be changed?

A. By Divine Authority.

Q. How doth that appear?

A. First, by the practice of our Saviour Christ, and his Apostles; which should be a sufficient rule unto us, especially the Apostles having added a commandment thereunto. Secondly, there is no reason why it should be called the Lord’s day, but in regard of the special dedication thereof to the Lord’s service. For otherwise all the days of the week are the Lord’s days, and he is to be served and worshipped in them.

Q. What was the cause why the day was changed?

A. Because it might serve for a thankful memorial of Christ’s Resurrection: for as God rested from his labour on the last day of the week; so Christ ceased from his labour and Afflictions on this day: as the one therefore was specially sanctified in regard of the Creation of the world; so was the other, in respect of the restauration and Redemption thereof, which is a greater work then the Creation it self. ...

For more, see Thomas Cartwright on the Lord’s Day.