Sabbath of Synod of Dort less strict than Westminster?

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Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
The Synod of Dort states concerning the Sabbath day that "This day must be so consecrated to worship that on that day we rest from all servile works, except those which charity and present necessity require; and also from all such recreations as interfere with worship."

Is the intent here to allow room for recreations that do not interfere with worship?

Wed Bredenhof seems to agree with that understanding,(https://yinkahdinay.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/the-synod-of-dort-and-the-sabbath/),

"Finally, we can note that the Synod said that all recreations that interfere with worship are also ruled out. So, as an example, you can go for a walk on Sunday, but you cannot go for a walk when God calls you to be in church."


So recreations that do not intefere with worship could be a whole host of things: kicking a ball around outside, board games, just about anything that doesn't interfere with public worship duties. If, however, "worship" in the Synod of Dort refers to private and family worship also, then it would seem that their position is exactly the same as the Puritan position (which would allow for a walk or nap as a work of necessity or mercy to fit one for worship).
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
The Leiden Synopsis is a fairly good guide to the orthodox Reformed thinking on these sorts of things in this time, especially since a couple of the authors were delegates to Dort. Here's what it says:

"We deem, however, that the Lord's Day should be spent in the holy duties of piety not only in public but also privately. Such duties are the reading and contemplation of sacred Scripture at home, conversations about sacred matters, etc., and acts of charity, just as Clement says, 'On the Lord's Days, which are days of joy, we permit nothing to be said or done that is not holy.' Even so, not all bodily recreation is entirely prohibited, as this also belongs to the goals of the Sabbath. Thus activities may be done that pose no hindrance to the worship of God; activities following the completion of the sacred rites, honourable, decent, moderate things that cause no offense or scandal." (p.551)
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
The Leiden Synopsis is a fairly good guide to the orthodox Reformed thinking on these sorts of things in this time, especially since a couple of the authors were delegates to Dort. Here's what it says:

"We deem, however, that the Lord's Day should be spent in the holy duties of piety not only in public but also privately. Such duties are the reading and contemplation of sacred Scripture at home, conversations about sacred matters, etc., and acts of charity, just as Clement says, 'On the Lord's Days, which are days of joy, we permit nothing to be said or done that is not holy.' Even so, not all bodily recreation is entirely prohibited, as this also belongs to the goals of the Sabbath. Thus activities may be done that pose no hindrance to the worship of God; activities following the completion of the sacred rites, honourable, decent, moderate things that cause no offense or scandal." (p.551)

Therein seems to lie the difference between the Puritan view and the Synod of Dort. It would seem that the Synod of Dort by "worship" probably meant "private worship" also, but if bodily recreation is viewed as one of the goals of the Sabbath, that is both a theoretical and practical difference from the Puritan view (bodily recreation was to be rested from also in order to take up the worship of God). So a walk on the Lord's Day on the Dortian view would be viewed as one of those "moderate" recreations that do not interfere with worship, whereas the Puritan view would see it as a work of mercy or necessity to re-fit the person to return to the worship of God (assuming that such was the purpose of the walk). The Dortian view would also seem to allow for all sorts of other bodily recreations beyond naps and walks: maybe a bike ride or kicking a ball around or playing some musical instrument.

Am I understanding this correctly?

Some quotations from here show that individual theologians and the New Netherlands were either in line with or closer in line with (at the practical level) the Puritan view: https://reformedbooksonline.com/topics/topics-by-subject/the-lords-day/#continental
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
See Danny Hyde's article on Dordt's Sabbath regulation where he compares with Ames' views. The regulae were a compromise with the intent to come back to the subject. One of the more strongly Sabbatarian regions had brought the subject up if I recall. It was passed during sessions after the foreign commissioners had left. Daniel R. Hyde, Regulae de Observatione Sabbathi: The Synod of Dort’s (1618–19) Deliverance on the Sabbath. Originally ran in PRTS journal and reran in The Confessional Presbyterian 12. PRTS's version used to be online but I think they took it down maybe?
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
See Danny Hyde's article on Dordt's Sabbath regulation where he compares with Ames' views. The regulae were a compromise with the intent to come back to the subject. One of the more strongly Sabbatarian regions had brought the subject up if I recall. It was passed during sessions after the foreign commissioners had left. Daniel R. Hyde, Regulae de Observatione Sabbathi: The Synod of Dort’s (1618–19) Deliverance on the Sabbath. Originally ran in PRTS journal and reran in The Confessional Presbyterian 12. PRTS's version used to be online but I think they took it down maybe?
Yes, I looked for Danny Hyde's article, but PRTS requires a subscription to view it online.

From what you are saying here, it sounds like there indeed was some diversity in Sabbath observance among individual regions, and the Synod never got around to coming to a more permanent resolution of the matter.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Correct; this was a beginning of sorts but nothing else happened that century. If I find time I will post a quote from the Hyde.
Yes, I looked for Danny Hyde's article, but PRTS requires a subscription to view it online.

From what you are saying here, it sounds like there indeed was some diversity in Sabbath observance among individual regions, and the Synod never got around to coming to a more permanent resolution of the matter.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Bob Godfrey makes the following observation on the subject:

The Latin word translated “refreshing activities” is recreationibus, which has traditionally been translated “recreations.” That traditional translation has connotations in English that the Latin word would not have had in the seventeenth century. The word stands in contrast to “servile works” and means “restorations,” “recoveries,” or “refreshings.”

W. Robert Godfrey. Saving the Reformation (Kindle Locations 3787-3789). Ligonier Ministries.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I think I read in the study paper the URCNA put out comparing the 3FU to the WCF the remark that the latter was stricter on the Sabbath than the former.
 
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