Weekday labors are condemned by the 4th command, much more are our recreations on the Lord's day

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by NaphtaliPress, May 16, 2018.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Facebook 'memory' so posting here as well. Don't miss the longer bit after the footnotes.
    Nicholas Bownd makes the point arguing from the greater to the lesser.

    {Zanchius moves this question, “Why all outward servile work is to be avoided on the Sabbath day;” and renders this reason, Quia sunt impedimenta, “because they are lets and hindrances unto men, that they cannot attend upon those things which God requires in His outward worship.”[287] For the end of the rest is not simply that a man should be idle, but that he might more commodiously the whole day give himself to God’s service. For as Athanasius says,

    Non otij causa, God gave not the Sabbath to make men idle. For whereas every day in the sacrifice was offered a lamb in the morning and in the evening; upon this day He commanded that two lambs should be slain in the morning and two in the evening, and that twelve loaves should be set upon the table with frankincense, etc. [Lev. 24:8]. If He had delighted in idleness, He would not have commanded so many things to be done.[288]

    But the end of rest was that they might attend upon other things, whereupon St. Augustine thus concludes, in one of his sermons which we noted before: Videamus, ne otium nostrum vanum sit. “Let us take heed that our rest be not turned into idleness and vanity; but being sequestered from all rural works, and from all business, let us wholly attend upon the worship of God.”[289] The principal end then of rest, is |130| that we might in soul and body, without all let and interruption, wholly attend upon the worship of God.}

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    287. Zanchius, the fourth commandment. [Col. 663.]

    288. Athanasius, Matt. 11:27 [sic]. [“Non enim principaliter ocii causa….” Cf. S. Athanasius–Dubia, De Sabbatis et Circumcisione, §1. PG 28, col. 135, §2. “Non enim otii præcipue causa….” Opera ({Heidelbergæ:} ex officina Commeliniana, 1600; Gesuiti: Collegio Romano, 1601) 761.]

    289. Augustine, ibid. [PL 39, col. 2274–2275.]

    Upon the Lord’s Day we ought to rest from all honest recreations & lawful delights.

    But to proceed in this matter according to my purpose; it is most certain that we are not only commanded to rest from these that we have spoken of, but from all other things which might hinder us from the sanctifying of the Sabbath, as well as these: of which sort are all honest recreations, and lawful pleasures, which are permitted unto us upon the other days, to further us in the works of out calling, which we do also stand in need of sometimes, even as of meat, and drink, and sleep. For if those worldly duties (which we are commanded to walk in, and be of necessity required, and without the which the commonwealth cannot stand at all) are then forbidden, when we should attend upon the Lord’s work, because we cannot be wholly occupied in both; much more those things must be given over which serve but for pleasure, without the which mankind may continue, though not so well continue. Because we cannot have the present delight in the use of them, and yet at the same time be occupied in the hearing of the Word, and such other parts of God’s holy worship and service, as He requires of us upon the Sabbath day. Nay, because men cannot be both at church serving God with the rest of the people, and in their houses sporting themselves with their companions together; nor in the great congregation (Ps. 35:18) praising God with their brethren, and in the open fields playing with their fellows at one time (and God upon the Sabbath requires these of them). Therefore, the other must give place to them, and we must not think it sufficient that we do no work upon the Sabbath, and in the mean season |263| be occupied about all manner of delights, but we must cease as well from the one as from the other.

    … And we must rest from these things so much the more, by how much the works of our recreation are less needful, than the works of our vocation, and yet do more hinder us from the sanctifying of the Sabbath than they. For experience (which is the mistress of very fools) may teach us (and our nature is such that it must needs be so), how much we are moved with delectable things everyone in his kind, some this way, another that; how marvelously they do affect us, how all our senses are taken up with them, and all the parts of soul and body wholly possessed with them, that for the present time none of them can be occupied about the Lord’s work immediately, at least wise as they should be.

    Nicholas Bownd, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, 2015) 152–153, 267-268. This book is still available at Naptali Press and also at a super low price of only $14 plus postage at Reformation Heritage Books (as of the date of this posting).
     
  2. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I'll need to get this book! Thank you for sharing.
     
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