Food and Servile Things on the Sabbath

William Gouge, The Sabbath’s Sanctification, pp. 11-12:

Question 25. What other servile things may further the proper works of the Sabbath?

Ans. Such as our weak bodies do stand in need of, Exod. 12:16; Matt. 12:1.

Man by sin hath brought many infirmities upon his body. By them he is much disabled and hindered from performing good duties. The Lord, therefore, every way endeavouring with his goodness to overcome man’s wretchedness, hath by his providence afforded him sufficient means to support and redress his infirmities. These means God is willing that man should use at all times, on all occasions, so far forth as may be needful and useful for him. The Lord is not like that cruel tyrant who laid upon the Israelites, whom he held in hard bondage, as much as they could do, if not more, and yet would not afford them ordinary means to do it. He rather will have his work intermitted than man oppressed thereby.

Question 26. What are those particulars which our weak bodies do most need?

Ans. (1.) Sleep, Eccl. 5:12. (2.) Food, Luke 14:1. (3.) Apparel, 2 Sam. 12:20. (4.) All other occasional helps, Mark 2:3, 4.

Question 28. Why is food needful?

Ans. Food is of special use to refresh the body and quicken the spirit, if it be seasonably and modestly taken. Many men’s spirits will be ready to faint if they be not in due season refreshed with convenient food. Christ, therefore, on the Sabbath, took his ordinary repast, Luke 14:1, and made an apology for his disciples refreshing themselves on that day, Luke 6:1, &c. Yea, he showeth that such mercy ought to be afforded to beasts, Luke 13:15.

Source:, Comment 88


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