The Puritan Sabbath

Chris Coldwell:

The Puritan Sabbath

The refinement of English Sabbatarianism in the latter decades of the sixteenth century produced one of the key defining features of Puritan piety, which would later be systematized in Presbyterian and Nonconformist doctrine via The Westminster Standards (1647), The Savoy Declaration (1658) and the Baptist Confession of Faith (1677).While it is true that a generation earlier in England, the Elizabethan Puritans worked to refine and systematize a sounder doctrinal footing for Sabbatarianism, they were nevertheless building upon a conservative practical Sabbatarianism that stretched back to the middle ages, which even under the darkness and superstition of Roman Catholicism had laws against labor and pastimes on Sundays.4 The “evidence from the period establishes that late Elizabethan sabbatarians were not innovators, but were elaborating a doctrinal tradition which had medieval origins and was part of the authorized teaching of the English church.”5 The theological concept “of a morally binding sabbath … was defined first by thirteenth-century scholastics and used by such pillars of the English Reformation as Heinrick Bullinger, John Hooper, Thomas Becon, and others” (Parker, “Rogers,” 334).

Without question, the doctrinal statements of the Westminster Assembly present a Puritan or English Sabbatarian understanding of the fourth commandment. Some have noted that English Sabbatarianism consists of three major points, 1. that the fourth commandment is moral, not partly ceremonial, 2. that the day of worship was moved to the first day of the week because of the resurrection of Christ, and 3. that the day should be observed in a strict manner in putting aside our regular weekday labors and recreations.6 Patrick Collinson defined English Sabbatarianism as,

… the doctrinal assertion that the fourth commandment is not an obsolete ceremonial law of the Jews but a perpetual, moral law, binding on Christians; in other words, that the Christian observance of Sunday has its basis not in ecclesiastical tradition but in the Decalogue. The more important propositions of the Sabbatarians are that the Sabbath derives from the creation and so antedates both man’s fall and the Mosaic law, although its use was defined in the Decalogue; that the hallowing of the Lord’s day in place of the Sabbath was of apostolic or even divine appointment, and more than an ecclesiastical convention; so that the Sabbath is still in force in this altered form, commemorating the second creation in Christ’s resurrection, and robbed only of some of its ceremonial detail; that the whole day should be kept holy and devoted to the public and private exercise of religion; and that this precludes all otherwise lawful recreations and pastimes as well as the work of one’s calling, unlawful games and mere idleness.… The first extensively argued, dogmatic assertion that the fourth commandment is morally and perpetually binding was published in 1595, The doctrine of the Sabbath by the Suffolk Puritan divine, sometime fellow of Peterhouse and rector of Norton, Dr Nicholas Bownd.7​

The ministry of Nicholas Bownd (1551?–1613) exhibited the practical divinity taught by his stepfather, Richard Greenham (1543?–1594), which focused on the means of grace (Word, Sacraments, prayer, etc.). The crucial ‘mean of the means’ whereby all these means of grace were made available to the people of God was the weekly gathering on the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day is a blessing that the Lord has given to His people. “God prohibits certain activities on the Sabbath day in order to free us for communion and fellowship with Him and with one another.”8

Bownd’s 1595 book was based on lectures given circa 1585/86 at the Monday combination lecture in Bury St. Edmunds. The book was extensively augmented in a second edition in 1606, due in no small part to the criticisms and trouble caused the Norton parson by his severe conformist neighbor Thomas Rogers.9 In his 1606 dedication to Bishop John Jegon, Bownd outlines the Puritan Sabbatarian position as follows:

1. First of all, that the observations [sic] of the Sabbath is not a bare ordinance of man, or a mere civil or ecclesiastical constitution, appointed only for polity; but an immortal commandment of almighty God, and therefore binds men’s consciences.

2. The same was given to our first parents, Adam and Eve; and so after carefully observed, both [by] them and their posterity, the holy patriarchs and Church of God, before and under the law, until the coming of Christ.

3. And it was revived in Mount Sinai, by God’s own voice to the Israelites, after they came out of Egypt, with a special note of remembrance above all the rest; and fortified with more reasons than they, and particularly applied unto all sorts of men by name; all which shows how careful the Lord was that everyone should straightly keep it.

4. The ceremonies of the law, which made a difference between Jew and Gentile, though the gospel has taken away, since the partition wall was broken down by Christ (Eph. 2:14); yet this commandment of the Sabbath abides still in its full force, as being moral and perpetual, and so binds for ever all nations and sorts of men, as before.

5. The apostles by the direction of God’s Spirit (leading them into all truth) did change that day (which before was the seventh from creation, and in remembrance of it) into the eighth; even this which we now keep in honor of the Redemption. And therefore the same day ought never to be changed, but still to be kept of all nations unto the world’s end; because we can never have the like cause or direction to change it.

6. So that we are in keeping holy of a day, for the public service of the Lord, precisely bound not only to the number of seven (and it is not in our power to make choice of the sixth or eighth day); but even on this very seventh day, which we now keep, and to none other.

7. On which day we are bound straightly to rest from all the ordinary works of our calling, every man in his several vocation; because six days in the week are appointed for them, and the seventh is sanctified and separated from the others, to another end; even for the public service of God, and that by God Himself.

8. Much more, then, in it ought we to give over [relinquish] all kinds of lawful recreations and pastimes, which are less necessary than the works of our calling, and whatsoever may take up our hearts to draw them from God’s service; because this law is spiritual, and binds the whole man, as well as any other. Most of all ought we to renounce all such things, as are not lawful at any time.

9. Yet in cases of necessity God has given great liberty unto us, to do many things for the preservation and comforts not only of the beasts and dumb creatures, but especially of man. Not only when he is weak and sick, but being healthful and strong, both in the works of our callings, and also of recreations, without which necessity we are persuaded that men ought ordinarily to cease from them.

10. And herein more specially the governors of the Church and Commonwealth have great liberty above all others, who in such cases may upon this day do many things for the good of both, not only for war, but for peace; and may prescribe unto others, and the people ought therein to obey them. And as in other things they ought not busily to inquire a reason of all their commandments; so in this they ought to presume with reverence so much of their good consciences, that they know more cause of the things which they command and do, than themselves do, or is meet for them curiously to inquire.

11. The same day of rest ought ordinarily to be spent altogether in God’s service, especially in frequenting the public assemblies, where the Word of God is plainly read and purely preached, the sacraments rightly administered, and prayer made in a known tongue to the edifying of the people; where also they ought to attend upon these things from the beginning to the ending.

12. The rest of the day ought to be spent by every man himself alone, or with others (as his family or neighbors) in all private exercises of religion, whereby he may be more prepared unto, or reap greater fruit from the public exercises: as in private prayer, reading of the scriptures, singing of psalms, meditating upon, or conferring about, the Word and works of God—and that either in their houses, or abroad in the fields.

13. And as every man particularly is bound to the observation of this commandment, so more specially masters in their families, magistrates in their precincts, and princes in their realms ought to provide for this, as much as in them lies; and hereby to look to all that are committed to their charge, and to compel them at the least to the outward observation of the rest, and the sanctifying of it, as well as of any other commandment, as of not committing murder, adultery, theft, and such like.

14. Lastly, though no man can perfectly keep this commandment, either in thought, word or deed, no more than he can any other; yet this is that perfection that we must aim at; and wherein, if we fail, we must repent us, and crave pardon for Christ’s sake. For as the whole law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:24); so is every particular commandment, and namely this of the Sabbath. And therefore we are not to measure the length and breadth of it by the over-scant rule of our own inability, but by the perfect reed of the Temple (Ezek. 40:3); that is, by the absolute righteousness of God himself, which only can give us the full measure of it.​

As noted by Collinson, Bownd’s work, while preceded by shorter works touching upon or anticipating Sabbatarian doctrine, was the first large scholarly publication to give the subject a systematic defense. The impact of the work was significant and while Bownd claimed no originality, his work helped to set the standard argumentation. From Bownd’s 1595 edition until the suppression of Sabbatarian works by Laud, many works were published promoting what became an essential characteristic of Puritan piety.10 After the lifting of the press ban that began with the reissue of the Book of Sports, many more works were published just prior to, during and after the Westminster Assembly to the close of the seventeenth century.11

Puritan Sabbatarianism was formally codified into Presbyterian theology by the well-known statements of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on the doctrine of the Christian Sabbath.12

4. David N. Laband and Deborah Hendry Heinbuch, Blue Laws: The History, Economics, and Politics of Sunday-Closing Laws (Lexington Books, 1987), 14–16.

5. Kenneth Parker, “Thomas Rogers and the English Sabbath: The Case for a Reappraisal,” Church History 53, no. 3 (September 1984): 332–333.

6. John H. Primus, Holy Time: Moderate Puritanism and the Sabbath (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1989), 11; Richard L. Greaves, “The Origins of English Sabbatarian Thought,” Sixteenth Century Journal XII, No. 3 (1981), 19. Kenneth L. Parker, The English Sabbath: A Study of Doctrine and Discipline from the Reformation to the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 1988), 6–7.

7. Patrick Collinson, “The Beginnings of English Sabbatarianism,” in Studies in Church History, volume one, Papers read at the first winter and summer meetings of the Ecclesiastical History Society (Thomas Nelson, 1964), 207–209.

8. Pilgrim Covenant Church, Singapore, 16th Annual Conference (9–11 June 2015), The Lord’s Day; Dr. Joseph Pipa, The Lord’s Day: The Market Day of the Soul,

(accessed June 26, 2015).

9. See Chris Coldwell, “Anti-Sabbatarian Scold: Thomas Rogers’ Letter to Nicholas Bownd, April 29, 1598,” The Confessional Presbyterian 10 (2014): 113–170, and, Introduction, Nicholas Bownd, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, 2015).

10. George Estey, Certain and learned Expositions upon divers parts of Scripture (London, 1603), which includes the earlier, A Most Sweet and comfortable exposition upon the ten commandments (London, 1602). John Dod and Robert Cleaver, An Exposition of the Ten Commandments (1603, 19th edition, 1635). William Greenham, Treatise of the Sabboth, in Works (London, 1604); George Widley, Doctrine of the Sabbath, handled in Four Severall Bookes or Treatises (London, 1604); John Sprint, Propositions tending to prove the necessary Use of the Christian Sabbath, or Lord’s Day (London, 1607); Andrew Willet, Hexapla in Genesis (1608). Lewes [Lewis] Bayly, The Practice of Piety, third edition (1613). Lewes Thomas, A Short Treatise upon the Commandments, in seven sermons or exercises of seven sabbaths (London, 1615). Edward Elton, An exposition of the ten commandments of God (London, 1623), an update of A plain and easy exposition of six of the commandments (1619). Effigiatio veri Sabbathismi (1605) by Robert Loews may qualify but this Latin work contains criticisms of some points characteristic of what was becoming the Puritan position.

11. See the books listed in Chris Coldwell, “Calvin in the Hands of the Philistines, Or, Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath?”, The Confessional Presbyterian 6 (2010): 42, fn 60.

From Chris Coldwell, “Dropping the Subject, Again? The Decline of Sabbatarianism in the Old Southern Presbyterian Church and in the Presbyterian Church in America,” The Confessional Presbyterian 12 (2017), 41–43.

Source:, Comment 6


The Differences Between Israel’s Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

Yes in that we are freed from aspects of the OT church but no as far as the strictness. Below is what the above referenced Nicholas Bownd says (sorry, the formating is dropping out, see pp. 254ff in the book).

13. Christians as Strictly Bound by this Law as were Jews

{We in this and in all other of the moral commandments are as straitly bound as the Jews were}

{And methinks there is great reason why we Christians should take ourselves as straitly bound to rest upon the Lord’s Day, as the Jews were upon their Sabbath.

1. For seeing it is one of the moral commandments, it binds us as well as them; for they are all of equal authority, and bind all men alike. Therefore when as in the other nine commandments we do truly judge ourselves to be as much restrained from anything in them forbidden, and as precisely bound to do anything in them commanded, as ever the Jews were, and in all those we put no difference between ourselves and them—as in keeping ourselves from images, from blasphemy, from murder, theft, adultery, and such like—why should we then imagine that in this one the Lord has privileged us above them? Or think that when He gave these laws indifferently to all mankind, His meaning should be to give a dispensation to the Gentiles above the Jews in this one, as though He had been somewhat partial to them, and over hard to the other?

2. And if we consider the reasons of this commandment, we shall find that they concern us Gentiles as well as the Jews, and therefore they alike bind all unto the observation of it: whether we look to the example of God, who making the whole world in six days, did rest the seventh, that all mankind following His example by the consideration of His creatures might glorify their Creator; or to the proportion between six days wherein we may do all our work, and the seventh wherein we should rest, which must needs seem to be just and equal in the eyes of all men, both Grecian and Barbarian, bond and free.

3. Again, if we consider the end why rest is here commanded, namely that thereby we might be more fit for the service of God; then if we are as straitly bound under the gospel to worship God holily and religiously upon His holy day, as they were under the law, though after another manner; I do not see why we should not be as severely forbidden all work (as |248| the thing that might hinder us from it), and as earnestly commanded to rest (as a means to further us thereunto) as ever they were.

4. Lastly, if the Jews when they were most of all restrained, might do all works of holiness to God, and of necessity to any of the creatures, and we do not find in the gospel that Christians have any further liberty granted to them in these days; then we may safely conclude that Christians are as precisely to rest as the Jews were, though not only the common practice, but opinion also, of most men is to the contrary. Which makes me to fear that this truth as a Christian paradox will not easily be admitted at the first. But I desire them in the fear of God, and love to the truth, casting away all partiality towards themselves, whereby they are ready (Matt. 23:4) to lay heavy burdens upon other men’s shoulders, but will not touch them themselves with the least of their fingers, to weigh the reasons, and so to judge accordingly; and the Lord give them understanding in all things (2 Tim. 2:7).}

Objection. If we are thus straitly bound to rest, we are still in as great a bondage as the Jews were under the law

But[1] whereas some men might hereupon gather that if the case is thus between the Lord and us, in the matter of the Sabbath, and that the commandment of resting stands in such force and strength, and binds us so strongly as it does; then our estate is no better than the Jews; the same yoke of bondage lies still upon our necks, that was upon them; and the freedom purchased by Christ is of none account; the liberty proper to a Christian man worth nothing, the gospel has no preferment above the law.

Answer. We are not to rest for those ends and purposes for which they did

For answer thereunto we must consider that, first of all, we are delivered from that manner of keeping the Sabbath which the Jews were tied unto; as that it might put them in remembrance of that great rest which the Lord bestowed upon them, from the continual and intolerable work in Egypt, by the hand of Moses, unto the which end they were bound to have a principal respect; and so to keep the Sabbath, as they might most profit in {it}, even in thankfulness for that benefit received, {which it cannot appertain unto us} (for we have not been in Egypt), and |249| therefore cannot remember our delivery from thence. Though we are bound to the same rest with the Jews;[2] yet our condition is more easy and tolerable, in that we are freed from the {appurtenance,[3] and this other burden is} not laid upon us.[4]

2. We also have more liberty than they in the manner of sanctifying the day

The which we shall be so much the rather persuaded of, if we look into that liberty which is brought unto us by Christ, concerning the sanctifying also of the day of rest; which consists in such a multitude of purifications, washings and cleansings, and in such a great number of sacrifices and oblations, all which were doubled upon the Sabbath {Heb. 9:9; Num. 28:9}. And therefore the observation of the Sabbath was more laborious and painful unto them, and sooner might they offend in it; instead of which we have fewer things to do, and they are more simple, plain, and easy, as the hearing of the Word, receiving of the sacraments, and prayer {Acts 2:42}. And generally as our estate is better than was the Jews’ in regard of the whole worship of God, which is now more evident, shorter, not so compounded, more significant, and with less difficulty; so upon the Sabbath, because the whole worship is to be performed, in consideration of that also, great are our privileges above theirs, as in all other things, so in the observation of the Sabbath.

Moreover, whereas God in old time spake sundry times, and in divers manners unto them, and therefore their knowledge of the law (Heb. 1:1), was not so great as ours in these last days, wherein He has spoken unto us, once by His Son; neither were their graces and gifts so many and excellent ordinarily, as they be now, when God hath poured out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:20 [sic 17]). Therefore,[5] they being like unto children, and we unto men grown, they stood in need of many more helps to further them in the observation of this commandment, than we do, and which though they were bound unto, yet we are freed from. As they were commanded to let their ground rest every seventh year (Lev. 26:34), and that is called her Sabbath, with many other such like things, {as the new moons, and the feast of weeks, the Passover, and other Jewish solemnities.}

3. And we are set free from all the childish rudiments annexed unto this day

Therefore, as we have great freedom in all other |250| commandments above them, so in this. For must we not needs confess that, though we are still bound as the Jews were to meditate upon the law of God, day and night (Ps. 1:2), yet for so much as we are not commanded to carry it about in the skirts of our garments, and upon our bracelets (Num. 15:38), as they were. And though we be not exempted from teaching our children, no more than they, yet because we are not charged with the writing it upon our gates, and the posts of our doors (Deut. 6:8, 9), as they were; must we not acknowledge (I say) that even in those things that we are bound unto in common with the Jews, we have more liberty than ever they had? So it is in the Sabbath. Though we are bound to keep the rest; yet because we are freed from many rudiments of it, which (as childish instructions to further them in it) they were bound unto, as we have seen in the former part of this treatise, we must thankfully profess that the Lord has dealt more liberally with us, than with them. Therefore even as the child which is set to read, must name every letter apart and distinctly by itself, and spell every syllable, that so he might be helped forward to reading; which when he has attained unto, though still he is bound to read, yet he is freed from spelling and naming every letter, as he had wont to do; and that were a great bondage and wearisomeness to bind him unto it still, nay it were indeed altogether ridiculous and childish in him.

So now, though we are charged to rest upon the Sabbath, yet when we are not overcharged with those Jewish ceremonies, which had been given to them (being children, Gal. 4:3) as furtherances unto them; let us not complain before we have cause, neither murmur against God because we cannot be so licentious as we would; seeing we are at such liberty as we are, and as it pleases the Lord to bestow upon us. And let us be so much the more careful to rest, by how much we have but this one thing to attend upon, and are made free from many other, which might hinder us.

4. And from the observance of many other Sabbaths they had

Unto all which, if I shall add this in the last place, I will make an end of this matter; that besides these great |251| privileges which we have spoken of, Christ Jesus in the gospel has offered unto us somewhat more, even in this commandment that we have now in hand: that though we be restrained upon this day from work both hand and foot, as the Jews were,[6] yet have we liberty to work upon many others. For they were bound unto a great many other days, which had the nature of the Sabbath; and therefore are so called many times, and upon the which they might not work; which as it appeared in many other places of the scripture, so especially in Leviticus 23, where they are reckoned up in order, beginning with the Sabbath, unto which is adjoined the passover, the feast of the first fruits, of trumpets, and of tabernacles. And every one of these had more days than one proper unto them, as appears in that chapter most largely; besides the first day of every new moon; from which we are now freed, as appears by the apostle: Let no man condemn you in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days (Col. 2:16). For he speaks of many, even of all those which unto the Jews were commanded upon the same condition, that the Sabbath day was, and were of like nature to it. And therefore he finds fault with the Galatians for observing them, saying, Ye observe days and months, and times, which he calls weak and beggarly rudiments (Gal. 4:9, 10), because now there was no use of them. But all of them being taken away, only the Sabbath is reserved for us.

Therefore who is so blind that will not see, and so obstinate that will not confess, that though we are bound to the keeping of the Sabbath, as the Jews were; yet neither the liberty of the gospel is taken from us, nor the bondage of the law cast upon us? Nay who is so unthankful for this great liberty in these days, above that which the first people of God had, that under the pretence of it, he will break out to the doing of whatsoever he likes upon the day of rest, and set open a door of all licentiousness unto others? But woe be unto the world, because of offenses. It is necessary that offenses should come, but woe be unto them by whom they do come; it were |252| better for them that a millstone were hanged about their neck, and they were drowned in the bottom of the sea (Matt. 18:6, 7).

[HR][/HR][SUP][SUP][1][/SUP][/SUP] . [“Therefore whereas some men….” 1595.]

[SUP][SUP][2][/SUP][/SUP] . [“§4. The precise rest, what? Jewish. yea more than Jewish” (marginal heading). “Wee are of beliefe that wee are ‘bownde unto the same rest with the Jewes’ (book one, page 125, 1595 ed.); “and that ‘wee be restrained upon this day from worke, both hand and foote, even as the Jewes were’ (book one, page 127). MS letter to Bownd, 8v (transcript., 157). Rogers’ criticism may have caused Bownd to add four reasons at the beginning of chapter 13, the redaction next noted, and other additions under the heading, “God’s punishments upon breakers of the Sabbath.”]

[SUP][SUP][3][/SUP][/SUP] . [Ed. Appurtenance—Subordinate part of a whole system; an accessory.]

[SUP][SUP][4][/SUP][/SUP] . [See pages 152, 155. Text removed/changed: “… in Egypt, by the hand of Moses, that thereby their hope might be nourished of the Messiah to come, by whom they should have a perpetual Sabbath and rest from sin, in the kingdom of heaven, begun hereupon earth; unto…. as they might most profit in these … and in hope of that that was promised, neither of which because they can appertain unto us (for … remember our delivery from thence, and Christ Jesus is already come, and has entered into his rest, and therefore we need not to hope for it) … freed from these appertunances, and these other burdens are ….”]

[SUP][SUP][5][/SUP][/SUP] . [“and therefore….” 1595.]

[SUP][SUP][6][/SUP][/SUP] . [“§4. The precise rest, what? Jewish. yea more than Jewish” (marginal heading). “Wee are of beliefe that wee are ‘bownde unto the same rest with the Jewes’ (book one, page 125, 1595 ed.); “and that ‘wee be restrained upon this day from worke, both hand and foote, even as the Jewes were’ (book one, page 127). Rogers, MS letter to Bownd, 8v (transcription, 157).]

Source:, Comment 6

Not Devoted To Idleness

Calvin commenting on Psalm 92: 

The reason why the Psalmist appropriated this psalm to the Sabbath is sufficiently obvious. That day is not to be holy, in the sense of being devoted to idleness, as if this could be an acceptable worship to God, but in the sense of our separating ourselves from all other occupations, to engage in meditating upon the Divine works. As our minds are inconstant, we are apt, when exposed to various distractions, to wander from God. We need to be disentangled from all cares if we would seriously apply ourselves to the praises of God. The Psalmist then would teach us that the right observance of the Sabbath does not consist in idleness, as some absurdly imagine, but in the celebration of the Divine name.

Source:, Comment 1

A Tower Whereon We Should Mount Aloft

John Calvin, “Fifth French Discourse (on the Sabbath) to the people of Geneva on the Ten Commandments:” [20]

“The Sabbath should be for us a tower whereon we should mount aloft to contemplate afar the works of God, when we are not occupied nor hindered by anything besides, [so] that on Monday and the other days of the week we shall abide in the grateful remembrance of our God…. It is for us to dedicate ourselves wholly to God, renouncing ourselves, our feelings, and all our affections; and then, since we have this external ordinance, to act as becomes us that is, to lay aside our earthly affairs and occupations, so that we may be entirely free [21] to meditate the works of God…. And when we shall have employed the Sabbath in praising and magnifying the name of God and meditating His works, we must  through the rest of the week  show how we have profited thereby.”

~ qtd. in “Calvin on the Weekly Sabbath” by Rev. Dr. Prof. F.N. Lee,

A Repose for the Soul

How to Keep the Sabbath Holy

By Thomas Manton (1620–1677)

Puritan clergyman.

Keeping the Sabbath day holy.  It is a sure mark of an ungodly person to be a Sabbath-breaker, as a conscion-ableness to celebrate it to God’s glory is both a mark and a work of godliness.  It is the description of the godly eunuch, Isa. 56:4, “Thus saith the Lord to the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant.” Mark, it is one of the chiefest things that is taken notice of there, the observance of God’s own day.  If you would exercise yourselves to godliness, this is a great means.  Profaning the Lord’s day is the cause of profanes all the week after; and so a careless keeping the Lord’s day is the cause of the carelessness and formality you are guilty of in the business of religion.  God hath appointed this day for a repose for the soul, that by a long uninterrupted continuance in worship, it might be more seasoned, and fit to converse with God all the week after.  Doet thou love Christ?  Then observe his day.  Ignatius calls it the queen of days.  The primitive Christians were very careful of the Sabbath, they would run all hazards rather than not keep the Sabbath day.  When thy were accused as guilt of Sabbath-violation, they would answer, I am a Christian, how can I choose but love the Lord’s day? This is the day wherein we do most solemnly and publicly profess the worship of God; therefore it is to be celebrated with all care  Thus much for the description of godliness from the disposition of the heart, and the duties about which it is conversant.


As Steps to Glory

“What fitter day to ascend to heaven, than that on which He arose from earth, and fully triumphed over death and hell.  Use your Sabbaths as steps to glory, till you have passed them all, and are there arrived.”

–Richard Baxter


Make The Sabbath The Market Day

“Make the Sabbath the Market-Day for thy Soul: Lose not one Hour, but be either praying, conferring, or meditating: Think not thy own Thoughts: Let every Day have its Duties: Turn the Sermon heard into Matter of Prayer, Instruction into Petition, Reproof into Confession, Consolation into Thanksgiving: Think much of the Sermon heard, and make something of it all the Week long.”

– John Dod


Sundays In Arrears

“We doctors, in the treatment of nervous disease, are now constantly compelled to prescribe periods of rest. Some periods are, I think, only Sundays in arrears.”

— Sir James Crichton-Browne, British physician


The Market For Thy Soul


From, John Bunyan’s Dying Thoughts

Have a special care to sanctify the Lord’s day; for as thou keepest it, so it will be with thee all the week long. Make the Lord’s day the market for thy soul; let the whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations; lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week; let thy sermon thou hast heard be converted into prayer: Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford him one?

In the church, be careful to serve God; for thou art in his eyes, and not in man’s. Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practicing what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures, and reading good books; what thou hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better be retained. Forsake not the public worship of God, lest God forsake thee, not only in public, but in private.

In the week days, when thou risest in the morning, consider,

  1. Thou must die.
  2. Thou mayest die that minute.
  3. What will become of thy soul. Pray often.

At night consider,

  1. What sins thou hast committed.
  2. How often thou hast prayed.
  3. What hath thy mind been bent upon.
  4. What hath been thy dealing.
  5. What thy conversation.
  6. If thou callest to mind the errors of the day, sleep not without a confession to God, and a hope of pardon.

Thus every morning and evening make up thy accounts with Almighty God, and thy reckoning will be the less at last.


What A Blessing Is Sunday

“Oh, what a blessing is Sunday, interposed between the waves of worldly business like the divine path of the Israelites through Jordan! There is nothing in which I would advise you to be more strictly conscientious than in keeping the sabbath day holy.”

~William Wilberforce