They Refused To Acknowledge Any Human Institution

“Even before Calvin arrived in Geneva, those church holidays that were not Sundays had been abolished. Farel and Viret wished to honour only the Sunday as the Lord’s Day. They refused to acknowledge any human institution.”

~Ioannis Calvini Opera omnia, Series 5, Sermons volume 8, Plusieurs sermons de Jean Calvin, ed. Wilhelmus H. Th. Moehn (Genève: Librairie Droz, 2011), xix qtd. in “John Calvin’s Letters to the Ministers of Montbéliard (1543–1544): The Genevan Reformer’s Advice and Views of the Liturgical Calendar,” Intro by Chris Coldwell, translation by David C. Noe

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/what-would-you-think-on-my-pastors-view-on-the-sabbath.93089/page-2, Comment 59

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Why Leave the Oasis for the Desert?

OPC’n from the Puritan Board makes a great point regarding the Sabbath:

Jesus fulfilled the whole law perfectly in a spiritual and physical manner (His being/spirit/soul was without sin thus he committed no physical/thought-based sin). He fulfilled the law so that his righteousness could be imputed onto us. We don’t turn around then and say, “Well, Christ already fulfilled the whole law for us; therefore, we don’t have to abide by it.”. So why take the 4th commandment and say that of it? And to our detriment I might add. God doesn’t need anything from us. He longs for us to give him the Sabbath so that we can be regenerated from the trying work week. An example I like is a man trudging through a hot, sandy desert all week where he finds small holes of water and food. However, once a week he finds the most beautiful oasis where he can drink and eat his fill, listen to beautiful birds and waterfalls, and lay beneath the shade of giant trees. Why on earth would he want to step out into the hot desert during that day? The Sabbath should be that for us. Why would we want to do our own thing when we get to spend the entire day with God and his ppl?

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/what-would-you-think-on-my-pastors-view-on-the-sabbath.93089/, Comment 8

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: https://puritanboard.com/threads/what-would-you-think-on-my-pastors-view-on-the-sabbath.93089/, Comment 6

Arminianism and the Lord’s Day

While Arminian converts usually manifest a strict and praise-worthy abstention in the life they lead from drink, smoking, gambling, cinemas, etc., and a self-denying zeal for propagating their gospel and winning converts, their attitude to the Lord’s day is not one of tenderness and love. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace,” is the Scripture which they wrest in order to justify themselves. True believers in Christ are not under the condemnation of the law—”for there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” but they are ‘under the law to Christ’ as their rule of life. This the apostle states in 1 Cor. 9:21. Love to Christ is manifested and proved by love to His commandments. “If you love Me keep My commandments.” “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4). All who have no love for God’s holy day, who are not grieved over how far short they come in keeping the Sabbath holy to the Lord and who are not wounded and grieved in soul when they see the Lord’s day desecrated, whatever their profession, and whatever name they may have, they have but a name to live: they are still in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. “This is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3). When the Lord writes His law in the heart in regeneration there is love for the Fourth Commandment, as surely as for the other commandments. Love to the Lord, to His Word, to His Cause, to His people and to His commandments, the holy Sabbath included, cannot be separated.

Arminian church bodies of our day have removed the ancient landmarks set by the godly fathers in the past as safeguards and bulwarks of the sanctity of the sabbath. The result is obvious. The curse of the Popish or “continental Sunday” has overspread the land like a flood. Is it any wonder that Dr. Kennedy of Dingwall said that Voluntaryism and Arminianism must be pioneers of Rationalism, for they are both the off-spring of unbelief?

~Rev. William MacLean, M.A., “Arminiamism: Another Gospel” under “Saving Faith”

Source: http://www.truecovenanter.com/gospel/arminianism_another_gospel.html

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today?

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today

Rev. Ian Goligher

November 26, 2006

Nehemiah 13

Listen to the sermon here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11280613851

Notes:

  • In Nehemiah’s time, the Sabbath was being openly and flagrantly profaned – the very thing that brought the wrath of God upon the city beforehand and the reason why the Israelites were spending their entire lifetime rebuilding the city

  • What would Nehemiah think of our society today???

1. The Sabbath day still needs defending:

-Against the greed of the ungodly

  • today’s focus is on profit, profit, profit, which is now consuming the Lord’s Day
  • we will never win the argument from economy because people can make more money opening their businesses for 7 rather than 6 days a week

-Equality

  • Another argument we will never win, ie. That everyone should be free to follow their own convictions, way of life, culture, and desires
  • this practice has ruined the church and Canada for many generations, although greed is now taking over as the primary reason given for not keeping a Sabbath
  • note, though, that Nehemiah’s rule was the rule of God and not what unbelievers did

2. We need to contend against false doctrine on the Sabbath:

-It is a “holy” day, not a holiday:

  • Genesis 2 – God sanctified the day, set it apart and made it His day
  • to be used for God’s pleasure, not ours

-Permanency has to be contended for:

  • Dispensationalism teaches no Sabbath any more and has influenced many
  • teaching has only taken root in North America since the 1920’s

  • teaches that you can go to church in the morning and do whatever you want the rest of the day

-10 Commandments still the rule of life for the Christian:

  • Jesus did not cancel any of them out

-Change from the 7th day to the 1st day has to be contended for:

  • Apostles practice was to meet on the 1st day
  • founded on the principle of the resurrection
  • from earliest times, Christians met on the 1st day of the week
  • no controversy about the change in the New Testament
  • church historically has always accepted that we meet on the 1st day of the week
  • change to giving up the whole day is due to liberalism and modernism that has unravelled the inspiration and foundation of the Bible

-Must contend against the dishonor of God’s name

  • Sabbath reminds society of God’s name and glory

  • A society that turns away from the Sabbath also turns away from God

  • the more secular the day is treated, the less people think about God’s name and worship

-Sabbath was to put a difference between the Israelites and the other nations

  • Exodus 31:13 – a sign, a special covenant arrangement

  • remains as a sign for believers today in multifaith societies

-Must contend against the misuse of the Sabbath’s benefits

  • is a place for physical rest but not for sports and recreation

  • benefit of spiritual exercise – to be used to grow in the Lord

  • benefit to congregate in the church – no Sabbath would make churches into drop-in centres; no Sabbath means there be no witness in society; No Sabbath = no church = no witness

  • harm when day is desecrated – no time for Sabbath means no time for God

We have to use our influence where we can to “close the gates” for the Sabbath.

There is a blessing in taking a stand for the Lord’s day even if there is a price to pay for it.

No Need of the Church

Cymro on the Puritan Board:

“If Christians do not keep the Sabbath day, then there is no need of the church. Its observation is as obligatory as thou shalt not kill. God’s moral reflection as delineated in the commandments is not subject to relaxation or change. We are commanded to “remember the sabbath day” and keep it holy. To remember it before it comes,(preparation),remember it when it comes,(participation), remember it when past,(meditation), on the Monday and successive days. ”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/christians-watching-the-super-bowl.85756/, Comment 14 (one typo corrected)

As A Visible Force And Power

“The Church as a visible force and power could not exist without the Sabbath”

— Donald McLeod, Presbyterian pastor

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

By Other Acts Of Piety And Devotion

Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley:

February 6, 1711-12

“___As I am a woman, so I am also mistress of a large family. and though the superior charge of the souls contained in it lies upon you; yet, in your absence, I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my care as a talent committed to me under a trust by the great Lord of all the families both of heaven and earth. And if I am unfaithful to Him or you in neglecting to improve these talents, how shall I answer unto Him, when He shall command me to render an account of my stewardship?

“As these, and other such like thoughts, made me at first take a more than ordinary care of the souls of my children and servants, so—knowing our religion requires a strict observation of the Lord’s day, and not thinking that we fully answered the end of the institution by going to church unless we filled up the intermediate spaces of time by other acts of piety and devotion—I thought it my duty to spend some part of the day in reading to and instructing my family: and such time I esteemed spent in a way more acceptable to God than if I had retired to my own private devotions.

“This was the beginning of my present practice.  Other people’s coming and joining with us was merely accidental. Our [1] lad told his parents: they first desired to be admitted; then others that heard of it begged leave also: so our company increased to about thirty, and it seldom exceeded forty last winter.”

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

The Sabbath Will Be Observed In All Lands

Albert Barnes, Reflections on Isa 66:23:

And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And from one Sabbath to another. . . . {Compare the notes at Isa 58:13,14}

There can be no permanent worship of God, and no permanent religion on earth, without a Sabbath; and hence it was, that while the observance of the feasts of tabernacles, and of the Passover, and of the new moons, made a part of the ceremonial law, the law respecting the sabbaths was incorporated with the ten commandments as of moral and perpetual obligation; and it will be literally true that all the race shall yet be brought to worship God on the return of that holy day. It was instituted in paradise; and as one design of the plan of redemption is to bring man back to the state in which he was in paradise, so one effect of the true religion everywhere will be, and is, to make people reverence the Sabbath of the Lord. No man becomes truly pious who does not love the holy Sabbath. No nation ever has been, or ever can be converted which will not, and which does not, love and observe that day. Every successful effort to propagate the true religion is a successful effort to extend the practice of observing it; and just as certain as it is that Christianity will be spread around the world, so certain will it be that the Sabbath will be observed in all lands. The period is, therefore, yet to arrive when the delightful spectacle will be presented of all the nations of the earth bowing on the return of that day before the living God. The plans of this life will be suspended; toil and care will be laid aside; and the sun, as he rolls around the world, will rouse nation after nation to the worship of the true God; and the peace and order and loveliness of the Christian Sabbath will spread over all the hills and vales of the world. Who that loves the race will not desire that such a period may soon come? Who can wonder that Isaiah should have fixed his eye in the close of his prophetic labors on a scene so full of loveliness, and so replete with honor to God, and with goodwill to people?

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day

No Hope of Destroying the Christian Religion

“There is no hope of destroying the Christian religion while the Christian Sabbath is acknowledged and kept by men as a sacred day.”

~Voltaire

Source: http://thecontinuingwitness.com/menu/id/54/The%20Lord%27s%20Day