We Rob God

“This portion of time is sacred to Jehovah: He has appropriated it to his service. As time is wholly his, he might have claimed a much greater proportion. He has a right to fix what work shall be done in it. He has done so. “Keep the Sabbath-day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God commanded thee—The Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day.” Deut. 5.10,15. The sum of the command is, “Keep it holy.” The will of God is our law. This ought to be our choice and delight. When we resist his command we dispute his right to legislate to us. We presume to dictate to him, and to alter what he has enacted. Jehovah hath said, “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep.” [Exod. 31.13.] Our practical language is, Verily thy Sabbaths we will not keep. The formal nature of sin lies wholly here. We refuse to comply with the divine will. While we either omit holy duties, or employ the Sabbath in unnecessary secular pursuits, we rob God: we claim that time as our own. We do not consider what God requires, or what is his pleasure; but we please ourselves. To do God’s pleasure is to do what he requires: to do our own pleasure, is to resist his will, and rob him of his right. {21} When he enjoins the sanctification of the Sabbath, he gives this as the reason of it, “I am Jehovah.” Lev. 19.30. Thus he asserts his exclusive title to it, and to our sanctification of it. On the same account, he often calls it, “My Sabbath.” This robbery of God is most unreasonable. He has allowed us a large portion of time for ourselves, in proportion to what he claims to himself. Besides, he allows us, on the Sabbath, all that necessity or mercy can require. Nay more, though the Sabbath is to be appropriated to his service, it is no less conducive to our spiritual interest. If it be criminal to rob men, much more God. That he needs not our service can be no apology to us. It is enough that he requires it, and that we owe it. Besides, did he need our service, the sin of robbing him would not be so heinous, as it would be robbing a creature only, because the creature only can be in need.”

Source: A TESTIMONY AND WARNING AGAINST SOME PREVAILING SINS AND  IMMORALITIES: ADDRESSED TO CHRISTIANS IN GENERAL, BY THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY, at http://www.truecovenanter.com/reformedpresbyterian/reformed_presbytery_testimony_against_immoralities.html

Would Strict Sabbath Observance Destroy Western Economies?

Brian Schwertley:

“Sabbatarians acknowledge that certain economic activities and industries cannot be completely shut down on the Sabbath. One example is the steel industry. If the smelter in a foundry takes several days to reach its proper temperature, then it cannot be shut down every Lord’s day without shutting down the whole steel industry. Thus, at least a minimal crew is needed to keep the operation running through Sunday. But the benefits of steel for mankind…render it a necessity… Power and electric utilities and telephone companies must maintain service on the Lord’s day. Hospitals, churches, homes, retirement communities and nursing homes need heat and electricity to preserve life and minister to the sick. Communication facilities need to operate for emergencies… Industries that have a genuine need for labor on the Sabbath are few in number. The percentage of people working on the Lord’s day should be very small compared to those who work on a given week day. The vast majority of economic activities on the Sabbath…are totally unnecessary and sinful (e.g., shopping malls, sporting events, restaurants, movie complexes, newspapers, retail outlets). Those industries which require sabbath labor should rotate staff so that working on the Lord’s day is kept to a minimum for each worker. Workers must also be given another day off in place of the Lord’s day.”

Source and read more: http://www.reformedonline.com/uploads/1/5/0/3/15030584/the_sabbath_and_modern_civilization.pdf

WLC on the Fourth Commandment

Q115: Which is the fourth commandment?
A115: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[1]

1. Exod. 20:8-11

Q116: What is required in the fourth commandment?
A116: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,[1] and in the New Testament called The Lord’s day.[2]

1. Deut. 5:12, 14, 18; Gen. 2:2-3; I Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 5:17-18; Isa. 56:2, 4, 6-7
2. Rev. 1:10

Q117: How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A117: The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day,[1] not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;[2] and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy)[3] in the public and private exercises of God’s worship:[4] and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.[5]

1. Exod. 20:8, 10
2. Exod. 16:25-28; Neh. 13:15-22; Jer. 17:21-22
3. Matt. 12:1-13
4. Isa. 58:18; 66:23; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Psa. ch. 92; Lev. 23:3
5. Exod. 16:22, 25-26, 29; 20:8; Luke 23:54, 56; Neh. 13:19

Q118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A118: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.[1]

1. Exod. 20:10; 23:12; Josh. 24:15; Neh. 13:15, 17; Jer. 17:20-22

Q119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A119: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required,[1] all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them;[2] all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful;[3] and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.[4]

1. Ezek. 22:26
2. Acts 15:7, 9; Ezek. 33:30-32; Amos 8:5; Mal. 1:13
3. Ezek. 23:38
4. Jer. 17:24, 27; Isa. 58:13

Q120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A120: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:[1] from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:[2] from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.[3]

1. Exod. 20:9
2. Exod. 20:10
3. Exod. 20:11

Q121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A121: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,[1] partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it,[2] and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments,[3] and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion;[4] and partly, because we are very ready to forget it,[5] for that there is less light of nature for it,[6] and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful;[7] that it comesthbut once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;[8] and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.[9]

1. Exod. 20:8
2. Exod. 16:23; Luke 23:54, 56; Mark 15:42; Neh. 13:19
3. Psa. 92:13-14; Ezek. 20:12, 19-20
4. Gen. 2:2-3; Psa. 118:22, 24; Acts 4:10, 11; Rev. 1:10
5. Ezek. 22:26
6. Neh. 9:14
7. Exod. 34:21
8. Deut. 5:14-15; Amos 8:5
9. Lam. 1:7; Jer. 17:21-23; Neh. 13:15-23

A Puritan Catechism on the Fourth Commandment

A. The fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor they cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”

49 Q. What is required in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself (Lev. 19:30; Deut. 5:12).

50 Q. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?

A. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days (Lev. 23:3), and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship (Ps. 92:1-2; Isa. 58:13-14), except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy (Matt. 12:11-12).

Source: http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/puritan_catechism.htm#Q49

Can this be Savory in the ears of a Christian?

Exerpts from The Morality of the Fourth Commandment, as Still in Force to Bind Christians (London: 1641). By William Twisse D. D. From An Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature 1.3 (1988) 79:

Short quote:

“But it may be said, that men’s minds being burdened, and oppressed with the former service of the day, therefore some relaxation is to be granted for the refreshing of our spirits; as much as to say, a part of the Lord’s Day is to be allowed for profane sports and pastimes, to refresh us after we have been tired out with serving God. Can this be savory in the ears of a Christian?”

~William Twisse, Morality of the Fourth Commandment, 164

Long quote:

[pp. 242-244] As for recreations, which are here said to serve lawfully to the refreshing of our spirits; this appellation is very ambiguous, neither do I know any difference between the recreating of our spirits, and the refreshing of our spirits. Yet here the refreshing of our spirits is made the end of recreation. Again it were good to distinguish between recreation of the body, and recreation of the mind. I think the refreshing of spirits pertains to the recreation of the body. Men’s spirits are natural and material things, and they are apt to be wasted (1) naturally; for as life consists in calido, in hot matter, so heat is apt to spend and waste the matter wherein it is; and spirits thus wasted are recreated, that is, repaired by eating and drinking. And thus provisions of victuals are commonly called recreates.

(2.) They are wasted also by labor voluntarily undertaken, and these are repaired, as by the former way, so by rest also. And each way we are allowed to recreate our spirits on the Lord’s Day; and as to allow such rest to our servants as a work of mercy, so to our own bodies also. But now a-days many courses are called recreations, wherein there is found little rest; and the natural spirits of man are rather wasted, and his nature tired; far more than the one is repaired, or the other eased. And when all comes to all, I doubt the issue will be, to style the pleasures of our senses by the cleanly name of recreations.

Now the Jews were expressly forbidden to find their own pleasures on the Lord´s holy day (Is. 58:13); yet were they not forbidden all pleasure, that belonged only to such a Sabbath as was a fast; and therein indeed hypocrites are taxed for finding pleasure on that day (Is. 58:3). But the weekly Sabbath was for pleasure and delight, but not for man’s own pleasure, nor for the doing of their own ways. But to delight in the Lord, which is spiritual pleasure, and the recreating of our souls in the Lord. This is blessed rest, thus to rest unto him; and the Word of God is the best food of the soul. No recreations like unto God’s holy ordinances. Of wisdom it is said, that her ways are the ways of pleasantness (Pro. 3:17). I willing confess, that to the natural man, as the things of God are foolishness, so the word of God is a reproach unto him. He hath no delight in it (1 Cor. 2:14; Jer. 6:10. He delights rather in carnal pleasures; and is it fit to humor him in such courses, and that on the Lord’s day? Our Savior expressly tells us, that The pleasures life choke the word, and make it become unfruitful (Luke 8:14). Therefore it no way fits a man to God’s service; and if way is opened to such courses, though not till after evening prayer, as many as are taken with them, will have their minds running upon them, so as to say, when will the Sabbath be gone, and the time of divine service over? That so they may come to their sports, as well as covetous persons longed after the like, that they may return to their trading.

A natural man, before his calling is described unto us in Scripture, to be such a one as served lusts and diverse pleasures (Titus 3:3), and the wicked are said to to spend their days in pleasure (Job 36:11); and such are they whom the Prophet describes after this manner, Hear now thou that art given to pleasure (Is. 47:8). As for the children of God, as they are renewed in their affections generally, so the matter of their delight is much altered. His delight is in the law of the Lord (Psa. 1:2); as Christ says, I delight to do thy will (Psa. 40:1), and I delight myself in thy statutes; thy testimonies are my delight; and I will delight myself in thy commandments (Psa. 119:16, 24, 47), and Thy comforts delight my soul (Psa. 94:19). On the other side, the character of the fool is this, He hath no delight m understanding (Ps. 18.2). As for the reformation of such fools, let every wise and sober Christian consider, whether it is a fit course to let the reigns loose upon their neck, and give them liberty to take their courses, and not rather to endeavor to wean them therefrom by representing the vanity of them, witnessed by the experience of King Solomon, who was acquainted with the delights of the sons of men (Ecc. 2:8) as much as any, and tells us what fruit and profit he reaped by them, saying vanity of vanities, all is but vanity; and that the end of that discourse of his, is to promote this exhortation, Fear God, and keep his commandments, For this is the whole man. Then on the other side, the blessed, the comfortable and only profitable condition of delighting in the Lord, in the judgment of David, the father of King Solomon, Delight thou in the Lord, and he shall give thee thy heart’s desire (Ps. 37:4); to meet with the contrary judgment of carnal men, who say, It profitteth not a man, that he should delight himself with God (Job 34:9). If it is said that such sports are tolerated to fit a man for his calling the day following; it is very strange that works of our calling should not be permitted on any part of the Sabbath day, and sports and pastimes should. And shall not the spending of our time in God’s service, not public only, but private also, far better fit us to serve God in the works of our calling, and make us more capable of his blessing upon our labors, than the exercising of ourselves in sports and pastimes.

[pp. 184] Lastly, all recreations are to this end, even to fit us to the works of our calling; either for the works of our particular callings, or the works of our callings, as we are Christians. Such sports, if they fit us for the service of God, were more seasonable in the morning than in the evening. If for the works of our particular calling, then are they inferior works to the works of our calling, the furthering whereof is their end; and the means are always inferior in dignity to the end. Now if the more noble works are forbidden on that day, how much more such as are inferior are forbidden? But it may be said, that men’s minds being burdened, and oppressed with the former service of the day, therefore some relaxation is to be granted for the refreshing of our spirits; as much as to say, a part of the Lord’s Day is to be allowed for profane sports and pastimes, to refresh us after we have been tired out with serving God. Can this be savory in the ears of a Christian?

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/12873-Twisse-on-Sabbath-Recreations?highlight=sabbath, Comment 1

The Rest of Faith is the True Sabbath

“The Perpetuity of the Law of God”

A Message Delivered on May 21, 1882

by C. H. Spurgeon


“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18)

It has been said that he who understands the two covenants is a theologian, and this is, no doubt, true. I may also say that the man who knows the relative positions of the Law and the Gospel has the keys of the situation in the matter of doctrine. The relationship of the Law to myself, and how it condemns me; the relationship of the Gospel to myself, and how if I be a believer it justifies me–these are two points which every Christian man should clearly understand. He should not “see men as trees walking” in this department, or else he may cause himself great sorrow, and fall into errors which will be grievous to his heart and injurious to his life. To form a mingle-mangle of law and gospel is to teach that which is neither law or gospel, but the opposite of both. May the Spirit of God be our teacher, and the Word of God be our lesson-book, and then we shall not err.

Very great mistakes have been made about the law. Not long ago there were those about us who affirmed that the law is utterly abrogated and abolished, and they openly taught that believers were not bound to make the moral law the rule of their lives. What would have been sin in other men they counted to be no sin in themselves. From such Antinomianism as that may God deliver us. We are not under the law as the method of salvation, but we delight to see the law in the hand of Christ, and desire to obey the Lord in all things. Others have been met with who have taught that Jesus mitigated and softened down the law, and they have in effect said that the perfect law of God was too hard for imperfect beings, and therefore God has given us a milder and easier rule. These tread dangerously upon the verge of terrible error, although we believe that they are little aware of it. Alas, we have met with authors who have gone much further than this, and have railed at the law. Oh, the hard words that I have sometimes read against the holy law of God! How very unlike to those which the apostle used when he said, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” How different from the reverent spirit which made him say, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” You know how David loved the law of God, and sang its praises all through the longest of the Psalms. The heart of every real Christian is most reverent towards the law of the Lord. It is perfect, nay, it is perfection itself. We believe that we shall never have reached perfection till we are perfectly conformed to it. A sanctification which stops short of perfect conformity to the law cannot truthfully be called perfect sanctification, for every want of exact conformity to the perfect law is sin. May the Spirit of God help us while, in imitation of our Lord Jesus, we endeavor to magnify the law.

I gather from our text two things upon which I shall speak at this time. The first is that the Law of God is perpetual: “Til heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” The meaning is that even in the least point it must abide till all be fulfilled. Secondly, we perceive that the law must be fulfilled. He who came to bring in the gospel dispensation here asserts that he has not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.

I. First: THE LAW OF GOD MUST BE PERPETUAL. There is no abrogation of it, nor amendment of it. It is not to be toned down or adjusted to our fallen condition; but every one of the Lord’s righteous judgments abideth forever. I would urge three reasons which will establish this teaching.

In the first place our Lord Jesus declares that he did not come to abolish it. His words are most express: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” And Paul tells us with regard to the gospel, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). The gospel is the means of the firm establishment and vindication of the law of God.

Jesus did not come to change the law, but he came to explain it, and that very fact shows that it remains, for there is no need to explain that which is abrogated. Upon one particular point in which there happened to be a little ceremonialism involved, namely, the keeping of the Sabbath, our Lord enlarged, and showed that the Jewish idea was not the true one. The Pharisees forbade even the doing of works of necessity and mercy, such as rubbing ears of corn to satisfy hunger, and healing the sick. Our Lord Jesus showed that it was not at all according to the mind of God to forbid these things. In straining over the letter, and carrying an outward observance to excess, they had missed the spirit of the Sabbath law, which suggested works of piety such as truly hallow the day. He showed that Sabbatic rest was not mere inaction, and he said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” He pointed to the priests who labored hard at offering sacrifices, and said of them, “the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless.” They were doing divine service, and were within the law. To meet the popular error he took care to do some of his grandest miracles upon the Sabbath-day; and though this excited great wrath against him, as though he were a law-breaker, yet he did it on purpose that they might see that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, and that it is meant to be a day for doing that which honors God and blesses men. O that men knew how to keep the spiritual Sabbath by a easing from all servile work, and from all work done for self, The rest of faith is the true Sabbath, and the service of God is the most acceptable hallowing of the day. Oh that the day were wholly spent in serving God and doing good! The sum of our Lord’s teaching was that works of necessity, works of mercy, and works of piety are lawful on the Sabbath. He did explain the law in that point and in others, yet that explanation did not alter the command, but only removed the rust of tradition which had settled upon it. By thus explaining the law he confirmed it; he could not have meant to abolish it or he would not have needed to expound it

Source and read more: http://www.angelfire.com/va/sovereigngrace/perpetuity.spurgeon.html

 

 

We Are Allowed Necessary Rest And Refreshment

Thomas Boston:

Now, it is the whole day that is thus to be spent [in holy exercises], i.e. the natural day. Not that people are bound to be in these exercises without intermission all the twenty-four hours; for God has not made the Sabbath to be a burden to man, but that we should continue God’s work as we do our own on other days, where we are allowed necessary rest and refreshment by sleep in the night.

Works of Thomas Boston, 2: 196.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90810-Physical-Rest-on-the-Lord-s-Day, Comment #25

Neither Acceptable Nor Advantageable

William Gouge, Sabbath’s Sanctification:

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

A. 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 is he 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.

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

A. 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.

27. Q. Why is sleep requisite?

A. If we have not seasonable sleep the night immediately before the Sabbath (the latter part whereof, namely from midnight to the time we rise, is part of the Sabbath) the duties of the day will be so drousily performed (if at all they be performed) as they cannot be acceptable to God, nor advantageable to our spiritual edification. Sleep doth much refresh our drowsy bodies, and cheer our dull spirits: and so make us much better perform the duties of the Sabbath. Therefore sleep is said to be sweet, Eccl. 5:12.

81 Q. What ninth motive?

A. The temporal benefit of it. Deut. 5:14.

Surely a day’s rest in every week is very needful and useful for man and beast: especially for such as labour all the six days. Experience gives good proof thereof. Howsoever such as on no day take any great pains find no such benefit thereby, yet others do. And the wise God saw it to be so. For which end he expressly commanded that the beast should rest (Exod. 20:10). Now the beast can reap no other than a temporal benefit. There is therefore a temporal benefit thence arising. Some masters are so covetous and gripulous, as if there were not a seventh day for rest set apart, they would never afford any day’s rest to servants or cattle: but so weary them, as their strength would quickly be exhausted. It remains then that as the rest of every night, so the rest of every seventh day, is useful and needful: and a great temporal good is thereby brought to man and beast.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90810-Physical-Rest-on-the-Lord-s-Day, Comment #22

Reservations for Food and Sleep

Cawdrey and Palmer:

“That by a day in the Commandment, is meant a natural day, allowed both for our working days, and God’s resting day, but with the known necessary Reservations for food and sleep, and other works of mercy…”

~Sabbatum redivivum: or, the Christian sabbath vindicated, part 2 chapter 5 (1652), 183.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90810-Physical-Rest-on-the-Lord-s-Day