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


Necessity Does Not Convert Sacred Time Into Civil

“We are enjoined to keep the Sabbath “from polluting it; to call it a delight, the holy of the Lord and honourable; not finding our own pleasures, not speaking our own words.” Notwithstanding these explicit injunctions, an allowance is given for doing such things as are of moral necessity. Man and beast must have their necessary food: both must be relieved in distress, and defended against imminent danger. Jesus himself wrought miracles on the Sabbath to relieve the distressed, and justified the disciples in plucking the ears of corn, &c. The doing of these things does not convert sacred time into civil. It is still the Lord’s day, and, in doing these, a spiritual frame of soul should, as much as possible, be studiously maintained.”

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. 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

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: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/16813-Keeping-the-Sabbath-and-Going-to-Restaurants/page3, Comment 88

Can We Light A Fire And Dress Meat On The Lord’s Day?

Archbishop James Ussher, A Body of Divinitie, p. 247:

Is it then lawful for us to make a fire and dress meat upon the Lord’s day?

Yea certainly. Because these were proper unto the Pedagogy or manner of government of the children of Israel under the Law: as may appeare by this, that there was no such thing commanded before the Law was given by Moses; and consequently, being not perpetuall, must necessarily follow to be Ceremoniall. Now after the Sabbath that Christ our Lord rested in the grave, this Ceremoniall Sabbath lyeth buried in that grave, together with those other rites which were shadowes of things to come, the body being in Christ. (Col. 2.16, 17.) Therefore we being dead with Christ from these Ceremonies, are no more to be burthened with such Traditions, (ibid. ver. 20.) nor to be brought under the bondage of any outward thing. It is a liberty purchased unto us by Christ, and we must stand fast unto it: that blessed houre being come, wherein the true Worshippers are to Worship the Father in Spirit and Truth. John 4.23.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/16813-Keeping-the-Sabbath-and-Going-to-Restaurants/page3, Comment 87

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

Necessary to Strengthen our Bodies

James Fisher, Catechism on the Catechism, Question #58:

Q. 11. Are not sleeping and eating on the Sabbath day our own works?
A. If these refreshments of nature are in moderation, and to the glory of God on the Sabbath, they are not properly our own works, because they are necessary to strengthen our bodies for religious exercises.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90810-Physical-Rest-on-the-Lord-s-Day/page2, Comment #49

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



In Regard of the Weaknesses and Infirmities of our Bodies

“Besides these duties of Piety, and works of Mercy, which are commanded to be done on the Lords Day, There are some things which the Lord permits unto us in regard of the weakness and infirmities of our bodies, viz. Sleep, Food, and Apparel. Because we cannot with strength and delight spend the whole day in Sabbath duties, without competent rest, food and apparel; therefore it is lawful for us to spend some time, as in sleep, so in apparelling our selves, and in refreshing our bodies with food, which otherwise would be ready to faint: But by a moderate use of these, we are inabled to do the things we take in hand the more chearfully.

But herein two Cautions ought carefully to be observed.

You must spend no more time about them than needs must. Wherefore your bodies being refreshed with moderate sleep, you ought to get up early on the Lords Day, as about six or seven of the clock, and to use all possible speed in dressing your selves; and not to sit longer than needs must at your meals; that so you may have the more time for the duties of Gods worship and service on his day. And truly, since the Lord is so good and gracious unto you, as to afford you some part of his own day for the refreshment of your bodies; Far be it from you to abuse his goodness, by lavishing away more time therein than needs must.

Second Caution, Do them as Sabbath-dayes-works, which is done two waies.

By doing them for this end, that thereby you may bee the better inabled to serve God. Thus, when at your lying down the evening before the Sabbath, you desire God to give you quiet, comfortable sleep, that thereby your weak bodies may be refreshed, and you the better inabled to serve him the next day in the duties of his worship and service, this is a Sabbath-sleep.

In like manner, when you eat and drink, for this very end, that your bodies may be refreshed, and your spirits revived, and you thereby the better inabled with chearfulness to serve God the remaining part of the day, this is a Sabbaths-eating and drinking.

By raising spiritual and heavenly Meditations from the same. At your first awaking, you should call to minde what day it is, and having blessed God for your comfortable rest and sleep that night you should beg of him the special assistance of his grace, to carry you thorow all the duties of the day. When you are rising out of your beds, you should think, as of the Resurrection of Christs body out of his grave early on that day, so likewise of the Resurrection of your Souls here out of the death of sin, to the life of holiness, and of your bodies at the last day, out of the grave of the earth, to the life of glory in Heaven. In your apparessing your selves, you should then think of the long white robe of Christs Righteousness, and of the happiness of those who have an interest therein. When you are washing your hands and your faces, from the cleansing virtue of the water, you should take occasion to meditate of the cleansing virtue of Christs blood, which alone washeth your souls from the filthy spots and stains of sin. When you go to your Tables, to partake of Gods good creatures, your corporal food for the nourishment of your bodies, should minister occasion of meditating on the spiritual food of your souls, whereby they are nourished unto everlasting life; The bread on your Tables should minde you of Jesus Christ, who is the bread of life that came down from Heaven to quicken your dead souls. Thus from every thing should you indeavour to draw matter of spiritual and heavenly meditation, labouring to keep your hear•s in an holy frame all the day long. For what our Saviour said to his Disciples concerning the loaves and the fishes, Gather up the fragments, let nothing bee lost; The like he seemeth to speak unto you concerning the Lords Day, gather up the parcels thereof, let no part of the day be lost, no not the least minutes, which are precious, as the least filings of Gold.

As the Lord doth permit unto you some things which your weak bodies stand in need of, that thereby you may be the better inabled to serve him on his day: So he is pleased to allow some things to be done by you, even on his day, though they hinder the performance of the proper works thereof; and they are such things as are of absolute necessity.

Quest. If you ask what I mean by works of absolute necessity?

Answ. Such as must needs be done, and yet could not be done the day before the Sabbath, nor put off to the day after, without great prejudice. But on the other side, such things as do no way further the sanctification of the day, but rather hinder the same, and may as well be done the day before, or the day after, or some other time, ought not to be done on the Lords Day.”

~Thomas Gouge, Christian Directions, Showing How to Walk with God All the Day Long.

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/90810-Physical-Rest-on-the-Lord-s-Day/page2, Comment #45