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: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/beeke-how-to-cultivate-sabbath-keeping.91487/, Comment 6

Is it not a Mockery? (Calvin on the Sabbath)

“Primus writes, “Calvin calls for a literal, physical cessation of daily labor on the Lord’s Day, not as an end in itself, but to provide time for worship of God. Recreational activity should also be suspended, for such activity interferes with worship as certainly as daily labor does. ‘If we spend the Lord’s day in making good cheer, and in playing and gaming, is that a good honouring of God? Nay, is it not a mockery, yea and a very unhallowing of his name?’””

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/59385-Calvin-on-Having-to-Keep-the-Sabbath, Comment #8

“We must refrain from our own business which might hinder us from the mining of God’s works, and we must call upon His name and exercise our selves in His word. If we spend the Lord’s Day in making good cheer, and in playing and gaming, is that a good honoring of God? Nay, is it not a mockery, yea a very unhallowing of His name? Yes. But when the Shop-windows are shut in on the Lord’s Day, and men travel not as they do on other days, it is to the end [that] we should have the more leisure and liberty, to intend to the things that God commandeth… Yet notwithstanding it is so common a thing, as is pity to see (i.e. that people refuse to come to the sermon, conduct their own affairs, indulge in gluttony and withdraw into their homes away from the church on the Lord’s Day), and would God that [these] examples were more rare and further off to be found. But the world sees how all things are unhallowed, insomuch that most folk have no regard at all of the using of that Day, which was ordained to withdraw us from all earthly cares and affairs that we might give ourselves wholly unto God. But if the Lord’s Day be spent not only in games and pastimes fully contrary to God, so as men think they have not kept holy the Lord His Day, except God be offended divers ways; if the holy order which God ordained to bring us to Him be broken after that fashion, is it any wonder though men play the beasts all the week after?”

~Sermon 34 on Deuteronomy, in The Sermons of John Calvin upon the Fifth Book of Moses Called Deuteronomy, translated by Arthur Golding, London, 1583, page 204. Also translated in John Calvin’s Sermons on the Ten Commandments, Benjamin W. Farley, 1980.

“From my personal research of Calvin’s Institutes, I’ve deduced that:

-Calvin recognizes that Christians in the New Covenant have a responsibility to obey the 4th commandment, and that it can be broken. II.8.28: “The early fathers customarily called this commandment a foreshadowing because it contains the outward keeping of a day which, upon Christ’s coming, was abolished; but they touch upon only half the matter. Hence, we must go deeper in our exposition, and ponder three conditions in which, it seems to me, the keeping of this commandment consists.

-Calvin on what should guide our worship: “Meetings of the church are enjoined upon us by God’s word; and from our everyday experience we well know how we need them. But how can such meetings be held unless they have been established and have their stated days?” And then he goes on to say “if we are subject to the same necessity as that to alleviate which the Lord established the Sabbath for the Jews, let no one allege that this has nothing to do with us“. Here he states that the order of corporate worship has been established by the 4th commandment.

He goes from there to clearly affirm that we should “obey the order we see laid upon us by God’s will“, in that weekly worship is demanded by the 4th commandment.

-However, Calvin also, very confusingly, calls Sunday the Sabbath: “in the churches founded by him [Paul], the Sabbath was retained for this purpose [Christian fellowship]. For he prescribes that day to the Corinthians for gathering contributions; 1 Cor 16:2.”

He then says: “because it was expedient to overthrow superstition, the day sacred to the Jews was set aside; because it was necessary to maintain decorum, order, and peace in the church, another was appointed for that purpose.” That is, another Sabbath, was appointed, per 1 Cor 16.

He also affirms, in II.8.34: “the ancients did not substitute the Lord’s Day (as we call it) for the Sabbath without careful discrimination. The purpose and fulfillment of that true rest, represented by the ancient Sabbath, lies in the Lord’s resurrection.“”

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/59385-Calvin-on-Having-to-Keep-the-Sabbath, Comment 9

Renewing Our Covenant

“… our audience in corporate worship is not people. Corporate worship is not about pleasing people, whether ourselves, the congregation, or unbelieving seekers. Worship in the corporate gathering is about renewing our covenant with God by meeting with Him and relating to Him in ways that He has prescribed. We do this specifically by hearing and heeding His Word, confessing our own sinfulness and our dependence on Him, thanking Him for his goodness to us, bringing our requests before Him, confessing His truth, and lifting our voices and instruments to Him in response to and in accord with the way that He has revealed Himself in His Word.”

~Mark Dever, The Deliberate Church

Source: http://thereformedcactus.blogspot.ca/2015/05/for-lords-day.html

If the Activity is Conducive to Worship, then it is Lawful

Here is a great thought from Lane Keister on how to figure out whether or not an activity is pleasing to God on the Sunday Christian Sabbath:

“On what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath, there is endless debate, stretching all the way back to Talmudic times (the Talmud has an entire treatise on the Sabbath). Rather than asking about a specific activity, as to whether or not it is lawful (and usually with the mindset of what the person can get away with), it is more helpful to remember that the rest in view is not simply physical rest, but rather a rest of worshipping the Lord. Therefore, if the activity is conducive to worship, then it is lawful. We cannot ignore the human conscience here either, since an activity that might be conducive for worship to one person may not be conducive to worship for someone else. To take one example, it is certainly wise to let small children let loose some of their excess energy on the Sabbath (contrary to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy!).  Otherwise, they will not be able to sit still and pay attention in worship. One does not have to take the attitude of Almanzo Wilder’s father in order to have a Puritan view of what is acceptable on the Sabbath! It is certainly a work of necessity to do something about the energy of small children. We must avoid both extremes of legalism and antinomianism here, as well as everywhere in our treatment of the law.”

~”The Sabbath Day and Recreations on the Sabbath: An Examination of the Sabbath and the Biblical Basis for the “No Recreation” Clause in Westminster Confession of Faith 21.8 and Westminster Larger Catechism 117″ in The Confessional Presbyterian, Volume 5 (2009)

Rest From Our Daily Work

“The difference between the Puritan Sabbath and the Continental Sunday should not be exaggerated, especially so far as the actual practices of churches in the Reformed tradition are in view. To be sure, at the confessional level, there are differences, although these, too, are not as substantial as sometimes maintained. The Three Forms of Unity, the confessional standards of Continental Calvinism, do treat the Sabbath much less extensively and with a somewhat different accent than the Westminster Standards. But in the main, especially beginning in the seventeenth century following the Synod of Dort, British-American Presbyterianism and Continental Calvinism became of one mind on what Sunday observance should look like: in view of the continuing validity of the fourth commandment, Sunday is to be a day of rest from our daily work, devoted primarily to the worship of God.”

~Richard Gaffin, “Westminster and the Sabbath” in The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century, pp. 123-124

Two Rules For Keeping The Sabbath Day Holy

J.C. Ryle:

What then appears to be the will of God about the manner of observing the Sabbath Day? There are two general rules laid down for our guidance in the Fourth Commandment, and by them all questions must be decided.

One plain rule about the Sabbath is that it must be kept as a day of rest, All work of every kind ought to cease as far as possible, both of body and mind. “Thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” Works of necessity and mercy may be done. Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us this, and teaches also that all such works were allowable in the Old Testament times. “Have ye not read,” He says, “what David did?” — “Have ye not read that the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” (Matt. 12:5). Whatever, in short, is necessary to preserve and maintain life, whether of ourselves, or of the creatures, or to do good to the souls of men, may be done on the Sabbath Day without sin.

The other great rule about the Sabbath is, that it must be kept holy. It is not to be a carnal, sensual rest, like that of the worshippers of the golden calf, who “sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play” (Exod. 32:6). It is to be emphatically a holy rest. It is to be a rest in which, as far as possible, the affairs of the soul may be attended to, business of another world minded, and communion with God and Christ kept up. In short, it ought never to be forgotten that it is “the Sabbath of the Lord our God” (Exod. 20:10).

I am no Pharisee. Let no hard-working man who has been confined to a close room for six weary days, suppose that I object to his taking any lawful relaxation for his body on the Sunday. I see no harm in a quiet walk on a Sunday, provided always that it does not take the place of going to public worship, and is really quiet, and like that of Isaac (Gen. 24:63). I read of our Lord and His disciples walking through the cornfields on the Sabbath Day. All I say is, beware that you do not turn liberty into licence — beware that you do not injure the souls of others in seeking relaxation for yourself — and beware that you never forget you have a soul as well as a body.

I am no enthusiast. I want no tired labourer to misunderstand my meaning, when I bid him to keep the Sabbath holy. I do not tell anyone that he ought to pray all day, or read his Bible all day, or go to church all day, or meditate all day, without let or cessation, on a Sunday. All I say is, that the Sunday rest should be a holy rest. God ought to be kept in view; God’s Word ought to be studied; God’s House ought to be attended; the soul’s business ought to be specially considered; and I say that everything which prevents the day being kept holy in this way, ought as far as possible to be avoided.

Source: http://www.apuritansmind.com/puritan-worship/the-lords-day/sabbath-a-day-to-keep-by-bishop-j-c-ryle/

An Old-Fashioned Sabbath

Here is a description from Little House in the Big Woods of how the Sabbath was kept by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s grandfather:

When your Grandpa was a boy, Laura, Sunday did not begin on Sunday morning, as it does now.  It began at sundown on Saturday night.  Then everyone stopped every kind of work or play.

Supper was solemn.  After supper, Grandpa’s father read aloud a chapter of the Bible, while everyone sat straight and still in his chair.  Then they all knelt down, and their father said a long prayer.  When he said, “Amen,” they got up from their knees and each took a candle and went to bed.  They must go straight to bed, with no playing, laughing, or even talking.

Sunday morning they ate a cold breakfast, because nothing could be cooked on Sunday.  Then they all dressed in their best clothes and walked to church.  They walked because hitching up the horses was work, and no work could be done on Sunday.

They must walk slowly and solemnly, looking straight ahead.  They must not joke or laugh, or even smile.  Grandpa and his two brothers walked ahead, and their father and mother walked behind them.

In church, Grandpa and his brothers must sit perfectly still for two long hours and listen to the sermon.  They dared not fidget on the hard bench.  They dared not swing their feet.  They dared not turn their heads to look at the windows or the walls or the ceiling of the church.  They must sit perfectly motionless, and never for one instant take their eyes from the preacher.

When church was over, they walked slowly home.  They might talk on the way, but they must not talk loudly and they must never laugh or smile.  At home they ate a cold dinner which had been cooked the day before.  Then all the long afternoon they must sit in a row on a bench and study their catechism, until at least the sun went down and Sunday was over.

Keep Up a Standard for Christ in the World

The public ordinances on the Lord’s day, whatever they do else, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world; and to slight them is to fill the world with atheism and profaneness. As it would be the sin of ministers not to administer them, so it is the sin of people not to attend on them. But O, how does this profanation abound, by unnecessary absenting from public ordinances! It is not enough to spend the time in private. God requires both; and the one must not justle out the other.

~ Thomas Boston, Works, 2:198

Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/f25/they-keep-up-standard-christ-world-82839/, Comment #1