Sundays Are for Sabbath Rest - On Making the Lord’s Day Holy from Puritan, Thomas Watson

Posted at the Pulpit & Pen:

The sixth duty wherein we must offer violence to ourselves, is the religious sanctifying of the Lord’s day. That there should be a day of holy rest dedicated to God appears from its institution. ‘Remember to keep holy the Sabbath.’ Our Christian Sabbath comes in the room of the Jewish Sabbath: it is called the Lord’s day, Rev. i.10. from Christ the author of it. Our Sabbath is altered by Christ’s own appointment. He arose this day out of the grave, and appeared on it often to His disciples, 1 Cor. xvi. 1: to intimate to them (saith Athanasius) that he transferred the Sabbath to the Lord’s day. And St. Austin saith that by Christ’s rising on the first day of the week, it was consecrated to be the Christian Sabbath, in remembrance of his resurrection. This day was anciently called dies lucis, the day of light, as Junius observes. The other days of the week would be dark, were it not for the shining of the sun of righteousness on this day. This day hath been called by the ancients, regina dierum, the queen of days. And St. Hierom prefers this day above all solemn festivals. The primitive church had this day in high veneration: it was a great badge of their religion: for when the question was asked, servasti dominicum?, keepest thou the Sabbath?; the answer was, Christianus sum, I am a Christian; I dare not omit the celebration of the Lord’s day! What great cause do we have to thankfully remember this day! As the benefit of Israel’s deliverance from the Babylonish captivity was so great that it drowned the remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt, Jer. xvi. 14: so the benefit of our deliverance from Satan’s captivity and the rising of Christ after finishing the glorious work of our redemption are so famous, that in respect of his other benefits, receive as it were in diminution. Great was the work of creation; but greater the work of redemption. It cost more to redeem us than to make us. In the one, there was only the speaking a word, Psalm cxlviii. 5: in the other, the shedding of blood, Heb. ix. 22. The creation was the work of God’s fingers, Psalm viii. 3: the redemption, the work of his arm, Luke i. 5. In creation God gave us ourselves; in redemption he gives us himself. So that the Sabbath, putting us in mind of our redemption, ought to be observed with the highest devotion. — Herein we must offer holy violence to ourselves.

When this blessed day approacheth, we should labour, that as the day is sanctified, so may our hearts be sanctified.

We must on this day rest from all the works of our calling. As Abraham, when he went to sacrifice, left his servant and ass at the bottom of the hill, Gen. xxii. 5: so when we are to worship God this day, we must leave all secular business behind. — And as Joseph, when he would speak with his brethren, thrust out the Egyptians: so when we would have converse with God this day, we must thrust out all earthly employments. Though works of necessity may be done and works of charity, (for God will have mercy, and not sacrifice) yet in other cases we must cease from all worldly negotiations. It is observable concerning Mary Magdalene, that she refused to anoint Christ’s dead body on the Sabbath day, Luke xxiii. 56. She had before prepared her ointment, but came not to the sepulcher till the Sabbath was past. She rested that day from all work, though it were a commendable and glorious work; the anointing of Christ’s dead body.

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