Deuteronomy 5:15
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
The DecalogueR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 5:1-21
Reminiscences of HorebJ. Orr Deuteronomy 5:1-33
The Divine Plan for the Conduct of Our Life on EarthD. Davies Deuteronomy 5:6-21
A Worthy ExampleDeuteronomy 5:12-15
Brought Up to Keep the SabbathDeuteronomy 5:12-15
How the Lord's Day is to be SanctifiedThomas Ridglet, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
I Can't Afford ItDeuteronomy 5:12-15
Labour: its Dignities and ProblemsW. J. Hocking.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Observance of the Lord's Day Instead of the SabbathThomas Ridglet, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Remember EgyptR. A. Griffin.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Remember the SabbathThomas Ridglet, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Sanctify the SabbathThomas Ridglet, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Sunday Aids Moral VisionJ. Halsey.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The Fourth CommandmentS. Walker, B. A.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The Fourth CommandmentDean Farrar.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The Healthful Tendency of WorkDeuteronomy 5:12-15
The Moral ExodusHomilistDeuteronomy 5:12-15
The SabbathJ. Orr Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The Sabbath as a Spring TideDeuteronomy 5:12-15
The Sabbath Before MosesLyman Abbott, D. D.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
The Sabbath was Made for ManJames Owen.Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Work, a Law of NatureJ. Ruskin.Deuteronomy 5:12-15

I. WHAT? The essential point in the institution is the sanctification to God of a seventh part of our time, of one day in seven. Which day of the seven is observed is indifferent, not in the sense of being left to individual choice, but in respect of any inherent sanctity in one day above another (Romans 14:5). The day is made holy by the Divine appointment, and by the uses we put it to. We sanctify the Sabbath:

1. By observing it as a day of rest from secular toil. The need of a rest day in the week is universally acknowledged. Every effort should be made to extend the boon as widely as possible, and to avoid infraction of the rights of others in connection with it. Our aim should be to lessen Sunday work, not to increase it. Apply to railways, steamboats, post-office work, museums, etc.

2. By devoting it principally to religious uses. It is only by conserving the Sabbath as a day sacred to religion that we can hope to preserve it as a day free from toil. We need, for spiritual purposes, all the opportunities it gives us.

II. FOR WHOM? The answer is - for man. This is shown:

1. From its primeval origin. That the Sabbath dates from creation is implied in the narrative in Genesis 2:3, in the terms of the command (Exodus 20:8-11), in Christ's words (Mark 2:27), in the argument in Hebrews 4:3, 4, and in the recently deciphered Chaldean traditions. While it may be argued, that if designed to commemorate creation, this is a matter which concerns all men equally with the Jews.

2. From its place in the moral law. It is certainly remarkable, if the Sabbath is a purely Jewish institution, that it should be found embodied in the first of those two tables which by their contents, as well as by the manner of their promulgation, are shown to be of a distinctly moral nature.

3. From the respect paid to it by the prophets (see Isaiah 58:13, 14). The language here employed is very different from that which prophets were accustomed to use of purely ceremonial institutions.

4. From Christ's defense of it. It is noticeable, and supports our view, that while frequently charged with breaking the Sabbath law, the Savior never once admits the charge. He carefully defends himself against it. He unceremoniously clears away the rubbish which the Pharisees had heaped upon the institution; but the Sabbath itself he never speaks of as a thing to be abolished. He sets it in its true light, and shows high respect for it.

5. From its reappearance in the new dispensation in a form adapted to the genius and wants of Christianity. The name Sabbath is not found in the New Testament, applied to the first day of the week, but the thing appears in that weekly festival of the Apostolic Church - the Lord's day.

6. From the proved adaptation of the Sabbath to the constitution of man's nature. The seventh-day rest is found by experience to be essential to man's welfare. It ministers to physical health, mental vigor, moral purity, and religious earnestness. The Sabbath-keeping nations are by far the happiest, most moral, and most prosperous. These reasons combine to show that this institution is one intended and adapted for the whole human family.

III. WHY? The institution, as seen above, is grounded in deep necessities of man's nature. It is, moreover, a suitable recognition of the Creator's right to our worship and service. But further, it is:

1. Commemorative

(1) of creation,

(2) of redemption - in the case of Israel, of redemption from Egypt (ver. 15); in the case of the Christian, of redemption through Christ.

2. Prefigurative - of the rest of heaven (Hebrews 4:9). - J.O.

Keep the Sabbath day.
I. HERE IS RESTING FROM ORDINARY EMPLOYMENTS. When a man does his work, his thoughts and tongue and hands are engaged in it. Consequently, on this day of rest, there must be not only a ceasing frown the actual labour of the hands, but neither the tongue nor thoughts may be engaged upon our worldly matters and affairs. Examine what your Sunday thoughts have been. Have you always in thought and mind been in heaven that day, having left your worldly cares and affairs out of sight behind you? Then again, have you not spoken your own words on this day? Look back and see if there be no records against you in the book of God of worldly affairs negotiated on the Sabbath day.

II. I go on to help you in the farther inquiry whether, supposing you have rested from worldly affairs, you have also SANCTIFIED THAT REST. According to the interpretation which common practice puts on this commandment, the words might run thus, "Remember the Sabbath day to take thy pleasure therein." In general, the Sabbath is sanctified when it is spent with God in humble and thankful acknowledgments of His love in creating us, and of His infinite mercy in redeeming us by Jesus Christ, who is gone into heaven to prepare a place for us. Then we should be examining our hearts and lives, humbling ourselves for our sins, stirring up the grace that is in us, exercising repentance, faith, hope, and charity; above all looking forward to the rest that remaineth for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). And think you, is not one such day better than a thousand? Oh, what do they lose who make the Sabbath a day of carnal pleasure? But more particularly the sanctification of this rest lies within the compass of those three things.

1. Public exercises.

2. Private exercises.

3. Religious communication.

III. The third thing contained in a due observance of the Lord's day is A RIGHT AIM IN CEASING FROM WORLDLY LABOURS, and in exercising the religious observances just mentioned. Now the righteousness of the aim is when there is a correspondence between our design in keeping and God's design in instituting the Sabbath.

1. Has, then, our design in the observance we have paid to the Sabbath principally been to glorify God?

2. Has your aim in sanctifying the Lord's day been the sanctification of your own soul?

(S. Walker, B. A.)

Herbert Spencer says, "Ask how it happens that men in England do not work every seventh day, and you have to seek through thousands of past years to find the initial cause. Ask why in England, and especially in Scotland, there is not only a cessation from work, which the creed interdicts, but also a cessation from amusement, which it does not interdict; and for an explanation you must go back to successive waves of ascetic fanaticism in generations long dead." Let us consider this "initial cause," and inquire whether this great thinker is correct in his statement in regard to what he calls "the creed," and its relation to amusement. There are some who say that the Jewish Sabbath, or the Puritan Sabbath, ought to be observed now. There are others who affirm that all distinctions of days have passed away; that all days should be spent in the fear of God. What would a friend think of your treatment of him if, when he visited you, you gave him one room in your house, and promised to see him an hour or two in the week, but would not let him come to your shop, to your office, to your family? It is thus many men treat God. The Sunday is one room in the house of life, into which they come professedly to commune with God for an hour or two; and then they leave Him for the whole week. All days are to be spent in His service. Ellicott says, "The Sabbath of the Jews, as involving other than mere national reminiscences, was a shadow of the Lord's day; that a weekly seventh part of our time should be specially devoted to God rests on considerations as old as the creation; that that seventh portion of the week should be the first day rests on apostolical, or perhaps, inferentially (as the Lord's appearances on that day seem to show) Divine usage and appointment." Whether this is, as Alford says, "transparent special pleading," or not, and whether it is right to call the Jewish Sabbath the shadow of the Lord's day, I stay not to inquire; but there is nothing in the apostle's language that is inconsistent with the Divine institution of the day of rest. The law was a shadow, Christ is the substance: He has fulfilled the law. We obtained salvation, not by obeying the law, but by receiving Christ; and then the law that was written on tables of stone is written on our hearts, and "love is the fulfilling of the law." A seventh portion of time for rest and worship is a right thing not merely because we find it commanded in the law, but because our nature demands it. Idolatry was sinful before the lightnings of Sinai played around its granite cliffs; profanity was sinful, perjury was sinful, theft was sinful, before the voice of God was heard from that tabernacle of darkness. If no law had been written it would have been wrong to worship images, or bear false witness against a neighbour. And Christians observe the Lord's day, not simply or chiefly because this law of the Sabbath was given on Sinai, but because the law of love is written in their hearts; and they know they honour Christ and benefit themselves by such religious observance. "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." The word "remember" must, I think, imply the previous existence of the institution. We have, however, no account of a Sabbath in the times of the patriarchs: the name is not mentioned; and the only reference to it, if we may take it as such, was in the special sacredness attached to the number seven, and in the custom of dividing time into weeks of seven days. But the name appears before the delivery of the law, and in a connection that makes it probable that the observance of the seventh day was already practised by the Israelites. In the account of the gathering of the manna, Moses speaks of "the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." "And Moses said, Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath unto the Lord; today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none." The reasons assigned for the institution were —

1. To commemorate the rest of God after His work of creation. This rest does not, of course, imply anything like fatigue or exhaustion; but it denotes that God's purpose was fulfilled, that His work in creating the universe was finished.

2. It was intended, also, to remind them of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. "And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt," etc.

3. And the Sabbath was also given as a pledge of the covenant between God and His people. "'I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctifieth them." Such was the Jewish Sabbath: its object and the manner in which it was to be kept were distinctly stated; and through many centuries, despite the periods of apostasy and judgment, it was "a delight, holy to the Lord, honourable." But before the advent of Christ the scribes had added to the law innumerable explanations and enactments, which were deemed as binding as the original; and we find that the Pharisees again and again submitted to Christ the question of Sabbath keeping. They would not for much travel beyond the limit of a Sabbath day's journey, and yet their feet were swift to shed blood; they kept the Sabbath, but they passed over the judgment and the love of God, and they persecuted the Holy One and the Just. What did Christ say in regard to the Sabbath? He said that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath day; He said also, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Man was made to serve and glorify God; and all institutions that help him in the pursuit of this end are his servants. Man, with his two hands for labour, with his mind that can think of God, and his heart that can love God, is greater than all material nature, greater than forms of government, greater than religious ordinances. They are good, as they minister to him. The laws of the family are intended for the welfare of the family; the laws of the school for the welfare of the school: they are important as such. But the child is greater than the rules; they are meant to serve him, and are appointed for his sake. "The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath day." The Representative Man, the Head of humanity, the King of the race, is Lord also of the Sabbath day. He does not say anything about the repeal of the Sabbath. His followers should meet on the first day of the week, to contemplate a greater work than creation, to celebrate a more glorious redemption than that of Israel from Egyptian slavery. On the first day of the week He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures. On that day tie manifested Himself to Mary Magdalene, to the other women, to Peter alone, to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, and to the assembled apostles in the upper room; and, a week later, to the apostles again, when the doubting Thomas was present, was convinced, and con. strained to say, "My Lord and my God." Then the day of Pentecost in that year fell on the first day of the week, when the promise of the Father was fulfilled. Here, then, is the authority, the only authority, we have for the observance of the first day of the week.First, that the assemblies of Christians in the days of the apostles took place on this day. Secondly, the confirmation afforded by tradition and usage ever since. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

1. It is to be observed, then, as a day of rest from all unnecessary labour. The seventh day may be exchanged for the first; the minute details relating to its observance may pass away with the Mosaic economy; but it will remain forever true that a seventh portion of time is to be employed as a Sabbath. Man the worker needs one day in the week for rest. Life is like a lamp; keep the light low, do not burn all the oil too soon.

2. It is also to be observed as a day of spiritual refreshment. The Sabbath was made for man, for the whole man; not only for bones and muscles, but also for mind, and heart, and soul. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day"; there are many who could say, "I was in bed on the Lord's day." But the soul cannot sleep, and provision should be made for its necessities. There is a religious instinct in man: it is not the result of education, it is not the creation of priestcraft, for the very existence of the priest proves that there was beforehand a religious element in the minds of the people. Our spiritual nature cries out for God, and God gives us a Sabbath to save us from becoming slaves of toil, and from burying our noblest thoughts and aspirations in a grave of materialism and lust.

3. And it is to be a day of gladness. It is to be a Sun-day, a bright day, and a day of holy gladness and rejoicing. What signal triumphs of the Gospel have been won on this day. It has often brought healing to the wounded heart, and joy to the sorrowful spirit, and succour to the tempted and timid. Its light has been as the light of seven days, and it has always come with healing in its wings.

(James Owen.)

1. That it does not in the least derogate from the honour of God to change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. It would, indeed, derogate from the glory of God, if He should take away one Sabbath and not institute another; for then He would lose the honour of that public worship, which He has appointed to be performed to Him, on that day. Moreover, if there be a greater work than that of creation, to be remembered and celebrated, it tends much more to the advancing the glory of God to appoint a day for the solemn remembrance thereof, than if it should be wholly neglected. And to this we may add that if all men must honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, then it is expedient that a day should be set apart for His honour, namely, the day on which He rested from the work of redemption, or, as the apostle says, "ceased from it, as God did from His."

2. It was expedient that God should alter the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week; for —(1) Hereby Christ took occasion to give a display of His glory, and in particular of His sovereign authority, to enjoin what time He would have us set apart for His worship under the Gospel dispensation.(2) We, in the observation thereof, signify our faith, in a public manner, that Christ is come in the flesh, and that the work of our redemption is brought to perfection; and, consequently, that there is a way prepared for our justification and access to God, as our God, in hope of finding acceptance in His sight.

3. All the ordinances of Gospel worship have a peculiar relation to Christ; therefore it is expedient that the time in which they are to be performed, under this present Gospel dispensation, should likewise have relation to Him; therefore that day must be set apart in commemoration of His work of redemption, in which He finished it, and that was the first day of the week.

(Thomas Ridglet, D. D.)

I. THAT WE ARE TO PREPARE OUR HEARTS and, with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose AND SEASONABLY TO DISPATCH OUR WORLDLY BUSINESS, THAT WE MAY BE MORE FREE AND FIT FOR THE BUSINESS OF THAT DAY. That leads us to consider the duties to be performed preparatory to the right observing the Lord's day; and, in order hereunto, we ought, the evening before, to lay aside our care and worldly business, that our thoughts may not be diverted or taken up with unseasonable concerns about it. This is a duty very much neglected. Thus many keep their shops open till midnight, and by this means make encroachments on part of the morning of the Lord's day. And to this we may add that all envyings, contentions, evil surmising against our neighbour are to be laid aside, since these will tend to defile our souls when they ought to be wholly taken up about Divine things. Moreover, we are to endeavour to bring our souls into a prepared frame for the duties of the Lord's day the evening before, by having our thoughts engaged in those meditations that are suitable thereto.

II. We are now to consider WHAT WE ARE TO REST AND ABSTAIN FROM ON THE LORD'S DAY, namely, not only from things sinful, but what is in itself lawful on other days.

1. As for those things which are sinful on other days, they are much more so on the Sabbath.

2. We break the Sabbath by engaging in things that would be lawful on other days, and that in two particular instances here mentioned.

(1)When we engage in worldly employments.

(2)The Sabbath is violated by recreations, which we are therefore to abstain from.

III. When it is said, in this Fourth Commandment, that thou shalt do no manner of work on the Sabbath day, there is an exception hereunto in WORKS OF NECESSITY AND MERCY.

1. Let the necessity be real, not pretended; of which God and our own consciences are the judges.

2. If we think that we have a necessary call to omit our attendance on the ordinances of God on the Sabbath day, let us take heed that this necessity be not brought on us by some sin committed.

3. If necessity obliges us to engage in secular employments on the Lord's day, as in the instances of those whose business is to provide physic for the sick, let us, nevertheless, labour after a spiritual frame, becoming the holiness of the day.

4. As we ought to see that the work we are engaged in is necessary, so we must not spend more time therein than what is needful.

5. If we have a necessary call to engage in worldly matters, whereby we are detained from public ordinances, we must endeavour to satisfy others, that the providence of God obliges us hereunto; that so we may not give offence to them, or they take occasion, without just reason, to follow their own employments, which would be a sin in them.


1. In the beginning thereof, let not too much sleep make intrenchments on more of the morning of the day than what is needful, particularly more than what we allow ourselves before we begin our employments on other days. And let us be earnest with God in prayer, that He would prepare our hearts for the solemn duties we are to engage in. Let us consider the Sabbath as a very great talent that we are entrusted with; and that it is of the greatest importance for us to improve it, to the glory of God and our spiritual advantage.

2. While we are engaged in holy duties, especially in the public ordinances of God's worship, let us endeavour to maintain a becoming reverence and filial fear of God, in whose presence we are, and a love to His holy institutions, which are instamped with His authority. Let us, moreover, watch and strive against the first motions and suggestions of Satan, and our corrupt hearts, endeavouring to divert us from or disturb us in holy duties. Let us also cherish, improve, and bless God for all the influences of His Holy Spirit which He is pleased at any time to grant to us; or lament the want thereof when they are withheld.

3. In the intervals between our attendances on the ordinances of God's public worship we are to engage in private duties, and worship God in and with our families.

4. The Sabbath is to be sanctified in the evening thereof, when the public ordinances are over; at which time we are to call to mind what we have received from God, with thankfulness, and how we have behaved ourselves in all the parts of Divine worship in which we have been engaged.

(Thomas Ridglet, D. D.)


1. The omission of the duties required. This is a casting away a great prize put into our hands.

2. The careless performance of holy duties; that is, when our hearts are not engaged in them, or we content ourselves with a form of godliness, denying the power there of.

3. When we profane the day by idleness.


1. It is highly reasonable that we should sanctify the Lord's day, since He is pleased to allow us six days out of seven for the attending to our worldly affairs, and reserves but one to Himself.

2. Another reason annexed to enforce our observation of the Sabbath day is taken from God's challenging a special propriety in it: thus it is called the Sabbath day of the Lord thy God, a day which He has consecrated or separated to Himself, and so lays claim to it. Therefore it is no less than sacrilege, or a robbing of Him, to employ it in anything but what He requires to be done therein.

3. God sets His own example before us for our imitation therein.

4. The last reason assigned for our sanctifying the Sabbath is taken from God's blessing and sanctifying it, or setting it apart for a holy use. To bless a day is to give it to us as a particular blessing and privilege; accordingly we ought to reckon the Sabbath as a great instance of God's care and compassion to men, and a very great privilege, which ought to be highly esteemed by them. Again, for God to sanctify a day is to set it apart from a common to a holy use; and thus we ought to reckon the Sabbath as a day signalised above all others with the character of God's holy day; and as such, it is to be employed by us in holy exercises, answerable to the end for which it was instituted.

(Thomas Ridglet, D. D.)

The word "remember" is set in the beginning of the Fourth Commandment, from whence we may observe the great proneness, through worldly business and Satan's temptations, to forget the Sabbath. We may also learn from hence the importance of our observing it, without which irreligion and profaneness would universally abound in the world. And to induce us hereunto let it be considered —

1. That the profanation of the Sabbath is generally the first step to all manner of wickedness, and a making great advances to a total apostasy from God.

2. The observing of it is reckoned as a sign between God and His people. It is, with respect to Him, a sign of His favour; and with respect to men it is a sign of their subjection to God, as their King and Lawgiver, in all His holy appointments.

3. We cannot reasonably expect that God should bless us in what we undertake on other days if we neglect to own Him on His day, or to devote ourselves to Him, and thereby discover our preferring Him and the affairs of His worship before all things in the world.

(Thomas Ridglet, D. D.)

Now you will observe that the Fourth Commandment is a two-fold commandment of labour and of rest. There is nothing Judaic about it; it is a command for the whole race of man. "Six days shalt thou labour," but that thy labour may not be degradingly and exhaustively wearisome; that the man may not become a mere machine, worn by the dust of its own grinding; that the thread of sorrow, which runs through all labour, may never wholly blacken into despair; that the thread of joy entwined with it may be brightened into spiritual intensity and permanence — therefore, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt do no manner of work." I need scarcely touch on the change from the seventh to the first day of the week; but whether we keep the Sabbath or Sunday, the Fourth Commandment, in its eternal and moral aspect, bids us to keep one day in the seven holy. And how are we to keep it holy? Let us look, first, at the Old Testament. Search it through, and you will find two rules, and two only, of Sabbath observance — rest and gladness. "In it thou shalt do no manner of work," and "This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." The Christian Sunday, then, like the Jewish Sabbath, is primarily God's gift to us of rest and joy. We need both. Blessed is drudgery; but blessed, too, is rest when work is done. The man that works seven days a week instead of six will pay the penalty in peevishness and enfeeblement, and will break down sooner and enjoy life less. Many a brain worker has sunk into a premature grave or died wretchedly by his own hands because he despised God's law of rest. But, if we are agreed that Sunday should be a day of rest, it is still most necessary for us to understand that it must be a holy rest and not an ignoble rest. Let not ours be the Puritanic Sunday of gloomy strictness, for "This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it"; let not ours be the foreign Sunday of frivolity and pleasure seeking; let not ours be the pharisaic Sunday, with petty rules and restrictions, for God has bidden us to stand fast in the liberty wherewith He has made us free. Bishop Hackett was content with this wise, beautiful, and only rule: "Serve God, and be cheerful," Yet, if you ask for further principles, not details, I will offer four plain and simple ones which yet include everything — three negative and one positive. Negatively: Let not your Sunday be slothful. If to many Sunday only means a heavier sleep and a more gluttonous dinner than usual, it is not only wasted but desecrated; it becomes less holy than even continuous labour, clogging instead of expanding the wings of the soul, and strengthening instead of controlling the lower passions of the body. Next: Let not our Sunday be merely frivolous. In Liverpool the result of a religious census, taken very recently, showed that out of 600,000 of the population scarcely more than one in a hundred attended the service of any Christian religion. And among the more educated classes, if novels be any indication of modern society, as I suppose they are, I find in a recent novel no less than three Sundays described, and they are all spent in indolent pleasure, without a hint that any one of the characters, whether the hero or heroine, so much as thought of entering a place of Christian worship. Is it the Sunday of God's children and fellow labourers, or the Sunday of worldlings in a decadent civilisation? Is it the Sunday of Christian men and women, holy to the Lord and honourable, or of creatures who have no duties to perform, no souls to save? Thirdly: Let not our Sunday be purely selfish. We come then to the positive principle. Let our Sunday rest be gladly spiritual, a day of Christian worship and Christian thought, a day not only to rest us but also to ennoble, a day to remind us whence we come and whither we go, and who we are. Beside us and around is the world with its pomps and vanities; before us is virtue, is duty, is eternity. The Sabbath is to be a bridge thrown across life's troubled waters, over which we may pass to reach the opposite shore. For, as the Sunday calls on the worldly to give place to the spiritual, to lay aside the cares and labours of earth for the repose and holiness of heaven, so it is but a type of the eternal day when the freed spirit, if true to itself and to God, shall put on forever its robe of immortal holiness and joy.

(Dean Farrar.)

"One day," writes a traveller, "as I was passing a Pennsylvania coal mine, I saw a small field full of mules. The boy who was with me said, 'Those are the mules that work all the week down in the mine, but on Sunday they have to come up into the light, or else in a little while they go blind.' It seems to me that what is necessary for mules is no less necessary for men. Keep men buried in this world's business for the whole seven days, and they would soon lose the very faculty of spiritual vision, having no eye, ear, or heart for Divine things. Make Sunday a working day, and you degrade man into a mill horse, and that a blind one.

(J. Halsey.)

About thirty years ago a Girvan shoemaker emigrated to British Columbia, on the Western shores of North America, to try his fortune on the Caribou diggings, then attracting many people. After passing through his own share of hardships, he arrived at the diggings, and wrought hard though unsuccessfully till he had spent his money, and became, in miners' phraseology, "broke." Being a Scotchman, however, he had provided for this eventuality, by bringing with him a few tools with which he resolved to start shoemaking at the diggings. Next day, being Sunday, he was lying in his tent despondent enough, when a tall miner entered with a pair of long boots slung over his shoulder. "Is the shoemaker here?" asked the new arrival. The reply was that he would be hero on Monday. "If I am not mistaken you are the shoemaker yourself." "Well," said our friend, "what though I be?" "Now, look here," said the miner with an oath, "I have travelled five miles to come here, and I won't leave this tent till you mend my boots." The cobbler looked up for a moment, and thought of turning him out by force, but all at once the recollection of the Sabbath day came to him, and so, dropping his eyes, he replied: "You see, sir, I come from Scotland, where the Sabbath is respected; and I have never wrought on the Sabbath yet, and please God I don't mean to begin new." The miner made no answer, and the cobbler looked up, when, to his amazement, he saw the big tears dropping over his cheeks. All at once the man flung the boots on the ground with these words: "God help. Me! I was brought up to respect the Sabbath too, but nobody respects anything in this God-forsaken country. Take the boots, and mend them when you can"; whereupon he left the tent. The shoemaker ultimately started a store in Victoria, British Columbia, called the "Scotch House," where he prospered exceedingly. He is now dead, but the business is still carried on by his son, who was in that district not many years ago.

Coleridge looked forward with great delight to the return of the Sabbath, the sacredness of which produced a wonderful effect on the temperament of that Christian poet. To a friend he said, one Sunday morning, "I feel as if God had, by giving the Sabbath, given fifty-two springs in every year."

We have all heard of Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish singer. Here is a good story, which shows her faithfulness to God. On one occasion, when she was in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, the king was going to have a musical festival at his palace on the Sabbath day. He sent an invitation to this great singer to come and take part in these exercises. But she declined the invitation. Then the king waited on her in person, and commanded her to come to his entertainment. This was a very high honour for a king to show to one of his subjects. Most persons would have gone under these circumstances. But Jenny Lind still begged to be excused. And when the king asked for her objections she said, "Please, your majesty, I have a greater King in heaven to whom I must be faithful. I cannot do what your majesty desires without breaking the commandment of my heavenly King, and offending Him. So please excuse me for declining to do what your majesty wishes." That was noble. Few persons would have had the courage to show their faithfulness under such circumstances as Jenny Lind did.

"Just come and work awhile in my garden on Sunday mornings, will you, Jim?" said a working man, with his pick-axe over his shoulder, to an old hedger, who was working by the side of the road. Jim took off his cap and made a bow to the speaker, and then said, "No, master, I can't afford it." "Oh! I don't want you to do it for nothing. I'll pay you well for the work." "Thank you, master, but I can't afford it." "Why, man, it will put something in your pocket, and I don't think you are too well off." "That's true; and that's the reason why I say I can't afford it." "Can't afford it! Why, surely, you don't understand me." "Yes, I do; but I'm not quick of speech. Please don't snap me up, and I'll tell you what I mean. It's very true, as you say, that I'm not well off in this world. But I've a blessed hope of being better off in the world to come. My Lord and Saviour has said, 'I go to prepare a place for yon, that where I am there ye may be also.' I learned that text more than twenty years ago, and it has been a great comfort to me." "Well, but what's that got to do with your saying in answer to my offer — 'I can't afford it'?" "Why, no offence to you, sir, but it's got all to do with it. If I lose my hope in that better land, I lose everything. My Saviour says I must keep the Sabbath day holy. If I break His command I shall not be prepared for the place He is preparing for me. And then all my hope is gone. And this is what I mean by saying, 'I can't afford it.'"

Does the law of gravitation depend upon the tradition that Newton saw an apple fall to the ground? Does the law of electricity depend upon the tradition that Franklin drew the lightning from the clouds with a Kite? as little does the law of rest and refreshment for one day in seven depend upon anything that was said by Moses or to Moses three thousand years ago. The Sabbath law of rest and refreshment is written in the needs of the human race. God did not first command it then; is still commanding it now. All human experience points to this law. All life interprets it. The body cries out for it, the mind cries out for it, the soul cries out for it, the very physical organisation of the animals cries out for it.

(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)

Six days shalt thou labour
How often has this Fourth Commandment been misinterpreted as dealing only with the question of rest, as inculcating the sanctity of worship and the beauty of Sabbatic peace! Does it not also lay down the universal law of labour? Does it not set forth the sanctity of toil and the beauty of holy activity?

I. FIRST, LET US THINK OF THE GREAT FACT OF THE UNIVERSAL NECESSITY OF LABOUR. "Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work": that is the one supreme, inexorable law for all the sons of men. "In the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread," said God to Adam, and He has been saying it ever since to all the generations of men. There is no method by which life can be sustained, developed, ennobled except by the method of toil — either by hand, or foot, or brain. There is no endowment of Nature which ever brings anything to fruitfulness in human life without labour. Nature works; but when she works for man she only works with man. She will only minister to him when he, through constant toil, seeks to minister to himself. The general good of humanity — as well as the meeting of the wants of humanity — is effected by the labour of each individual. This necessitates at once not only division of labour, but degrees and diversities of labour. There is, first of all, the labour which is termed bodily labour, which tends to provide and then to distribute the resources of the world we live in. But we must add to this another sort of work — the work of the mind — ingenuity, thought, mental exertion, invention, before the organisation and progress of society can be effected. To ascertain and interpret the great vital and spiritual forces which this world half discloses and half conceals, is the work of the mental powers of men. The world of today, as we see it, and enjoy it, and use it, is the fruit of the labours of those who have lived in it in the past; and its beauties, its utilities, its wonderful ministrations to man's varied and increasing wants will only be maintained by the labours of those who live in it now, and who shall succeed us when we pass out of it and are no more.

II. I would speak now of THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR. And I base the term "dignity of labour" upon the fact that all labour is of Divine appointment. Not only has God laid upon us the necessity of labour, but He has so constructed us that without labour we fail to find any satisfaction in life. Like the strings of the harp and the lute, our capacities and powers only make music when they vibrate. The active man is not only the useful man, but if he is working on right lines and by right methods he is the happy man. We hear a great deal in low-class newspapers about the degradation of toil and the hard lot of the working man. No toil is of itself degrading; no work ought to be the producer of hardships. Nothing is low; nothing is mean if it be useful. Talk of degrading toil — there is no such thing. If there is one man more degraded than another it is the man who does nothing for the world but stare at it and suck the sweetness out of it. There is a common impression abroad that a gentleman is a man who has sufficient means to live without working. A gentleman is the man who does his duty in that sphere into which natural fitness has led him, or circumstances drawn him, honestly, purely, devotedly, and in the fear of God. It is a case of character, not of possession; of attainment, not of inheritance; of qualities of soul, not of a luxurious environment. Character is the crown of life. Deeds are the pulse of time. The sweat of honest toil is a jewelled crown on the brow of the toiler.

III. I pass now to consider, in the light of what I have been stating, some of THE PROBLEMS CONNECTED WITH THE LOWER PHASES OF LABOUR IN OUR MODERN LIFE. I say lower phases of labour, because, fortunately, the higher phases tend more and more to settle their own problems. In the law, in medicine, in art, in the great world of science, labour is not harassed, circumscribed, and hindered by the thousand and one questions that are keeping the labouring classes in the lower phases of labour in perpetual turmoil. There are three problems affecting the labour market at the present moment, on which I will endeavour to throw some light.

1. There is first the great problem of how to keep the labour market full at the bottom. Every man has a right to choose the calling in which he thinks he can best minister to his own and others' good; but the false notions as to the qualifications of elementary education, and the imaginary stigma which is attached to rough labour, are ruinous alike to the towns which they are filling, and to the country which they are emptying. There is no stigma attached to honest and useful labour; there is necessarily no disqualification for society, or for enjoyment in any occupation that is a source of benefit to the world. An honest, enlightened, educated farmer is equal to a man of the same qualities in any of the professions. These facts, if apprehended by the so-called "lower classes," would go far to solve one of the great problems of the labour question of today.

2. The second problem is that connected with the hours of labour. You know that there is a loud cry for an eight hours' day; and mere are some who think that Parliament ought to pass a Bill forbidding employers of labour in collieries, mines, and certain manufactories to work their employees more than eight hours out of every twenty-four. I do not so think. The remedy is to be found in fair combination and honest cooperation on the part of the men, and in a just and equitable temper on the part of employers. If you once employ, legislation in this matter, where are you to stop? Will you give an eight hours day to the clergyman — who oftentimes has to work (at least, I speak for myself) twelve and fifteen hours? Will you forbid the doctor to visit his patients, and to give medical advice for more than eight hours? Legislation, moreover, implies a certain amount of equality. But, as a matter of fact, there is nothing more unequal than men's capabilities for labour. What positively wearies one man to work at for six hours, another can stand cheerfully and unweariedly for twelve hours. An Act of Parliament compelling the lazy in all classes of the community to do some useful work every day would he of far greater benefit to humanity than any Government restrictions on the hours of labour.

3. There is one other problem which I will mention — the subject of livery; the badge of servitude. There is a strong feeling possessing certain classes of the community that humble labour ought not to he stamped with the regalia of its character; that a domestic servant, e.g., ought not to be compelled to dress in a manner which proclaims her a domestic servant. What does it mean? Just this. If it is a disgrace to be a servant no honest man or decent woman ought to engage themselves as such. If it is right, if it is honest, if it is consistent with one's freedom and all those things that pertain to manhood and womanhood, why object to be known as what you are — a servant There is nothing more degrading in a servant's cap than in a judge's wig. A respectable servant is as worthy of respect as her mistress. Service is no disgrace.

(W. J. Hocking.)

Physical work promotes the circulation of the blood, opens the pores of the skin, gives tone to the respiratory organs, helps the functions of digestion, strengthens the muscles, adds suppleness to the joints, enlivens the senses, quickens the nerves, regulates the passions, and benevolently tends to build up the general constitution. Mental and moral work clears the understanding, empowers the will, keens the perception, awakens the conscience, informs the judgment, enlarges the memory, rectifies the affections. In one word, the tendency of work is to promote and sustain the mental and physical organisation in an uninterrupted action of health, until by the fiat of nature, or as the result of accident, or by the ravages of disease, it shall be broken up and dissolved in death. Man is kept in life by work, and dies either because he will not or because he cannot work.

The law of nature is, that a certain quantity of work is necessary to produce a certain quantity of good of any kind whatever. If you want knowledge you must toil for it; if food you must toil for it; and if pleasure you must toil for it.

(J. Ruskin.)

The Lord thy God brought thee out thence
Look at this change as an emblem of that great moral revolution which has taken place in the soul of every genuine Christian, and which is essential to the spiritual well-being of every man.


1. A wonderful emancipation.

2. Wrought by the Almighty.

3. Through human instrumentality.


1. To inspire with gratitude to Deliverer.

2. To promote spirit of contentment.

3. To establish confidence in God.


We are prone to remember the palaces and pleasures of Egypt; God admonishes us to remember its slavery. The memory of our former state should be —

I. AN ANTIDOTE TO DISCONTENT. Though the labours and trials of the Wilderness were many, yet in Egypt we had more. If we labour, it is not to make bricks without straw — not for another, but for our own profit.

II. A STIMULANT TO ZEAL. Remembering Egypt, let us press on toward Canaan; give no advantage to our enemies.

III. A REASON FOR OBEDIENCE. He who graciously delivered us has right to our service. If we made bricks for Pharaoh, "what shall we render unto the Lord?" If fear produced activity, how much more should love!

IV. WINGS FOR FAITH AND HOPE. Remember that the God who could deliver from Egypt can bring to Canaan. He who has begun the work will complete it.

V. A CALL TO HUMILITY. I was but a servant, a slave; I owe all to my Deliverer. Without Him I were a slave again.

(R. A. Griffin.)

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