Exodus 20:8
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Sermons
The Moral Law - General SurveyJ. Orr Exodus 20:1-18
The Soul for God OnlyJ. Urquhart Exodus 20:3-11
The First and Second CommandmentsG.A. Goodhart Exodus 20:7, 8
Benefit of Keeping the SabbathExodus 20:8-11
Bible Law RecognizedExodus 20:8-11
Grief At Profanation of the SabbathWatson, ThomasExodus 20:8-11
Heaven Seen on the SabbathP. B. Davis.Exodus 20:8-11
Honouring the SabbathExodus 20:8-11
Honouring the SabbathExodus 20:8-11
Reason for Change of DayWatson, ThomasExodus 20:8-11
Reasons for Observing the SabbathBarnes, AlbertExodus 20:8-11
Result of a Weekly RestExodus 20:8-11
Sabbath Breakers ReprovedExodus 20:8-11
Sabbath Kept Under DifficultiesA. Barnes.Exodus 20:8-11
Sabbath-Breaking is a SinF. S. Schenck.Exodus 20:8-11
Some Blessings of the Rest DayF. S. Schenck.Exodus 20:8-11
Sunday and SuicideBp. H. M. Thompson.Exodus 20:8-11
The Fourth CommandmentF. D. Maurice, M. A.Exodus 20:8-11
The Fourth CommandmentH. CrosbyExodus 20:8-11
The Fourth CommandmentG. D. Boardman.Exodus 20:8-11
The Fourth Commandment: the Sacred SabbathD. Young Exodus 20:8-11
The Holy DayW. Senior, B. A.Exodus 20:8-11
The Jewish SabbathR. W. Dale, D. D.Exodus 20:8-11
The Manner of Keeping the SabbathH. Winslow.Exodus 20:8-11
The Pearl of DaysExodus 20:8-11
The SabbathG. Clayton.Exodus 20:8-11
The Sabbath Appointed by GodTalmud.Exodus 20:8-11
The Sabbath Cheerful and HolyH. Crosby, D. D.Exodus 20:8-11
The Sabbath DayGeorge Brooks.Exodus 20:8-11
The Sabbath Under the Law of MosesD. Wilson, M. A.Exodus 20:8-11

I. THE GROUND OF THIS COMMANDMENT. God, who had spoken to Israel as to those whom he had brought out of the house of bondage, and who had bidden Moses speak of him to the captives as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, now takes the thoughts of his people as far back as it is possible for them to go. They are directed to think of the great work of him who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is. "All the earth is mine," he had bidden Moses say in Exodus 19:5; and of course the Israelites, whatever their other difficulties in the way of understanding God's commandments, had no question such as modern science has thrown down for us to ponder with respect to these alleged days of creation. Though indeed, as is now generally agreed, no difficulty is found in this question when we approach it rightly. God's thoughts are not as our thoughts; his ways are not as our ways; and so we may add his days are not as our days, seeing that with him one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The great matter to be borne in mind by ancient Israelites - and for every Christian the consideration remains whether he also should not very strictly bear it in mind - was that by this seventh day of rest after creation, God gave the great rule for the consecration of his people's time. It is to a certain extent correct to say that this precept is a positive one; but it is not therefore arbitrary. God may have seen well to give the precept in such emphatic way, just because the need of setting apart one day out of seven is in some way fixed in the nature of things. It is a question worth while asking, why creation is set before us as having occupied six successive periods. Why not some other number? May not the periods of creation have been so arranged with a view to the use of them as a ground for this commandment? God sanctified the seventh day because it was the best day - best for human welfare and Divine glory; and it seems to have been at Sinai that he first distinctly made this sanctification. Israel knew already that God rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made (Genesis 2:2); now it is known - at least it is known in part - why this resting was not till the seventh day, and also not later. May it not be that the expression "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made," (Genesis 2:3) was inserted by Moses after the transactions at Sinai, as a suitable addition to the statement that God rested from his work? If this verse was not inserted in the Genesis record until after the instructions from Sinai, then we have some sort of explanation why no clear, indubitable sign of the Sabbath is found in patriarchal times.

II. THE MODE OF KEEPING THIS COMMANDMENT. Let us distinctly bear in mind the object to be attained. The seventh day was to be sanctified, and in order that it might be properly sanctified, a scrupulous rest from ordinary work was necessary. The rest was but the means to the sanctification; and the sanctification is the thing to be kept prominently in view. The mere resting from work on the seventh day did an Israelite no good, unless he remembered what the rest implied. The commandment began, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," not "Remember to do no work therein." Certainly it was only too easy to forget the requirement of rest; but it was easier still to forget the requirement of holiness. A man might rest without hallowing, and so it had to be enjoined on him to shape his rest that hallowing might be secured by it. Certain of the animals required for holy purposes by God, were to be such as had not borne the yoke. The animal could not be given to God and at the same time used for self. And in like manner the Sabbath could not both be given to God and used for self. Therefore the Israelite is charged to do no work and let no work be done, even by the humblest of his slaves. He himself must get no temporal benefit from this day. God has so arranged, in his loving providence and holy requirements, that six days' work shall supply seven days' need. This lesson the manna distinctly teaches if it teaches anything at all. And now that the Jewish Sabbath has gone, the Christian has to ask himself how far the mode of Sabbath-keeping in Israel furnishes any guide for him in his use of the Lord's day. He is a miserable Christian who begins to plead that there is no distinct and express commandment in the New Testament for the keeping of a sacred day of rest. To say that the Sabbath is gone with the outward ordinances of Judaism is only making an excuse for self-indulgence. True, the sacrifices of the law are done away with, but only that imperfections may give place to perfections. In the very doing away, a solemn claim is made that the Christian should present his body as a living sacrifice; and one cannot be a living sacrifice without feeling that all one's time is for doing God's will. When in the inscrutable arrangements of Providence, we find that one day in seven has actually come to be so largely a day of cessation from toil, surely the part of Christian wisdom is to make the very best of the opportunity. There is, and there always will be, room for much improvement as to the mode of keeping the day of rest; but in proportion as we become filled with the spirit of Christ and the desire for perfection, in that proportion we shall be delivered from the inclination to make Sunday a day for self, and led forward in resolution, diligence and love, to make it a day for God. The more we can make our time holy time, the more we shall make ourselves holy persons. If in God's mercy we find Sunday a day of larger opportunities, let it be according to our individual opportunity, a day of larger achievements. Each one of us should say, "I am bound to discover how God would have me use this day." My neighbour Christian may feel constrained to use it in a way that, if I were to imitate him, might not promote my own spiritual advantage, or the glory of God. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind, only let him take care that he has a persuasion and acts conscientiously and lovingly up to it.

III. THE PECULIAR EMPHASIS LAID ON THIS COMMANDMENT. "Remember." Not of course that this commandment is more important than the rest. He who breaks one breaks all, for each is a member of the whole as of a living unity. But there must have been a special reason in the mind of God for calling attention to this commandment. We are told to remember what we are likely to forget. Also, certain things we are exhorted to remember, because if we only remember them we shall come in due course to other things which cannot be so constantly in the mind, and which indeed the mind may not yet be able properly to grasp. He who remembers the right way will assuredly come to the right end, even though he may not be constantly thinking of it. We may be sure that keeping the Sabbath day really holy, had a very salutary effect towards keeping all the rest of the commandments. It gave time for reflection on all those affairs of daily life in which there are so many opportunities and temptations to set at nought the righteous claims both of God and of our fellow-men. And so the Christian may ever say to himself, "Soul, remember the day of rest which God has so graciously secured to thee." God, though he has condescendingly done so much to come near to needy men with his supplies of grace, gets soon hidden by the cloud and dust of this world's business. It is only too easy to forget the spirit of these commandments, and be unfair, unkind, malicious and revengeful toward our fellow-men in the jostlings and rivalries of life. Remember then. Let us but attend to this and the rest of God's remembers, and we may be sure they will do a great deal to neutralise that forgetting which is inevitably incident to the infirmities of fallen human nature. - Y.







Remember the Sabbath Day.
I. The first word of the Fourth Commandment reminds us that THE SABBATH DAY WAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED among the Israelites when the law was delivered on Sinai. That law created nothing. It preserved and enforced what God had already taught His people to observe by another method than that of formal decrees.

II. IN THIS COMMANDMENT WORK IS ENJOINED, JUST AS MUCH AS REST IS ENJOINED. Man's sin has turned work into a curse. God has redeemed and restored work into a blessing by uniting it again to the rest with which, in His Divine original order, it was associated.

III. GOD RESTS; THEREFORE HE WOULD HAVE MAN REST. God works; therefore He would have man work. Man cannot rest truly unless he remembers his relation to God, who rests.

IV. It is not wonderful that the Jews after the Captivity, as they had been schooled by a long DISCIPLINE INTO AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE MEANING OF THE SECOND COMMANDMENT, SO HAD LEARNT ALSO TO APPRECIATE IN SOME DEGREE THE WORTH OF THE FOURTH. Nehemiah speaks frequently and with great emphasis of the Sabbath as a gift of God which their fathers had lightly esteemed, and which the new generation was bound most fondly to cherish. His words and acts were abused by the Jews who lived between his age and that of our Lord's nativity, and when Christ came, the Sabbath itself, all its human graciousness, all its Divine reasonableness, were becoming each day more obscured.

V. JESUS, AS THE MEDIATOR, DECLARED HIMSELF TO BE THE LORD OF THE SABBATH, AND PROVED HIMSELF TO BE SO BY TURNING WHAT THE JEWS MADE A CURSE INTO A BLESSING. He asserted the true glory of the Sabbath Day in asserting the mystery of His own relation to God and to His creatures.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

1. The Jewish Sabbath was founded on a definite Divine command.

2. The particular day which was to be kept as a Sabbath was authoritatively determined.

3. The purpose of the day was expressly defined.

4. The manner in which the Sabbath was to be kept was very distinctly stated.

5. The sanction which defended the law of the Sabbath was most severe. The only similarity between the Lord's Day and the Jewish Sabbath is that both recur once a week, and that both are religious festivals. To the idea of the Jewish Sabbath rest was essential, worship was an accident; to the idea of the Christian Sunday worship is essential, rest an accident. The observance of Sunday as a religious institution is a question of privilege, not of duty.

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

I. THE DESIGN OF THE SABBATH.

1. A day of rest from physical toil.

2. A day of holy employment. "Keep it holy." (See also Deuteronomy 5:12, Isaiah 58:13, 14). It is to be a day of rest, but not a day of idleness.

II. WHAT IS THE PRACTICAL RELIGIOUS VALUE OF THE SABBATH?

1. It is a perpetual reminder of spiritual things.

2. It is a great conservative of good, and a powerful barrier against evil.

III. THE DUTY AND PRIVILEGE OF KEEPING THIS DAY.

1. It is a duty we owe to God. He made the Sabbath. He commands us to keep it.

2. It is a duty we owe to ourselves. As a day of rest it is essential to the highest condition of physical health. As a day of holy meditation and worship, it is essential to our spiritual education and growth.

3. It is a duty we owe to our fellow-men. You cannot violate the Sabbath without influencing your brother to do the same.

(George Brooks.)

This Commandment holds a remarkable position in the Decalogue. It lies between those which touch our duty to God and those which touch our duty to man. It belongs to both branches of the Decalogue. Its position tells us that a breach of the Sabbath is a direct insult to God, and is also a direct injury to man, weakening the power of a day which is eminently a blessing to the human race. This remarkable position of the Sabbath Commandment is proof incontrovertible of its binding character for all men in all time. There are two expressions in the command itself which testify to this universality of application.

1. "Remember the Sabbath Day." It is no new institution which you are now to learn about for the first, but it is an old observance, not Israelitish, but human, Noachic, and Adamic, which you, God's Israel, are to remember, that you may sustain it in its purity, just as you are to sustain a true and spiritual worship as against idolatry.

2. The other expression which proves the universality of its application (in addition to its very position in the Decalogue) is the reason given for the Divine order — because in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath Day and hallowed it." The reason began at the creation, and therefore the observance began at the creation.

I. WHAT IS THE IDEA OF THE SABBATH? It had its origin in God's resting on that day.

II. WHAT IS ITS PROPER OBSERVANCE? God has given it His own holy name — "The Sabbath of the Lord thy God," and the Holy Spirit calls it "the Lord's Day," in the New Testament. This fact shows us that its rightful observance must have regard to our right relation to God. The soul must be turned Godward.

(H. Crosby, D.D.)

Let us always make the Sabbath a cheerful day, as Phariseeism does not, and let us always make it a holy day, as worldliness does not.

(H. Crosby, D. D.)

There is no one thing that kills, exhausts, or sends to the lunatic asylum more of the active and strong men of this country (United States) than the breach of the Fourth Commandment.

1. "He kept no Sunday." You may safely write that epitaph over hundreds of graves that will be dug this year for ambitious, prosperous, influential men, cut off in the midst of the race of life. There are suicides in scores where no apparent cause exists for what the newspapers call "the rash act." The man was doing well; his business was prospering; his family relations were pleasant and affectionate.

2. No law of God is arbitrary. It is for man's good that God has established all His statutes. Clear as that truth is about them all, it is especially clear about the day of rest.

3. As a matter of fact, there is no rest, no relaxation, so utter as that offered by a well-kept Sunday. There is perfect rest and quiet for the body, and, to the worker with his hands, that may be the main point. But there is far more than this. The mind is called away from all its cares and all its common vulgar interests. The man is called to rise out of the changing into the unchanging, out of the temporary into the eternal, out of the low into the infinitely lofty, out of the strife into the deep calm of the eternal peace.

4. It is the neglect of this provision of God that is the root-cause of the deaths and suicides from overwork, which shock us almost daily in the current items of news.

5. We are not placing this thing on the highest motive, because the highest motive is powerless to touch the transgressors. We only say the transgression does not pay. And by working on Sunday we do not mean only the formal going to the office or counting-room. We mean the carrying a man's business about with him on that day; the taking it home and poisoning the fireside with it; the taking it to church and poisoning the church with it.

(Bp. H. M. Thompson.)

I. LET US FIRST TAKE THE NEGATIVE VIEW.

1. We are forbidden to do any work upon the Sabbath.

2. We are forbidden to make the Sabbath a day of pleasure (Isaiah 58:13, 14).

3. The Sabbath is not to be a day of sloth.

II. NOTICE THE POSITIVE DUTIES IMPLIED IN KEEPING THE SABBATH HOLY.

1. Portions of the Sabbath should be devoted to public religious worship.

2. Portions of the Sabbath are due to special private devotion.

3. Portions of the Sabbath should be devoted to religious reading.

4. A portion of the Sabbath is very properly adjudged to Sunday-school work.

5. What remains of the Sabbath, deducting the time for necessary temporal cares, should be devoted to family religion.

(H. Winslow.)

I. DUTIES ENJOINED.

1. The duty of work. This is man's normal condition.(1) For the soil's sake. Nature's capacities are latent as well as vast, and need the quickening, unfolding, marshalling power of a tireless, and skilful labour.(2) For man's own sake. He who does not use his faculties is as though he had none. Indolence and barbarism go hand in hand.(3) For God's sake. Stewardship.

2. The duty of rest. The seventh day is to be a day of rest for the body, jaded with the toils of the week: a day of rest for the mind, jaded with the cares of the week: a day of rest for the heart, jaded with the griefs of the week.

3. The duty of worship. "Keep it holy." The Sabbath, if I may so say, is God's weekly toll on mankind, the periodical tribute which He demands in token of human fealty.

II. REASON ASSIGNED.

1. Cessation of creative process.

2. The Creator's resting. Holy, blessed, festal contemplation.

3. The Creator's sanctification of the seventh day.

III. CHRIST'S DOCTRINE OF THE SABBATH (see Mark 2:23-28.)

1. Man himself is the basis of the Sabbath.

(1)He needs it — for his secular nature, alike bodily and mental;

(2)for his religious nature.

(3)What man needs, God has appointed.

2. Man is greater than the Sabbath. It is to be used as a means, not as an end. Man is more sacred than ordinances.

IV. TRUE METHOD OF KEEPING THE SABBATH. It is to be kept in such a way as will unfold man heavenward the most thoroughly, totally, symmetrically. The Sabbath being made for man, he must use it religiously; for the faculty of worship is man's chief definition. But full unfolding of man's spiritual nature is possible only in the sphere of edification — that is, society building. The Sabbath summons man to conjugate life in a new mood and tense; but still in the active voice. And here the Son of Man is our teacher and blessed model. No one truly keeps the Sabbath unless he keeps it as the Divine Man kept it: and He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. Indeed, I cannot conceive how a young man can unfold himself more thoroughly or symmetrically than by devoting himself vigorously to study during the week, and then setting apart Sunday as a day of restful worship, first praising God in His sanctuary, and then praising Him in works of mercy, visiting the sick, comforting the sorrowful, teaching the ignorant, reclaiming the outcast.

V. CHANGE OF DAY. Saturday was the Sabbath of nature, Sunday is the Sabbath of grace; Saturday the Sabbath of a rejected, executed, entombed Jesus, Sunday the Sabbath of a risen, exalted, triumphant Christ; Saturday Creator's day, Sunday Redeemer's day.

VI. Lastly: JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR SABBATH, ALIKE ITS ORIGIN, ITS MEANING, AND ITS END. In fact, the final cause of the Sabbath is to sabbatize each day and make all life sacramental. And Jesus Christ being our true Sabbath, Jesus Christ is also our true rest, even the spirit's everlasting Eden.

(G. D. Boardman.)

I. ITS PERPETUAL OBLIGATION.

1. Its early Divine institution.

2. The uninterrupted observance of this day.

3. Though the day be changed under the Christian dispensation, the obligation of it remains unaltered.

4. God has eminently honoured and signally blessed this day in every age of time. "Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."

II. THE MANNER OF ITS OBSERVANCE.

1. This requires, first, that we should diligently prepare for its approach.

2. We must carefully watch against the profanation of it.

3. There is required by this command an entire cessation from secular and worldly occupations.

4. The observation of the Sabbath requires the religious appropriation and occupation of all its hours.

5. We should guard against the two extremes, of excessive rigour on the one hand, and of excessive relaxation on the other hand, in our regard to this sacred institution.

(G. Clayton.)

I. The endeavour to displace the Fourth Commandment is AN OPEN INVASION OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES BOTH OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE. For everything conspires to cast an importance around the Ten Commandments peculiar to themselves. As the First command fixes the object of worship, and the Second the means, and the Third the reverential manner, so the Fourth determines the time.

II. But we proceed to show, that even when the CEREMONIAL USAGES WERE IN THEIR GREATEST VIGOUR, THE SABBATH APPEARED HIGH AND DISTINCT ABOVE THEM. For first, after the record of the promulgation of the Decalogue, three chapters of judicial statutes follow; but in the midst of these, the people are reminded of the essential importance of the Sabbath, in a manner quite distinct and peculiar. Again, after six chapters more concerning the tabernacle and its various services and sacrifices, the whole communication of the forty days' abode on the mount is concluded with a re-inculcation of the Sabbathrest, in a manner the most solemn and affecting.

III. But proceed we to show that, in the latter ages of the Jewish Church, the weekly Sabbath was insisted upon BY THE PROPHETS AS OF ESSENTIAL MORAL OBLIGATION, AND AS DESTINED TO FORM A PART OF THE GOSPEL DISPENSATION.

IV. Let us then turn from these discussions to some PRACTICAL POINTS which may affect our hearts.

1. Let us learn to give to the holy day of rest that prominency in our esteem which Moses was instructed to give it in his dispensation.

2. And to this end, let us imbibe the spirit of love and delight in the worship of God, which the Psalms and Prophets display.

3. But add to these motives the awful indignation of Almighty God against the contempt of His name and His day.

(D. Wilson, M. A.)

The Sabbath was spoken of as the "Prince and Sovereign of Days" by a good man, long ago. It might be called the "King of days." I wish I could get you to love it, so that, instead of it being a dull, wearisome day, and as coming after Saturday, just like passing out of bright sunshine into a dark night — or out of a palace into a prison, it should be wearied for, all the week round, and received with songs of welcome when it comes. The Sabbath comes to us as a holy visitant — as a messenger of love. It bears its message in its very name — Rest.

I. REASONS for observing the Sabbath.

1. We have God's command. This of itself should be enough for us.

2. We have God's example. He does Himself what He bids us do.

3. God claims it as His own day. Here is His own direction — "Not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, on My holy day."

4. God is pleased and honoured by the keeping of it.

5. It is a memorial of a completed creation work and of Christ's resurrection. In an ironmonger's shop in a country town in Scotland, the shopkeeper sat at his desk at the window. A young apprentice in the cellar below had stuck the candle which he carried in a barrel of gunpowder; the gunpowder exploded, the shop window was blown out, and the good man who sat in it was carried in the current of air to the top of the street, and there landed safely on his feet, while the apprentice was blown to pieces. It was such a wonderful deliverance that the ironmonger observed the day as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to the end of his life. Is it difficult to understand how he should have done so? And shall we not gladly commemorate our deliverance — our emancipation — the announcement that the sinner's salvation was complete, by the rising of Jesus from the dead? Shall we ever suffer ourselves to be deprived of a day that has such happy and hallowed associations?

This Commandment is more than the setting forth of a need of our nature, more than advice for our own good. It is a command of God. Breaking the Sabbath is therefore more than an error, more than a mistake. It is a sin.

1. It is a sin because it contemns the authority of God, and that is the essence of all sin.

2. It is a sin further against the love of God. As a father invites his children home to a family gathering because he loves to have them in his presence, so God would have us, His children, come to Him on the Sabbath day because He loves us.

3. It is a sin further against our higher nature. God calls us to remember our spiritual nature and to guard against degrading ourselves to mere sensual beings.

(F. S. Schenck.)

Here, as everywhere, in keeping God's commandments there is great reward. There is great blessedness that comes from keeping the rest day holy — to the one keeping it so, and to his fellow-men.

I. CONSIDER THE BLESSINGS TO OUR FELLOW-MEN.

1. The holy or religious observance of the day bestows the rest day upon mankind. The unbelieving world may rail against God and His Church, but while it does so it is receiving from Him through the Church the rich gift of the only rest day it has from grinding labour.

2. The religious observance of the day also preaches a powerful though silent sermon to the non-church-goer, telling him he is a man, not a beast of burden; that there is a God whom he should worship; that there is an eternal life beyond this fleeting one for which he should prepare.

3. The religious observance of the day does much also to educate the conscience of a community.

4. The religious observance of the day further secures the continuance and progress of Christianity in the world. The procession of secular days bears rich material gifts to man. The Holy day spreads heaven's glories over the earth.

II. The religious observance of the day brings also rich BLESSING TO THE ONE SO OBSERVING IT.

1. Communion with God, to refresh and strengthen the soul.

2. A clear view of our heavenly home, the eternal holy rest from all this world's toil and care.

(F. S. Schenck.)

I. The first consideration which I shall suggest is, THAT IF THE SABBATH IS ABOLISHED, THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION WILL BE ABOLISHED WITH IT. The question whether this day is to be observed or desecrated, is just a question of life and death in regard to Christianity. In former generations, attempts were made to destroy the gospel by the sword and the fagot; but all such attempts were foiled. Imperial power attempted to crush it; but imperial power found its arm too weak to contend with God. Argument and sophistry were then employed; ridicule lent its aid, and contempt pointed the finger of scorn; but all was in vain. Christianity survived all these, and rose with augmented power and more resplendent beauty — and would do so to the end of time. But there is one weapon which the enemy has employed to destroy Christianity, and to drive it from the world, which has never been employed but with signal success. It is the attempt to corrupt the Christian Sabbath; to make it a day of festivity; to cause Christians to feel that its sacred and rigid obligation has ceased; to induce them on that day to mingle in the scenes of pleasure, or the exciting plans of ambition. The "Book of Sports," did more to destroy Christianity than all the ten persecutions of the Roman Emperors; and the views of the second Charles and his court about the Lord's-day, tended more to drive religion from the British nation than all the fires that were enkindled by Mary.

II. The second reason why this subject demands now the special attention of Christians is, THAT IF THE SABBATH IS NOT REGARDED AS HOLY TIME, IT WILL BE REGARDED AS PASTIME; IF NOT A DAY SACRED TO DEVOTION, IT WILL BE A DAY OF RECREATION, OF PLEASURE, OF LICENTIOUSNESS. The Sabbath is not essentially an arbitrary appointment, for it is required in the very nature of the animal economy that there should be periodical seasons of relaxation. We must have periodical rest in all the functions of our nature. Buonaparte once passed three entire days and nights without sleep, but he could no longer contend against a great law of nature, and sank to sleep on his horse. There is not a muscle in the animal economy that does not demand rest after effort, that will not have it. If it is not granted voluntarily, it will be taken. In demanding, therefore, that the animal and mental economy should be allowed a day of periodical repose, God has acted in accordance with a great law of nature.

III. A third reason why this subject demands the attention of Christians in a special manner now is, THAT THERE IS A STATE OF THINGS IN THIS LAND THAT IS TENDING TO OBLITERATE THE SABBATH ALTOGETHER. The Sabbath has more enemies in this land than the Lord's Supper, than baptism, than the Bible, than all the other institutions of religion put together. At the same time it is more difficult to meet the enemy here than anywhere else — for we come in conflict not with argument, but with interest, and pleasure, and the love of indulgence, and of gain.

( A. Barnes, D. D..)

The old principles of Mosaism, I contend, are doing duty still under higher forces in the new life in Christ. They are not abolished, only transformed. The idea of circumcision has been elevated and spiritualized into membership of the body of Christ with baptism as the sign and seal; and the whole sacrificial system has been transfigured into the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving in the Holy Communion, etc. It seems, therefore, natural to expect that so prominent and important a part of the law as the principle of devoting time to God would reappear also in a higher but yet definite form as these parts have done, that is, in fact, in the form of the Lord's Day. There are two considerations which strongly support this expectation.

1. There is in the Commandment more than a Jewish ordinance. It expresses a physical law — a law of nature — and it does so most precisely. How all this suggests the beneficence of Jehovah!

2. The second suggestive consideration is the real purpose of the Sabbath as given to the slave-nation. That purpose was beneficent, from every point of view. Do you not see that in a time when men as men had no rights, this law brought a right of rest to the most helpless and defenceless? Do you not see that it imposed a check upon the greed and rapacious selfishness which is natural to those who have their fellow-creatures under their power? Without this law where would the poor slaves have been?

(W. Senior, B. A.)

Now there is a grand reason for changing of the Jewish Sabbath to the Lord's Day, because this puts us in mind of the "mystery of our redemption by Christ." Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption. As it was said, "the glory of the second temple was greater than the glory of the first temple"; so the glory of the redemption was greater than the glory of the creation. Great wisdom was seen in curiously making us, but more miraculous wisdom in saving us. Great power was seen in bringing us out of nothing, but greater power in helping us when we were worse than nothing. It cost more to redeem us than to create us. In the creation there was but "speaking a word"; in the redeeming us, there was shedding of blood. In the creation God gave us ourselves; in the redemption He gave us Himself. By creation, we have a life in Adam; by redemption, we have a life in Christ. By creation, we had a right to an earthly paradise; by redemption, we have a title to an heavenly kingdom. So that well Christ might change the seventh day of the week into the first, because this day puts us in mind of our redemption, which is a more glorious work than the creation.

( T. Watson.)

Dr. Edward W. Hitchcock says: "While he was minister of the American Chapel in Paris, General Grant was invited by the President of the Republic of France to occupy the grand stand at 'Le Grand Prix,' the great day of the races, which comes on Sunday. Such an invitation from the chief magistrate of a great nation is an honour which is almost a command. But General Grant, replying in a note to the President, said in substance, 'It is not in accordance with the custom of my countrymen, or with the spirit of my religion, to spend Sunday in this way. I beg that you will permit me to decline the honour.' Instead of accepting the invitation, he attended public worship at the American Chapel."

The late Dr. Lockhart of the College Church, Glasgow, when travelling in England, was sojourning at an inn when the Sabbath came round. On entering the public-room, and about to set out for church, he found two gentlemen preparing for a game of chess. He addressed them in words to this affect, "Gentlemen, have you locked up your portmanteaus carefully?" "No! What! are there thieves in this house?" "I do not say that," replied the doctor, "only I was thinking that if the waiter comes in and finds you making free with the Fourth Commandment, he may think of making free with the Eighth." The gentlemen said there was something in that, and so laid aside their game.

In the "Life of Frank Buckland," the eminent naturalist, who devoted himself so thoroughly to the scientific and practical study of the river and sea fisheries of Great Britain, there is the following testimony to the value of Sunday rest: — March, 1866. I am now working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and then a bit in the evening — fourteen hours a day; but, thank God, it does not hurt me. I should, however, collapse if it were not for Sunday. The machinery has time to get cool, the mill-wheel ceases to patter the water, the mill-head is ponded up, and the superfluous water let off by an easy, quiet current, which leads to things above."

"Tell me," said a gentleman, addressing a clean, tidy cabman, how is it that some of the men on the stand look so smart on a Monday morning — they have clean shirts, and are much happier-looking than the other men; and their horses are sprightlier, too. What is the cause of the contrast?" "Oh, they are six-day men, sir. They have green plates; their cabs don't run on Sundays; both men and horses have now a weekly rest. That's the reason why they are not jaded like the others, sir."

The Mayflower, a name now immortal, had crossed the ocean. It had borne its hundred passengers over the vast deep, and after a perilous voyage had reached the bleak shores of New England, in the beginning of winter. The spot which was to furnish a home and a burial-place was now to be selected. The shallop was unshipped, but needed repairs, and sixteen weary days elapsed before it was ready for service. Amidst ice and snow it was then sent out, with some half-a-dozen pilgrims, to find a suitable place where to land. The spray of the sea, says the historian, froze on them, and made their clothes like coats of iron. Five days they wandered about, searching in vain for a suitable landing-place. A storm came on, the snow and the rain fell, the sea swelled, the rudder broke, the mast and the sail fell overboard. In this storm and cold, without a tent, a house, or the shelter of a rock, the Christian Sabbath approached, the day which they regarded as holy unto God, a day on which they were not to "do any work." What should be done? As the evening before the Sabbath drew on, they pushed over the surf, entered a fair sound, sheltered themselves under the lee of a rise of land, kindled a fire, and on that little island they spent the day in the solemn worship of their Maker. On the next day their feet touched the rock, now sacred as the place of the landing of the pilgrims. Nothing more strikingly marks the character of this people than this act, and I do not know that I could refer to a better illustration, even in their history, showing that theirs was the religion of principle, and that this religion made them what they were.

(A. Barnes.)

Truly it should be a matter of grief to us to see so much Sabbath profanation. When one of Darius' eunuchs saw Alexander setting his feet on a rich table of Darius', he fell a-weeping; Alexander asked him why he wept? He said it was to see the table which his master so highly esteemed to be now made a footstool. So we may weep to see the Sabbath, which God so highly esteems, and has so honoured and blessed, made a footstool, and trampled upon by the feet of sinners.

( T. Watson.)

A gentleman was once directing the attention of his friend to the objects of interest visible from his observatory. "Just beyond the river," he said, "is a city which on the Sabbath Day can be distinctly seen." "Why," asked the friend, "can it be better seen on the Sabbath than on other days?" "Because," was the reply, "on other days the smoke from its chimneys settles about the city and hides it from sight; but on the Sabbath, when the factories are still and the smoke is gone, the city, with its glittering spires, is clearly seen." So on the Sabbath, when the smoke and dust of earth and its cares have settled away, through the clear transparent air can be distinctly seen the City of God and the pathway leading thither.

(P. B. Davis.)

A motion was once made in the House of Commons for raising and embodying the militia, and, for the purpose of saving time, to exercise them on the Sabbath. When the resolution was about to pass, an old gentleman stood up, and said, "Mr. Speaker, I have one objection to make to this; I believe in an old book called the Bible." The members looked at one another, and the motion was dropped.

The Governor Turnusrupis once asked Rabbi Akiba, "What is this day you call the Sabbath, more than any other day?" The Rabbi responded, "What art thou, more than any other person?" "I am superior to others," he replied, "because the Emperor has appointed me governor over them." Then said Akiba, "The Lord our God, who is greater than your Emperor, has appointed the Sabbath day to be holier than the other days."

(Talmud.)

When King George III. was repairing his palace at Kew, one of the workmen, a pious man, was particularly noticed by His Majesty, and he often held conversations with him upon serious subjects. One Monday morning the king went as usual to watch the progress of the work, and not seeing this man in his customary place, inquired the reason of his absence. He was answered evasively, and for some time the other workmen avoided telling His Majesty the truth; at last, however, upon being more strictly interrogated, they acknowledged that, not having been able to complete a particular job on the Saturday night, they had returned to finish it on the following morning. This man alone had refused to comply, because he considered it a violation of the Christian Sabbath; anal in consequence of what they called his obstinacy, he had been dismissed entirely from his employment. "Call him back immediately," exclaimed the good King; "the man who refused doing his ordinary work on the Lord's Day is the man for me. Let him be sent for." The man was accordingly replaced, and the King ever after showed him particular favour.

Links
Exodus 20:8 NIV
Exodus 20:8 NLT
Exodus 20:8 ESV
Exodus 20:8 NASB
Exodus 20:8 KJV

Exodus 20:8 Bible Apps
Exodus 20:8 Parallel
Exodus 20:8 Biblia Paralela
Exodus 20:8 Chinese Bible
Exodus 20:8 French Bible
Exodus 20:8 German Bible

Exodus 20:8 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Exodus 20:7
Top of Page
Top of Page