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CHAPTER VII.: OF THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE LORD's DAY. - John Robinson, The Works of John Robinson, vol. 3 
The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols (London: John Snow, 1851). Vol. 3.
Part of: The Works of John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers, with a Memoir and Annotations by Robert Ashton, 3 vols.
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OF THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE LORD's DAY.
First, The sanctification of the Sabbath is a part of the decalogue, or moral law, written in tables of stone by the finger of God: of which Christ our Lord pronounceth, that “no one jot or tittle shall pass away.” Matt. v. 18. Now if it be impossible for one tittle of the law to be dissolved, much more for a whole word, or commandment, and one of ten; by which it should come to pass, that Christians now were not to count of ten commandments of the moral law, but of nine only.
If reply be made that the fourth commandment is so ceremonial, that notwithstanding it hath this moral in it, that some time be assigned, and taken for the public ministry, and exercises of religion, I answer:
But you will doubtless object the change made from the last day, to the first day of the week. I answer, 1, That change is merely circumstantial, and in which also the essence of the precept is not abolished, but established. As for example. God promised unto children duly honouring their parents a long life in that land, Exod. xx. 12, to wit of Canaan, then to be possessed by his people, “which the Lord thy God gave unto them.” The same promise by the apostle's testimony still stands good to obedient children, Ephes. vi. 2, though out of Canaan, and in another land, so doth the same precept stand in force for the sanctification of the Sabbath, though removed to another of the seven days by the Lord's hand.
2. It is evident that this alteration was made both upon weighty ground, and warrantable authority. The ground is Christ our Saviour's resurrection from the dead: in which man's new creation, (at least in respect of Christ working the same in the state of humiliation for that end undertaken) was perfected: a new kind of kingdom of God, Luke vii. 28, after a sort established: and, as the Scriptures speak, all things made new. And why not also a new Sabbath after a sort? in which yet notwithstanding the former, as the creation also by Christ, is not so properly abolished, as perfected.
The authority upon which this change leaneth, is no less than of Christ himself: who, first, by word of mouth for the forty days after his resurrection, taught the disciples the things, which appertained to the kingdom of God, that is, as Calvin saith,* “Whatsoever things they published either by word or writing afterward.” 2. By his example, or fact, setting himself in the midst of the same his apostles, the first day of the week, John xx. 19, 26; Luke xxiv. 36, and as Junius saith,* every eighth day, till his ascension into heaven: and therein not only blessing them with his bodily, but much more, with his spiritual, and that special presence. 3. By his Spirit speaking in his apostles, whose office it was to teach his disciples to observe what things soever he had commanded them, and to declare unto them the whole counsel of God: who also in their whole ministration were to be reputed none other than the ministers of Christ; Matt. xxviii. 20; Acts xx. 27; 1 Cor. iv. 1; and lastly, whose both writing (and preachings accordingly) even about order and comeliness to be kept in the church exercises were the commandments of the Lord Jesus. I Cor. xiv. 37. Agreeable hereunto it was, that the Apostle Paul coming to Troas, and there with his company abiding seven days, he did not till the first day of the week, which yet was the last of the seven, call together the disciples to eat bread, that is to communicate in the Lord's Supper. Acts xx. 6, 7. Hereupon also it was, that the same apostle ordained, that on every first day of the week, 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2, as on a day sanctified for the holy assemblies, and fittest for most effectual provocations to the supplying of the necessities of the poor saints, every one of the richer sort should lay something apart, as God had blessed him, for the relief of the churches in Syria, at that time oppressed with great penury, and want. Lastly, Upon none other ground but this, was this day, by John the Apostle, named expressly the Lord's-day, Rev. i. 10, as being consecrated to the resurrection and service of the Lord Jesus: for which end also it was kept in the primitive churches, as appeareth by most ancient and authentic writers.* Neither did Patmos more distinctly denote a certain and known island, and John a certain and known person, than did the Lord's-day a day certain, and known especially unto Christians, unto whom the apostle wrote. Whereunto also agreeth that of Austin.* ; This Lord's-day is therefore so called, because on that day the Lord rose again, or that hy the very name it might teach us, how It ought to be consecrated to the Lord.
The second reason is, because the sanctification of the Sabbath, the circumstantial change notwithstanding, doth as well belong to us in our times, as to the Israelites in theirs; whether we respect the reason of the commandment, or the end. The reason is taken from the example of God himself, who rested the seventh day from the works of creation. The ends are, 1. That we framing ourselves to God's example, after six days spent in servile works, or works of acquisition, might rest the seventh. 2. That we might recount with ourselves, not only with thankful, but also composed hearts’, as the creation of man, and of all other things for man's good, so also his re-creation, and renovation clearly shining in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. 1 Pet. i. 3. 3. That sequestring our hearts, tongues, and hands from every servile work, so far as human infirmity will bear, we might consecrate unto God a certain and set time and day, for the works of piety towards him, and of charity towards men. Isa. Iviii. 13. And albeit the state of Israel of old compared with ours, was childish, and elementary, and so needed the more helps both for restraint and supportance, Gal. iv. 1; yet have not we attained to such manlike perfection, as that we need none at all in this kind.
And not to meddle with the rabble of Christians, whose aversion from the due sanctification of this day gives no obscure testimony, that the same is sacred and of God, from which their profane conversation so much abhorreth, how behoveful and necessary it is for the true worshippers of God, that for some certain, and whole day they should empty and disburden their hearts of their earthly cares, though in themselves lawful, that so they might wholly consecrate themselves to God, publicly in his house, and privately in their own; partly by preparing themselves, and theirs for the public worship, and ministry, and partly by calling to mind in themselves, and instructing, and examining of those which belong unto them, as they ought, touching the things which they hava publicly heard; as also in meditating of the most glorious works of God's hands, the very experience of every godly and devout man may teach him. He that sells himself to the holy, and severe observations of this the Lord's sabbath, “turning away his foot from the Sabbath, not to do that wherein he delighteth on the Lord's holy day, and calling the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honourable, and shall honour him, not doing his own ways, nor performing his own pleasure, or speaking his own words; then shall he delight himself in the Lord, and he will cause him to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed him with the heritage of Jacob his father, because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isa. lviii. 13, 14. Whereas on the contrary, no man doth or can neglect the same without apparent prejudice and wrong to piety and goodness both in himself, and those under him. To let pass other things, how easily doth this thought steal into the heart not thoroughly persuaded of the holiness of this day? What now! There is in the day no holiness by God's appointment, save only, as in it, the public sermons of the church with prayer and thanksgiving are to be frequented, and performed: for me to be present at every sermon, specially made in city, both on the Lord's-day, and every other day of the week, my special calling, and worldly affairs will not permit: besides, it were very commodious for me on this Lord's-day, to make an end of such or such a work which I have in hand, to deal in such a business, to undertake such a journey; and what should hinder me from so doing? But provided always, upon this condition, that look what this day wants, the morrow, or next day shall plentifully supply: or, if it so fall out, through mine importunate business, that I be something more behind this week in these things, I will certainly, and at the furthest, the next week be so much the more frequent in them, and so make God, and my soul amends. And why, as is the guise of ill debtors, will not men desire, and take longer day, even to months, and years also? considering how on the one side the heart of man is daily faster taken and held by the bait of worldly profit and pleasure: and on the other, less affectioned to God's Holy Word, by the less frequent hearing of it. And hence, alas, cometh it to pass, that true piety languisheth so much in the most, and with it such other Christian virtues as use to accompany it. Hence flow those tears of sorrow, and lamenting, which no true Christian casting his eyes upon the reformed churches can forbear.
The third reason is taken from that apostolical determination, wrested by many to a contrary meaning, Col. ii. 16, 17, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of a feast or new moon, or sahbaths; which are the shadow of good things to come, but the body is Christ.” Whence it appeareth more than plainly, that only those Sabbaths are abolished by Christ's coming in the flesh, which were types and figures of Christ to come, of which sort as there were not a few instituted of God by Moses, so doth this apostle here, and elsewhere sufficiently declare the abrogating, and abolishing of the same by Christ. But that the Sabbath of which we now speak comes in that reckoning we plainly deny.
For, 1. In its primary institution, Gen. ii., there can nothing be found not wholly moral. Let a man having many eyes as Argus, search the same with a candle, he seeks, as we say, a knot in a bulrush, if he think to find in it any either shadow of Christ, or shadow of shadow. If any shall except, that God by Moses did enjoin unto the Israelites the sanctification of this day, “that it might be a sign between him and Israel throughout their generations, that they might know that he is the Lord that doth sanctify them.” Exod. xxxi. 13. I do answer, first, in the words of Arminius, that “the reason upon which God did afterwards commend unto his people, the sanctification of the sabbath because it was a sign between God and his people, that it was Jehovah that sanctified them, may be applied to the times of the new testament, and further, with them also, the sabbath's sanctification.”* 2. Admit that this use were ceremonial, and typical in the fourth commandment, yet were there no force in the consequence from one end and use typical and ceremonial, superinduced, and brought in upon the precept, to prove the precept itself ceremonial and typical in the institution. By the same reason it may be affirmed, that both the covenant of God made with Abraham, “I will be thy God, and the God of thy seed,” as also the right of the first-born, Gen. xlix. 3; for a double portion, and many things more of like consideration, were merely ceremonial and typical, seeing that even unto them also, were annexed, and that by God's appointment, divers typical and temporal respects: of which notwithstanding none soundly minded will deny, that the one is evangelical, and the other natural. Gal. iii. 8, 16, 17. 3. Considering that the observation of this sabbath was either enjoined, as I persuade myself it was from Gen. ii. 1–3, and Exod. xvi. 26, 30, to Adam, in innocency and not yet needing Christ; or at least, that the reason of the institution did fit the state of innocency as well, as it did the Israelites afterward, I do undoubtedly conclude, that the same Sabbath in the primary, and essential institution thereof is not to come upon their file, which as the shadows of future things had Christ for the body.
Fourthly, I argue from that premonition of Christ, Matt. xxiv. 20, “Pray that your flight be not in winter nor on the Sabbath.” I am not ignorant how the most divines both ancient, and later do understand this sermon, as Chrysostom saith, as made of the Jews; seeing that, as the same author hath it, “neither the apostles did observe the Sabbath-day, neither yet were they in Judea when these things were done of the Romans: many of them having departed this life, and the rest, (if any survived) having bestowed themselves in other places.”* But, with due reverence to them all be it spoken, it seemeth by the text to be otherwise. For 1. Christ made not this sermon to the Jews, as Jews, but to his disciples, and those alone, and the same coming unto him secretly to be taught by him: ver. 3; whom he forewarned in the same place how that first at the hands of the Jews in Judea, and after, of the Gentiles everywhere, they should be evil intreated for his name's sake, verses 3, 4, 9, 25, 26, with Luke xxi. 12. Secondly, Our Saviour in saying “Pray ye/’ makes it plain, that he speaks of them, and their associates unto whom he speaks, to wit, Christians. Lastly, How could it be that Christ, who by his death, now drawing so near as that there was but a step unto it, was to abrogate, and abolish all Jewish ceremonies, and shadows, should so carefully provide for the so religious observation of a shadowish and ceremonial Sabbath: and that not for a day or two, but for so many years after the same his death? Could anything more weighty be spoken by Christ, or which could more deeply imprint in the hearts of men a religious regard of the Sabbath, than that it behoved them to obtain by prayer at God's hands, that they might not be constrained unto that thing although, permitted them of God in case of urgent necessity, which might violate and interrupt the public and solemn sanctification thereof ? It is true then which Chrysostom saith, that the apostles did not observe the Sabbath, to wit, Jewish: but the Christian Sabbath, or Lord's-day, they did undoubtedly celebrate.
The fifth and last reason may be fetched from the very Gentiles themselves, who directed by the glimpse of the light of nature, how darkly soever shining in them, had their holy days, and some of the same such, as in which not so much as the pleading and determining of suits were admitted.* It seemeth natural that some day, and moral that some day certain and distinct, be sacred unto God: and the same, as Junius saith,* every seventh day: in which men forbearing all servile works, may consecrate, and give themselves to God in the duties of piety, and of charity to men. Which with what hinderanee unto the one and other, is everywhere neglected, can scarce either be uttered, or conceived. For what marvel if upon the over-slipping of the most seasonable seed-time, a slender harvest follow; or that, the market day being neglected, penury of provision should be found in the family; we Christians have the Lord's-day by the Lord Christ assigned us for the exercises of piety, and mercy, in which he offers, and exhibits himself in the fruits of his gracious presence in a singular manner to be seen, and enjoyed of his, religiously observing the same. Let us at no hand, as alike unmindful of God's ordinance and man's infirmity, suffer the fruit of such a benefit to die in our hands: but let us accordingly acknowledge the same in thought, word, and work, to his honour, and our own good.
Calv. in Acts i. 3.
Junius in Gen. ii. 2.
Ignat. ad Magnes. Just. Martyr, Apol. 2. Tettull. de Idol. Euseb. 1. 4, 2, de Dionys.
August, de Verb. Apost. Serm. 15.
Armin. in Theol. Disp. Priv. pp. 186, 187.
Chrysost. Rom. 77, ex Matt. xxiv.
Varro. lib, 3, de Ling. 1st.
junius Gen. ii. 2.