Remembering the Lord's Day
Prof. David J. Engelsma
Great issues are at stake in the Sabbath-question.
And, alas, it is a question today, not merely in a society that, having
once showed some influence upon it from Christianity by "closing up
shop" on Sunday, now works and plays on the Lord's Day as on any other
day, but also among Reformed Christians. It is serious enough that the
Sabbath is desecrated in practice—the poor attendance at the second
worship service (where a second service is still held) and the extent to
which professing Christians "skip church" altogether are witness enough
to this widespread Sabbath desecration. More serious still is the
growing "solution" to the problem that consists of denying that there is
any Sabbath Day at all! This denial of a special day of rest is an
attack upon the Law (in the Fourth Commandment); a misconception of the
work of Christ (Christ abolishes the Law); an undermining of public
worship and the ministry of the Word; a weakening of family worship,
instruction, and fellowship; and a threat to the true rest of the
saints, to say nothing of infidelity to their own creeds on the part of
Reformed and Presbyterians (Lord's Day 38 of the Heidelberg Catechism
for the Reformed and Chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession for
Although the apostasy from the truth of the Sabbath
receives little attention, we consider it to be one of the most serious
departures in our day; and we consider our call to return to the old
paths of our fathers, or to continue in those ways, as the case may be,
to be urgent.
This is the second edition of this pamphlet,
originally published several years ago. Except for minor corrections of
the text and the upgrading of the appearance of the pamphlet, the
pamphlet is the same.
The Dutch have called Sunday, "God's dike." In the
Netherlands, the dike keeps back the threatening seas and, thus,
preserves the Hollanders from watery destruction. So the Lord's Day
holds back the raging waves of materialism, earthly-mindedness, and
pleasure-madness that threaten to engulf the Church and the Christian.
There are leaks in the dike. There are leaks in the
dike among Reformed Christians, where once the Lord's Day was
and the Sabbath remembered. It is necessary that we stop up these leaks;
we certainly must not allow these leaks to be enlarged, much less
co-operate in tearing the dike down.
The matter of remembering the Lord's Day is one of
urgency, as the figure of a dike and the angry waves indicates. First,
remembering the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments, indeed, a
commandment that belongs to the first table of the law—not a minor
Secondly, the day in question is the "Lord's Day"
Rev. 1:10, i.e., the day that belongs to the risen, glorious
Lord Jesus Christ. In remembering, or forgetting, it, we have to do with
Jesus Christ Himself.
Thirdly, our remembering the Lord's Day results, by
the Lord's grace, in the greatest benefit for us: rest—the pricelessly
precious benefit of rest. The Sabbath was made for man (Mark
2:27). The good of man that God had in mind is rest. Is there
anything that we need more? Everywhere, there is unrest. There is unrest
in the church; there is unrest in the family; there is unrest in the
soul of the believer. Apart from every other consideration, it is sheer
folly to forfeit rest by forgetting, and even abandoning, the Lord's
The importance of the Church's remembering the Lord's
Day was clearly seen, and stated, by one of the fiercest enemies that
the Christian religion ever had, the Frenchman, Voltaire: "If you want
to kill Christianity," he said, "you must abolish Sunday"—advice that
the French Revolution carried out.
A Special Day
There is one, simple truth that is fundamental to
Sabbath observance—the very foundation of the dike that is the Lord's
Day. If this truth is confessed by the Church and if it lives in the
hearts of the people of God, all will be well as regards remembering the
Lord's Day. But if this truth is questioned or denied, we have not
merely punched a hole in the dike, but we have demolished the dike. The
basic question is this: Does Jehovah God, in the Fourth Commandment of
His Law, still today set apart one day of the week as a special day; and
does He still today, in the Fourth Commandment, require His people to
remember this day by ceasing from their ordinary work and play, in order
to devote themselves to the worship of, fellowship with, and special
service of the Father of Jesus Christ?
The answer to this question is an emphatic,
unequivocal "Yes." God still sets aside one day in seven as a special
day for us and requires us to observe this day in a special way. In this
sense, the day is holy, i.e., it is set apart from the other days
by God for the special service of Himself. In this sense, we hallow the
day, or keep it holy, i.e., we use it in the special way God wants us to
use it, thus consecrating it to God.
God sets the day apart and requires us to remember it
in the Fourth Commandment. Remembering the Lord's Day is not a
matter of Christian liberty, i.e., something neither commanded nor
forbidden by God. Rather, it is law, the law of God, just as are the
matters of having no other gods, honouring our parents, and not
stealing. It is the commandment of the Redeemer to His saved people. It
is a commandment that at once teaches us to know our sinful nature more
and more, so that we fly to Christ for righteousness, and directs us in
the way of pleasing our Deliverer and of living a happy life. It is a
commandment that the thankful believer gladly obeys, as a child
willingly obeys the father whom he loves.
This is fundamental! Deny this, and you pull the dike
down; for if the dike of the Lord's Day is not grounded in the good,
solid, divine will of God, it cannot possibly withstand the pressures of
worldliness and earthly-mindedness exerted against it.
Another view, steadily gaining ground in Reformed
churches, is that the Fourth Commandment was wholly ceremonial—"Jewish"—and was, therefore, so fulfilled by Christ that it no longer
holds for the New Testament saint. The observance of the first day of
the week is merely a custom of the New Testament Church (albeit a good
custom, it is usually admitted), based upon a decision of the Church
herself. Use of the first day of the week for public worship is not due
to any binding law of God, but to the free choice of the Church; she
could have chosen some other day of the week. The keeping of the first
day is strictly a matter of Christian liberty.
What proof is there, for the Reformed saint, that
remembering the Lord's Day is the will of God?
First, there is the decision of an important church
assembly, the Synod of Dordt. Unfortunately, it is not well known that
among the other actions of this great synod was the adoption of a
doctrinal statement on the Sabbath. In his Tractaat van den Sabbath
(Treatise on the Sabbath), Abraham Kuyper informs us that the
formulation and adoption of this statement took place in about three
hours on May 17, 1619. Dordt's position on the Sabbath was expressed in
In the Fourth Commandment of God's Law there
is a ceremonial and a moral element.
The rest on the seventh day after the
creation, and the strict observance of the day with which the Jewish
people were charged particularly, was ceremonial.
That a definite and appointed day has been set
aside to the service of God, and that for this purpose as much rest
is required as is necessary for the service of God and for hallowed
contemplation; this element is moral.
The Sabbath of the Jew having been set aside,
Christians are in duty bound to hallow the Day of the Lord solemnly.
This day has always been kept in the early
Church since the time of the Apostles.
This day must be so consecrated unto the
service of God that upon it men rest from all servile labours,
except those required by charity and present necessities, and
likewise from all such recreations as prevent the service of God.
Secondly, there is the teaching of the Heidelberg
Catechism in Lord's Day 38, Q. 103: "What doth God require in the
Fourth Commandment? First, that the ministry of the gospel and the
schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the Sabbath, that is,
on the day of rest, diligently frequent the Church of God, to hear His
Word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and
contribute to the relief of the poor, as becomes a Christian. Secondly,
that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield
myself to the Lord, to work by His Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in
this life the eternal Sabbath."
The Catechism has a unique, beautiful slant on the
Fourth Commandment. It deliberately safeguards the Reformed believer
against the error of a legalistic observance of the Sabbath. Legalism
identifies obedience to the Fourth Commandment with mere external
behaviour, especially the behaviour of doing nothing on the Sabbath. It
stresses the scrupulous keeping of petty, man-made regulations,
especially negative regulations. The Pharisees of Christ's day, for
example, forbade the picking of grain while travelling on the Sabbath,
even though it was for the satisfying of hunger (cf.
Mark 2:23-28). Others thought it unlawful to eat an egg that the hen
had laid on the Sabbath. The purpose of legalism, in this observance of
the Sabbath, is to earn righteousness. This was the error into which the
Jews of Jesus' day had fallen and against which our Lord contended. This
was the error that was prevalent in the Roman Church at the time of the
Reformation and against which the Reformers, Luther and Calvin, reacted
strongly in some of their writing on a proper keeping of the Sabbath.
We must appreciate and maintain the viewpoint of the
Catechism. But we misunderstand and misrepresent the Catechism if we
explain it to mean that in the Reformed tradition the day is
disregarded; all mention of observing a day must be banned; and,
therefore, our practice of Sunday-keeping is merely the liberty of the
New Testament Church.
On the contrary, this creed teaches that there is a
day of the week set apart from the other days; there is a special day.
According to the Catechism, there is a "day of rest," a "Sabbath,"
distinguished from "all the days of my life." The reference, of course,
is to Sunday. On this day, special behaviour is required of the child of
God, namely, that he rests, which behaviour consists primarily of
diligently frequenting the Church of God. It is God Who sets this day
apart, and He does so in the Fourth Commandment—it is the Fourth
Commandment, after all, which the Catechism is here explaining.
We may sum up the teaching of the Heidelberg
Catechism thus: the Fourth Commandment still holds in the New
Testament; it still sets one day apart as a day in which believers are
to rest in their God, under the Word of the gospel. Because of this act
of God, all days are not the same for Christians, even though we cease
from our evil works all the days of our life. Because of this act of
God, the Christian remembers and hallows a day. Our Lord's Day
Sunday—corresponds to the seventh day of the Old Testament; indeed, it
is the New Testament Sabbath Day.
This teaching of the creed is Biblical. For it is the
doctrine of the Fourth Commandment itself. The Fourth Commandment is
part of the moral law of God, and the moral law of God is perpetually
valid. No more is this commandment done away with than is the
commandment against taking God's name in vain. Like the other nine, it
was engraved in granite by the finger of God. If it were the case that
the Fourth Commandment was entirely ceremonial, we would now have only
nine commandments, not ten, and should speak of the "Ennealogue," not of
the Decalogue. The Fourth Commandment, perpetually valid, requires that
we remember a day to keep it holy and, in connection with this, that we
cease from our work.
The New Testament Scripture does not abolish the
Fourth Commandment. Jesus did not abolish this commandment; nor did He
have a lax view of Sabbath-keeping, in comparison with the Pharisees.
This is the notion that is sometimes found in the Church, so that those
who are careless about remembering the Lord's Day are regarded as good
Christians, whereas those who are careful about observing the Sabbath
are suspected of Pharisaism. It is true that the Pharisees charged our
Lord with laxity regarding the Sabbath. They accused Him of breaking the
5:18). They said, "he keepeth not the Sabbath Day" (John
9:16). But this charge was false.
What was Jesus' teaching? What was the teaching of
His behaviour, first of all? Where did the Sabbath Day find Him, and
what did it find Him doing? Was he in the field harvesting the crops?
Was He taking scenic tours of the Mediterranean? Was He in the stadium
watching the Nazareth Bobcats play the Capernaum Bears at some game of
ball? Not at all, but He was always in the synagogue preaching the Word;
and He was always doing good to distressed saints, healing them and
destroying the power of the Devil.
What was the teaching of Jesus' word concerning the
Sabbath? Did He ever admit that the Pharisee's charge was true? Did He
ever say, "I am come, and, therefore, the Sabbath is no more"? Not at
all, but He taught that remembering the Sabbath does not consist of
idleness; it rather consists of working. He taught that this work must
be the worship of God and the help of the needy brother. He taught that
the Sabbath was made for man, for man's great good. And He taught that
He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Note well, Jesus does not call Himself,
"Destroyer of the Sabbath," but "Lord of the Sabbath."
As the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus fulfils the
Sabbath, creating the perfect rest by His atoning death and
resurrection. That the Sabbath is now fulfilled Jesus shows by changing
the Sabbath Day from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the
week. Not the Church, but the Lord Jesus set the first day of the week
apart as the day of rest for the New Testament people of God. The Church
has no authority to change the Sabbath Day or to require believers to
observe the first day of the week. The Church does not make laws; she
only proclaims the will of her sovereign Lord, as that will is revealed
in Holy Scripture. The Lord of the Sabbath Himself ordained the first
day of the week as the day of rest for the Church come of age. He did
this by rising from the dead on the first day (Luke
24:1); by meeting with His disciples on the first day, prior to the
John 20:26); by coming back to the Church in the Holy Spirit on the
first day (Pentecost was a Sunday); and by directing the apostles and
the Apostolic Church to gather for worship on the first day (Acts
I Cor. 16:1,2).
Therefore, the Spirit of Jesus Christ calls the first
day of the week, "the Lord's Day," in
Revelation 1:10: "I (John) was in the Spirit on the Lord's day ..."
This one, brief text is a mighty, a conclusive, Word of God for the
whole Sabbath-question. All by itself, it utterly refutes the position
of Seventh Day Adventism regarding the day of rest and worship for the
New Testament Church. What is of greater importance to us is that it
clearly teaches that one day of the week, the day on which Jesus arose
in glory, is a special day and must be specially observed by those who
love the risen Lord. Even though it is certainly true that all the days
of the week belong to Christ; nevertheless, it is also certainly true
that one of them is "the Lord's day" in a unique sense.
The Church after the apostles saw this from the very
beginning. Ignatius, the most ancient church father wrote: "Let every
one that loveth Christ keep holy the first day of the week, the Lord's
How We Remember the Lord's
Description of the day of rest as the Lord's Day
indicates how we are to remember the day. We remember it by devoting it
to the Lord Jesus. We remember it by worshipping, knowing,
with, and enjoying the crucified and risen Christ. We remember it as
John did: by being in the Spirit; hearing Jesus' great Voice (the
preaching of the gospel); and seeing Him (by faith) walking amidst the
candlesticks (in the Church).
Specifically, we are to observe the Sabbath Day by
diligently attending the worship services of Jesus' Church. This,
according to the Heidelberg Catechism, is the first requirement
of the Fourth Commandment. Remembering the Lord's Day is diligently
attending church; wilful absence from church, or attendance without
diligence, is the grossest violation of the Fourth Commandment. The
Catechism is Biblical, here. On the first day of the week, the apostolic
church gathered for worship: to hear the Word; to break bread; to pray;
and to lay aside their gifts for the poor.
It should be evident that diligent church-attendance
very really is obedience to the Fourth Commandment of the Law of God. As
part of the first table of the Law, the Fourth Commandment demands love
for God by His redeemed people diligent church-attendance is worship,
the praise of God in Jesus Christ by a thankful people. The Fourth
Commandment calls the saints to rest—at church we rest by enjoying God's
wonderful work in Christ by means of the Word and the Sacraments. The
Fourth Commandment ends in Christ Jesus—in attending the church of God
we seek fellowship with Christ (Who is present by His Spirit and Word),
and we strive to honour Him.
Attending church is a genuine remembering of the
Lord's Day, if it is diligent. First, it must be an act of faith; no
unbeliever can possibly remember the Lord's Day, regardless of whether
he comes to church. Secondly, it must be faithful; believers are to
gather every Sunday, as often as services are held. Thirdly, it must be
whole-hearted; our attendance is to be eager, joyful, lively. Good
church-attendance is to be characterized by the attitude expressed in
the Psalter, based on
With joy I heard my friends exclaim,
Come let us in God's temple meet;
Within thy gates, O Zion blest,
Shall ever stand our willing feet.
This aspect of obedience to the Fourth Commandment is
threatened today. There are leaks in the dike. There are those who
attend only infrequently, missing entire Sundays or consistently missing
one of the services every Sunday ("oncers"). There is the growing
practice of missing the worship services, now and then, because they
interfere with our pleasures, e.g., our vacation-plans. The
Lord's Day is completely forgotten. It is used for travelling or for
sightseeing, just as though it did not belong to the risen Christ, but
to ourselves. The strange notion is found in the Church that the Fourth
Commandment may be broken occasionally. Men suppose that, if they
remember the Lord's Day 51 weeks of the year, they are warranted in
forgetting it one week. What would these same people say if others would
adopt this thinking in regard to the commandment against stealing, or
the commandment against murder?
"But the Lord's Day gets in the way of my pleasures,"
says the man determined to enjoy his weekend vacation. Yes, the Law of
God has a way of doing this. Throughout the Old Testament, the Sabbath
Commandment "interfered" with Israel's pleasures; and for this reason
they broke it (cf.
Isaiah 58:13 and
Amos 8:5). May we bend and twist the Law to suit our pleasures? Or
are we to plan our lives according to the law and to find our pleasure
in doing what it says?
Our would-be vacationer persists, "But I work hard
during the year, and I need some rest." To be sure, we need rest; and
this needed rest is the rest of the Lord's house and the Lord's Word.
Another threat to diligent church attendance is
formalism in worship. The minister preaches dutifully, droning on; and
the people listen dutifully, wondering all the while, when will he ever
be done. How do we come to church? The early Christians greeted each
other with the words, "The Lord is risen!" We might say, "Lousy weather,
Not the least of the dangers is this, that, at the
church we attend, the Word of God is not preached. Attending some church
("the church of your choice") is not necessarily obedience to the Fourth
Commandment; attending some church very faithfully is not
necessarily obedience to the Fourth Commandment. For one concerned to
remember the Lord's Day, the all-important question is: What
church do you diligently attend? Is it a church that honours Jesus
by proclaiming Him as the Lord, the eternal Son of God in the flesh, the
only and sovereign Saviour from sin? Is it a church that gives the
rest of God by preaching justification by faith alone and salvation by
grace alone? Is it a church consecrated to the glory of God in teaching
all of God's commandments, and upholding them by the exercise of
Devotion of the Entire Day to
For the sake of this diligent church attendance, we
are to put aside the ordinary work of the other six days of the week, as
well as our play. This is the Fourth Commandment: "thou shalt not do any
20:10). Already in the Old Testament the purpose of ceasing from
work was clearly pointed out: "that thy manservant and thy maidservant
may rest as well as thou" (Deut.
5:14). There is no value in not working in itself; but not working
is necessary for resting the rest of the Sabbath. When the Israelite
worked on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32 ff.), the sin was not that
he picked up some sticks, but that he despised the spiritual rest of
God, i.e., Christ and His salvation. He revealed himself to be a
worldly man. This deserved, and still does deserve, the death penalty.
It is the same today. Working on the Lord's Day is
destructive of diligent church attendance. It is true that there are
works of necessity that may be done. Jesus taught that one may pull an
ass out of the ditch. But, as someone has said, if I have an ass that
falls into the ditch every Sunday, I will either fill up the ditch or
sell the ass.
The homework of our children is included in this
prohibition. Just as our ordinary work is farming or factory-work or
some business or housework, the ordinary work of the schoolchildren is
homework; and God requires this work to be set aside in the interest of
other, better things.
If obedience to this prohibition of work means
financial loss and economic hardship, we should be perfectly willing to
suffer such loss and hardship. Jesus Christ is not much of a Lord if His
Day, and the worship He claims on His Day, are forgotten on account of
Similarly, spending Sunday afternoon watching the
football Bears or the baseball Cubs, apart from all other
considerations, is destructive of the public worship of God that is
required by the Fourth Commandment. Pleasure is the great threat in our
society. The world corrupts the Lord's Day, so that there is more
deviltry on Sunday than on all the other days of the week combined. This
too is an old story. In his glorious call to proper Sabbath observance
Isaiah 58:13-14, the prophet begins by warning Israel
against "doing thy pleasure on my (Jehovah's) holy day." If we are going
to use the Lord's Day for our play, we could better work—it is the
lesser of the two evils. Augustine said long ago, concerning remembering
the Lord's Day, "It is better to plough than to dance."
Ordinary work and play are forbidden because they
are destructive of the diligent church-attendance required by the Fourth
Commandment. What one does during the rest of the Day stands
intimately related to the public worship of the Lord's Day. To throw
oneself into his everyday work an hour or two after the morning worship
service is to cut off the lingering effect of the house of God and to
drown the hope of the world to come in the cares of this life. The man
who spends all of Sunday afternoon wrapped up in the ball game cannot
bring the evening sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the house of
the Lord. Very likely, he will not attend the second service. The
appalling drop in the attendance at the second service is largely due to
the use of Sunday for the people's personal pleasure—golf, picnics,
visiting, watching television, or relaxing at home with a novel. If he
does hurry from the end of the ball game to church, he does not come
with a heart filled with the wonderful works of God in Jesus and with
affections set on the things above, where Christ Jesus sits on the right
hand of God.
What Am I To Do?
The entire day is to be given over to worship; the
whole day is to be devoted to the Lord Christ. This is the answer to the
familiar question, "What are we to do on Sunday?"
God intends that we be active; work is required.
Doing nothing is not obedience to the Fourth Commandment, e.g.,
"sacking out" all day. Jesus showed this in
John 5. He healed the lame man on the Sabbath and, when the
Pharisees objected, said, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work"
(v. 17). The notion that one kept the Sabbath by doing nothing was part
of the legalism of the Pharisees.
The work to be done, however, is spiritual
exercises—private, personal worship of God. There is public worship, but
there is also private worship. We should pray. We should read, not the
Sunday newspaper, but Holy Scripture, as well as books and magazines
that explain Scripture. Just as our day witnesses a sad lack in private
prayer—communion with God, so also is there a serious falling off of
good, solid, theological reading and study on the part of all
Christians. Earthly-mindedness comes in now on the floodtide. The Lord's
Day is God's dike! The Synod of Dordt spoke of "hallowed contemplation"—even the words are strange to us today. We are so busy; our minds are
so full of this world; we are so averse to an hour of quiet and
solitude. Sunday is a day for thinking holy thoughts—thoughts of my sin;
thoughts of my redemption; thoughts of my privileged position and
calling; thoughts of the beauty of the Church; thoughts of Christ;
thoughts of the glory of God.
Permissible, requisite work on the Lord's Day
includes "works of charity," i.e., good works of love for our
neighbour, especially our fellow saints. The Heidelberg Catechism
mentions contributing to the relief of the poor, or almsgiving, as an
important aspect of church attendance. There are other ways to help the
needy. Jesus healed them. We can call on old folks languishing at home
or in institutions. We can visit, or have over, the lonely saints. We
can comfort the distressed. The Church is full of needy, if we only open
On Sunday evenings, delightful Christian fellowship
can be enjoyed—and practiced, as a duty. Then, we do not discuss our
daily jobs, all the restaurants we have gone to, the pennant race, or
the many faults of the other members of the congregation; but we speak
together about the Lord Christ.
Isaiah 58 expressly warns us against "speaking thine own words."
On the Lord's Day, there should be family worship.
There is public worship. There is private worship. There is also family
worship. The Fourth Commandment is a family commandment. It is addressed
by God to the head of the home, the husband and father: "in it (the
Sabbath Day) thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy
daughter ..." The father is responsible for the obedience of his
house. He is to rest, with the family. Historically, the Lord's Day has
been a bulwark for the family among Reformed and Presbyterian people.
Let there be family worship, especially in view of
the threats to family life today. The family should discuss the sermon.
(This is not the same as tearing the sermon to pieces or criticizing the
preacher.) The family should read and study the Bible together. Parents
should teach the children their catechism. How I love to hear a child
say at the catechism class, "My Dad (or Mother) told me the story." The
family should sing together.
There is so much to do on Sunday that the day is too
short. "How long is the Lord's Day?" some have asked. Give the Lord a
full day; it is the Lord's Day, not the Lord's hour. Really, this
is an ominous question. It sounds suspiciously like the question of the
Amos 8:5: "When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn?
and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat?" Nobody talks like this
about his vacation. "Oh, when will it be over?" Such questions about the
Lord's Day indicate a leak in the dike in my own soul—worldliness is
pouring in. The man who tastes something of the rest of Christ talks
differently: "Oh, when will the eternal Sabbath Day dawn?"
Still, our obedience to the Fourth Commandment is, at
best, imperfect. We do not have perfect faith in Christ our Rest; we do
not come to church with that zeal for God's glory and with that
thankfulness for His work in Jesus that we ought to have; we often hear
the Word coldly—yes, and we preachers often preach it so; our use of the
Sacraments and our prayers are often habitual; our thoughts are profane;
our conversations are worldly; when all is said and done, on a Sunday
evening, the most that can be said of our Sabbath observance is that we
did nothing. The Fourth Commandment teaches us our misery, so that we
fly to Christ for righteousness.
But the Lord Who justifies also sanctifies, so that
we do have a beginning of obedience to the Fourth Commandment. This
beginning, although small, is a victorious beginning. We do rest in
Christ by faith on the Lord's Day. This then becomes the power by which
we live and work the other six days of the week, ceasing from our evil
works and yielding ourselves to the Lord to work by His Spirit in us.
Thus, we begin in this life the eternal Sabbath.
Ours is a joyful Sabbath keeping. The Lord's Day is
not a dreary day. It is not true of us what Thomas Babington Macaulay
acidly (and unjustly) said of the Puritans and their Sabbath observance:
"The Puritans opposed bear-baiting on Sunday, not because it gave pain
to the bears, but because it gave pleasure to the people."
Rather, our experience is that expressed by the hymn:
all the week the best,
Our experience is that promised by the prophet long
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from
doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight,
the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing
thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, then shalt thou
delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the
high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob
thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.