These six arguments prove the commandment of the Sabbath to be moral:

  1. It was delivered to Adam before the fall, when there was no ceremonial law. Genesis 2:2 was not spoken by anticipation, but the context shows it was at that time sanctified to him (verse 3).

  2. Moses takes it for granted that it was known to be moral, and known before the Law was given (Exodus 16:25).

  3. If this commandment is not moral, then there cannot be Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 10:4).

  4. God urges the necessity and importance of the Sabbath with more words, reasons, repetitions, and particulars than any of the moral commandments. He would not have done this if it were a mere ceremonial law, nor would He have placed it in the midst of the moral commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).

  5. Christ, speaking of those days when the whole ceremonial law was dead and buried, shows in Matthew 24:20 that the Sabbath stands still.

  6. When prophesying of the days of the gospel when Christ should be revealed, Isaiah pronounces a blessing on those who keep the Sabbath from polluting it, and puts the keeping of the Sabbath for the whole obedience of the Covenant (Isaiah 56:1-6)—which he would not do if it were merely ceremonial (1 Samuel 15:22).

There is one general way of breaking the Fourth Commandment—by denying the morality of it, and dismissing it as a mere Levitical ceremony. Indeed, the Sabbath is in part ceremonial, insofar as it is a figure of our rest in sanctification here and of the glory hereafter, but this does not contradict its morality and perpetuity, for it is not a ceremony that leads to Christ and expires at His coming. Christ came not to dissolve the Law (Matthew 5:17-19), but ratified each of the Ten Commandments, and consequently the Fourth. "They rested according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56)—Luke wrote that many years after the resurrection of Christ, concerning the things which were done after His death, when all Levitical institutions lost their power of binding. Therefore, the whole law (James 2:10), and each principle thereof, does indeed bind us under the gospel, as did the time of instituting a particular day for the beginning of the Sabbath of the old law bind man while in his state of innocence. Furthermore, the writing of this commandment in the tables of stone, and the putting of it into the Ark remove all doubt that the commandment is indeed moral and perpetually binding.

This day was so sacred among Christians that it was made the question of inquisitors of Christianity: "Do you keep the Lord's Day?" To which was answered, "I am a Christian; I cannot omit it." See Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1.

Taken and edited from Body of Divinity (London: William Lee, 1654), book 9, chapter 5, p. 821.


Comments (1)

  • Trent Cannon 08/31/20 at 09:06 AM CDT

    Amen Brother, keep the truth coming!