“Moreover when ye fast…”

Matt 6:16

“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God”

Dan. 9:3,4

“But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”

Mark 2:20




Lawful to Fast on Lord’s Day



Order of Contents

Articles  20+
Books  3
Quotes  2
Historical  1
Latin  2





Thysius, Anthony – 37. ‘On Almsgiving & Fasting’  in Synopsis of a Purer Theology: Latin Text & English Translation  Buy  (1625; Brill, 2016), vol. 2, pp. 442-82

Burges, Cornelius – Two Sermons Preached…  at Two Public Fasts. The former, opening the necessity and benefit of washing the heart; the latter, discovering the vanity and mischief of an heart unwashed  Ref  1642/5  Westminster divine

Spurstowe, William – England’s Pattern and Duty in its Monthly Fasts presented in a sermon, preached to both Houses of Parliament Assembled  being sermon 5 on 1 Sam. 7:6  in The Sermons of William Spurstowe  Pre  ToC  Buy  1643  Westminster divine

Chambers, Humphrey – A Divine Balance to Weigh Religious Fasts In. Applied to present use, in a sermon preached…  at their public fast  on Zech. 7:5-7  Ref  1643  Westminster divine

Palmer, Herbert – The Soul of Fasting: or Affections Requisite in a Day of Solemn Fasting and Humiliation, according to the pattern, Neh. 9:5, etc  ToC  1644  Westminster divine

Coleman, Thomas – God’s Unusual Answer to a Solemn Fast. Or, some observations upon the late sad success in the west, upon the day immediately following our public humiliation; in a sermon before the Houses of Parliament, on a fast specially set apart upon that occasion, Sept. 12, 1644  ToC  Westminster divine, Erastian

Proffet, Nicholas – England’s Impenitency under Smiting, causing anger to continue, and the destroying hand of God to be stretched forth still. Set out in a sermon preached before the Honourable House of Commons, at a Public Fast, Sept. 25, 1644  on Isa. 9:13  33 pp.  Westminster divine

Leigh, Edward – ch. 11. Of Extraordinary Religious Duties, Fasting, Feasting & Vows. I. Of Fasting  in A System or Body of Divinity…  (London, A.M., 1654), bk. 8, pp. 735-39

Vines, Richard – The Purifying of Unclean Hearts and Hands. Opened in a Sermon preached…  at their solemn fast  in XII Sermons Preached upon Several Public Occasions  Ref  1658  Westminster divine

Mr. Barker – A Religious Fast. The duty whereof is asserted, described, persuaded in a brief, exercise upon Mark 2:20  on Mk. 2:20  in Puritan Sermons, vol. 2

Hacket, John – Fasting  on Neh. 1:4  in Tracts of the Anglican Fathers, no. 4, Practical,  also in A Century of Sermons upon Several Remarkable Subjects: Preached by the Right Reverend Father in God, John Hacket  Ref  1675  Westminster divine

Manton, Thomas – in Works 15

A Fast Sermon  on Isa. 43:22
A Fast Sermon  on Mal. 3:7

Owen, John – A Fast Sermon, Christian Duty Under the Hidings of God’s Face  on Isa. 8:17  in Posthumous Sermons First Published in 1854  in Works, vol. 16



à Brakel, Wilhelmus – ch. 75, ‘Fasting’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 4  ed. Joel Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout  Buy  (1700; RHB, 1992/1999), pp. 3-11

a Brakel (1635-1711) was a contemporary of Voet and Witsius and was a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation.

Henry, Matthew – in Works, vol. 2

Fast Sermon I  on Isa. 8:12-13
Fast Sermon II  on Isa. 42:21
Fast Sermon III  on Jer. 14:7
Fast Sermon IV  on Mt. 13:7

Boston, Thomas – ‘A Memorial Concerning Personal and Family Fasting’ on Zech. 12:12  in Works, vol. 11, pp. 343-393

The occasion for Thomas Boston having written this piece on family fasting:

“The mortality in our perish is not over yet, though I hoped my child had closed it: but just while I was writing this, I heard of the death of a mother of four small children… carried off at night by a sickness, so far as I could understand, not above two hours long long. Alas! we have provoked our God.

By the awful voice of Providence continuing, I was led to Zech. 12:12, ‘And the land shall mourn, every family apart,’ etc., on which I dwelt from 11th March till 20th May; and for some time after, on Ps. 126:5, ‘They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.’ Upon the former of these I pressed the duty of personal and family fasting, among other things. And this was not without fruit. I knew that some were engaged in these duties; particularly James Biggar’s family, on which the hand of the Lord lay long and heavy, and carried off several of them…” – Memoirs, p. 304

Edwards, Jonathan – Fast Days in Dead Times  on Isa. 58:3-5  in Sermons and Discourses, 1734-1738  being WJE Online, Vol. 19

Wesley, John – When You Fast  on Mt. 6:16-18

MacLaurin, John – Contents of a National Fast Day Sermon  on Ps. 119:26  1745  in The Works of Rev. John MacLaurin  ed. W.H. Goold (Edinburgh, 1860), vol. 2, p. 507 ff.  Scottish divine



Alexander, Archibald

‘Fasting’  no date or source info, 7 paragraphs

A Short Conversation on Fasting and Prayer  in Practical Truths

Miller, Samuel – The Duty, the Benefits & the Proper Method of Religious Fasting, Dan. 9:3, Two Sermons  (1831)

Spurgeon, Charles – Sad Fasts Changed to Glad Feasts



Rishel, Joel – ‘Why God’s People should Fast’  (2002)  9 pp.

Rishel holds an M.Div. from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  He has been the Director of Operations for the publisher Soli Deo Gloria.





Downame, George – 1st Treatise, of the Christian Exercise of Fasting  63 pp.  in The Christian’s Sanctuary whereinto being retired, he may safely be preserved in the midst of all dangers…  (London, 1604)  See also the Analysis of this treatise.

Hildersham, Arthur – The Doctrine of Fasting and Prayer, and Humiliation for Sin Delivered in [8] sundry Sermons at the Fast appointed by public authority, in the year 1625  (London, 1633)

Du Moulin & Henry Wilkinson – Repentance & Fasting  Buy

Du Moulin (1601-1684), was a Reformed French Calvinist, and Wilkinson (1566-1647) was a Reformed preacher and scholar and member of the Westminster Assembly.




On the Nature of Fasting

William Ames

A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship…  (Amsterdam: Thorp, 1633), Manuduction, ch. 12, section 2, pp. 145-46

“The truth is that fasting is such a help to extraordinary humiliation, as moderate feasting is to extraordinary thanksgiving, and therefore [fasting] is no more worship than Christian feasting: And to this purpose do our divines answer, concerning this place, which is ordinarily objected by every Papist, as here by the Rejoinder [of Ames’s opponent].

See Chemnitius upon these words.  See Polanus, Syntagma, bk. 9, ch. 8, ‘Fasting is a help to prayer, a sign of humility and repentance, but is not a worship of God.’

5. Fasting such as Hannah’s was, is not a human institution, as our ceremonies are, but partly natural, when the whole man is taken up with greater and more instant imployment, exclusive of all ordinary refreshments: and partly of divine application, in extraordinary humiliation, so that it has ground and example both in the Old & New Testament, which our ceremonies are destitute of.”


On Days of Public Fasting

Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland  (1642), Chapter 20, Article 7

“The fast is indicted [called and set] eight days before, and the causes laid open for preparing of the people for humiliation (as Joel 2:1-3; Isa. 22:12,13).  We have no anniversary [annual] and set fasts or feasts either, because God Himself by his judgment imminent, or already inflicted, or by permitting his people to follow their own ways, calls to fasting and mourning (Isa. 22:13, Joel 2:1-6, etc.), and so by his mercies and wonderful deliverances calls to extraordinary joy of thanksgiving (Ps. 118:24).  The doctrine of the Law is preached (as Joel 2 and Isa 58), and the fast observed with abstinence from meat and drink, and carnal and ordinary pleasures (Joel 2:16).”




Love, W. DeLoss – The Fast & Thanksgiving Days of New England  (Boston, 1895)  600 pp.



Latin Articles


Voet, Gisbert – Ecclesiastical Politics  (Amsterdam: Waesberge, 1663), vol. 1, pt. 1, bk. 2, tract 4

1. A Description and Distinguishing of Religious Fastings, with a Censure of Roman-Papist Pseudo-Fastings  970

2. The Principal Controversy which is Now Agitated about Fastings, and other Questions about the Same are Explicated  977




Related Pages

Days of Thanksgiving

Internal & External Worship

Natural vs. Instituted Worship

Regulative Principle of Worship

Simplicity of Worship

Order of Worship & Liturgies




Natural Gestures & Customs in Worship; of Reverence

Distinguishable Aspects in the Elements of Worship

Impurities of Worship

Opinion of Sanctity & Necessity: Not Essential to False Worship

Family Worship

Personal Godliness

All the Works of the Westminster Divines on Worship