“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst…”
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them”
Order of Contents
Articles & Short Books
Owen, John – Commentary on Heb. 4:9-10 †1683 11 pp. in his Commentary on Hebrews
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” – Heb. 4:9
Miller, Samuel – ‘An Introductory Essay to: A Manual on the Christian Sabbath’ 1834 16 pp. This is an Introduction to a larger work by John H. Agnew
Miller was the 2nd professor at old Princeton Seminary.
Phelps, Amos – The Sabbath 1842 60 pp. The American Society for the Promotion of Christian Morals
“The argument differs from ordinary discussions of the subject, in that its strength is mainly expended on two points, which, in the author’s judgment, are usually dispatched too summarily, and therefore not satisfactorily, but which, after all, are the strong points of the case on the part of our opponents. Those points are,
first, their argument to prove that the Sabbath was originally instituted in the wilderness; and
second, our argument to prove a divine warrant for the change of the day.
To make the truth on these points clear, has been a leading design in the ensuing discussion.
Alexander, Archibald – The Lord’s Day from his Brief Compend of Bible Truth, 1846, 16 paragraphs
Alexander was the first professor at old Princeton Seminary.
Binnie, William – The Sabbath 1882 6 pp. from his The Church, p. 106 ff.
Binnie was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.
Dabney, Robert – The Christian Sabbath: its Nature, Design and Proper Observance 1882 93 pp. Here is an HTML version. This book is also in his Discussions, vol. 1, p. 496-550
Kennedy, John – The Lord’s Day 1883 9 pp.
Kennedy was a noted minister of the Free Church of Scotland in the Highlands.
Kayser, Phillip – Sunday as a First-Day Sabbath 1995 51 pp.
“No book had more influence in confirming a Sabbatarian heart to Puritanism than that of the parson of St. Andrews, Norton, Suffolk, Nicholas Bownd. The True Doctrine of the Sabbath was the first scholarly treatment defending the concept of the Christian Sabbath or Lord s Day, later embodied in the Westminster Standards.” – the book-flap
Wedley, G. – The Doctrine of the Sabbath 1604 223 pp.
Wedley was a minister in Portsmouth, England.
Brerewood (c.1565-1613) was an English scholar. The dispute hinges on whether a servant is free of his own prerogative from all the directions for work from his master on the Sabbath, or whether that rest is mediated through the administration of the master.
This work propounds the doctrine of the Sabbath more generally.
Primrose, David – A Treatise of the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day 1636 350 pp.
Primrose (c. 1600-c. 1665) was an Oxford educated, French, reformed minister. Primrose argues against the position that the Sabbath is moral and of perpetual necessity and instead argues that the stinting of a day for God’s public service (which is morally necessary to uphold) is a point of order and ecclesiastical government, depending wholly on institution; see the preface for the statement of the question.
Burton was a puritan.
A Divine Tragedy Lately Acted, or A Collection of sundry memorable examples of Gods judgments upon Sabbath-breakers, and other like libertines, in their unlawful sports, happening within the realm of England, in the compass only of two years last past 1636
Twisse, William – Of the Morality of the Fourth Commandment as still in force to bind Christians delivered by way of answer to the translator of Doctor Prideaux his lecture, concerning the Doctrine of the Sabbath IA 1641
Gouge, William – The Sabbath’s Sanctification 1641
Bernard (bap. 1568-1642) was a reformed puritan.
Abbott, George – Vindiciæ Sabbathi, or, An Answer to Two Treatises of Master Broads, the one concerning the Sabbath or Seventh day, the other, concerning the Lord’s-Day or First of the Week: with a survey of all the rest which of late have written upon that subject 1641
Abbott (1604-1649) was an English, puritan, lay theologian and scholar who sat in the House of Commons. He was a friend of Richard Vines and Richard Baxter called Abbott “a dear friend”.
Shepard, Thomas – Theses Sabbaticae †1649 245 pp. in Works, vol. 3, pp. 25-271
Shepard was a New England puritan. His argumentation and minority view that the Sabbath is from evening to evening is not recommended. For a correction to this, see When Does the Lord’s Day Begin?
Dell, William – The Doctrine of the Sabbath, as it has been Believed and Taught, by ancient and eminent Christians, collected word for word out of their own writings, and now tendered to the consideration of all the godly, especially to direct them to the Parliament, to direct them in their intended Act, for the due and strict observation of the Lords Day 1650
Dell was a puritan, though seems to argue against a ‘strict’ observation of the Sabbath. Nonetheless, numerous of his historical quotes are helpful.
Hammond, Samuel – God’s Judgments upon Drunkards, Swearers, and Sabbath-Breakers. In a collection of the most remarkable examples of Gods revealed wrath upon these sins with their aggravations, as well from scripture, as reason. And a caution to authority, lest the impunity of these evils bring a scourge upon the whole nation 1659
Hammond (d. 1655) was a puritan.
Lightfoot, John – The Christian Sabbath: a Sermon… 58 pp.
Hughes was a puritan.
Baxter, Richard – The Divine Appointment of the Lords’ Day Proved, as a separated day for holy worship, especially in the Church assemblies, and consequently the cessation of the Seventh Day Sabbath IA 1671
Owen, John – Exercitations Concerning the Day of Sacred Rest, 35-40 †1683 151 pp. from the preliminary exercitations in his Commentary on Hebrews, vol. 1 (of 4), pp. 599-750. See also this abridged version, 71 pp..
Gilfillan, James – The Sabbath Viewed in the Light of Reason, Revelation and History, with Sketches of its Literature 1862 650 pp.
Gilfillan was a Scottish minister. This work is one of the most comprehensive treatments of the doctrine and practice of the Sabbath through history. He “argued that the Reformers had a more strict practice than was commonly noted.” – Chris Coldwell
Cox (1810-72) here comprehensively surveys the literature of Sabbath debates through history, though he was personally an anti-Sabbatarian. “Gilfillan’s The Sabbath viewed in the light of Reason… argued that the Reformers had a more strict practice than was commonly noted. Cox took the opposite view in his The Literature of the Sabbath Question…” – Chris Coldwell
See also treatments of the 4th Commandment in the many works on our page Expositions of the Ten Commandments.
The History of the Doctrine & Practice of the Sabbath
See especially the works of Gilfillan and Cox above.
The Continental View of the Sabbath
Fairbairn, Patrick – ‘Views of the Reformers Regarding the Sabbath’ being Appendix A to The Typology of Scripture, vol. 2, ed. Paul Barth and entitled, “The Myth of the ‘Continental View’ of the Sabbath”
Clark, R. Scott – ‘Are There Two Distinct Reformed Views of the Sabbath: Does the Continental View Really Exist?’ 2013 11 paragraphs
Barth, Paul – The Myth of the ‘Continental View of the Sabbath’ 2016 70 paragraphs
Politica, ch. 21, § 25 (1603/10/14)
“The fourth precept is about sanctifying the sabbath in holy services through hearing, reading, and meditating upon the Word of God, and through use of the sacraments. Negatively, it is about not violating the sabbath through occupational employment, marketing, physical labors, games, jokes, frolics, feasts, or the mere form of piety.”
The Synod of Dort
As cited in Howard B. Spaan, Christian Reformed Church Government (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1968), 208
“164th Session on May 17, 1619:
1. There is in the fourth commandment of the divine law a ceremonial and a moral element.
2. The ceremonial element is the rest of the seventh day after creation, and the strict observance of that day imposed especially on the Jewish people.
3. The moral element consists in the fact that a certain definite day is set aside for worship and so much rest as is needful for worship and hallowed meditation.
4. The Sabbath of the Jews having been abolished, the day of the Lord must be solemnly hallowed by Christians.
5. Since the times of the apostles this day has always been observed by the old catholic church.
6. This day must be so consecrated to worship that on that day we rest from all servile works, except those which charity and present necessity require; and also from all such recreations as interfere with worship.”
Gerald Francis De Jong, The Dutch Reformed Church in the American Colonies (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 1978), p. 43 citing The Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland 1638-1674, p. 93
“A decree of October 26th 1656 forbade in New Netherland the following activities on Sunday (the Sabbath): ‘all ordinary labor such as plowing, sowing, mowing,building, woodsawing, hunting and fishing.’ The decree also forbade on the Sabbath ‘All frequenting of taverns, dancing, playing ball, Tricktrack, cricket, tennis or ninepins.’ This was further enlarged on 10, September 1663 to include: ‘Roving in search for nuts and berries, excessive playing and screaming of children in Streets and Highways.'”
John Calvin on the Sabbath
Earle, Alice – The Sabbath in Puritan New England 1891 355 pp.
Earle was a lay-cultural historian of New England puritanism. This often humorous, and sometimes unsympathetic sketch of the Lord’s Day in puritan New-England focuses not theology, but on interesting historical details and is a delight to read.
Dennison, James – The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England 1532-1700 Buy 1983 176 pp.
Primus, John – Holy Time: Moderate Puritanism and the Sabbath Buy 1989 181 pp.
A scholarly work not always sympathetic with the puritans, but contains a wealth of historical information.
“People who cannot abide the Lord’s Day, cannot abide the Lord.”