The Whole Lord’s Day is Sanctified

“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Gen. 2:3

“…the Sabbath…  my holy day…”

Isa. 58:13

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

Acts 20:7



Order of Contents

Articles  6+
Quotes  4





Bownd, Nicholas – ‘The Sabbath is a Whole Day’  1595/1606  8 pp.  in The True Doctrine of the Sabbath  Buy  pp. 355-363  Here is the table of contents to the larger work with sizable excerpts.

“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.” – bookflap



Widley, George – bk. 1, ch. 4, ‘That the whole Sabbath day is to be kept…’  in The Doctrine of the Sabbath…  (London, 1604), pp. 57-62

Widley (b. 1566 or 1567) was an English minister in Portsmouth, England.

Downame, John – bk. 3, ch. 39, section 1, ‘That we must spend the whole day in religious exercises’  in A Guide to Godliness or a Treatise of a Christian Life…  (London: Kingstone, 1622), pp. 383-84

Palmer, Herbert & Daniel Cawdrey – Ch. 5, ‘Some Time Indefinite, is not the Whole Moral Substance of the Fourth Commandment, but for Continuance, a Whole Day’  in Sabbathum Redivivum, or the Christian Sabbath Vindicated…  (1645), Pt. 2, p. 178 ff.

Shepard, Thomas – Theses 65-66  †1649  2 pp.  in Theses Sabbaticae, or the Doctrine of the Sabbath in Works, vol. 3, pp. 72-73

Shepard was a New England puritan.

Young, Thomas – ‘The Whole Lord’s Day is to be Sanctified unto God, and not only some part of it’  †1655  13 pp.  being ch. 6 of The Lord’s Day, pp. 77-90

Young was a Westminster divine.

Baxter, Richard – ‘Whether the Whole Day Should be Kept Holy: Objection & Answer’  †1691  2 pp.  in A Christian Directory, vol. 4, ‘Christian Economics’, ch. 18, pp. 242-44



Order of Quotes






Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 21.8

“This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.”


William Gouge

The Sabbath’s Sanctification (1641) p. 2

“3 Q. Of how many hours does the Sabbath day consist?

A. Of four and twenty.  Gen. 2:3

The Sabbath is called the seventh day: so as it is a seventh part of the week: therefore so many hours as make up every of the other days (which are four and twenty) must be accounted to this day.

4 Q. Are all those hours to be sanctified?

A. Yes. Exod. 20:11

The Lord rested the whole seventh day: and all the time wherein He rested He sanctified.  Gen. 2:2,3

5 Q. How can all that time be sanctified?

A. 1. By observing things commanded.  Jer. 17:22

2. By observing things permitted. Exod. 12:16.”



John Willison

A Treatise Concerning the Sanctification of the Lord’s Day, p. 77-79:

Question VI:  What is that proportion of time which is to be sequestrated and allowed for the Sabbath day? and when doth it begin and end.

Answer:  The fourth command requires one day in every sevenby which we are not to understand only the artificial day from sun-rising to sun-setting, or from the break of day until the darkness of the night comes on, and think then the Sabbath is over, and that we are no longer bound to abstain from our own works; and far less are we to think that the Sabbath is no longer than the time of public worship doth last, and that we are at freedom from the work and duties of the Sabbath when that is over. This some say in words, and many more in their practice.

But, consider what absurdities would follow hereupon:

For, if no more time be allowed for the Sabbath, but the time of public worship; then it would follow, that God requires no private or secret duties from us on that day, since these will need some more time: but that cannot be; for, if private and secret duties be required of us on week days, then much more on the Sabbath day.

Again, it would follow, that some must keep longer Sabbaths, and others shorter; nay, the Sabbath or many shall not be above an hour or two of the day; for there are ministers and people who are scarce so long at public worship. But the whole day is the Lord’s, and not a part only.  You will have your servants to work the whole six week days, for you, from morning to night, and not be contented with their working an hour or two only of these days: so neither should you yield less to God than you require for yourselves.  Nay, if attendance on public worship were all that is requisite this day, by virtue of the command, it would follow, that a man would be loosed from the obligation of the command, if he were in a place of the world where God is not publicly worshipped.

But all these things being absurd, I do, upon solid ground assert, that the whole natural day, consisting of twenty-four hours, is to be set apart for the Sabbath day; and that we ought to measure this day, and begin and end it, as we do other days, that is, from midnight to midnight; during which time we are to abstain from our own works, and sanctify the Lord’s Sabbath. For the fourth command binds us to consecrate the seventh part of every week to ‘the Lord, who challengeth a special property in one day of seven, and asserts his just title thereto, saying, “the seventh day is the Lord’s” [Deut. 5:14] and also Isa. 58:13, he expressly calls it, “My holy day.”  It is all holy; and therefore no part must be profaned or applied to common uses.  It is all the Lord’s; and so it is unlawful for us to rob him of any part of it, and alienate it to our private use.

Objection:  But who is able to spend the whole twenty-four hours in religious duties?

Answer:  I do not say that this is to be done without any intermission; for we do not this in following our employments on other days: a due proportion of every day is to be reserved for the natural support of our bodies, and particularly for moderate eating and sleeping, which are works of necessity, and must be allowed on the Sabbathas well as other days; with this difference only, that whereas they are done on other days to enable us for labor, they are to be done on the Sabbath to strengthen us for holy duties; and so cannot properly be called our own works.  

Neither can the doing thereof be called a taking of God’s time to our own use, since this contributes to our better spending of God’s time, and is truly necessary for God’s service on the Sabbath. But, besides the time requisite for the works of necessity and mercy, the whole natural day as above described, is holy unto the Lord, and ought to be employed in religious duties; and not a part of the day only. Both Sabbath morning and Sabbath night, should be spent in prayer and praises, as is plain from the 92nd Psalm, which is entitled, “A psalm or song for the Sabbath day,” verse 1, and verse 2, we are told, that

“It is good to give thanks unto the Lord, and show forth his loving kindness in the morning, and his faithfulness every night.”  

But more of this afterwards, when I come directly to treat of the sanctification of the Sabbath.  And, before I do this, I judge it necessary to answer some objections brought, against the morality of the Sabbath, and the change of the day.



On Eric Liddell

John Keddie, Running the Race: Eric Liddell, Olympic Champion & Missionary, pp. 100-101.  With respect to Eric Liddell’s refusal to run his scheduled Sunday race at the 1924 Olympics.  HT: Andrew Myers

‘It was suggested to Liddell that the Continental Sunday finished at midday; he replied that ‘His Sunday lasted all day!’




Psalm 92
A Psalm, or Song, for the Sabbath Day

“…To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night”

Ps. 92:2




Related Pages

The Lord’s Day

Change to the First Day of the Week

When Does the Lord’s Day Begin?