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disadvantage; for none were ever losers in this respect, by laying aside their own labours to attend God's worship and service upon his own day. As God took care of Israel's safety while they came up to Jerusalem three times a year, to attend the solemn feasts which he had instituted; so that at these times none of their enemies should make any attack upon them, or so much as desire their cities, according to his promise in Exod. xxxiv. 24.: so will that same God, by his kind and watchful providence, take care that his people sustain no damage in their worldly affairs, through their dutiful observation of this holy day. Nay, on the contrary, they have found this practice to be even profitable to them, with respect to their outward temporal estate. And there is good ground to think it will always be so; for the more conscientious any man is in sanctifying the Sabbath day, the greater blessing he may expect from God upon his labour on the six days; and it is not your own labour or toil, but the "blessing of God that maketh rich." Prov. x. 22. Judge Hale, and other godly persons, have attested the truth of this point from their own experience, as I have shewed before.
The Lord, in his word, is very peremptory and particular in enjoining this cessation from labour on the Sabbath; and because he knows the eagerness of men's hearts upon the world, and their readiness to encroach upon his holy day with their earthly labour, he condescends upon these seasons, wherein they have most temptation thereto, and requires them in bearing time and in harvest," to rest on the Sabbath, Exod. xxxiv. 21. Though those be the times when we are most thronged with worldly business, yet he will have us in the midst thereof punctually to observe the Sabbath, and prefer the pleasure of communion with God in his ordinances, to the joys of harvest, and to expect that harvest-work will prosper the better for our religious observation of the Sabbath in harvest-time. Also the Lord specifies these seasons, because then we are under greater obligations to strict keeping of the Sabbath, than at other times; because,
1. The bodies of servants and cattle are more toiled then than at other times; and so have the more need of rest.
2. The people then have less time to worship God in their families and closets on week days, because of the
greatness of their labour; and therefore have need to im prove the Sabbath the more diligently.
3. In harvest we partake more of the fruits of God's bounty, than at other times; and therefore should be the more thankful to God for his mercies, and especially for Christ, the mercy of mercies, who alone doth both purchase and sweeten all our mercies to us.
Now is it not matter of deep regret, that (notwithstanding God's special command, and our manifold obligations to the contrary,) our churches in many places should be thinner, and fields thronger with idle people wandering therein in time of harvest, than at other times of the year?
Object."When the weather is unseasonable and tempestuous through the week, doth it not become a work of necessity to sow or reap on the Sabbath, for preserving of food to man and beast ?”
Ans. If some particuler men's corns were in hazard of being carried away, or lost by the inundation of a river, or the like, it were a work of necessity to endeavour the preservation of them upon the Sabbath; because the dispensation is extraordinary, the case not common nor general, and the damage irrecoverable in any ordinary way. But as for sowing, reaping, or gathering in upon the Sabbath, (whatever be pretended from the season or weather for it) I judge it unlawful, because the case is common and general; the hazard proceeds from the ordinary providence of God; and there is ground to expect God's sending better weather, according to the gracious promise, which we ought not to distrust, Gen. ix. 22. "While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest shall not cease." But if any distrust God's word, and encroach upon his holy day with their labour, let them consider that God can easily blast the works of their hands, and cast their business farther behind than their neighbours, who believe and wait upon the Lord. I have a certain account of a rich farmer in this nation, not many years ago, who in harvest time, (the weather having been very bad for some time before, and proving very fair and dry on Saturday and the Lord's day,) would needs cause his servants to yoke his horses, and fall to the leading of his corns upon the Sabbath evening: but it pleased the Lord that he soon got other work to do; for that very night his house and goods took fire, and so their labour was quick
ly stopt, all hands being called to be employed in quenching of the fire. Many other instances might be given but I proceed.
II. We must rest not only from all worldly employments on the sabbath, but also from all worldly recreations, according to the word of God, and our confession of faith and catechisms. But this point being much impugned and disputed by many, I shall handle it as distinctly and satisfyingly as I can.
Recreations are twofold, some are natural and necessary, such as the refreshing our bodies with meat, drink and sleep. These are recreations we cannot live or do business without, upon any day, and therefore are both lawful and necessary upon the Sabbath; especially since we are thereby better disposeed for performing the duties of the day. But,
2. There are recreations which are voluntary and not necessary, freely chosen by people for their bodily pleasure and diversion: such as sports, pastimes, or games, whether more public or more private, such as playing at cards, dice, chess, tables, &c.; or any sort of carnal music, such as whistling, singing, or playing on an instrument, or putting off the time with worldly converse, jesting, laughing, telling idle stories, walking and talking idly in the streets, or seeking our pleasure in the fields, though it be after public worship is over. Now, all such recreations being our own works. and for our own pleasure, and not subservient to the duties of God's worship, but hindrances thereto, are unlawful on the Sabbath day, as being expressly contrary to that rest required in the fourth command, and to that plain word, in Isa. Iviii. 13. 14. "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 pleasures, nor speaking thine own words :-Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride the upon high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob," &c. Now, can there be any thing more directly levelled against carnal recreations, idle talking, walking, &c. on the Sabbath day, than this is? "We must turn away our foot from doing our own pleasure on it," i. e. by
travelling or walking for pleasure or recreation; nay we must neither do our own ways, speak our own words, nor find our own pleasures on this day. But if people will, notwithstanding hereof, allow themselves in idle diversions and loose recreations upon the Sabbath, I see not how they will free themselves of open rebellion against God: for God commands us to remember the Sabbath day, not to delight ourselves by carnal recreations, but to keep it holy by divine exercises, and to spend it otherwise, is plainly to trample upon God's authority, and declare war against him.
Object. But those who are for the Sabbath day's recreations, will tell me, "that they condemn all such recrea tions in time of public worship, as well as we do for the fourth command obliges us duly to attend public worship on the Sabbath, and forbear all worldly employments or recreations in time thereof; but, when that is once over, we may lawfully divert and recreate ourselves with such recreations as are modest and decent, and not unlawful for Christians on other days."
Ans. This supposes that the Sabbath lasts no longer than the public worship of the day, the contrary whereof I made evident before, and shall evince more fully afterwards. I shewed that we are obliged to keep holy the whole Sabbath day; not only the time of public worship, or from sun-rising to sun-setting, but the whole natural day, consisting of twenty-four hours: this being the seventh part of our time, and of the week, it is the Lord's, and consecrated for his use and service; and consequently no part of it is to be alienated from him, or applied for our plea
sures or recreations.
I shall further confirm this truth by some more arguments.
1. If it was unlawful for God's people under the the Old Testament, to spend any part of the Sabbath in carnal pleasures and recreations, it is unlawful for us also under the New but the former is true; and therefore the latter. That such recreations were prohibited to the Jews, I believe none will deny, that is either acquainted with their ancient rules and constitutions, or that reads and believes the scriptures, particularly the fourth command, and Isa. Ivii. 13. forecited. All that remains for me to prove is, that we are bound to abstain from those recreations upon the Sabbath, as well as the Jews; which I do thus:- Whatever the Jews
were obliged to upon moral reasons and grounds, that we are bound to as much as they but the Jews were bound to abstain from carnal recreations on the Sabbath, upon moral grounds, which concerns us as well as them. I shewed before, that the reasons of the fourth command are moral, and reach Christians as well as Jews: I mentioned five of them, and truly every one of them levels as much against worldly recreations on the Sabbath day, as against worldly employments: I shall not resume them all here, but only
insist a little on two of them.
1. God's liberality in allowing us six days for our own use: This reason binds us as much as the Jews, to consecrate one day to the Lord for his service. God hath given as gracious discoveries of his bounty to us as to them; and shall we be so ungenerous or ungrateful, as to encroach upen God's time, or rob him of any part of it, more than they? The very light of nature, and principles of sound reason, besides the command of God, plead strongly for this: That, since the Lord hath liberally given us six days for our use we should, without grudge, give him one day for his service; and, since he gives us six whole days, it continues morally just and rational, that we should give him his one day whole too, and that we should spend as much of his day in holy duties as is ordinarily allowed on other days for servile labour, and that is the whole day, except what is allowed for necessary bodily refreshments, viz. eating and sleeping.
The 2d ground I shall insist on is, the Lord's propriety in the Sabbath, or in one day in seven. This reason binds us as much as it did the Jews; the Lord's right to a day in seven, is the same that it ever was, otherwise the morality of the fourth command is not the same; but I have already demonstrated the contrary. The Christian Sabbath is called the Lord's day, as well as the Jewish Sabbath was called "the holy of the Lord," Isa. lviii. 13. to shew that his propriety and title is the same. And it is observable, that the Lord in that one verse, calls it twice his holy day; and it is from this that the Lord takes the principal argument, which he there uses against carnal recreations on the Sabbath; "Ye shall not speak your own words, nor find your own pleasures on this day. Why? It is my holy day, the holy of the Lord: the seventh part of the week is mine