Thomas Watson on how the whole Sabbath-day should be dedicated to God

Thomas Watson

(1) The whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God. It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy, but the whole day must be religiously observed. If God has given us six days, and taken but one to himself, shall we grudge him any part of that day? It were sacrilege. The Jews kept a whole day to the Lord; and we are not to abridge or curtail the Sabbath, as Augustine says, more than the Jews did. The very heathen, by the light of nature, set apart a whole day in honour of false gods; and Scaevola, a high-priest of theirs, affirms that the wilful transgression of that day could have no expiation or pardon. If any one robs any part of the Christian Sabbath for servile work or recreation, Scaevola, the high priest of the heathenish gods, shall rise up in judgement to condemn him. Let those who say, that to keep a whole Sabbath is too Judaical, show where God has made any abatement of the time of worship; where he has said, you shall keep but a part of the Sabbath; and if they cannot show that, it robs God of his due. That a whole day be designed and set apart for his special worship, is a perpetual statute, while the church remains upon the earth, as Peter Martyr says. Of this opinion also were Theodore, Augustine, Irenaeus, and the chief of the fathers.

(2) As the whole Sabbath is to be dedicated to God, so it must be kept holy. You have seen the manner of sanctifying the Lord’s-day by reading, meditation, prayer, hearing the word, and by singing of psalms to make melody to the Lord. Now, besides what I have said upon keeping this day holy, let me make a short comment or paraphrase on that Scripture. ‘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 pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.’ Isa 58: 13. Here is a description of rightly sanctifying a Sabbath.

Thomas Watson, The Ten Commandments, The Banner of Truth Trust; (1965), p. 117.

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