Bookclub: True Doctrine of the Sabbath

Discussion in 'Puritan Literature' started by Logan, Jun 15, 2015.

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  1. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I started reading Chris' recent republication of Bownd's work on "The True Doctrine of the Sabbath" and thought I would open it up here for the possibility of a PB "bookclub" if anyone is interested. Maybe I'm actually behind and y'all have finished it already, but if not, maybe this can be an excuse to start.

    This week my wife and I read pg 36--56 (the start of the actual work, after all the introductions, which by the way were fascinating, Chris, I'm sure that was exciting to research).

    My general thoughts were that I really enjoy Bownd's style of writing. He seems to be writing for a popular audience vs academics but that doesn't mean that he skimps on his arguments. One effect of this is that he seems to want to spell out every single conclusion: his argument seems perfectly clear from the evidence he gives, but to make sure there is no confusion, he spells out the implications clearly and completely, just in case you missed it.

    Details. He brings up the antiquity of the Sabbath, that it was told on Mount Sinai to remember. Remembering means from here on forward, but it also means remember it from of old. He argues that it is not just likely, it could hardly be otherwise that God taught Adam about the Sabbath in the garden, and Adam taught his posterity. Some of the evidence he gives is that the Israelites were familiar with it already, and that they had been observing it (in chapter 16 of Exodus) when they were told not to gather manna on the seventh day. The word "remember" in the Hebrew seems to imply calling to mind something that was already known. This seems to support the case that this was no new command, but like all the rest were well known up until that time, so was this one. This is important and I've never seen it discussed so clearly or fully before.

    He also brings up the point that this is something that there is something of the light of nature to guide us by, because even the heathen will ordinarily have a day set aside for worship of God, which is different from the other days. I recall my own experience growing up in a family that did not keep the sabbath, and being convinced that there was something wrong with working on it, even though I'd never been under any sort of teaching regarding that.

    Edit: for reference, here is a rough schedule:
    6/14 pp 36--56
    6/21 pp 57--76
    6/28 pp 77--100

    7/5 pp 101--126
    7/12 pp 127--150
    7/19 pp 151--174
    7/26 pp 175--199

    8/2 pp 200--224
    8/9 pp 225--250
    8/16 pp 251--274
    8/23 pp 275--299
    8/30 pp 300--324

    9/6 pp 325--348
    9/13 pp349--374
    9/20 pp 375--399
    9/27 pp 400--424

    10/4 pp 425--446
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  2. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm in. Do you have a plan?
     
  3. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Your point on the word "remember",brings to mind a sermon by the greatly used
    preacher in Wales, the Rev John Elias,during the late 18th century. His text
    was "Remember the Sabbath day. His three points simply were, call it to mind
    in the days before it comes; call it to mind on the day itself; call it to mind
    In the days after it goes. Such active meditation enhances the profit from the
    experience.
    As a point of interest, Dr Joseph Pipa last week,
    addressed the PCC conference of Singapore on the subject of the Sabbath. The five addresses will shortly
    be available on the church website.
     
  4. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I'll try to break it out and post it this evening, but I was thinking roughly 20 pages a week, depending on where the natural breaks fall. Too many? Too few? Thoughts?
     
  5. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'll look over my copy tonight and let you know. 20 sounds fine but, like you said. Let's see where the natural breaks might fall.
     
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Happy reading. I won't be reading along (I've read it before and then some). Don't skip the footnotes.
    (wouldn't call the work on the intros "fun" exactly; problems with the original preface matter long delayed if not nearly scuttled the whole project to get Bownd into print).
     
  7. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    At 446 pages (excluding the introductory material, bibliography, and indices), the book will take approximately 22+ weeks to complete. The natural breaks are not consistent so roughly 20 a week makes more sense. I have read through the introductory material and through page 50 of the actual work.

    I sincerely hope that more will join in, but even if it's just the two of us I look forward to your thoughts, and the thoughts of those who wish to interact with our posts.
     
  8. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I'm at the top of page 57.

    Let's make it roughly 25 pages a week then (17 weeks) and make this the rough schedule (no need to be exact, it will be about 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, etc to make it easy to remember without checking this schedule).

    6/14 pp 36--56
    6/21 pp 57--76
    6/28 pp 77--100

    7/5 pp 101--126
    7/12 pp 127--150
    7/19 pp 151--174
    7/26 pp 175--199

    8/2 pp 200--224
    8/9 pp 225--250
    8/16 pp 251--274
    8/23 pp 275--299
    8/30 pp 300--324

    9/6 pp 325--348
    9/13 pp349--374
    9/20 pp 375--399
    9/27 pp 400--424

    10/4 pp 425--446

    I'll also edit the first post to include it. I also hope more people will join in the read-along, but look forward to any discussion or comments regardless. I've already felt enriched by the first 20 pages of the book and very much look forward to the rest. It has a very warm, pastoral feel to it that I'm enjoying.
     
  9. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I may not be able to read along but will definitely look forward to the discussion!
     
  10. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    I will have to catch up but I would like to join in with the reading.
     
  11. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    No need to catch up, you have the rest of this week to read the first 20 pages :)
     
  12. posttenebraslux83

    posttenebraslux83 Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm in. I've already read a few pages, but I'll try and keep up. It's a great book so far!
     
  13. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    Logan, as the generator of this book club, do you want to post as we read throughout the week, or wait until the end of the week and then post?
     
  14. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I think either way is good, whatever you prefer. There's not really any "spoilers" so post away.
     
  15. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    pp 57--76 (from here on out we'll be roughly ending at x00, x25, x50, x75, etc.)


    Bownds points out that there is nothing in the behavior or writings of the Apostles to show that the Sabbath has been abrogated. They talk of the passing of the ceremonial law, but we often find them in the synagogues on the Sabbath, meeting together, and there even seems to be a special significance to John referring to the "Lord's Day" which his readers surely understood.

    If Adam rested on the Sabbath, then how much more should we, seeing that even for perfect Adam it was good. It brings us back to a taste of paradise, in a sense.

    Some point to Col 2:16 and say we ought not to judge anyone regarding holy days, which includes the Sabbath. If it did include the Sabbath, then it seems like there would be no church discipline for those who neglect public worship, rather each could meet on whatever day they prefer (or like the Papists, place the authority to choose a day in the church).

    I really liked Bownds' brief discussion of Eze 20:11--12
    "And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them."

    In other words, God's sabbaths were a gift to his people and part of his plan to sanctify them.

    Bownds makes a good argument that the ten commandments are moral, none of them are ceremonial (though certain aspects of the ceremonial law expanded on them). He (and his quotation from Hooper) says the papists say the second commandment is ceremonial. They may have slightly overstated it according to my understanding of the papist position, but it is a good point nevertheless.

    I have a question for discussion: Bownds makes the argument that the Sabbath was kept by Adam in the garden (and by godly men from Adam to Moses). Many of his arguments are built upon that assumption. Is it a valid assumption (especially to build an argument off of)? I understand it wouldn't be convincing to non-sabbatarians.
     
  16. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    I found this to be a very interesting argument. In the prior section we saw a brief treatment of the ten commandments and how their is evidence of their being known before the Mosaic covenant. If, as the Westminster Divines put forth, the moral law (10 commandments) were present in some way from the beginning, then it follows that Adam was aware, and could have passed down what he knew to the line of the Seed. In fact, nothing else could make sense. If there is a godly line, preserved by God himself, and the marks of godly people are to do that which pleases God, and with the clear mention of the Sabbath at the very beginning, then Bownd's argument is a very natural conclusion. I dare say a necessary conclusion.

    I would love to see his treatment of the entire decalogue. We are teased with it here.
     
  17. brendanchatt

    brendanchatt Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree that it maybe should be viewed in the same way as anything else moral, pre-Sinai.

    If according to the moral law, a major function of the Sabbath day is to set aside time for the worship of God, then we may infer that if God was worshiped by the patriarchs and such, then such time as was made holy from the beginning of the world was employed unto that end.

    Another way of saying it is that such time as was appointed (by God) from the beginning of the world was set aside (by the patriarchs and such) for the purpose of the worshipping of God (to insert some language from the Catechism and Confession of Faith).

    That is my opinion.
     
  18. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Sadly, this book on the fourth commandment is the only thing preserved of Bownd's original c.1585 lectures on the ten commandments.
     
  19. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks for mentioning it.
     
  20. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    Bownd states that "remember" is a call to look back to the command to observe the Sabbath given at the end of creation week, and a call to prepare ahead to observe the upcoming Sabbath. Unless I missed it, he doesn't spend a whole lot of words justifying this two-fold use of "remember". I don't doubt that this could be the case, I just would like to see the defense.
     
  21. mercyminister

    mercyminister Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm half-way through the book, but if I can add my $.02 worth, I will do so.
     
  22. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    By all means do so! Any discussion of any section (whether read or not) is welcome!

    pp 77--100

    Bownds mentions in passing Augustine's analogy of the seven ages, with the seven relating to our spiritual sabbath. His own was the sixth age, I'm curious what the other five were. Creation to Flood, Flood to Moses, Moses to David, David to Exile, Exile to Christ?

    He brings up the good point that the day being changed does not mean the command is ceremonial, but is still moral.

    He notes that if the sabbath was from the beginning of the world (and didn't begin with the ceremonial law) then it is only natural to assume it will continue to the end of the world.

    He mentions the passage in Isaiah and Christ's saying that the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Some even today argue from those passages that this means men can do whatever they want, or that "real" sabbath day resting is resting from sin (which Bownds points out should be true every day). But it should be obvious that Christ did not speak against the sabbath, or say he had come to abrogate it, but was speaking instead against the abuses of it.

    Bownds complains not so much of having special days (holidays) per se, but of making them as special or more special than the sabbath, especially when special church services are held on them.
     
  23. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Are you able to say more about this point?
     
  24. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Here is my extended footnote on this from page 89. I see a typo; ce la vie.
    Bownd writes: "Yet I do not see (be it far from me that I should obstinately contend with any) where the Lord has given any authority to His Church ordinarily and perpetually to sanctify any day, except that which He has sanctified Himself."
    Footnote 98, “Item wee believe that this Church hath none auctoritie ‘ordinarily, and perpetualie to sanctifie anie daie’ besides that the Lord himself hath sanctified” (book one, page 31, 1595 ed.). Rogers, MS letter to Bownd, 7v. Cf. Catholic Doctrine, 187, 322. Much like Perkins and Fulke who are both cited in this section, Bownd held the moderate position that tolerated holding services on the old pretended holy days which the English Church did not jettison like the Scottish Kirk did (see Perkins on Galatians {1604}, p. 316). Bownd’s view is moderately expressed, particularly when compared to the objections against the anglo-catholics raised by the next generation, such as the arguments of Scottish minister and commissioner to the Westminster assembly, George Gillespie (cf. A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies {Naphtali Press, 1993; revised critical edition, 2013}). However, it was still too much for Rogers who, though the text here does not go out of the way to draw attention to itself, devoted a full section of his 1598 letter to the topic, titling it “Against prescribed holie daies,” a heading that nowhere appears in Bownd’s work (MS letter, 7v–8r, transcript., 156). As with similar places in his 1595 edition, Rogers’ criticism may be the reason Bownd added a significant amount of text from pages 90–page 101 for his revised edition, including the quotation from Fulke affirming services may be held on other days of the week and a reference to ‘Sabbatharians.’
     
  25. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks, Chris.
     
  26. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I think you're right. From what I recall, he discussed it briefly but then more or less assumes that it is true as he continues. It certainly seems to fit both senses of the word.
     
  27. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    pp 101--126
    (25% done)

    Bownds makes the case that just as no other elements than water, bread, and wine carry any kind of promise of God's blessing in the sacraments, so too does no other day than a seventh day carry any kind of sanction or blessing by God. This is part of his case for having every seventh day to be the Sabbath (as opposed to eighth, ninth, etc.)

    He makes a very good and comprehensive case for the Sabbath being changed by Christ (and through the apostles) to the first day of the week instead of the seventh, quoting from many well-respected authorities and looking at many relevant passages of Scripture.

    I really liked his simple yet convincing case for the first day of the week being highly appropriate as well: The first sabbath was in memorial of the greatest accomplishment God had done up to that point---when He created the world and then rested after his labor. The new Sabbath was when Christ finished the greatest work of all: that of redemption of that same creation. How very appropriate that the day would be changed!
     
  28. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    pp 127--150

    I don't think I had ever really heard the explanation (such as Bownds gives) that the old world "ended" when the gospel age began, thus things like the Passover and circumcision (that were to last forever) came to an end because "forever" in that instance meant as long as that age lasted.

    What do you think about the idea that this is what the disciples were getting at when they asked what the signs would be of the Christ's coming and of the end of the world? I.e., the end of the old world and beginning of the gospel era.

    What do you think of the idea that the Sabbath should be from morning to morning, instead of evening to evening, because Christ rose in the morning?

    I liked the point that we, by keeping the Sabbath, commend it to our posterity. They really do follow our example and I don't doubt but that some of the cause of youth leaving the church today is the flippancy with which their parents treat the Lord's Day.

    I think he makes a very good case that the day is prescribed by God to be the first day, otherwise we could change it at a whim and so could we do with any of God's worship.

    What do you call "Sunday"? The Lord's Day? The Sabbath? Bownds argues that it is important to call it "The Lord's Day" and implies we should get away from calling the other days after planets as the heathen do, but call them the "first, second, etc days after the Lord's Day". What do you think?

    As a side note, I appreciated his criticism of the Rhemes translation for using lofty and pretentious words, saying that "we must so speak that the vulgar sort may understand us."
     
  29. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Bownd is concerned about adopting the name of the "Lord's day" over Sunday because it is sanctified to the Lord's worship. He seems to have bought into the concern of those he cites (from Bede to Bownd's contemporary Pilkington) on the other days of the week but he as much as concedes they had come into common use when expressing hope the adoption of Lord's Day for Sunday would be as easily accomplished with use. The actually following through on this kind of thinking as far as rejecting the names for the days of the week (other than Lord's day for Sunday) seems to have gravitated toward the extremists (Brownists and then later the Quakers) and does not seem to have become a concern of moderate Puritanism in general. Gillespie appears to disdain the idea when he cites the Catholic rejection of these names or more to the point uses it as an example of their zeal in such things to make another point against them (EPC, 2013 ed., 181), and Robert Baillie probably represents the majority opinion at the time of the Westminster Assembly that this was Brownist extremism (Dissausive, p. 28). On why Gillespie might have not seen the names as a problem see pp. 149ff.
     
  30. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I call Sunday "the Lord's day." Why does he recommend it, and is this as opposed to calling Sunday "the Sabbath"?
     
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