George Swinnock on the Lord's Day

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
From The Works of George Swinnock, Vol. 1, Chap. 22:

A good wish to the Lord's-day.

Hail thou that art highly favoured of God, thou map of heaven, thou golden spot of the week, thou market-day of souls, thou daybreak of eternal brightness, thou queen of days, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among days, Luke 1:28. I may say to thee what the angel said to Daniel, Oh day greatly beloved! Dan 9:23. Thou art fairer than all the children of time, grace is poured into thy lips; God, even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, Ps 45. Of the Jewish Sabbaths and other festivals, in comparison of thee it may be spoken, They perish, but thou remainest, and they all wax old as a garment; and as a vesture hast thou folded them up, and they are changed, but thou shalt (maugre the malice of men and devils) continue the same, and thy years shall not fail, Heb 1:11-12. As the temple succeeded and exceeded the tabernacle, this was fleeting, that was fixed, so dost thou all former Sabbaths, they were but morning stars to usher in thee, the sun, and then to disappear. Other festivals in all their royalty are not arrayed like unto thee. All the graces triumph in thee, all the ordinances conspire to enrich thee; the Father ruleth thee, the Son rose upon thee, the Spirit hath overshadowed thee. Thus is it done to the day which the king of heaven delighteth to honour.

Thou hast not only a common blessing with other days by the law of nature, but a special blessing above all other days, from the love of thy maker. Let thousands mark thee for their new birthday; be thou a day, as it was said of that night to the Jews, much to be remembered, much to be observed to the Lord, for bringing many out of worse than Egyptian bondage, Exod 12:42; be thou to them a day of light and gladness, of joy and honour, and a good day, Esther 8:16. On thee light was created, the Holy Ghost descended, life hath been restored, Satan subdued, sin mortified, souls sanctified, the grave, death, and hell conquered. Oh how do men and women flutter up and down on the weekdays, as the dove on the waters, and can find no rest for their souls, till they come to thee their ark, till thou put forth thy hand and take them in! Oh how do they sit under thy shadow with great delight, and find thy fruits sweet to their taste! Oh the mountings of mind, the ravishing happiness of heart, the solace of soul which on thee they enjoy in the blessed Saviour! They are sorry when the days shorten for thy sake, they wish for thee before thou comest, they welcome thee when thou art come, and they enjoy so much of heaven in thee, that thence they love and look, and long the more for their eternal Sabbath. "Go forth, O thou fairest among women, and be thou fruitful in bringing forth children to thy maker and husband. Be thou the mother of thousands and of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of them that hate them," Gen 24:60. Do thou, like Rachel and Leah, build up the house of Israel; do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be thou famous in Bethlehem. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou mighty and gracious day, and in thy majesty ride prosperously; because of meekness, righteousness, and truth, let thy right hand teach thee terrible things; let thine arrows be sharp in the hearts of spiritual enemies, whereby the people may fall under thee. The Lord hath chosen thee, he hath desired thee for his habitation, Ps 132. Thou art his rest for ever; in thee he will dwell, for he hath desired it.

Let him abundantly bless thy provision, and satisfy thy poor with bread; let him clothe thy priests with salvation, and let thy saints shout aloud for joy; let thine enemies be clothed with shame, but upon thy head let the crown flourish. Let nations bow down to thee; let kingdoms fall down before thee. Let all the kingdoms of the earth become the kingdoms of thy Lord and of thy Christ; be thou honoured as long as the sun and moon shall endure, even throughout all generations. Thou art like Joseph, a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a wall, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved thee, and shot at thee, endeavouring to weaken thy morality, and hated thee, but thy bow abode in strength by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel; even by the Lord of Sabbaths who shall help thee, and by the Almighty who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb; the blessings of this day have prevailed above the blessings of all other days; let them be continued and increased on the heads of this holy and honourable day, and on the head of that day which is separate from its brethren. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after thy hurt, let them be turned back and put to confusion that desire thy ruin; let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee; let them that love thy sanctification say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, who delighteth in the prosperity of his saints, and therefore hath set apart his Sabbath for their soul-good.

Thou, like Jacob, hast got away the blessing from the other days, yea, thy God hath blessed thee, and thou shalt be blessed: "Blessed are they that bless thee, and cursed are they that curse thee." In a word, the Lord be gracious to thee, and delight in thee, and cause the light of his countenance to shine upon thee; let all thine ordinances be clothed with power, and be effectual for the conversion and salvation of millions of souls; let thy name be great from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same. Finally, farewell sweet day, thou cream of time, thou epitome of eternity"”thou heaven in a glass, thou firstfruits of a blessed and everlasting harvest: Did I say farewell? A welfare I wish to thee; but oh let me never lose thee, or take my leave of thee, till I come to enjoy thee in a higher form, to see the Sun of righteousness,"”who early on thy morning rose and made a day indeed while the natural sun was behind,"”face to face, and to know thy maker and master as I am known of him, when I shall be a pillar in the temple of my God, and shall go out no more, but serve him day and night, to whom, for the inestimable dignity and privilege of his own day, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen, amen.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
From The Puritan Sabbath:

Puritan descriptions

The Puritans had biblical doctrines and fertile imaginations. Some of their descriptions of the Christian Sabbath are marvellous examples of the legitimate use of the imagination in Bible exegesis.

For example, the Sabbath was to them a weekly crowning of Christ. So Thomas Brooks: "It is the duty and glory of a Christian to rejoice in the Lord every day, but especially on the Lord's Day .. to rejoice in the Lord this day, and to rejoice in all the duties of the day ... this is to crown Christ, this is to lift up Christ". The crown is already on His royal head, yet in the sanctified observance of one day in the worship of God, His people show their loyalty to Him by crowning Him anew.

The Puritans also called their Sabbath a friend to religion. So Thomas Watson: "When the falling dust of the world has clogged the wheels of our affections, that they can scarce move towards God, the Sabbath comes, and oils the wheels of our affections and they move swiftly on. God has appointed the Sabbath for this end ... The heart, which all the week was frozen, on the Sabbath melts with the word. The Sabbath is a friend to religion; it files off the rust of our graces....". Could there be a more important reason for Sabbath observance than to realise it as a true friend of true religion? Lose the Sabbath, and you lose the best friend religion ever had.

Thirdly, Watson calls the Sabbath a badge of religion. "The primitve church had the Lord's Day ... in high estimation," he says. "It was a great badge of their religion to observe this day." There are circumstances where Sabbath observance becomes a great evangelistic tool, an outward, visible badge of our loyalty to Christ.

Another favourite description of the Sabbath is as the market-day of the soul. Matthew Henry described the Sabbath day as "a market-day, a harvest day for the soul". The Puritan Lewes Bayly expands on this idea: "The Sabbath day is God's market-day for the week's provision, wherein He will have us to come unto Him and buy of Him without silver or money, the Bread of Angels, and Water of Life, the Wine of the Sacraments, and Milk of the Word to feed our souls; tried gold to enrich our faith; precious eye-salve to heal our spiritual blindness; and the white raiment of Christ's righteousness to cover our filthy nakedness". Those who make good use of the Lord's Day fill up their shopping basket with the best food for their week's provision.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Watson on the 7th Day Sabbath vs the Christian Sabbath: Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption. It cost more to redeem us than to make us. In one there was only the speaking of a word Ps 148:5; in the other, the shedding of blood Heb 9:22. The creation was the work of God's fingers Ps 8:3; redemption, the work of His arm Isa 40:11; In creation God gave us ourselves in redemption he gives us Himself. Thus the Sabbath, putting us in mind of our redemption, ought to be observed with the highest devotion.

"We should look upon this day as a spiritual market for our souls wherein we have holy commerce and traffic with God. This day of rest is the beginning of an eternal rest. On this day God sets open the pool of Bethesda in which those waters flow that refresh the broken in heart."

"When this blessed day approaches we must lift up our hearts in thankfulness to God that he has put another means into our hands for gaining heavenly wisdom. These are our spiritual harvest days. The wind of God's Spirit blows upon the sails of our affections and we may be carried further in our heavenly voyage. Christian, lift up your heart to God in thankfulness that He has given you another golden season. Be sure you improve it; it may be the last. Seasons of grace are not like the tide; if a man misses one tide, he may have another."

Thomas Watson, Heaven Taken by Storm

Isa 58:13 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 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

[Edited on 6-12-2006 by Peter]
 
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