Prepub: Sabbathum Veteris Et Novi Testamenti: or, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath

Not open for further replies.


Staff member
"For its scope, detail, and erudition, this work on the Sabbath is unparalleled in the Puritan tradition--indeed, perhaps even in the Christian tradition." Mark Jones, author with Joel Beeke, A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life.

Nicholas Bownd, Sabbathum Veteris Et Novi Testamenti: or, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (Naphtali Press, forthcoming Spring, 2015) 592pp. Hard bound, smyth sewn, dust jacket. Lengthy introduction and analysis. Retail to be determined. Pre-publication offer: $24.95 postage paid. USA ONLY. To order now online click this link: To order by mail see the end of this Note. This offer will expire once the books are completed and shipped.

In a few weeks Naphtali Press will, Lord willing, go to press with this classic Puritan work which has never been reprinted since 1606. Bownd's work more than any other one thing in the late Elizabethan / early Jacobean period in England, set the mold for the Puritan understanding of the fourth commandment regarding the Lord's Day or Christian Sabbath. It was the first scholarly and lengthy book on the subject, can be considered the grandfather of all subsequent works, and its influence cannot be overestimated in helping to shape and establish the Puritan Sabbatarian theology subsequently and classically expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. We will go to print once the pre orders are substantial enough to justify a formal print run; but I trust that will not be in doubt for such an important work as this one. So pre order now; cajole, arm twist, tell your friends. I'm of the opinion this is the most important book produced by Naphtali Press in thirty years and may not be surpassed even if it continues for another thirty. Below are some kind commendations from those who have reviewed the draft and details, followed by some extracts from the front matter. Chris Coldwell, Naphtali Press

Commendations by Mark Jones, James T. Dennison and Richard B. Gaffin.
“After four centuries of rest, Nicholas Bownd’s famous book on the Sabbath has re-Bownded. Attractively printed, this work is a critical edition of the 1595 version and the expanded 1606 edition. Coldwell has painstakingly collated and meticulously annotated the two so as to allow Bownd’s classic Puritan doctrine of the Lord’s day Sabbath to be published afresh. Lovers of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Westminster Standards will rejoice. May all glory redound to the Eschatological Lord of Sabbath rest, as it did four centuries ago.”
--James T. Dennison, Jr., author of The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England, 1532-1700; and Academic Dean and Professor of Church History and Biblical Theology, Northwest Theological Seminary, Lynnwood, Washington.
“Those with an interest in developments leading up to the formulation of the Sabbath doctrine taught in the Westminster standards will benefit from this careful documentation and analysis of the views of Nicholas Bownd.”
--Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., author of Calvin and the Sabbath; Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary.
Nicholas Bownd’s work, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath, occupies a hugely significant place among Puritan works on polemical and practical divinity. For its scope, detail, and erudition, this work on the Sabbath is unparalleled in the Puritan tradition—indeed, perhaps even in the Christian tradition. Particularly illuminating are Bownd’s “spiritual exercises,” which clearly had an influence upon the later Puritan attitudes regarding the practical implications of Sabbath-keeping and worship. As an added bonus to the content of this book, the editorial work on this book is first-class, and makes for far more enjoyable and easier reading than a simple re-print.
--Rev. Dr. Mark Jones, Minister at Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church (PCA).

From the Foreword
With all the Puritan and Presbyterian books expounding upon the fourth commandment which have been published or reprinted in the last four hundred years, it may be reasonably questioned why it is important to bring yet another work on the nature of the Lord’s Day into print again, particularly when few Christians today either believe, understand or appreciate the true doctrine of the Christian Sabbath. The answer is simple enough. Nicholas Bownd’s books were the first scholarly, lengthy treatment articulating the Puritan Sabbatarian position, and he can fairly be said to have set the mold for the standard argument. The basic tenets he defended are enshrined in that last great set of Reformed symbols, the Westminster Standards. So while he certainly did not invent the doctrine, Bownd can in a sense be called the father of the later Puritan works expounding the fourth commandment. Consequently, his work is of significant historical importance and a new edition is at the very least warranted to aid the study of it. And personally, if for no other reason, I believe a good modern edition of this great work is appropriate out of simple gratitude for the author’s labors in the face of the difficulties of the times and the rather singular persecution he faced.

This project to bring Nicholas Bownd’s True Doctrine of the Sabbath to print in a modern version dates back over twenty years. The source was a poor University Microfilms, Inc. (UMI) photocopy of an equally poor microfilmed example of Bownd’s 1606 revised edition. This required considerable proof reading, and the original having all the problems of a late sixteenth century text made for a tedious job of editing. It was easier to keep shifting focus to other less difficult projects. However, as it turned out in the providence of God, the project needed this delay in order for new research to come to light, revealing more than had previously been in print about Nicholas Bownd. In addition, the editor’s “tool kit” required expanding in order to handle such an old text with the attending necessary research, which other projects afforded over the intervening years. Finally, when the push to get this project on a track to completion was undertaken in the last year or so, a final hurdle presented itself. The discovery of the letter Thomas Rogers wrote to Bownd in 1598 cast all in new light, requiring a late course change and a complete revision of the approach to the text of the book.

For the last nineteen years the intent was to bring Bownd’s 1606 edition to print. However, it became clear that Bownd had made at least one revision based upon a criticism Rogers had made in a 1599 sermon against Sabbatarianism. Using phrases from the surviving notes of that sermon, a few quick searches revealed that while never naming him at any point, all of the main criticisms Rogers made were addressed in the revision. In addition, the description of the 1598 letter, which had never been transcribed, indicated it contained references to Bownd’s 1595 edition. So even before obtaining a copy and transcribing the letter, it was clear that the 1606 text had to be carefully collated with the 1595 edition in order to discover changes directly attributable to Rogers’ criticisms. With a revised critical text noting the additions (herein denoted by large {braces} in the text and in the margins), it became clear that many of the 1606 revisions were made in order to address criticisms made in both Rogers’ 1599 sermon and 1598 letter. This discovery led to a considerable investigation of the dispute between Bownd and Rogers (which is known as the first Sabbatarian controversy in English literature), which resulted in a lengthy but hopefully informative introduction to this volume, now finally completed after all these years.

The text, keyed in the margins to the 1606 edition, has been revised, as far as possible without marring the author’s work, to reflect contemporary spelling, punctuation, and usage. Chapter divisions have been added. Words or insertions supplied by the editor are in [square brackets]. While a few less clear antiquated words or spellings are replaced with the modern equivalents after the first usage (e.g. “entreating [in treating]” etc.), generally changes to clearly archaic spellings are done “silently.” Scripture quotations are italicized, as well as Latin words and some emphasis. While the original use of italics for all manner of emphasis created many difficulties (see the Analysis), I have attempted to untangle and trace all of Bownd’s references. An annotated bibliography is provided noting the library collections available to Bownd, as well as author, subject and Scripture indices....

Contents (there is also a lengthy table of chapters and subtopics in addition to bibliography, scripture, author and subject index).
Contents of The True Doctrine of the Sabbath ix
Introduction xix
Results of the Elizabethan Settlement xxii
The Bownds and Richard Greenham xxvii
Richard Greenham xxix
Nicholas Bownd xxxii
The Ministry of Nicholas Bownd xxxiv
The Market Day of the Soul xxxv
The Works of Nicholas Bownd xxxvi
Conformity and Presbyterianism xl
Bownd’s Advocacy/Rejection of Presbyterianism xliv
Thomas Rogers xlvii
The Works of Thomas Rogers xlviii
Thomas Rogers, Proponent of Conformity liii
Thomas Rogers and the Bury Exercise lvii
Thomas Rogers versus Nicholas Bownd lxi
Assessing Rogers’ Claims, Whitgift’s and Popham’s Suppression lxvi
Rogers’ 1598 Letter to Bownd lxix
Time table of events lxxvii
Objections to the Propagandist Theory lxxxi
Nicholas Bownd Proves Rogers’ Letter is Genuine lxxxiv
Conclusion lxxxv
Analysis lxxxix
Prefatory Epistles, 1595–1606
Dedication (1595) 3
To the Reader (1595) 4
Book One (1606): Dedication 6
To the Studious and Diligent Reader 9
Commendation by Alexander Bownd 12
Andrew Willet to the Reader 16
Book Two (1606): Dedication 22
William Jones to the Author 26
Commendation by Walter Allen 32
Book One: The Ancient Institution and Continuance of the Sabbath 35
Book Two: The Sanctification of the Sabbath 285
Bibliography 449
Author Index 466
Scripture Index 470
Subject Index 474
Commendations 482

Nicholas Bownd, Sabbathum Veteris Et Novi Testamenti: or, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (Naphtali Press, forthcoming 2015) 592pp. Hard bound, smyth sewn, dust jacket. Lengthy introduction and analysis. Pre-publication offer: $24.95 postage paid USA ONLY (if ordering multiples and to more than one address please specify in the instructions).
To order by mail send a check or money order for $24.95 per copy to,
Naphtali Press
P O Box 141084
Dallas, TX 75214
(Dj will reproduce photos of St. Andrews, Norton, Suffolk, where Bownd preached c.1583-1611. Courtesy of and (c) Dr. Andrew Mason.)
Whoo hoo! Dr. Beeke just mentioned this in class last week as the preeminent Puritan work on the subject and then lamented that it had not been reprinted.
It's too soon! We haven't recovered from the expense of The Grand Debate and CPJ 10 yet.
Seriously, i am glad to see it come to completion. I know you have worked on this for a very long time.
Bump. Order early order often. ;) Seriously, while I'm committed to doing this book at a set low quantity if need be, it would be nice if the interest is there for a larger print run because this is an important topic very neglected and despised today. And maybe this granddaddy of all Puritan books on the fourth commandment will do at least some small percentage of the good it did back when it first came out in 1595/1606. Whether I can make a larger quantity will depend on the interest over these couple of weeks before I file the order.
Not open for further replies.