Spurgeon Quote on the Sabbath Day

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Puritan Board Junior
"Money gained on Sabbath-day is a loss, I dare to say. No blessing can come with that which comes to us, on the devil’s back, by our willful disobedience of God’s law. The loss of health by neglect of rest, and the loss of soul by neglect of hearing the gospel, soon turn all seeming profit into real loss." - C.H. Spurgeon
This seems like a good thread to ask about a quote I found from Spurgeon recently. In a sermon on God;'s law written upon the heart in Jeremiah 31, he writes:

And it may be well to make a special note of this fact—IT IS GOD’S LAW WHICH IS WRITTEN UPON THE NEW HEART.

I do not think it is the Law as it stands in the letter, either in Exodus or in Deuteronomy, but it is the spirit of the Law that is written upon the Christian’s heart. With regard to the Law as a letter, we may say, “The letter kills.” It is the spirit, the essence of the Law, which the Christian is to mind and which is written on his heart. Under the old Law, the Jew was often put to much inconvenience. For instance, the Law of the Sabbath, as it then stood, was, “In it you shall do no manner of work.” Now, some Christians read it in that way even to this day—but when the Savior was on earth, His disciples rubbed the ears of corn together in the fields and ate thereof, on the Sabbath. The Pharisees complained of this, but the Savior replied to them that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath was never meant to be a fixed and tight bond to crush us and make us feel like slaves during the time it lasted. It was made for our use, to be devoted to the best and highest of purposes. The Pharisees would never have healed anybody on the Sabbath—that, they thought, was dreadfully wicked! But Jesus Christ hallowed the Sabbath by acts of mercy. And now He gives to the Christian a day of rest, not, indeed, such a day of rest as it was to the Jew, but He gives us this that we may perform works of mercy, works of piety and works for necessary uses. These we do perform and when we do, there are some who cry out that such-and-such a Christian is not a Sabbatarian! No, and the Christian has no need to be! His Law of the Sabbath is not the old Law, as he finds it in Deuteronomy or Exodus, but the Law of the Sabbath as he finds it according to Christ—which is this—that the day is a day of rest and holy pleasure. A day in which we are to serve God with all our might and any kind of work which is wholly God’s work—and in which we can serve God—is a work which we are permitted—no, which we are enjoined to perform!

So it is with all the Law. The Christian does not go back to the Law of Moses and say, “I feel very angry. I should like to know whether I may kill my brother.” No, he has the Law of God in his heart and he does not want to kill anybody. He knows that he that is angry with his brother is a murderer, so he turns around and says, “I forgive you. I forgive you freely.” Sometimes persons come and ask us questions which involve some degree of lust, but a Christian has the Law of God in his heart and he does not want to know whether this and that may be permitted as a sin of the flesh, but he remembers that, “whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” and so he spurns the sin. The Law written on his heart is enough for him and he delights in the Law of God after the inward plan, without needing to go to the letter, the killing letter—and reading in that the condemnation of offenses rather than the promptings of holy motives! The Law of God is perfect! Let us say nothing against it. But it is not so glorious as the Law which Christ has brought in and which He exhibited in His own Person. The glory of the Law was great, but the glory of Christ’s Gospel is far greater! Remember, Christian, that there is to be written on your heart the whole of God’s Law, but it is the spirit of that Law—not the letter of it—which is to be written there. And what that spirit is, you know, for our great Teacher epitomized it in one word, and that one word is “LOVE.” Love that furnishes the impulse while it prescribes the duty.

The man who has God’s Law written in his heart will go right without a book—he will go right without having somebody at his elbow to nudge him. And why will he go right? Why does the steam engine go? Because it has steam within it and the proper machinery—so it must go. You do not see 20 horses dragging a steam engine along, do you?

There are some folks who want to make laws to make other people good. That is not the way in which Scripture goes to work. Scripture just alters the man’s heart, puts new machinery in him and the heavenly steam—and then he cannot help going right! You are not to have a Law with 20 policemen behind it to drag a man to do right—that is not the thing to do. The man must be renewed by Divine Grace and made a new creature in Christ Jesus—and then, by the force and strength of that new nature, the Law being written in his heart—he hates that which is evil and cleaves to that which is good. Some people cannot understand this. They know that they will not, themselves, do what is right unless they are flogged to it—while they do what is wrong at every opportunity from an evil bias. But the Christian is different! He has been born-again and now he would need flogging to do evil! And even then he would not do it. But he needs no driving to that which is good, for the ways of God are his pleasure and the pleasures of sin he hates. May we all in this sense have the Law written on our hearts! And what will that Law be? Why, this word, “LOVE.” Love is the Law of the Gospel! “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength; and your neighbor as yourself.” This is the Law of the Christian, and this is the Law which is written on his heart! This is the sum and substance, the distilled essence of all the Ten Commandants. You may forget those Ten Commandments, O Believer, if you will but remember this new Law which is written on your heart, “Love, love, love!”


Comments? To me, he seems to go a bit far when he dismisses calling ourselves "Sabbatarians." Of course, he preaching in a day when the vast majority, if not all, of Christianity still held the Lord's Day in high esteem. Making the Lord's Day into a bunch of rules is just as bad as taking no care to prepare one's heart or circumstances so the day can be spent in joyful, restful enjoyment of the things of God.
"A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content, and strength for the toil of the morrow, but a Sabbath profaned, whate’er be gained, is a certain forerunner of sorrow."

A.W. Pink learned this in childhood. I have found it to be true. There is a direct correlation between how I spend my time on the Lord's day and my enjoyment or lack thereof of the week to come.
The more I grow as a Christian, the more I understand what a blessing, what a tool for sanctification, what a regulation for the discipline of a Christian life is the one day in seven, holy, and set apart for ceasing.

May God grant us more of a consciousness of this in the year to come.
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