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WHOSOEVER will hallow his holy day to God's worship, learn he another lesson, and understand how God commandeth in His commandment to have regard to the holy day. For man should on the holy day put out of his heart all worldly thoughts, and occupy his mind in heavenly desires, and think on the great goodness and mercy that God hath done for him, how He made him of nought, and like to Himself in soul. What greater token of love might He show than to make the servant like to the lord ? Also, have mind, that when thou wert a child of wrath and of hell for the sin of Adam, Christ laid His life to pledge to bring thee out of that prison, and He gave not as ransom for thee either gold or silver, or any other jewel, but His own precious blood that ran out of His heart. And this principally should move all Christian men to have mind of God, and to worship Him in thought, word, and deed. Have mind, also, how thou hast often, since thou wert christened, broken His commands, and done many great sins, and yet of His own goodness He abideth thee, without taking vengeance, where He might justly, for one deadly sin, put thee in pain for ever, and do thee no wrong.
Also have mind how He of His goodness governeth thee in thy right senses, and keepeth thee by night and by day, where he suffereth others for their sin to fall into great mischief both of body and soul. And from all such mischiefs by His mercy He hath kept thee. Think also how unkind thou hast been against Him, and all these great goodnesses which He hath willingly done to thee; and how thou, as an unkind wretch, against all these mercies, and many more, hast given Him gall to drink, of bitter and foul sins; and often wittingly and wilfully hast broken His commandments, both in thought, word, and deed.
That thou shouldest have mind of all these goodnesses, and many more which He hath done to thee, and of the manifold trespasses which thou hasť done against Himand since the having of such mind demands to have rest of body and of soul, and such rest should be had on the holy day—therefore God commandeth each man to have mind to hallow His holy day. For each man's mind or thought should be kept from vanities, and occupied thereabout, and therefore God called the holy day the day of rest. For each man should be busy to purchase rest of soul and body, and to avoid all things for the time that hinder this. For resting on the Sunday betokens the resting in bliss after this life, and they that will not keep rest of soul this day, and avoid sin, it is to be dreaded that unless they amend they will lose the rest of bliss to come.
The cause and end why this commandment was instituted is divers. First because man should upon this day call his intentment and thoughts from the lusts, pleasures, vanities, and concupiscence of the world, unto the meditations of God and His works, to the study of Scripture, hearing of the Word of God; to call upon God with ardent prayer, to use and exercise the Sacraments of God, to confer and give, according to his ability, alms to the comforting of the poor.
Then, likewise, God by this commandment provideth for the temporal and civil life of man, and likewise for all things that be necessary and expedient for man in this life. If man, and beast that is man's servant, should without repose and
rest always labour, they might never endure the travail of the earth. God, therefore, as He that intendeth the conservation and wealth of man and the thing created to man's use, commandeth this rest and repose from labour, that His creatures may endure and serve as well their own necessary affairs and business, as preserve the youth and offspring of man and beast till it come to a sufficient age and convenient force to supply the place and room of such as death or disease shall private or disable from the execution and use of such travails as this careful life shall necessarily require. So saith Ovid, Quod caret alterna requie, durabile non est, that is to say, “The thing cannot endure that lacketh rest."
That man and beast, therefore, might breathe and have repose, this Sabbath was instituted, not only that the body should be restored unto strength and made able to sustain the travails of the week to come, but also that the soul and spirit of man, whiles the body is at rest, might upon the Sabbath learn and know so the blessed will of his Maker that only it leave not from the labour and adversity of sin, but also by God's grace receive such strength and force in the contemplation of God's most merciful promise, that it may be able to sustain all the troubles of temptation in the week that followeth. For as the body, being always oppressed with labour, loseth his strength, and so perisheth; so doth the mind of man, oppressed with the cares and pleasures of this world, lose all her force and desire that she had to the rest to come of eternal life, and so dieth not only the death of sin, but hasteth what she can to hate and abhor all virtue.
Almighty God, therefore, not only in His commandments, but also at the first creation of the world, sanctified the seventh day, (Gen. ii.,) that is to say, appointed it to an holy use, or separated it from other days, wherein men travail in the business of this world. So is the meaning of this Hebrew phrase, or manner of speech, as ye may read, Joshua xx, chap., Sanctificaverunt Kades in Galilea, that is to say, “They sanctified Kades in Galilea.” It is as much to say in English, they chose or appointed the city of Kades to be a refuge or sanctuary for murderers, to be safe there till the cause of the murderer might be known. Howbeit, ye may not think that God gave any more holiness to the Sabbath than to the other days; for if ye consider Friday and Saturday, Saturday or Sunday, inasmuch as they be days and the work of God, the one is no more holy than the other. (Cod. lib. iii., tit. 12, de Feriis.) But that day is always most holy in the which we most apply and give ourselves unto holy works. To that end He sanctified the Sabbath day: not that we should give ourselves to illness, or such ethnical pastime as is now used among Christian people ; but being free that day from the travails of this world, we might consider the works and benefits of God with thanksgiving ; hear the word and law of God, honour Him and fear Him ; then to learn who and where be the poor of Christ, our brothers in necessity, that wanteth our help. The observation, therefore, of the Sabbath doth extend as well unto the faith we have in God as unto the charity of our neighbour; and not only that, but also unto the beasts that travail in our business and be our necessary servants, the which we should in no wise abuse, not only for their labour's sake, but also for the love of Him that hath commended them unto our service, Almighty God.
The Sabbath hitherunto from the beginning of the world was and is a type and figure of the eternal and everlasting rest that is to come; as St. Paul diligently showeth in the epistle to the Hebrews, cap. iv.: so doth Saint Augustine, lib. xi., cap. 31, De Civit. Such as believed the promise of God declared by Moses were led by Joshua the prince into Palestina, and rested in Chanaan : such as hear the word of God and obeyeth it shall be carried into the celestial heavens by Jesus Christ, and rest in eternal joy. Read diligently that chapter, and thou shalt find a very necessary doctrine, what is the cause that the most part of men enter not into this eternal rest; the contempt of our Captain's words, Jesus Christ, who would lead us thither, haled we not back and left not His commandments.
Consider the persons rehearsed in this commandment: “Thy son, thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy womanservant, thy beast, and the stranger within thy doors." Those thou must not without necessity constrain to any servile work upon the Sabbath ; but see that they exercise themselves upon the Sabbath in hearing the Word of God; and see they frequent the place of common prayers, and use the Sacraments as God commandeth. For those God hath commanded unto thy charge, as long as they be with thee, not only that thou give them their wages that is due, but also see them aright instructed in the law of God, and live thereafter. For if they perish by thy negligence, their blood shall be required at thy hand.
Such are my common days. But God's day calls for another respect. The same sun arises on this day, and enlightens it; yet, because that Sun of Righteousness arose upon it, and gave a new life unto the world in it, and drew the strength of God's moral precept unto it, therefore justly do we sing with the psalmist,“ This is the day which the Lord hath made.” Now I forget the world, and, in a sort, myself; and deal with my wonted thoughts as great men use, who, at some time of their privacy, forbid the access of all suitors. Prayer, meditation, reading, hearing, preaching, singing, good conference, are the businesses of this day; which I dare not bestow on any work or pleasure but heavenly. I hate superstition on the one side, and looseness on the other; but I find it hard to offend, in too much devotion ; easy, in profaneness. The whole week is sanctified by this day; and, according to my care of this, is my blessing on the rest.
BISHOP GERVASE BABINGTON.
The profitable use and application of this commandment is to weigh and duly consider that it is the law of no man, but of God the chiefest lawgiver, the wisest, most righteous,