Part 3: The Change of the Seventh to the First Day

The Fourth Commandment

James Durham

The Fourth Commandment

Part 3: The Change of the Seventh to the First Day

Copyright © 1997 Naphtali Press

3.  The Change of the Seventh to the First Day

III. We now come the third general question concerning the change, to wit, the change of the seventh day into the first day of the week; where first, we shall sum up what is moral in this command, and then secondly by some propositions clear the change and its consistency with this command.

1. To the first then this command does morally and perpetually oblige to these: (1) That there is a solemn time set apart and observed for worship. (2) That this should be one day of seven. (3) That it should be such a day, the very day, which God commands, the Sabbath of his appointment, whatever day it should be. (4) That it is a whole natural day of twenty-four hours, yet having an artificial day together undivided. (5) That six, and no more but six, working days intervene, and that these are together in a week. And therefore (6), that the Sabbath is a bounding day, dividing one working week from another; if then six working days must be in one week, and go together, this will follow also, that the Sabbath must be the first or last day of the seven.

2. As for the propositions clearing the change and consistency of it with this command, the first shall be this:

Proposition One. The Sabbath may be changed from the last or seventh day to the first day of the week without any derogation to this command or inconsistency with it; for all that is moral in it, to wit, a day and one day of seven, and a bounding seventh day, leaving six for work together, remains untouched by the change. Besides, the seventh day not having its institution from this command expressly and directly, but only accidentally (the particular day whether the Jews’ seventh day, or the Christians’ first day of the week being supposed by the fourth commandment as instituted, or to be instituted elsewhere), as is said, and its first institution (Gen. 2) being only a positive and temporary law may be therefore changed, and yet the fourth commandment kept entire. We need not insist in further prosecution of this proposition, much being spoken to it on the matter already.

Proposition Two. Not only may the seventh be altered from what it was under the law to another seventh day under the gospel, but it is meet and convenient from good reasons (even in the command) that it should be so.

Argument One. If these two ages, before Christ, and after him, are looked on as diverse worlds, and if the redemption by Christ at his coming is accounted the making of the one, as God’s creation was of the other, then it’s meet that when the world is renewed by redemption, the Sabbath day should be changed for memory of that, as well as it was instituted at first for the memory of the former, there being the same reason for both. But they are looked on as two distinct worlds, and called so in the plural number (Heb. 1, 2), and this last world distinguished from the former (Heb. 2:5), and the redeeming of the one is looked upon as the making of the other; therefore from that day forth the day of rest is to be such as may relate to both. Now the day being changed to the first, it reminds us of God’s rest at the creation by distinguishing six days from the seventh, and it reminds us of the new creation by putting Christ’s resurrection in the room of the former.

Argument Two. If the new world is a work as much for the glory of God, and as comfortable to men, when it’s begun and closed or finished by the work of redemption, as the making of the old world was, then the day of rest of the new world is to be made to relate to that; much more if the redemption of the world is more for the glory of God, and for the comfort of men. Then by the ground on which the seventh day was at first instituted, it’s also again to be changed, to wit, the memory of God’s great work. But both the former are true. Ergo, or thus, if the ground that made the seventh to be chosen for the Sabbath in the old world is changed in the new, and that ground agrees better to another than to it, then it is to be changed. But the ground whereupon the old seventh day was preferred is now changed, and there are grounds to prefer another day to it for the same ends; therefore it is meet the day be changed also. Or thus, if the perfecting of the work of redemption, and the rest of the Mediator after it, is as much to be remembered as the work of creation and God’s resting after it, then the day is to be changed, but so it is, Ergo.

Argument Three. If by Christ all the Levitical services are changed in the new world, and the ceremonial worship of that day; then it is meet that the day also should be changed. (1) For showing the expiration of that worship and law, it being hard to keep that day, and to distinguish it from the Jewish former worship. (2) To keep Christians more from Judaizing, and to abstract them even from former services of the Sabbath now abolished; just as now no particular family has the priesthood, as Levi had it before, nor no particular nation has the Church confined in it, as that of the Jews had (though these were not typical properly); yea, it would be such a day as would point out the evanishing of former ceremonies, which the in-bringing of the first day abundantly does.

Argument Four. If the worship and ordinances of the new gospel world is eminently to hold their institution of Christ the Mediator, and to be made some way relative to his redemption past, then it is meet for that end that the Sabbath day be changed, so as it may be dependent on him as all other worship is that is moral-positive or positive moral, and that cannot be done well, if the former day is kept unchanged, at least not so well, as when it is changed. But the former is true — all gospel-worship holdeth of him sacraments, prayers, praises, ministry, etc. (now sacraments as they seal are not ceremonial, for the tree of life was instituted to be a seal of the Covenant of works in the state of innocency before the fall, while there were no typical institutions of a Savior to come, and so sacraments as they are seals may be continued, as perpetual pieces of worship, without hazard of typifying a savior to come); therefore he instituted new ones, and that with relation to his work of redemption, considered as past. Hence also his prayer or pattern is called the Lord’s Prayer, and his sacrament of the supper is called the Lord’s Supper, because instituted by him and relating to him. In this sense it is peculiarly said (Heb. 2:5), that God put in subjection to him the world to come different from what was before, and he is put as the Son in the New Testament in the place of Moses, who was the law-giver and faithful servant in the Old (Heb. 3). Upon this ground we think that day is called (Rev. 1:10), the Lord’s Day, to bring it in dependence on Jesus Christ, and to make it respect what is past of the work of redemption.

Argument Five. If the day of solemn public worship is a piece of God’s worship, capable of bearing a relation to Christ to come, and falling out under the Mediator’s kingdom properly; then when he comes in the new world, it is meet it should be changed. (1) To show he is come. (2) To show he is absolute over the house and worship of God. (3) Some way to preach his grace and redemption in the very change of it. But it is a piece of worship and tribute of our time (as is said before), and a piece of worship capable of his institution and remembrance (therefore called the Lord’s Day), which could not be, were not a day of worship capable of that, and it falls under the power of Christ, who (Mat. 12), Even as the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. And why is that power pleaded in that particular of the day so often, if it were not to show that there is reason by his coming to look on the Sabbath as under him, even as all other worship was, which stood by God’s positive command, even as this did?

Argument Six. If by this command the day of rest from God’s most solemn work is to be our day of rest; then after Christ’s coming (not so before), not the seventh, but the first day is to be observed; but by the command the former is true. Again, if that day is to be kept in reference to any solemn work of God, which was the first day after his perfecting it, then the first day is to be kept. But by the command the former is true, because our resting day is to be kept in reference to the work of redemption, and therefore must be on the first day, which was the day after its closing and perfecting, as to Christ’s suffering and labor, though not as to its application, even as the seventh was of God’s resting from the work of creation, though not from his works of Providence.

Argument Seven. If the seventh day which the Jews kept, had any peculiar tie or motive unto them, which by Christ is not taken away, then it was meet that at Christ’s coming that day should be changed. We would understand here, that there might be some[thing] peculiar or typical in their seventh day, and yet nothing so in the fourth command, which commands one of seven, but not the seventh. And though we could not particularly pitch upon what is typical or peculiar in it, yet may we conceive that something there is, as in tithes, offerings, etc., though the particular thing which is typified is hardly instructed.

As (1), if its beginning was on the evening to them (as some think) the reason of it was peculiar, to wit, their coming out of Egypt at evening (Ex. 12). And in so far at least it would be peculiar to them, and by Christ’s rising in the morning is changed.

(2) It’s pressed peculiarly on the account of God’s redeeming them from Egypt. They had that to think on, that sometime they were where they got no liberty to rest any day; therefore should they ease their servants (as it is Deut. 5:14, 15). This holds especially if it was on the seventh day that their freedom from Egypt began (which was after that, made the first day of their year, that is, the morrow after they did eat the Passover) as it’s made probable by some (Ex. 12).

(3) It was peculiarly discovered to them by God’s raining manna from Heaven six days, and by his withholding it from them the seventh.

(4) It was peculiarly accompanied with special ceremonial services beyond other days.

(5) God’s manner of dealing with them before Christ, was to press duties by temporal and external advantages expressly, and more implicitly by spiritual mercies; therefore it was most agreeable to that way and time to press the seventh day on them which minded them of the benefit of creation. But it’s otherwise with the church under the gospel. Hence their sacraments had respect (externally) to their deliverance from Egypt and temporal things, whereas ours have respect purely to what is spiritual.

(6) The Apostle (Col. 2:16) takes in their Sabbaths with their other days, and though he takes not in all days alike, yet it can hardly be denied but their seventh-day Sabbath comes in there, where all the Jewish times are put together. Therefore it would seem there is a type, not in the command, but in that day, though not properly, yet accidentally in respect of its worship, end, application, etc., complexly taken; and that therefore this seventh-day Sabbath is expired at least, if not repealed, seeing that days and times kept by the Jews are enumerated with their other services which were antiquated; even as when the Apostle condemns difference about meat or drink, his meaning is not to condemn, what difference is made in the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament, but what is from the Old. So may the same be said of days. It’s their old difference he cries down.

Proposition Three. As it’s meet that the day of worship under the gospel, should be another than what was under the Law, and should therefore be changed; so it’s meet that the change should be into the first day of the week, and to no other day. For:

(1) No other day has been honored with so many gospel privileges. As [1], with Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 28). It was the first day of his victory and rest. [2] With Christ’s appearing twice, at least, on it to his disciples, singling it out from other days; or his appearing is for no purpose particularly recorded by the Evangelist John to have been on that day, if there were not something remarkable in it besides what is in another day. [3] The Spirit’s giving at Pentecost (Acts 2), will be found to be on the first day of the week. Now no other day can claim so many privileges, and so many ways relate to Christ.

(2) If the grounds upon which the seventh day under the Law was preferred during that world, do in this renewing of the world agree only to the first day of the week; then is the first day to succeed. But these grounds proportionally agree only to the first day under the gospel, which agreed to the seventh under the Law. Ergo:

That which make the seventh day preferable was [1], that God had ended all his works on the sixth, and rested the seventh. It was the first day after the creation; so the first day of the week is that day on which Christ rose (having perfected the work of redemption, and obtained victory over death, under whose power some way for a time his body was before that) and was thereby manifestly declared to be the Son of God, to wit, by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

[2] The force of the example will hold here — God made the world in six days, and rested the seventh, therefore rest you with him. So Christ having for a time suffered, fully overcame [on] the first day, and began his estate of exaltation, therefore rest with him, and rejoice that day, it being the beginning of this new joyful world.

[3] No other day can be substituted in place of the old seventh day, reserving entire the morality of this command; therefore it must be this that is put in the place of that. For this command requires one day of every seven, allowing six of every seven to work, and that together. Now if the day had gone beyond the Sabbath ensuing, it had not been one day of seven. If it had been the second, third, or fourth day, then the six working days had not gone together. But now the first being appointed for God next to the seventh, God has his part or tribute called for, and then came six working days together unto us of that same week, and so still they run; God has one, and we have six of the same week.

If it is here objected, that this way, the new world is begun with a Sabbath, whereas the Sabbath closed and ended the creation of the old world.

Answer. (1) Thus God has no loss of what he required; for this way, no week [lacks] its Sabbath. (2) It’s most suitable that the old world should end in a Sabbath, and the new begin in a Sabbath, that so the worship of the new (which most distinctly discovers the change) might the more immediately and convincingly preach the change, which could not so well have been done if working days of both had met together, or a working day of the one, and the Sabbath of the other. (3) Though the old Sabbath was the seventh in order from the creation, yet it was the first day after man’s creation, God beginning as it were, and entering him with that; even so when men are brought into this new world or change, God will begin it with gladness and joy to them.

Proposition Four. The day of solemn public worship required to be observed by this command, was really changed from the seventh or last day to the first day of the week, according to the former grounds. That it was really changed, may be made out by these.

(1) That the apostles and primitive Christians after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, had their solemn day for meeting to worship God; yet neither did they by themselves together in practice keep the seventh, nor by command appointed it to be kept, nor gave it the title of the Lord’s Day. It’s true, that often they kept it in a sort with the Jews, as they did Pentecost, for the opportunity of the multitude coming together on these days, or to bury it with honor; as they did practice for a time several of the Jewish rites antiquated for their gaining, and till they were fully informed of their abolition. But in constituted churches of the Gentiles, we never read that they kept it, but another day.

(2) The apostles and primitive Christians kept and esteemed the first day for their solemn day, beyond and above all days, yea, and it only as the Christian Sabbath. For [1], on that day they used to meet ordinarily, and that not occasionally, but purposely and determinately, as [in] John 20:19, 26, which is clearly the first day. [2] They are purposely together, and not for fear (for fear scatters) but while they are together, they do for fear shut the doors, being very probably led from the news of the resurrection to be together; and so again (v.26) they meet, and Christ with them. And though it may possibly be, that on other days they met; yet doubtless this holds forth something peculiar to this day, and some lesson to be taken from it. That [1], Christ’s coming to them is especially trysted on that day, and that while they are together. [2] That when they met at any other time, ‘ere he came to them it’s never said, they were or came together the second, third or fourth day of the week, but on the first. And wherefore does the Holy Ghost record that day, or their meeting on that day, when he omits the naming of other days, but that day in its exercises may be especially taken notice of. And though other days had been much alike in exercises to them, yet the recording of this day so often, and omitting the other, intimates a difference, surely they are not alike in this. So much for the 20th of John, which is the first place of Scripture we make use of.

The second is Acts 2:1, 2. Here they are said to be, all with one accord in one place when Pentecost came. Where it’s clear, [1] that Pentecost was on the first day of the week, for it was the fiftieth day after the feast of unleavened bread. Now according to the Jews’ account, their Passover day was on the Sabbath (called, John 19:31, a high Sabbath) in which Christ lay all the day in the grave. As appears, for that day is called their preparation for the feast, wherein Christ suffered, which is our Friday. Reckon now what will be the fiftieth day after, or Pentecost, and it will be found to be the first day of the week. And it’s not only observable for their meeting, but for God’s sending the Spirit on them, as a special blessing of that day, and his countenancing of their worshipping him on it, according to his promise. [2] It is clear that they did meet together on this day. [3] That this meeting together was not a daily or ordinary meeting together (for John 21 we see they went to fishing, and no question sometimes they went asunder), for (v. 1) it’s marked as a thing not ordinary to every day, that on that day they were altogether in one place. [4] It was not a meeting in reference to the Pentecost feast; for (a), they only are together, distinct from the people. (b) It’s not in the Temple, but in some other house fit for their meeting together at public worship. It must be therefore, because that day was the time of their solemn meeting, even their Christian Sabbath.

The third place is Acts 20:7. And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread Paul preached unto them, etc. Where it is clear:

[1] That this meeting was for public worship, as the breaking of bread and preaching intimates.

[2] That there is some observableness in the circumstance, that it was on the first day of the week, and that day is mentioned rather than any of the former six days in which he had been there at Troas, though it’s more than probable they had meetings and preaching on them also. But this is the only and great difference, that their meetings on these days were occasional, and it may be but partial (to speak so) but the solemn chief fixed meeting of all, was usually and ordinarily on the first day.

[3] This coming together on that day for these ends is spoken of, as a thing that was not new, nor occasional; but as their customary, constant, known practice. They came together purposely, to break bread and to wait on other ordinances.

[4] It’s clear, that by special applying of these exercises to that day, and by mentioning of the day for that end, that, that day was their most solemn day, and that the old seventh day was not so (at least necessarily) employed by them.

[5] Neither is it likely, that Paul, who was ready to depart, would have stayed for the first day of the week, if there had not been some solemn worship in that, or that he would have passed the old seventh day Sabbath, especially to the marring of his other occasions, had they been equal, or more sanctification required in it, than in the first day of the week, or that he would have so much insisted in religious public worship on that day, if the former seventh had been employed in that service. But here the church being constituted of believing Gentiles, there is no mention of the old Sabbath, but as of another common day of the week.

Yea [6], Paul’s spending this whole day in that service, and continuing his sermon till midnight (yet accounting it still one day) in solemn meeting, confirms this day to be more than an ordinary day, or than other days of the week, as being specially dedicated to these services and exercises, and totally spent in them.

[7] It’s said that the disciples came together. They were not sent for that day, but they came together being called and accustomed so to do on that day, and as being put to these duties by the day, as the proper exercises in which it is to be spent.

Hence we may argue, if the apostles and primitive Christians did observe the first day of the week, as their prime and chief time for solemn, public worship, and did pass over the old seventh day, then is the day changed from the seventh to the first day of the week. But the first is cleared by the former instances, Ergo, etc.

And if these meetings on that first day were not such as used to be formerly on the seventh day, I desire to know a reason: (1) Why their meetings on that day should be particularly recorded rather than their meetings on any other day. And then (2), why the one is so often mentioned, and the other never, to wit, that they met the second, third day, etc., of the week. Or (3), if their meeting on this first day now (after Christ’s ascension) is not like his going to the Synagogue on the seventh day Sabbath, and doing such and such things on the Sabbath, that day being most frequently mentioned before, whereas now there is deep silence of that day, and the first day is recorded in its room, neither can the Scriptures speaking of the one, and silence in the other be for no purpose, or for any other purpose.

And as the practice of the church holds out the change of the day, so does the title given (Rev. 1:10) to the first day of the week, to wit, the Lord’s Day, confirm the same. Whence we argue:

If the title, which by the Lord and his people was given to the seventh day Sabbath under the Old Testament, and under which and by which, he claims a seventh day in this command; if I say that title in the New Testament is not given unto the seventh, but unto the first day of the week, then is the day changed from the seventh day to the first, and the first falls now under this command, as the seventh formerly did. But the former is true, the first is styled as the seventh was, and as this command styles and claims the day to the Lord to be observed for him; therefore now is the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week.

The titles whereby the Sabbath is distinguished from other days and peculiarly claimed and marked by God as his, and that in this same command, must certainly evidence that day which he has set apart and claims as he applies them. And therefore if these titles are given and applied to the first day now, it must [necessarily] show a succeeding of that day unto the former seventh, for during the observation of the seventh day these titles were not, nay could not be applied to the first, no day being then the Lord’s but the seventh.

Now we find that the seventh day Sabbath is in the Old Testament styled by the Lord under these titles, and so claimed by him. (1) It’s called here the Sabbath of the Lord or to the Lord, that’s the Lord’s, as contradistinguished from the six days he has given unto us, a day that he has right to, and not we, therefore called the Lord’s Sabbath. (2) It’s claimed by the Lord as his (Isaiah 58:13), my Holy day, which is so called [1], to distinguish it from other days. [2] To stamp it with the Lord’s mark in respect of it’s use, for it is not to be applied to our use, but to his own, it being his in a special manner.

But in the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection, the seventh day is not so styled and claimed, but the first day of the week is (Rev. 1:10). I was (John says) in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day: In which place these things are clear.

(1) That after Christ’s ascension there was a peculiar day belonging to the Lord besides and beyond other days.

(2) That it was not the old Sabbath, for [1] John’s scope being particularly to clear the time of the vision by the circumstance of the day, the particular day as distinct from other days, to call the Sabbath then used among the Jews, the Lord’s Day, had more obscured it than cleared it. Yea [2], in that it’s called the Lord’s, according to the phrase of the New Testament, it supposes some relation to Christ the Mediator, as being derived from him, which cannot be said of the seventh day Sabbath.

(3) That it was not any indefinite day of the Lord. For [1], there is great odds between the Lord’s Day, and the Day of the Lord, the former looks to a constant special right and peculiar interest that God has in that day besides other days, even as when the seventh day was called his Day before, the temple, his Temple, the prescribed service, his Service, and the sacrament of the Supper, his Supper, etc. [2] That day would be still dark to the church if it were indefinite, contrary to John’s scope.

(4) That it is, and must be such a day as was commonly set apart by Christians to God as his, and that with respect to Christ the Mediator, and such a day as was known to them. And by the former practices it is clear, that this day is the first day of the week, being the Lord Christ’s day, who now having conquered death, and gotten the victory, he does therefore claim this day as a tribute to him.

This being clear, that no other day can claim this title, and that the first day has good ground to claim it, we may put it out of question, that it is the first day or no day, or if it were not the first, that to no purpose were the designation of that day inserted, seeing to no other day has it been applied, nor can it be applied.

This truth has been uncontroverted in all Antiquity, and almost by all writers, till of late Gomarus begins to question it, as Rivet clears on this command against him.[Andreas Rivetus, French Protestant divine, Professor of Theology at Leyden (1572-1651). Operum Theologicorum: Explicat. Decalog. (Roterdami: Arnoldi Leers, 1651, 1652, 1660. 3 vols).]

Now (supposing it as unquestionable that this is the very first day) we are to inquire if the title applied to this day is the same with that in the command, and which usually was given to the old seventh day Sabbath, or that then Lord’s Day.

And it is clear, (1) that this title claims this day to God as his day, it being possessively expressed, as when we say, the Lord’s Throne, the Lord’s Altar, the Lord’s Sabbath, etc.

(2) It contra-distinguishes that day from other days as if they were not so the Lord’s, but ours, like that in the command, Six days shalt thou labor, etc., but the seventh is the Lord’s. So it’s the Lord’s in a peculiar way, we having lesser right to employ that day for our own use than any other day, and this claim of the first day to be the Lord’s, infers a condescension or dispensation whereby the last day becomes ours, for had there been two days belonging to him, one day could not have been peculiarly called his. In which respect (1 Cor. 11), the Lord’s Supper is distinguished from their own supper, even so the Lord’s Day is distinguished from other days.

(3) It lays on a necessity of using it for the Lord, and not for ourselves, because it’s his, and will infer the same moral duties and ends which the command obliges to.

(4) It will infer an appointment of Christ’s, whereby he appropriates that day to his service, and claims it to himself. Why? Because he calls it his, even as in the fourth command there is no express institution of the seventh day, yet because the seventh was called the Lord’s, and in his former way and dispensations intimated as a day to be kept for him. Therefore it’s understood and taken for granted by the Jews to be instituted seeing he calls it his. So may we conclude here, that there is an institution and appointment of the first day to be the Lord’s, because it’s claimed by him as his, although no such plain express institution is of it as of other ordinances, it being clear that the institution of days is left more generally to be gathered. From all which we may gather the conclusion, to wit, that the first day of the week is styled by the same peculiar titles claimed by the Lord expressly as his right and due, and upon as valid grounds under the New Testament, as the seventh day was under the Old. Therefore now the seventh day is changed, and the first is come in its room, which was the thing to be proved.

In the last room we argue from the Apostle’s ordinance [in] 1 Cor. 16:1, 2, concerning contributions for the saints, As I have (Paul says) given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye, that is, the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him, etc. I say we argue thus, that not the seventh, but the first day, is the chief solemn day for worship after Christ’s resurrection.

If the first day of the week is particularly and eminently pitched on by the Apostle, and that in diverse churches as the fittest time for expressing their charity, then must there be some[thing] eminent in the first day, giving ground for such an appointment and ordinance, as the Apostle singling that from other days for such an end (and no other reason can be given, but that that day being more especially and immediately appointed for God, is most fit for that duty, which is a work of mercy), but it’s there clear, that the Apostle pitches singularly on that day besides other days, Ergo, etc.

For strengthening of the argument, consider (1) that it’s clear to be the first day of the week, since that same phrase which is used by the Evangelists (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1), is made use of here by the Apostle, who no question follows the Evangelist’s phrase. Yea, his following that phrase may hint at a reason, why he commands charity to be on that day, or sets it apart for that use as beyond other days, to wit, our Lord’s resurrection.

(2) It’s clear, that he thinks it not indifferent what day it is done on, not that all days are alike; therefore he pitches on that day, the first day, and that not in one church only, but in many.

(3) That this is not commended only to them, but commanded and enjoined even in reference to the day, and will the Apostle load churches with commands in that circumstance without ground, and universally (to speak so) prefer one day to another, and so as he will have uniformity in the very day in the Church of Corinth, with other churches unnecessarily? Lest it not be said, nay not thought.

(4) That this day was commanded even in the Churches of Galatia, in which churches he had condemned the observation of days, whereby it would seem to be clear that he counts not the preferring of this first day, as one of these days, the observation whereof is prohibited and condemned by him, nor wills it to be laid aside; and that purposely he passed the seventh day as amongst these days, which were not to be observed and retained, but laid aside.

(5) That the thing required is a duty of the Sabbath, being a work of mercy, as (Isa. 58) giving bread to the hungry, is mentioned particularly, as one of the duties of God’s Holy Day.

(6) That the mentioning of the first day of the week must be looked on, as relating to, and as compared with, the practice of keeping solemn meetings on that day, and this command of doing this on the first day of the week must be most strong, and infer somewhat more being compared with other places, then if such things were not recorded otherways of the first day.

(7) This command supposes them to be already acquainted with some special privileges of the first day beyond others, when he commends this as a motive to them to be more charitable, to wit, that it was to be done on that day.

(8) That there must be some peculiar thing in this day making it fit, yea more fit for such a purpose, as doing works of charity on it, rather than on any other. And the Apostle’s commanding this (and that in many churches) does necessarily presuppose a reason why he does it, drawn from some fitness of this day by [beside] another. Now if we will inquire, no reason can be given but that the Seventh day Sabbath was expired, and that this first day was instituted in it’s place, for otherwise any day was alike; yea the seventh day being the last day of the week, and the day when men usually reckon their week’s success, it would seem more reasonable for this end, that men at the close of the week should lay up by them, as God had blessed them, than to reserve it to the beginning of another week, were not the first day more especially to be sanctified than the last, and the last to be accounted but an ordinary working day. The fitness then flows from this, that the first day of the week being the day of their solemn communion with God, and with one another, and the day of their partaking most liberally of spiritual blessings from him, that therefore they should be most readily warmed in their affections, and be most liberal in their communications to such as wanted [were in need], especially if we consider the Jews to be parties for whom that collection or contribution was. It’s the Apostle’s great argument where-by he pleads for charity to the poor Jews from the Christian Gentiles (Rom. 15:26, 27), that the Gentiles were their debtors in temporals, because they had received spiritual things from them. Now this argument is most fresh and powerful, when believers do record on the first day of the week God’s privileging them with his ordinances, and giving them his day in place of the ordinances and day which the Jews once had, and yet deriving these unto them by the Jews; I say this argument will then be most fresh to incite to that duty in particular.

If any say that it was accidental that the first day was chosen or named rather than another, because one behooved to be named and it was alike which: But (1), I demand why is it universal? If it were from one church only it might possibly have been thought so; but he calls for this duty on that day from more churches. (2) Why does he not recommend it, but command it as having more than an indifferency in the very day. And (3), can it be by guess or accident (to speak so) that so many privileges are fallen on that day? And that so many things are recorded of it, and astricted [restricted] to it by commands, which is not done of, and to, any other days. And if one place would not suffice to prove, that the first day and not the seventh day was preferred by the apostles, as the chief day of solemn public worship, yet all these things put together must prove a preference in that day. Or we must say that the penmen of Holy Scripture have been very partial, who have marked many things, and recorded them concerning God’s worship on that day, and have never so much as once for solemn service named what was done on the second, third, fourth, fifth days. We must either say, that this is inadvertently done (which were blasphemy considering by what Spirit they wrote), or we must say it’s done to put a preference of, as the most solemn day for God’s worship by Christians (which is the thing to be confirmed) — for the day that’s claimed as the Lord’s, kept for him, and singularly marked to be privileged beyond other days, must be his day. But this first day is such, Ergo, etc.

Proposition Five. This change of the day whereby the seventh is laid aside, and the first substituted in its room, is of divine authority and institution, and not by any mere human or ecclesiastic constitution. I conceive there is indeed no midds [middle course] here between a divine institution, which has God’s warrant and authority stamped on it, and for conscience sake is to be observed as being obligatory thereof, and that immediately, and human or ecclesiastic constitutions, which may reach the external man, but in the matters of worship cannot bind the conscience or impose them as necessary. Now that this change is not by the last, but by the first, we prove these ways:

(1) Thus, if it is not human or ecclesiastic, then it must be divine, but it is not human or ecclesiastic, Ergo, it’s divine. That it is not human will appear, [1] if it reaches the conscience, and that immediately; then it’s not human but divine. But it does so. [2] If no man or church on earth has power to alter God’s day, now, nay, nor simply, or at all, then it’s not human or ecclesiastic. But first, none can change it, as we might clear from great absurdities that would follow. Second, if any church has this power let them show it. The old church had it not; neither the new, as is cleared in the first question.

(2) We proceed to evince this change to be by divine institution these four ways:

[1] From reasons flowing from Scripture, or consequences drawn from it. (a) Thus where by genuine and native consequences drawn from Scripture anything is so imposed as it cannot without sin be altered or neglected, there is a divine institution; but in the change of the seventh day Sabbath to the first such consequences may be drawn from Scripture, as will (upon supposition of the change) astrict it to the first day, so as that cannot be altered or neglected without sin. Ergo, it’s of divine institution. The question can be only of the minor, which is made out from what is said in the third proposition thus.

If these very grounds which plead the convenience of the change simply, do plead the convenience of that change to the first day, then by clear and unforced consequence, the first day is chosen and cannot without sin be passed by, altered or neglected, except we say these reasons have no weight. But these very grounds will be found to plead for, and to be applicable to, the first day of the week alone; and therefore besides all other days in the new world it may be called the day which God specially made, as it is the day of Christ’s rest from the work of redemption, answerable to God’s rest after the creation, etc. And therefore as being most conducible to that end, the first day cannot be without sin passed by, neglected or altered.

(b) Thus, if the very day of Christ’s rest in the new world is to be rested on, and sanctified as the Sabbath, then the first day is to be rested on and sanctified. But by analogy from the works of creation, we may see that the first day of rest after the finishing of the work of redemption is to be sanctified, Ergo, etc. And Ps. 118 is very considerable to this purpose, wherein there is: [a] a prophecy of Christ. [b] Of a day which God has singularly made for us to joy in. [c] That day is the day wherein the rejected stone is made the head of the corner, which day is clear from Rom. 1:4 to be the resurrection day. Yea, suppose that day there does signify the time of the gospel, wherein we should joy, yet even that way, the first day is by proportion that day eminently wherein Christ’s victory was manifested, and so the day wherein Christians ought especially to rejoice.

[2] The second way we may reason for the change to be by divine institution is from this command. If (supposing still a change) by the morality of this command, the seventh can be changed into no day but the first day of the week, then is the change into the first day, of divine institution (for so that must necessarily be, which is by virtue of a command). But by this command no other day can be admitted; for each week is divided in six working days, and these together to us, and one of rest, and that to God. Now by changing it to the first God gets one and we six, and that together. But if the day were the second, third, fourth, etc., it would not be so, for the six working days would be interrupted, which is contrary to that morality of the command, whereby our days are distinguished from his, that ours for one week being fully by, we may with the greater freedom give God his.

[3] The third way we take to prove the change of the day to be by divine institution is this: if by the practice of the apostles, who were guided and inspired by the Spirit in things belonging to their office infallibly, this day was observed as different from other days; then there is a divine institution of, and warrant for this day. But by the practice of the apostles this day is celebrated as different from, and preferred to, other days, or as divine; therefore it’s of divine institution. If the divine practice and example of the apostles in things moral and common to all, do not either suppose a divine antecedent institution, or infer a subsequent, then their practice and example, which in these things is infallible and unerring, will have no more force then the example of others, which were absurd, their examples being especially pressed on us. And if in anything their example is divine, it must be in this, so particularly and so well circumstantiated. And where their meeting is not recorded to have been on any other second, third, etc., day, certainly their practice must be not only more than nothing, but very significant. And indeed in positive worship, the Lord has been pleased to be more sparing (to say so), and to leave us more to gather from examples than in negatives, as in the positive part of swearing, admitting of church members, in government, baptism and admission to the supper. Yet none can say that there is no Scripture institution in these, where there may be such grounds or examples.

[4] The divine institution of the change may be argued from the title thus: If that which is called the Lord’s, is his by divine institution and separation from other things not so called, then this first day must be his by divine institution and separation from other days. But all that is called the Lord’s, is his after this manner, Ergo, let the minor be confirmed these three ways:

(a) By looking to what is called the Lord’s generally in the Old Testament, as his house, his altar, his priests, his tithes, etc., are they not still his, because by him separate for distinct uses in his worship?

(b) By looking more particularly how the seventh day was called his day, or the Sabbath his, is not this the reason, because it was appointed by him for his worship beside other days? And can any reason agree better to this?

(c) By looking how anything is called the Lord’s in the New Testament, there is no other or better phrase or designation to try by, than 1 Cor. 11:20-21, (to deipnon kuriande is opposed to To idion deipnon), even as this first day, called the Lord’s Day as opposed to our days or common days, and that is called the Lord’s Supper, because instituted by him, for such and such spiritual ends and uses. And therefore there can be no better ground gotten for showing why this is called the Lord’s Day beside others, than by comparing it with other Scriptures, and if in other things that phrase imports a divine institution, why not in this? I do not mean that this is an institution, or that it will prove that there must be a clear and express institution shown. But I mean this, that it will infer there is one, and that it is divine, seeing God is to choose and not we. We might here again produce the four witnesses already tested for the morality of this fourth command, to wit, [a] The general practice of primitive Christians. [b] Their general opinion and judgment. [c] Men’s consciences. [d] The dispensations of God; which will also all clearly depone [testify] in this, about the change of the day.

Proposition Six. Although we know not the preemptory and precise time when this day was instituted, and the very first day sanctified, nor whether it was immediately by Christ, or mediately from him by the apostles instituted, which is of no great concernment to the main of its institution; yet we think it most probable that our Lord did from the very day of his resurrection either himself institute it, while (as Acts 1:3) he taught them what concerned the Kingdom of God, or did inspire his apostles to observe it from that time forth. Because (1), if it was not then instituted, the church had for some time [gone without] a Sabbath, the seventh day Sabbath being expired by the resurrection. (2) The reason moving the change and preferring the first day before others as in a nearer capacity of sanctification for that end, was from that time forth. (3) The apostles practice of meeting, and Christ’s keeping with them, has been from the first change, even on the first two first days of the week (John 20:19, 26). (4) All the practices and other grounds whereby the change is evidenced, suppose still the institution to precede; which makes it appear to be very ancient.

And so we resume and close these six propositions: 1. The day may be changed from the last to the first. 2. It’s meet it should be so, and there is good reason for it. 3. It can only be to the first. 4. It’s so changed actually. 5. It’s change is not by human, but by divine institution. 6. Its institution seems to be from the rise of the gospel church, and the very day of Christ’s resurrection. Hence we infer: 1. Good warrant, even God’s warrant for employing the seventh day to ourselves, seeing God seeks but one day in seven, and now has chosen and claims the first. 2. God’s warrant for sanctifying the First Day Sabbath or the Lord’s Day as his institution. 3. That the Lord’s Day is to be sanctified by us Christians, and that by virtue of this command, as the seventh day was by the Jews on its grounds.

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