Rest. God having created the world in six days, "rested" on the seventh, Ge 2:2-3; that is, he ceased from producing new beings in this creation; and because he had rested on it, he "blessed" or sanctified it, and appointed it in a peculiar manner for his worship.
We here have an account of the ORIGINAL INSTITUTION of the day of rest. Like the institution of marriage, it was given to man for the whole race. Those who worshipped God seem to have kept the Sabbath from the first, and there are tokens of this in the brief sketch the Bible contains of the ages before the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Noah sent forth the raven from the ark, and the dove thrice, at intervals of seven days, Ge 8. The account of the sending of manna in the desert proves that the Sabbath was already known and observed, Ex 16:22-30. The week was an established division of time in Mesopotamia and Arabia, Ge 29:27; and traces of it have been found in many nations of antiquity, so remote from each other and of such diverse origin as to forbid the idea of their having received it from Sinai and the Hebrews.
The REENACTMENT of the Sabbath on Mount Sinai, among the Commandments of the Moral Law, was also designed not for the Jews alone, but for all whom should receive the word of God, and ultimately for all mankind. Christ and his apostles never speak of the decalogue but as of permanent and universal obligation. "The Sabbath was made for man." The fourth commandment is as binding as the third and the fifth. Certain additions to it, with specifications and penalties, were a part of the Mosaic civil law, and are not now in force, Ex 31:14; Nu 15:32-36. On the Sabbath-day, the priests and Levites, ministers of the temple, entered on their week; and those who had attended the foregoing week, went out. They placed on the golden table new loaves of showbread, and took away the old ones, Le 24:8. Also on this day were offered particular sacrifices of two lambs for a burnt offering, with wine and meal. The Sabbath was celebrated like the other festivals, from evening, Nu 28:9-10.
The chief obligation of the Sabbath expressed in the law is to sanctify it, Ex 20:8; De 5:12: "Remember the Sabbath-day to sanctify it." It is sanctified by necessary works of charity, by prayers, praises, and thanksgiving, by the public and private worship of God, by the study of his word, by tranquility of mind, and by meditation on moral and religious truth in its bearing on the duties of life and the hope of immorality. The other requirement of the law is rest: "Thou shalt not do any work." The ordinary business of life is to be wholly laid aside, both for the sake of bodily and mental health, and chiefly to secure the quiet and uninterrupted employment of the sacred hours for religious purposes. The spirit of the law clearly forbids all uses of the day which are worldly, such as amusements, journeys, etc., whereby one fails to keep the day holy himself, or hinders others in doing so.
The CHRISTIAN SABBATH is the original day of rest established in the Garden of the Eden and reenacted on Sinai, without those requirements, which were peculiar to Judaism, but with all its original moral force and with the new sanctions of Christianity. It commemorates not only the creation of the world, but a still greater event-the completion of the work of atonement by the resurrection of Christ; and as he rose from the dead on the day after the Jewish Sabbath, that day of his resurrection has been observed by Christians ever since. The change appears to have been made at once and as is generally believed under the direction of the "Lord of the Sabbath." On the same day, the first day of the week, he appeared among his assembled disciples; and on the next recurrence of the day he was again with them, and revealed himself to Thomas. From 1Co 11:20; 14:23,40, it appears that the disciples in all places were accustomed to meet statedly to worship and to celebrate the Lord's supper; and from 1Co 16:1-2, we learn that these meetings were on the first day of the week. Thus in Ac 20:6-11, we find the Christians at Troas assembled on the first day, to partake of the supper and to receive religious instruction. John observed the day with peculiar solemnity, Re 1:10; and it had then received the name of "The Lord's day," which it has ever since retained. For a time, such of the disciples as were Jews observed the Jewish Sabbath also; but they did not require this nor the observance of any festival of the Mosaic dispensation, of Gentile converts, nor even of Jews, Col 2:16. The early Christian fathers refer to the first day of the week as the time set apart for worship, and to the transfer of the day on account of the resurrection of the Savior. Pliny the younger, proconsul of Pontus near the close of the first century, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, remarks that the Christians were "accustomed on a stated day to meet together before daylight, and to repeat a hymn to Christ as God, and to bind themselves by a solemn bond not to commit any wickedness," etc. So well known was their custom, that the ordinary test question put by persecutors to those suspected of Christianity was "Hast thou kept the Lord's day?" to which the reply was, "I am a Christian; I cannot omit it." Justin Martyr observes that "on the Lord's day all Christians in the city or country meet together, because that is the day of our Lord's resurrection, and then we read the writings of the apostles and prophets; this being done, the person presiding makes an oration to the assembly, to exhort them to imitate and to practice the things they have heard; then we all join in prayer, and after that we celebrate the sacrament. Then they who are able and willing give what they think proper, and what is collected is laid up in the hands of the chief officer, who distributes it to orphans and widows, and other necessitous Christians, as their wants require." See 1Co 16:2. A very honorable conduct and worship. Would that it were more prevalent among us, with the spirit and piety of primitive Christianity!
The commandment to observe the Sabbath is worthy of its place in the decalogue; and its observance is of fundamental importance to society, which without it would fast relapse into ignorance, vice, and ungodliness. Its very existence on earth, by the ordinance of God, proves that there remains an eternal Sabbath in heaven, of which the "blest repose" of the day of God is an earnest to those who rightly observe it, Heb 4:9.
The second Sabbath after the first, Lu 6:1, should rather read, "The first Sabbath after the second day of the pass-over." Of the seven days of the pass-over, the first was a Sabbath, and on the second was a festival in which the fruits of the harvest were offered to God, Le 23:5,9, etc. From this second day the Jews reckoned seven weeks or the first Sabbath which occurred after this second day, was called the first week or Sabbath after the second day.
The "preparation of the Sabbath" was the Friday before; for as it was forbidden to make a fire, to bake bread, or to dress victuals, on the Sabbath-day, they provided on the Friday every thing needful for their sustenance on the Sabbath, Mr 15:42; Mt 27:62; Joh 19:14,31,42.
For "a Sabbath-day's journey," see JOURNEY.
Was to be celebrated among the Jews once every seven years; the land was to rest, and be left without culture, Ex 23:10-11; Le 25:1-7. God appointed the observance of the Sabbatical year, to preserve the remembrance of the creation of the world; to enforce the acknowledgment of his sovereign authority over all things, particularly over the land of Canaan, which he had given to the Hebrews; and to inculcate humanity on his people, by commanding that they should resign to servants, to the poor, to strangers and to brutes, the produce of the fields, of their vineyards, and of their gardens. Josephus and Tacitus both mention the Sabbatical year as existing in their day. See JUBILEE.
(Heb verb shabbath, meaning "to rest from labour"), the day of rest. It is first mentioned as having been instituted in Paradise, when man was in innocence (Ge 2:2). "The sabbath was made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to the children of Israel in the wilderness (Ex 16:23); and afterwards, when the law was given from Sinai (Ex 20:11), the people were solemnly charged to "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Thus it is spoken of as an institution already existing.
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are made to the sanctity of the Sabbath (Isa 56:2,4,6-7; 58:13-14; Jer 17:20-22; Ne 13:19). In later times they perverted the Sabbath by their traditions. Our Lord rescued it from their perversions, and recalled to them its true nature and intent (Mt 12:10-13; Mr 2:27; Lu 13:10-17).
The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is of permanent and universal obligation. The physical necessities of man require a Sabbath of rest. He is so constituted that his bodily welfare needs at least one day in seven for rest from ordinary labour. Experience also proves that the moral and spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest. "I am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser than his Maker" (F. W. Robertson).
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day of completion of labour."
The change of the day. Originally at creation the seventh day of the week was set apart and consecrated as the Sabbath. The first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath. Has God authorized this change? There is an obvious distinction between the Sabbath as an institution and the particular day set apart for its observance. The question, therefore, as to the change of the day in no way affects the perpetual obligation of the Sabbath as an institution. Change of the day or no change, the Sabbath remains as a sacred institution the same. It cannot be abrogated.
If any change of the day has been made, it must have been by Christ or by his authority. Christ has a right to make such a change (Mr 2:23-28). As Creator, Christ was the original Lord of the Sabbath (Joh 1:3; Heb 1:10). It was originally a memorial of creation. A work vastly greater than that of creation has now been accomplished by him, the work of redemption. We would naturally expect just such a change as would make the Sabbath a memorial of that greater work.
True, we can give no text authorizing the change in so many words. We have no express law declaring the change. But there are evidences of another kind. We know for a fact that the first day of the week has been observed from apostolic times, and the necessary conclusion is, that it was observed by the apostles and their immediate disciples. This, we may be sure, they never would have done without the permission or the authority of their Lord.
After his resurrection, which took place on the first day of the week (Mt 28:1; Mr 16:2; Lu 24:1; Joh 20:1), we never find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day. But he specially honoured the first day by manifesting himself to them on four separate occasions (Mt 28:9; Lu 24:34,18-33; Joh 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus appeared to his disciples (Joh 20:26).
Some have calculated that Christ's ascension took place on the first day of the week. And there can be no doubt that the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was on that day (Ac 2:1). Thus Christ appears as instituting a new day to be observed by his people as the Sabbath, a day to be henceforth known amongst them as the "Lord's day." The observance of this "Lord's day" as the Sabbath was the general custom of the primitive churches, and must have had apostolic sanction (comp. Ac 20:3-7; 1Co 16:1-2) and authority, and so the sanction and authority of Jesus Christ.
The words "at her sabbaths" (La 1:7, A.V.) ought probably to be, as in the Revised Version, "at her desolations."
Hebrew "rest." Applied to the days of rest in the great feasts, but chiefly to the seventh day rest (Ex 31:15; 16:23). Some argue from the silence concerning its observance by the patriarchs that no sabbatic ordinance was actually given before the Sinaitic law, and that Ge 2:3 is not historical but anticipatory. But this verse is part of the history of creation, the very groundwork of Moses' inspired narrative. The history of the patriarchs for 2,500 years, comprised in the small compass of Genesis, necessarily omits many details which it takes for granted, as the observance of the sabbath. Indications of seven-day weeks appear in Noah's twice waiting seven days when sending forth the dove (Ge 8:10,12); also in Jacob's history (Ge 29:27-28). G. Smith discovered an Assyrian calendar which divides every month into four weeks, and the seventh days are marked out as days in which no work should be done. Further, before the Sinaitic law was given the sabbath law is recognized in the double manna promised on the sixth day, that none might be gathered on the sabbath (Ex 16:5,23).
The meaning therefore of Ge 2:3 is, God having divided His creative work into six portions sanctified the seventh as that on which He rested from His creative work. The divine rest was not one of 24 hours; the divine sabbath still continues. There has been no creation since man's. After six periods of creative activity, answering to our literal days analogously, God entered on that sabbath in which His work is preservation and redemption, no longer creation. He ordained man for labour, yet graciously appointed one seventh of his time for bodily and mental rest, and for spiritual refreshment in his Maker's worship. This reason is repeated in the fourth commandment (Ex 20:10-11); another reason peculiar to the Jews (their deliverance from Egyptian bondage) is stated De 5:14-15; possibly the Jewish sabbath was the very day of their deliverance. All mankind are included in the privilege of the seventh day rest, though the Jews alone were commanded to keep it on Saturday.
Besides its religious obligation, its physical and moral benefit has been recognized by statesmen and physiologists. Its merciful character appears in its extension to the ox, ass, and cattle. Needless and avoidable work was forbidden (Ex 34:21; 35:3). But like other feasts it was to be a day of enjoyment (Isa 58:13; Ho 2:11). Only the covetous and carnal were impatient of its restraints (Am 8:5-6). In the sanctuary the morning and evening sacrifices were doubled, the shewbread was changed, and each of David's 24 courses of priests and Levites began duty on the Sabbath. The offerings symbolized the call to all Israel to give themselves to the Lord's service on the Sabbath more than on other days. The 12 loaves of shewbread representing the offerings of the 12 tribes symbolized the good works which they should render to Jehovah; diligence in His service receiving fresh quickening on the day of rest and holy convocation before Him. The Levites were dispersed throughout Israel to take advantage of these convocations, and in them "teach Israel God's law" (De 33:10).
The "holy convocation" on it (Le 23:2-3) was probably a meeting for prayer, meditation, and hearing the law in the court of the tabernacle before the altar at the hour of morning and evening sacrifice (Le 19:30; Eze 23:38). In later times people resorted to prophets and teachers to hear the Old Testament read and expounded, and after the captivity to synagogues (2Ki 4:23; Lu 4:15-16; Ac 13:14-15,27; 15:21). Philo (De Orac. c. 20; Vit. Mos. 3:27) and Josephus (Ant. 16:2-3; Apion, 1:20, 2:18) declare the earliest Jewish traditions state the object of the sabbath to be to furnish means for spiritual edification (Le 10:11; De 33:10). Isaiah (Isa 1:13) condemns hypocritical keeping of sabbath. So Christ condemns the burdensome sabbath restraints multiplied by the Pharisees, violating the law of mercy and man's good for which the sabbath was instituted (Mt 12:2,10-11; Lu 13:14; 14:1,5; Joh 7:22; Mr 2:23-28); yet inviting guests to a social meal was lawful, even in their view (Lu 14:5).
Not inaction, but rest from works of neither mercy nor necessity, is the rule of the sabbath. Man's rest is to be like God's rest. His work did not cease at the close of the six days, nor has it ceased ever since (Joh 5:17; Isa 40:28; Ps 95:4-5). God's rest was satisfaction in contemplating His work, so "very good," just completed in the creation of man its topstone (Ge 1:31). So man's rest is in the sabbath being the dose of week day labour done in faith toward God. God orders "six days shalt thou labour," as well as "remember the sabbath" (Ex 20:8-11). "Remember" marks that the sabbath was already long known to Israel, and that they only needed their "minds stirred up by way of remembrance." The fourth commandment alone of the ten begins so. The sabbath is thus a foretaste of the heavenly (sabbatism) "keeping of sabbath" (Heb 4:9-10 margin), when believers shall rest from fatiguing "labours" (Re 14:13). The Sabbath reminds man he is made in the image of God.
Philo calls it "the imaging forth of the first beginning." It was to the Israelite the center of religious observances, and essentially connected with the warning against idolatry (Le 19:3-4; Eze 20:16,20). As the Old Testament Sabbath was the seal of the first creation in innocence, so the New Testament Lord's day is the seal of the new creation. The Father's rest after creation answers to Christ's after redemption's completion. The Sabbath was further a "sign" or sacramental pledge between Jehovah and His people, masters and servants alike resting, and thereby remembering the rest from Egyptian service vouchsafed by God. The weekly Sabbath, moreover, was the center of an organized system including the Sabbath year and the Jubilee year. The Sabbath ritual was not, like other feasts, distinguished by peculiar offerings, but by the doubling of the ordinary daily sacrifices. Thus it was not cut off from the week but marked as the day of days, implying the sanctification of the daily life of the Lord's people.
Le 23:38 expressly distinguishes "the Sabbaths of the Lord" from the other Sabbaths (Col 2:16-17), namely, that of the day of atonement and feast of tabernacles, which ended with the cessation of the Jewish ritual (Le 23:32,37-39). The Decalogue was proclaimed with peculiar solemnity from Mount Sinai (Ex 19:16-24); it was written on tables of stone, and deposited in the ark (representing Himself) covered by the mercy-seat on which rested the Shekinah cloud of His glory; Moses significantly states "these vows the Lord spoke, and He added no more." The Decalogue was "the covenant," and the ark containing it "the ark of the covenant;" and therefore the Decalogue sums up all moral duty. The Sabbath stands in the heart of it, surrounded by moral duties, and must therefore itself be moral. God, who knows us best. has fixed the mean between the too seldom and the too often, the exact proportion in which the day devoted to His service ought to recur, best suited to our bodily and spiritual wants.
The prophets foretell its continuance in the Messianic age (Isa 56:6-7; 58:13-14; 66:23). Christ moreover says "the sabbath was made for man," i.e. not for Israel only, but for universal "man" (Mr 2:27-28). The typical Sabbath (Heb 4:9) must remain until the antitypical sabbatism appears. In Ro 14:5 the oldest manuscripts omit "he that regardeth not the day to the Lord he doth not regard it." As the month of Israel's redemption from Egypt became the beginning of months, so the day of Christ's resurrection which seals our redemption is made the first day Sabbath. The Epistle of Barnabas, Dionysius of Corinth writing to Rome A.D. 170 ("we spent the Lord's day as a holy day in which we read your letter"), and Clemens Alex., A.D. 194, mention the Lord's day Sabbath. The judgment on the Jews for violating the Sabbath was signally retributive (2Ch 36:21). The Babylonians carried them captive "to fulfill the word of the Lord by Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath to fulfill threescore and ten y
1. Origin of the Sabbath.
The first time the Sabbath is specifically mentioned in scripture is in Ex 16:23, after the manna had been given from heaven; but the Sabbath clearly had its origin in the sanctification and blessing of the seventh day after the six days of creative work. And a hebdomadal division of days apparently existed up to the flood, since it is very distinctly mentioned in connection with Noah. We are also told in Mr 2:27 that the Sabbath was made for man. It was an institution which expressed God's merciful consideration for man.
The words 'rest' and 'Sabbath' in the passage in Exodus have no article, so that the sentence may be translated "To-morrow is a rest, a holy Sabbath unto the Lord." So in Ex 16:25-26 there is no article: there is in Ex 16:29. The Sabbath was soon after definitely enacted in the ten commandments, Ex 20:8-11, and reference is there made to God having rested on the seventh day after the work of creation as the basis of the institution.
The Sabbath had a peculiar place in relation to Israel: thus in Lev. 23, in the feasts of Jehovah, in the holy convocations, the Sabbath of Jehovah is first mentioned as showing the great intention of God. God had delivered Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, therefore God commanded them to keep the Sabbath. De 5:15. The Sabbath was the sign of God's covenant with them, and it may be that the Lord in repeatedly offending the Jews by (in their view) breaking the Sabbath by acts of mercy foreshadowed the approaching dissolution of the legal covenant. Ex 31:13,17; 20/12/type/goodspeed'>Eze 20:12,20. The Sabbath foreshadowed their being brought into the rest of God; but, because of the sin of those who started to go thither (who despised the promised land), God sware in His wrath that they should not enter into His rest. Ps 95:11. God has purposed to bring His people into His rest, for whom there remains therefore the keeping of a Sabbath. Heb 4:9.
The Sabbath was never given to the nations in the same way as to Israel, and amid all the sins enumerated against the Gentiles, we do not find Sabbath-breaking ever mentioned. Nevertheless, it appears to be a principle of God's government of the earth that man and beast should have one day in seven as a respite from labour, all needing it physically.
The Christian's Sabbath is designated the LORD'S DAY
(shabbath), "a day of rest," from shabath "to cease to do to," "to rest"). The name is applied to divers great festivals, but principally and usually to the seventh day of the week, the strict observance of which is enforced not merely in the general Mosaic code, but in the Decalogue itself. The consecration of the Sabbath was coeval with the creation. The first scriptural notice of it, though it is not mentioned by name, is to be found in
at the close of the record of the six-days creation. There are not wanting indirect evidences of its observance, as the intervals between Noah's sending forth the birds out of the ark, an act naturally associated with the weekly service,
and in the week of a wedding celebration,
but when a special occasion arises, in connection with the prohibition against gathering manna on the Sabbath, the institution is mentioned as one already known.
And that this (All this is confirmed by the great antiquity of the division of time into weeks, and the naming the days after the sun, moon and planets.) was especially one of the institutions adopted by Moses from the ancient patriarchal usage is implied in the very words of the law "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." But even if such evidence were wanting, the reason of the institution would be a sufficient proof. It was to be a joyful celebration of God's completion of his creation. It has indeed been said that Moses gives quite a different reason for the institution of the Sabbath, as a memorial of the deliverance front Egyptian bondage.
The words added in Deuteronomy are a special motive for the joy with which the Sabbath should be celebrated and for the kindness which extended its blessings to the slave and the beast of burden as well as to the master: "that thy man servant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thought.
These attempts to limit the ordinance proceed from an entire misconception of its spirit, as if it were a season of stern privation rather than of special privilege. But in truth, the prohibition of work is only subsidiary to the positive idea of joyful rest and recreation in communion with Jehovah, who himself "rested and was refreshed."
It is in
that we find the first incontrovertible institution of the day, as one given to and to be kept by the children of Israel. Shortly afterward it was re-enacted in the Fourth Commandment. This beneficent character of the Fourth Commandment is very apparent in the version of it which we find in Deuteronomy.
The law and the Sabbath are placed upon the same ground, and to give rights to classes that would otherwise have been without such--to the bondman and bondmaid may, to the beast of the field-is viewed here as their main end. "The stranger," too is comprehended in the benefit. But the original proclamation of it in Exodus places it on a ground which, closely connected no doubt with these others is yet higher and more comprehensive. The divine method of working and rest is there propose to work and to rest. Time then to man as the model after which presented a perfect whole it is most important to remember that the Fourth Commandment is not limited to a mere enactment respecting one day, but prescribes the due distribution of a week, and enforces the six days' work as much as the seventh day's rest. This higher ground of observance was felt to invest the Sabbath with a theological character, and rendered if the great witness for faith in a personal and creating God. It was to be a sacred pause in the ordinary labor which man earns his bread the curse the fall was to be suspended for one and, having spent that day in joyful remembrance of God's mercies, man had a fresh start in his course of labor. A great snare, too, has always been hidden in the word work, as if the commandment forbade occupation and imposed idleness. The terms in the commandment show plainly enough the sort of work which is contemplated-servile work and business. The Pentateuch presents us with but three applications of the general principle --
The reference of Isaiah to the Sabbath gives us no details. The references in Jeremiah and Nehemiah show that carrying goods for sale, and buying such, were equally profanations of the day. A consideration of the spirit of the law and of Christ's comments on it will show that it is work for worldly gain that was to be suspended; and hence the restrictive clause is prefaced with the restrictive command. "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work;" for so only could the sabbatic rest be fairly earned. Hence, too, the stress constantly laid on permitting the servant and beast of burden to share the rest which selfishness would grudge to them. Thus the spirit of the Sabbath was joy, refreshment and mercy, arising from remembrance of God's goodness as Creator and as the Deliverer from bondage. The Sabbath was a perpetual sign and covenant, and the holiness of the day is collected with the holiness of the people; "that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify you."
Joy was the key-note Of their service. Nehemiah commanded the people, on a day holy to Jehovah "Mourn not, nor weep: eat the fat, and drink: the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared."
The Sabbath is named as a day of special worship in the sanctuary.
It was proclaimed as a holy convocation.
In later times the worship of the sanctuary was enlivened by sacred music.
... etc. On this day the people were accustomed to consult their prophets,
and to give to their children that instruction in the truths recalled to memory by the day which is so repeatedly enjoined as the duty of parents; it was "the Sabbath of Jehovah" not only in the sanctuary, but "in all their dwellings."
When we come to the New Testament we find the most marked stress laid on the Sabbath. In whatever ways the Jew might err respecting it, he had altogether ceased to neglect it. On the contrary wherever he went its observance became the most visible badge of his nationality. Our Lord's mode of observing the Sabbath was one of the main features of his life, which his Pharisaic adversaries meet eagerly watched and criticized. They had invented many prohibitions respecting the Sabbath of which we find nothing in the original institution. Some of these prohibitions were fantastic and arbitrary, in the number of those "heavy burdens and grievous to be borne" while the latter expounders of the law "laid on men's shoulders." Comp.
Mt 12:1-13; Joh 5:10
That this perversion of the Sabbath had become very general in our Saviour's time is apparent both from the recorded objections to acts of his on that day and from his marked conduct on occasions to which those objections were sure to be urged.
Christ's words do not remit the duty of keeping the Sabbath, but only deliver it from the false methods of keeping which prevented it from bestowing upon men the spiritual blessings it was ordained to confer.
SABBATH. The obligation of a sabbatical institution upon Christians, as well as the extent of it, have been the subjects of much controversy. Christian churches themselves have differed; and the theologians of the same church. Much has been written upon the subject on each side, and much research and learning employed, sometimes to darken a very plain subject. The question respects the will of God as to this particular point,