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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 59. Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath, and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.

1. Was the sabbath appointed from the beginning of the world? Yes: God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it when the heavens and the earth were finished, Gen. 2:1-3. Was it in remembrance of the work of creation? Yes: because that in it he rested from all his work, Gen. 2:3. Was it observed before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai? Yes: for before that it was said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath to the Lord, Exod. 16:23. Was that appointed to be kept on the seventh day of the week? Yes: For he spake of the seventh day on this wise, Heb. 4:4.

2. Was the law of the sabbath given more particularly to Israel? Yes: I gave them my sabbath to be a sign between me and them, Ezek. 20:12. Was it religiously observed among them? Yes: for their enemies did mock at their sabbaths, Lam. 1:7. Did they sanctify the sabbath in solemn assemblies? Yes: Moses of old time is read in the synagogues every sabbath day, Acts 15:21. Was the blessing confined to the seventh day? No: For the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it, Exod. 20:11.

3. Was the sabbath to continue in gospel times? Yes: For there remaineth the keeping of a sabbath to the people of God, Heb. 4:9 marg. Did Christ intend it should continue? Yes: for he said, Pray that your flight be not on the sabbath day, Matt. 24:20. Did he in order to that expound the fourth commandment? Yes: for he allowed that it is lawful to do well upon the sabbath day, Matt. 12:12. Is there the same need of sabbaths now that ever there was? Yes: for I gave them my sabbaths that they might know that I am the Lord, Ezek. 20:12.

4. Is the sabbath changed now to the first day of the week? Yes: for on the first day of the week the disciples came together to break bread, Acts 20:7. Was it because on that day of the week our Lord Jesus rose from the dead? Yes: for he rose as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, Matt. 28:1. And because on that day the Spirit was poured out? Yes: for that was when the day of Pentecost was fully come, Acts. 2:1. Was it fit there should be an alteration? Yes: For it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought them up from the land of the north, Jer. 16:14, 15.

5. Did the apostles observe the first day of the week? Yes: On the first day of the week let everyone lay by, 1 Cor. 16:2. Did the primitive church call it the Lord's day? Yes: I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, Rev. 1:10. In a thing of this nature ought we to acquiesce? Yes: For if any man will be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God, 1 Cor. 11:16.

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