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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


LIX. Ques. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
Ans. 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 frst day of the week, ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.

Q. 1. Is the seventh day of the week always to be kept as holy, and the weekly Sabbath unto the Lord?
A. The seventh day in number is always to be kept as holy, and the weekly Sabbath; the seventh part of our time being God's due, and, by virtue of this commandment, to be separated from common use, and employed in his worship, and more immediate service every week; but the seventh day in order from the creation is not necessary always to be observed as a Sabbath, it being in the power of God, who appointed the seventh in order, to alter that order at his pleasure.

Q. 2. Which day of the seven did God at first appoint to be the weekly Sabbath?
A. God did at first appoint the seventh day in order to be the weekly Sabbath: "Six days shalt thou labour and do all which thou hast to do, but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work," &c.

Q. 3. Wherefore did God appoint the seventh day at first to be the weekly Sabbath?
A. God did at first appoint the seventh day to be the weekly Sabbath, because it was the day of his rest from his works of creation, that thereon men might rest from their works, and remember his: "For in six days God made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day," &c.

Q. 4. When did God first appoint the seventh day to be the Sabbath?
A. God did appoint the seventh day to be the Sabbath immediately after the first creation: "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." Gen. 2:3.

Q. 5. Was the seventh day observed as the weekly Sabbath before God wrote the commandment for its observation on tables of stone in the mount, which he delivered unto Moses?
A. It is more than probable that this seventh day was observed all along by the true worshippers of God, as the other precepts of the law were observed, though no mention be made thereof in the short history of the affairs of some thousand years. For Adam, who lived until the days of Methuselah, no doubt did teach his children this precept, which he had from God in paradise; and Methuselah, who lived till the days of Shem, surely did deliver it down to posterity all the days of the old world; and Shem, who lived till Abraham's time, and is supposed to be Melehizedek, in all probability, did deliver this precept successively unto him in the new world; and as Abraham with ease might, so without question he did, teach it with other precepts to his children, and they teach it one to another, until the time of Moses; and Moses speaketh to the Israelites of the Sabbath to be kept holy to the Lord on the morrow (Exod. 16:23), as a thing well known unto them, and of practice among them, which was some time before the Lord gave the law upon Mount Sinai.

Q. 6. How long was the seventh day to be observed as the weekly Sabbath?
A. The seventh day was to be observed as the weekly Sabbath, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ.

Q. 7. What day is to be observed for the weekly Sabbath, from the resurrection of Christ?
A. The first day of the week, from the resurrection of Christ, is to be observed by Christians unto the end of the world for their weekly Sabbath.

Q. 8. How could the seventh day Sabbath be changed from the last of seven to the first of seven, when we do not read expressly of any repeal in the Scripture of the ast of seven?
A. 1. It is one day of seven which God hath appointed to be the Sabbath; and in the commandment, the Lord doth bless and hallow, not the seventh day, but the Sabbath-day, which might be on another seventh day in order, if God should so please. 2. It is but one day in seven which God hath appointed to be the weekly Sabbath, God having both allowed and appointed the other six days of the week for our labour. 3. God having substituted or appointed another day for to be a holy Sabbath to himself, this substitution of another doth virtually include in it a repeal of the old Sabbath; that is, in reference unto the time of its observation.

Q. 9. How doth it appear that the first day of the week is appointed by God to be the weekly Sabbath?
A. 1. There is a like reason for the appointment of the first day as there was for the seventh. The reason of God's appointing the seventh was, his resting from his works of creation; and there is a like reason for appointing the first day, which was the day of Christ's resurrection, namely, the Son of God's resting from his suffering works about man's redemption, into which rest he is said to enter, and which we are more nearly concerned to remember. "For he that is entered into his rest, hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." Heb. 4:10. 2. The Lord Jesus hath put his name upon the first day of the week "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day." Rev. 1:10. There is reason to believe that the Lord's-day here spoken of was the first day of the week, because it is a certain determinate day, and it is spoken of as a day which was well known among Christians by that name; and the first day of the week being the day of the Lord's resurrection, and wherein Christians did use to assemble themselves together upon, had the only reason for such denomination. There is also reason to believe that the Lord did put his own name upon this day, because none had authority to put his name upon any day but himself; and the apostle calling it the Lord's-day, by the inspiration of the Spirit no doubt but it was the Lord's will it should be so called, and by consequence it was his will that this day should be used and observed as an holy day unto himself. As the second sacrament is called the Lord's Supper, because it was appointed by the Lord; so the first day of the week is called the Lord's day, because it was appointed by the Lord; and this day being appointed, no other is to be observed now as the Christian Sabbath. 3. The appointment of the first day of the week to be the Sabbath may be inferred from 1 Cor. 16:1, 2: "Now, concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." The apostle having given order from the Lord to the Churches of Galatia and Corinth, and by consequence to the other Churches of the Gentiles, for collections on the first day of the week, as God had prospered them on other days, we may infer, this being a Sabbath-day's work, that he had also, from the Lord, given order for the observation of this first day, as the weekly Sabbath. 4. We read of the disciples being assembled together on the first day of the week, and that Jesus then came among them (John 20:19); and that eight days afte; they met again, which was another first day, and Jesus came to them. Verse 26. Moreover, that it was the practice of Christ's disciples to meet together to worship the Lord, to hear the word, and break bread, or receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, on the first day of the week. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples were come together to break bread, Paul preached unto them," &c. Acts 20:7. Paul had been with them Seven days (verse 6), and yet we read of no solemn meeting but on the first day of the week, the last of the seven wherein he abode with them. It was not on the old Sabbath, the last day of the week, that the solemn assembly for worship was held, but on the first day; which, had it not been the Sabbath of new appointment, and of necessary observation to Christians, would have been most inconvenient for Paul to have spent in religious exercises until midnight, when the next morning he was to take his jour ney. All which being considered, together with the practice of Christians from the apostles' days, it may be evident unto them that desire not to cavil, that the first day of the week is appointed by the Lord to be the Christian Sabbath.

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