MEDITATIONS OF THE TRUE MANNER OF PRACTICING PIETY ON THE SABBATH-DAY.
ALMIGHTY God will have himself worshipped, not only in a private manner by private persons and families, but also in a more public sort, of all the godly joined together in a visible church: that by this means he may be known not only to be the God and Lord of every singular person, but also of the creatures of the universal world. ….
3. Because that on this day Christ rested from all the sufferings of his passion, and finished the glorious work of our redemption. If, therefore, the finishing of the work of the first creation, by which God mightily manifested himself to his creatures, deserved a Sabbath to solemnize the memorial of so great a work, to honour of the worker, and therefore calls it “mine holy day,” (Isa. Lviii. 13;) much more does the new creation of the world, effected by the resurrection of Christ, whereby he mightily declared himself to be the Son of God (Rom. i. 4), deserve a Sabbath, for the perpetual commemoration of it, to the honour of Christ, and therefore worthily called the Lord’s day (Rev. i. 10.) For, as the deliverance out of the captivity of Babylon, being greater, took away the name from the deliverance out of the bondage of Egypt (Jer. xxiii. 7, 8;) so the day on which Christ finished the redemption of the world did more justly deserve to have the Sabbath kept on it, than on that day on which God ceased creating the world. As, therefore, in the creation, the first day wherein it was finished, was consecrated for a Sabbath; so in the time of redemption, the first day wherein it was perfected must be dedicated to a holy rest; but still a seventh day kept according to God’s moral commandment. The Jews kept the last day of the week, beginning their Sabbath with the night (Gen. ii. 2; Lev. xxiii. 32; Neh. xiii. 19), when God rested; but Christians honour the Lord better, on the first day of the week (Matt. xxviii. 1), beginning the Sabbath with the day when the Lord arose (Acts xx. 7, 11.) They kept their Sabbath in remembrance of the world’s creation; but Christians celebrate it in memorial of the world’s redemption; yea, the Lord’s day being the first of the creation and redemption, puts us in mind, both of the making of the old, and redeeming of the new world.
As, therefore, under the Old Testament, God, by the glory consisting of seven lamps, seven branches, &c. (Exod. xxv. 31), put them in remembrance of the creation, light, and Sabbath’s rest; so, under the New Testament, Christ, the true light of the world, appears in the midst of the seven lamps, and seven golden candlesticks (Rev. i. 13), to put us in mind to honour our Redeemer in the light of the gospel of the Lord’s seventh day of rest. And seeing the redemption, both for might and mercy, so far exceeds the creation, it stood with great reason that the greater work should carry the honour of the day. Neither does the honourable title of the Lord’s day diminish the glory of the Sabbath; but rather, being added, augments the dignity of it; as the name Israel, added to Jacob, made the patriarch the more renowned (Gen. xxxii. 28.)
The reason taken from the example of God’s resting from the work of the creation of the world continued in force till the Son of God ceased from the work of the redemption of the world, and the former gave place to the latter.
The Practice of Piety
by Lewis Bayly.
A Puritan Devotional Manual.