Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Directory for the Publick Worship of God: Part 9 of 16

Image:  Fanny Crosby hymn, "Remember the Sabbath"

Of the Sanctification of the Lord's Day

THE Lord's day ought to be so remembered before-hand, as that all worldly business of our ordinary callings may be so ordered, and so timely and seasonably laid aside, as they may not be impediments to the due sanctifying of the day when it comes.

The whole day is to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in publick and private, as being the Christian sabbath. To which end, it is requisite, that there be a holy cessation or resting all that day from all unnecessary labours; and an abstaining, not only from all sports and pastimes, but also from all worldly words and thoughts.

That the diet on that day be so ordered, as that neither servants be unnecessarily detained from the publick worship of God, nor any other person hindered from the sanctifying that day. That there be private preparations of every person and family, by prayer for themselves, and for God's assistance of the minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry; and by such other holy exercises, as may further dispose them to a more comfortable communion with God in his public ordinances.

That all the people meet so timely for publick worship, that the whole congregation may be present at the beginning, and with one heart solemnly join together in all parts of the publick worship, and not depart till after the blessing.

That what time is vacant, between or after the solemn meetings of the congregation in publick, be spent in reading, meditation, repetition of sermons; especially by calling their families to an account of what they have heard, and catechising of them, holy conferences, prayer for a blessing upon the publick ordinances, singing of psalms, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy, accounting the sabbath a delight.

Comment and Analysis: The Directory here affirms a thoughtful observance of the fourth commandment. The “worldly business of our ordinary callings” are to be laid aside. The Lord’s Day is the Christian Sabbath. Believers are also to order the day so that their servants also may observe the day. How would this apply to modern concerns over eating out at restaurants on Sundays? The whole day is given over to worship, “holy conferences,” and acts of piety and charity. How would it transform our personal lives and the lives of our churches if we were to take these charges seriously?


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