William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

The Lord's Day

by Francis Turretin

Fourteenth Question: The Lords Day

Whether the institution of the Lord's day is divine or human;
whether it is of necessary and perpetual or of free and mutable
observance. The former we affirm and the latter we deny (as to both

I. The Lord's day (kyriake hanera) in Christian usage is applied to
the first day of the week, appointed for the public worship of God
in memory of Christ's resurrection. Now it is so called not so much
with regard to the efficient (as if it was formally instituted by
Christ himself, as the Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper are
designated by the apostle, 1 Cor. 10:21). As will be seen
afterwards, no argument can be given for such institution. With
regard to the end, it was instituted in memory of the resurrection
of Christ, which took place on this day (Mt. 28:1); and for his
honor and worship (as that is called "the Lord's altar," "the Lord's
festival" which was instituted for his worship), and the ancients
call temples dedicated to divine worship Kyras (or the Lords).
II. Concerning this day, there are two principal questions: (1)
what is its origin; (2) what is the necessity of its observance? As
to the first, it is not asked whether a change was made of the
seventh day to the first by abrogation of the Jewish Sabbath (for
this is granted among Christians who acknowledge that this change
could be made by him who is Lord of the Sabbath), but both ought to
be made and was made most fittingly; that former day (on account of
its ceremonial part and what on that account pertained to the legal
economy) ought to be abrogated that another might be substituted in
its place: another, however, could not be more appropriately
introduced under the new covenant than that which is now called the
Lord's day (on account of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
on this day, the recollection of which is most justly to be
celebrated always in the Christian church, since on it was most
fully accomplished the work of our redemption and of the new
creation); that this might be a public monument of the abrogated
ceremonial law and of the distinction which ought to exist between
the Jews and Christians. Rather the question concerns the principle
and origin of this change-whether it was only of human and political
(or ecclesiastical) or of divine ordination.

III. Here the opinions of theologians vary. Some refer it to
canonical right (as the papists do, who gather from it also the
necessity of unwritten traditions). There are some among the latter
who (according to Azorius, Institutionum morales, Pt. 11, 1.2
[16131, pp. 12-16) contend for its divine authority (as Anchoranus,
Panormitanus, Angelus Sylvester). Others refer it to political
ordination (as the Remonstrants, who in their Confession allege that
the distinction of days was removed under the New Testament, and the
Socinians, who assert that its observance is arbitrary, cf.
Racovian Catechism [18181, p. 220). Others ascend to a divine
ordination, so that either Christ himself may be said to have
immediately and expressly instituted that day, which Junius holds
("Praelectiones in Geneses,' in Opera Theologica [16131, 4:26-27 on
Gen. 2:1, 2) and some others with him; or mediately only inasmuch as
the apostles inspired of God (theopneustoi) sanctioned it in the
Christian church by precept, example and their own practice. This
is the more common opinion of the orthodox and to this we adhere.

IV. They who refer the origin of the Lord's day to Christ rely most
especially both upon the resurrection of Christ (who by rising on
this day from the dead seems to have consecrated it to his worship
in memory of that fact) and on the various appearances made after
the resurrection on this day when he showed himself to his assembled
disciples (Jn. 20:19, 26; Rev. 1:10); also by the effusion of the
Holy Spirit upon the apostles which is held to have occurred on this
day. Although these things may with probability be said and seem to
have given occasion for the institution of this day, still they
cannot make a strong and solid argument to prove it because it would
require some express command (or the example of Christ).

V. Far more properly, therefore, is it said to be of apostolic
institution. They substituted the Lord's day for the Sabbath and
commended it to the churches, not without the special influence of
the Holy Spirit by whom they were infallibly directed to prescribe
such things as not only conduced to faith and morals, but also to
the good order (eutaxian) of the church and the performance of
divine worship. Now there are three passages in particular from
which this institution is gathered: (1) from Acts 20:7 -"And upon
the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break
bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow." Why
are the apostles said to have assembled for the preaching of the
word and the administration of the eucharist, on this rather than on
any other day (or on the well-known Sabbath of the Jews), unless at
that time the custom of holding stated meetings had prevailed, the
ceremony of the Jewish Sabbath by degrees vanishing? Nor ought it
to be said that mian sabbat6n here designates not the first day of
the seven, but only one (i.e., some one of the seven) because it is
used in no other sense (Lk. 24:1; Mk. 16:2). What is adduced from
Lk. 5:17 (cf. 8:22) does not apply here because it is one thing to
say en mia ton haeren (which denotes an indeterminate time), another
to say en te mia with the article which determines the day.

VI. (2) From 1 Cor. 16:1, 2, where not only the apostolic practice
but also a precept is introduced: "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, that there be no
gatherings when I come." The apostle wishes collections to be made
by believers upon each first day of the week (viz., on which their
public assemblies ought also to be held), which he draws from the
custom of the Jews who, according to Philo (cf. The Special Laws 1.
14.76-78 [Loeb, 7:1451) and Josephus (Aj 18.312 [Loeb, 9:180-81]),
on each Sabbath on which they were accustomed to assemble used to
make collections in the synagogues of tithes and other voluntary
offerings, afterwards sent to Jerusalem for the use of the temple
and the Levites. On account of the persecution of the Jews, the
advent of many strangers, and their continual zeal in propagating
the gospel, the church at Jerusalem was greatly pressed by want and
the apostle wishes believers to take up collections for their
benefit. As therefore he orders collections on each first day of
the week, so he also is considered by parity of reason to have
ordained the public assemblies in which they were accustomed to be
made (or to have approved them by his vote as already ordained)

VII. (3) From Rev. 1:10, where John says that "he was in the Spirit
on the Lord's day"; not verily on the Jewish Sabbath because he
undoubtedly would have named it; not on some one day only of the
seven because thus the title would be ambiguous, calculated to
confuse rather than explain; but on that day on which Christ had
arisen, on which the apostles were accustomed to assemble to perform
sacred worship and on which Paul had ordered collections to be made,
as was the custom in the primitive church. Since he speaks of that
day as known and observed in the church, there is no doubt that it
had been distinguished by this name from the received usage of the
church. Otherwise, who among the Christians would have understood
what John meant by this appellation, if he intended to designate
some other day?

VIII. Second, he alone could change the Sabbath (either immediately
and by himself or mediately by the apostles) who is Lord of the
Sabbath (Mt. 12:8). It was most fitting that the day of worship
should be instituted by him under the New Testament (by whom the
worship itself had been instituted and from whom all blessing in all
worship is to be expected).

IX. Third, if the Lord's day was constituted neither by Christ nor
by the apostles, the condition of the Christian church under the New
Testament would be worse than of the Jews under the Old. Under the
Old Testament a day was appropriated to rest from secular labor in
which to servants and beasts of burden was granted a breathing time
from servile work (Dr. 5:14), such as would not exist under the New
Testament. Everyone sees this to be absurd, since far better is our
condition in comparison with their state who were pressed down by
the unbearable (abastakt6) yoke of the law.

X. Fourth, if the institution of the Lord's day is only of human
ordination (whether political or ecclesiastical, as a human
constitution circumscribed the necessity of public worship), it
could be rescinded as easily as it was enjoined. Nor could the
necessity of its observance be so strongly pressed, for thus a
profane person might dispense with it, not attend to prayer and
assemblies, and anyone might excuse himself for doing or neglecting
anything, if nothing could be elicited from the Scriptures to bind
the conscience besides a human appointment. Prudently, therefore,
and piously (in addition to the uniform and uninterrupted tradition
of the church), the apostolic sanction and practice is urged that it
may be evident that the church has done nothing in an affair of so
much importance which she has not received from inspired men
(theopneustois) and which on that account is not of necessary

XI. Fifth, it is favored by the authority of the fathers who were
nearest the age and times of the apostles. Among whom is Ignatius
(Pseudo-Ignatius, "Ad Magnesianos," 9.4 in Patres Apostolici [ed.
F.X. Funk, 19131, 2:125; "Ad Trallianos,' 9.5, ibid., 2:104-7);
Justin Martyr (First Apology* 67 [ANF 1:185-86]); Dionysius of
Corinth, according to Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 4.23* [FC
19:2591); Melito, according to the same (Eusebius, ibid., 4.26, p.
262); Irenaeus (Against Heresies 5.23* [ANF 1:551-52]); Tertullian
(Chaplet [FC 40:237, 256]); Origen (cf. In Exodum Homilia 7.5-6 [
PG 12.345-47 1) and not a few others. Here belongs the law enacted
concerning it by the Emperor Constantine the Great (cf. Eusebius,
life of Constantine 4.18 [London: 1845], pp. 189-90), repeated and
confirmed by succeeding emperors-Theodosius, Valentinian, Arcadius,
Leo and Anthemius* -by whom the most severe penalties were imposed
upon those who exhibited spectacles on this day or gave themselves
up to pleasure, as may be seen in the 'Codex de feriis" (cf. Corpus
Iuris Civilis, II: Codex Iustinianus 12.9 [ed. P Krueger, 19681, p.

XII. Most of our men assert the same thing. Calvin says: "It is
very probable that the apostles retained in the beginning the day
already observed, afterwards forced by the Jewish superstition
substituted another in the place of the one abrogated" (in Acts
20+). Bucer says: "The Lord's day was consecrated to sacred acts by
the apostles themselves" ("De Regno Christi,' 1.11* in Martini
Buceri Opera Latina [ed. F. Wendel, 1955], p. 82). So Beza
maintains that this tradition is truly divine and made by the
apostles at the suggestion of the Spirit: "The services of the
Lord's day therefore, which Justin also in the Second Apology (sic!)
expressly mentions, are of apostolic and truly divine tradition"
(Annationes maiores in Novum ... Testamentum [15941, Pars Altera, p.
635 on Rev. 1:10). So Gallasius, a colleague of Calvin and Beza:
"We have received this as established, that the Lord's day should be
substituted in place of the Sabbath, not by men, but even by the
apostles, that is, by the Spirit of God, who directed them" (In
Exodum Commentaria [15601, p. 195 on Ex. 31). Not otherwise Fayus:
"Deservedly therefore we might have said that the apostles under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit substituted it for that seventh legal
day which was the first in the creation of the former world" (cf.
"Theses in quartum Legis,' 33*.12* in Theses Theologicae in Schola
Genevensi [1586], p. 66 [401). Of the same opinion are Bullinger (A
Hundred Sermons upon the Apocalips [15611, pp. 29-30 on Rev. 1:10);
Gualterus, homi. 162+ (on Mt.); Junius ("Praelectiones in Geneses,"
in Opera Theologica [1613], 1:26-61 on Gen. 2); Piscator in Aphor
explic. Aphor. 18+; Perkins, Ames, Hyperius (In Epistolam D. Pauli
ad Romanos et ... ad Corinthos [15831, pp. 331-32 on 1 Cor. 16:2);
Wallaeus (Dissertatio de Sabbatho 7* [16281, pp. 147,88); Voetius
(Selectae Disputationes [1667], 4:760-61) and not a few others.

XIII. Although the Lord's day may be said to be of apostolic
institution, the authority upon which it rests is nevertheless
divine because they were influenced by the Holy Spirit no less in
sacred institutions than in setting forth the doctrines of the
gospel either orally or by writing. Divine ordination is,
therefore, rightly claimed here; not indeed formally and immediately
by the institution of Christ, but mediately by the sanction and
practice of the inspired (theopneust6n) apostles.

XIV. Although certain ordinations of the apostles (which referred
to the rites and circumstances of divine worship) were variable and
instituted only for a time (as the sanction concerning the not
eating of blood and of things strangled [Acts 15:201; concerning the
woman's head being covered and the man's being uncovered when they
prophesy [1 Cor. 11:4, 5]) because there was a special cause and
reason for them and (this ceasing) the institution itself ought to
cease also; still there were others invariable and of perpetual
observance in the church, none of which were founded upon any
special occasion to last only for a time by which they might be
rendered temporary (such as the imposition of hands in the setting
apart of ministers and the distinction between the offices of deacon
and pastor). Since the institution of the Lord's day was of this
kind, from this we infer that the intention of the founders was that
the observance of this day should be of perpetual and immutable

XV. The constitutions of emperors and the canons of councils about
the observance of the Lord's day do not prove that it was only of
human ordination because they did not sanction it first, but
confirmed and established it by their own authority as already
instituted by the apostles that no one might presume to violate it
with impunity. This was done by them most piously, both on account
of the Gentiles and on account of the impious Christians by whom
they were unwilling that this day should be profaned (and who
without constitutions of this kind might think themselves free and
unrestrained in their violation of it).

XVI. The Scripture passages usually adduced against the divine
institution of the Lord's day (Rom. 14:5; Gal. 4:10; Col. 2:16) do
not overthrow our argument. (1) In all these passages, the
observance of some day for the purpose of religion (from the order
of Christ) is no more condemned or denied than the choice of some
particular food for the use of religion from the institution of
Christ. And no one would say that the selection of bread and wine
in the Supper for a religious use is either unlawful or not
instituted by Christ. (2) The apostle expressly speaks of that
regard for days (Rom. 14:5, 6) which at that time gave offense to
Christians; but the observance of the Lord's day (which the apostle
himself teaches prevailed at that time in all the churches, I Cor.
16:1, 2), could not afford the occasion of offense to anyone. (3)
They treat of the Jewish distinction of days, which belonged to the
slavery of weak and beggarly elements (Gal. 4:9), inasmuch as it had
something typical and ceremonial and brought back the rigor of the
law (which has now no place with respect to the Lord's day).
XVII. Christian liberty cannot be said to be lessened by this
opinion. It is not liberty, but an unchristian license for anyone
to think he is freed from the observance of any precept of the
Decalogue and from a divine and apostolic sanction. Experience
teaches too well that license and the negligence of sacred things
grows more and more, where a proper regard is not shown for the
Lord's day.

XVIII. However, above all things, we must observe this-that we
should not be so anxious to investigate the primary origin of this
day as its careful and serious sanctification. Whatever opinion
anyone may wish to follow (for we suffer each one to enjoy his own
judgment), this should be strictly and inviolably taken care of by
all-that according to the command of Christ, believers keep
themselves clear of profanations, seriously devote themselves to the
sacred exercises of piety and observe this consecrated day in a holy
manner. Concerning the necessity and mode of its observance we will
treat in what follows.

XIX. Concerning the observance of the Lord's day also there
is not a little controversy. Some (in excess) incline
to a too great rigor and severity and thus approach Judaism. Others
on the contrary (in defect) use too great relaxation, which opens
the door to profanity and license. The middle way, however, seems
to us to be the safest. We unfold it by two propositions: the first
teaches the necessity, the second the mode of its observance. XX.
First proposition: (1) the observance of the Lord's day is not
necessary per se as a part of divine worship or a grace of mystical
signification, but still it is necessary with regard to the
preservation of good order (eutaxias) and apostolic and
ecclesiastical polity. It cannot be called a part of worship in
itself, but only an adjunct and circumstance of it because the
gospel and rational (logikos) worship of the New Testament is no
longer restricted to certain places or times (as under the Old
Testament), but can be performed everywhere and always in spirit and
truth. Still it is necessary according to God's arrangement by
reason of the polity always to be preserved in the church, for
without a certain day neither order nor decorum will exist in the
church, but there will be mere confusion in ecclesiastical
assemblies. (2) It was not instituted from any peculiar reason for a
particular church of one time, but generally for the church of all
times. As the apostles (who sanctioned this by their own example
and precept, 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 20:7) were universal ambassadors, so
they had regard to the good of the whole church in this sanction.
And as it was received even in the age of the apostles, so it was
constantly retained by all the churches (as is evident from
ecclesiastical history). (3) There can be no reason for a change
since, as the memory of Christ's death, so also the memory of his
resurrection ought to be perpetual in the church (1 Cor. 11:26; 2
Tim. 2:8). (4) It was afterwards confirmed by the various canons of
ecumenical councils and by the many edicts and laws of the emperors.

XXI. Now although we readily grant that if he pleases God (who is
the Lord of the Sabbath) can change this first day into any other of
the seven, still we do not think that this is lawful for any mortal,
after so constant and general an observance of this day. Nor if
cases can be granted, in which the public exercises of piety cannot
be performed on this day, does it follow that this observance is
only temporal and mutable; for this is not done spontaneously, but
from necessity (which has no law).

XXII. If the ancient Christians observed for some time the Sabbath
also in connection with the Lords day, so that they held sacred
assemblies on that day and thought it wrong to fast on it, as we
gather from Constitutions of the Holy Apostles (2.59 [ANF 7:422-231)
and from Socrates (Ecclesiastical History 6.8* [NPNF2, 2:1441), this
pertained to the decent burial of the synagogue. It is evident that
the festivity of the Sabbath, even when kept, was considered far
inferior to the Lord's day. This appears even from this- that among
the errors of the Ebionites (on account of which they were condemned
by the church), they were convicted of this also, that they
celebrated the Lords day and the Sabbath together (in Eusebius,
Ecclesiastical History 3.27* [FC 19:t84]). Note also the Council of
Laodicea, whose words are these: "It is not becoming for Christians
to Judaize and to rest on the Sabbath, but to work on that day,
preferring to rest on the Lords day, as Christians, provided they
can" (which seems to have been added on account of servants who had
heathen masters) "and if they are discovered to be judaizers, let
them be anathema by Christ" (Canon 29, Mansi, 2:569).

XXIII. Second proposition: the mode of the right observance of the
Lord's day resolves itself into two parts first, what may be called
privative and consists in rest or cessation from all servile work;
the other, which is positive, and is concerned with the
sanctification of that rest by the religious worship of God.

XXIV. The rest required is not one of ease and idleness, much less
of feasting and gluttony, of shows and dances and other profane
practices condemned by Paul in Rom. 13:13. It is the Sabbath of
Jehovah, not a feast of Ceres, Bacchus or Venus. Rather the rest is
a cessation from all Works of our ordinary and worldly vocation
which can call us away from divine worship. Thus we must abstain on
that day: (1) from all those works which are strictly and properly
called servile, usually done by servants and serving men (to wit, as
much as it can be done through immediate necessity); (2) from our
works which pertain to the uses of this life in natural and civil
affairs and properly refer to our own gain and advantage. This is
gathered from the opposed concession, for as he grants six days to
us that we may labor and do all our work in them, so on this day he
enjoins a cessation from such work that no obstacle may be put in
the way of divine worship. And further here belongs the memorable
law of Leo and Anthemius, extant in the "Codex de feriis," whose
words we are not ashamed to quote: "We decree the Lord's day to be
always so honorable and to be reverenced that it should be free from
all executions, no admonition should be given to anyone, no exaction
of bail be made, the officer should be silent, summons lie hid. Let
that day be free from judicial examinations, let the rough voice of
the crier be still, litigants cease from controversy" (Corpus luris
Civilis, 11: Codex lustinianus 12.9 [ed. P. Krueger, 1968], p.
128). And afterwards: "Nor relaxing the rest of this religious day,
do we suffer anyone to be occupied with obscene pleasures,
theatrical shows, circus plays, and the mournful spectacles of wild
beasts should have no patronage on that day, and if our birth day
should fall upon it, the celebration of it should be deferrer'

XXV Here, nevertheless, are excepted: (1) those works which directly
regard the worship and glory of God (Mt. 12:5; jn. 5:8, 9), for in
this case those works which are in their nature servile pass into
the nature of sacred works-nor are they so much our works as God's;
(2) works of charity and of mercy which are reckoned among the
duties of piety (Mt. 12:10,12; Jn. 5:9; 9:14; Lk. 13:15); (3) the
works of common honesty, because as always, so on this day above
others, we ought to carry ourselves and to act honestly and
decorously; (4) works of necessity, which are neither feigned nor
designedly produced, but imposed upon us by providence (Lk. 14:5);
not only absolute and simple, that may be called necessary only
(which we can in no way be in want of), but modified and relative so
that those things may be reckoned necessary not only which are
required absolutely for the existence or support of life, but also
those which conduce to our living better. Hence some great
advantage and emolument accrues to us or our neighbor if they are
done or some great disadvantage and loss if they are omitted. 'The
sabbath' (as Christ testifies in Mk. 2:27) "was made for man and not
man for the sabbath.' XXVI. Therefore, we do not think that in this
cessation believers are bound to judaical precision which some (more
scrupulous than is just) maintain was not revoked, so that it is
lawful neither to kindle a fire, nor to cook food, nor to take up
arms against an enemy, nor to prosecute a journey begun by land or
sea, nor to refresh themselves with innocent relaxation of the mind
and body, provided they are done out of the hours appointed for
divine worship, nor to have any diversion, however slight, to any
things belonging to the advantages or emoluments of this life. For
although this opinion bears on its face a beautiful appearance of
piety (and undoubtedly with good intention is proposed by pious men
to procure the better sanctification of this day, usually so basely
profaned), still it labors under grievous disadvantages; nor can it
be retained without in this way bringing back into the church and
imposing anew upon the shoulders of Christians an unbearable yoke
(abastakton), repugnant to Christian liberty and the gentleness of
Christ and opposed to the sweetness of the covenant of grace by
agitating and tormenting the consciences of men through infinite
scruples and inextricable difficulties (nearly driving to

XXVII. The other part of the observance of the Lord's day pertains
to the sanctification of the rest which is employed in sacred
assemblies and in the stated and public worship of God. For
although sacred assemblies for the public exercises of piety can and
ought to be frequented on other days also by everyone (as far as
their business will allow) and every pious person is bound in duty
to his conscience to have privately his daily devotional exercises,
still on this day above others a holy convocation ought to take
place (as was the custom on the Sabbath, Lev. 23:3) in which there
may be leisure for devout attention to the reading and hearing of
the word (Heb. 10:25), the celebration of the sacraments (Acts
20:7), the psalms and prayer (Col. 3:16; Acts 1:14), to alms and
help to the poor (I Cor. 16:2) and in general to all that sacred
service pertaining to external and stated worship.

XXVIII. And all agree that to this we should most especially devote
ourselves, the many other controversies here waged, either curious
or by no means necessary and useful, being removed. The Synod of
Dort has reference to this, maintaining "that this day ought so to
be appropriated to divine worship, that we should rest on it from
all servile works (with the exception of those which charity and
pressing necessity demand) and from all pleasures of such a kind as
could hinder divine worship" ("Post-Acta, of Na-Handelingen, Sec.
164" in Acta of Handelingen der Nationale Synode ... 1618 en 1619
[1987 repr.], pp. 941-42). And "lest the people on the Lord's day
after 12 o'clock, distracted by other labors and profane exercises,
should be kept away from the afternoon meetings, it wishes the
magistrates to be asked to prohibit by more severe edicts all
servile or daily works and especially plays, drinking together and
other profanations of the Sabbath, in which the afternoon
(especially in the town) is accustomed for the most part to be
passed, so that in this way also they may better be drawn to those
afternoon meetings and so learn to sanctify the entire Sabbath day"
(ibid.). For no other reason did God in the Law and the Prophets so
strongly urge and recommend the sanctification of the Sabbath and
threaten to punish so severely its violation and profanation. For
although these had a primary reference to the Jews, yet we cannot
doubt that in their own manner they had a reference to Christians
also inasmuch as they included a moral duty and one of perpetual

XXIX. Although the conscientious regard for and distinction of days
(and of other typical ceremonial times of the Old Testament) has
been taken away under the New, as also straightway is forbidden the
superstitious distinction of days and times (prevailing among the
heathen), it does not follow that the Sabbath of the Lord
transferred from the seventh day to the first (and freed from the
typical use and economical strictness of the Old Testament) was on
that account abrogated.

XXX. He who does works of necessary charity and mercy on the
Sabbath does not profane it. He would be guilty of the basest
superstition and hypocrisy who, under this pretext, would desert a
neighbor in trouble. He ought to help whom he can and to serve God
according to his ordination. For the Sabbath is said to have been
"made for man" that he may in a special manner consult his own
salvation by performing the duties of piety to God and of love to
his neighbor; "not man for the Sabbath," as if he ought to neglect
necessary charity or mercy towards himself or neighbor through a
superstitious regard for the Sabbath.

XXXI. The cessation from all servile work and carnal pleasure ought
not to be pressed to the neglect of the spiritual practice of true
holiness. It ought not to be pressed on account of itself, as if it
were, a part of worship or as if the day itself were holier than
others, but as the condition and help of private and public
exercises to be performed thus. Therefore, this doctrine is very
far from leading men to the opinion that they have done their duty
remarkably well if, the desire for true piety and holiness being
left, they devote themselves to a scrupulous and absolute cessation
from all work. We seek the means on account of the end and the
condition on account of the principal work (to wit, rest on account
of the spiritual exercises of true piety and holiness). Therefore
no more ought the practice of the Sabbath to be burdened with those
consequences from the accidental abuse of men, than the practice of
sacred reading, the hearing of the word, prayers and the sacraments,
which are open to the same abuses, although no one would deny that
these are moral duties of perpetual observance.

XXXII. The accommodation of the fourth precept to the peculiar
state of the Jews (which was in the observance of the seventh day
from the beginning of creation) did not render this precept
ceremonial anymore than the promise to give the land of Canaan to
the people of Israel makes the fifth commandment ceremonial; nor the
preface, where the bringing of the people out of Egypt is mentioned,
makes all the precepts ceremonial. Indeed, we grant that a somewhat
stricter observance of the Sabbath was commanded in those times,
accommodated to the training and servitude of the times, which does
not obtain in all ages. However, this does not hinder the
observance itself from being moral and common to all ages.

Take from Volume 2 of Institutes of Elenctic Theology, by Francis


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas