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COMMANDMENT IV.


Evan. Well, then, I pray you consider, that as the Lord in the third commandment

doth prescribe the right manner how he will be worshipped, so doth he in the

fourth commandment, set down the time when he will be most solemnly

worshipped, after the right manner; and in this commandment there is an

affirmative part, expressed in these words, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it

holy," &c.: that is, remember that the seventh day in every week be set apart

from worldly things and business, and be consecrated to God by holy and

heavenly employments; and a negative part, expressed also in these words, "In it

thou shalt not do any work," &c. That is, thou shalt not on that day do any such

thing or work as doth any way hinder thee from keeping an holy rest unto God.


Neo. I pray you, sir, begin with the affirmative part, and first tell us what the

Lord requires of us in this commandment.


Evan. In this fourth commandment the Lord requires that we finish all our works

in the space of six days, (Deut 5:13), and think on the seventh day before it

come, and prepare for it, (Luke 23:54), and rise early on that day in the morning,

(Psa 92:2, Mark 1:35,38,39). Yea, and the Lord requires that we fit ourselves for

the public exercises by prayer, reading, and meditation, (Eccl 5:1, Isa 7:10); and

that we join with the minister and people publicly assembled, with assent of mind,

and fervency of affection in prayer, (Acts 2:42); in hearing the word read and

preached, (Acts 13:14,15,44); in singing of Psalms, (1 Cor 14:15,16, Col 3:16); in

the sacrament of baptism, (Luke 1:58,59); and in the sacrament of the Lord's

Supper, so often as it shall be administered in that congregation whereof we are

members, (1 Cor 11:26).


Then afterwards, when we come home, the Lord requires that we seriously

meditate on that portion of the word of which we have heard, (Acts 17:11), and

repeat it to our families, (Deut 6:7), and confer of it with others, if there be

occasion, (Luke 24:14,17); and that we crave his blessing when we have done all

this, (John 17:17).


Neo. And is this all that the Lord requires us to do on that day?


Evan. No; the Lord also requires that we do works of mercy on that day, as to

visit the sick, and do them what good we can, (Neh 8:12, Mark 3:3-5), and

relieve the poor and needy, and such as be in prison, (Luke 13:16), and labour to

reconcile those that be at variance and discord, (Matt 5:9).


And the Lord doth permit us to do works of instant necessity on that day, as to

travel to places of God's worship, (2 Kings 4:23); to heal the diseased, (Hosea

6:6, Matt 12:7,12); to dress food for the necessary preservation of our temporal

lives, (Exo 1:1); to tend and feed cattle, (Matt 12:11); and such like.


Neo. I pray you, sir, proceed to the negative part, and tell us what the Lord

forbiddeth in this commandment.


Evan. In this commandment the Lord forbiddeth idleness or sleeping more on the

Lord's day in the morning, than is of necessity, (Matt 20:6); and he also

forbiddeth us to labour in our particular callings, (Exo 16:28-30); and he also

forbiddeth us to talk about our worldly affairs and business on that day, (Amos

8:5, Isa 58:13); and he also forbiddeth us to travel any journey about our worldly

business on that day, (Matt 24:20); or keep any fairs or markest on that day,

(Neh 13:16,17); or to labour in seed time and harvest on that day. In a word, the

Lord on that day forbiddeth all worldly works and labours, except works of

mercy and instant necessity, which were mentioned before. And thus have I also

declared, both what the Lord requires and what he forbids in the fourth

commandment. And now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray you tell me, whether

you think you keep it perfectly or no.


Nom. Indeed, sir, I must confess, there is more both required and forbidden in

this commandment than I was aware of; but yet I hope I go very near the

observing and doing of all.


Neo. But, sir, is the bare observing and doing of these things sufficient for

keeping of this commandment perfectly?


Evan. Oh no! the first commandment must be understood in all the rest, that is,

the obedience to the first commandment must be the motive and final cause of

our obedience to the rest of the commandments, otherwise it is not the worship of

God, but hypocrisy, as I touched before; wherefore, neighbour Nomologista,

though you have done all the duties the Lord requires in this commandment, and

avoided all the sins which he forbids, yet, if all this has been from such grounds,

and to such ends, as I told you of in the conclusion of the second commandment,

and not for the love you bear to God, and the desire you have to please him, you

come short of keeping this commandment perfectly.


Neo. Sir, whatsoever he does, I am sure I come far short not only in this point,

but in divers others; for though it is true, indeed, I am careful to finish all my

worldly business in the space of six days, yet, alas! I do not so seriously think on

and prepare for the seventh day as I ought; neither do I many times rise so early

on that day as I ought; neither do I so thoroughly fit and prepare myself by prayer

and other exercises beforehand as I ought; neither do I so heartily join with the

minister and people, when I come to the assembly, as I ought, but am subject to

many wandering worldly thoughts and cares even at that time. And when I come

home, if I do either meditate, repeat, pray, or confer, yet, alas! I do none of these

with such delight or comfort as I ought; neither have I been so mindful nor careful

to visit the sick, and relieve the poor, as I ought: neither can I clear myself from

being guilty of doing more worldly works or labours on that day, than the works

of mercy and instant necessity. The Lord be merciful unto me! I pray you, sir,

proceed to speak of the fifth commandment, as you have done of the rest. But

first of all, I pray, tell us what is meant by father and mother.



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