The Fourth Commandment
8. Remember the sabbath-day, to keep it holy.
8. Recordare diei Sabbathi, ut sanctifices eum:
9. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
9. Sex diebus operaberis et facies universum opus tuum.
10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
10. Dies autem septimus Sabbathum Jehovae Dei tui est. Non facies ullum opus, tu, et filius tuus, et filia tua, servus tuus, et ancilla tua, et inquilinus tuus qui est in portis tuis:
11. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath-day, and hallowed it.
11. Quoniam sex diebus fecit Jehova coelum et terram, mare et quaecunque in illis sunt, et quievit die septimo: propterea benedixit Jehova diem sabbathi, et sanctificavit eum.
12. Keep the sabbath-day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.
12. Observa diem Sabbathi ut eum sanctifices, quemadmodum praecepit Jehova Deus tuus.
13. Six days thou shalt labor, and do all thy work;
13. Sex diebus operaberis, et facies universum opus tuum: dies autem septimus sabbathum est Jehovae Dei tui.
14. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou.
14. Non facies ullum opus tu, et filius tuns, et asinus tuus, quodvis jumentum tuum, et inquilinus tuus qui est in portis tuis, ut quiescat servus tuus et ancilla tua sicut tu.
15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day.
15. Ac recordare quod servus fueris in terra Aegypti, et eduxerit to Jehova Deus tuus inde per manum fortem et brachium extentum. Idcirco praecepit Jehova Deus tuus ut facias diem sabbathi.
Although this is sufficiently plain, still it will be worth while to confirm it by further statements. And first of all, that this was a ceremonial precept, Paul clearly teaches, calling it a shadow of these things, the body of which is only Christ. (Colossians 2:17.) But if the outward rest was nothing but a ceremony, the substance of which must be sought in Christ, it now remains to be considered how Christ actually exhibited what was then prefigured; and this the same Apostle declares, when he states that "our old man is crucified with Christ," and that we are buried with Him, that His resurrection may be to us newness of life. (Romans 6:4.) It is to be gathered without doubt from many passages, that the keeping of the Sabbath was a serious matter, since God inculcates no other commandment more frequently, nor more strictly requires obedience to any; and again, when He complains that He is despised, and that the Jews have fallen into extreme ungodliness, He simply says that His "Sabbaths are polluted," as if religion principally consisted in their observance. (Jeremiah 17:24; Ezekiel 20:21; 22:8; 23:38.) Moreover, if there had not been some peculiar excellency in the Sabbath,2 it might have appeared to be an act of atrocious injustice to command a man to be put to death for cutting wood upon it. (Numbers 15:32.) Wherefore it must be concluded that the substance of the Sabbath, which Paul declares to be in Christ, must have been no ordinary good thing. Nor does its excellency require much eulogium, since spiritual rest is nothing else than the truly desirable and blessed death of man, which contains in it the life of God, even as Paul glories that he is as it were dead, because Christ liveth in him. (Galatians 2:20.) The Apostle in the epistle to the Hebrews argues more subtilely, that true rest is brought to us by the Gospel, and that it is rejected by unbelievers, (Hebrews 4:3;) for although he mixes up some allegorical matter with it, he still retains the genuine reason of the Commandment, viz., that we should rest from our works "even as God from His." (Hebrews 4:10.) On this ground Isaiah, when he reproves the hypocrites for insisting only on the external ceremony of rest, accuses them of "finding their own pleasure" on the Sabbath, (Isaiah 58:13;) as much as to say, that the legitimate use of the Sabbath must be supposed to be self-renunciation, since he is in fact accounted to cease from his works who is not led by his own will nor indulges his own wishes, but who suffers himself to be directed by the Spirit of God. And this emptying out of self must proceed so far that the Sabbath is violated even by good works, so long as we regard them as our own; for rightly does Augustin remark in the last chapter of the 22d book, De Civitate Dei, 3-- "For even our good works themselves, since they are understood to be rather His than ours, are thus imputed to us for the attaining of that Sabbath, when we are still and see that He is God; 4 for, if we attribute them to ourselves, they will be servile, whereas we are told as to the Sabbath,
Next it is asked, why God rather assigned every seventh day to the Sabbath rather than the sixth or tenth. Because the number seven often represents perfection in Scripture, some have thought that believers were thus reminded that they must strive after perfect holiness with all their might, and not devote themselves to God by halves only. Others elicit a different meaning from it, although not a contrary one, that believers were taught that although they might be sanctified and laboring in all sincerity to cease from their own life, still some remainders of the flesh would continue in them, and therefore that through the whole course of their life they must aspire to that holiness which no mortal attains. I do not, however, doubt but that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, that He might give a manifestation of the perfect excellency of His works, and thus, proposing Himself as the model for our imitation, He signifies that He calls His own people to the true goal of felicity. Although a promise is included in this Commandment, yet will we observe upon it separately, and as if by the way. He promises indeed that as He blessed the seventh day and set it apart, so He will bless believers to sanctify them. But the main point is the command, and the recital of the blessing is equivalent to an exhortation to obedience, since otherwise it would be inappropriately placed here amongst the Commandments of the Law. When I said that the ordinance of rest was a type of a spiritual and far higher mystery, and hence that this Commandment must be accounted ceremonial, I must not be supposed to mean that it had no other different objects also. And certainly God took the seventh day for His own and hallowed it, when the creation of the world was finished, that He might keep His servants altogether free from every care, for the consideration of the beauty, excellence, and fitness of His works. There is indeed no moment which should be allowed to pass in which we are not attentive to the consideration of the wisdom, power, goodness, and justice of God in His admirable creation and government of the world; but, since our minds are fickle, and apt therefore to be forgetful or distracted, God, in His indulgence providing against our infirmities, separates one day from the rest, and commands that it should be free from all earthly business and cares, so that nothing may stand in the way of that holy occupation. On this ground He did not merely wish that people should rest at home, but that they should meet in the sanctuary, there to engage themselves in prayer and sacrifices, and to make progress in religious knowledge through the interpretation of the Law. In this respect we have an equal necessity for the Sabbath with the ancient people, so that on one day we may be free, and thus the better prepared to learn and to testify our faith. A third object of the Sabbath is also stated by Moses, but an accidental one as it were, viz., that it may be a day of relaxation for servants. Since this pertains to the rule of charity, it has not properly any place in the First Table, and is therefore added by Moses as an extrinsic advantage, as will be seen a little further on.
1 "Sans autre regard que servir a Dieu en se reposant." -- Fr.
2 "S'il n'y eust eu quelque mystere excellent, et singulier;" if there had not been some excellent and peculiar mystery, etc. -- Fr.
3 The heading of this 30th chapter is, -- " Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and the Perpetual Sabbath."
5 Added from Fr.
6 Added from Fr.
7 "Les payens, comme chiens mastins;" the heathen, like dogs. -- Fr.