The Sabbath was Made for Man

If I can draw attention to the works of Benajah Harvey Carroll, even if or when I disagree with him (on more than a few doctrinal points), I will. I am not a Sabbatarian but feel it is important to consider the arguments for the Lord’s Day Sabbath. I plucked a few gems from a collection of sermons by B. H. for your consideration.

That stated, B. H. Carroll reminds us:

Every just man should be distrustful of himself. He should be willing to review past decisions. Therefore, I have felt constrained to re-examine the positions previously taken with a view to any necessary modifications. That re-examination, howevecarrollr, coupled with attendant developments, deepens and intensifies the original convictions in all substantial particulars.

After some introduction:

Let us now address ourselves to this sermon, making it our first inquiry: When and how was the Sabbath made for man? The book of revelation commences with the sentence: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In this sentence are all the elements of sublimity. Nothing can surpass the grandeur of its thought, the vastness and value of its revelation, or the simplicity, conciseness, and majesty of its expression.

On creation:

Such are the declarations and negations of this announcement of creation. That creation, as revealed, culminated in man. “And God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This image of God distinguished man from all the rest of creation and put an infinite and impassable chasm between him and the highest order of beasts.

It consisted of;

(a) a moral nature and, unlike that of any beast, subject to moral law. This moral nature was evidenced by conscience (Gen. 3:10; 42:21; Prov. 20:27; Rom. 2:15).

(b) Immortality of soul or spirit (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:6, 7; Matt. 10:28). On account of this dignity of soul, provision was made for the immortality and in-corruption of his body by use of the fruit of the tree of life (Gen. 3:22; Rev. 2:7; 22 : 2-14).

(c) Of intuitive knowledge (Gen. 2:9; Col. 3:10), righteousness, and trua holinesss (Eph. 4:24). (d) Of speech, (e) Of the spirit as well as the capacity for labor, apart from the driving thereto by the mere struggle for existence and sustenance. “He was to subdue the earth,” and “dress and keep the garden” (Gen. 1:28; 2:15).

Carroll, working toward a Sabbath view, explains:

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” And so were finished the heavens and the earth, and all their host. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it; because on it he rested from all his work, which God created in making it.

Carroll understands the Sabbath to be a creation ordinance:

Here is the institution of the primal Sabbath. God condescends to present himself as man’s archetype and exemplar. The Sabbath was not made for God. “The Almighty fainteth not, neither is weary.” But “the Sabbath was made for man”; for man in his innocence, before sin entered into the world and death by sin. The reason is obvious: Man’s mind is finite and his body mortal. His powers of endurance and of persistent application are limited. He cannot work unceasingly. He will need regular periods of rest for his body and his mind. He must also have stated periods for enjoying and worshiping God, that his soul may be fed and nourished.

After explaining the commission to “subdue the earth” Carroll explains the need and benefit of a Sabbath rest:

But in all this toil and progress and development, five things must never be forgotten:

1. Labor that is continuous will destroy both mind and body. Hence the necessity of regular periods of rest.

2. The higher nature must not be subordinated to the lower. The soul must not wander too far from God. Communion with him is its nourishment and health. Man must not live by bread alone. God must be loved and adored.

3. God is earth’s proprietor and man’s sovereign. His supreme jurisdiction must ever be acknowledged and accepted with complete submission.

4. Man is social by the very constitution of his being. The unit of the family must not be broken. But there can be no permanent circle unless God is its center. And no tie will permanently bind unless it is sacred.

In subduing the earth man has authority not only to lay under tribute the forces of nature which are without feeling, but to use the strength of the lower animals. These get weary. They cannot labor continuously. For their faithful service they need not only good food and shelter, but regular periods of rest.

5. Not only animals need certain regular off-days, when they are to do no work, but all mechanical and scientific implements need it, in order to reach maximum usefulness. It has been demonstrated that a steam engine, an axe, a hand saw, will do more work in the long run with regular days of absolute rest. An instance is given in a late review by an experienced engineer, of two engines of like pattern, capacity, and material. One was run every day so many hours. The other only six days in seven, but yet as many hours in the six days as the first in seven. The one which had its Sabbaths outlasted and outworked the other so far as to excite marked attention.

These things were all true in paradise before sin had corrupted man’s nature and made him supremely selfish. How much more after the fall and expulsion from Eden, when all the conditions of labor were harder; when the earth was cursed; when man enslaved his fellow-man; when the rich and great oppressed the poor and weak; when parents became tyrants over their own children.

A warning…”No Sabbath, No God:”

In the beginning thou didst ordain it, thou didst bless it and hallow it. It is one of three holy things that man, though fallen and accursed, was permitted in mercy to bring with him from the lost bowers of Eden: majestic labor, the holy institution of marriage, and the blessed and hallowed Sabbath. Inestimable jewels! Time has never dimmed your luster, nor change nor circumstance depreciated your value. The experience of six thousand years bears witness to your divine origin. As types you have illumined time; as anti-types you will glorify eternity.

 And throughout the world, wherever the Sabbath in its purity has been disregarded, there marriage, in its true and holy sense, has been degraded, and there idleness and cheating and gambling and fraud have taken the place of honest toil. There avarice and greed and tyranny have oppressed the poor, and there immorality and vice and polytheism and pantheism and deism and chance and fatalism and materialism and atheism have erected their standards. Yes, it is true in its ultimate and logical outcome: No Sabbath, no God.

The Sabbath or atheism, which? Why try to narrow this question to Jewish boundaries? The Sabbath was made for man; for man, as man; for all men. Was Adam a Jew? Was he a son of Judah, or of Heber, or of Abraham, or of Shem? Why talk of Semitic races? The Sabbath was made for the first man, the progenitor of all the races, and for him even in paradise as a primal law of man’s primal, normal nature.

A plea for the Lord’s Day Sabbath:

What is before you Christians?

There is a rest that remaineth to the people of God. Have you never read Baxter’s “Saints’ Everlasting Rest,” that glorious rest of heaven, that Sabbath, Sabbath of heaven? That is the antitype. Where is your permission to knock down the type before the antitype comes? Never can it be destroyed until it is fulfilled. The rest that remaineth to the people of God must come before the antitype perishes. And as heaven is not yet would to God it were; oh, that even that paradise, that water, clear, sparkling, that tree of life, that painless and sorrowless shore were now at hand! Oh, the rest, the everlasting rest, that remains for the people of God! Lord, God, let not me pull down the monument whose silent finger points to it as the hope of the lost world!

And as I commenced so I conclude, that no Sabbath, no God; the Sabbath or atheism. That is what it is. Do you not see the trend of it? Has it not already been manifest in the morning papers? Has it not already been intimated and insinuated that because a few pastors would simply advise their members from participation in Sabbath-breaking, that the churches should be taxed? And incomes of the preachers should be taxed? And references to God in the constitution and the legislative enactments shall be expunged. Atheism! it is coming. I tell you it is coming. It is coming with every pulse of anarchy in these United States. It is coming with every touch of the incendiary. It is coming with every commotion from below that denies God, or that proud avarice from above which deals in slaves and the souls of men. That battle is coming: The Sabbath or atheism. Earth’s greatest foe is mammon. It is the beastliest and ghastliest of all the gods of idolatry. And I would as soon try a case of conscience before the court of hell with the devil for judge, as to leave it to a verdict given by avarice.

Yes; “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

source

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6 thoughts on “The Sabbath was Made for Man

  1. Since there are those of us who are neither Sabbatarians nor Atheists, his entire argument must be wrong. What he needed to show is a recorded commandment for Adam to “cease” on the seventh day. No such commandment exists. Additionally, Adam needed no such rest until after the fall. It was not until then that his labor became toilsome.

    It is only necessary to posit that the Sabbath was a creation ordinance if we assume the Ten Commandments were God’s absolute, universal, moral law for all of time. Only if that is true must we insist that the Sabbath commandment obtained at the moment of Adam’s creation. Additionally, if that is true, how could Paul describe the Gentiles as “those who do not have the law?”

  2. I believe the type has been fulfilled. Consider the following:

    4:10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

    We rest from our works because we are in him who has rested from his works. The Father is satisfied with him, and because we are in him, we rest in the knowledge that he is satisfied with us. Christ is our Sabbath rest. He is better than Moses and Joshua because he grants us a rest they were unable to give. What a blessed experience to rest in the knowledge that even God himself could ask no more of us than he has already exacted from Jesus.

    4:11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

    Note that disobedience and faithlessness are always found together. An unbelieving man, will be a disobedient man. Failure to enter God’s rest in Christ, because an act of unbelief, is an act of disobedience. The burden of this exhortation is not that they should be more diligent in the performance of those works by which they might please God. He is not instructing them to show greater evidence of their conversion by being more obedient to the Law. “Striving” or “Laboring” to enter that rest in this context means showing enduring diligence in their believing attachment to Christ in whom alone they have rest. Matthew Henry’s Commentary states this truth well in these words, “ The end proposed-rest spiritual and eternal, the rest of grace here and glory hereafter—in Christ on earth, with Christ in heaven.”

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    • Thank you for your comment gracewriter. What do you make of the WCF’s use of “Good and Necessary Consequence?” Wouldn’t the Lord’s Day Sabbath be considered a “Good and Necessary Consequence?”

      Thank you.

      • In my view, consequences are only “good and necessary” if they are founded on sound presuppositions. Though I believe there are clear areas of continuity between the Old and New Covenants, the emphasis of the New Testament Scriptures comes down strongly on the side of discontinuity.

        In my view, the Westminster documents unnecessarily flattened out the distinctives between the covenants. The continuity between them is that of type to antitype. There is always a heightening from the type to the fulfillment. In other words, the fulfillment is always superior to the type. It is not a day of ceasing that continues, but a ceasing from our works as the ground of our acceptance before God. Christ is the believer’s Sabbath rest.

        Old Testament rites are not replaced by New Testament rites but by the realities to which those rites pointed.

      • I agree with you gracewriter but would apply the same principles to paedobaptism. The baptizing of infants is not commanded and it is not a “good and necessary consequence” drawn from scripture.

        Have a good Lord’s Day tomorrow.

        j

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