Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

David Dickson’s

Truth’s Victory Over Error

Chapter XXI.

Of Religious Worship,

and the Sabbath Day.


DOTH the light of nature shew that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all?

Yes.  Rom. 1.20. Acts 17.24. Psalm 119.68. Jer. 10.7. Psalm 31.23.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, That there is no knowledge of God implanted naturally in the minds of men?


Do not, secondly, the Vaninians, and many of the Cartesians err, who, under the pretext of maintaining a Godhead, have, in effect, taught men to deny there is a God?


Do not, thirdly, some bee-headed men err, who dispute against the being of a Godhead, because they cannot find a demonstration for it, called Dihoti?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse, Rom. 1.20.

2d, Because the Psalmist saith, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. That is, they give us matter and occasion to speak and discourse of his omnipotency, wisdom, and goodness, Psalm 19.1-3.

3d, Because the knowledge of the law of nature, is naturally implanted in the minds of all men, Rom. 2.14. Therefore some knowledge of the lawgiver must be implanted in the minds of all men.

4th, Because in the most wicked and ungodly, there are terrors and tortures of conscience, wherewith, nill they will they, they are haunted and possessed; whence it is evident, that in the minds of all men, there is some lively knowledge of God.

5th, Because men would rather worship a stock or a stone, than they should think there were no God, Acts 17.23.

6th, What a brave order and comeliness shines forth with so much wisdom and power, in the government and preservation of things above and below, that no man can be in doubt but there must be a God who rules and preserves all those things.

7th, Because nothing can be the cause of itself: Because then it should be both the cause and the effect, both before and after itself; therefore all things have their beginning from one first and supreme cause, which is God.

8th, Because the existence of a Godhead may be evinced from the foretelling things to come. Isa. 41.23. and as Cicero says, Si est divination, sunt Dii, if there be a foretelling, there must also be a God that foretelleth.

9th, From the assaults and suggestions of Satan, we find there is a devil. May we not then certainly conclude there is a God? The devil labours by all means to extinguish the light of the gospel, to lead men on in ignorance, error, and profaneness, and to turn them out of the path of holiness. Now, why should Satan thus war against God, his word, and his saints? why should he seek God’s dishonour and man’s destruction, if there were not a God, a law, and an everlasting life?

10th, Because the mind of a man is not satisfied with the knowledge of all things; nor the will of man with the enjoyment of all things in this world, but still they seek and thirst earnestly after some higher good. There is therefore a sovereign truth, and chief good, which being perfectly known and enjoyed, will give contentment and satisfaction to the soul. In vain should the powers and faculties of the soul be capable of happiness, or of the chief good, if there were not a chief good to be possessed and enjoyed.

11th, From the wonders and miracles which have been wrought, visible and apparent works extraordinarily wrought, not only above the ordinary course of nature, but simply above the power of nature. These effects do convince, that there is an infinite power, which is above, and over-ruleth all things. For every principal and primary cause, is more excellent than the effects thereof.

12th, From the being of man, the curious workmanship of his body in the womb, which is wrought most artificially; namely, with sinews, veins, arteries, muscles, and other parts of the body, even as an embroiderer fitteth, and joineth many parcels, stuff, and dyed work of various colours, very artificially and curiously together, until there cometh forth some goodly portraiture, or other dainty workmanship, Psalm 139.15. Job 10.10. But especially from the being of man’s soul, which is immaterial, invisible, rational, immortal, and which cannot be e traduce; from the power of the matter, as the sensitive souls of the brutes, neither doth depend upon the body in many of its operations. These, and all the works which our eye doth see, or the mind doth apprehend, do prove that there is a God, who hath given a being to them, and continueth them therein.

13th, Because, seeing God is the first cause, there cannot be any thing prior to him, by which, as a cause, his existence can be demonstrated.

Quest. II. “Is the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, instituted by himself, and so limited to his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of man, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture?”

Yes.  Deut. 12.32. Matt. 15.9. Acts 17.25. Col. 2.23. Exod. 20.4-6.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who teach, That the images of Christ and the Trinity ought to be worshipped, and that not improperly, but even properly, {132} and per se, with the same sort of worship, wherewith Christ and the blessed Trinity are adored?


Do not likewise the Greeks err, who maintain, That the painted images of God may be adored, but not the engraved or carved images of God?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because it is expressly against the second command, Exod. 20.4,5.

2d, Because God is infinite, unmeasurable, incomprehensible, and spiritual; and therefore nothing can represent him, as the prophet well infers, Isa. 40.18,25.

3d, Because every representation of God, by graven images or pictures, is a most disgraceful changing of the glory of the incorruptible God, Rom. 1.23.

4th, Because images and pictures of this kind are lies and vanities, which the Lord abhors and mocks at, with an holy scorn, Isa. 44.9-18.

5th, Because the Lord expressly forbiddeth the Israelites to represent him under any form or shape, for, saith the text, ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake to you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire, Deut. 4.15-20.

6th, Because though the Israelites worshipped the true God by an image (for Aaron built an altar, and made proclamation, and said to-morrow is a feast to the Lord) yet they are accused of the sin of idolatry, and for that cause severely punished, Exod. 32.21,27,35.

7th, Because Jeroboam, and the ten tribes who worshipped the true God, by the golden calves, set up at Dan and Bethel, (for the worship of false Gods by images, was afterwards brought in by Ahab, who is thereby said to have provoked the Lord more than all the kings of Israel before him, 1 Kings 16.31,32.) are accused for the sin of idolatry, and severely threatened, 1 Kings 12.29,30. and 1 Kings 13.2. which threatening was put in execution by Josiah, 2 Kings 23.15,16,20.

8th, Because the apostle says, We ought not to think that the God-head is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device, Acts 17.29.

Quest. III. “Is religious worship to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and to him alone?”


“Is religious worship to be given to angels, saints, or any other creature?”

No; Matt. 4.10. John 8.49. 2 Chron. 13.14. John 5.23. Col. 2.18. Rev. 19.10. Rom. 1.25.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, That not only God, but good angels, and saints departed, being canonized by the Pope, ought to be worshipped and called upon, even after a religious manner; but chiefly the virgin Mary, and that there is a divine power in the relics of saints, which therefore ought to be worshipped?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the Lord our God, and he only, is to be worshipped, Matt. 4.10. Deut. 6.13.

2d, Because the object of invocation and religious adoration is he only who is omnipotent, omniscient, and searcher of the heart. For there is none that knows our necessities and wants, but he that is omniscient, and none can succour and help us, but he that is omnipotent. But angels are not omniscient, Eph. 3.10. 1 Pet. 1.12. Neither are the saints departed omniscient, as is clear from Isa. 63.16. Abraham is ignorant of us.

3d, Because they that are dead, know nothing of our condition, Eccl. 9.5.

4th, Because no man ought to call upon him, in whom he doth not believe, Rom. 10.14. But no man ought to believe in saints, or angels, but in God alone, Isa. 26.4. Jer. 17.5.

5th, Because neither saints alive, nor angels, would suffer adoration and worship to be given to themselves, Acts 10.25. Rev. 22.8,9.

6th, Because the worshipping of angels doth derogate from the honour of Christ, in whom we have boldness, and access, with confidence by the faith of him, Eph. 3.12.

7th, Because the worshipping of saints and angels is like a Polytheismus, the having of many gods. For the Papists attribute to each of the saints and angels, a proper power, as the heathens did of old to their idols and false gods.

Quest. IV. “Is any religious worship given to God, since the fall, without a Mediator?


“Nor in the mediation of any other, but Christ alone?”

No; John 14.6. 1 Tim. 2.5. Eph. 2.18. Col. 3.17.

Well then, doth not the Popish church err, who maintain, That saints departed, but chiefly the virgin Mary, are mediators and intercessors between God and man?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the Scripture affirms expressly, That there is but one mediator between God and man, namely, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2.5.

2d, Because no man cometh to the Father, but by Christ, John 14.6. and by him we have access to the Father, Eph. 2.18.

3d, Because the scripture promiseth that they shall be heard, that, in the name of Christ, seek such things as are according to the will of God: But there is no promise in all the word, that they shall be heard that pray to saints or angels, John 14.13,14. 1 John 5.14.

4th, Because the apostle says, Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, not in the name of saints, Col. 3.17.

5th, Because Christ, who is called the propitiation for our sins, is also called our advocate with the Father, 1 John 2.1,2.

6th, Because mediation is a part of the priestly office of Christ, which is only proper to himself, and which cannot be divided between him and the saints.

7th, Because the saints are not to be called upon, as was proved in the foregoing question.

Quest. V. “Is prayer with thanksgiving, one special part of God’s worship, required by God of all men?”

Yes; Phil. 4.6. Psalm 65.2.

Well then, do not the Adamites, and others long since err, who denied, That God was to be called upon. For, say they, God is omniscient, and bestows all things upon us freely without our prayer?


Do not likewise some late heretics err, who maintain, That unregenerate men ought not to call upon God?


Do not also the Quakers err, who will not move in the commanded duties of prayer and thanksgiving, unless there be some inward call and motion on their spirit?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because there are extant many universal precepts in the word, by which the duty of prayer is commanded, Phil. 4.6. 1 Thes. 5.17. John 16.24. Matt. 7.7.

2d, Because God is the hearer of prayer, and to him shall all flesh come, Psalm 65.2.

3d, We have the example of David, Psalm 55.17. Of Daniel, chap. 6.10. The examples of those many, who were gathered together, praying in the behalf of the apostle Peter, Acts 12.12. The example of Christ himself, John 17.

4th, Because the apostle Paul bids Simon Magus, who was in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, to repent and call upon God, Acts 8.22. As to the Quakers, what assurance can they have the next hour, or the next day, more than now of the Spirit’s moving on their souls? And are we not commanded to pray without ceasing, 1 Thes. 5.17. that is, upon all opportunities, and in all our necessities?

Quest. VI. “If prayer be vocal, ought it to be in a known tongue?”

Yes; 1 Cor. 14.14.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, That it is not needful, that public prayers be in a known tongue; but that it is oftentimes expedient, that prayers be performed in a tongue unknown to the common people?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the apostle teaches expressly the contrary, 1 Cor. 14.9,12.

2d, Because prayers celebrated in an unknown tongue, are not for edification, 1 Cor. 14.14.

3d, Because he that occupieth the room of the unlearned (that is, who understands not strange tongues) cannot say, Amen, 1 Cor. 14.16.

4th, Because the Lord’s prayer, which is the special rule of all our prayers, was prescribed in a tongue, at that time best known.

Quest. VII. “May we pray for the dead, or those of whom it may be known, that they have sinned the sin unto death?”

No; 2 Sam. 12.21-23. Luke 16.25,26. Rev. 14.13. 1 John 5.16.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, That prayers, alms and masses, ought to be appointed, and made for souls departed, as these which will really profit them?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the dead are either happy; and so they need not our prayers, Rev. 14.13. Or they are damned, and so our prayers cannot profit them: For out of hell there is no redemption, Luke 16.26.

2d, Because we read that David mourned, and fasted for the child, so long as it was alive: But when once the child was removed by death, Wherefore, says he, should I fast? Can I bring him back again? 2 Sam. 12.22,23.

3d, Because all our requests and prayers are either founded upon a precept, or promise of God to hear our prayers. But there is neither a promise that God will hear us, in order to the dead, nor a command to pray for them.

4th, Because we are altogether ignorant of the state and condition of the dead, and therefore we cannot pray for them in faith, Rom. 14.23.

Quest. VIII. “Is the reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching, and comfortable hearing of the word, in obedience to God, with understanding, faith, and reverence; are they, I say, part of the ordinary religious worship?”


“Are these, with the due administration of the sacraments, viz. baptism and the Lord’s supper, to continue in the church of God, till the end of the world, and the day of Christ?”

Yes; Acts 15.21. Rev. 1.3. 2 Tim. 4.2. Matt. 13.19. James 1.22. Heb. 4.2,3. Isa. 66.2. Acts 10.33.

Well then, do not the Enthusiasts, Libertines, Anabaptists, and other sectaries err, who (under pretext of being inspired by the Holy Ghost that teaches them all things) despite and contemn all reading of the Scripture, and public hearing of the word preached?


Do not likewise the Quakers err, who are downright enemies to all the public ordinances, which Christ hath appointed to continue in his church to the end of the world?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because Christ commanded his apostles, and in them all the ministers of the gospel, to whom he hath promised his presence to the end of the world, to teach all nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature, Matt. 28.19. Mark 16.15,16.

2d, Because the public preaching of the word, by a minister sent, and called, and the hearing of it, is a mean ordained, and appointed by God, and according to the ordinary manner, necessary for begetting faith, and therefore needful to salvation, Rom. 10.14,15. 1 Cor. 1.21.

3d, Because God hath promised to his covenanted ones, to bring them to his holy mountain, and make them joyful in his house of prayer, that is in the public meetings of the saints and people, Isa 56.7.

4th, From the example of those believers, Acts 2.42. who continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine.

5th, Because the word of God is the perfect rule of life and manners, and all spirits are to be tried by it, 1 Tim. 3.15. 1 John 4.1. Isa 8.20. Neither ought we to follow or hear any man, no not an angel, if he teach any thing contrary to the word, or heterodox from it, 2 Thess. 2.2. Gal. 1.8.

6th, Because the word of God is that incorruptible seed, by which we are born again, 1 Pet. 1.23.

7th, Because God forbids expressly separations from public assemblies (I mean so long as the word is truly and purely taught, by those who enter in by the right door, that is Christ, and the way appointed by him in his word, John 10.7,8.) Heb. 10.25.

8th, Because the Lord hath joined together these two, his faithful servants, for teaching his people publicly, and the promise of the Spirit to guide them, and assist them in their work, Matt. 28.20. John 16.16,17,26.

For confutation of the Quakers, two things must be made out; the one, that the office of the ministry is of divine institution.

1st, Because God hath particularly designed some persons to the work of the ministry. For if God appointed some persons to be judges over Israel, then must the office of judging Israel be of divine institution. Christ appointed not only apostles, the seventy disciples, evangelists, prophets, whose call and gifts were extraordinary, but other ordinary pastors and teachers whose spirits were not infallible, whom the Scripture affirms to be as truly by divine institution, as the former, 1 Cor. 12.28. Eph. 4.11.

2d, Because God hath given peculiar names and titles to the persons designed for this office, which he hath not given to other saints. The only wise God will not distinguish, where he himself hath made no distinction or difference. These are called pastors, teachers, such as rule well, stewards of the mysteries of God, preachers, bishops or overseers of the flock, stars in Christ’s right hand, angels of the churches. Christ evidently puts a difference between the churches and the angels set over them. Rev. 2.1, 8, 12, 18. Rev. 3.1, 7, 14.

3d, Because the Lord hath taken a special care to bestow peculiar gifts and qualifications upon these persons so designed for the ministry; and that for the good of the souls of his people, above what is required in other saints. Would ever the Lord have bestowed such qualifications, if he had not appointed some for such an office? Though gifts, as gifts, do not alone invest into such an office, yet when they are strictly required, they argue that there is an office. They must be apt to teach others, 1 Tim. 3.2. and not only so, but able to teach others, able to convince them that oppose themselves, Titus 1.9. They must be such as study to shew themselves approven unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed, 2 Tim. 2.15. And the apostle, in admiration of the difficulty of this employment, crieth out, Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor. 2.16.

4th, Because the Lord requires peculiar duties of his ministers, which he doth not require of believers; therefore, there must be such a distinct office by divine institution. They must take special care of the church of God, 1 Tim. 3.5. 1 Pet. 5.2,3. They are not to neglect the gift which is in them, 1 Tim. 4.14. They are to meditate on these things, and to give themselves wholly to them, 1 Tim. 4.15. Acts 6.2,4. They are to preach the word, to rebuke, to instruct gainsayers, 1 Tim. 4.2. 2 Tim. 2.25. To administer the sacraments, Matt. 28.19. 1 Cor. 11.23. To ordain others for the ministry, by imposition of hands, 1 Tim. 4.14. To watch over the flock, as those that must give an account, Heb. 13.17.

5th, Because Christ requires peculiar distinct duties in the people, in reference to their ministers, therefore the office of the ministry must be of divine institution. They must know and acknowledge those that are over them in the Lord, 1 Thess. 5.12. Highly to esteem them in love for their work’s sake, 1 Thess. 5.13. To obey them, to encourage them, Heb. 13.7. To maintain them, Gal. 6.6. To pray for them, 2 Thess. 3.1.

6th, Because God hath made peculiar promises to his ministers, as, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world, Matt. 28.20. The promise of special assistance, 2 Cor. 3.5,6. Of protection and defence in all assaults, Rev. 1.20. The promise of the power of the keys, which promise was not limited to the apostles, as apostles, but was given to the apostles, as ministers of the gospel, as is evident from Matt. 18.17,18. The promise of special sympathy with them, Matt. 10.40. Luke 10.16. John 13.10. 1 Thess. 4.8. Now, would ever the Lord have promised to keep up, and maintain that office in his church, which he had not set up and instituted?

The other thing to be made out, is, that the office of the ministry is perpetually necessary.

1st, Because the ordinances are perpetually necessary, by divine institution: Therefore the office of the ministry, to dispense these ordinances, is perpetually necessary, by divine institution. For if God had only appointed the ordinances to continue in his church, then would preaching and administration of the sacraments fail; because that which is every man’s work, is usually and effectually no man’s work. The Lord doth not immediately administer them himself, neither are angels employed for this work: But he hath committed this service to men, who are stewards, and dispensers of the mysteries of God. It is evident that the preaching of the word shall continue to the end of the world, from Matt. 28.20. Eph. 4.12,13. It is evident of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, which are conjoined in the institution of Christ, with ministry of the word. For to whom he gave commission to preach, to them also he gave commission to administer the sacraments. Baptism is an ordinance of the new testament, appointed by God himself. For John was sent to baptize. God was the author, John was only the minister. This was to continue perpetually, as is evident from Christ’s promise and his precept, Matt. 28.18-20. The ends for which baptism was ordained were not temporary, but moral, and so perpetual. Do not all Christians now need these means, as the Christians during the time of the apostles? Are not Christians now baptized into his death, buried with him in baptism, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. It is called by the Holy Ghost, a saving ordinance, and is unto believers and their seed in the New Testament, as the ark was to Noah and his family in the old world, who being in the ark, was saved from perishing in the waters, when the rest were drowned: so baptism doth now save us, not only or mainly the outward part of it, the putting away the filth of the flesh, (which is yet an ordinance to further our salvation) but when the Spirit of regeneration effectually concurs, so that we find there is a renewing of the Holy Ghost, and thereby the answer of a good conscience towards God, 1 Pet. 3.21. It is evident, that the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is to continue to the end of the world. It was not only appointed for apostles, to whom it was first administered, but unto all believers, both Jews and Gentiles. And not only for that age, but for all generations succeeding; for believers are commanded to shew forth the Lord’s death till he come, by eating this bread, and drinking this cup. Therefore, if these ordinances be appointed by God to continue to the end, it follows evidently, that he hath designed the office of the ministry to hold up, and hold forth his ordinances to the end of the world.

2d, Because the promises which Christ hath made to uphold the ministry are perpetual; therefore the office must be perpetual, Matt. 28.20. Go teach and baptize all nations, and lo I am with you to the end of the world. This promise cannot be limited to the particular age, during the lives of the apostles; because the Holy Ghost useth three expressions, to declare the perpetuity of this promise, Aion, that this promise should continue so long as the world continues. Secondly, Synteleia, Heos tes synteleis tu aionos, that this promise shall have no end, till the world be consummate, or bought to a period. Thirdly, Pasas tas Hemeras, all days and successions of times. Not only, Meth hymon hemeras hymon, not only with you, during your own days, but all the days of the gospel, till time shall be no more. And this promise was not made to the apostles, as apostles, not to the apostles, as believers, but to the apostles as ministers and stewards of the mysteries of God.

3d, Because the elect require the office of the ministry perpetually. Our nature is as bad as Jews and Pagans, Eph. 2.3. Our judgment full of darkness and ignorance, 1 Cor. 2.14. Our wills stubborn and rebellious, and so alienated, that we rebel against the light. The delusions of Satan are strong. The multitude of false teachers are very numerous, so that they are ready to seduce the elect themselves, if it were possible.

4th, Because the ends for which Christ hath appointed a ministry are perpetually necessary. The elect must be called and gathered, for there will be some still in every age to be added to the church, of them that shall be saved. There are many sheep, which are not yet brought into his fold: many who belong to the election, who are not yet effectually called, them also will Christ bring, both Jews and Gentiles, that there may be one fold, as there is but one shepherd. Now, God hath revealed no other ordinary way to convert and bring those into his fold, but the ministry of his word; for how shall they believe without a preacher? Therefore if there be some elect continually to be brought into fellowship with Christ, and this end not fully attained till the end of the world, then the ministry assigned to this end, must be perpetually necessary.

Quest. IX. “Is singing of psalms with grace in the heart, a part of the ordinary worship of God?”

Yes; Col. 3.16. Eph. 5.19. James 5.13.

Well then, do not the Quakers, and other sectaries, err, who are against the singing of psalms, or at least tie it only to some certain persons, others being excluded?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, From the practice of Christ and his apostles, Matt. 26.30. From the example of Paul and Silas, Acts 16.25. From Moses and the Israelites, Exod. 15.

2d, Because the singing of psalms was commanded under the Old Testament, and that, not as a type of any substance to come, nor for any ceremonial cause. Neither is it abrogated under the New Testament, but confirmed, Psalm 30.4. Psalm 149.1.

3d, From the general and universal commands in the New Testament, Eph. 5.19. Col. 3.16. 1 Cor. 14.15.

4th, Because the apostle James says, Is any man afflicted, let him pray; is any man merry, let him sing psalms, chap. 5.13. The meaning is not, that none should sing but such as are merry; for then none should pray but such as are afflicted.

5th, Because by singing of psalms we glorify God, we make his praise glorious: we edify others with whom we sing as well as we edify ourselves. So the end to be proposed in singing, is teaching and admonishing one another, in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, Col. 3.16. Lastly, We cheer and refresh ourselves by making melody in our hearts to the Lord, Eph. 5.19. Which ariseth, first, from our conscientious going about it as a piece of the worship to God, and in so doing we are accepted in that. Secondly, From its being a part of Scripture, appointed for his praise, whether it agree with our case or not. That being the end wherefore it was designed to be sung, is a sufficient warrant for our joining in the singing thereof.

Quest. X. “Is prayer, or any other part of religious worship now under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable, by any place, in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed?”

No; John 4.21. Mal. 1.11. 1 Tim. 2.8.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who consecrate churches, and ascribe holiness to them, and to other places far off, where they mumble their preachings, and mutter their prayers?


Do not likewise many ignorant persons err, who think their private prayers will be more acceptable to God, being said in the kirk, than in their own private closets?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the Lord says, by the mouth of his prophet, that prayers shall be offered up to him in all places, under the time of the gospel, Mal. 1.11.

2d, Because Christ commands us when we pray to enter into our closet, and the door being shut, to pray to our Father which is in secret, lest we should seem to desire praise and approbation from men: which rite and ceremony of praying publicly, when we should pray privately, Christ clearly condemns, Matt. 6.5,6.

3d, Because Paul wills that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting, 1 Tim. 2.8.

4th, Because Christ says, The hour cometh, when we shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, John 4.21.

Quest. XI. “Hath God in his word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto himself?”

Yes; Exod. 20.8,10,11. Isa. 56.2,4,6,7.

Well then, do not some men err, who maintain, That God hath not under the gospel determined any certain day for his own worship, but only hath commanded that some indefinite time be destined for public worship, which time, say they, is left to be determined by the church?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the determining of an ordinary and sufficient time for divine worship, and as a Sabbath belongs to God only, and not to man. For we do not read that any such power or authority is granted to man, either by the law of nature, or Scripture. Is it not a thing of very great moment; Is it likely that the wisdom of God would leave it uncertain? This might accuse the Scripture of imperfection. It is not suitable to the love of God, and his care towards his church. By such men’s doctrine, the church universal, and all oecumenic councils, should be guilty of a dreadful sin, which for so many ages have been deficient in their duty. Therefore, it behoveth that there be one day in seven, by virtue of the fourth command, seeing no where else another necessary day is appointed, or prescribed in the word.

2d, Because it is just and equitable, as the adversaries grant, that one day should be set apart for God, who hath freely given us six.

3d, Because in six days God made the heavens and the earth, and rested on the seventh: not out of necessity, but to give us an example to do the like.

4th, Because one day of ten, twenty, or thirty, cannot be thought convenient. Neither is such a thing commanded in any place of Scripture. And would it not argue a neglect of divine worship, and of care of souls, if one day of ten, thirty, or forty, were appointed? Neither can the fourth, fifth, or sixth day be appointed, seeing God hath commanded us to work six days. This would make our yoke more heavy than the Jewish yoke, which adversaries will not grant.

5th, Because it is the principle and chief scope of the fourth command, that one day in seven, in respect of us, be set apart and consecrated to divine worship. Not truly, that some indefinite time be set apart. If this were true, the fourth command should differ substantially from the other precepts of the Decalogue; and so there behoved to be an useless precept, or at least a tautology ought to be committed.

Do not likewise the Anabaptists, Socinians, and Libertines err, with whom we may take in the Quakers, (and other Antisabbatarians, that disown the Sabbath, as being carnal, and a command of the letter,) who teach, That whatever is contained in the fourth command is ceremonial, and so properly, as to the matter and substance which it holds out, abrogated wholly. And therefore, say they, by virtue of this fourth command, there is no day to be set apart for public divine worship?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the fourth command, which appoints one day of seven to be set apart for God, is a positive, and moral command, as to substance; seeing it was given to Adam in his integrity, before ever there was need of any types and ceremonies shadowing forth Christ, Gen. 2.2,3.

2d, Because it was repeated, before the promulgation of the ceremonial law, Exod. 16.23.

3d, Because it was written with God’s own hand, and inserted into the midst of the rest of the moral precepts, and was put into the ark of the testimony, with the other nine, which honour was never conferred upon any precept merely ceremonial.

4th, Because all the reasons of this command are entirely moral. He rested after six days, and allowed us six days to work, therefore in all equity we ought to rest after so many days work, and give God a seventh.

5th, Because Christ confirms this command in saying, Pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day; where the Lord insinuateth, that as traveling is troublesome to the body in winter, so would it be to the minds of the godly to travel on that day, specially and solemnly set apart for God’s worship. Now, if there be no Sabbath to continue after Christ’s ascension, or if it were not to be sanctified, there would be no occasion of this grief and trouble, that they behoved to travel on the Sabbath, and durst not tarry till that day were bypast; and so no cause to put up this prayer, which yet by our Lord’s exhortation seemeth to infer, that the Sabbath was to be as certain in its time, as the winter. And doubtless this cannot be meant of the Jewish Sabbath; for that was to be abolished shortly. Next, traveling on the Jewish Sabbath was to be no cause of grief unto them, if indeed all days were alike, neither would it be scrupled in such a case by the apostles, to whom he is now speaking.

Quest. XII. “Was this one day in seven, from the beginning of the World, to the Resurrection of Christ, the last day of the week?”


“And was it, from the Resurrection of Christ, changed into the first day of the week?”


“And is it to be continued, to the end of the World, as the Christian Sabbath?”

Yes; Gen. 2.2,3. 1 Cor. 16.1,2. Acts 20.7. Rev. 1.10. Matt. 5.17,18.

Well then, do not the Sabbatarians err, who maintain, that the Jewish Sabbath, or the seventh day from the creation, is to be observed?


Do not others likewise err, who maintain, That the observation of the Lord’s day, is only of ecclesiastic and apostolic institution?


These authors, (you see,) do confound, and make two things really distinct, to be but one, namely, ecclesiastic and apostolic institution.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the fourth command standing, wherein one day of seven is appointed, the numbering is left free to God himself, that the right and power may be reserved to Christ the lawgiver, and to his Spirit, for the change of the day, and to continue the worship prescribed in the fourth command.

2d, From the name itself; for our Sabbath is called the Lord’s day, Rev. 1.10, I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day: or on that Lord’s day, or Dominick day, or day which is the Lord’s; pointing out a day singularly, and a day, which in a peculiar and special manner is called His day; even as the Lord’s prayer and the Lord’s supper are so called, because appointed by Christ the Lord.

3d, Because God only can abrogate the Lord’s day, the adversaries granting so much; therefore he that hath power to rescind, hath power likewise to establish.

4th, Because there is an implicit command, concerning the observation of the Lord’s day, 1 Cor. 16.2, As I have, saith Paul, given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye; the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him. From which place, we may reason thus; that not the seventh but the first day, is the chief solemn day for worship after Christ’s resurrection, because the apostles did pitch particularly, and eminently upon that day, and that in divers churches, as the fittest time for expressing their charity. He doth not think it indifferent what day it be done on, nor that all days are alike, but pitched on the first day not in one church only but in many. Next, this command supposeth them to be already acquainted with some special privileges of the first day beyond others, and there must be some peculiar thing in this day, making it fit, for such a purpose, rather than any other day.

5th, Because as the seventh day was instituted in remembrance of the works of creation, so the first day, after the work of redemption was finished, succeeded as most convenient, for collating and comparing both mercies together.

6th, Because Christ, on the first day of the week, appeared most frequently to his disciples, and blessed it with his presence, Matt. 28.9; Acts 1.3; John 20.19,26.

7th, Because on that day the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles. And on the same day Peter baptized three thousand, Acts 2.1-4,41.

8th, Because the church in the time of the apostles did observe this first day of the week, as holy, Acts 20.7. But the practice of the apostles, approven in Scripture, is equivalent to a divine institution.

9th, Because Christ was seen of his apostles forty days after his resurrection, and spoke to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, during which time he hath taught them all things needful to be known, and among the rest, it is probable, the change of the Sabbath, and the institution of the first day of the week, and that immediately after his resurrection: he hath either immediately by himself instituted that day, or hath inspired his apostles to observe it, from the very same time.

10th, Because the Lord hath remarkably owned this Christian Sabbath, in being remarkably avenged upon the breakers and profaners thereof, as it is clear from several histories.

Quest. XIII. “Is the Sabbath then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparation of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs before-hand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employments and recreations; but are also taken up the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his own worship, except what is spent in the duties of necessity and mercy?”

Yes; Exod. 16.23,25,26,29,30. Exod. 31.15,16,17. Isa. 58.13; Neh. 13.15,16,18,19,21,22.

Well then, do not some err, who think, That after public worship is ended, the rest of the Lord’s day may be spent in ordinary exercises, recreations, and such like other sports as are not unlawful on other days, unless they be forbidden by the church, or common-wealth wherein men live?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the Lord says in the fourth commandment, In it thou shalt not do any work. But ordinary recreations, games, and sports, are our own works.

2d, Because nature itself requires, that we bestow as much of the Sabbath day upon God, who is the Lord of time, and of all things which we have, as we can, and use to bestow upon our own affairs, on other days.

3d, Because the Lord says, If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thy own works, nor finding thy own pleasure, nor speaking thy own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, Isa. 58.13,14. See Jer. 17.22; Deut. 5.12,13,15. Numb. 15.32,33,36. And Neh. 13.15-23, In those days saw I in Judah, some treading the wine presses on the Sabbath; and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses, as also wine grapes, and all manner of burdens which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.