XXXVI. The Sabbath.

MARK ii. 27. “And He said
unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for
the Sabbath.”

THE Sabbath was instituted to be man’s delight, not his
burden; to be his rest in weariness and irritation of spirit.
The question before us is, Are we using the Sabbath to the
best advantage? Are we getting out of it all the bless-
ings that God has lodged therein for us, and for our fellow-
men? Let us look at this question as related to four
points.
I. Rest. The fundamental idea of the Sabbath is that
of physical rest. Take care of the body as the foundation
on which the spiritual and intellectual must rise. Life is
becoming a continuous physical strain, and the Sabbath
should be, to those who feel the strain, a boon. Do men
get the proper amount of rest for their wearied bodies
and overtaxed brain by spending the entire day in the
sustained mental effort to hear two or three sermons, and
of teaching one or two Bible classes in addition? Do they
go back to their tasks on Monday morning fresher, brighter
men, because of God’s gift of Sabbath rest?
II. Christian instruction. In giving us a day of physical
rest, God did not intend to give us a day of idleness.
Religious instruction has always been a recognised feature
of Sabbath observance, and in this I include all that goes
to make us better acquainted with God in Christ, whether
preaching, private study, or personal communion with God.
Preaching is a legitimate means to this end, but too much
preaching is as bad as none. Are we sufficiently familiar
with the Bible? The remark is often made, I know no-
thing about the Old Testament; I seldom read it. There
must be on the Sabbath quiet, studious, deep sinking into
the Word.
The Sabbath calls back our minds to God’s covenant
made with Christian parents and their children, and to the
obligations which grow out of these obligations to teach
their children the statutes and ordinances of God.
III. The transition is easy to the third relation, viz.
home life. Does the Sabbath give room for the exercise
of a right influence upon home?
IV. Christian activity. We must not occupy the whole
time on Sabbath with receiving. We must give. We
should not be made to feel that the time spent in Christian
work trenches on the time that belongs to other claims.
Oh, that the Master Himself, the Lord of the Sabbath,
may teach us to walk through the field which His feet have
trodden.
Marvin R. Vincent, D.D.

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