“That Fraud of a Fraud” The American Sentinel 5, 10, pp. 75, 76.

WE stated last week that the theory that a seventh part of time, is necessary for physical rest is a fraud and is based upon a fraud. The authority for this seventh-of-time theory is “the Rev. Nicholas Bound, D.D., of Norton, in the Suffolk,” England. He was a Puritan and promulgated this doctrine of the Sabbath, in a book which he published about the year 1595 A.D.

The way it came about was this: It was in the height of the controversy between the Church of England and the Puritans about “habits and ceremonies, and church discipline.” The Church of England maintained,

That though the holy Scriptures are a perfect standard of doctrine, they are not a rule of discipline and government: nor is the practice of the apostles an invariable rule or law to the Church in succeeding ages, because they acted according to the circumstances of the Church in its infant and persecuted state: neither are the Scriptures a rule of human actions, so far as that whatsoever we do in matters of religion without their express direction or warrant is sin, but many things are left indifferent. The Church is a society like others, invested with powers to make what laws she apprehends reasonable, decent, or necessary for her well-being and government, provided they do not interfere with or contradict the laws and commandments of holy Scripture: Where the Scripture is silent, human authority may interpose; we must then have recourse to the reason of things and the rights of society. It follows from thence that the Church is at liberty to appoint ceremonies, and establish order within the limits above mentioned; and her authority ought to determine what is fit and convenient.

All this the Puritans denied, and asserted that the Scriptures are a rule of discipline and government as well as a perfect standard of doctrine. The position of the Church of England, summarily stated, was, that, whatever the Scriptures do not forbid, in matters of church discipline and church government, may be done without sin. While the Puritan position was, that, Whatever is not commanded in the Scriptures is not commanded in the Scriptures, in these things, cannot be done without sin. The Puritans therefore dropped all church festivals and feast days, surplices, habits, and ceremonies, and charged the Episcopalians with “popish leaven and superstition, and subjection to the ordinances of men” because they retained these. As proof that ought to convince the Puritans that the Church had liberty in such things as these, the Episcopalians produced the fact that the observance of Sunday is only an ordinance of the Church and rests only upon the authority of the Church; and that the Puritans therefore, contradicted themselves in observing Sunday while denouncing the authority of the Church the only authority upon which that observance rests.

This put the Puritans in a box; and they had to cast about for some way to get themselves out. They would not admit the authority of the Church; because if they did that would involve the obligation to observe all the other festivals. Directions of Scripture to observe Sunday they found none, and yet they would not give it up. There was great perplexity. What could be done? Then it was that the inventive genius of Dr. Bound found play. He came to the rescue with the theory that, It is not the definite seventh day, but “a seventh part of time” that is required by the fourth commandment to be kept for the Sabbath: that it is “not the seventh day from creation; but the day of Christ’s resurrection, and the seventh day from that:” that “the seventh day is genus” in the fourth commandment, so that “the seventh day from creation, and the day of Christ’s resurrection and the seventh from that” are “both of them at several times comprehended in the commandment, even as genus comprehendeth both his species.” Thus the fourth commandment was made to enforce the seventh day from creation until the resurrection of Christ and then the first day from that time onward.

This brought joy to the Puritans, for it relieved them from the dilemma into which the answer of the Episcopalians had cast them. “This book had a wonderful spread among the people.” “All the Puritans fell in with this doctrine, and distinguished themselves by spending that part of sacred time in public, family, and private acts of devotion.” Says Heylin:—

This doctrine, carrying such a fair show of piety, at least in the opinion of the common people, and such as did not examine the true grounds of it, induced many to embrace and defend it; and in a very little time it became the most bewitching error and the most popular infatuation that ever was embraced by the people of England.

But for what purpose was this “seventh part of time” appointed? for what was it to be used when it had been discovered?

“This year [1594] Dr. Bound published his treatise on the Sabbath, wherein he maintains the morality of a seventh part of time for the worship of God.—Neal, History of the Puritans, Part I Chapter VIII paragraph, 120.

There was not in it the remotest idea that this time was for physical rest. It was solely for worship and religious exercises. The suggestion of such a thought as that this time was intended or might be devoted to physical rest would have been spurned as only the suggestion of the arch enemy of all righteousness, by the founder of the theory and by every other Puritan that ever lived in Puritan times. The theory therefore that a seventh part of time is necessary for physical rest is a positive fraud upon the original.

And that the original invention that a seventh part of time is what is commanded and required, by the fourth commandment, is a positive fraud, is clearly proved not only by the circumstances of its invention but also by every test of Scripture and every rule of law.

But this theory of a seventh part of time for physical rest is not only a fraud upon the original Puritan theory of a seventh part of time for the worship of God, it is also a fraud upon the commandment of God which enjoins the day of rest. That commandment says: “Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; 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; 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.”

Here are the reasons: first, he rested on the seventh day; second, he blessed it and made it holy. That you may become tired is not given as a reason for doing no work on the seventh day. God does not say that on the seventh day you shall do no work because if you should you would overdo or break down your physical system. Nothing of the kind. Man’s physical wants are not referred to in the commandment. It says, Work six days because the Lord worked six days; rest on the seventh because the Lord rested on the seventh day; keep that day holy, because the Lord blessed it and made it holy. It is the Lord who is to be held in view. It is the Lord who is to be exalted. Therefore the fourth commandment and its obligations have solely to do with man’s relationship to God. It is not man’s physical but his spiritual, needs that are held in view in the Sabbath commandment.

This is further proved by referring again to the reason given in the commandment for the resting. It is to rest the seventh day because the Lord rested that day. Now did the Lord rest because he was weary from what he had done on the six days? Did he rest because if he should work longer there was danger of over-doing or breaking down his physical system? Not at all. “Has thou not [76] known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” Isaiah 40:28. This is what the Scripture says of it; and what one of the chief Sunday-law workers says of it is this:—

If he is never weary how can we say of him that he rests? … God is a spirit, and the only rest which he can know is the supreme repose which only the Spirit can know—in the fulfillment of his purpose and the completeness as well as the completion of his work. Just as in the solemn pauses between the creative days, he pronounced his creatures “good,” so did he rejoice over the finishing of his work, resting in perfect satisfaction of an accomplished plan; not to restore his wasted energy.”—Rev. Geo. Elliott, Abiding Sabbath, Chap. I.

The rest with which the Lord rested was spiritual rest, spiritual refreshing, and delight in the accomplished work of the creation. As the Lord’s Sabbath rest was spiritual; and as his so resting is the reason for man’s Sabbath rest, so man’s Sabbath is likewise to be one of spiritual rest, spiritual-refreshing, and delight in the works and ways of God. This is proved by that psalm for the Sabbath day, “Thou Lord hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” Psalm 92:4. And by another Scripture, “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Isaiah 58:13, 14.

A day of weekly rest is in itself an institution of God. Its basis is the rest of God, which was wholly spiritual. Its purpose is to cultivate the spiritual in man. Its authority is the commandment of God which is spiritual and religious, and which must be religiously and spiritually observed to be observed at all. As says the seer of Patmos “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” The whole subject, therefore, in all its bearings is entirely beyond the jurisdiction and even the reach of the power of civil government or of man, It rests wholly in the power and jurisdiction of God, and remains solely between the individual and God.

Thus, we repeat, it is not man’s physical, but his spiritual needs that are to be held in view in the Sabbath commandment. The Sabbath is intended to be a day in which to worship God—a day of holy remembrance of him and of meditation upon his works. The day is to be kept holy, not civilly nor physically. If it is not kept holy it is not kept at all in the purview of the commandment and the Author of the day of weekly rest.


1. The Puritan theory of one-seventh part of time for the Sabbath is and in its inception was, a fraud upon the commandment of God.

2. The theory of one-seventh part of time for physical rest is a fraud upon the original Puritan theory.

3. The seventh part of time for physical rest is therefore a fraud upon a fraud.


1. In addition to its being a fraud upon the Puritan theory the seventh part of time for physical rest is also a fraud upon the commandment of God.

2. The Puritan theory of a seventh part of time for the Sabbath is itself a fraud upon the commandment of God.

3. The two together therefore—the Puritan Sabbath and the weekly physical rest day—interlocked as they are, form a HEAPED UP FRAUD.

A. T. J.

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