FROM THE INSTITUTES
BOOK II CHAPTER 8
GENERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS SHALT THOU LABOR AND DO ALL THY WORK: BUT THESEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD. IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK..
The purport of the commandment
is, that being dead to our own affections and works, we meditate on the
kingdom of God, and in order to such meditation, have recourse to the means
which he has appointed. But as this commandment stands in peculiar circumstances
apart from the others, the mode of exposition must be somewhat different.
Early Christian writers are wont to call it typical, as containing the
external observance of a day which was abolished with the other types on
the advent of Christ. This is indeed true; but it leaves the half of the
matter untouched. Wherefore, we must look deeper for our exposition, and
attend to three cases in which it appears to me that the observance of
this commandment consists. First, under the rest of the seventh days the
divine Lawgiver meant to furnish the people of Israel with a type of the
spiritual rest by which believers were to cease from their own works, and
allow God to work in them. Secondly he meant that there should be a stated
day on which they should assemble to hear the Law, and perform religious
rites, or which, at least, they should specially employ in meditating on
his works, and be thereby trained to piety. Thirdly, he meant that servants,
and those who lived under the authority of others, should be indulged with
a day of rest, and thus have some intermission from labor.