The Dangers of Profaning the Lord’s Day

Isaiah 58:13,14; Nehemiah 13:17,18
       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, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon 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.
       What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Lord makes the sacred observance of His Day of special blessing; and contrariwise, He visits the profanation of the Sabbath with special cursing…It is significant to note that this is the only one of the Ten Commandments which opens with the word “Remember,” as though men had the greatest tendency to forget it!

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): It is a sacrilege, the worst of theft, to profane the Sabbath Day. It is a robbing of God, a stealing from Him of time that is consecrated to Him, and that is dangerous.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The law of the land lets Sabbath-breakers alone, but God will not. No sooner did Christ curse the fig-tree, but it withered. God will take the matter into His own hand; He will see after the punishing of Sabbath violation.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): You show me a nation that has given up the Sabbath and I will show you a nation that has got the seed of decay.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Where no Sabbath is observed, there disease, poverty, and profligacy, generally prevail. Had we no Sabbath, we should soon have no religion.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): It is not too much to say that the prosperity or decay of English Christianity depends on the maintenance of the Christian Sabbath…As a general rule, there is a regular flight of steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God.’

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): The public ordinances on the Lord’s Day, whatever else they do, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world; and to slight them is the way to fill the world with atheism and profaneness.

A. W. PINK: As our guilty land is now proving to its bitter cost.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I need not enlarge on this painful subject, which forces itself upon the mind if we only walk the streets or look into the newspaper. It is not necessary to inform my hearers that infidelity, licentiousness, perjury, profaneness, and the neglect and contempt of God’s Sabbath and worship abound.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Profaning of the Lord’s Sabbath is as great an argument of a profane heart as any that can be found in the whole book of God.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): All backslidings begin with the heart, Jeremiah 2:19. From hence are “the issues of life,” Proverbs 4:23. Private prayer, it may be, at first becomes wearisome; no communion with God in it; it is then occasionally neglected: hence public ordinances cease to afford their wonted pleasure; Christian society is dropped; the world takes up your attention, and you have little or no time to spare for religion; some carnal acquaintance, perceiving you to be coming, draws you on; recommends you read some one of the liberal productions of the times, by which you are to learn that there is no need to be so rigid in religion, and no harm in frequenting the theatre, or in devoting a part at least of the Lord’s day to visiting or amusement.

THOMAS WATSON: It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy, but the whole day―such as care not for ordinances, but say, When will the Sabbath be over? plainly discover a want of love to God.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): If we employ the Lord’s Day to make good cheer, to sport ourselves, to go to the games and pastimes, shall God in this be honoured? Is this not a mockery? Is this not an unhallowing of His name?

THOMAS WATSON: It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy, but the whole day.

J. C. RYLE: How many make the Lord’s Day a day for giving dinner parties―a day for quietly transacting worldly business―a day for reading newspapers or novels―a day for talking politics and idle gossip―a day, in short, for anything rather than the things of God…These ways of spending Sunday are none of them works of necessity or works of mercy. There is not the slightest likeness between them and any of the things which the Lord Jesus explains to be lawful on the Sabbath Day. To heal a sick person, or pull an ox or ass out of a pit, is one thing: to travel in excursion trains, or go to concerts, theatres, dances and cinemas, is quite another. The difference is as great as between light and darkness. These ways of spending Sunday are none of them of a holy tendency, or calculated to help us heavenward.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): We must turn away our foot from the sabbath―from trampling upon it, as profane atheistical people do…we must turn away our foot from doing our own pleasure on that holy day, that is, from living at large, and taking a liberty to do what we please on sabbath days, without the control and restraint of conscience.

THOMAS WATSON: To profane the Sabbath is a great sin; it is a wilful contempt of God; it is not only casting His law behind our back, but trampling it under foot. He says, “Keep the Sabbath holy;” but men pollute it. This is to despise God, to hang out the flag of defiance, to throw down the gauntlet, and challenge God Himself. Now, how can God endure to be thus saucily confronted by proud dust? Surely He will not suffer this high impudence to go unpunished. God’s curse will come upon the Sabbath-breaker.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): The [judgment] day of the Lord is likely to be a dreadful day to them that despise the Lord’s day.

G. S. BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): A man was introduced by a gentleman to a minister with the remark, “He never attends public worship.”
      “Ah!” said the minister, “I hope you are mistaken.”
      “By no means,” said the stranger, “I always spend Sunday in settling my accounts.”
      “Then, alas!” was the solemn reply, “you will find, sir, that the day of judgment will be spent in the same manner.”

J. C. RYLE: Common sense, reason, conscience, will combine, I think, to say that if we cannot spare God one day in a week, we cannot be living as those ought to live who must die one day.

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford Him one?


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