“Sanctification is the work of the Lord, and specially of the Lord when people meet on his day. He gave them ‘sabbaths,’ and they were called holy convocations, because on them the people met, Lev. 23.3. And why did he give them those days? that they might know that he was the Lord, which sanctified them. There is none which can sanctify persons by way of separation or inherent holiness, but the Lord; he assumes this power and privilege to himself; see Lev. 20.8; Ezek. 37.28; and his sanctifying is chiefly when people meet on his day. Then the law was read and opened unto them, Acts 15.21; Neh. 8.8; then did God appear amongst them, and work by the means he appointed for their sanctification. what their carriage was towards him therein, and Psal. 89.7, ‘God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,’ there he convinces them of their sinfulness and sinful practices; there he beats down their strong holds, and captivates their thoughts to the obedience of his will. What was it [that] made David openly to proclaim it, that ‘a day in God’s courts was better than a thousand?” one sabbath day, wherein he had communion with God, and found him sanctifying his head and heart, was more esteemed of him than a thousand other days: ‘For the Lord,’ saith he, ‘is a sun and shield,’ he enlightens me, he strengthens me, and so separates my darkness and weakness from me, and makes me more holy. Let us, therefore, look unto God alone for sanctification, and wait upon him on his days in the solemn assemblies, and he will sanctify us; those are days of his special presence, power, and blessing.” William Greenhill (An Exposition of the Prophet Ezekiel, pp. 497-498)
“[T]hough judgments be not so rife and visible now upon our unhallowed approaches to God, yet he smiteth us with deadness where he doth not smite us with death: for a man is punished otherwise than a boy; and judgments are now spiritual, which, in the infancy of the church, were temporal and bodily.” – Thomas Manton, Puritan Sermons, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 402.
“My muddy brains could never yet conceive the God of Order to make Office and Authority essential to political transactions in Kingdoms and Commonwealths, and yet to leave his Church in such confusion, that the great Affairs of Salvation shall be dispensed by every common hand, as if his care were more for the world [than] the Church; which if it be, I will never go to the House of God to behold the beauty of his Holiness, which shines more brightly in the wide Wilderness.” The Rev. Zachary Crofton (The Vertue and Value of Baptism. London, 1663. p. 9)
The Rev. William Frederick Vincent Bartlett reminds us of the Sabbath’s origin (Southern Presbyterian Pulpit: A Collection of Sermons, pp. 385, 386): You must remember that in dealing with the Sabbath you are not dealing with a mere human device. It is not like a tariff bill or a lodge bill that men may quarrel over. It not an enactment of the state. It is God’s institution; the creation of God’s will and armed with God’s sanction. As, then, God made it, no man has a right to unmake it.
The Rev. Zachary Crofton (Nonconformist minister, 1626-1672), in his The Vertue and Value of Baptism (London, 1663) begins the book with short catechism on the subject. One of the questions addresses what renders one to be a fit subject for baptism. It is not the majority report, and is quite contrary to the conversionalism so prevalent now: Q. By what must Infidels converted to the Faith be judged, within the Covenant, and fit Subjects to be baptized[?] A. By making a profession of saving faith, which may be done by men in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; not by a saving profession of faith, importing sincerity of grace, nor by a well ordered conversation; for God’s Ministers must judge by a present visible sign, and they cannot search the heart: And plants are to be set in the Church before we look for fruit; Baptism is a bond unto amendment of life.
How slight will the excuse be, God hath not forbidden this or that, when God shall silence men with the question, Where, or when did I command this or that? There was no addition to be made under the law to the meanest instrument God had appointed in his service. The sacred perfume was not to have one ingredient more put into it, than what God had prescribed in the composition; nor was any man, upon pain of death, to imitate it; nor would God endure that sacrifices should be consumed with any other fire, than that which came down from heaven: so tender is God of any invasions of his wisdom and authority. In all things of his nature, whatsoever voluntary humility and respect to God they may be disguised with, there is a swelling of the fleshly mind against infinite understanding, which the apostle nauseates, Col. 2:18 . . . . To conclude; such as make alterations in religion, different from the first institution, are intolerable busy bodies, that will not let God alone with his own affairs. Vain man would be wiser than his maker, and be dabbling in that which is his sole prerogative. Stephen Charnock (Works, Vol. 2, pp. 81–83)
All superstition is based upon ignorance more or less gross. Minds not capable of close and just discrimination are peculiarly liable to it. A carnal state of the heart works up the imagination, and the fleshly mind seizes with great vigour upon its own conceptions. When one has not been made wise by God’s word, and the affections become highly excited, plausible pretences are sufficient to mislead. Once enlisted in the cause of superstition, self-love causes persistence in it. Having some persuasion that holiness is essential, and the natural heart rising in opposition to the requirements of God’s law, the excited mind perversely seeks out some method whereby to delude itself into the persuasion that it is holy. The growth of superstition is by a very gradual process. Its whole history is written in three words, little by little. The only sure defence against it is the true knowledge and genuine love of God, accompanied by a firm determination to do what he commands, to worship as he directs, and to follow human devisings in nothing. William S. Plumer (The Law of God as Contained in the Ten Commandments, p. 230)
The primitive institution of the Sabbath—as the sign of that rest into which spiritually and by faith we enter now, as well as the foretaste of the rest which remaineth for us in the world to come—is surely a delightful truth; and its observance cannot but be a precious privilege. This world, with all that it contains, was made for man. Man himself was made for God, for entering into God’s rest. And that he might all the better do so, the Sabbath was made for him. “God blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it.” The blessing is not recalled, the consecration is not repealed. There remaineth a rest unto the people of God—and a day of rest. Let us not fall short of the rest hereafter. Let us not despise the day of rest now. Studies in Genesis, Chapter 2