Saturday, September 26, 2009

When Begins the Lord's Day?

William Gouge, The Sabbath's Sanctification:

Question 48. When begins the Lord's Day?

Ans. In the morning, Acts 20:7.

When Paul came to the Church at Troas, he had a mind to spend a Lord's day with them, though he was in great haste to depart so soon as he could. He came, therefore, to their assembly at the time that they came together according to their custom; but he kept them till the end of the day (for he would not travel on the Lord's day); and having dismissed the assembly, he departed. Now it said that he continued his speech "till midnight" (Acts 20:7), even "till break of day" (verse 11), and then departed; which departure of his is said to be "on the morrow." By this punctual expression of the time, it appears that the first day of the week, the Lord's day, ended at midnight, and that then the morrow began. Now to make a natural day, which consisteth of twenty four hours, it must begin and end at the same time; for the end of one day is the beginning of another. There is not a minute betwixt them. As, therefore, the Lord's day ended at midnight, so it must begin at midnight, when we count the morning to begin. Which is yet more evident by this phrase, Matt. 28:1, "In the end of the Sabbath" (namely, of the week before which was the former Sabbath) "as it began to dawn" (namely, on the next day, which was the Lord's day). Or, as John 20:1, "when it was yet dark" there came divers to anoint the body of Jesus, but they found him not in the grave. He was risen before; so as Christ rose before the sun.

Question 49. What reasons may be given of the Lord's day beginning in the morning?

Ans. Other days then begin.

That they do so with us is evident by the account of our hours. For midnight ended, we begin with one o'clock; then the first hour of the day beginneth. And it appears to be so among the Jews; for when Aaron proclaimed, Exod. 32:5, 6, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord," "they rose up early on the morrow." I deny not but that sundry of the Jewish feasts began in the evening, as the Passover (Exod. 12:6). But it cannot be proved that their weekly Sabbath so began. There were special reasons for the beginning of those feasts in the evening, which did then begin. As for the supposed beginnings of the first days gathered out of this phrase: "the evening and the morning were the first day;" they cannot be necessarily concluded to be at the evening. For the evening and the morning there importeth the moment of the evening and morning parting from one another, and the return to the same period; which moment is rather at the beginning of the morning than of the evening. The evening useth to be referred to the end of the day and the morning to the beginning, as Exod. 29:38, 29; 1 Sam. 17:16; John 20:19.

Question 50. What other reason is there of the Lord's day beginning in the morning.

Ans. Christ then rose, Mark 16:2, 9.

Of Christ's rising in the morning, no question can be made; all the evangelists agree in the narration thereof. Now the Lord's day being a memorial of Christ's resurrection, if it should begin in the evening, the memorial would be before the thing itself, wihch is absurd to imagine. As all God's works were finished before the first Sabbath, so all Christ's sufferings before the Lord's day. His lying dead in the grave was a part of his suffering. Therefore, by his resurrection was all ended. With his resurrection, therefore, must the Lord's day begin.

To make the evening before the Lord's day a time of preparation thereunto is a point of piety and prudence; but to make it a part of the Lord's day is erroneous, and in many respects very inconvenient.

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