Don The Armour

June 26, 2023

Last, but not least, the Sabbath is an unmixed good for man’s soul. The soul has its wants just as much as the mind and body. It is in the midst of a hurrying, bustling world, in which its interests are constantly in danger of being jostled out of sight. To have those interests properly attended to, there must be a special day set apart; there must be a regularly recurring time for examining the state of our souls; there must be a day to test and prove us, whether we are prepared for an eternal heaven. Take away a man’s Sabbath, and his religion soon comes to nothing.

J.C. Ryle, Sabbath: A Day to Keep


The Sabbath has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve always wondered why most Christians have abandoned the fourth commandment today and what Biblical justification there is for doing so. Only recently did I start looking for different opinions on this and came across this essay by J.C. Ryle in which he argues that the scripture never says we can do away with the Sabbath as we’ve done. He explains why and how we should keep the Sabbath today. I’ll link the article below, and you can form your own opinion on it, but the quoted text above really stood out to me, especially the line in bold.

Have you ever tried to devote a whole day only to the Lord? And I don’t mean sitting in constant prayer and scripture reading like some kind of monk, but rather having a quiet, restful day where you focus your mind on heavenly things and eliminate anything that will distract you. To do so would mean not working, of course, but it also means eliminating secular entertainment, talk of politics, etc. I have attempted this for the last two Sundays, and I will tell you that it’s incredibly difficult but rewarding. The difficulty of it comes from the fact that it’s such a departure from our constantly distracted and entertainment-addicted modern lifestyles. We no longer know how to slow our minds down and just sit with our thoughts. And his point about this preparing us for heaven was especially thought-provoking. If we can’t take a single day out of the week to do this for the Lord, how will we do this with him for all eternity?

In the last sentence, he states that religion will “soon come to nothing” if you take away the Sabbath. Given that the Sabbath has essentially been eliminated now, and the church is a shadow of what it once was, this was a very prescient statement. It raises the question, if we don’t want a Sabbath, do we even want heaven?

Here’s the link to the article. If you get a chance to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Sabbath: A Day to Keep by J.C. Ryle