The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God’s purpose they are permanently linked together In His own day He preserves for the family opportunity for communion with Him with nature and with one another.
Man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.
The value of the Sabbath is beyond estimate. Whatever of ours God claims from us, He returns again, enriched, transfigured with His own glory
God’s love has set a limit to the demands of toil. Over the Sabbath He places His merciful hand. As God ceased His labor of creating and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest to worship and to holy deeds
"Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work." In this time all the duties necessary to prepare for the Sabbath are to be done. On Friday before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should he withdrawn from worldly business. The day before the Sabbath is to be made a day of preparation, that everything may be in readiness for its sacred hours. "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Levitcus 23:32.
• God rested on the seventh day Sabbath after He created the earth. Genesis 2:2.
• God blessed and sanctified it as holy. Genesis. 2:3.
• It was kept by Abraham. Genesis 26:5.
• It was taught before the law was given at Sinai. Exodus. 16:13-30.
• The Jews kept the Sabbath. Exodus. 31:16, 17.
• Jesus kept it. He declared it His day. Luke 4:16, 6:5; Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28.
• Jesus rested on the Sabbath after His work of redemption on the cross. Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:54-56.
• It was kept by the Apostle Paul. Acts 13:14; 17:2.
• Early Christians kept it. Matthew 24:20.
• About A.D. 196 the bishop of Rome attempted to force all the churches to commemorate Christ’s resurrection on the day we call Easter Sunday instead of on the Passover.
• The first secular Sunday law was enacted by the Emperor Constantine in A.D. 321, making Sunday a family holiday.
• When the practice of keeping Lent was instituted, each Sunday during that time period was kept in honor of the resurrection.
• Sunday and Sabbath were kept together—Saturday as the memorial of creation and Sunday in honor of the resurrection.
• Throughout the ages the seventh day Sabbath has been kept by Christ’s followers.
• The Sabbath will be kept in Heaven and on the earth made new. Isaiah 66:22, 23; Revelation 22:14.
Divine mercy has directed that the sick and suffering should be cared for; the labor required to make them comfortable is a work of necessity, and no violation of the Sabbath. But all unnecessary work should be avoided. Any work that is neglected until the commencement of holy time should remain undone until the Sabbath is past.
Before the setting of the sun, let all secular work be laid aside, and all secular papers be put out of sight. Let the members of the family assemble to read God’s Word, to sing and pray.
"Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. ... Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise." Psalm 100:2-4. And of all who keep "the Sabbath from polluting it," the Lord declares, "Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer." Isaiah 56:6, 7.
God teaches us that we should assemble in His house from Sabbath to Sabbath. "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst." When Jesus meets with His people, His blessing rests upon those who assemble for the purpose of worshiping God.
The Sabbath is the memorial of Creative power; it calls our thoughts to nature and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice Who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day.
Happy is the family who can go to the place of worship on the Sabbath as Jesus and His disciples went to the synagogue — across the fields, along the shores of the lake, or through the groves. Happy the father and mother who can teach their children God’s written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature, who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above. By such associations parents may bind their children to their hearts, and thus to God, by ties that can never be broken.
As the sun goes down, let the voice of prayer and the hymn of praise mark the close of the sacred hours, and invite God’s presence through the cares of the week of labor.
To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.