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Sanctification of the Sabbath: The Permanent Obligation to Observe the Sabbath or Lord's Day (Haldane)

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Reformation Heritage Books
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Haldane proves the Lord’s Day is a permanent obligation, afterward embodied in the Ten Commandments and recognized by Jesus and His apostles, and that the change of day does not void the fourth commandment. He sets forth how beautifully the Sabbath day depicts the patience, goodness, and mercy of Jehovah. Most divine institutions point out the consequences of sin, but the Sabbath traces its origin to the time when man walked in innocence in the immediate presence of the Lord. We are to remember an institution forgotten in the bondage of Egypt—to keep holy a day God claims as His inalienable property, a claim restated by Jesus Christ for us.

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Table of Contents: 

1. The Sabbath Anterior to the Mosaic Dispensation
2. The Sabbath Binding Alike under the Jewish and Christian Dispensations
3. The Manner of the Promulgation of the Decalogue
4. The Manner of the Preservation of the Decalogue and the Lessons Thereby Taught
5. Proof of the Permanence of the Fourth Commandment Derived from the Foregoing Statements
6. Internal Evidence Shows that the Fourth Commandment Is of Universal Obligation
7. Objections to the Permanent Obligation of the Sabbath Considered
8. The Observance of the Sabbath under the Christian Dispensation Is Fully Recognized by the Prophets
9. The Change from the Last to the First Day of the Week Has Not Invalidated the Obligation of the Sabbath


Robert Haldane (1764–1842) was from Scottish aristocracy, owning the famous Gleneagles estate as well as others in Perthshire. After selling a major part of his lands in 1798, Haldane was prevented by the East India Company from proceeding with his hope of a mission in Bengal. Instead, he gave himself to the spread of the gospel in Scotland and in Europe. His remarkable visit to Geneva in 1816 led to a widespread awakening and, ultimately, to the publication of his most famous work, his Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans. As a director of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Robert Haldane, “more than any man” (in the opinion of Principal John MacLeod), saw that the Apocrypha “was ousted from our English Bible.”


“Robert Haldane’s Sanctification of the Sabbath is a lost gem. Its brilliance shines clearly in his mastery of the biblical story line, his use of scripturally constrained typology, and his irrefutable logic. Though brief, it is filled with insights into texts and themes from across the canon of Holy Scripture that will prove invaluable to preachers and to all who love the Word. There are many worthy volumes that expound the biblical doctrine of the Sabbath day, but the particular strength of this treatment lies in its deft handling of redemptive history, showing how the gospel thread is woven throughout the giving of the law, the structure of the tabernacle, and the new covenant dispensation. As Haldane demonstrates, far from abrogating the Sabbath command, this golden thread of good news provides the foundation for and expresses the meaning of the Sabbath, helping all who love the Lord to love His day and call it a delight. I am thrilled that it is being reprinted.”  — David Strain, senior minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

“Haldane’s work on the Sabbath is of particular benefit for believers today. We live in a time when evangelicals have largely dismissed the command to keep the Sabbath holy. Remarkably, we see in Haldane an evangelical leader anticipating and addressing two key difficulties faced by modern skeptics of a Christian Sabbath. First, Haldane labors to show that the Sabbath principle is not something peculiar to the covenant made with Old Testament Israel . . . [and] demonstrates the Sabbath principle’s abiding validity and permanent obligation for believers. Second, he presents a compelling examination of the transfer of the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday in the new covenant. . . . His is the single most helpful treatment I have read on the subject.” – Jon English Lee