No book had more influence in confirming a Sabbatarian “heart” to Puritanism than that of the parson of St. Andrews, Norton, Suffolk, Nicholas Bownd. The True Doctrine of the Sabbath was the first scholarly treatment defending the concept of the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day, later embodied in the Westminster Standards. Not reprinted since 1606, this influential work is presented afresh in a new critical edition.
Table of Contents:
Book One: The Ancient Institution and Continuance of the Sabbath
Book Two: The Sanctification of the Sabbath
Nicholas Bownd (1551?–1613) was the pastor of a country parish in rural England. Judging from the sermons he published, his ministry exhibited the practical divinity taught by his stepfather, Richard Greenham, which focused on the means of grace. The crucial ‘mean of the means’ whereby all these means of grace were made available to the people of God was the weekly gatherings on the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day.
In 1595, Bownd published True Doctrine of the Sabbath, which derived from sermons preached about 1586. This book embroiled him in a singular controversy with a troublesome neighbor, which resulted in the first Sabbatarian controversy in England, and also led to a vindicating expanded edition in 1606. For the last two years of his life he ministered at St. Andrew in Norwich, the highest call a man of his Puritan convictions could have attained in those days.
“After four centuries of rest, Nicholas Bownd’s famous book on the Sabbath has re-Bownded. Attractively printed, this work is a critical edition of the 1595 version and the expanded 1606 edition. Coldwell has painstakingly collated and meticulously annotated the two so as to allow Bownd’s classic Puritan doctrine of the Lord’s Day Sabbath to be published afresh. Lovers of the Scriptures as interpreted by the Westminster Standards will rejoice. May all glory redound to the Eschatological Lord of Sabbath rest, as it did four centuries ago.” — James T. Dennison, Jr., author of The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England, 1532–1700; and Academic Dean and Professor of Church History and Biblical Theology, Northwest Theological Seminary, Lynnwood, Washington
“Those with an interest in developments leading up to the formulation of the Sabbath doctrine taught in the Westminster standards will benefit from this careful documentation and analysis of the views of Nicholas Bownd.” — Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., author of Calvin and the Sabbath; Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
"Nicholas Bownd’s work, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath, occupies a hugely significant place among Puritan works on polemical and practical divinity. For its scope, detail, and erudition, this work on the Sabbath is unparalleled in the Puritan tradition—indeed, perhaps even in the Christian tradition. Particularly illuminating are Bownd’s “spiritual exercises,” which clearly had an influence upon the later Puritan attitudes regarding the practical implications of Sabbath-keeping and worship. As an added bonus to the content of this book, the editorial work on this book is first-class, and makes for far more enjoyable and easier reading than a simple re-print.” — Mark Jones, coauthor of A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life and Minister at Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church (PCA)
“It is astonishing that the Puritan Nicholas Bownd’s famous work on the Sabbath, which greatly influenced later Puritanism and the Westminster Assembly, and by extension, Western Christendom for centuries, has not been printed in a critical edition with modern typeface long ago. Not reprinted since 1606, this classic work emphasizes the fourth commandment’s morally binding character, the divine institution of the entire Sabbath as the Lord’s Day set apart to worship God, and the cessation of non-religious activities that distract from worship and acts of mercy. I am so grateful that it is back in print, and pray that it will do much good to restore the value and enhance the joy of the Lord’s Day for many believers around the world.” — Joel R. Beeke, co-author of Meet the Puritans and A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, and president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan