John Calvin on the Fourth Commandment: God Does Not Treat Us Harshly Nor Excessively Crowd Us

The Reformed Reader

In his second of two sermons on the fourth commandment (preached from Deuteronomy 5:13-15), John Calvin responds to those who suggest that we are commanded to work six entire days each week (i.e., we are not allowed to work 5 days of 8 hours each, or 4 days of 10 hours each, etc.) when the fourth commandment says “Six days you shalt labor and do all your work.” But what is more, Calvin uses this opportunity to give a firm but loving exhortation to those of us who feel tempted to fill up the festive day of rest with any activity (whether unnecessary work or unworshipful relaxation) that would detract from filling our thoughts and actions with the worship of the Triune God:

And when he says, “Thou shalt work six days,” our Lord shows us that we must not begrudge giving and dedicating one specific day to him, seeing…

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