In complete public worship, the Sabbath should always be honored. That blessed day was appointed for this very purpose, among others, to give men an opportunity of meeting together in God’s service. A Sabbath was given to man even in Paradise. The observance of a Sabbath was made part of the Ten Commandments. The worship of God on the Sabbath was observed by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. To meet together on one day in the week, at least, was a practice of the early Christians, though they met on the first day of the week instead of the seventh (Acts 20.7; 1 Corinthians 16.2).
To assemble in God’s house on the Christian Sabbath has been the custom of all professing Christians for almost two millennia. The best and holiest of God’s saints have always pressed on others most strongly the value of Sabbath worship and borne witness to its usefulness. It sounds very fine and spiritual, no doubt, to say that every day should be a Sabbath to a Christian and that one day should not be kept more holy than another. But facts are stronger than theories. Experience proves that human nature requires such helps as fixed days and hours and seasons for carrying on spiritual business, and that public worship never prospers unless we observe God’s order. “The Sabbath was made for man” by Him who made man at the beginning, and knew what flesh and blood is. As a general rule, it will always be found that, where there is no Sabbath, there is no public worship.
From: Worship: Its Priorities, Principles, and Practice by J. C. Ryle (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2005), p. 17. This booklet is excerpted from Ryle’s Knots Untied (1877).
J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool, England (1880-1900).