The Works of the Westminster Divines on Worship

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Subsections

The Westminster Divines on:

Psalm Singing

Musical Instruments

Baptism

The Lord’s Supper

The Common Cup and Sitting at a Table

The Lord’s Day

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Sermons

Caryl, Joseph – A Sermon Pressing to & Directing in that Great Duty of Praising God.  Preached to the Parliament at Westminster, Oct. 8, 1656.  Being the Day of their Solemn Thanksgiving to God for that Late Success Given to Some Part of the Fleet of this Commonwealth Against the Spanish fleet in its Return from the West Indies  (1657)

Strong, William – The Saint’s Communion with God, & God’s Communion with them in Ordinances. As it was Delivered in Several Sermons  Buy

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On the Regulative Principle of Worship

Burroughs, Jeremiah – Gospel Worship, or, the Right Manner of Sanctifying the Name of God in General, & Particularly in These Three Great Ordinances, Namely, 1. Hearing the Word. 2. Receiving the Lord’s Supper, & 3. Prayer  Buy  1647

Cawdrey, Daniel – The Account Audited & Discounted: or, a Vindication of the Threefold Diatribe, of: 1. Superstition, 2. Will-Worship, 3. Christmas Festival, Against Dr. Hammond’s Manifold Para-Diatribes  Buy  (London, 1658)

Gillespie, George – A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies Obtruded upon the Church of Scotland. Wherein not only our own arguments against the same are strongly confirmed, but likewise the answers and defenses of our opposites, such as Hooker, Mortoune… Forbesse, etc. Particularly Confuted  Buy  (1637)

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Against Christmas

Cawdrey, Daniel – The Account Audited & Discounted: or, a Vindication of the Threefold Diatribe, of: 1. Superstition, 2. Will-Worship, 3. Christmas Festival, Against Dr. Hammond’s Manifold Para-Diatribes  Buy  (London, 1658)

See also the section in Gillespie’s Dispute against the English-Popish Ceremonies

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Against Altars

Ley, John – A Letter Against the Erection of an Altar, Written June 29, 1635, to the Reverend Father John L. Bishop of Chester  (London, 1641)

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A Description of Scottish Worship

Henderson, Alexander – The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland  (1641)

Rutherford, Samuel – A Defense of the Government of the Church of Scotland  1642  20 pp.  being chapter 20 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland.  An updated, easier to read edition.

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Against Religious Images in Worship

Rouse, Francis – A Religious & Worthy Speech Spoken by Mr. Rouse in Parliament Concerning the Goods, Liberties & Lives of his Majesty’s Subjects, Laying open the paintings that are used by the whore of Rome & Arminianism Amongst us to Draw the People thereby to Idolatry, by which means, they seek both to take away our wealth & religion, & the dangerous consequence thereof; with the near correspondence & alliance that is apparently evident to be between our Bishops, & the Bishop of Rome, & the remedy propounded to redress all such grievances  (1641)

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Criticism of the English Prayer Books & Unlawful Ceremonies

Baillie, Robert – A Parallel or Brief Comparison of the [English] Liturgy with the Mass-Book, the Breviary, the Ceremonial & Other Romish Rituals.  Wherein is Clearly & Shortly Demonstrated, not only that the Liturgy is Taken for the most part word by word out of these antichristian writs; but also that not one of the most abominable passages of the mass can in reason be refused by any who cordially embrace the liturgy as now it stands, & is commented by the prime of our clergy.  All Made Good from the Testimonies of the Most Famous & Learned Liturgic Writers Both Romish & English  (London, 1641)

Burges, Cornelius – Some of the Differences & Alterations in the Present Common Prayer Book, From the Book Established by Law  (London, 1660)

Gillespie, George – Reasons for which the Service Book ought to be Refused  Buy  ([Edinburgh, 1638])

This was published anonymously, but Chris Coldwell has made the case that it was written by Gillespie.

Gillespie, George – A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies, obtruded upon the Church of Scotland. Wherein not only our own arguments against the same are strongly confirmed, but likewise the answers and defenses of our opposites, such as Hooker, Mortoune… Forbesse, etc. particularly confuted  Buy  (1637)

Ley, John – A Debate Concerning the English Liturgy, Both as Established in & as Abolished out of the Worship of God, Drawn out in Two English & Two Latin Epistles  (1656)

Strong, William – A Voice from Heaven Calling the People of God to a Perfect Separation from Mystical Babylon [Romish Worship] as it was Delivered in a Sermon, Nov. 5, 1653  (London, 1654)

Various Ministers – Reasons Showing the Necessity of Reformation of the Public 1. Doctrine, 2. Worship, 3. Rites & Ceremonies, 4. Church-Government & Discipline, Reputed to be (but indeed, not) Established by Law. Humbly offered to the Serious Consideration of this Present Parliament. By Diverse Ministers  (London, 1660)

Various Ministers – The Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, A.D. 1661  ed. Charles W. Shields  (1867)

This book is a bit misnamed.  It was not a Prayer approved by the Westminster Assembly, but was a prayer book composed in 1661 (after the erastian and episcopalian Restoration of King Charles II in England) which 8 former Westminster divines signed after taking written exception to upwards of 18 (sometimes significant) things in the book.

In a bit of background to this prayer-book, Andrew Myers writes:

“The book… [was] part of a 19th century effort to return American Presbyterian worship to the Episcopalian liturgy.  It is misnamed because the event in 1661 that the author is writing about was the Savoy Conference’s attempt to reach a compromise liturgy.  The Conference included 12 Anglican delegates and 12 Presbyterian/Puritan (“Presbyterian” is used very broadly) delegates.  If you read further in the book, it has an appendix which notes all the Presbyterian “exceptions” to the Book of Common Prayer that was produced by the Conference. There were a few Westminster divines who attended the Conference, but it was the Savoy Conference, not the Westminster Assembly that produced this liturgy.  It is only titled the way it is to achieve a certain sympathy from 19th century Presbyterians towards high church worship.”

“Some of the major issues [that the Presbyterian took exception to] were 1) vestments 2) kneeling for communion 3) the sign of the cross and recitation of the Apostles Creed in baptism 4) use of the ring in marriage (and the language “With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship”) 5) homilies 6) reading from the Apocrypha 6) collects 7) litany (responsive reading) 8) repetition of the Lord’s Prayer multiple times in one service 9) private baptism, baptism by women, interrogatories to the child, godparents 10) single administration of the Lord’s Supper 11) language used in burial services 12) churching of women services 13) confirmation 14) ordination to unBiblical offices and 15) saints’ days and festivals among others.”

Here are all The Presbyterian Exceptions to the Book of Common Prayer (38 pages).  With such exceptions noted, the prayer-book was endorsed by the following former Westminster divines:

Anthony Tuckney
John Conant
William Spurstowe
John Wallis
Thomas Case
Matthew Newcomen
Edward Reynolds
John Lightfoot

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An Episcopalian, Private, Devotional, Prayer Book

Featley, Daniel – Ancilla Pietatis: or, The Handmaid to Private Devotion, Presenting a Manual to Furnish her with Necessary Principles of Faith, Forcible Motives to a Holy Life & Useful Forms of Hymns & Prayers  (1626)  Featley was the only episcopalian that attended the Westminster Assembly.

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Related Pages

Worship

Regulative Principle of Worship

Religous Holidays

Religious Images in Worship

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines Online

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines Online by Topic