On Meeting Places for the Church’s Public Worship

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Order of Contents

Meeting Places Have No Religious Significance
On Dedications of Meeting Places for Worship
Ought not Meeting Places to be Adorned with the Best?
But do not the Expansive Walls & Ceiling Remind one of God’s Greatness?
On Love-Feasts

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That Meeting Places for Christian Worship are Only to have a Natural Use for the Purpose & No Religious Significance Whatsoever

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), Intro, section 3, pp. 48-49

“Most false it is that the Tabernacle and Temple were nothing but a meeting place of the people for worship, as our churches or chapels, are:

1.  Because it is to argue the Holy Ghost of want [lack] of wisdom, to spend so much canonic Scripture in setting down things idly, not tending, at all to edification, and teaching us nothing of God, and in specifying the form, height, length, breadth, curtains, candlesticks, sockets, rings of natural places that contained their bodies…  Now certain it is, ‘Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, Rom. 15:4.

2.  Many things in the Tabernacle, as candles in daylight, rings, sockets, showbread, belonged nothing to a natural place, as our chapels, or meeting houses do.

3.  Expressly the Scripture makes them more than places; to wit, holy, religious, and typical signs of divine institution; as the Tabernacle was a type, Heb. 8:2,5; 9:1,2 etc.; 10:1-3.  And the Temple a type of Christ’s body, Jn. 2:19; 1:14-15.  And all these were types and shadows of heavenly things, Heb. chapters 8-10; Gal. 4:1-2, etc.; Col. 2:16,17.  Which our churches and chapels are not, being only places common to sacred and civil actions.


3.  Yea, because the Tabernacle and Temple and their implements were teaching shadows of good things to come, and our Churches and Chapels are not so, nor have they any moral or religious use or influence on our spirits as the Tabernacle and Temple had; therefore the Lord, who is express in all morals, which of their own nature do teach and edify; he behoved to name Bezaliel, and Aholiah, and the form and color of the priests’ garments, which also are typical, and could not name our elders, or the color or form of their garments.

4.  All these weak retortions [of Rutherford’s Anglican opponents] suppose that the Tabernacle and Temple were types of our meeting houses for worship, which is a mere conjecture; they were no more types of our chapels than of the Jewish synagogues;”

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On Dedications of Meeting Places for Worship

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government...  (1646), pp. 90-91

“Consecrating of churches is taken two ways:

1.  For a mere dedication or civil destination of any thing to its end and use: As when a house is builded, a garment is first put on, when we refresh ourselves with a draught of water, we may pray for a blessing on these [Lk. 9:16], and on all the creatures for our use [1  Tim. 4:4-5]; and the very habitual intention of the builder of an house to dwell in is a civil dedication of it to that use for which it is ordained.

Prayer added to it for a blessing of it in the use makes not a consecrated thing; for then my clothes every day put on, my sleep, my daily walking in and out, my physic, my meals, my horse, my ship I sail in, should all be holy, consecrated and religious things, which I were to reverence as religious things; for all these may be blessed in their use.

[2.]  But here is that [which] we condemn in religious dedication of churches:

1.  That the end being sacred, to wit, the habitual worshipping of God in that place.

2.  The praying for the church or house of worship, to say nothing of the vain ceremonies used in the dedication of churches:

These two are applied to make the church holy and to denominate it the house of God, and capable of religious veneration and salutation [it was the custom of Anglicans to bow to or salute even the architecture or furniture of the church’s building]:

[1.]  Then certainly all the synagogues of Judea should be religiously holy, as was the Temple.

2.  And prayers should be more acceptable to God in the synagogue for the house’s sake [as was an Anglican custom], than prayers in any other place.

3.  God shall bind Himself by promise to hear prayers in the synagogue, or made with the face toward the synagogue, as He did toward the Temple: [if] we were obliged in the New Testament to pray with our faces toward the churches or meeting places in the New Testament, and we should have one famous and celebrious Church for all Jews and gentiles more holy than all the little holy temples now consecrated as holy places, and where shall this be?  And what typical signification shall it have?  It must signify Christ to come, or already come; both are unlawful.”

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As God is Worthy, Ought not Meeting Places to be Adorned with the Best?

Article

Rutherford, Samuel – Intro, section 6, pp. 91-93  of The Divine Right of Church Government...  (1646)

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But do not the Great, Expansive Walls & Ceiling Remind one of God’s Greatness?

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), p. 92

“4.  More might, and ought, to have been done [in regard to the dimensions of the Temple] by David and Solomon, if it had been a moral ground to build a house to be a witness of Almightiness;

3.  And God appointed sacrifices and sacraments in both Testaments as testimonies of the great Lord Jesus; yet in base and obvious creatures; we may not devise symbols or witnessing images of the Almightiness of that God whom we serve, at our pleasure;”

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On Love-Feasts not being an Ordinance of Worship

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), Intro, section 3, p. 64

“4.  Some things are not matters of worship at all, but of goods, as the community of goods, love-feasts, matters of civil conversation, these are only in their morality (as touching distribution to the necessities of the saints, and brotherly kindness) unalterable, and no otherwise.”

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