“Worship God.”

Rev. 22:9

“Fear God, and give glory to Him… and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Rev. 14:7




Internal & External
Natural vs. Instituted
Regulative Principle
Simplicity of
Order of Worship & Liturgies

Singing of Psalms
Reading of Scripture
Baptism & Lord’s Supper

Natural Gestures & Customs in Worship; of Reverence
By Distance through Technology



Order of Contents

Articles  50+
Books  30+
Quote  1
Related Issues  14
History  1

“Elements of Worship”  1
Only One Kind of Religious Worship; Dulia to Saints is Idolatrous  8
Christian Worship: from Synagogue, not Temple  1
Distinguishable Aspects in the Elements of Worship  4
Impurities of Worship  5
Opinion of Sanctity & Necessity: Not Essential to False Worship  1

Modern Evangelical Worship  1
Romanist Worship  1
Latin  24+
Biblio  2





Calvin, John – 4th Sermon, ‘How Great Pains & Care the Liberty to Worship God Purely in some Christian Church ought to be sought, taken forth of this sentence of the 27th Psalm’  in Four Godly Sermons against the Pollution of Idolatries, Comforting Men in Persecutions…  (London: Hall, 1561)  no page numbers

Hemmingsen, Niels – ‘Of the Worship (or Service) of God’  in The Way of Life A Christian, & Catholic Institution comprehending Principal Points of Christian Religion…  (London: Jones, 1578), pp. 180-88

Hemmingsen (1513-1600) was a Danish Lutheran minister and a professor of Greek and theology at the University of Copenhagen.

Polanus, Amandus – pp. 188-224  of Bk. 2  in The Substance of Christian Religion  (London: R.F., 1595)



Perkins, William

The Whole Treatise of the Cases of Conscience…  (Cambridge: Legat, 1606), bk. 2

ch. 4, question 1, “How God is to be conceived in our minds when we perform any service or worship unto Him?”, pp. 252-56

ch. 5, question 2, “How God is to be Worshipped & Served?”, pp. 256-62

ch. 3, section 4, “Of this thought: It is a vain thing to worship God”  in A Treatise of Man’s Imaginations...  (Cambridge: Legat, 1607), pp. 80-86

Powel, Gabriel – De adiaphoris, Theological & Scholastical Positions concerning the Nature & Use of Things Indifferent. Where also is Methodically & Briefely Handled, of Civil & Ecclesiastical Magistrates, of Human Laws, of Christian Liberty, of Scandal & of the Worship of God  (London, 1607)

ch. 10, ‘Of the Worship of God. And that Things Indifferent and Ceremonies ordained for Order & Decency in the Church are not the Worship of God’, pp. 35-72

Powel (baptised 1576–1611) was a Welsh Anglican minister, known for his strident anti-Romanist views.

ch. 11, ‘A Solution of the Objections opposed by the Refractary Ministers’, pp. 72-88

Powel argues against separatist ministers in this section.  Much of what he says is good, right and helpful, though he does defend ministers wearing a surplice and signing a cross in baptism, and his discussions on obedience to the magistrate and how an erring conscience binds are faultable.

Ainsworth, Henry – ‘Of Worship’  in A Defence of the Holy Scriptures, Worship & Ministery, used in the Christian Churches Separated from Antichrist...  (Amsterdam: Thorp, 1609), pp. 5-22

Ainsworth was a separatist minister.

Downame, John – A Guide to Godliness, or a Treatise of a Christian Life...  (London: Kingstone, 1622), bk. 2

ch. 6, section 7, ‘Of External Worship with our Bodies’, pp. 122-23

ch. 7, section 1, ‘Of the Things Generally Required in the Second Commandment’, pp. 123-24

Featley, Daniel – pt. 3  of Ancilla pietatis: or, The Handmaid to Private Devotion, Presenting a Manual...  (London, 1626), pt. 2, Delivering the Sum of Saving Knowledge, pp. 21-33  ToC

Byfield, Richard – pt. 2, chs. 6-18  in The Light of Faith & Way of Holiness…  (London: Harper, 1630)

Downame, George – The Covenant of Grace, or an Exposition upon Luke 1:73-75  (Dublin, 1631), pp. 55-183

Hildersham, Arthur – Lectures 32-42  on John 4:23-24  in 108 Lectures upon the Fourth of John…  (London, 1632)

Ames, William – The Marrow of Sacred Divinity  (1639), bk. 2

ch. 13, ‘Of Instituted Worship’
ch. 14, ‘Of the Manner of Divine Worship’
ch. 15, ‘Of the Time of Worship’

Rutherford, Samuel

‘Samuel Rutherford & Thomas Sydserff, Bishop of Galloway, ‘An Discussing of Some Arguments Against Canons & Ceremonies in God’s Worship’ 1636′  in Religious Controversy in Scotland, 1625-1639  ed. David G. Mullan  in Scottish History Society, Fifth Series, vol 11 (Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Society, 1998), pp. 82-99  A debate between the two men.

The debate first centers around whether ceremonies in worship, claimed to be indifferent, are legitimately scandals to the weak or not.  Then is more specifically discussed the episcopal practice of kneeling in order to partake of the Lord’s Supper.  At the end Rutherford gives a definition of worship.

‘The Introduction’ & Ch. 1 of The Divine Right of Church Government  1646, pp. 1-192

Sibbes, Richard – verse 3, ‘which worship God’  in An Exposition of the Third Chapter of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians…  (London: Cotes, 1639), pp. 44-45

Cotton, John

pp. 5-6  of The Doctrine of the Church, to which is Committed the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven…  (London: Satterthwaite, 1642)

Cotton was a congregationalist puritan, and shows some of their distinctives in these sections.

ch. 4, ‘Concerning our Order & Form in Administration of God’s Public Worship’  in The Way of the Churches of Christ in New-England…  (London: Simmons, 1645), pp. 65-88

Colloquy at Thorn – 5. ‘Of the Worship Service’ (1645)  in ed. James Dennison, Jr., Reformed Confessions of the 16th & 17th Centuries…  (RHB, 2014), vol. 3, pp. 217-20

For background to the Colloquy at Thorn, see the section midway down in ed. Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1, section 70.  The Latin is in the Latin section below.

Dury, John – ch. 3, ‘Of the Ordinances of Worship & Government’  in A Model of Church-Government: or the Grounds of the Spiritual Frame & Government of the House of God…  (London, 1647), pp. 4-7

Stone, Samuel – pp. 631-88 The Whole Body of Divinity in a Catechetical Way Handled  (Hartford, CT: probably between 1647-1663)  This section encompasses the preface to the First Table of the Law and the first three commandments.

This is indepth and good.

Guild, William – ch. 4, ‘Of the Church’s Right Worship’  in  The Old Roman Catholic, as at First he was Taught by Paul, in Opposition to the New Roman Catholic, as of Latter he is Taught by the Pope…  (Aberdeen, 1649), pp. 44-50

Guild (1586-1657) was a Scottish covenanting minister and the principle of King’s College, Aberdeen.

Binning, Hugh – on Jn. 4:24  in The Common Principiles of Christian Religion…  (d. 1653; Glasgow, 1667), pp. 119-28

Strong, William – The Saint’s Communion with God, & God’s Communion with them in Ordinances. As it was Delivered in Several Sermons  Buy  (London, 1655)

Gouge, William – A Learned & Very Useful Commentary on the Whole Epistle to the Hebrews…  (London: A.M., 1655)

Ch. 1

§74,‘Of Worship’
§75,‘Of the Difference between Divine & Civil Worship’

Ch. 7

§76,‘Of God’s Warrant for God’s Worship’
§82,‘Of Men’s Carnal Disposition in Worshipping God’

Ch. 8, §18,‘Of God’s Care in Giving Directions for his Worship’

Ch. 11, §113, ‘Of Jacob’s Worshipping upon his Staff’

White, John

ch. 2, verse 3, 1. Observe, The Worship of God ought to be Man’s First & Chief Care’  in A Commentary upon the Three First Chapters of the First Book of Moses called Genesis  (London: Streater, 1656), p. 8

ch. 3, ‘3rd Caution, We should take Heed of Degenerating into Will-Worship’  in A Treatise of the Power of Godliness…  (London: R.I., 1658), pt. 2, pp. 75-77

Fergusson, James – A Brief Exposition of the Epistles of Paul to the Philippians & Colossians  (Edinburgh: Higgins, 1656)

Phil. 3, verse 3, ‘For we are the Circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh’, pp. 71-73

Col. 2, verse 23, ‘Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body, not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh’, pp. 204-5

Fergusson was a Scottish minister.

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)

Durham, James – ‘Concerning the Holy Trinity & Object of Worship’  in ch. 1  in A Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation…  (Edinburgh, 1658), pp. 6-19

Clarke, Samuel – ch. 4, ‘Questions, & Cases about Adoration or Worship’  in Medulla theologiæ, or, The Marrow of Divinity contained in Sundry Questions & Cases of Conscience, both Speculative & Practical  (London: Ratcliff, 1659), pp. 13-15

Poole, Matthew – Evangelical Worship is Spiritual Worship as it was Discussed in a Sermon  (1660)  24 pp.

Hall, Joseph – ‘Holy Decency in the Worship of God’  in The Shaking of the Olive-Tree, the Remaining Works...  (d. 1656; London: Crooke, 1660), pp. 253-64

Hall was a godly, English bishop.

Dickson, David – ch. 21, ‘Of Religious Worship & the Sabbath Day’  in Truth’s Victory over Error…  (Edinburgh: Reid, 1683)

Wilson, John – Cultus Evangelicus, A Brief Discourse Concerning the Spirituality & Simplicity of New Testament Worship’  (1667)  140 pp.

Collinges, John – ch. 4, ‘That the Lord Jesus Christ was Lord of the Sabbath and had a power as to alter all Laws relating to the acts of Worship…’  in A Modest Plea for the Lord’s Day…  (London: 1669), pp. 23-27

MacWard, Robert – Dialogues 2, 3 & 5  in The True Non-Conformist  (1671)

MacWard was the protege of Samuel Rutherford.  He here defends the non-conforming presbyterians during the era of persecution in Scotland against the criticisms of an episcopal Scottish minister, shortly turned Anglican.  For the topics addressed, see the Table of Contents to the dialogues.

Swinnock, George – ch. 22, ‘If God be Incomparable, then Incomparable Service & Worship is Due to Him’  in A Treatise of the Incomparableness of God in his Being, Attributes, Works & Word, Opened & Applied  (London: Parkhurst, 1672), pp. 217-36

Baxter, Richard – A Christian Directory…  (London: White, 1673), pt. 3

ch. 2, ‘Directions about the manner of worship to avoid all corruptions and false unacceptable worshipping of God’

ch. 9, ‘How to behave ourselves in the public assemblies and the worship there performed, and after them’

question.29, ‘Whether a parent’s power over his children, or a pastor or many pastors or bishops’ over the same children, as parts of their flock, be greater or more obliging in matters of religion and public worship?’

question 67, ‘Does presence always make us guilty of the errours or faults of the pastor in God’s worship or of the Church? [No]  Or in what cases are we guilty?’

question 89, ‘What gestures are fittest in all the public worship?’

question 112, ‘Whether religious worship may be given to a creature? and what?’

question 116, ‘Is it unlawful to use the badge or symbol of any error or sect in the worship of God?’

question, ‘Are all indifferent things made unlawful to us which shall be abused to idolatrous worship?’

question, ‘May the name priests, sacrifice and altars be lawfully now used instead of Christ’s ministers, worship and the holy table?’

question, ‘May the communion-tables be turned altar-wise? and railed in? And is it lawful to come up to the rails to communicate?’

question, ‘Is it lawful to use David’s psalms in our assemblies?’ [Yes]

question, ‘Are our Church-tunes lawful, being of man’s invention?’ [Yes]

question, ‘Is Church-music by organs or such instruments lawful?’

question, ‘Is it Lawful to appoint humane Holy dayes, and observe them?’

question, ‘May Church assemblies be held where there is no minister? Or what public worship may be so performed by laymen? (As among infidels or papists, where persecution has killed, imprisoned or expelled the ministers)’

Manton, Thomas – Sermon 6, ‘That Religious Service & Religious Worship is Due to God Only & Not to be Given to Saint, or Angel or any Creature’  on Mt. 4:10  in Christ’s Temptation & Transfiguration…  (d. 1677; London: 1685), pp. 163-74

Brown of Wamphray, John – ch. 29, ‘How should we make use of Christ in going to the Father in prayer and other pieces of worship?’  in Christ the Way and the Truth and the Life...  (Rotterdam, 1677), pp. 376-81

Owen, John – Works  ed. William Goold  (NY: Robert Carter, 1851)

Questions 1-18  of A Brief Instruction in the Worship of God & Discipline of the Churches of the New Testament, by Way of Question & Answer with an Explication & Confirmation of those Answers  (London, 1667), pp. 1-89

This is excellent.

A Peace-Offering in an Apology & Humble Plea for Indulgence & Liberty of Conscience by sundry Protestants Differing in Some Things from the Present Establishment about the Worship of God  (London: 1667)  37 pp.

Sermons 3-4, ‘The Nature & Beauty of Gospel Worship’  on Eph. 2:18  in vol. 9, pp. 53-84

On Hebrews

on 1:7
on 8:6

Charnock, Stephen – ‘A Discourse upon Spiritual Worship’  in Discourse on the Existence & Attributes of God  in Works, vol. 1 (d. 1680; Edinburgh, 1864), pp. 283-344

Barker, Matthew – ‘Of Right Christian Worship’  in Reformed Religion, or, Right Christianity Described…  (London: Dunton, 1689), pp. 87-106

Barker (1619–1698) was a puritan, congergationalist minister, known for his volume on natural theology.

Willard, Samuel – The Sinfulness of Worshipping God with Men’s Institutions  (Boston, 1691) on Mt. 15:9, “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Willard was a New England, puritan minister.

Moodey, Joshua – The Great Sin of Formality in God’s Worship  (Boston, 1691) on Hos. 11:12, “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit.”

Moodey was a New England minister.

Lynford, Thomas – A Sermon concerning the Worship of God in Private, Preached before the Queen…  1691  (London: Adamson, 1691)  8 pp.

Lynford (d. 1724) was an Anglican minister and chaplain to William III and Queen Mary.

Calamy, Benjamin – A Discourse Concerning the Rise & Antiquity of Cathedral Worship in a Letter to a Friend  (London, 1699)  36 pp.

Calamy (bap.1646-c.1685) was reformed.

Calamy argues against the Anglican cathedral worship, which, unlike the more simple English, parish worship, included instruments, musicians, conductors, choirs, interludes, complex music and singing, and other ceremonious displays as worship unto God.



Stoddard, Samuel – ch. 7, ‘Of the Worship that is to be attended in Congregational Churches’  in The Doctrine of Instituted Churches Explained & Proved from the Word of God  (London: Smith, 1700), pp. 15-24

Dickinson, Jonathan – The Vanity of Human Institutions in the Worship of God  (NY, 1736) on Gal. 4:9, “…how turn you again to the weak and beggerly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Edwards, Jonathan (d. 1758)

The Profanation of God’s Holy Worship  a sermon on Eze. 23:36-39, “…they have committed adultery…then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it.”

Provoking the Lord to Jealousy in the Worship of God  a sermon on 1 Cor. 10:22, “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

The Holiness of God  a lecture on Isa. 6:3, “And one cried unto another and said holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”

Stone, Nathan & Nathan Underwood – The Duty of Worshipping God in his House, Considered in a Sermon…  & Public Worship Considered & Recommended. A Sermon…  (Boston, 1796)

Stone (1737-1804) and Underwood were New England ministers.



Binnie, William – The Christian Ordinances  (1882), p. 52 ff.  58 pp.  from his The Church

Binnie was of the Free Church of Scotland.





Knox, John – True Worship & the Consequences of Idolatry  Buy  (Puritan Publications, 2018)  125 pp.

Rainolds, John – The Sum of the Conference between John Rainolds & John Hart touching the Head & the Faith of the Church, wherein by the Way are Handled Sundry Points, of the Sufficiency & Right Expounding of the Scriptures, the Ministry of the Church, the Function of Priesthood, the Sacrifice of the Mass, with other Controversies of Religion: but Chiefly & Purposely the Point of Church-Government…  whereunto is Annexed a Treatise Entitled, Six Conclusions touching the Holy Scripture & the Church…  with a Defence of Such Things as Thomas Stapleton & Gregory Martin have Carped at Therein  (London, 1584)  742 pp.



Bradshaw, William – Several Treatises of Worship & Ceremonies…  1. A Consideration of Certain Positions Archiepiscopal.  2. A Treatise of Divine Worship, tending to prove the ceremonies…  are unlawful.  3. A Treatise of the Nature & Use of Things Indifferent. 4. English Puritanism, containing the Main Opinions of the Rigidest Sort of those called ‘Puritans’ in the Realm of England. 5. Twelve General Arguments Proving the Ceremonies Unlawful.  6. A Proposition concerning Kneeling in the Very Act of Receiving.  7. A Protestation of the King’s Supremacy…  8. A Short Treatise of the Cross in Baptism  (d. 1618; London: Westminster Hall, 1660)

Bradshaw (1571-1618) was an English, non-separatist, congregationalist puritan, very much opposed to the ceremonies.  He held that the king must not be resisted except passively.  This work was reprinted at the restoration of King Charles II (1660) and the episcopacy and ceremonial worship that he restored.

Egerton, Stephen – The Boring of the Ear, Containing a Plain & Profitable Discourse by Way of Dialogue: Concerning 1. Our Preparation before Hearing, 2. Our Demeanor in Hearing, 3. Our Exercise after we have Heard the Word of God  (London, 1623)  on Lk. 8:18

Egerton (1555–1621) was an early puritan divine.

Forbes, John – Four Sermons which do Manifest the True Sense of the 1 Epistle to Timothy, 6th Chaper, 13-16…  (1635)  66 pp.

Forbes (c.1568-1634) was a reformed, Scottish, puritan pastor to English churches in the Netherlands.  This work has been reprinted as The Christian’s Charge Never to Offend God in Worship  Buy.

“Mr. Forbes will show you that the house of God should be ordered by God’s rules. In this it should be seen as wholly appropriate that God’s “people” are to be ordered by God’s rules. Such worship should show reverence, piety, love, desire, and joy in God, and it should be structured and ordered according to God’s holy principles. Worship for the Christian should be an expression of God’s heart back to God filtered through his congregation. We ought to reflect back to God how wonderful and most blessed He is in pure and undefiled worship.  Mr. Forbes demonstrates from 1 Timothy 6:13-16 that it is impossible to worship God by human invention…” – Matthew McMahon

Ames, William

A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship, or a Triplication unto Dr. Burgess’s rejoinder for Dr. Morton  ([Rotterdam?], 1633)  Index  ToC 1, 2  GB

English [Congregationalist] Puritanism, Containing the Main Opinions of the Rigidest Sort of Those that are Called Puritans in the Realm of England  ([London], 1641)

Gillespie, George – A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies Obtruded on the Church of Scotland…  (1637)

This launched the 2nd Reformation in Scotland, in 1638.  Gillespie here argues, with the authority of God’s Word, against much of contemporary presbyterian and reformed worship.

Paget, Thomas – A Demonstration of Family-Duties: or Certain Propositions & Reasons of them Taken [ou]t of the Holy Scriptures, tending to show the Necessity, Nature & Manner of Performance of such Religious Duties, as Christian Families ought to spare some time unto from Common Affairs Every Day  (London, 1643)  143 pp.  ToC

Most of this book is about worship in families.

Rutherford, Samuel – pt. 2, ch. 83, ‘Familists, Libertines, Anabaptists go before Antinomians in Denying All External Worship & Obedience’  in A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist...  (London: J.D., 1648), pp. 181-86

This is largely a survey of heretics and sects on the topic, rather than a refutation of them.

Jackson, John – Directions for the Private [& Public] Worship of God: Divided into Two Parts…  (London, 1648)  115 pp.  in Epitome Ugaiainonton Logon, or, A Taste of the Truth as it is in Jesus, consisting of Ten Questions & Answers…  (London, 1648)  ToC

Jackson (1600-1648) was a Westminster divine.

“Does the Regulative Principle only apply to public worship and not private worship? John Jackson shows how God’s word is to be applied in both private and public worship.  In this exhorting work, Jackson plows up the fallow ground of both your private and public service (your worship) to God, to present it in a more acceptable manner through the work of Christ. He outlines and exhorts you and your family in these duties as they are prescribed and regulated by the Word of God…  He cites over 700 footnotes, all of which are Scriptural proofs of his encouraging words. This is a work that should sit alongside your bible to refer to daily.” – Matthew McMahon

Burroughs, Jeremiah – Gospel-Worship, or, The Right Manner of Sanctifying the Name of God in General & Particularly in these Three Great Ordinances, viz. 1. Hearing of the Word, 2. Receiving the Lord’s Supper, 3. Prayer  (London, 1653)

Love, Christopher – The Zealous Christian Taking Heaven by Holy Violence in [13] Several Sermons, Tending to Direct Men how to Hear with Zeal, [how] to Pray with Importunity…  (London, 1653)

This has been reprinted as The Hearer’s Duty & Other Works  Buy  (Puritan Publications).

Cawdrey, Daniel

Diatribe triplex, or, A Threefold Exercitation concerning 1. Superstition, 2. Will-Worship, 3. Christmas Festival, with the Reverend & Learned Dr. Hammond  (London: Wright, 1654)  204 pp.  ToC

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  (London, 1658)

Brewer, Thomas – Gospel Public Worship: or the Translation, Metaphrase, Analysis & Exposition of Rom. 12, vv. 1-8, Describing & Prescribing the Complete Pattern of Gospel-Worship  in Gospel Public Worship…  Also, an Exposition of the 18th Chapter of Matthew, to which is Added A Discovery of Adam’s Threefold Estate in Paradise…  (London: Godbid, 1656), pp. 1-222

Brewer was an English separatist minister who suffered much persecution under the prelates.  When “at Leiden…  he walked in communion with Mr. [John] Robinson, and also with Mr. [Henry] Ainsworth.”

Burges, Cornelius, et al. – 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…  (1660)  63 pp.  ToC

Durel, John – A View of the Government & Public Worship of God in the Reformed Churches Beyond the Seas, wherein is showed their Conformity & Agreement with the Church of England, as it is Established by the Act of Uniformity…  (London, 1662)  318 pp.

Durel (1625–1683) was an Anglican, Erastian, clergyman and academic, here seeking to support the Anglican practices.  This work is valuable for a description of the various worship practices of the time, even if Durel’s claims are sometimes skewed.  For an detailed answer and correction to this work, see Hickman.

Steele, Richard – An Antidote Against Distractions, or an Endeavor to Serve the Church in the Daily Case of Wandrings in the Worship  (London: Calvert, 1667)  238 pp.  ToC

Heywood, Oliver – Closet-Prayer a Christian Duty, or a Treatise upon Mt. 6:6 tending to Prove that Worship of God in Secret is the Indispensible Duty of All Christians … together with a severe rebuke of Christians for their neglect of, or negligence in, the Duty of Closet-Prayer, and many directions for the managing thereof…  (London: Parkhurst, 1671)  127 pp.  ToC

Hickman, Henry – Bonasus Vapulans [A Bull being Whipped], or, Some Castigations given to Mr. John Durel for Fouling Himself & Others in his English & Latin Book, by a Country Scholar  (London, 1672)  150 pp.

Hickman (bap.1629-1692) was an English puritan who was ejected in 1662.  This is in answer to, and a correction of Durel’s work above, qualifying many of its claims about then-current worship practices.

Corbet, John – “Of Divine Worship, in Three Parts”  ToC  in The Remains of the Reverend & Learned Mr. John Corbet…  (London: Parkhurst, 1684), pp. 171-224

This is Amazingly good.  Corbet (1620-1680) was a congregationalist puritan who was ejected in 1662.  Richard Baxter said that he and Corbet never once “differed in any point of doctrine, worship, or government, ecclesiastical or civil, or ever had one displeasing word.”

Chauncy, Isaac – A Theological Dialogue: containing the Defence & Justification of Dr. John Owen from the Forty Two Errors charged upon him by Mr. Richard Baxter in a certain Manuscript about Communion in Liturgical Worship  (London: Author, 1684)  48 pp.

Chauncy (1632–1712) was an English, congregationalist minister.  Isaac Watts was his assistant for two years before succeeding him.

Someone had given a manuscript (with a proposition and 12 arguments) to Baxter saying it was John Owen’s.  It argued, at least in certain circumstances, the obligation to abstain from the Anglican Prayer-Book worship in preference for attending a more pure worship.  Baxter charged Owen with 42 errors in this work.  Both the manuscript and Baxter’s response are apparently otherwise unpublished.

Chauncy’s work is a dialogue which alternates between the manuscript, Baxter’s response, to his response to Baxter (justifying Owen) under the pseudonym John Owen.  Chauncy argues separatistic principles (as does the manuscript).

Baxter says on p. 47, “I was willing as long as I could to believe they [the arguments] were not his [Owen’s]…  after being assured they were his…”  Baxter on the whole has the better arguments than the manuscript or Chauncy.

Moodey, Joshua – A Practical Discourse Concerning the Choice Benefit of Communion with God in his House, Witnessed unto by the Experience of Saints as the Best Improvement of Time: being the Sum of Several Sermons on Ps. 84:10, Preached in Boston on Lecture-Days  (1685)  109 pp.

Moodey was a New England minister.

Sherlock, William – A Discourse concerning the Object of Religious Worship, or a Scripture Proof of the Unlawfulness of giving any Religious Worship to any other being besides the One Supreme God, part 1  (London: Swalle, 1685)  75 pp.  ToC

Craghead, Robert – An Answer to a Late Book, Entitled, A Discourse Concerning the Inventions of Men in the Worship of God, by William, Lord Bishop of Derry…  (Edinburgh, 1694)

William King (1650-1729) was an Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland and was the archbishop of Dublin.  He had written a book reproving and instructing the dissenters in the area of Dublin, entitled A Discourse concerning the Inventions of Men in the Worship of God  (Dublin, 1694).  The book, by its table of contents, is very well organized and easily perused.  The subject matter is the details of most aspects of the outward, public worship of God.

Craghead here responds to the work, defending the dissenters.  Craghead’s book is dedicated to the presbyterian nobility of London.

Boyse, Joseph

Remarks on a Late Discourse of William, Lord Bishop of Derry: Concerning the Inventions of Men in the Worship of God  (London, 1694)

On William King’s work, see above under Craghead.  Boyse (1660-1728) was a dissenting minister at Dublin who wrote a number of theological tracts and was ‘a pious, learned and useful divine’ (James Darling).

King answered this work of Boyse with his own, entitled, An Admonition to the Dissenting Inhabitants of the Diocess of Derry concerning a book lately published by Mr. J. Boyse, entituled, Remarks on a late discourse of William…  (London, 1694)  GB.

A Vindication of the Remarks on the Bishop of Derry’s Discourse about Human Inventions…  (London, 1695)

This work of Boyse answers King’s response to Boyse’s Remarks.  King the Vindication of the Remarks with: A Second Admonition to the Dissenting Inhabitants of the Diocess of Derry concerning Mr. J. Boyse’s Vindication of his Remarks…  (London, 1696).

Heidegger, Johann H. – 25. ‘On External Worship, Especially about the Sacraments’  in The Concise Marrow of Theology  tr. Casey Carmichael  in Classic Reformed Theology, vol. 4  (1697; RHB, 2019), pp. 177-85



Anderson, John

A Dialogue between a Curate & a Countryman  Ref  (1710)

The Second Dialogue between the Curate & the Countryman Respecting the English Service  (1711)

The Countryman’s Letter to the Curate, wherein, besides an Historical View of the English Liturgy, the Assertions of Sage, the Author of the ‘Fundamental Character of Presbytery,’ concerning its Universal Usage in Scotland at the Time of the Reformation, etc., are Examined & Proved to be False  Ref  ([Edinburgh] 1711)

Curate Calder Whipt  Ref  (1712)

A Defence of the Church-Government, Faith, Worship & Spirit of the Presbyterians: in Answer to a Late Book entitled, An Apology for Mr. Thomas Rhind, or, An Account of the Manner how & the Reasons for which he Separated from the Presbyterian Party & Embraced the Communion of the Church  (1714; Edinburgh: 1820)

Anderson (c.1668-1721) was a Scottish minister in Dumbarton.  On Anderson, see Robert Wodrow, Correspondence, vol. 1, Letter 15, pp. 34-9.

“But the work by which he is best known, and in which his learning and wit appear to the best advantage, is his ‘Defense of the Church Government…  and [it] may be said to have never been answered.” – Wodrow

William G. Blaikie:  “Great anxiety was felt at the time by the presbyterian clergy in connection with the general use of the English liturgy in the episcopalian congregations, which had not been in common use among them till the beginning of the eighteenth century…  This publication has always been considered one of the ablest defences of the presbyterian system.” – DNB

Hall, Archibald – Being an Attempt to Exhibit a Scriptural View of the Nature…  of the Worship of God, in the New Testament  Ref  (Gray & Alston, 1770)



McMahon, Matthew – The Lord’s Voice Cries to the City: A Biblical Guide for Hearing the Word of God Preached  Buy  (Puritan Publications, 2017)  190 pp.

Willard, Dickinson, Moodey, Stone & Edwards – Vain Imaginations in the Worship of God  Buy  (Puritan Publications, 2018)

This book consists of the following works:

Willard, Samuel – The Sinfulness of Worshipping God with Men’s Institutions  (d. 1707) on Mt. 15:9, “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Dickinson, Jonathan – The Vanity of Human Institutions in the Worship of God  (d. 1747) on Gal. 4:9, “…how turn you again to the weak and beggerly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Moodey, Joshua – The Great Sin of Formality in God’s Worship  (d. 1697) on Hos. 11:12, “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit.”

Stone, Nathan – The Duty of Worshipping God in His House  (d. 1804)  on Ps. 5:7, “But as for me, I will come into thy house, in the multitude of thy mercy; and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.”

Edwards, Jonathan (d. 1758)

The Profanation of God’s Holy Worship  a sermon on Eze. 23:36-39, “…they have committed adultery…then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it.”

Provoking the Lord to Jealousy in the Worship of God  a sermon on 1 Cor. 10:22, “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”

The Holiness of God  a lecture on Isa. 6:3, “And one cried unto another and said holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”




Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), ‘To the Reader’, no page number

“Religion needs not any such ornaments, except men would make the worship of God, when naked [as Adam & Eve were in the Garden in purity], under shame, and so under sin (for Justice married shame and sin once).  But as roses, lillies, the sun, and other glorious creatures, are most beautiful without garments, and not capable of shame; so is the worship of God.”



Related Issues of Worship

Call to Worship

Musical Instruments

Religious Images in Worship

Images of Christ


Head Coverings

Responsive Readings

The Lord’s Day 

Other Religious Holidays

Children in Public Worship

Tithes & Offerings

Saying Amen at the End of Prayers

Dancing & Drama

Assurance of Pardon



History of Worship

At the Reformation

Eire, Carlos – War Against the Idols: the Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin  Buy  (1989)  336 pp.

This excellent history book shows that purity of worship and the removal of religious images from the place of worship, including all images of Christ (whether in worship or not) was a hallmark of the reformed wing of the reformation.  Much different than most reformed churches today.



On the Phrase the “Elements of Worship”



John Yates

A Model of Divinity, Catechistically Composed…  (London, 1622), bk. 2, ch. 1, p. 309

“Q.  What is forbidden [in the 2nd Commandment]?

A.  All will-worship devised by man.  Religion is not human policy, but God’s divinity: yet in circumstances which are rather the ornaments than the elements of worship of the bye, than the substance, the Church is to be heard; for nothing is left in the power of the Church but things indifferent: that which is commanded, or forbidden, is to stand against all rules of men, and God must rather be obeyed than man. Acts 5:29.”



That There is Only One Kind of Religious Worship, & Dulia to Saints is Idolatrous


Romanists have defined nearly endless distinctions of categories of various shades of worship, which they use to justify their worshipping of saints, images, relics, etc.  The reformed, while recognizing that there are various qualities of honor and giving honor (deriving from various characteristics of things that are honorable, or by which one so honors), yet in religious worship all of these must terminate into one religious worship, solely upon that which is infinite and divine, namely God, as He is God.

Romanists distinguish between worship due to God, or latria, and a finite religious worship given to men (alive and dead) for their grace and glory, or dulia.  The reformed, for many good and Scriptural reasons, reject this distinction outright.

The Reformed teach that all such ‘worship’ given to men (the Bible uses the term for such: 1 Chron. 29:20; Mt. 18:26; etc.) is purely an expressed civil acknowledgment, honoring, reverence and subjection to their persons, authority or natural and even gracious powers, which is conditional, limited and qualified.  Any such ‘worship’, or reverence of men (due to their religious graces or glory, or otherwise) that rises above the obvious natural circumstances and limitations inherent in the setting or object, is idolatrous (Acts 10:25-26).




Willet, Andrew – ‘The Second Part [of the Appendix], of the Distinction of the Two Kinds of Worship, Latria [given only to God, or on account of God] and Dulia [given to creatures]’  in 9th Controversy, Concerning Saints Departed, 2nd Part, 2nd Question, Concerning the Adoration of Saints  in Synopsis Papismi...  (London, 1592)



Polyander, Johannes – A Disputation Against the Adoration of the Relics of Saints Departed, Wherein Nine Palpable Abuses are Discovered, Committed by the Popish Priests in the Veneration Thereof. Together with, the Refutation of a Jesuitical Epistle & an Index of the Relics, which every Seventh Year are Shown at Avvcon in Germany unto the Superstitious People & Pilgrims, Compiled by the Canons of St. Mary’s Church, anno 1608  (Dort, 1611)

Davenant, John – Question 18. ‘The Religious Worship of the Creature is Idolatry’  in The Determinations, or Resolutions of Certain Theological Questions, Publicly Discussed in the University of Cambridge  trans. Josiah Allport  (1634; 1846), pp. 312-326  bound at the end of John Davenant, A Treatise on Justification, or the Disputatio de Justitia...  trans. Josiah Allport  (1631; London, 1846), vol. 2

Rutherford, Samuel – pp. 82-90 of Introduction, Section 6, ‘What Honor, Praise, Glory, Reverence, Veneration, Devotion, Service, Worship, etc. Are.’  in The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646)

Rutherford here makes sense of the many distinctions of Romanists, defining their proper significance and application, while correcting errors regarding them.  He also carefully defines and illustrates worship and the constituent internal and external aspects of bowing down before God, or an object (or religious image, etc.), in worship.

Cheynell, Francis – pp. 10, 14-15  of ‘The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship’  ed. Fentiman  (RBO)  from The Divine Trinunity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit  (1650), Ch. 9, pp. 330-355

Cheynell was a Westminster divine.

Du Moulin, Pierre – ch. 13, ‘What honor is due to angels and deceased saints, and of the worship of dulia and latria’  in The Novelty of Popery…  (London: White, 1662), bk. 7, 1st Controversy, pp. 429-32

Turretin, Francis – Q. 7, ‘Is God Alone to be Worshipped & Invoked?  Or is it Lawful to Invoke & Religiously Worship Deceased Saints?  We Affirm the Former & Deny the Latter Against the Papists.’  in Institutes (P&R), vol. 2, 11th Topic, pp. 38-47



Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government...  (1646), Introduction, section 6, pp. 83-84

“It is an untruth which Raphael de la Torres [a Dominican Romanist], with other schoolmen say, that with the same religion by which we honor holy men, we honor God; upon this reason, because holiness in them is a participation of the divine nature, therefore God must be the intrinsical end, and formal reason for which we honor the saints.

[1.] For holiness in saints is a participation of the divine nature; but it is a temporary and a created participation, it is not the same very holiness that is in God; but the created effect thereof: and so the love I bear to any creature, because there is somewhat of God in every creature; and the love to our neighbor, commanded in the Second Table of the Law, should be the love of God, commanded in the First Table of the Law.

2. When I bow to the gray-haired, and to the king, I then do an act of obedience to the Fifth Commandment: No man can say that when I bow to the king or to a holy man, that I am then bowing to the God of heaven and Worshipping God: No acts terminated upon saints living or dead are acts of worshipping God; yea, reverencing of the ordinances of God, as the delighting in or trembling at the Word, are not properly acts of adoring God.”



Forbes, John – bk. 1, ch. 23, ‘Of one undivided adoration, invocation and lauding of the most holy Trinity’  in Historical & Theological Instructions on Christian Doctrine…  (Amsterdam, 1645), pp. 39-45  This volume was commended by Polyander, Trigland, Spanheim, Voet, Maets, Hoornbeeck, Cloppenburg, Coccejus and Maresius, as well as Gerhard Vossi, an Arminian.

Forbes (1593-1648) was one of the Aberdeen doctors.  This volume of his gained him the reputation of being one of the greatest theologians of the reformed Church.  The covenanters ‘acknowledged his orthodoxy and high Christian character’ (DNB).



That Christian Worship Derives from the Synagogue, not the Temple

Vitringa, Campegius – The Synagogue & the Church, being an Attempt to Show that the Government, Ministers & Services of the Church were Derived from those of the Synagogue, condensed from the Original Latin work of Vitringa  trans. & ed. Joshua L. Bernard  (London, 1842)  ToC

See especially pt. 2, ch. 11, ‘Refutation of the Arguments of those who Derive the Rites & Ceremonies of the Church from the Temple’, p. 208 ff.



On Distinguishable Aspects of the Parts of Ordinary, Instituted Worship


Rutherford, Samuel – pp. 87-89  of Introduction, section 6, ‘What Honor, Praise, Glory, Reverence, Veneration, Devotion, Service, Worship, etc. Are.’  in The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646)



William Ames

The Marrow of Theology  ed. John Eusden  (1639; Baker, 1997), bk. 2, ch. 14, ‘The Manner of Divine Worship’, p. 286

“28.  The special manner of the worship of God is to be determined as the individual nature of each religious act requires.

29.  So must be determined the right manner of hearing the word of God, calling upon his name, sharing the sacraments, exercising ecclesiastical discipline, and performing all those things which belong either to the natural or instituted worship of God, Ezek. 33:31; Matt. 13:19; 1 Cor. 11:27, 29; Isa. 66:5.”


Samuel Rutherford

Letter 179 in Letters of Samuel Rutherford (1891; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2006), pp. 343-44

“As far as I rawly conceive, I think that God is praised two ways: 1st. By a concional profession of His highness before men, such as is the very hearing of the word, and receiving of either of the sacraments; in which acts by profession, we give out to men, that He is our God with whom we are in covenant, and our Lawgiver. Thus eating and drinking in the Lord’s Supper, is an annunciation and profession before men, that Christ is our slain Redeemer. Here, because God speaketh to us, not we to Him, it is not a formal thanksgiving, but an annunciation or predication of Christ’s death—concional, not adorative—neither hath it God for the immediate object, and therefore no kneeling can be here.

2ndly. There is another praising of God, formal, when we are either formally blessing God, or speaking His praises. And this I take to be twofold:

1. When we directly and formally direct praises and thanksgiving to God. This may well be done kneeling, in token of our recognizance of His Highness; yet not so but that it may be done standing or sitting, especially seeing joyful elevation (which should be in praising) is not formally signified by kneeling.

2. When we speak good of God, and declare His glorious nature and attributes, extolling Him before men, to excite men to conceive highly of Him. The former I hold to be worship every way immediate, else I know not any immediate worship at all; the latter hath God for the subject, not properly the object, seeing the predication is directed to men immediately, rather than to God; for here we speak of God by way of praising, rather than to God. And, for my own part, as I am for the present minded, I see not how this can be done kneeling, seeing it is prædicatio Dei et Christi, non laudatio aut benedictio Dei. [A preaching of God and Christ, and not a praising or blessing of God.]  But observe, that it is formal praising of God, and not merely concional, as I distinguished in the first member; for, in the first member, any speaking of God, or of His works of creation, providence, and redemption, is indirect and concional praising of Him, and formally preaching, or an act of teaching, not an act of predication of His praises. For there is a difference betwixt the simple relation of the virtues of a thing (which is formally teaching), and the extolling of the worth of a thing by way of commendation, to cause others to praise with us.”



Directory for the Publick Worship of God

‘Of Publick Reading of the Holy Scriptures’

“Reading of the word in the congregation, being part of the publick worship of God, (wherein we acknowledge our dependence upon him, and subjection to him,) and one mean sanctified by him for the edifying of his people, is to be performed by the pastors and teachers.”


‘Of Publick Prayer before the Sermon’

“…the minister who is to preach, is to endeavour to get his own and his hearers hearts to be rightly affected with their sins, that they, may all mourn in sense thereof before the Lord, and hunger and thirst after the grace of God in Jesus Christ, by proceeding to a more full confession of sin, with shame and holy confusion of face, and to call upon the Lord to this effect:”


‘Of the Preaching of the Word’

“Preaching of the word, being the power of God unto salvation, and one of the greatest and most excellent works belonging to the ministry of the gospel, should be so performed, that the workman need not be ashamed, but may save himself, and those that hear him.”


‘Of Singing of Psalms’

“In singing of psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.”


Mediate vs. Immediate Worship


George Gillespie

English-Popish Ceremonies (1637), pt. 3

ch. 4

pp. 68-69

“For the receiving of the sacrament being a mediate worship of God, wherein the elements come between God and us, in such sort that they belong to the substance of the worship (for without the elements, the sacrament is not a sacrament)…  for as much as in the act of receiving, both our minds, and our external senses are and should be fastened upon them…

For in every mediate worship, wherein some creature is purposely set between God and us to have state in the same, it is idolatry to kneel before such a creature, whiles both our minds and senses are fastened upon it.”


p. 72

“…the last place, 2 Chron. 29, out of which no more can be drawn but that the people worshipped whiles the priests were yet offering the burnt-offering.  Now the burnt-offering was but accidentally before the people in their worshipping, and only because it was offered at the same time when the song of the Lord was sung.  Verse 27…  Verse 36, Since then the song and the sacrifice were performed at the same time, we must note that the people worshipped at that time not because of the sacrifice which was a mediate worship, but because of the song of the Lord, which was an immediate worship.

Now we all commend kneeling in an immediate worship.  But this cannot content our Opposites, they will needs have it lawful to kneel in the hearing of the Word, purposely and with a respect to the Word preached, (though this be a mediate worship only.  Their warrants are taken out of Ex. 4:30-31; 12:27; 2 Chron. 20:18; Mt. 17:6.  From the first three places no more can be inferred but that these hearers bowed their heads and worshipped after that they had heard the Word of the Lord; Neither shall they ever warrant bowing and worshipping in the act of hearing.

In the fourth place we read that the disciples fell on their faces when they heard God’s own immediate voice out of the cloud: What makes this for falling down to worship at the hearing of the Word preached by men?  How long shall our Opposites not distinguish betwixt mediate and immediate worship?”


ch. 6, p. 96

“The act of Perth [1618] about kneeling would draw some commendation to this ceremony [of kneeling before the sacrament], from those words of the Psalm, ‘O come let us worship and bow down. let us kneel before the Lord our maker.’ [Ps. 95:6]

Which is as if one should argue thus:  We may worship before the lord.  Therefore, before a creature.  We may kneel in an immediate worship of God, Therefore in a mediate.  For who sees not, that the kneeling there spoken of is a kneeling in the action of solemn praise and joyful noise of singing unto the Lord?”



On Impurities of Worship

Order of Contents



Order of Quotes




Richard Greenham

The Works of…  Richard Greenham…  (London: Welby, 1612), pt. 4, ‘Godly Instructions’, ch. 66, ‘Of God’s Worship, & of Religion True & False’, p. 803

“Moses was not so well when he was in Midian, as if he had been in Canaan, yet better than when he was in Egypt: for though Jethro had not the worship of God pure in every respect, yet was not he an idolater.  For then Moses would not have dwelt with him, nor yet have sacrificed with him, if he had offered to a strange God. Whence we learn two things:

The first, that if we have the chief and principal points of religion with us although there may be some wants and defects, yet that we make much of God’s great blessing therein, and labor carefully and diligently to use them, showing ourselves thankful to God for them: so will the Lord in his due time bestow more blessings upon us, and minister that which is wanting unto us.

Secondly, that the Lord will always have some to keep his truth, to the glory of his own name, and the condemnation of the wicked.  Jethro’s religion may be tried by these notes:

1. That he rejoiced more for the deliverance of God’s people than for the promotion of his son.  2. Because he was careful to confirm his faith by the experience of them which had received greater graces.  3. Because his joy did break out into an open profession of sacrifice.  4. His divine speech and good counsel which he gave to Moses does testify that he was a pure worshipper of God: at the least he held the chiefest, and was not a novice in religion.

By Jethro’s example we may learn to try our religion, if it be pure, then it works in us a care to use all the means.  2. We take joy in them.  3. We express the fruits of it in our life.  4. We rejoice more at the prosperity of God’s people than at our own preferments or commodity.”


Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (London, 1642), ch. 11, pp. 162-63

“14th Objection:  They object: To be present at a mass is to countenance an idol worship; so to be present in a church worship where there is any error in the worship is to countenance the error.  For what worship we countenance to that we say, ‘Amen,’ and so we must consent to the wrong constitution of a church where are profane people?

Answer:  To countenance a worship professedly idolatrous, where the name of the worship imports the worshipping of a false god, is unlawful, for others do interpret our presence [as] a joint worshipping with them.  But our presence at every lawful worship that is acknowledged lawful, does not give so much as interpretatively signification of our consent to every particular in the worship, because hearing, discerning, choosing or refusing, believing or not believing, according as you find the points agreeable to God’s Word, or dissonant therefrom, intervenes between your presence at the worship, and your consent to the worship.

Now the act of consenting, approving and receiving the point of worship is formally to partake of the worship, else we could not obey the precept (1 Thess. 5:21) ‘Try all things.’  Some things in the preacher are to be borne with;

The preachers of the Separation have not an apostolic and infallible spirit, if any of them preach unsound doctrine, the presence of the hearers does not involve them in the guilt of the preacher’s erroneous worship. The Pharisees corrupting of the Law was known and rebuked by Christ, but yet Christ forbade Separation.  ‘Hear them’ (Matt. 23) ‘they sit in Moses’ chair.’


The Due Right of Presbyteries…  (1644)

pt. 1, p. 265

“But know that the leaven of the external worship (except it evert the foundation) does not make the Church a falsely constituted Church.”


pt. 2, pp. 252-55

“2. If the sins be against the worship of God, as idolatry, or sins of a wicked conversation, the worship of God remain∣ing pure and sound, at least in professed fundamentals.

3. If the idolatry be essential idolatry, as the adoring of the work of men’s hands, or only idolatry by participation, as Popish ceremonies, the surplice and cross, being as means of worship, but not adored, and so being idols by participa∣tion, as [William] Ames and Mr. [John] Ball do well distinguish (Fresh Suit Against Ceremonies; Answer to Mr. Cann., par. 2, p. 23), and before them, so does the learned Reynold (de Idololatria, bk. 2, ch. 2) and Bilson (of Chri. Ar. Subject., part 4, pp. 321-322) make use of the distinction.

5. Divers degrees of separation are to be considered: hence these considerations:

2. If the whole and most part of the Church turn idolatrous and worship idols (which is essential idolatry), we are to separate from that Church: the Levites and the two tribes did well, as Mr. Ball says, to make a separation from Jeroboam’s calves; and the godly, laudably, 2 Kings 16:11, did not separate from the Israel and Church of God because the altar of Damascus was set up, and because of the high places.  Things dedicated unto idols, as Lutheran images, may be called, and are called, 1 Cor. 10:34, idolatry, yet are they idolatry by participation, and so the cup of devils, 1 Cor. 10.  Paul does not command separation from the Church of Corinth and the Table of the Lord there.

5th Consideration.  I see not but we may separate from the Lord’s Supper where bread is adored and from baptism where the sign of the Cross is added to Christ’s ordinances, and yet are we not separated from the Church, for we professedly hear the Word, and visibly allow truth of the doctrine maintained by that Church, which do pollute the sacraments, and we are ready to seal it with our blood, and it is an act of visible profession of a Church to suffer for the doctrine mentioned by that Church.

6.  We may well hold that Ambrose says well that a Church wanting the foundation of the apostles, is to be forsaken (Commentary on Lule, bk. 6, ch. 1).

8.  There may be causes of non-union with a Church, which are not sufficient causes of separation:  Paul would not separate from the Church of the Jews though they rejected Christ, till they openly blasphemed, Acts 13:44-46; Acts 18:16.  And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, Paul shook his ayment and said unto them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads, I am clean; from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles.’  There is a lawful separation, and yet before the Jews came to this, there was no just cause why any should have joined to the Church of the Jews who denied the Messiah and persecuted his servants, Acts 4; Acts 5, seeing there was a cleaner Church to which converts might join themselves, Acts 2:40-42.

9.  There is no just cause to leave a less clean Church (if it be a true Church) and to go to a purer and cleaner, though one who is a member of no Church have liberty of election to join to that Church which he conceives to be purest and cleanest.”




Aquinas, Thoams – pt. 2, pt. 1, Question 18, Article 11, ‘Whether every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, may place the moral action in the species of good or evil?’  [No]  of Summa

“More and less do not change a species.  But more and less is a circumstance of additional goodness or malice.  Therefore not every circumstance that makes a moral action better or worse, places it in a species of good or evil.”



Durham, James – ‘How Ordinances are Polluted’  from The Dying Man’s Testament to the Church of Scotland, or a Treatise concerning Scandal...  (London: 1659), pt. 2, ch. 4, pp. 120-23


Section of an RBO Webpage

On Impurities in Worship & yet Fellowship in the Valid Ordinances of Christ



That Opinion of Sanctity & Necessity is Not Essential to False Worship


Samuel Rutherford

pp. 44-46  of ch. 1, section 17, ‘Whether not only all the traditions of the Papists, but even new offices, such as the domineering bishop, etc, human ceremonies and whatsoever is of positive observance in divine worship contrived by the Antichrist or the bishops and prelates, conflicts with the completeness and perfection of the Scriptures?  We affirm against the Arminians.’  in Rutherford’s Examination of Arminianism: the Tables of Contents with Excerpts from Every Chapter  tr. Charles Johnson & Travis Fentiman  (1668 / 2019)

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (1646), ch. 1, Question 2, ‘Whether Scripture be such a Perfect Rule of all our Moral Actions?’

3rd Conclusion, ‘Opinion of Sanctity, Holiness & Divine Necessity is Not Essential to False Worship’, pp. 116-118

3. ‘Arbitrary Worship Must have God’s Approving Will, Commanding it, Else it is Not Lawful’, p. 120



On Modern Evangelical Worship

George Gillespie

English-Popish Ceremonies…  (Edinburgh, 1637), 2nd Part, ch. 4, ‘That the Ceremonies are Inexpedient Because they Hinder Edification’, pp. 19-20

“That the ceremonies are a great hindrance to edification appears, first, in that they obscure the substance of religion and weaken the life of godliness by outward glory and splendor, which draws away the minds of people so after it that they forget the substance of the service which they are about.  The heathenish priests labored, per varietatem ceremoniarum, rem in pretio retinere [for a variety of ceremonies, a thing of great value to be retained].

The use for which Papists appoint their ceremonies is, ut externam quandam Majestatem sensibus obijciant [that they may cast a certain external majesty before the senses]: And so are the ceremonies urged upon us thought to conciliate reverence and due regard to divine worship, and to stir up devotion.

In the meanwhile it is not considered that mentes humanae mirifice capiuntur & fascinantur, ceremoniarum splendore & pompa [human hearts are wonderfully captivated and fascinated by the splendor and pomp of ceremonies].  Videmus siquidem, says Bucer, vulgus delectari actionibus scanicis, & multis uti signis.  Chemnitius marks of the cumulating of ceremonies in the ancient Church, that it drew to this, ut tandem in theatricum ferme apparatum ceremonia illa abierint [that so at last by ceremonies they may go wholly prepared to the theater].  Musculus reprehends bishops for departing from the apostolical and most ancient simplicity, and for adding ceremonies unto ceremonies in a worldly splendor and spectability, whereas the worship of God ought to be pure and simple.

The policy, then, which is most simple and single, and least lustered with the pomp and bravery of ceremonies, cannot but be most expedient for edification.  The king’s daughter is most like herselfe when she is all glorious within (Ps. 45:13), not without, and the Kingdom of God appears best what it is, when it comes not with observation (Lk. 17:20-21): But superstition (says [John] Cameron, Popish Prejudices, ch. 10), the mother of ceremonies, is lavish and prodigal; spiritual whoredom as it is, it has this common with the bodily: both of them must have their paintings, their trinkets, their invenglements.

Secondly, the Ceremonies are impediments to the inward and spiritual worship, because they are fleshly and external.  In the second commandment are forbidden omnes Ritus, qui a spirituali Dei cultu discrepant (Calvin, Commentary Ex. 20:5).  ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, says Christ. (Lk. 17:21)”



Romanist Worship

The Romish Mass-Book, with Notes & Observations Thereupon, Plainly Demonstrating the Idolatry & Blasphemy thereof with Unanswerable Arguments, Proving it No Service of God…  (London, 1683)

Appended is a history of the Mass, which goes part by part through the Mass giving the less than comely history of each part.





Bullinger, Henry

2. ‘On God & the Worship of God’ in An Antithesis & Compendium of Evangelical & Papist Doctrine  (1551), pp. 4-8

2. ‘Of God & his Most Excellent Works & of the True Worship of God’ in A Compendium of Christian Religion (1556; Zurich, 1598)

’Of the Covenant of God that God Fixed with Men & of the True Worship of God’  in A Catechism Written for Adults, about the First Principles of the Christian Religion   (1559; Tigur, 1563), pp. 6-8b

5. ’Of Adoration, Worship & Prayer to God by the One Mediator, Jesus Christ’in A Simple Confession & Exposition of the Orthodox Faith & Catholic Doctrines of the Sincere Christian Religion  (1566; Bern, 1676), pp. 10-12

Bullinger (1504-75)

Ramus, Petrus – Commentary on the Christian Religion  (Frankfurt, 1576; 1594), bk. 2, Of the Decalogue

3. Of the First Precept, unto the Worship of God 104

4. Of the Second Precept, Against Idolatry 111-24

Ramus (1515-1572)

Szegedin Pannonius, Stephan – ‘Of the Worship of God & of the Saints’  in Common Places of Pure Theology, of God and Man, Explained in Continuous Tables and the Dogma of the Schools Illustrated  (Basil, 1585/1593), II. ‘Of Man’, 3. ‘Of Popish Doctrine’, pp. 503-4

Szegedin (1515-1572) also was known as Stephan Kis.

Polanus, Amandus

An Enchiridion of Theological Common Places…  5th ed.  (Basil, no date; 1589; 1596)

God Only is to be Adored

66. ‘Of the Internal & External Worship of God, & of that which is contrary to it…’  in The Divisions of Theology Framed according to a Natural Orderly Method  (Basil, 1590; Geneva, 1623), bk. 2, ‘Of Good Works’, pp. 267-90

A System of Theology  (Hanau, 1609; 1615), vol. 2, bk. 8, ch. 1

col. 3591.A
cols. 3597-99

Zanchi, Girolamo

Of the Fall of the First Man, of Sin & of the Law in The Theological Works, vol. 4 (d. 1590; 1618; n.d.)

13. Of the True Religion & Worship & its Parts 263
14. Of the Second Precept 362
15. Of Images 380
16. Of the External Worship of God 410
17. Of the Corruptions of the External Part of True Worship 494



Junius, Francis – Select Smaller Theological Works  ed. Abraham Kuyper  (d. 1602; Amsterdam, 1882)

39. Of Worship [Adoratione226
40. Of the Worship [Cultu] of Invocation  229
41. Of Prayer  231-34

Scharfi, Johann – Table 58, ‘Of Divine Worship’  in A Method of First Peripatetic Philosophy, that is, Part One of Philosophic Tables  (Leipzig, 1631), pp. 126-27

Scharfi was a Lutheran professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Wittenburg.

Maccovius, Johannes – Corollary 1, ‘None is bound to worship with a religious worship, except that which is God, and except under this formal principle: as God’  in A Theological Collection of all that which is Extant, including Theological Theses through Common Places in the Academy of Franeker  (Franeker, 1641), 1st Part, 6. Miscellaneous Questions are Pulled Together, 3. Contains [13] Miscellaneous Theses, pp. 428-30

Maccovius (1588-1644)

Forbes, John – bk. 7, ‘Of the Object of Religious Worship, & of the 7th & 8th Called Ecumenical Synods’  in Historical & Theological Instructions on Christian Doctrine, the Varied State of Things, on the Errors & Controversies that have Arisen…  (Amsterdam, 1645), pp. 301-73

Colloquy at Thorn – 5th Article, ‘On the Worship of God’  interspersed as aphorisms in Johann Hulsemann, The Fifth Article of the Confession of the Calvinists in the Colloquy of Thorn Exhibited, on the Worship of God, equally with an examination ventilated  (Leipzig, 1650)

Hulsemann (1602–1661) was a leading defender of confessional Lutheranism, who was at the Colloquy of Thorn.  He gives the Intro, then one or two reformed aphorisms from the Colloquy, and then his examination of them; then it repeats.  The English of the reformed aphorisms is referenced in the Articles section above, though not online.

For background to the Colloquy at Thorn, see the section midway down in ed. Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1, section 70.  Maresius critiques the Romanist articles on worship at that Colloquy below.

Maresius, Samuel – ‘Of the Public Worship of God’  in Two Theological Disputations, on the Sacraments, & on the Public Worship of God, through the mode of Strictures & Brief Animadversions on Propositions of Catholic Doctrine (so they call it) of the Bishops & Theologians of the Roman Communion in the Assembly at Thorn, 1645…  (Groningen: Collen, 1650), pp. 61-87

For background to the Colloquy at Thorn, see the section midway down in ed. Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 1, section 70.  The positive reformed affirmations at the Colloquy of Thorn are above.

Wendelin, Marcus Friedrich – Christian Theology  (Hanau, 1634; 2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1657)

Book 2, Of the Worship of God

1. Of the Causes, Adjuncts & Distribution of Divine Worship  652
2. Of the Discrimination & Consideration of Divine Works, & of the Congruent Affection of Souls  655
3. Of Praise, the Action of Thanks & of Adoration  659
4. Of Obedience to God  661
5. Of Invocation, or Prayer  718
6. Of Ceremonial Worship  744

Wendelin (1584-1652)

Maresius, Samuel – On the Sacraments & the Public Worship of God  in A Syllabus of Further Select Disputations, vol. 1  (Groningen, 1660/1663), pp. 421-74

Du Moulin, Pierre – 29, ‘Of the Worship of the One God, even of the Invocation of Angels & Saints, & the Worship of Images’  in A Collection of the Theological Disputations held at Various Times in the Academy of Sedan  (Geneva, 1661), vol. 1, pp. 255-

Hoornbeek, Johannes –  ch. 7, ‘Of the Worship of God’  in Practical Theology  (Utrecht, 1663; 1689), vol. 2, bk. 9, pp. 208-13

Cappel, Louis – theses 1-7  in ‘Theological Theses on Divine Worship, & First on the Judaic Sabbath’  in An Arrangement of the Theological Theses Disputed at various times in the Academy of Salmur, vol. 2 (Part 3)  2nd ed.  (Saumur, 1664-1665), pp. 569-71

Cappel (1570-1624)

Velthuysen, Lambert – pp. 427-33  of A Tract on Idolatry & Superstition, pt. 3  in All the Works of Lambert Velthuysen…  part 1  (Rotterdam: Leers, 1680)

Melchior, Johann – ch. 10, ‘Of the Public Worship of the Christian Church’  in The Fundamentals of Didactic Theology: Aphoristic Summary Truths joined together with an Exposing of the Sinew of Today’s Errors  (Herborne, 1685), bk. 2, pt. 2, pp. 311-26

a Marck, Johannes – ch. 11, ‘The Worship of God & the Rule of His Law’  in A Compendium of Christian Theology, Didactic & Elenctic  (Amsterdam, 1696; 1722), pp. 200-229

van Mastricht, Peter

The Idea of Moral Theology, bk. 2, ‘Of Religion’

ch. 12,‘Of Communion with God & of Alienation from Him’, pp. 1236-38
ch. 13,‘Of the Instituted Worship of God, & of Superstition’, pp. 1238-40
ch. 14, ‘Of the Use & Abuse of Instituted Worship’, pp. 1240-41

A Picture of the Theology of Asceticism, of the Exercise of Piety, bk. 2, Of the Practice of Piety towards God

ch. 6, ‘Of the Private Worship of God in its Glory & Blasphemy’  1272
ch. 7, ‘Of the Public & Ecclesiastical Worship of God’  1272
ch. 8, ‘Of Family Worship & its Neglect’  1274
ch. 9, ‘Of Daily Worship & its Neglect’  1275
ch. 10, ‘Of the Worship of God in Fasting’  1277
ch. 11, ‘Of Eucharistic Worship’  1278-79

Heidegger, Johann Heinrich

Locus 25, ‘Of External Worship, Especially of the Sacraments of the New Testament’  in A Marrow of the Marrow of Christian Theology…  (Zurich, 1697), pp. 222-34

Locus 25, ‘Of External Worship, Especially of the Sacraments of the New Testament’  in The Marrow of Christian Theology: an Introductory Epitome of the Body of Theology  (Zurich, 1713), pp. 260-96

Theses 1-3.  Of the External Worship of the New Testament in General
4. Of the Use of Liturgies
5-6.  Of the Corruption of the External Worship by the Banning of Reading a Version [Translation] of Scripture & the Use of a Vernacular Language in Holy Things
7-8.  Of the Sacraments of the New Testament
9-17.  Of External Baptism
18-20.  Of the Mystery of Baptism
21. Of the Efficacy of Baptism in its Legitimate Use
22-24.  Of Paedobaptism
25. Of the Time & Place of Baptism
26-28.  Of the Necessity of Baptism
29. Of the Unity of Baptism
30. Of the Additional Rites of Baptism
31-41.  Of the External Ministry of the Lord’s Supper
42-45.  Of the Mystery of the Lord’s Supper
46-48.  Of the Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper
49-50.  Of Transubstantiation
51-52.  Of the Bodily Presence
53-54.  Of the Mass
55. Of the Adoration of the Host
56. Of Consubstantiation
57. Of Bodily Chewing
58. Of the Change of the Supper upon the Pronouncement [tesseram] in the Service
59. Of the Spurious Sacraments, even of Confirmation
60. Of Penance
61. Of Extreme Unction
62. Of Ordination
63 ff.  Of Marriage

Locus 25, ‘Of Outward Worship, chiefly of the Sacraments of the New Testament’  in A Body of Christian Theology…  (Tigur, 1700), vol. 2, pp. 425-503



Van Til, Salomon – A Compendium of Both Natural and Revealed Theology  (Leiden, 1704; 1719), pp. 136-39

Book 2, Of Worshipping [Observando] God

Ch. 1, It is Agitated of Considering Man Returning unto God  96
Ch. 2, of the Law of Nature  99

Section 1, Of the Most Basic Universal Laws, even the Principles of the Law of Nature  99
Section 2, Of Particular Laws  102

A. Of our Offices Towards God & Principles Derived out of that 102
B. Of Excelling Offices Respecting Us 105
C. Of Offices Respecting the Society of Life which ought to be Observed 113

Excursus 1, of Righteousness & its Precepts  116
Excursus 2, of Neighborly Love Owed & its Precepts  120

Ch. 3, Of the Hope of a Better Life & its Opposite  124
Ch. 4, Of Sin Advancing in the World & Predominating Between Men  132
Ch. 5, Of that which Follows Sin  136-38

Rodolph, Johann R. – ch. 13, ‘Of the Public Worship of the Christian Church & of the Publication of the Word of God, Especially in Prayers & Songs’  in Christian Theology…  (Bern, 1714), bk. 4, ‘Of the Economy of the Covenant of Grace Under the New Testament’, pp. 444-55

Voget, Albert – 18. ‘Of the Worship & Sacraments of the New Testament’  in Institutions of Christian Theology  (Gronigen, 1736), The Principal Part, pp. 264-69

Stapfer, Johann –   in Institutes of Universal Polemical Theology, Ordered in a Scientific Arrangement  (Zurich, 1756), vol. 1, 3. A Demonstration of the Truth of Theology is Exhibited

XXI. Of the Offices of Citizens & of the Public Worship  428
XXII. Of Rites, or of the Sacred Ceremonies that ought to be Adhered to in the Public Worship in General  440
XXIII. Of the Principal Rites of the Church, or of the Sacraments of Baptism & the Holy Supper  446-70

De Moor, Bernard – ch. 11, ‘Of the Worship of God & the Regulating Rule of It’  in A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic & Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-71), vol. 2, pp. 503-688

Szent-Gyorgy, Stephan – The Natural Theology, in the Use of his Auditors  (1784), Part 3, Of the Worship of God

1. Of the Worship of God in General 431
2. Of Virtue & Vice in General 475
3. Of the Immediate Worship of God 504
4. Of the Worship of God Mediated by human offices towards himself 544
5. Of the Worship of God Mediated by offices towards men 563
6. Of the Sanction of Divine Worship 578




Malcom, Howard – Theological Index...  (Boston: Gould, 1868)

‘Public Worship’, p. 390
‘Worship’, pp. 483-84




“Let us also learn that nothing is less consistent than to punish heavily the crimes whereby mortals are injured, whilst we connive at the impious errors or sacrilegious modes of worship whereby the majesty of God is violated.”

John Calvin
on Ex. 32:29

“The worship of Christ, if he be not God, is idolatry, and the Christian religion damnable sin.  So we must be very sure that Christ is God before we worship him.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan




Related Pages

The Church

Family Worship

Personal Godliness

On the Beatific Vision

On the Relations Between the 1st & 2nd Tables of the Law

The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship

The History of Scottish Worship

All the Works of the Westminster Divines on Worship

Critiques of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer

Oaths & Vows


Days of Thanksgiving