“Fear God, and give glory to Him… and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
Natural vs. Instituted Worship
Regulative Principle of Worship
Simplicity of Worship
Order of Worship & Liturgies
Singing of Psalms
Reading of Scripture
Baptism & Lord’s Supper
Natural Gestures & Customs in Worship; of Reverence
Worship by Distance through Technology
Order of Contents
Definitions of Worship
Only One Kind of Religious Worship; Dulia to Saints is Idolatrous
Christian Worship: from the Synagogue, not the Temple
Distinguishable Aspects in the Elements of Worship
Impurities of Worship
Opinion of Sanctity & Necessity: Not Essential to False Worship
Modern Evangelical Worship
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’
‘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
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)
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)
Poole, Matthew – Evangelical Worship is Spiritual Worship as it was Discussed in a Sermon 1660 24 pp.
Wilson, John – ‘Cultus Evangelicus, A Brief Discourse Concerning the Spirituality & Simplicity of New Testament Worship’ (1667) 140 pp.
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.
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.
Sermons 3-4, ‘The Nature & Beauty of Gospel Worship’ on Eph. 2:18 in vol. 9, pp. 53-84
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.”
Charnock, Stephen – ‘A Discourse upon Spiritual Worship’ in Discourse on the Existence & Attributes of God in Works, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1864), pp. 283-344
Moodey, Joshua – The Great Sin of Formality in God’s Worship: or, The Formal Worshipper Proved a Liar & Deceiver… (1691)
Moodey was a New England minister.
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.”
Calamy, Benjamin – A Discourse Concerning the Rise & Antiquity of Cathedral Worship in a Letter to a Friend (London, 1699)
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.
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.
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
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.
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  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 – 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.”
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
Saying Amen at the End of Prayers
Dancing & Drama
Fentiman, Travis – ‘Visual Imagery, Drama & Dancing in Worship’ 2017 140 paragraphs
Begg, James – ‘Dancing in Worship’ 1866 12 pp. being Appendix no. IV in The Use of Organs and Other Instruments of Music in Worship, pp. 257-69
Assurance of Pardon
Some Post-Reformation reformed churches included in their worship service an Assurance of Pardon, or the reading of a Scripture promise relating to the forgiveness of sins to those who sincerely confess them, after a public prayer of confession of sin. While such is not a distinct element of worship (and cannot be proved to be such), yet it may be allowed in a worship service as it materially is simply the reading of a pertinent Scripture.
As an Assurance of Pardon is practiced by many reformed churches today, it is very necessary to understand the nature of it, lest one superstitiously understand it as the Absolution (Forgiveness) of Romanism. It is not the case that the repentant sinner only becomes forgiven upon the pronouncement of the minister.
Rather, the Church’s power can only be confirmatory and seal what the Lord’s Will makes effectual, the two not being infallibly joined together. Read Turretin below. What applies to an Assurance of Pardon in a worship service applies equally to matters of Church discipline and restoration.
Works (SDG), vol. 4, p. 569
“…conditionally pronouncing the remission of sins to all that repent and denouncing damnation to all that repent not. And thus is the word to be publicly handled in God’s church at this day, because our congregations are mixed companies, consisting of some that repent and believe and of others that do not truly repent nor believe.”
Institutes (P&R), vol. 3, 19th Topic, Q. 31, ‘The Five False Sacraments of the Romanists’, p. 554
“XX. The absolution committed to the ministers of the gospel is not judicial, such as belongs to a judge or lord; but ministerial, such as is partly by the preaching of the gospel (which consists in remission of this kind) or by his heralding or ministry of it, and in the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline, as it is subordinated to that preaching of the gospel (which is none other than that declaration by which he who was before leprous is declared clean); or such as belongs to a herald, who officially announces the favor of the magistrate to anyone.
Nor does the power of the keys involve anything else because they are not the principal keys of the Lord (which are ascribed to Christ alone, Rev. 1:18; 3:7), but ministerial, such as belong to stewards and doorkeepers.”
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 Definition of Worship
‘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), p. 98
“Answer [Bishop Sydserff]: How define ye worship?
Opponent [Rutherford]: An act of man whereby God is immediately honored.
Answer: Say also according to God’s command.
Opponent: I will not say, when I define worship in general. If I should define lawful worship I would add this–that it be according to God’s command. I remit to your learning to think:
If one thing can give nature both to genus and to species, you know good logic speaks against this. God’s command cannot but give being to worship and to this particular worship, to wit, to lawful worship; and [in] this [your] way I might say [that] idolatry, sacrificing to Satan as Indians do, slaying of children to Moloch, etc. shall not be false worship except they be urged as commanded of God.”
The Divine Right of Church Government… (1646), pp. 86-88
“Worship is an action, or performance, or thing, by which we tender our immediate honor to God from the nature of the thing itself:
1. I call it an action because the passion of dying or suffering is not formally worship, but only dying comparatively: rather than denying of Christ or dying so and so qualified: [in a comparative way] dying with patience and faith may be called a worship [2 Tim. 4:6].
2. I call it not an action only, but a performance or thing, because an office, as the priesthood, the ministry, is a worship and yet not an action; sometime[s], time itself, as the Sabbath Day is a worship; yet it is not an action: So the Lord calls it his Holy Day: and undeniably the Jewish days, the High Priest’s garment, and many things of that kind, were divine or religious performances, things or adjuncts of divine worship, but so as they are not merely adjuncts of worship, but also worship:
For the High Priest’s ephod was not only a civil ornament, nor was it a mere physical or natural means to fence off the injuries of sun and heaven; we do not think that the Lord in all, or any place of the Old or New Testament sets down any laws concerning garments simply, as they do fence off cold or heat; that belongs to art: only He speaks of garments, as contrary to gravity [being sober-minded], as signs of vanity and lightness, Isa. 3:16, etc.; Zeph. 1:8; 1 Pet. 3:3-4.
And of garments as religious observances, of which sort was the attire and garments of the priests and High Priests in their service, in which consideration the religious times, holy places, and Mosaical garments were divine worship, by which God was immediately honored; but [they were] not adjuncts only, or actions, but religious things or performances.
3. It is such a performance, as from thence honor does immediately redound to God. But that this may be the clearer, I conceive that there is a twofold, immediate honoring of God in the worship of God:
1. An honoring of God less immediate, as hearing of the Word, is an immediate honoring of God, because honor flows immediately from God, both ex conditione operis, and ex conditione operantis; ‘from the nature of the work’, and ‘[from the] intention of the worker’: yet it is a less immediate honoring of God, in regard that I may also hear the Word even from the condition of the work, and so from the intrinsic end of the worker that I may learn to know God and believe; for thus far I am led to honor God immediately in hearing the Word, that action of its own nature conveying honor to God; there intervenes also a medium amidst between me and honoring of God, to wit, the preacher or the Bible (to which no external adoration is due):
[2.] There is another more immediate worship, to wit, praising of God, from which, by an immediate result, God is honored, and in worship especially, strictly, immediate, God is immediately honored both in the intention of the work and the intrinsic end of it, and the intention of the worker; though no other thing be done, and others be not edified either in knowledge, increase of faith or any other ways:
And in this, duties of the Second Table, of mercy and justice, differ from worship in that such acts of love and mercy, as to give alms to save the life of my brother or of his beast, are not acts of worshipping God; their intrinsic end, and the nature of the work being to do good to the creature, principally, ex natura et conditione operis, though God also thereby be honored, yet in a more secondary consideration:
For I praying to God, do immediately, from the nature of the action, honor God, though no good should either redound to myself or to the creature; thereby it is true, God, by acts of love and mercy to our neighbor, is honored two ways:
1. In that men seeing our good works do thence take occasion to glorify our heavenly Father, whose truth teaches us by the grace of God to do these works, but the intrinsic and proper use of these is to do good to ourselves, as in works of sobriety, and to our neighbor, as in works of righteous dealing, but not immediately, and in the first and primary consideration to honor God, as in works of piety, holiness and worship, the honoring of God by secondary resultance, does issue also from these duties of righteousness, but not as from the acts of praying, praising, sacramental eating, drinking.
2. The doer of these acts of mercy may, and is to intend, the honoring of God.”
An Exposition with Practical Observations upon the Three First Chapters of the Book of Job… (London ), Job 1:13-14, pp. 190
“To worship is to give to any one the honor due unto him: So the rendering unto God that love, that fear, that service, that honor which is due unto him is the worshipping of God, that’s the Scripture definition, Ps. 29:2, ‘Give unto the Lord the honor due unto his name;’ then follows by way of exposition, ‘Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,’ that is, in his holy Temple, in his beautiful sanctuary, or in the comely honor of his sanctuary.
So that worship is the tendering of honor to the Lord, in a way honorable to Him, namely according to his own will and laws of worship: which is intimated by coming to worship him in his beautiful sanctuary, where all things about the service of God were exactly prescribed by God.”
John Collinges & Aquinas
The Intercourses of Divine Love betwixt Christ & his Church, or the Particular Believing Soul Metaphorically Expressed by Solomon in the First Chapter of the Canticles… (London, 1683), Sermon 39, pp. 564-65
“Worship is an homage performed to God immediately, in consideration of his excellency. This is Aquinas’s, and other of the schoolmens’ notion about worship, and it is a very good one.”
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.
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
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.”
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 Worship Within the Elements of 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)
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.”
Letter 179 in Letters of Samuel Rutherford (1891; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2006), pp. 343-4
“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.”
On Impurities of Worship
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
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
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 whoredome 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)”
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.
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
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
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, 1585/93), II. ‘Of Man’, 3. ‘Of Popish Doctrine’, pp. 503-4
Szegedin (1515-1572) also was known as Stephan Kis.
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 [Adoratione] 226
40. Of the Worship [Cultu] of Invocation 229
41. Of Prayer 231-34
Polanus, Amandus – 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
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
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  Miscellaneous Theses, pp. 428-30
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
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
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
“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.”
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
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