Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
(Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deut. 12:32; Exod. 20:4-6)
2. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.
(Matt. 4:9, 10; John 6:23; Matt. 28:19; Rom. 1:25; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5)
3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue.
(Ps. 95:1-7, 65:2; John 14:13, 14; Rom. 8:26; 1 John 5:14; 1 Cor. 14:16, 17)
4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
(1 Tim. 2:1, 2; 2 Sam. 7:29; 2 Sam. 12:21-23; 1 John 5:16)
5. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
(1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2; Luke 8:18; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:26; Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Exod. 15:1-19, Ps. 107)
6. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor willfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto.
(John 4:21; Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; Acts 10:2; Matt. 6:11; Ps. 55:17; Matt. 6:6; Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42)
7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.
(Exod. 20:8; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)
8. The Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
(Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15-22; Matt. 12:1-13)