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The Westminster Confession of Faith

 


 

 

CHAPTER 21

 

Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath-day.


I. The light of nature sheweth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might.a 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 imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.b


a Rom. 1:20; Acts 17:24; Ps. 119:68; Jer. 10:7; Ps. 31:23; Ps. 18:3; Rom. 10:12; Ps. 62:8; Josh. 24:14; Mark 12:33.
b Deut. 12:32; Matt. 15:9; Acts 17:25; Matt. 4:9,10; Deut. 4:15-20; Exod. 20:4-6; Col. 2:23.


II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to him alone;c not to angels, saints, or any other creature:d and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.e


c Matt. 4:10 with John 5:23 and 2 Cor. 13:14.
d Col. 2:18, Rev. 19:10; Rom. 1:25.
e John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5; Eph. 2:18; Col. 3:17.


III. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,f is by God required of all men:g and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,h by the help of his Spirit,i according to his will,k with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;l and, if vocal, in a known tongue.m


f Phil. 4:6.
g Ps. 65:2.
h John 14:13,14; 1 Pet. 2:5.
i Rom. 8:26.
k 1 John 5:14.
l Ps. 47:7; Eccl. 5:1,2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; James 1:6,7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12,14,15; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18.
m 1 Cor. 14:14.


IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful,n and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter;o but not for the dead,p nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.q


n 1 John 5:14.
o 1 Tim. 2:1,2; John 17:20; 2 Sam. 7:29; Ruth 4:12.
p 2 Sam. 12:21-23 with Luke 16:25,26; Rev. 14:13.
q 1 John 5:16.


V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear;r the sound preaching,s and conscionable hearing of the word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence;t singing of psalms with grace in the heart;u as also the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:w beside religious oathsx and vows,y solemn fastings,z and thanksgivings upon special occasions,a which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in a holy and religious manner.b


r Acts 15:21; Rev. 1:3.
s 2 Tim. 4:2.
t James 1:22; Acts 10:33; Matt. 13:19; Heb. 4:2; Isa. 66:2.
u Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; James 5:13.
w Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 11:23-29; Acts 2:42.
x Deut. 6:13 with Neh. 10:29.
y Isa. 19:21 with Eccl. 5:4,5.
z Joel 2:12; Esth. 4:16; Matt. 9:15; 1 Cor. 7:5.
a Ps. 107 throughout; Esth. 9:22.
b Heb. 12:28.


VI. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is, now under the gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by, any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed;c but God is to be worshipped every whered in spirit and truth;e as in private familiesf daily,g and in secret each one by himself;h so more solemnly in the publick assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God, by his word or providence, calleth thereunto.i


c John 4:21.
d Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8.
e John 4:23,24.
f Jer. 10:25; Deut. 6:6,7; Job 1:5; 2 Sam. 6:18,20; 1 Pet. 3:7; Acts 10:2.
g Matt. 6:11.
h Matt. 6:6; Eph. 6:18.
i Isa. 56:6,7; Heb. 10:25; Prov. 1:20,21,24; Prov. 8:34; Acts 13:42; Luke 4:16; Acts 2:42.


VII. As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his word, by 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:k 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,l which in Scripture is called the Lordís Day,m and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.n


k Exod. 20:8,10,11; Isa. 56:2,4,6,7.
l Gen. 2:2,3; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; Acts 20:7.
m Rev. 1:10.
n Exod. 20:8,10 with Matt. 5:17,18.


VIII. This sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs before-hand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations;o but also are taken up the whole time in the publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.p


o Exod. 20:8; Exod. 16:23,25,26,29,30; Exod. 31:15-17; Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15-19,21,22.
p Isa. 58:13; Matt. 12:1-13.

 

 

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