Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

  1. The light of nature shows that there is a God who has lordship and sovereignty over all; he is just, good, and does good to all. He 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 strength.1 However, the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself.2 This way being limited [established and bounded] by God’s own revealed will, he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and inventions of men, or the suggestions of Satan, through any visible representations, or any other way3 not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

1 Jer 10.7; Mk 12.33 2 Dt 12.32 3 Ex 20.4-6

  1. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to him alone.4 It is not to be given to angels, saints, or any other creatures.5 And, since the fall, worship is not to be given without a mediator,6 nor through any other mediation than that of Christ alone.7

4 Mt 4.9-10; Jn 4.23; Mt 28.19 5 Rom 1.25; Col 2.18; Rev 19.10 6 Jn 14.6 7 1Tim 2.5

  1. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special [distinct] part of natural worship, is required by God of all men.8 To be acceptable, it must be made in the name of the Son,9 by the help of the Spirit,10 according to his will.11 It must also be made with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, when with others, in a known language.12

8 Ps 95.1-7; Ps 65.2 9 Jn 14.13-14 10 Rom 8.26 11 1Jn 5.14 12 1Cor 14.16-17

  1. Prayer is to be made for lawful things, and for all kinds of men who are now alive or who shall live in the future.13 Prayer is not to be made for the dead,14 nor for those who are known to have sinned the sin leading to death.15

13 1Tim 2.1-2; 2Sam 7.29 14 2Sam 12.21-23 15 1Jn 5.16

  1. The reading of the Scriptures,16 preaching and hearing the Word of God,17 teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord,18 as well as the administration of baptism19 and the Lord’s supper,20 are all parts of religious worship of God. They are all to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear. In addition, on special occasions solemn humiliation with fastings,21 and thanksgiving,22 ought to be used in an holy and religious [reverent and spiritual] manner.

16 1Tim 4.13 17 2Tim 4.2; Lk 8.18 18 Col 3.16; Eph 5.19 19 Mt 28.19-20 20 1Cor 11.26 21 Est 4.16; Jl 2.12 22 Ex 15.1-19; Ps 107

  1. Under the gospel neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is tied to or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed [carried out] or towards which it is directed. Rather, God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth,23 such as daily25 in private [individual] families,24 and privately [individually] each person by himself.26 God is also to be worshipped more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not to be neglected or forsaken carelessly or wilfully27 when God, by his Word or providence, calls us to them.

23 Jn 4.21; Mal 1.11; 1Tim 2.8 24 Acts 10.2 25 Mt 6.11; Ps 55.17 26 Mt 6.6 27 Heb 10.25; Acts 2.42

  1. It is the law of nature that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, should be set apart for the worship of God. So by his Word, in a positive-moral and perpetual commandment, binding [obligating] all men in all ages, God has particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy to him.28 From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, this was the last day of the week. From the resurrection of Christ, this was changed to the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day.29 This day is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week having been abolished.

28 Ex 20.8 29 1Cor 16.1-2; Acts 20.7; Rev 1.10

  1. The sabbath is kept holy to the Lord when men, after an appropriate preparation of their hearts and prior ordering [arranging] of their ordinary business, observe a holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employment and recreations.30 They are to devote the whole time to the public and private exercises [acts] of God’s worship, and to the duties of necessity and mercy.31

30 Is 58.13; Neh 13.15-23 31 Mt 12.1-13