William Perkins On Will Worship

VI. Will-worship, when God is worshipped with a naked and bare good intention, not warranted by the word of God (Col. 2:23; 1 Sam 13:9,10, 13).1 Hitherto may we add Popish superstitions in sacrifices, meats, holidays, apparel, temporary and bead-ridden prayers,2 indulgences, austere life, whipping, ceremonies, gestures, gate, conversation, pilgrimage, building of altars, pictures, Churches, and all other of that rabble.

To these may be added consort in music in divine service, feeding the ears, not edifying the mind (1 Cor 14:15).3 Justin Martyr in his book of Christian Questions and Answers 107: “It is not the custom of the Churches to sing their meter with any such kind of instruments etc. but their man is only to use plainsong.”

…VIII. Corrupting of God’s worship, and that order of government, which he hath ordained for his Church: the which is done when anything is added, detracted, or any way against his prescript, mangled (Deut 12:32).4 This condemneth that Popish elevation of bread in the Lord’s Supper, and their administration of it alone to the people without wine, together with that fearful abomination of the Mass.5


1. Col 2:23: “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (ESV).

1 Sam 13:9,10,13: “So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him…And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD your God, with which he commanded you. For then the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.” (ESV).

2. “Temporary” may refer to time-serving (temporizing) or perhaps Romanist seasonal prayers in the church calendar. “Bead-ridden” refers to the use of the Romanist rosary.

3. 1 Cor 14:15 “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (ESV).

4. Deut 12:32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” (ESV).

5. Spelling and punctuation modernized.

—William Perkins, A Golden Chain or The Description of Theology in The Whole Works of That Most Famous And Worthy Minister of Christ in the University of Cambridge, M. William Perkins, 3 vol. (London, 1631), 1.38.

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One comment

  1. Carl Truman—http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/a-word-to-the-conscience

    I kings 19: 3 Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.”

    5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 He entered a cave there and spent the night.

    Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts, but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I ALONE AM LEFT , and they are looking for me to take my life.”….

    17 Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. 18 But I will leave 7,000 in Israel—every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 19 Elijah left there and found Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing. Twelve teams of oxen were in front of him, and he was with the twelfth team. Elijah walked by him and threw his mantle over him. 20 Elisha left the oxen, ran to follow Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother, and then I will follow you.” “Go on back,” he replied, “for what have I done to you?” 21 So he turned back from following him, took the team of oxen, and slaughtered them. With the oxen’s wooden yoke and plow, he cooked the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he left, followed Elijah, and served him.

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