“Worship in the church” by Peter Toon

“Worship in the church was centred on the Word of God and on free prayer.  This was possible because the Book of Common Prayer had been set aside in 1644 by Parliament and the Directory for Public Worship brought in to replace it.

Beginning with a solemn call to worship, followed by a prayer acknowledging the majesty of God and the sinfulness of man, the service proceeded with the singing of psalms and the public reading of Holy Scripture.

Then perhaps another psalm was sung before the long prayer that preceded the sermon was uttered.  This prayer began with a full confession of sin and a plea for divine grace and forgiveness.

It continued by beseeching God for the conversion of the Jews, the fall of Antichrist (the Pope), and the hastening of the second coming of Jesus Christ; for deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of Roman Catholicism and from the cruel blasphemies of the Turk and for blessing upon the Church in Britain.

Then came prayers of intercession for the King, Queen and Prince as well as for the Queen of Bohemia and the Elector Palatine of the Rhine.  Also the divine blessing was asked for those in positions of authority in England, for Parliament, the judges, magistrates, nobles and gentry.

Following this long prayer which would have taken anything from ten to twenty minutes, the people listened to a sermon which would have taken at least one hour.

This contained the exposition of one or more principles of the Faith from the Word with suitable application to the needs and hearts of the hearers.  Finally the worship closed with a prayer that the divine Word would bear fruit in repentant and obedient souls.”

–Peter Toon, God’s Statesman: The Life and Work of John Owen, Pastor, Educator, Theologian (London: Paternoster, 1971), 26. This is a description of the worship service in John Owen’s church at Coggeshall.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, John Owen, Prayer, Preaching, Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Church, Worship

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