The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Experience and duty in worship

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William Bridge points out that felt emotion is not simply to trump grounded conviction in the matter of our worship:

Objection: But what need of ordinances, for I enjoy God most in private; when I go unto God alone, when I am all alone in prayer I enjoy God more than I do under the public ordinances, and therefore what need of them?

Answer: Do you enjoy more of God in private; what, more than ever you did in public? Where wert thou then converted? Wert thou not converted under the public ministry? Ordinarily men are converted by the public ministry; and now you have some good affections in private, doth that good affection that you have in private arise to a higher enjoyment of God than your first conversion to God? Do you think that a little affection or drawing out of the heart in private, doth arise to a higher enjoyment of God than your first turning to him? This cannot be. Is it not an easy thing for a man to think that God is most enjoyed when his heart is most affected? It is possible a man’s heart may be more affected when God is less enjoyed; such is the deceit of our hearts. God is most enjoyed where God is most served. But, now, suppose God were more enjoyed in private than under public ordinances, I do but suppose it, yet were this no reason why a man should lay by the public ordinances: for you are sometimes in your closet at prayer, and there you enjoy God; sometimes you are below at dinner and supper, and you have some enjoyments of God there. But, I pray, tell me, whether do you enjoy God more at your ordinary dinner and supper or in your closet in prayer? Surely I enjoy God more in my closet in prayer. And is this a reason why you should never dine and sup again? Yet, notwithstanding, how do people reason thus: I enjoy God more in private, therefore I must lay by the public.

William Bridge, “Vindication of Ordinances” in Works, 4:141-42.

HT: RBF.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 9 December 2010 at 21:57

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