Jeremiah Burroughs On Worship -- By: James Davison

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 02:1 (Jan 2010)
Article: Jeremiah Burroughs On Worship
Author: James Davison


Jeremiah Burroughs On Worship

James Davison

How God is to be worshipped is an important subject for Jeremiah Burroughs, and one he gave much attention. The reason is well stated by Burroughs in one of his sermons: “As God is glorious in holiness, so set Him out in His glory by keeping His worship pure.” “Especially look to your heart, to cleanse it when you draw near to this holy God in this holy worship.”1

That holiness is the jewel in the crown of worship for Burroughs is clearly evident when he says, “God’s ordinances are the beauty of His holiness. Therefore we must labour to come pure and clean to them.” And again, “If we would honour and magnify God in His holiness, let us keep His worship pure, for holiness becomes the worship of God forever.” Burroughs makes the point that “there is nothing in the world that has the power to humble the heart as much as God’s holiness.” Indeed, the very consideration of this, Burroughs urges, “should humble us and make us ashamed for the remainder of the unholiness that is in our hearts,” and that because “there is more dreadful evil in unholiness than reprobation.”2

The subject of worship is expounded in detail by Burroughs in fourteen sermons based on Leviticus 10:3: “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” These sermons, which were first published in 1648 as Gospel Worship, emphasize the proper manner of worshipping God in hearing the Word, receiving the Lord’s Supper, and prayer. But first, Burroughs

begins with a general introduction to worship. This is based on the occasion of the words of the text, which are the result of Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, offering incense with “strange fire” unto God, for which God struck them dead.

In opening up his text, Burroughs notes two ways by which God will be sanctified: 1) “by the holiness of His people in their carriage before Him, holding forth the glory of God’s holiness”; and 2) “in ways of judgement upon those who do not sanctify His name in ways of holiness.” Following this Burroughs notes that, in God’s worship, “there must be nothing tendered up to God but what He has commanded. Whatever we meddle with in the worship of God must be what we have a warrant for out of the word of God.”3 This is followed by multiple points of a general nature, including the following: “...

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