"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, 
where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" 
(Jer 6:16a). 

The words "paths," "ways" and "walk" speaks of a manner of life. It is clear that the LORD is, through Jeremiah, calling for a reformation of our lives,—whether corporately or individually.

However, the adjectives "old" and "new" usually carry relative rather than absolute meanings. What was new yesterday may be old today; what is new today may be old tomorrow; and what was old yesterday may be obsolete today.

How then should we understand Jeremiah’s message to walk in the old paths. Where do we look for the old paths? Many advocates of reforming the church, use the term "old paths" to refer to the doctrine and practices of the church Reformers, Puritans and the Protestant Church during the 16th Century Reformation. But is this strictlycorrect? Does obedience to Jeremiah 6:16 (assuming that the Holy Spirit intends the commandment to be for us too) means simply returning back to the theology and practices of our fathers in the 16thcentury? Well, if "old" means 16th century, why can’t it also mean 13thcentury or even 4th century. Why can’t a return to the old paths mean a return to the theology of Thomas Aquinas of the 13th century, and the practices of the monks in the 4th century? For that matter, as we are in the 21st century, why can’t a return to the old path be a return to the theology and practices of Charles Finney and John Sung of the previous two centuries?

The point is clear, I believe. To return to the old paths cannot simply mean returning to the doctrine and practices of our fathers in the faith of the 16th century, whether they be Continental, English or Scottish. What then does it mean to return to the old paths?

Jeremiah preached in Judah about 600 years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born. He was calling the people to return to the old paths. It is clear that the new paths were paths of idolatry and apostasy. The Jews in Jeremiah’s days were walking along a new, innovative path, "because, they [had] not hearkened unto [God’s] words, nor to [His] law, but rejected it" (Jer 6:19). Jeremiah was calling the people to return to the doctrine and practices that God had marked out by His Word. In particular, we believe that He was calling them back to living according to His Moral Law as summarised in the Ten Commandments.

We know this because in a parallel passage referring to the old ways, he says:

"I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you" (Jer 7:22-23).

These words sound rather strange at first reading do they not? Did not the Lord command the people through Moses concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices? Is the Lord here contradicting what He commands in His own Words? Obviously not! The Ceremonial Law, was indeed given by God. He is not denying that. What He is doing is that He is comparing between the Ceremonial Law and the Moral Law and indicating the priority that should be given to the latter. But how do we know that He is referring to the Moral Law? Well, we know because He is alluding to His words in Exodus 19, which is the introductory words for the Ten Commandments to the people:

"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex 19:5-6a).

What is it to keep God’s covenant, or to keep the "words of this covenant" (Jer 11:2)? Well, if the fact that Exodus 19:5-6 introduces the Ten Commandments, is not clear enough, look at Exodus 34:28—

And he [Moses] was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments (emphasis mine).

I think it is indisputable that the LORD is referring to the Ten Commandments as being the words of the covenant, the words that he wants the people to obey above any other laws he has given. Thus, we can be quite sure that the old paths of Jeremiah 6:16 refer particularly to the Ten Commandments, and the LORD is calling us to return to the way of life that is governed by the Ten Commandment. This is our covenant obligation.

Yes, God did give the ceremonial laws too, but the ceremonial laws were given by inspiration to Moses (who then instructed the people) whereas the moral laws, as summarised in the Ten Commandments were given by audible declaration directly to the people! The contrast is so great that by comparison God did not command the people to observe the ceremonial laws, but He did command them to obey the Ten Commandments. All who are the covenant people of God must keep these Ten Commandments. The keeping of these Ten Commandments distinguish them from the rest of the world. Yes, all men are required to keep these commandments. Those who fail to keep them sin against God. But the people of God especially, unlike the rest of the world must be consciously obeying God by keeping His commandments.

The people of old had turned God’s laws upside down. They were going through the motion worshipping God with empty sacrifices when they have no regards to his Ten Commandments. This was what God was condemning them for. They had forsaken the Laws, which God had given for his people. By their failures to have any regards for these commandments, they incurred God wrath, and declare that they are not the people of God, for the people of God must necessarily keep the words of the covenant. God was angry with them for their failure to keep His Moral Law and as a result he rejected their worship all together (see also 1Sam 15:22).

This fact has not changed in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus himself says:

"19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:19-20).

The fact that the Lord goes on the expound the 6th and 7th Commandment suggest strongly that He had in mind the Ten Commandments, and a righteousness that involves keeping the Commandments. This righteousness is imperfect, and can never gain salvation for anyone. We are saved by grace through faith alone, and the righteousness that saves us is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Yet, every true believer, having been delivered out of the bondages of sin, will lovingly keep the commandments of God. Those who claim to love Christ or God will keep his commandments: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (1 Jn 5:3; cf. Jn 14:15). So the apostle Paul says: "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God" (1Cor 7:19).

Living a life without regards to God’s commandments is to live in sin, for "sin is the transgression of the law," or literally, "sin is lawlessness" ("hJ aJmartiva ejsti;n hJ ajnomiva"—1 Jn 3:4).

With this in mind, we must realise that the call to return to the "old paths" is a call to turn away from lawless and return to lives of righteousness guided by the Ten Commandments, our Covenant Law. Yes, the Reformers and the Puritans in the 16th and 17th century were generally very sensitive to the Word and Commandments of God, so that those who yearn for church Reformation tend to look back to those days. But we must remember that neither the Reformers nor the Puritans were perfect models, and therefore cannot be our standard. Our standard for defining the old paths must be the words declared by the LORD at Mount Sinai. Nevertheless, some of the richest and most accurate expositions of Ten Commandments are found in the writing of these past servants of God,—some of which are in our Confession and Catechisms. As such it is not wrong to call for a return to the old paths through an honest study of what had been written and what was practiced in regards to the Ten Commandments.

As we commemorate the Reformation, it will be good for us, briefly, to see how Protestants,—individually and corporately,—have deviated from the old paths and to seek the Lord help to return unto them.

1st Commandment
Thou shalt have no other gods before Me

Many churches, which profess to be Christian have deviated away from the 1st Commandment in two ways.

First, there is a deviation by the denial of God himself! When a church for example denies the deity of Christ, it denies the God of the Bible, and therefore is worshipping a god of her own imagination.

Secondly, there is a deviation by way of emphasis. When a church begins to emphasise on wealth and outward growth so that her practices are pleasure and seeker sensitive but fail to emphasise on the holiness and justice of God, the church has begun to have "other gods" before the LORD.

What about the Christian? Are not the majority of professing Christians today guilty of I-dolatry. Few centre their lives on Christ. Most make Christianity an appendage to their lives. Instead of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, are not most seeking first their wealth, health, pleasure and convenience and then asking the Lord to bless their pursuits?

To return to the old paths, one of the first things we must do is to repent and return to our first love, the Lord Jesus Christ!

2nd Commandment 

Thou shalt not make unto thee any
graven image…

The 2nd Commandment is not only about worshiping idols of wood and stone of pagan religions as some claim. That is forbidden in the 1stcommandment. The 2nd Commandment, is rather, about the manner in which we should worship the living and true God. Our Shorter Catechism puts it succinctly: "The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word" (WSC 51).

How has Protestant churches deviated from this ancient principle? It has deviated by adopting the principle of worship of Rome! Our fathers in the faith, interpreting Scripture with Scripture teaches us that in the worship of God whatever is not appointed or sanctioned in his Word is forbidden. Rome teaches: Whatever is not explicitly forbidden is allow. Is this not the principle of a majority of Protestant churches today? Where do we find mimes, skits, drama, puppet shows, choir presentations, magic shows, guitar recitals, etc, being appointed for the worship of God in the Scriptures?

What about the individual Christian? Well, participating in this kind of worship is to break the 2nd Commandment. At the same time, a disdaining of worship that is regulated according to the Word of God indicates a departure in the heart from this old path of worship.

Again to return to the old paths will require the church and the individual believers to return to the purity of biblical worship rather than worship crafted by men’s imagination. Our God is a consuming fire. We must worship Him with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28-29).

3rd Commandment

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain…

The "name of the LORD" referred to in the 3rd Commandment is not just the nominal terms by which God is known. It refers, rather, to all that whereby God reveals himself unto man. Thus the 3rdCommandment "requireth the holy and reverend use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works" (WSC 54).

How have Protestant churches departed from the 3rd Commandment? Among other ways, many have departed by frivolity and flippancy in worship, by using advertisements that blaspheme the name of God and by failure to exercise church discipline, thereby bringing disrepute to the name of Christ.

Individual professing Christians likewise take the name of the LORD in vain by living like the world while claiming to be Christians. Is that not the case with many who profess to be Christians today? The only things that distinguish them from unbelievers are their more or less regular attendance at worship on the Lord’s Day. These blaspheme the name of LORD by their words and action, and make a mockery of the title "Christian" by claiming to be such but refusing to submit to the lordship of Christ.

How to return to the old paths? Churches guilty of flippant worship must repent of this gross wickedness, while Christians who have lived more or less like the world ought to remember that God is a jealous God. Those who are truly Christ’s sheep will bear some resemblance to Him. If Christ is truly your Shepherd, you will hear His voice and follow Him lovingly. If you are more like the world than like Christ, you ought to re-examine your foundations to see if you really belong to the Shepherd or do you really belong to the wolf.

4th Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day,
to keep it holy.…

The 4th Commandment, together with the 2nd Commandment are given the most emphasis by the LORD, if number of words in the full text of the Commandments may be used as a guide.

Tragically however, the 4th Commandment together with the 2nd Commandment are the two commandments which are most neglected by modern churches and believers. Indeed, just as many try to limit the 2nd Commandment to refer only to the literal use of images, so many try to limit the 4th Commandment to the Old Covenant! So it is claimed that the 4th Commandment is no longer applicable under the New Covenant, as Christians are under grace, not law. Indeed, even those dare not go so far, will often reduce the implications of the commandment so that attendance at one worship service on the Lord’s Day is deemed to be all that is required to keep the Sabbath day holy.

How do modern churches depart from the 4th Commandment? They departed from it by ignoring it, and making the Lord’s Day as just any other days of the week, except that the church will gather for worship once in the morning. Few churches maintain an evening service; and anyone who begins to emphasise on the duty to keep the Sabbath holy, is viewed with suspicion and labelled with legalism and pharisaism.

The individual believers likewise have so little regard for the 4th Commandment. Few will even think attending two worship services on the Sabbath, and even fewer will conscientiously refrain from doing their own pleasure and speaking their own words on the Sabbath (Isa 58:13).

O may the Lord of the Sabbath grant repentance and a returning to the old paths, so that the Sabbath may once again be called a delight by God’s people! The Lord’s Day is a day belonging to the Lord. Unless the church returns to old paths of keeping the Sabbath holy, she will become more and more worldly until the busy world overwhelms it. The tide has already begun. It is a time for reformation, not a time for defending ourselves or our church against those we may perceive to be stricter than us in Sabbath observance!

5th Commandment 

Honour thy father and thy mother…

The apostle Paul warns in his final epistle that in the last days, there shall be men who have a form of godliness, who would be "disobedient to parents" and "without natural affection" (2 Tim 3:2, 3, 5). And this has happened. Few of us would deny that we live in an age much characterised by these evils: children disdaining the authority of their parents, demanding their ways and becoming heads of the house, while parents indicate their lack of real affection for their children by abdicating their responsibility of childhood training to maids and childcares so that they can pursue two incomes in order to furnish a lavish lifestyle.

Perhaps I am over generalising. But this is the evidence of the widespread departure from the 5th Commandment in the society.

What about the church? Churches have also contributed to this decline by the institution of Sunday Schools that allow fathers to abdicate their duty of training their children in the matters of religion, while at the same time giving the impression that the training of children is the duty of women rather than men. All these are contrary to the Word of God, and have contributed to the decline of family worship while encouraging unbiblical feminism, which has begun to manifest itself in the ordination of women elders and pastors!

A return to the old path marked out by the 5th Commandment must include a return to the biblical pattern of function and authority within the home, the church and the state.

Are you walking along the broad way that is outside the old path marked out by this commandment? Oh will you not allow the hardness of heart, the deceitfulness of sin and the craving for conformity to the status quo and world to keep you from following after Christ our Shepherd!

To return to the old paths, let us learn our roles in all the spheres of life as required by God’s Word. Let us not abdicate our duties, for to do so would be to sin against God and not just man.

6th Commandment 

Thou shalt not kill

This commandment is well known. And it seem that churches could not possibly be guilty of departure from it.

But I believe that many have in at least two ways.

Firstly, many Protestant churches have indirectly absconded from the duties required in this commandment by failing to teach their members of their obligation to God to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28), and failing to warn against the indiscriminate use of contraception.

Secondly, experience shows us that many churches today seem almost to disdain the spirit of the 6th Commandment. I am referring to the politics, backstabbing and acrimonious accusations that goes on in so many churches today. If this is not a violation of the 6th Commandment, nothing short of literal murder would be. The fact is that a form of shallow evangelicalism has resulted in worldliness and self-centredness creeping into the church en mass by way of dubious conversions. True saints do have their disputes (remember the dissension between Paul and Barnabas?), but true saints do not resort to manipulations nor deceit as is so common in many of today’s churches.

To return to the old paths, therefore, in the first place, we must change our attitude about having children. We must once again see that "children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward" (Ps 127:3). We must repent of the worldly attitude that children are a burden rather than a blessing. And secondly, we must strive to walk in love as Christ loves his church. Let us learn not to gossip or slander one another. Let us allow love to cover a multitude of sin, and prefer one another in honour. This is the way of the ancient church. This is the way commanded in the 6th commandment. We must love one another as ourselves that all men may know that we are the disciples of Christ.

7th Commandment 

Thou shalt not commit adultery

Apart from churches which advocate or tolerate homosexuality as alternative lifestyle,—which really makes them non-Christian,—it appears that the rest of the churches are walking along the path of the 7th Commandment. However, if we think about it carefully, we will realise that the 7th Commandment is not only about adultery proper, but about purity and marital duties.

Thus a church departs from the 7th Commandment when it fails to teach what is right and biblical when it comes to courtship and the marital relationship. Similarly, the church would have in some ways departed from the old paths if it begins to tolerate indecent apparel amongst those who gather for worship (see WLC 139).

What about individuals? Well, we live in a society where the average person, living like the rest of will be faced with a constant numbing down of moral sensibility through what they see on television and advertisement posters. Very often immoral lifestyles are portrayed as good and satisfying while purity is consider outmoded and restrictive. Under such a conditions, it is no wonder many professing Christians today think that they have broken the 7th Commandment only if they have engaged in the marriage act outside of marriage.

How to return to the old paths? I believe we must begin with a review of our responsibilities in the maintenance of this commandment. This must be followed, secondly, by a conscious refusal to indulge in anything that may lead to temptation or a numbing of moral sensibility. And thirdly, there must be a resolution to keep our vessels pure for Christ’s sake, for His spirit indwells us.

8th Commandment 

Thou shalt not steal

The 8th Commandment is another one of the commandments for which there does not seem to be much departure from in the modern church. However, it can be shown that a return to the old paths is also required here.

In the first place, consider the violation of copyrights that is rampant amongst many church groups. I have personally heard at least two ministers of the Gospel, saying that it is right for the church and Bible college to make use of pirated software. I wonder how widespread this problem is.

In the second place, there is the matter of theft by way of tithes and offerings. On the one hand there are churches in which members are not giving (Mal 3:8); on the other hand there are churches in which members are coerced to give,—by inordinate emphasis that God will bless those who give,—in order to support expensive building programmes.

In the third place, churches also violate the 8th Commandment when in the interest of church wealth, ministers refuse to speak about homemaking as being the primary covenant duty of wives and mothers.

In the fourth place, Christians violate this commandment if they are well provided for, but would not assist someone who is in need. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Eph 4:28), says the apostle Paul.

Once again, it is clear that a return to the old paths may require some changes in attitude and practices. Oh may the Lord grant us help that we may return to this ancient path if we have departed from it corporately or individually. And as we labour for the procurement of our daily needs, may he grant us that we may do so heartily, as unto the Lord and not unto men (Col 2:23)!

9th Commandment 

Thou shalt not bear false witness…

How has Protestant churches been guilty of deviating from the 9thCommandment? Largely, in three ways.

Firstly, there is the promotion of false doctrine. This is to be a false witness for Christ, and a departure of the most grievous sort, for many are led astray in this way.

Secondly, there is the problem of paying lip service to confession and creeds which the church profess to adhere to. Think of Anglican communion that have become liberal though claiming to still adhere to the 39 Articles. Think of Presbyterian communions, which have become Dispensational, Antinomian or Arminian in practice or doctrine, while claiming to be holding to the Westminster standards. This departure has lead to much confusion, not to mention questions of honesty.

Thirdly, there is the problem of slander and unfair caricatures that is found in some fundamental pulpits today. It is true, and I think that in general, compared to the world at large, there are far more who profess Christ who would not knowingly tell a lie. However, experience teaches us that those who have little regards for God’s law or are antinomian in their theological convictions are more likely to resort to falsehood to promote their cause. This is sad, and those who have been victims of these attacks, would no doubt feel not only hurt but grief that falsehood has been spread in the name of Christ through the very instrumentality which is intended for the proclamation of truth.

What about the individual believer? Well, in the case of the individual, the 9th Commandment is often violated through unedifying gossips, slanders, and a failure to be a positive witness for Christ. This is not a problem that is particular in our age. Nevertheless, in calling the church to return to the old paths, we must consider these things. Have you been guilty of departure from the 9th Commandment? Oh may the Lord grant us that we will strive to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, for God is truth.

10th Commandment 

Thou shalt not covet…

We come now to the final commandment. Here again we see both churches and individual professing believers departing from the old paths.

Churches have departed at this point when they begin to covet after large congregations and magnificent buildings. It is of course not wrong to have large congregation or great buildings. But if theology and biblical practices are compromised in order to "grow" the membership or the funds, then it is clear that covetousness is at work.

We will remember well how Pope Leo X authorised the sale of indulgence by Johann Tetzel as part of his fund raising campaign to build the present St Peter’s Basilica. The fact that it led to Martin Luther’s response by way of the famed 95 theses on October 31, 1517, does not exonerate the guilt of covetousness on the part of the pope: "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov 16:4).

That is history; and we cringe when we think about it. But what about today? Few are so crass as the pope, but are not many churches today resorting to a combination of ‘sanctified’ worldly pleasures and psychological blackmail to build great edifices?

Likewise, as we noted in earlier when we look at the 1stCommandment, individual Christians are guilty of covetousness when they pursue after materialism and pleasure rather than seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Thus in calling for a return to the old paths, we are calling with Jeremiah, upon the church and the professing Christian to forsake the quest for wealth and comfort in this world to flee after Christ. Those who follow after Christ will suffer no lack (Ps 23:1; 34:9-10; 37:25), and will experience what the Lord means when he says: "…and all these things shall be added unto you" (Mt 6:33).


Martin Luther was right to emphasise on theology rather than practice in his attempts to reformed the church. His emphasis on theology led to a lasting Reformation, though it was really John Calvin whose theology stabilised the Reformed church. Nevertheless, a change in theology without a corresponding change in the way of life leads to pure intellectualism that will perish within a generation. Thus Jeremiah called for a return to the old paths, and not merely to old thinking.

As we have tried to show, the departure from the old paths is a departure from the laws of God, particularly the Ten Commandments. And this departure has led to such sad consequences in the modern church that grief inevitably fills our heart when we contemplate on the great number of "workers of lawlessness" (cf. Mt 7:23) walking in the broad way in many modern congregations: "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law" (Ps 119:136).

This year as we remember the providence of God that led to the establishment of the Protestant church, let us take a hard look at ourselves corporately and individually, and let us seek the Lord’s help to reform our lives and practices. "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Amen. —JJ Lim

True Worship of God
An abstract from John Calvin’s letter to Emperor Charles V dated 25 August 1544, 
which letter has been republished as a tract entitled "The Necessity of Reforming the Church" 
(see Calvin’s Tracts Relating to the Reformation, vol. 1 [Calvin’s Translation Society, 1844], 123-253) 

Let us now see what is meant by the due worship of God. Its chief foundation is to acknowledge Him to be, as He is, the only source of all virtue, justice, holiness, wisdom, truth, power, goodness, mercy, life, and salvation; in accordance with this, to ascribe and render to Him the glory of all that is good, to seek all things in Him alone, and in every want have recourse to Him alone. Hence arises prayer, hence praise and thanksgiving — these being attestations to the glory which we attribute to Him. This is that genuine sanctification of His name which He requires of us above all things. To this is united adoration, by which we manifest for Him the reverence due to his greatness and excellency, and to this ceremonies are subservient, as helps or instruments, in order that, in the performance of divine worship, the body may be exercised at the same time with the soul. Next after these comes self-abasement, when, renouncing the world and the flesh, we are transformed in the renewing of our mind, and living no longer to ourselves, submit to be ruled and actuated by Him. By this self-abasement we are trained to obedience and devotedness to his will, so that his fear reigns in our hearts, and regulates all the actions of our lives. That in these things consists the true and sincere worship which alone God approves, and in which alone He delights, is both taught by the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures and is also, antecedent to discussion, the obvious dictate of piety. Nor from the beginning was there any other method of worshipping God, the only difference being, that this spiritual truth, which with us is naked and simple, was under the former dispensation wrapt up in figures. And this is the meaning of our Savior’s words,

"The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers 
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:23.). 

For by these words he meant not to declare that God was not worshipped by the fathers in this spiritual manner, but only to point out a distinction in the external form, viz., That while they had the Spirit shadowed forth by many figures, we have it in simplicity. But it has always been an acknowledged point, that God, who is a Spirit, must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.

Moreover, the rule which distinguishes between pure and vitiated worship is of universal application, in order that we may not adopt any device which seems fit to ourselves, but look to the injunction of Him who alone is entitled to prescribe. Therefore, if we would have Him to approve our worship, this rule, which he everywhere enforces with the utmost strictness, must be carefully observed. For there is a twofold reason why the Lord, in condemning and prohibiting all fictitious worship, requires us to give obedience only to his own voice. First, it tends greatly to establish His authority that we do not follow our own pleasures but depend entirely on his sovereignty; and, secondly, such is our folly, that when we are left at liberty, all we are able to do is to go astray. And then when once we have turned aside from the right path, there is no end to our wanderings, until we get buried under a multitude of superstitions. Justly, therefore, does the Lord, in order to assert his full right of dominion, strictly enjoin what he wishes us to do, and at once reject all human devices which are at variance with his command. Justly, too, does he, inexpress terms, define our limits that we may not, by fabricating perverse modes of worship, provoke His anger against us.

I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word. The opposite persuasion which cleaves to them, being seated, as it were, in their very bones and marrow, is, that whatever they do has in itself a sufficient sanction, provided it exhibits some kind of zeal for the honor of God. But since God not only regards as fruitless, but also plainly abominates, whatever we undertake from zeal to His worship, if at variance with His command, what do we gain by a contrary course? The words of God are clear and distinct,

"Obedience is better than sacrifice."  "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men," (1 Sam 15:22; Mt 15:9.)

Every addition to His word, especially in this matter, is a lie. Mere "will worship" (ejqeloqrhskiva) is vanity. This is the decision, and when once the judge has decided, it is no longer time to debate.