Spiritual Worship

Stephen Charnock wrote an excellent tome on “The Existence and Attributes of God.” This work is full of rich truth of great benefit to the Christian. For your edification I am going to periodically post heavily edited excerpts from Charnock’s writings on the goodness of God.

Spiritual worship is performed with an unity of heart. The heart is not only now and then with God, but “united to fear or worship his name.” A spiritual duty must have the engagement of the spirit, and the thoughts tied up to the spiritual object. The union of all the parts of the heart together with the body is the life of the body; and the moral union of our hearts is the life of any duty. A heart quickly flitting from God makes not God his treasure; he slights the worship, and therein affronts the object of worship. All our thoughts ought to be ravished with God; bound up in him as in a bundle of life; but when we start from him to gaze after every feather, and run after every bubble, we disown a full and affecting excellency, and a satisfying sweetness in him. When our thoughts run from God, it is a testimony we have no spiritual affection to God; affection would stake down the thoughts to the object affected; it is but a mouth love, as the prophet praiseth it; but their hearts go “after their covetousness;” covetous objects play, and the heart danceth after them; and thoughts of God are shifted often to receive a multitude of other imaginations; the heart and the service staid awhile together, and then took leave of one another. The Psalmist still found his heart with God when he awaked; still with God in spiritual affections and fixed meditations. A carnal heart is seldom with God, either in or out of worship; if God should knock at the heart in any duty, it would be found not at home, but straying abroad. Our worship is spiritual when the door of the heart is shut against all intruders.

Worldly affections are to be laid aside if we would have our worship spiritual. He is a carnal worshiper that gives God but a piece of his heart, as well as he that denies him the whole of it; that hath some thoughts pitched upon God in worship, and as many willingly upon the world. David sought God, not with a portion of his heart, but with his “whole heart.”