From what has now been said we may easily answer the following objections:

God commands us to yield obedience to the enactments of men.

Ans. God requires us to comply with,
1. Such as are good and not opposed to his word.
2. Such as he himself has commanded by men, that worship may be thus paid unto him.
3. Such civil enactments as depend upon the authority of men, to which we render obedience not for the sake of divine worship, but for conscience sake.
4. Such ecclesiastical ordinances as those which we observe, not for the sake of worship, nor for conscience sake, but that we may avoid giving any offence.

Obj. 2. Those things which the church commands, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, are divine ordinances, having respect to the worship of God. But the church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, institutes ordinances which are good and profitable. Therefore these ordinances bind the consciences of men, and have respect to the worship of God.

Ans. That which is general in regard to the things which the church pre scribes, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, pertains to the worship of God. This comprehends the divine laws which require a proper regard to charity, avoiding offences, with the preservation of order and propriety in the church. The ordinances or institutions which have respect to what is general, being prescribed by the church under the influence of the Holy Spirit, are also divine, inasmuch as they form a part of those laws, the care and keeping of which God has committed to us in his word. But the good prescriptions of the church are human, or they are the prescriptions of men, in as far as they particularly designate what is declared, rather than what is expounded generally in these divine laws. Hence those ordinances do not constitute the worship of God, which the church by her own authority and in her own name advises, determines and commands, even though she be directed by the influence of the Holy Spirit in choosing and determining them. For the Holy Spirit declares to the church both what is profitable for the purpose of avoiding offences, and also that these things which are enjoined for the sake of avoiding offences are neither the worship of God, nor necessary to be observed, except for the purpose of avoiding every occasion of offence, as appears from the following declarations of Holy Writ: “I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” “And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” (1 Cor. 7:6, 35.) So Paul also forbids to eat of things offered in sacrifice to idols, if by so doing we give offence to a weak brother; under other circumstances he leaves every one free to act as he chooses. So the Apostles also, when assembled in Jerusalem, commanded, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, abstinence from things strangled and from blood; and yet they granted liberty to the church to act with freedom in this matter, where no offence would follow.

Obj. 3. God is worshipped in those things which are done to his glory. Those things which the church decides upon, are done to the glory of God. Therefore they also constitute the worship of God.

Ans. Those things are indeed the worship of God which are done to his glory, and which he has commanded to this end, that we may declare our obedience to him by these works; but not those which contribute to the glory of God by an accident: that is, which lead sometimes to the performance of the things commanded by God on account of accidental causes, which, if they do not concur, God may still be honored, as well by those who do these things as by those who omit them, if they only be done or omitted of faith.

Obj. 4. But certain of the saints have worshipped God with acceptance without any express commandment of his; so Samuel offered sacrifices in Ramah, Elijah in Mount Carmel, Manoah in Zorah, &c. (1 Sam. 7:17. 1 Kings 18:19. Judges 13:19.) Therefore there are certain works which constitute the worship of God, although not expressly commanded by him.

Ans. These examples establish nothing conclusively in reference to will-worship; for, in the first place, as it respects these sacrifices, they were the worship of God, because they were works commanded by him.

And then as it regards the place appointed for offering sacrifices, the saints of old were free before the erection of the temple. Samuel fixed upon the place where he lived as the one in which he would offer sacrifices, this being the most convenient. And the prophets very well knew that the worship of God did not consist in the circumstance of place, in respect to which the godly were left free, while as yet the ark of the covenant had no fixed place. And then, finally, as it respects the persons themselves who offered these sacrifices, they had extraordinary power conferred upon them, being prophets, as Samuel and Elijah were. And as it respects Manoah, the father of Sampson, he either did not sacrifice himself, but delivered the sacrifice over to the angel whom he supposed to be a prophet, to be offered up; or else he himself offered it, being commanded by the angel, so that nothing was done contrary to the law.

So we may also easily return an answer to the other examples which are adduced by our opponents. Abel and Noah, say they, offered sacrifices; (Gen. 4 & 8) but they did not do it without a command from God; for they offered their sacrifices in faith as Paul affirms in Heb. 11. Faith now cannot be without the word of God. But the Rechabites, say they, of whom we have an account in the 85th chap, of Jeremiah, abstained from the use of wine, and from agriculture, according to the command of their father, Jonadab, and were commended by God. But Jonadab did not design to institute any new worship of God, but merely desired by this civil command to do away with drunkenness and such sins as accompany it. So it was not the kind of food and raiment which John the Baptist ate and wore, that commended him to the divine favor, but his sobriety and temperance, and worship of God. Nor was it the raiment, made of sheep and goat skins, nor their wandering in mountains, dens and caves, that made the saints of old (Heb. 11) approved before God, but their faith and patience in enduring afflictions and trials.

Obj. 5. Whatever is done of faith, and is acceptable to God, constitutes divine worship. The works which men perform voluntarily, are done of faith and so please God. Therefore, they constitute his worship.

Ans. The major proposition is particular. To say, moreover, that a thing pleases God is not a sufficient definition of divine worship, inasmuch as actions which are indifferent may also be done of faith and so please God, although in a different manner from what his worship properly so called pleases him; for this pleases God in such a way, that the opposite of it displeases him, and so cannot be done of faith; whilst actions of indifference are approved of in such a way that their opposites may not be displeasing to God, and hence both may be done of faith, which rests assured that the work and the person both please God. Thus far we have spoken merely of the command itself. The exhortation contained in this second commandment remains to be explained. Before proceeding to this, however, we shall first give an explanation of the doctrine respecting images, which belongs properly to this commandment, and is contained in the two following Questions of the Catechism: