II Chronicles 32:9-33, II Kings 18:1-37; II Corinthians 6:11-7:16
Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: — 2 Kings xviii. 4.
I have frequently, especially in our country churches, met with the most determined protests against the most trivial alteration of the routine of their worship. You must sing at such a time, for they always have sung at such a point in the service; you must pray at such a moment, they always have prayed at that part of the worship; and if you can keep to the same quantity of minutes usually occupied so much the better. The whole service, though not in a book—for our sturdy brethren would revolt against the use of a book—yet is quite as stereotyped as if it were taken from the Common Prayer. Now, I believe that in public worship we should do well to be bound by no human rules, and constrained by no stereotyped order. I like, and we have often done it, to have an interval of silence sometimes. Why not? Why should it be all vocal worship? And why not begin with the sermon occasionally?… And then why should we not sing when we have been accustomed to pray, and pray when we have been accustomed to sing? We are under the dispensation of the Spirit, and so far as I know, the Spirit of God has not inspired these cards which I see sometimes nailed up in the pulpits—”begin with short prayer, sing, read, pray, preach,” and so on. A legality of form is growing up among us, and I enter my heart’s protest against it…. [P]ractices good in themselves are to be protested against if they gender to bondage, for the Spirit of God bloweth where He listeth, and if we worship God according to His guidance, the worship cannot invariably take the same form.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of the Bible, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962), p. 898.