From the Archives: Worship in John Smyth's Church

Worship in John Smyth’s church in Amsterdam, c.1611, was described in a letter by Hugh and Anne Bromehead, quoted in H. Wheeler Robinson, Life and Faith of the Baptists, 1946, p. 96.

We begin with a prayer, after read some one of two chapters of the Bible; give the sense thereof and confer upon the same; that done, we lay aside our books and after a solemn prayer made by the first speaker he propoundeth some text out of the Scripture and prophesieth out of the same by the space of one hour or three quarters of an hour. After him standeth up a second speaker and prophesieth out of the said text the like time and space, sometimes more, sometimes less. After him, the third, the fourth, the fifth, etc., as the time will give leave. Then the first speaker concludeth with prayer as he began with prayer, with an exhortation to contribution to the poor, which collection being made is also concluded with prayer. This morning exercise begins at eight of the clock and continueth until twelve of the clock. The like course of exercise is observed in the afternoon from two of the clock unto five or six of the clock. Last of all the execution of the government of the Church is handled.

By Hugh and Anne Bromehead

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #6 in 1985]

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