German Theory Of Worship -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 014:56 (Oct 1857)
Article: German Theory Of Worship
Author: Anonymous

German Theory Of Worship1

I. Introductory Remarks

The topics relating to religious worship, which, to a somewhat unusual extent, occupy the public mind at the present moment, refer primarily to certain outward forms; and,

viewed only in this relation, they may be considered as of comparatively little importance. The questions, whether the congregation shall rise, or remain sitting, during prayer; whether precomposed forms of prayer are preferable to those which are not written; whether the functions of worship shall be wholly confined to the officiating clergyman, or the congregation be allowed an active share in them: these, and questions of similar import, seem, at first, scarcely to deserve the attention which has been given to them. Every one, it would be supposed, might safely be allowed to act, in reference to these points, precisely as his own taste might dictate.

No reader of history, however, is ignorant of the extent to which these questions have, at different periods, agitated and convulsed the church. And controversies, so fierce and protracted as those to which these questions have given rise, cannot be admitted to relate to matters of inferior importance. A closer view of the subject will be likely to convince every thoughtful man, that questions which refer to forms of worship, have a very momentous bearing on the vigor of the Christian life and the general prosperity of religion. The strength and constancy of religion, considered as a principle of action, are apt to be powerfully affected by the character of our religious emotions. These, as they are pure or adulterated, as they are intense and permanent, or feeble and fluctuating, confirm or weaken the religious principle. At the same time, the media of expression, which are used in the case of our religious emotions, through which we either communicate them to our fellow men or utter them to Jehovah, exert on the emotions themselves no inconsiderable reflex influence. In this view, therefore, whether theory or fact guide our convictions, it must be admitted, that to dismiss as frivolous the questions to which we have referred, betrays not only a superficial, but a positively incorrect, judgment. At all events, facts indicate, too plainly, that if not a real, yet a factitious, importance is attached and will continue to be attached to these questions. May we not expect that controversies,

which have been supposed to be forever settled, will hereafter be revived; and that, consequently, however slight we may consider the intrinsic value of the points at issue to be, we shall yet be summoned to their discussion? a tas...

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