Worship Theory: laying a foundation for corporate and individual worship

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Tylor, "still knows of willows that bleed and weep and speak when hewn; of the fairy maiden that sits within the fir tree; of that old tree in Rugaard forest that must not be felled, for an elf dwells within; of that old tree on the Heinzenberg near Zell, which uttered its complaint when the woodman cut it down, for in it was Our Lady, whose chapel now stands upon the spot.

One may still look on where Franconian damsels go to a tree on St. Thomas's day, knock thrice solemnly, and listen for the indwelling spirit to give answer by raps from within what manner of husbands they are to have. Other instances collected by Mr. Tylor are hardly less obviously explicable on similar principles. Here are a few select cases from savage peoples. The North American Indians of the far West will often hang offerings on trees, "to propitiate the spirits.

So, too, the New-Zealanders hang an offering of food on a branch at a landing place, or throw a bunch of rushes to some remarkable tree as an offering to the spirit that dwells within it. And in all such cases we must remember that to the savage mind the word spirit still means what it has half ceased to mean with us through long misuse—the actual ghost or surviving double of a departed tribesman.

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Worship, it seems to me, lies at the very root of religion, as distinguished from mere mythology; and the basis or core of worship is surely offering—that is to say, the propitiation of the ghost by just such gifts of food, drink, slaves, or women as the savage would naturally make to a living chief with whom he desired to curry favor.

I do not wish to deny, however, that in later stages of evolution the worship or reverence once paid to the ghost or spirit may come to be envisaged in the minds of devotees as worship or reverence paid to the actual trunk or to some vague sanctity of the surrounding forest.

Whenever we see a shaped stone standing at the head of a little mound or diminutive barrow, we naturally infer that a burial has taken place there; whenever we see a sacred tree, unless grave reason exist to the contrary, we naturally infer a ghost and an interment.

About the Foundation

For the case stands thus: We know that in many instances savages inter their dead under the shade of great trees. We know that such trees are thereafter often accounted sacred. We know that young shrubs or bushes are frequently planted on graves in all countries.

We know that whatever comes up on or out of the grave of a relative is counted as an embodiment or representative of the ghost within it. The presumption is therefore in favor of any particular sacred tree being of funereal origin and significance; and the onus of proving the opposite lies with the person who asserts some more occult and less obvious explanation. Even where newly grown trees acquire a factitious or artificial sanctity, one can still see through the account some abiding relic of the same antique funereal origin.

For instance, we learn that when our old friends the Kandhs settle a new village, a sacred cotton tree must be planted with solemn rites, and beneath it is placed the stone which enshrines and embodies the village deity. Possibly, to be sure, a mere casual bowlder, picked out at haphazard; but far more probably, as all analogy would show, the holy monolith or headstone of some ancient chief of the parent village. Nothing is more common than for migrating people to carry with them their sacred stones, their country's gods, their lares and penates, their ark, their teraphim; nothing more common than to take up the bones of their Josephs out of Egypt for interment in the new land which their lords and gods give them.

In any case, however, be this as it may, the performance under the cotton tree is clearly on the very face of it a mimic interment. Rome herself had such a sacred foundation tree—the holy fig of Romulus—whose very name connected it at once with the origin of the city; and so closely was it bound up in the popular mind with the fortunes of the state, that the withering of its trunk was regarded in the light of a public calamity.

So, too, to this day, London has still her London Stone, which probably dates back to the earliest ages of the Roman town, or of the little Celtic village that once preceded it. This London Stone was for ages considered as the representative and embodiment of the entire community. Proclamations and other important businesses of state were transacted from its top; the defendant in trials at the Lord Mayor's court was summoned to attend from London Stone, as though the stone itself spoke with the united voice of the assembled citizens. Of the similar sacred stone at Bovey Tracey in Devonshire, Ormerod tells us that the mayor, on the first day of his tenure of office, used to ride round it and strike it with a stick.

According to the Totnes Times of May 13, , the young men of the town were compelled on the same day to kiss the magic stone, and to pledge allegiance in upholding the ancient rights and privileges of Bovey.

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Elsewhere we get still clearer evidence that it is the ghost, not the mere tree, to whom the adoration of the worshipers is primarily offered. Tylor, "is the chosen sanctuary of a Turanian tribe. But beneath it stand gayly decked little idols in warm fur coats, each set up under a great tree, on whose branches hang offerings of reindeer hides and household goods.

Even more striking and conclusive, from our present point of view, is another of Mr. Tylor's well-selected cases. That single sentence of Mr. Duff Macdonald's already quoted, tells us more about the meaning of all these rites than pages of conjectural talk as to indwelling divinities. Macdonald has lived long among the people whose faith and practice he so clearly describes. He thoroughly understands their ideas and point of view; and I confess I attach a great deal more importance to his trained evidence in such a delicate matter than to a vast amount of uncertain classical argument.

Moreover, the Blantyre negroes are still in the most primitive stage of religion; the process of god-making goes on among them to this hour as an every-day occurrence. We catch the phenomenon of the manufacture of deity in the earliest stages of its evolution. On the whole, then, I think all the evidence is congruous with the theory that tree worship originated in ancestor worship or ghost worship, and with no alternative theory whatsoever.

This is the hypothesis that fits all the facts, harmonizes all the discrepancies, and reduces to a plain meaning all the seeming absurdities of strange savage creeds and still stranger ceremonies. And to say the truth, no other hypothesis as to the origin of worship has ever been offered.

Spencer's ghost theory, independently arrived at almost simultaneously by Mr. William Simpson, alone gives us a real explanation of the facts under notice. Why on earth should they take the trouble to begin making presents of food and drink to mere wood-spirits or oreads with whom they had no earthly connection or interest of any sort? The offerings made to tree-spirits are precisely the same in kind as the offerings made to dead relations. Dead relations are buried under trees; the nearer we get to primitive customs, the more do we see that the tree-spirit is the ghost, and the more does everybody who has anything to do with him recognize and admit the patent fact.

It is only when we have moved very far away from primitive usage and primitive modes of thought, that we begin to find tree-gods whose ghostliness is uncertain, and tales about their origin in which their former humanity is ignored or forgotten. The lowest savages never seem to harbor the faintest doubt that the gods whom they worship in tree or stone or temple are nothing more or less than their own ghostly ancestors. Again, all the prerogatives which Mr. Frazer assigns to sacred trees [18] are also prerogatives of the deified ancestor.

Thus, trees or tree-spirits are believed to give rain and sunshine.

32. Prayer and Worship

But we saw this was precisely the function of the ancestral ghosts among Mr. Duff Macdonald's Blantyre negroes, as indeed it is in endless other cases which I need hardly recall to the anthropological reader. Of this belief Mr. Frazer gives many interesting examples. Among the Mundaris, "the grove deities are held responsible for the crops, and are especially honored at all the great agricultural festivals. Among the tribes of Gilgit in India, the sacred tree is a species of cedar—as usual an evergreen—and at the beginning of sowing, the people mix their seed-corn with sprigs of this holy conifer, and smoke it all above a bonfire of the sacred cedar wood.

But all this goes on all fours with the common belief, on which I need not further enlarge, that it is the deified ancestors who make the earth bring forth her increase, and that all crops are the immediate gift of the "compassionate father," to whom the savage prays for the simple boons which make up all his happiness. But this is a natural function of the ancestral ghosts, who, as the fathers of the tribe, are often—nay, one may even say habitually—envisaged under phallic guises. It is also a well-known function of the sacred stones, which originate in standing stones or grave slabs as I have endeavored to show elsewhere , and which are universally regarded as of phallic potency.

Indeed, to this day barren women in Brittany go to pray at ancient monoliths thinly Christianized by having a small cross stuck on top for the birth of children, which, says the Hebrew poet appositely, "are the gift of Jahveh. There are, I think, three main objects of human worship all the world over.

The first is the ghost, or actual soul of the dead man, which gets sublimated or magnified in course of time into the spirit or shade, and then into the god. The second is the sacred stone. The third is the sacred tree.

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And these three are one. The ghost is the core and central reality of the whole vast superstructure of faith and practice. The sacred stone derives its sanctity from standing at the head of the dead man's grave. The sacred tree owes its position equally to its identification with the spirit of the chief or father who lies buried beneath it.

Accordingly the tithe for the poor becomes part of the sacrificial practice that is the heart of Israelite worship. That sacrifice and caring for the poor were interrelated is the necessary practice that shaped the people of Israel's understanding that what they gave to the poor was in fact a "loan" to God. They did so because they understood that, even if the one who owed the money might never be able to pay back the loan, the loan will be paid back by God himself.

The obligation to care for the poor, therefore, was understood by Israel as a loan first and foremost given to God. That is why Proverbs became the central text shaping the people of Israel's practice of caring for the poor: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full.

Anderson stresses the importance of this way of understanding charity because it makes clear that, to give to the poor is not "just another act of charity," but rather an encounter with God. Loans can be joyfully given to the poor because who could imagine a better guarantor of a loan than God. Anderson draws on a contemporary example, Mother Teresa, to exemplify this mode of charity. Mother Teresa's refusal to establish any endowment for her order to survive, Anderson suggests, exemplifies her presumption that the order she founded must always be ready to give one's whole self to the poor.

She sought to establish an order in which the sisters were committed to live in total reliance on God because to learn reliant on God is necessary if you are, not only to help the poor, but to be with the poor. Anderson draws on Ben Sirach and the Book of Tobit to show how almsgiving in Judaism was often compared to the sacrificial offering enacted in the temple. Ben Sirach is particularly important because, according to Anderson, he taught that acts of charity toward the poor were equivalent to temple sacrifice, even when the temple was no longer standing.

The reason this is so significant is it makes explicit that the relation between charity to the poor and sacrifice. Charity is more than a horizontal action involving a donor and recipient; it is the sacrificial character of charity makes clear that charity also has a vertical dimension. To give alms was and is to perform an act of worship of God.

Anderson even goes so far as to describe acts of charity to be sacramental. Anderson's use of the language of "sacrament" suggests that though he is making a historical argument about the continuities between Tobit , Sirach , rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity, he is also making a theological point, not only about how charity has been understood by Christians, but how charity should be understood by Christians. Quite simply, Anderson believes that charity to the poor has the power to save because one meets Christ through the concrete showing of mercy.

The poor are quite literally sacramental because they are mediators of the Godhead. Anderson supports this way of understanding charity by quoting Pope Leo the Great d. For although a person be full of faith, and chaste, and sober, and adorned with other still greater decorations, yet if he is not merciful, he cannot deserve mercy.

For the Lord says 'blessed are the merciful for God shall have mercy on them'. Anderson, also, draws attention to the observation by Basil the Great that when one assists the poor, a gift is offered but in the form of a loan. It is a gift, according to Basil, "because of the expectation of no repayment, but a loan because of the great gift of the Master who pays in his place. It does so because such a view of charity challenges the presumption that charity is primarily for the poor person.

That the gift is in the form of a loan, Anderson suggests, means the natural interpretation of the giving of the loan assumes God will provide the appropriate reward. Anderson, however, argues that would be a misinterpretation of how Basil understands almsgiving. Basil, according to Anderson, means quite literally that God receives the gift given to the poor.

Anderson supports this reading of Basil by calling attention to Basil's admonition that Christians should:. That will be for you the donor the assurance of the money's safety because of God's custody; for the poor who receives it, there it there is the advantage of its use. And, if you are seeking additional payment, be satisfied with that from the Lord. He Himself will pay the interest for the poor. Expect kindly acts from Him who is truly kind.

Bruce Longenecker provides a compelling account of Paul's concern that the poor be remembered that supports Anderson's presentation. In particular, he argues that Paul's mission to the Gentiles, as well as his encounters Graeco-Roman urbanites, suggest that Paul embodied and exemplified the interconnections between Eucharistic action and the care for the poor. Paul understood the care of the poor as the outworking of divine grace found in Christ, but Longenecker argues this did not distinguish the Jesus-movement's understanding of these matters from Judaism.

According to Longenecker, the only difference between the Jewish and Christian understanding of charity was the Christian inclusion of Gentiles as recipients of charity. Longenecker observes that the poor lay at the heart of Paul's theology because:. For Paul, remembering the poor was to lie at the heart of the eschatological identity of communities he had founded, and was itself a practice integral to an embodied proclamation of the good news. This becomes particularly important because it helps us better understand the political implications of the Jewish and Christian understanding of the obligation to care for the poor.

For what was so startling about that commitment - at least what is so startling if the likes of Peter Brown and Bruce Longenecker are right - is the commitment to care for the poor was unknown by the Romans. To be sure, some Romans were benevolent, but they gave to the poor primarily as a way to be recognized as an important person to whom honour is due rather than an expression of care for those in poverty.

Indeed, Peter Brown even suggests that Christian bishops invented "the poor. To claim to have such a responsibility meant the poor could be identified as a class of people who had a claim on the church. As a result, "the poor" were singled out as an entity in a manner that was simply unknown in the ancient world. According to Brown, the bishops seem to have understood that care for the poor represented a power that gave them social standing otherwise unavailable. Brown even suggests that charity toward the poor was one of the main reasons Christianity became the established religion of Rome.

Brown's point can be nicely supported by the famous episode in which the emperor Julian tried to force pagan priests to give alms to the poor in the hopes they could out do the Christians. As Longenecker observes, Julian sought to trump the generosity of Christians in the hope that pagan religions might reclaim their influence in Rome. Julian it seems recognized a real enemy when he saw it. Thus his claim that "the impious Galileans" support not only the poor, but ours as well - and he did not mean it as a compliment.

By calling attention to Anderson's and Longenecker's complementary accounts of charity, I have tried to show what an extraordinary thing it was for Christians to continue Israel's presumption that to care for the poor cannot be separated from their worship of God. But we dare not forget that it is Jesus that we worship as Christians. That means how Christians understand charity may not be the same as how that practice is understood in Judaism. Yet, as I hope I have made clear, whatever that difference may be the common commitment is stronger still.

The gospels make clear that those that were poor and vulnerable were of particular significance in Jesus's ministry. But just as important is the recognition that the one who said "You will always have the poor with you," was poor. That is the one we meet in prison, the one who is hungry and sick, and that is the one with whom we eat when we share his body and blood.

You may now be wondering, if not puzzled, where we have gotten. I began by recounting contemporary worries and doubts about aid to the poor by secular as well as Christian agents. Charity from such a perspective seems to do more harm than good. But now I have given you an account of charity that makes it obligatory for Christians. Does that mean we must do what cannot help but be a failure in the name of serving our God. How to go on? I will have some suggestions about how to go on, but first I have to make matters even more complex by engaging questions about charity in modernity.

One of the reasons - and it may well be the reason - charity has become problematic in our day is due to the transformation of our lives by what is generally known as capitalism. I cannot, even if I were competent to do so, provide an account of that multi-splendid thing we call "capitalism. I need to warn you this is not a diatribe against capitalism. Indeed, my primary purpose is to give an account of what I take to be the great moral project that shaped Adam Smith's account of capitalism.

That purpose can be put very simply. Smith sought to do nothing less than to give an account of emerging economic relations that would eliminate the poor. He wanted to make begging a thing of the past. Through the division of labour and the establishment of a free market, he sought to show how a system was possible in which wealth would be created sufficient to make every person self-sufficient. Kelly Johnson , on whose work I am indebted for the following account of capitalism, describes questions about the relationship between these books as the "Adam Smith problem. The problem, according to Johnson, is The Theory of Moral Sentiments placed at the centre of Smith's ethics sympathy, but The Wealth of Nations seems to assume we are self-interested agents because, if we were not self-interested, competition as the organizing principle of social organization could not be sustained.

What seems to be a contradiction between these two perspectives, Johnson argues, is a deep mistake. It is so because the way Smith understands sympathy is not opposed to what seems to be an underwriting of self-interest in The Wealth of Nations. Sympathy, for Smith, is the key to our moral lives. It is so because sympathy makes possible the imaginative possibility that I can imagine, even against my own will, other peoples situations and lives. We are people affected by other people, making possible our ability to understand lives quite different than our own.

Smith saw no tension between sympathy and self-interest, given the fact I am only able to know myself by seeing myself reflected through the eyes of others. Smith's account of this process is very complex, but suffice it to say that Smith sought to give an account of our dealings with one another that makes possible our ability to take an impartial perspective that is equivalent to reason itself. Once the significance of sympathy is recognized as the heart of Smith's understanding of the moral life, the importance of the division of labour can be appreciated, not only because it makes possible wealth, but because it does so by forcing us sympathetically to imaginatively enter the lives of others.

The "system" is meant to create a world in which I can desire the admiration of others because I have the ability to admire others. That, however, is why Smith has such a problem with beggars. Because beggars do not seek to be admired, they become parasites. Johnson observes Smith thought people rightly despised beggars because they do not want to feel, as they will be tempted to do, any sympathy with those who refuse to be self sufficient.

Beggars are morally corrupt because they refuse to "see" themselves rightly by entering into the perspective of the impartial spectator. Instead, beggars use their suffering to coerce others to be in sympathy with them. Smith distinguished, however, between the poor and beggars. The poor could be subject to our sympathy as long as they sought to be like those who were not poor. Yet it was Smith's hope that capitalism as a system for the production of wealth would provide an alternative that would eliminate poverty.

Indeed, one way to think of Smith's vision is to see capitalism itself as a system of charity. No longer will individual acts of charity be required because the system itself will raise all the boats as the water rises. Capitalism so understood is an extraordinarily utopian project. Of course, the difficulty with such projects is they invite the illusion that, though things may not be working out - namely, we still have the poor among us - all we need is more time and the system will take care of itself.

The other alternative is to blame those who have not become self-sufficient by suggesting they lack some essential virtues to make the system work. As a result, the poor get blamed for being poor. I hardly need to mention that the poor are often subject to such judgments in advanced capitalist societies.

It did not take long for those deeply influenced by Smith to recognize that the poor were not going away. The inequality of wealth as well as the continuing existence of beggars made it clear that the poor, particularly the poor in England and America, were not simply an anomaly. What would be the Christian response? It is, I conceive, a low and narrow view to take of these, that they were designed as artistic representations, to captivate the senses and delight the imagination. If no inspired interpretation of them had been afforded, drawing out stores of spiritual meaning, it would be more pardonable to speak of them as giving a scenic effect, as it were, dramatizing the worship of God, enlisting the sentiment, and drawing forth the poetry that lurks far down in the nature of every man.

The epistle to the Hebrews is sufficient to overthrow this frigid hypothesis. The apostle undertakes to unfold the priesthood of Christ, and he does this by simply expounding the import of the tabernacle and its furniture, the priesthood in its courses, the sacrifices and purgations of the old law. They were indeed a language, peculiar in construction yet pregnant with meaning, if the key were only given to unlock the cypher.

What this form shall be, is most easily and reasonably determined. In Judaism, Christ was to come; his advent was future. In Christianity, Christ has come; the event is past. In the one case, the representation of what is future cannot but be symbolic; in the other, the representation of what is past cannot but be historic. The change which has taken place is just what we would antecedently expect from the chronology of the two economies. When Christ did come these types were cancelled, and he is now held forth in the sanctuary as a fact, a substance and a body; and the instructions which are given are instructions concerning a fact; they are plain, literal, historic and didactic.

The same conclusion as to the necessity of formal instruction in the sanctuary follows, from the connection of preaching, with the final spread of Christianity. This is the paean with which prophecy celebrates the close of this latter age of the church. But how is this unearthly kingdom to penetrate all earthly kingdoms, and include them? But who shall preach? Even they that are sent. And where shall they preach? If what has before been said, respecting the aggressiveness of Christianity is true, and if this universal extension is to be achieved by the simple proclamation of gospel truths, then the importance of the pulpit cannot be overlooked; and among the appointments of the sanctuary the expositions of Bible truth must be prominent.

But the necessity of instruction in the house of God will appear further from the relation of knowledge to worship. I am free to admit that the main design of these public assemblies is devotion; yet it cannot be a blind and senseless devotion of the body, without the soul. If, for the purpose of instructing men in the higher mysteries of redemption, atonement and pardon, he for a season enjoined bloody sacrifices, it was not because he delighted either in the fat of rams or in the blood of bulls.

When he made man in his own image he gave him a thinking soul, and endowed that soul with knowledge and holiness, and the sacrifices acceptable to him are those of a broken and contrite spirit. But how can this devotion be spiritual without the truth? Here, in general, lieth its decency, that it respects the mediation of the Son, through whom we have access, and the supplies and assistance of the Spirit, and a regard unto God as a Father. He that fails in any one of these breaks all order in gospel worship. This is the great canon, which, if it be neglected, there is no decency in whatever else is done in this way.

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For these things are known only as God has revealed them and he has written them in a book. Instruction, therefore, is needed in the sanctuary, to afford the materials for devotion; for the knowledge of God and His love supplies the theme of our song. It strikingly illustrates, too, the wisdom of the divine arrangements, that in the sanctuary instruction and devotion are so inseparably coupled and the former always in subordination to the latter.

If Christianity were taught only in the portico and lyceum, it is hard to see how it should be kept from sliding into a sublime philosophy. But taught in the sanctuary after offices of prayer and praise, and taught as a means to these, it is retained in the heart as religion. The devotions of the sanctuary exercise a secret, but not the less powerful, check upon that spirit of unlicensed speculation, which, in reference to the deity, is always profane; while again, these instructions react powerfully upon the devotion of the worshipper, to enliven and support it.

They supply oxygen to the flame, so that the vestal fire burns without extinction upon the altar within. It is somewhat a nice point to adjust the instructions and the devotions of the sanctuary so that they shall be mingled in due proportion. Ritualism, on the one hand, so multiplies the offices of prayer and thanksgiving as to thrust aside the exposition of doctrine. Rationalism, on the other hand, spins out discourse till the spirit of devotion is smothered under the weight of human speculations.

Romanists, for example, as types of the first, substituting the church for Christ, and cutting off all access to God save through the priesthood, have no occasion to bring divine truth upon the conscience and heart, and the sermon is ignored. Protestants, on the contrary, who maintain the individual responsibility of men to God, and cannot propose to be proxies for others in this concern, rest upon the truth, as the great medium of spiritual communion with God. In proportion, therefore, as the Protestant spirit prevails, is attention given to the preaching of the word.

The exact measures of the two may not be determined alike by all. I cannot forbear, even at the hazard of wearying you, from touching upon another feature of Christian worship, clearly implied in the contrasted expressions of the text, viz: its preeminent simplicity. John , the antithesis lies not in the language, but in the sentiment. He does not mean to say that spiritual worship could not be rendered at Jerusalem as elsewhere.

Here, then, are two facts: first, that the only instance in which God has enjoined a splendid and imposing ritual upon the church was under a dispensation clearly typical, when the truth was taught by emblems; and second, that this picturesque and ceremonial service has been unquestionably withdrawn, being supplanted by another that is spiritual and simple.

How glorious was it, when the house of Solomon stood in its greatest order and beauty, all overlaid with gold, thousands of priests and Levites ministering in their orders, with all the most solemn musical instruments that David found out, and the great congregation assembled, of hundreds of thousands, all singing praises to God! To introduce, therefore, pomps and rites into Christian worship with a view to make it impressive and gorgeous, is to Judaize it.

The whole is thereby rendered impertinent and trifling, since the church never had, even in the days of ceremonial observance, a ritual that was void of significance. The argument is complete either way. If this congregation has erected a building more grand and beautiful in architectural design than that which today we have left, it has been done only in the exercise of a lawful taste about a matter in itself morally indifferent.

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But I would prefer to see it razed to the earth, and its foundation stones be uncovered, than it should be supposed to lend a sanction to that stupid jargon of a socalled ecclesiastical architecture, whose ghostly mutterings have of late, through some witch of Endor, been pouring in upon us from the dark ages.

We know of but one priest, who with his own blood has entered through the veil into the holiest, having obtained eternal redemption for us. We know but one temple on earth, that which is made such by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, the saints of the most high God. And with Paul we say, if an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto us than that we have received, let him be accursed. As for this building, my brethren, beautiful as it may be in our eyes, let it please us to call it only a plain Presbyterian meeting house.

Let its glory be as a birthplace of souls, where shall always be heard the sobs of awakened penitence, and the songs of newborn love. Let its glory be the spirituality of its worship, its fervent prayers, its adoring praise, and the simplicity and truth of its ordinances and sacraments. Let its glory be the communion of saints, who here have fellowship one with another, and also with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your head, O, ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.

Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which we have built! Have respect, therefore, to the prayers and supplications of thy servants; let thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place! Here choose Zion, and desire it for an habitation. Here abundantly bless her provision, and satisfy her poor with bread! Let these walls be called salvation and these gates praise [cf.

The celebrated statue of Memnon, in ancient story, was said to utter melodious sounds, when first illuminated by the rising sun. See this contrast beautifully presented in a Missionary Sermon, one of the earlier performances of Dr. Harris, which made him known to the church at large. With regard to whatsoever partakes of the essential nature of worship, it may safely be affirmed that what is not commanded is virtually forbidden. This constitutes the broad line of distinction between the worship of faith and the offerings of superstition; the former alone partakes of the character of obedience, being founded upon the knowledge and recognition of the divine will.

Whatsoever is not of faith, whatsoever has not the divine command as its basis, is not obedience, but sin. All attempts, therefore to conciliate the homage of the irreligious to Christianity by an accommodation of its principles, its rights or its practical requisitions to the imagination and taste of worldly men, in whatsoever motives they may originate, must be stigmatized as frustrating the primary design of the gospel and as partaking of the nature of idolatrous corruption of religion.

These concluding sentences formed the closing prayer of the congregation, though incorporated here with the discourse. This sermon was originally preached on 9 October in Columbia, South Carolina, when Pastor Palmer and his congregation moved into a new building for their public services. The text of this sermon has been edited to reflect contemporary spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The electronic version of this document has been provided as a convenience for our readers.

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