Preaching and Paganism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about Preaching and Paganism.
makes the external.  If these things mean little in the beginning, there is still truth in the assertion of the devotee that if you practice them they will begin to mean something to you.  This is not merely that a meaning will be self-induced.  It is more than that.  They will put us in the volitional attitude, the emotional mood, where the meaning is able to penetrate.  Just as all the world acknowledges that there is an essential connection between good manners and good morals, between military discipline and physical courage, so there is a connection between a devotional service and the gifts of the spiritual life.  Such a service not merely strengthens belief in the High and Holy One, it has a real office in creating, in making possible, that belief itself.

We shall sum it all up if we say in one word that the offices of devotion emphasize the cosmic character of religion.  They take us out of the world of moral theism into the world of a universal theism.  They draw us away from religion in action to religion in itself; they give us, not the God of this world, but the God who is from everlasting to everlasting, to whom a thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night.  Thus they help us to make for ourselves an interior refuge into whose precincts no eye may look, into whose life no other soul may venture.  In that refuge we can be still and know that He is God.  There we can eat the meat which the world knoweth not of, there have peace with Him.  It is in these central solitudes, induced by worship, that the vision is clarified, the perspective corrected, the vital forces recharged.  Those who possess them are transmitters of such heavenly messages; they issue from them as rivers pour from undiminished mountain streams.  Does the world’s sin and pain and weakness come and empty itself into the broad current of these devout lives?  Then their fearless onsweeping forces gather it all up, carry it on, cleanse and purify it in the process.  Over such lives the things of this world have no power.  They are kept secretly from them all in His pavilion where there is no strife of tongues.

CHAPTER EIGHT

WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF DOCTRINE

If one were to ask any sermon-taster of our generation what is the prevailing type of discourse among the better-known preachers of the day, he would probably answer, “The expository.”  Expository preaching has had a notable revival in the last three decades, especially among liberal preachers; that is, among those who like ourselves have discarded scholastic theologies, turned to the ethical aspects of religion for our chief interests and accepted the modern view of the Bible.  To be sure, it is not the same sort of expository preaching which made the Scottish pulpit of the nineteenth century famous.  It is not the detailed exposition of each word and clause, almost of each comma, which marks the mingled

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Preaching and Paganism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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