Excerpt from The Biblical Repertory: April, 1838
In making these extended remarks on the subject of litur gies, we are desirous of not being misunderstood. We by no means think the use of prescribed forms of prayer unlaw ful. There are multitudes of very excellent people, who think them convenient, attractive and edifying. With these we find no fault. Thousands, we question not, through the medium of precomposed forms, have been built up in faith and holiness unto salvation. We have not the smallest de sire either to disturb the devotions, or to ridicule the prefe renees of such of our fellow Christians. If any serious per sons find the use of forms better adapted to promote their spiritual benefit, than joining in extemporary prayer, they would be neither wise, nor faithful to their own souls, were they to neglect the use of them. But when any of this class contend that the church is prohibited by her Master from praying otherwise than by forms; that it is criminal to at tempt to join in any other; and that all possible excellence is concentrated in their own forms: especially when they ven ture to assume, with confidence, the historical argument, as clearly in their favour; when they confidently assert that prescribed forms of prayer were used in the apostolic church; that their use in the church has been uniformly established thence downwards; and that it is now the duty of all wor shipping assemblies to confine themselves to such forms; we may surely be pardoned for, at least, putting in our demurrer. We are very certain that no one of these positions can be sustained. We have no disposition to assail the innocent preferences or practices of our fellow Christians; but we cannot regard it as any part of Christian fidelity, to hear others ridicule and revile that which is equally sustained by the simplicity of apostolical practice, and the undoubted example of the earliest and purest ages of the church, without putting in a plea in its favour.
We have only one more passage belonging to the class under review, on which we shall offer a passing remark. It is that which occurs in chapter iv. Section 197, and is in these words.
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