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Presbyterian Worship by Robert Johnston


The purpose in the following pages is a simple one. It is to discover the trend of thought in connection with Public Worship within the Presbyterian Church, particularly in Scotland, during the course of her history since the Reformation. The spirit of the Church in her stirring and formative periods, especially if that spirit is a constant one, is pregnant with instruction. Such a constant spirit is readily discovered by a study of the attitude of the Presbyterian Church towards the subject of Public Worship during the course of her history, and to the writer it seems very evident that that spirit indicates an increasing suspicion of liturgical forms in Worship, and a growing confidence in, and desire for, the liberty of untrammeled approach to God.

Whether this spirit be the best or not, it is not the purpose of these pages to discuss. The great principle of the liberty of the Church in matters of detail, is fully recognized, a principle ever to be sedulously guarded, but an appeal is made to the record of history for its evidence as to the historic attitude of the Presbyterian Church, on a question which to-day is claiming the earnest attention of those who desire for that Church fidelity to her Lord and efficiency in His work.

My indebtedness in the study of this subject to Dr. McCrie's Cunningham Lectures on |Scottish Presbyterian Worship,| Brown's |Life of John Knox,| Sprott's |Scottish Liturgies| and Baird's |Eutaxia,| as well as to various Histories of the Reformation in Scotland, and for American Church History to Moore's and Alexander's valuable digests, I gladly and with gratitude acknowledge. An abundant and increasing literature upon the subject of Public Worship is an encouraging sign of the attention which the Church is giving to a matter so vital to its best life.

R. J.

LONDON, January, 1901.

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