Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

incorrect views into which they themselves have fallen, with regard to the essence and object of the Union and the Liturgy. . . .

The Union does not signify or aim at any surrender of the existing Confessions of Faith, nor does it derogate from the authority they have hitherto possessed. In acceding to the Union, nothing is expressed but that spirit of charity and moderation which refuses to allow that the differences on certain dogmatic points are a sufficient ground for denying to the members of another Confession external Churchfellowship. The joining the Union is a matter of free choice, and the opinion is erroneous, that the introduction of the new Liturgy is necessarily connected therewith, or indirectly aims at that end. The latter rests on orders given by me; the former, as has been said, is a matter left to each person's voluntary decision. The Liturgy is only so far connected with the Union that the order of Divine Service prescribed in it, and the formularies set forth for the different rites of religion, inasmuch as they are according to Scripture, may be used to the common furthering of Christian piety and fear of God in those congregations which are composed of members of both Confessions without causing offense and objection. Further, the Liturgy is by no means intended as a substitute for the Confessions of Faith in the Evangelical Church, nor yet to be added to these as of like nature. Its sole object is to provide against all injurious license and confusion, and to establish an order for public worship and the official acts of the clergy which will be in accordance with the spirit of the Symbolical Books and based on the authority of the Evangelical Liturgies of the first period of the Reformation. Consequently, the prayer of those who, from dislike to the Union, also resist the introduction of the Liturgy, is to be rejected most earnestly and decidedly as one that cannot be entertained. Even in those Churches which have not joined the Union, the national Liturgy must be used, with the modifications allowed to each province in particular. Least of all, however, because it would be most unchristian, can it be permitted to the Union's enemies, in contradistinction to its friends, to constitute themselves a separate religious body.

Source: A. Wilhelm Dilthey (ed.), Aus Schleiermacher's Leben. In Briefen ( Berlin, 1861- 1863), IV, 450-452. King's comment from Erich Foerster, Die Entstehung der preussischen Landeskirche unter der Regierung König Friedrich Wilhelms des Dritten ( Tübingen, 1905- 1907), II, 423. B. Christian Charles Josias Bunsen, Signs of the Times: Letters to Ernst Moritz Arndt on the Dangers to Religious Liberty in the Present State of the World ( New York, 1856), pp. 429-430. German text in K. A. von Kamptz (ed.), Annalen der preussischen inneren Staats-Verwaltung ( Berlin, 1814- 1840), XVIII, 74.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

M. Redeker, Schleiermacher: Life and Thought ( Philadelphia, 1973).

W. B. Selbie, Schleiermacher, A Critical and Historical Study ( New York, 1913). References for Document 73.

-188-

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