Sunday, September 22, 2019

Etiquette and Behavior in Worship

If refined social manners are essential in the home, they are equally important in the house of God. 
Photo source, Pinterest 

Rev. Frank Dewitt Talmage Discourses Upon Manners

Rev. Frank DeWltt Talmage delivered a sermon yesterday upon “Church Manners,” taking his text from I Timothy 3:15, “That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God.” His discourse was a good-natured rebuke to the lack of decorum among worshipers and a plea for certain reasonable etiquette In the church. He said in part:

“Are you a parent? Have you ever dressed up your little children and sent them forth alone to visit, when they were about ten or twelve years of age? Then you have known the anxieties of a mother or father as to their social behavior.

“Before they go, you say: ‘Now, son, be careful about : your manners. When you enter Mrs. So and So’s home take off your hat and place it upon the hall rack. Be careful and don't handle the vases in the parlor, and don’t squirm on your chair. When you are at dinner, be sure and keep your hands off the table, and don’t spill the food upon the table cloth, and don’t ask for a second helping of anything, or talk with your. mouth full. When Mrs. So and So passes you a plate, say “Thank you.” Remember, my boy, that your mother's home is to be judged by your table manners.

“When that child leaves the house, your mind follows him and stays with him all day long. And oh, the pride that sweeps into the parental heart when, next day, you meet your friend, at whose home your little children dined, and she congratulates you in these words: ‘We had such a lovely children’s party yesterday. And Mrs. So and So, I want to tell you how well your children behaved. Your boy was a perfect little gentleman, and your daughter a little lady.’ Ah, such congratulation as that is as a sweet savor to the maternal heart.

“If refined social manners are essential in the home, they are equally important in the house of God. So essential are they to a consecrated Christian life that Paul wrote a long epistle to his young lieutenant, Timothy, concerning them. In this letter, wherein are found the words of the text, the great apostle tells how bishops and their wives should act, and also how deacons and deacons’ wives.

“But today, instead of my showing how our ministers and church officers should behave in the house of God, I would preach a sermon on church manners directly to the pew. I would try to inculcate the reverential spirit with which our congregations should assemble for worship.

“I would try to teach this reverence, because more and more in this irreverent age there is a tendency to look upon church buildings as places fitted for secular enjoyments, rather than as sanctuaries consecrated to the presence of Jesus Christ.

“The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. No man ought to place foot in God's sanctuary unless he can do it with the solemn feeling of Habakkuk, who declared: ‘The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him.’”– Los Angeles Herald, 1905

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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