Now I know and believe
And give praise without end
That God the Almighty
Is Father and Friend, And that in all troubles, Whatever betide,
He hushes the tempest
And stands at my side.
Nothing, he taught, is to be preached but the God of Grace, with whom we are reconciled through Christ. Conversely, it is not a question of ecstasies and visions; no transports of feeling are necessary; it is faith that is to be aroused. Faith is to be the beginning, middle, and end of all religious fervour. In the correspondence of Word and faith “justification” is experienced, and hence justification holds the chief place in the Reformers’ message; it means nothing less than the attainment of peace and freedom in God through Christ, dominion over the world, and an eternity within.
Lastly, the third feature of this renewal was the great transformation which God’s worship now inevitably underwent, God’s worship by the individual and by the community. Such worship—this was obvious—can and ought to be nothing but putting faith to practical proof. As Luther declared over and over again, “all that God asks of us is faith, and it is through faith alone that He is willing to treat with us.” To let God be God, and to pay Him honour by acknowledging and invoking Him as Father — it is thus alone that a man can serve Him. Every other path on which a man tries to approach Him and honour Him leads astray, and vain is the attempt to establish any other relation with Him. What an enormous mass of anxious, hopeful, and hopeless effort was now done away with, and what a revolution in worship was effected! But all that is true of God’s worship by the individual is true in exactly the same way of public worship. Here, too, it is only the Word of God and prayer which have any place. All else is to be banished; the community assembled for God’s worship is to proclaim the message of God with praise and thanksgiving, and call upon His name. Anything that goes beyond this is not worship at all.