Postures are the bodily attitudes assumed in the various parts of divine worship, whether public or private. No act whatever can be performed without the body taking some posture. This is the case in divine worship as well as in matters of less consequence. The only question, therefore, is whether all possible postures are equally appropriate in that worship and in its different departments. Reason, Scripture, and universal consent testify that they are not. Kneeling and prostration seem peculiarly expressive of penitent humility; bowling, of deep veneration; standing, of joy and thanksgiving. They are all the natural expressions of the feeling which accompanies or characterizes the particular devotion in which they are employed, and are used by supplicants to man as well as to God. The four postures above mentioned are found to have been used by the ancient Christians in their prayer-standing, kneeling, bowing, and prostration. Standing was the posture generally observed on the Lord's Day, and the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, in memory of the Savior's resurrection. This custom is traced up to an early period, and the reason assigned by Justin Martyr is, "For as much as we ought to remember both our fall and our sin, and the grace of Christ by which we rise again from our fall, therefore we pray, kneeling, six days, as a symbol of our fall by sin; but our not kneeling on the Lord's day is a symbol of the resurrection, whereby, through the grace of Christ we are delivered from our sins, and from death that is mortified thereby." Kneeling was the customary posture of devotion. Bowing down the head was chiefly used in receiving the bishop's or priest's benediction, and in all formal addresses to God for his mercy and favor on the people, whether catechumens, penitents, or others. In the paintings of the catacombs, and on the ancient enameled glasses found therein, the standing posture in prayer is accompanied by outstretched and upraised hands. The bowing posture was rather a special act of reverence accompanying a particular address or a particular part of an address than a sustained posture. It occurred at frequent intervals in the ancient liturgy, and is still used in the Roman mass as well as (even more profusely) in those of all the various rites, Greek, Syrian. Coptic, Armenian, and Russian. Prostration was taken from the Jewish Church, and was chiefly appropriated to deep humiliations and expressions of shame or sorrow on particular occasions, and was mainly used by the Penitents (q.v.), especially in that grade of public penance which was known under the name "prostration." It is also used still in the solemn ordination of subdeacons, deacons, and priests. as performed in the Roman Catholic Church. The question as to the use of particular postures was a subject of much controversy between the Puritans and the Church of England, and has recently been revived in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. SEE ATTITUDE; SEE PRAYER.

Bible concordance for POST.

Definition of post

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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