Practical Religion

Practical Religion is that department of practical theology which aims at the promotion of Christian practice, and the writings which are brought out to contribute to such an end are called Practical Works. They are from their very nature of a more temporary character than any other theological productions: Generally speaking, they are, and must be, adapted to the peculiar circumstances of their own age; they must be specially addressed to correct its prevailing evil tendencies; they must pre-eminently promote those parts of the Christian character which are least cultivated. Such as are founded on a deep knowledge of human nature, and animated with genuine piety, must indeed benefit other ages, since human nature remains essentially the same; but their most direct influence belongs to the age in which they are written. Subsequently they may often form individuals: transfused into their minds, they are reproduced in other shapes, but are themselves withdrawn from circulation. Their body perishes; while the soul which gave it life migrates into another and another frame, and thus continues often to diffuse an extensive blessing, when the very name under which they originally appeared is forgotten. See Pusey, Historical Inquiry, p. 11-180. SEE PRACTICAL THEOLOGY; SEE RELIGION; SEE THEOLOGY. (J.H.W.)

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