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Even to inanimate objects, which for one reason or another strikingly recall the excellence, majesty, love, or mercy of God, we naturally pay some measure of reverence.
Adoration differs from other acts of worship, such as supplication, confession of sin, etc., inasmuch as it formally consists in self-abasement before the Infinite, and in devout recognition of His transcendent excellence.
An admirable example of adoration is given in the Apocalypse vii 11, 12: "And all the angels stood rouud about the throne, and about the ancients, and about the living creatures; and they fell before the throne upon their faces, and adored God, saying: Amen.
We read of other forms of adoration among the Hebrews, such as taking off the shoes ( Exodus 3:5 ), bowing ( Genesis ), and we are told that the contrite publican stood when he prayed, and that St.
Paul knelt when he worshiped with the elders of Ephesus.
Other acts have been widely used for the same purpose, but most of them -- sacrifice always excepted -- have not been exclusively reserved for Divine worship; they have also been employed to manifest friendship, or reverence for high personages.
Thus Abram "fell flat on his face" before the Lord ( Genesis 17:3 ).
Among the early Christians it was common to adore God, standing with outstretched arms and facing the east.
Finally, we ought perhaps to mention the act of pagan adoration which seems to contain the etymological explanation of our word adoration.
The connection between our inner feelings and their articulate utterance is obvious.