Imágenes de páginas

would draw a very inconvenient restraint upon the Church of God. He could not grant either, that these vestments were brought into the church by the Pope, for, "do we not read in ecclesiastical history that S. John the Apostle wore the gold plate or mitre? And does not Pontius, in his life of S. Cyprian, acquaint us that this saint at his martydom gave part of his episcopal robes to his deacons, and was executed in a linen habit ?" Bucer, in his reply, said "As to religious rites and externals the design of them is to recommend the service of God Almighty. Now we know distinction and richness of habit in civil offices are a service to the character. An extraordinary appearance in these cases operates upon the generality, strikes their mind through their senses, and awakens a regard for the magistracy. Now what should hinder it having the same effect upon religion?”

High churchmen, whether ritualists or not, with many of the Evangelical clergy, believe in the Church of England doctrine of the Real Presence, as taught in the Book of Common Prayer. But there are many who do not believe in it, and who regard our LORD'S Institution merely as a sign; these are the men who are in the habit of calling everything Roman that goes beyond their poor and inadequate views.

The Rev. John Keble, in his letter of December, 1865, sums up his argument thus: "In all this, as you will see, I take for granted, first, that the usages in question symbolize more or less directly the doctrines

of the Real Presence and Sacrifice.

Secondly, that Queen Elizabeth and her advisers in 1558, and the restorers of the Prayer Book in 1662-i. e. the whole Church of England at those dates respectively-are warrant sufficient to allay all suspicion of any special reference in the said symbols to what we disown in the Roman or in the Lutheran doctrine. I may add, that within my own experience the revivers of those usages have been and are found amongst the most earnest deprecators of Transubstantiation and of the Pope's supremacy. It would seem to follow upon these statements-and I understand that there is high legal authority for the opinion-that the onus probandi lies in this matter upon the many who practically ignore or slight the usages (of which number I must confess myself to be one), rather than upon the few who have regularly maintained or recently adopted them."

In the report presented to Convocation last year, "the committee deem it right further to declare that, in their opinion, the adoption of the usages discussed by them has, as a general rule, had its origin in no other motive than a desire to do honour to the most holy and undivided Trinity, and to render the services of the English Church more becoming in themselves and more attractive to the people......... In the larger number of practices which have been brought under the notice of the committee-they do not say in all of them they can trace no proper connection with the

distinctive teaching of the Church of Rome.


are further of opinion that some advance in ritual is the natural sequel to the restoration and adornment of churches which has so remarkably prevailed during the last twenty-five years, and which is itself closely connected with the revival and growth of religious life during the present century.” When the very hastily adopted resolution of the bishops was sent down to the Lower House the preamble was summarily rejected, and the resolution as it stands contains no condemnation of ritual. Till the resolution received the sanction of the Lower House it had-I do not say no legal force, for that we know it has not, but-no moral weight; it was not in any sense the voice of the Church. The refusal of Convocation to condemn ritualism is really a much stronger circumstance in its favour than if the attempt had not been made.

We see, then, from the opinions of two of the most advanced Reformers of old, and of such men as Keble and the members of the Convocation committee, and of Convocation itself, that the ritual question is not the Popish plot some will have it to be. Depend upon it, those men who get up the "No Popery" cry—not our friends who only repeat it second hand, but those, I say, who get it up, are not men whose judgment we can rely on, or whose practices can be set up for our imitation.


['Church Review,' April 4, 1868.]

YDRA-HEADED Protestantism has called the spirits from the vasty deep, and they come obedient to the call. It is needless

to say that the spirits from below are not good angels. They come from back slums, from taprooms, and beer-houses, ready for any evil work in the interests of irreligion, whether it be to overturn a font, desecrate a sacrament, or commit any other blasphemous outrage in the House of GOD. Depraved man, given up to the works of the Devil, is the same everywhere-here or in Italy-only give him the opportunity. A lady who appears to sympathize with the Garibaldini has, notwithstanding her sympathies, given a vivid description of the havoc made at Monte Rotondo parish registers were torn, the most sacred fittings of the church broken to pieces and destroyed; even the priest's library was involved in the same wanton destruction; like common banditti they drank his wine, and because they could not drink his oil they let

it run to waste. Now, these men were not protestants in the old sense, but in the new or modern interpretation that is to say, haters of religion, of religion in tion—that any form; and the loud clamourers at anti-ritualistic meetings, and the profane utterers of blasphemy, are ready, when the demon of discord is let loose, to do the wicked work of those Garibaldini. It will be useless for the leaders of the movement to try and stem the torrent when once the flood-gates are thrown open; they will be powerless to restrain-nay, they may be themselves involved in-the destruction which will not discriminate between friend and foe,

But, who and what are the leaders? When the question is concerning protestantism pure and simple, apart from the high and lofty aspirations of the now defunct Evangelical school, it is vain to talk of honesty of purpose, or zeal for the truth: protestantism pure and simple has neither faith nor creed, and those who advocate it most loudly need not profess either. Protestantism is essentially the religion of corrupt human nature, or perhaps it would be more correct to say that it is a bad excuse for the absence of religion: such as it is, it is caught at by the indifferent of all classes, who thus try to effect a compromise between both worlds. Protestantism asks the conscience no ugly questions; if it does not heal, it does not lay bare the fretting sore; it conveniently relegates all the outward observances of religion to one day in the week; it permits the reception of the LORD's Supper

« AnteriorContinuar »