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them to images, which he gives for his affection for them?
“My good woman," said a Romish priest to a cottager's wife at Burton, lately, in Dorsetshire, "you are much mistaken in supposing that we worship images, as people ignorantly tell you. We merely have them to excite our devotion, and remind us more forcibly of the objects they represent, When you see a picture of your Saviour on the cross, or a representation of the dead body of Him who died for you, does it not excite your devotion, and remind you of the debt of gratitude you owe to him? Assuredly it does. Well, that is the object we have in view, in having pictures and images of our Lord and the holy saints : by seeing them, our feelings are excited to a higher pitch of devotion, and we worship God with a higher degree of reverence !"
I was strongly reminded of this on reading your correspondent's letter ; and I hope the poor cottager's reply may have more weight with him, than (from the force of education and habit) it could be expected to have had upon the Romish priest, —“What you say may be all very true, Sir; but the Bible do tell us we must walk by faith, and NOT BY SIGHT!"
I am very far from agreeing with those who would remove all ornaments, whether of sculpture or of painting, from the houses of God: but I think there is a wide distinction between placing them therein as appropriate objects of embellishment, and rendering them conspicuous parts of the service of the temple, by teaching that they are aids to devotion. Though the wisdom and enlightenment of the 19th century be great, it is not likely to contain more of wisdom than the eternal ordinances of the moral law of God; and on that account it is, that I deem it alike presumptuous and perilous, to set forth before the eyes of the people, as objects of “honour,” those things which Jehovah hath declared to be objects of danger !
And regard the case in another point of view. See what a lesson the experience of the whole world, heathen and christian, holds out for our observance. In almost every instance, whether of the deification of abstract virtues, or passions, or qualities, under the symbols of gods and goddesses, or of animals, the reverence or the worship intended for the thing signified, has been invariably transferred to the sign! The sensuality of the many has invariably triumphed over the intellectual abstraction of the few !
I should perhaps apologize for thrusting my ideas thus hastily upon you—and yet in such a case as the present, an apology seems scarcely necessary, for I am but fulfilling a christian duty, in warning my brethren against a danger apparently unseen and unanticipated by them.
I am, Sir,
Your faithful Servant, London, Nov. 2, 1839.
THE ROMAN PONTIFICAL.
Mr. Editor,— My last letter briefly described the ceremonies observed by Roman Catholic Bishops in confirming children, and ordaining to the various orders of the ministry. The third episcopal function which remains to be considered, is the dedicating or setting apart inanimate objects to a holy use, whether they be churches, or altars, or images, or sacerdotal vestments. The mummeries of popery cannot fail to disgust a judicious Protestant, yet the principle on which they are founded is well worthy of attention, and I cannot belp regretting that we have fallen into the opposite extreme. A chalice, for example, passes immediately from the hands of the silversmith to the celebration of the blessed eucharist, and, in defiance of the Rubric, I have known instances in which the consecrated elements which remained were carried out of the Church as the perquisite of the clerk !
At p. 212 of the Pontifical,* there is a form for laying the first stone of a church, which occupies eleven pages.
Then follows (p. 224,) the form of consecrating or dedicating a church, occupying about sixty pages.
Before the ceremony, the Bishop is directed to provide the relicks which are to be inclosed in the altar. They are to be placed in a clean vessel, with three grains of incense and the Deed of Consecration, all carefully sealed up. The latter contains a grant of forty days' indulgence to all who shall visit the church on the anniversary of its consecration, and the vessel is placed over night in a tent before the principal door, lighted up with tapers, where vigils are celebrated, and Nocturns and Matins
sung in honour of the saints whose relicks are contained in it." There must also be provided for the ceremony, the chrism, the holy oil of the catechumens, two pounds' weight of incense, and five small crosses for every altar that is to be consecrated. Twelve crosses are to be painted on the inner walls of the church, with a taper burning before each.
The officiating bishop is to wear an amess, albe, girdle, stole, cope, and mitre, all of them white; and his assistants are also to be vested in white.
All go out, except one deacon, who remains inside the church.
The Bishop in the churchyard devoutly recites the Litany, and the seven penitential Psalms; after which he consecrates the holy water, and sprinkles it upon the people.
Then there is a proccesion round the church on the outside, three times, preceded by two acolyths with lighted tapers ; the bishop in the mean time sprinkling the walls with holy water, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and every time that he comes to the doors, he strikes it with his pastoral staff, saying
“Lift up your heads, Oye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall go in."
Deacon. (from within) “Who is the King of Glory?"
BISHOP. “The Lord, great and powerful, the Lord, mighty in battle," --and the third time they add the words, " Aperite ! Aperite ! Aperite!"
Then the bishop with his staff makes the sign of the cross upon the door, and exorcises all evil spirits, after which he and the other officiants enter, but not the people.
Bishop.“ Everlasting peace be unto this house."
. Edit. Paris. 1646. 12mo.
Antiphon. “ Zacchæus make haste, and come down, for to-day I must abide in thine house," &c. Then“ Veni Creator Spiritus," &c.
Meanwhile one of the clergy sprinkles the church pavement diagonally with fine ashes, in the form of a St. Andrew's cross, from corner to
The Litany is again sung, and afterwards the canticle of Zacharias, (Luke i. 68–79), during which the bishop with the end of his crozier writes upon the ashes the letters of the Greek alphabet, on one of the lines forming St. Andrew's cross, and the Roman alphabet upon the other. He then blesses water, salt, ashes, and wine, which he afterwards mingles together. The bishop next puts his thumb into this mixture, and makes five crosses upon the upper part of the altar, namely, at the four corners and in the centre; after which all go in procession round the walls inside the church, chaunting the 121st, 67th, and 90th Psalms. And the bishop anoints the twelve crosses painted upon them, and sprinkles holy water upon the pavement.
Then, after saying the Preface to the Mass, &c., the bishop makes the holy mortar, which is to close up the reliques ; after which he and the clergy go in procession to the tent, to bring the reliques for the altar. Before, however, they are brought in, a considerable time is occupied in addressing the people and the founder of the church. Then, after some prayers and ceremonies, they are carried into the church in procession, and reverently placed in the cavity of the altar (" in sepulchro altaris"), which is afterwards closed up with the holy mortar. The place where the reliques were deposited was called “sigillum altaris."
Next follows (p. 286) a form for consecrating the vessels and ornaments belonging to the altar and the church.
Then (p. 290) there is a separate form for the dedication of an altar, occupying about thirty pages, and (p. 322) a forma de consecratione altaris cujus sepulchrum reliquiorum est in medio summitatis stipitis : for in the Romish communion it is by no means uncommon for the altar alone to be consecrated, the church itself still remaining unconsecrated; and this was formerly the case with several of our English cathedrals.
Benediction of a portable altar, used in the “viaticum” mass, celebrated in a sick man’s chamber (pp. 324—338).
Benediction of a burial-ground separately from the church (p. 338). Five wooden crosses are erected, that in the centre being the highest ; and each of them has three candles before it. Incense is burned before these crosses, and holy water is sprinkled about the sepulchre.
Reconciliation of a church and cemetery which have been polluted by adultery, murder, &c. (p. 348). Another form for the cemetery alone (p. 359)
Consecration of a paten and chalice :—they are anointed with the chrism, and sprinkled with holy water. In the “ARCHÆOLOGIA," vol. xxv. there is published" the Anglo-Saxon Ceremonial for the Consecration of Churches," from a manuscript of the tenth century, which agrees in many respects with the modern form; yet amidst a greal deal of superstition I find these traces of a purer faith : witness the following prayer (p. 264)—“Præsta (Domine) ut quicunque ex hoc calice mysticam
VOL. XXI. NO, XII.
sanguinis lui memoriam mundato corde pergustent peccatorum omnium a te veniam mercantur.”
Benediction of vestments in general (p. 361); benediction of any vestment (p. 366).
Benediction of the linen coverings of the altar (p. 367); of the corporalia, or linen which covers the host (p. 368). Benediction of a crucifix (p. 369), in which the Bishop prays that
may be a salutary remedy for mankind ; that it may confirm their faith, make them fruitful in good works, REDEEM THEIR SOULS (!), and protect them against the assaults of the enemy." ..... " Then the bishop, bending his knees before the crucifix, devoutly adores and kisses it,” &c. On every Good Friday this is done, when the clergy take off their shoes, and "
creep to the cross.' Benediction of an image of the Blessed Virgin (p. 376)—"To thy protection we fly, O holy mother of God! despise not our prayers in the hour of necessity, but free us from all dangers, O glorious and everblessed Virgin !"
Benediction of the image of any saint (p. 379).
Benediction of the holy vessels in general (p. 580); of the tabernacle (over the altar) in which the Holy Eucharist is reserved (p. 381).
Benediction of a reliquary (p. 382).
Benediction of a bell (p. 385). This is a very superstitious form, occupying thirteen pages. The bell is sprinkled with holy water, "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!” and the Bishop prays that the virtue of God's Holy Spirit may rest upon it.
In addition to the above, the Pontifical contains-
Form of publishing the movable feasts for the year at the Epiphany (p. 405).
The expulsion of penitents from the church on Ash Wednesday, and their reception on Holy Thursday.
The consecration of the holy oils on Holy Thursday; ceremonies used in holding a synod; and other minor forms. I have the honour to be, your obedient Servant,
ON PERFORMING THE BURIAL SERVICE OVER THE BODIES
OF DECLARED DISSENTERS.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER.
London, 16th Nov. 1839. Sir,-I have noticed a paragraph going the round of the daily journals, in which it is objected against a clergyman of the Church, that he refused to perform the usual burial service, over "an infant who had been (as it is stated) baptized by a Wesleyan minister:' and further, that the Bishop of Norwich on being applied to, intimated his opinion that the clergyman had done wrong.
Now, Sir, as this is a case that might occur to any parochial clergyman, and as it is highly desirable that we should know what is our
duty upon such occasions, I think it advisable to address a few lines to you, in the hope of eliciting information from some of your correspondents, who are better informed than myself.
As I am writing professedly for information, I will state as briefly as possible, what are my own views upon this subject, and will feel grateful to any brother, or, if such might be, father in the ministry, to point out where I am correct and where in error.
It appears to me that the Church of England acknowledges but one baptism, administered with water, by a “lawful” minister, in a prescribed form of words. Without such baptism the person is clearly considered unbaptized, for if there is the least suspicion, the minister is directed to give a conditional baptism ; and the rubric prefixed to the burial service, orders that it is “Not to be used for any that die unbaptized.” I cannot therefore conceive how any bishop, or any judge, can alter by his individual authority the rubric, which I have always under. stood to be recognised as the law of the land in ecclesiastical matters. The clergyman, notwithstanding, who receives such an injunction from his bishop, is, I conceive, bound to obey him whether right or wrong, (entering only a respectful protest in the latter case) because the bishop being the superior officer, takes all responsibility of error on himself, while the clergyman's duty of obedience still remains in force upon him.
But this does not alter the facts of the case. No Church membership can exist without baptism, and no Church privilege can be claimed without membership; and I can no more conceive the propriety of dissenters, who reject the ordinance of admission to membership, claiming a privilege consequent upon it, than I can conceive an alien claiming a right of citizenship, without first consenting to be naturalized.
You will observe, Sir, that I merely treat this question as a matter of fact—not of feeling. I am aware that our Church is sometimes charged with intolerance and bigotry, in refusing her burial service to those who are without her pale, as if she thereby declared them out of the pale of salvation. I have yet to learn that the Church has either expressed or implied such an opinion: and I think if our dissenting brethren would regard this question in the light in which I have endeavoured to place it, they would refrain from any such acrimonious charges, and admit that (however irksome the results of our reasoning might be to them,) we were only acting on the principles of justice and candour. Their own congregations are not invested with their respective privileges until they are enrolled as members—it is just that it should be so-but why should that be termed bigotry in the Church, which is admitted as a just principle in Dissent ?
I shall feel happy, Sir, if this letter be productive of an authoritative reply, which shall set our minds at rest, in the diocese of London at least, as to what line of conduct we ought to pursue, should we be called upon to perform the burial service over those whom the Church regards as “ unbaptized.”
I am, Sir,