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the Eucharist of our being numbered among the reputed servants of the Most High in Christ our Passover. The earthly speech we employ in our worship only faintly adumbrates or shadows forth the feelings of our spirits; and the places set apart and consecrated to divine worship are only the evidences of our desire to serve Him " from whom all blessings flow.” Our life is altogether a life of signs.
Ritualism we shall define for the convenience of discussion--not at all as admitting the accuracy, far less the adequacy of the defini. tion-as the embodiment to the senses, by some means or other, of man's heartfelt desire to give unto the Lord the glory that is due, the shadow by which we seek to represent the substance of the deFotion indwelling in our souls--the outward signs, tokens, means, methods, and appliances by which we endeavour to give palpable form to and evidence of the desire in our hearts to give glory to God. Ritualism, in this sense, then, is that whole and entire set of institutions, ceremonies, forms, signs, symbols, and representative acts, by which_assemblies of Christ's disciples show forth their attachment to Him and their desire to shadow out their inward thoughts.
So viewed, Ritualism is undoubtedly necessary to Christianity. To be Christian at all we must let it be seen and known of all that we have been with Jesus. We must both feel His praise in our hearts, utter it with our lips, and show it forth in our lives. Prayer is a rite--a rite instituted by Christ. Praise is a rite - rite the fulfilment of which God demands. The reading of th= Word is a rite-a rite of theocratic Judea incorporated with apostolic Christianity. The exposition of the Scriptures is a rite-a rite which Cbrist bimself engaged in with his disciples, to which his apostles were ordained, and in which they at once imitated and obeyed him. Baptism is a rite-a rite instituted by God, and conformed to as well as commanded to be observed by Jesus Christ. The Lord's Supper is a rite-a rite specially appointed by Jesus to commemorate, show forth, and repeat in everlasting symbols, the sacrifice of our Lord for our sins.' In fact the whole of worship is a conjoined series of rites, of instituted ceremonial and representative acts and symbols ; and life, if it be true life-a life in which all is done to the glory of God-is a whole and entire symbolism or series of ritualism.
In view of these facts how many will deny that Ritualism is not only strictly consistent with, but also absolutely necessary to, Christianity ? Without attention to rites can a man be a true Christian ? Must we not be baptized into Christ? meet together for the worship of God in Christ manfested unto us in mercy ? pray to God after the manner taught us by our Lord? praise the Father of all mercies and goodness, consolation and peace, in fervency of spirit and show forth the Lord's death as communicants at his own holy table, that so we may be made partakers of his body and blood, bis sacrifice? How else are we able to signify our love for Him, to symbolize our relation
to Him, to make known our reliance on Him, to profess our faith in Him, or to confess our obligations to Him? Ritualism, then, is a part and parcel of Christianity, an expressly commanded portion of the duty of those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and who are not ashamed of the gospel of Him who came to save to the uttermost all those who come unto Him, who are baptized unto
his death, and with whom he condescends to come in and sup. We cannot doubt the absolute commands of our Lord, we cannot gloze over his conformity to all the rights and ceremonies of the worship of his time, in which he was our ensample that we should walk in his steps ; we cannot demur to the express revelations of Christ from heaven regarding the Eucharist, which shows us that He is the true bread of life which came down from heaven, and which alone can adequately satisfy the prayer which he taught his disciples to use, saying, “Give us this day our daily bread." We presume that there can be no dispute about the foregoing arguments, which seem to be so plain that he who runs may read, and reading may understand. The extent, not the fact, of Ritualism, will, we presume, be made the staple of oppugnant debate. When, however, we grant the consistency of Ritualism with Christianity, nay, are compelled to confess its absolute necessity to true Christianity, the question of extent becomes a thing of scarcely any importance. That comes to be argued upon other principles, and depends on other matters, but the fact is independent altogether of degree. We may be allowed here to remark
The importance of Ritualism in worship.
All worship in all countries has set forms, and it has been the universal practice of humanity to give peculiar solemnity and sacredness to the forms of worship. It was on the form, not the fact, of worship that Cain was less favoured by and acceptable to God than his brother Abel. God expressly appointed the ritual of the wilderness and the temple. Failure to observe the ritual of the Mosaic dispensation was punished with great severities, and carelessness with regard to the glory of the Lord in the Jewish ceremonial called on the heads of the people severe chastisement, and the prophets are full of denunciations against those who profane the ritual and neglect the forms as well as the realities of worship. Jesus was careful to “ go up to Jerusalem" according to the ritual of his time, to be present at the feasts, and to take his part in the services of Jehovah.
We may just notice in one other brief sentence-the Christian law of Ritualism.
We should give of our best to God-such was the law of sacrifice in the olden time. We should, “whatsoever we do”—and therefore preferably our worship-"do all to the glory of God." Can we be doing so while we live in palaces and worship in barns ? while we fill our own dwellings with beauty, elegance, luxury, and refinement, and leave “the house of God"low, mean, unadorned? while we surround our own tables with ceremonial indicative of respect, and
hedge it round by etiquette promotive of grace? while we deny the comely forms of decency and order to the ordinances of the Lord in our holy things—in our prayers, our praise, our reading of the Word, in our communion with the blessed Saviour at the eucharistic feast? Do we wash with water and anoint with oil ? do we array ourselves in fair raiment, and observe the forms of civility in our intercourse with each other? and shall we refuse to observe the forms of godliness in our worship of God ? It is easy to deride vestments, genuflexions, breathed adorations, and respectful turnings, but it is not easy to justify the selfishness of man in making God's house a byword of shame from its shapeless unsuggestiveness of anything glorious, reverential, holy, and God-like.
The cathedrals of Europe, the paintings and statuary of our forefathers in the church, the glorious music in which the praises of our God have been enshrined, the age-long devotion given to the decoration of copies of the Holy Bible, all show how far we have departed from the good ways of those who felt the flame of holy love in their souls in aucient times. They gave their best in days of poverty and trial, and bestowed on the church the anxious, loving elaboration which their heart's love to God prompted; we in days of wealth grudge to the house of the Lord the outward decency of a mill erected to mammon, and allow the gin-palace and the theatre to use for the devil's service the talent and labour which they employed in striving to make their churches more fitting than before for the Lord to dwell in. Is this Christian? Is this wise ? Is it not rather a true sign of the decadence of the reverential spirit of the worshipful love which Christians ought to show towards their loving God and Father and Saviour? If we are to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, how shall we do it if we discard Ritualism as inconsistent and unnecessary ?
LINES, UNNECESSARY.I. We shall preface the discussion of the above question, byI. Briefly noticing what Ritualism is. II. Giving a definition of true Christianity:
I. Ritualism is an excessive fondness for religious observances, rites, ceremonies, and solemnities, and is a marked feature of the ecclesiastical life of the present day; having been for some time past developing in certain sections of the professing Church of Christ, to an extent before unknown among the people of this empire, so that an increasing degree of importance is beguir to be attached to it. As instances of this we may observe the growing frequency of such practices as the following:--the constant presence of candles in the church, either lighted or unlighted; the officiating minister entering the church accompanied by boys in surplices ; turning to a particular quarter of the heavens, and using a different kind of dress, in all the various parts of the church service; a whole catalogue of kneelings, bowings, intonings, vestments, crosses, adornings of both person and building, &c.; an assimilation to Laudianism, as it was 1868.
exemplified in the consecration of St. Catherine's Church, London, by the notable archbishop of the reign of Charles I., which consecration mainly consisted in bowings, steppings, and jumpings backwards and forwards, according to number and measure. These and all such things are included in and meant by Ritualism.
II. Christianity is the religion of Christ, or the religion of which Christ is the author. A Christian is a follower of Christ, one who manifests a likeness to Christ, it being only by resemblance to Christ that any person is evidenced to be a genuine Christian. Therefore true Christianity is that religion which is in accordance with the spirit, the example, and the practice of Jesus, and the more the religion is conformed hereto, the more true is the Christi. anity.
Now, where in the records which we have of the life, the worship, the devotions, the teaching, and the practices of Christ when He was on the earth, have we any event, circumstance, or command related in the most distant manner having an approach to Ritualism? When Christ was baptized, the baptism so far from being performed in a gorgeous building, was not performed within a building at all, but in a river, by an administrator dressed in a simple garment of camel's bair, and a girdle of leather. Ofttimes when Jesus preached it was sitting on the ground or in a ship, which, it must be owned, shows a disregard of all that is pompous, formal, ceremonial, or ritualistic, and
His devotions were frequently attended to in the open air. The very least too that can be said of the teachings of Jesus, is that they in no way, or degree, favoured Ritualism. That worship and service which greatly consists in external performance, and attention to outward acts, the teachings of Jesus never favoured, while he inculcated the necessity of the worship of the heart, as may be seen by observing Matt. xv. 1.–20; John iv. 24.
It must be admitted that the apostles were well acquainted with the mind of their Lord and Master ; that their religious practices were in accordance with His will; and that we shall not err in following their example in these things. Then state what was their practice? We find them holding their assemblies in houses or rooms, unaccompanied by any of that ecclesiastical upholstery which is now put into such prominence by Ritualists, and in his letters to the Galatians and Colossians the Apostle Paul-writing, be it remembered, under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost-strikes at the observances of times and seasons, and the laying of great stress on, or paying undue attention to outward ordinances, as that which led their minds away from the substance of true religion. See Gal. iv. 9, 10; v. 6; vi. 15; Col. ii. 16, 17. The decision of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts xv., was of precisely the same purport.
True Christianity then, is a walking in the footsteps of Christ, it is the experience and practice of faith, love, humility, godly fear, meekness, self-denial, and uprightness, while the only worship which is acceptable to God is that of the heart, though it be offered
in the simplest manner and without the accompaniment of any outward adornings or formalities. To establish our assertion as to the nature of the worship which is acceptable to God, we need only refer to the words addressed by Christ to the Samaritan woman, "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Bim in spirit, and in truth.”
We have now to consider the question, Is Ritualism consistent with, or unnecessary to the
advancement of true Christianity ? We shall first show that Ritualism is unnecessary to the advancement of true Christianity. That it is so, is manifest from the adrances made by Christianity in apostolic days, when the Gospel was preached by unlettered men, in a simple manner, and the worship of God was conducted without any of that multiplicity of ceremonies advocated by Ritualists, and without any of those accompaniments which are so fascinating to the senses.
But to show the antenable position of our opponents we will adduce the testimony of the founders and early members of that Church in which Ritualism is at the present time advancing with the most rapid steps. Macaulay, in his History, informs is that the English Reformers desired to go as far as their brethren on tho Continent; that they unanimously condemned as anti-Christia'ı numerous practices which Henry VIII. retained, and which Elizabeth approved ; that Hooper had the strongest aversion to opistona! vestments; that Ridley pulled down the altars of his diocese, i nd ordered the Eucharist to be administered in the middle of churches at tables which the Papists termed “oyster boards ; "that Jewel called the clerical garb “a stage dress, a fool's coat, a relique of the Amorites ;” that Grindal long hesitated about accepting a mitre from dislike of what he regarded as the mummery of consecration; and that Parkhurst prayed that the Church of England might model herself on the Church of Zurich. The sentiments bere adduced were not those of persons whom the greatest Ritualists of the present day can term schismatics or separatists, but of members of and officials in their own Church, and show us that our English Reformers did not deem Ritualism to be either necessary to, or consistent with, the advancement of true Christianity.
At the time of the Hampton Court Conference, Lord Bacon published a pamphlet, of which Hallam thus writes, “ He excepts to several matters of ceremony; the cap and surplice, the ring in marriage, the use of organs, the form of absolution, lay-baptism, &c. To this expression of Bacon's sentiments, a thinker of the present day thus adverts, “ Let those who deem the Puritans narrow-minded bigots weigh that fact. Ther must have attached to the points on which they insisted a significance hard for us to conceive, or they could never have enlisted the sympathy of a mird 80 tapacious, discreet, clear-sighted, and vigilant as the mind of Bacon."
In the declaration of Charles II., to his subjects concerning ecclesiastical affairs, there occurs the following language,