Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

60

continued, “there was such an avenue in the garden of Gethsemane."

“I was taught,” said Israel, “that the pointed arch arose from the intersection of semi-circular arches in that Norman style which went before the Gothic.”

6. You see the circular window above the entrance,” his friend continued, without appearing to notice his objection ; " that is typical of the silence which should

“ reign in the house of God.”

" That is the rose window, which is often called a Catharine wheel ;' and the name being that of a woman, I can hardly reconcile it with your explanation,” said Israel. But to this, likewise, his friend vouchsafed no notice. They were next at the inner church doors.

“ These three doors may signify the Word, the Sacraments, and the Ministry in the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons,” he continued, in a low voice.

The "dim, religious light” which came in through the lofty, stained windows, was calculated to remind a student like Israel of many things of which he had read among the annals of the past. He questioned within himself if this partial obscurity was also typical.

His friend had also much to say to him about the chancel and the large window directly in front of the audience seats, on which were represented many symbolical devices. As the day was not Sunday, he took occasion to explain many of the peculiarities of 66 the church.”

“But why do you call your church, the church,'

[ocr errors]

as though that was the only one?" inquired Israel at length.

“We hold no other ministry to be valid than that which we trace as a direct succession from the apostles, and no place of divine worship to be truly consecrated except by such persons," answered his friend, very gravely.

“ Then you believe that other denominations are no more than outside heathen,” said Israel.

“They are certainly not the church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth ;' for they do not receive the truth nor conform to its dictates as taught in the word of God. Their ministry proceeds from themselves, and not from men consecrated by men who could trace their ecclesiastical parentage through Archbishop Sheldon, and on through the English, Italian, and Irish Episcopate, to the apostles themselves, as can our ministers.”

“ You talk like a Roman Catholic,” said Israel.

66 The Roman Catholics have the truth with them, the same as we have; only they have become corrupted. If I were on my death-bed, and could not get access to the ministers of my own church, I should not scruple to avail myself of the privilege of their priestly offices,” he replied.

" But would you not also permit the attendance of a Baptist, a Congregational, or a Methodist clergyman?” pursued Israel.

His friend shook his head. "No," said he, “not as ministers of God, for that would be lending countenance to error. They are only laymen, made what they claim to be by men like themselves, and in some

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

66

instances, not so good. Our ministers never permit , these unauthorized men to come into their pulpits ; neither are they ever found in theirs, more than they would go to any reading or lecture room.”

66 I think," said Israel, “ that there is a divine provision for any man, whereby he may die alone and die well; of this I would avail myself rather than to put my confidence in any arm of flesh.”

“People are ignorant,” his friend went on, “else they would all be of the Church. They do not know the errors into which they have been blindly led. They do not know that the bishops, priests, and deacons, in an unbroken succession from the apostles, are with us and not with them.”

“No; they do not,” answered Israel. As the congregation began to gather rapidly, further conversation was suspended.

When there appeared upon that part of the house appropriated to the reading desk or ambo, a priest in a long white robe, who knelt. at the pulpit, as also other of these men with the Bishop, Israel gazed attentively and studied carefully.

Throughout the ceremony, as much time as he could spare from the prayer-book, he studied the faces of those men. Recently, he had somewhere read that no man can wholly conceal himself from the eye of one who studies character in the face, and he resolved to profit by the dogma.

Something like this he might have seen : a company of men, who strongly associated with “ the church that important ecclesiastical word “Living.” For the sake of this word, which was full of spiritual and

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

temporal consolation, " the church” had won them (with but one or two exceptions) from other Christian folds, which did not offer so many inducements appertaining thereto.

With this word was also associated that other, of scarcely inferior value, - Power.

Magical words —"Living,Power"! One other they required to complete the perfect three-fold Episcopal charm - viz., “ Infallibility.. Without this, the others were broken, limp, liable to vanish away.

This authorized the look they wore, and which seemed to say, “I am right. All others, save the Roman Catholics, are wrong. We are the only pure Church of Christ and his Apostles. Stand aside, who follow and obey us not.”

With a kind of attempt at churchly gust did these men engage in their united service, sometimes in the acme of their chants, casting a sidelong glance down upon the congregation to witness the effect of such concentrated devotion.

All of them chanted on full stomachs. They kept the faith in the succession of a harmless and useful apostolical wine for the sake of that member of the body, not less faithfully than other traditions. just as certain in their private credo that several flagons accompanied St. Paul to plant Episcopacy in Briton, as that he really went there on that errand.

To many readings, chantings, and prayers, accompanied by gettings up and sittings down, did Israel there listen, but in none was he so much interested as the ordination service. There had been changing of gowns in the adjacent closet, till all were now fixed

It was

for the business in hand. Of what took place, he most pondered on the following:

The Bishop was addressed by the priest who presented the deacons for the office of priest, as Rev. erend Father in God.”

Among the questions propounded to the candidates by the Bishop were these, with their affirmative an..

swers :

66

“ Will you be diligent in prayers and in reading of the Holy Scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh ?

“Will you be diligent to frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to the doctrine of Christ, and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ?

“Will you reverently obey your chief ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you, following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments ?."

When all the questions pertaining to the ceremony were concluded, several of the presbyters, as also the Bishop, laid their hands simultaneously on the heads of each candidate, while in each case the Bishop repeated :

“ Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faith

« VorigeDoorgaan »