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PASSION WEEK, AS OBSERVED AT ROME. TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND MAGAZINE.
SIR, The present period of the church's year (commencing on Ash Wednesday and ending with passion week), renders it a fitting season to call the attention of your readers to the practices observed by the Roman church during the week referred to-a task which I am induced to undertake from a conviction of the fact, that of the protestant as well as the Roman catholic public in this country, where that unscriptural system finds it convenient to veil her real complexion, and put her best foot foremost, few are aware of the extravagant and superstitious mummeries which annually take place at that period in Roman catholic countries, and especially in the grand centre of papal domination, Rome herself. In the execution of my design, I propose to lay before your readers a short sketch, from authentic and credible sources, demonstrating facts which will enable them to judge how far, in respect to those practices and their consequences, that church is found to agree with the Christianity taught in scripture.
An intelligent American traveller (Mr. Willis), in an interesting work, entitled "Pencillings by the Way," informs us that "All the travelling world assembles at Rome, in order to be present at the ceremonies of the holy week. Naples, Florence, and Pisa, send their hundreds of annual visitors, and the hotels and palaces are crowded with strangers of every nation and rank." And the writer, as an eye witness, can also add with him, that "it would be difficult to imagine a gayer or busier place than this usually sombre city becomes in a few days."
The ceremonies commence with Palm Sunday, on which day-(as we are told by a convenient little pamphlet, intituled "Ceremonies of the Holy Week," translated into English by a cardinal, and published in Rome, under the sanction of a papal" imprimatur"-"the Sistine chapel at the Vatican (and sometimes St. Peter's) is prepared for the reception of the pope, cardinals, bishops, foreign ambassadors, and other persons of distinction. About nine o'clock the pope enters the chapel, wearing a silver mitre and red cope with formal. After a short prayer he receives the homage of the cardinals (made by bowing profoundly and kissing the knee), who wear copes of a violet colour, this being a time of mourning and penance." This over, the business of the day may be said to commence, which consists principally in his holiness blessing some five or six hundred white wands, representing the palms, and afterwards distributing them amongst the above distinguished personages, amidst a peal of chaunting voices, and an immense crowd of admiring devotees. The distribution is performed by a cardinal deacon laying a palm across the knees of the pope, who makes the sign of the cross upon it. The kneeling recipient then bows down and kisses the embroidered cross upon his holiness' slipper, and after the same favour done to the palm, bears it off in his two hands to his seat. The distribution occupies upwards of three hours, and is followed by mass, rendered unusually long, through the introduction of the passion according to St. Matthew, chaps. xxvi. and xxvii., sung by three choristers-"the first, the text in a tenor voice; the second, in contralto; the third, representing Christ, in a bass; the choir represents the people" (Ceremonies, p. 11). We are then gravely informed (p. 12) that "the palms are preserved in order to defend our fields, habitations, and persons from accidents!"
Proceeding to the same place on Wednesday, the pope is seen to enter, wearing a reddish purple cope and silver mitre. He is attended by about 60 cardinals and other dignitaries, who, as well on this as on
other occasions, are fenced off from the contaminating presence of the other sex by a strong iron screenwork, through which alone ladies are permitted to view the ceremonies. A long penitential office, from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, follows; after that about thirteen psalms are chaunted, and the ceremonies of the day close with that exquisite and far-famed musical composition, the "Miserere" of Gregorio Allegri, executed by the pope's choristers, and forming a harmony far surpassing all ordinary powers of conception. Rather, however, than my own homely details, I prefer borrowing the elegant description of Mr. Willis. "The twilight," he remarks, "had deepened through the dimly lit chapel, and the only solitary lamp looked lost at the distance of the altar. Suddenly the miserere commenced with one high prolonged note, that sounded like a wail; another joined it, and another, and another; and all the different parts came in, with a gradual swell of plaintive and most thrilling harmony, to the full power of the choir. It continued for perhaps half an hour; the unison was simple, running upon a few notes, like a dirge; but there were voices in the choir that seemed of a really supernatural sweetness-no instrument could be so clear. The crowd, even in their uncomfortable positions, were breathless with attention, and the effect was universal." He then goes on to state, "Two or three hours after, I was at a crowded soirée at one of the noble houses of Rome. A prima donna from the opera was singing in one room, and card tables, covered with gold and silver, filled three others; and every second player was a dignitary of the church, in dainty pumps, and with gold snuff-box and jewelled fingers, complimenting and flirting with all the bright eyes and merry faces around him. The penitential miserere passed through my mind, and the thick iron grates through which alone ladies are allowed to witness the ceremonies of the chapel. I passed on to a pretty silken boudoir, at the end of the long suite of apartments, and was welcomed by the handsomest man in Rome, a priest, and the son of a wealthy and noble family, who was half reclining upon the cushions of a divan, and playing with the scarf of one of the loveliest women of the society here, while two others endeavoured to draw him into conversation. I could not help continuing my reflection, and contrasting this clerical dandy with the ministers of a religion professing the same master, in our own country. There are, of course, priests in Rome who are sufficiently humble in dress and manner, but nothing can exceed the sumptuousness and style in which the cardinals live, as well as all who from birth or fortune have a certain personal consequence. Their carriages and horses are the most splendid in the world, their large palaces swarm with servants, and their dress (including the scarlet hat and stockings) has all the richness of princes when they are abroad" (Pencillings by the Way, p. 81).
The state of society at Rome, however, I do not further dwell upon, having matters in reserve of infinitely greater moment, forming as they do a lively picture of the march of superstition in the 19th century. For the same reason I curtail my description of the unedifying mockeries of Thursday, when the pope, who has changed his "white cope and mitre of cloth of gold, and formal with the figure of the Holy Ghost in the centre," worn when he enters, "for the more becoming (!) violet stole, the red satin mantle and formal, with the silver mitre" (Ceremonies, p. 22), and having been begirded with a fine white apron trimmed with lace, washes the feet of thirteen ferocious looking fellows, intended to personify the apostles, by touching the instep of their feet with water, and rubbing each with a separate napkin; and afterwards serves them with sundry viands, and offers them drink, in representation of the last supper.
On the evening of this day I wandered to St. Peter's,
in hopes of again catching the fine strains of the miserere, but was too late; and only found a great number of priests washing the far distant altar over that saint's reputed tomb with red wine, and afterwards wiping it down with small brooms made for the purpose. Their appearance was so absurd, skipping one after another up the steps, whisking the broom along the altar, and then down again at the other side; that, smiling in sheer simplicity at their amusement, reminding me as it did of the pranks of so many school-boys, I turned away to examine, for the twentieth time, the numberless gems of art with which this wonderful edifice is studded, and was only roused from my contemplations by the tinkling of a little bell in a distant part of the building, followed by a sudden and profound silence. Approaching on tiptoe to see the cause, I found the immense crowd, with the canons and priests at their head, prostrate upon the marble floor, occasionally looking up with the most intense reverence, and then throwing themselves again flat upon their faces, and beating their heads against the floor in a manner denoting the deepest abjection. It was some time before I could discern the object of all this excessive adoration, which was truly awful to behold; when, following the direction of the eyes of the worshippers, I observed several priests in a lofty gallery, exhibiting, by the dim light of a few wax tapers, several objects that appeared to be inclosed in frames like pictures, which they elevated, and carried slowly along the front of the gallery. A reference to my pamphlet of the ceremonies enlightened me by the information, that the objects of this veneration were-first, portion of the true cross on which our Saviour died!" 2nd, "the lance which pierced his side!!" and last, but not the least wonderful, "the impression of his face on a cloth, taken on his way to Calvary!!!" This last is stated in the guide-books at Rome, to be as perfect as when taken, and to be as stiff as a plaster cast. Of this, however, I can give no account, the public never having any nearer view of it than at the distance of some sixty or eighty feet, being the probable height of the gallery in which all these relics are preserved. I may add, that the same adoration is paid to the above alleged relics on the day following, viz., Good Friday, and again on Easter Sunday by the pope, cardinals, and the whole hierarchy of the church of Rome, amounting to upwards of 200, as well as I could calculate. During the functions of the former of these days, another genuine specimen of "creature worship" is presented to view; but, fearing I might misrepresent it in attempting a description, I give it in the words of authority, viz. :
" III. PRAYERS, ADORATION OF THE CROSS. "The celebrant, laying aside the chasuble, receives from a deacon a cross covered with a black veil, which is removed by degrees (observe here the stage-effect), and presenting it to the assistants, says, Ecce lignum crucis' (Behold the wood of the cross)! Two tenors answer In quo salus' (In which wood] is safety); and the whole choir, Venite adoremus' (Come, let us worship)! when all prostern themselves except the celebrant, who, advancing to the gospel side of the altar, uncovers the right arm of the cross, repeating in a louder voice, Ecce lignum crucis the choir responding as before. At the centre of the altar he uncovers it in full, saying in a still louder tone, 'Ecce lignum crucis!' the same response being made for the last time. It is then carried to the steps of the altar, the pope and all present kneeling" (Ceremonies, p. 30; see also pp. 31, 32).
I abstain from encumbering your columns further with a description of the remaining ceremonies of the week, including Saturday and Easter Sunday, referring your readers to the "Book of Ceremonies" itself (which I fancy may be had in England), whilst I proceed at once to offer a few remarks upon the preceding
Without attempting to enter into all the hairsplitting niceties of latria, hyperdoulia, and douliaterms invented by Romish theologians to mete out and derine the exact degree of worship which may be given by the members of their communion respectively to The Trinity, the Virgin Mary, and the saints-or to dis
cuss the merits of "positive" and "relative" worship, or essaying to fathom the uncertain depths of the "due honour and veneration" commanded to be given to images by the creed of pope Pius fourth; all these being as far beyond my comprehension as they are unknown to scripture-I ask every discriminating reader if I am not justified in the conclusion I come to, viz., that if any reliance is to be placed upon ocular demonstration, all these arbitrary distinctions are practically lost sight of when, at the fountain-head of popery, her votaries are seen to prostrate themselves before stocks and stones, in a manner far more humiliating and slavish even than at high mass, when (according to their creed)," the real substantial body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ," is elevated as an object legitimately demanding the highest description of adorntion? Furthermore, in order to show what that church herself means when she points her worshippers to the wooden cross and relics, we have but to examine her offices as quoted above -" Behold the wood of the cross, in which is safety ;" and if words and actions have any meaning, and the eyes, cars, and understanding are worthy of any credit, we have a case of gross idolatry perpetrated, annually at least, in her very citadel. And here I beg to be understood as altogether disclaiming any pretensions to prying into man's heart-that high prerogative belonging not to his fellow-man; but as simply adducing the only evidence of which the nature of the thing admits, viz., the evidence of one's own senses. If Rome shut the door to all but the very worst of inferences, I cannot help it.
Again, sir, let me refer your readers to another prayer, used by the same parties during the functions of Good Friday (see "Book of Ceremonies," pp. 31 and 32), where the wooden cross is thus invocated-"O crux ave, spes unica, hoc passionis tempore, auge piis justitiam, reisque dona veniam!" which, for the sake of the merely English reader, is thus translated
Hail, O cross! our only hope in this paschal season; increase grace to the pious, and grant pardon to the guilty!" and then ask-why is this prayer not translated in the English missal? Is it not because English Roman catholics would be startled at their own idolatrous service?
In conclusion, I would remark that a protestant reader, who hears every sabbath the solemn injunetion, "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image; thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor worship them”—making no arbitrary distinction of positive and relative worship; and who remembers that it is written-" Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve," without the remotest glimmering of an idea of hyperdoulia and doulia, but contemplating only one object of worship; and, again, that "God is a spirit, and they that wor ship him must worship him," not through the sensual media of wooden crosses and pseudo-relics, but "in spirit and in truth," admitting but of one species of worship; and, lastly, takes to heart the fearful threatening contained in the following passage-" What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to
make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, awake; to the dumb stone, arise, it shall teach! (and the prophet might have added, " to the wooden cross, Hail, O cross, our only hope!")-behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it" (Habak. ii. 18, 19); beside scores of other passages to the same effect: such a reader, I say, will feel no difficulty in concluding tha above services to be palpably idolatrous, and as being precisely those forbidden by, and denounced in, the inspired word of God. And if my Roman catholic
See R. Missal for the 3rd May.
the buffetings of Satan, which our Lord sustained? Is it such a heart-piercing affliction to be deserted of friends? what was it then for him who was the Son of God's love, the darling of his bosom, to be deserted of his Father, which made him cry out, to the aston
countrymen would but for one moment suspend their prejudices in favour of the infallible teaching of their church, and exercise their own judgments with candour and sincerity upon the "law and testimony”more especially upon the texts quoted above-carefully comparing them with the practices before de-ishment of heaven and earth, "My God, my God, scribed; and then let them reflect that the bible at why hast thou forsaken me?" Is a chain so heavy, all events is true, whatever may be the value of tra- a prison so loathsome, the sentence and execution of dition; and I doubt not but their good sense would, death so dreadful? O, what was it for him who made with the grace of God, direct them to regard their heaven and earth to be bound with a chain, hurried church as an unnatural mother, offering to her chil- up and down from one unrighteous judge to another; dren "stones" for food instead of "bread,” and lead mocked, abused, spit upon, buffeted, reviled, cast into them to cast the dogmas of saint and relic worship prison, arraigned, condemned, executed in a most "to the moles and to the bats," as being alike unscrip- shameful and an accursed manner? O, what was it tural, unjustifiable, and unprofitable-at once dis- for him to endure all this contradiction of sinners, honourable to God and degrading to man. rage of the devil, and wrath of God, in comparison of whom the most righteous person that ever was, may say, with the good thief on the cross-" And we indeed justly; but he, what evil hath he done?" And thus, as the Lord Jesus, by the sensible experience of his own passion, came perfectly to understand what his poor members suffer while they are in the body, so we, by the remainders of his cross, which he hath bequeathed to us as a legacy, come in some measure to understand the sufferings of Christ; or at least, by comparing things of such vast disproportion, to guess at what we cannot understand. Our own troubles enable us inuch better to conceive what love burned in that heart, towards our sinful souls, when nailed to the cross for their salvation.-Venn's Letters.
It was my intention to have offered a few remarks upon the splendour of the ceremonies of the papal court, with a view to show how they pander to the lowest feelings of our fallen nature, and bewilder the minds of the ignorant and unstable, who are induced to reverence the religion because of the pompous display it here makes of every thing on earth that can conspire to lend additional gorgeousness to its usual dazzling exterior; as also to have commented on the march of mind displayed in teaching her worshippers at this day that palms blessed by man, and signed with the cross, possess the virtue of " preserving fields, habitations, and persons from accidents;" but that I find my letter already sufficiently lengthy, and feel content to leave these subjects to the rightmindedness of Englishmen, under the well-grounded assurance that they can distinguish vain show from the retiring nature of true religion in the former, and at a glance discover the wretched taste and lamentable superstition of the latter. The fact is that, unhappily, these things are believed in Italy and other Roman catholic countries I have visited, where the pure word of God is still a sealed book to the laity, who receive their knowledge of it entirely through the priesthood of a church which, as I conceive, has been satisfactorily shown to have diluted it, and rendered it of no effect, by her traditions. But, thank God, the blaze of gospel light in this favoured land is too bright for such inventions of man to pass current; hence the policy of the church of Rome is either altogether to suppress them here, or else to leave them in her liturgy as a dead letter, wrapped up in a language not understood of her people.
I remain, sir, respectfully yours,
SUPFERINGS OF JESUS.-In our prosperity we pass by the cross, that is carelessly and regardlessly; at the best we do but shake our heads a little. The reading of the story of Christ's passion stirs up some compassion towards him, and passion against his persecutors; but it is quickly gone: we forget as soon as we get into the world again; but now let God prick our flesh with some sore affliction; let him fill our bones with pain, and set us on fire with a burning fever; let our feet be hurt in the stocks, or the iron enter into our souls; let us be destitute, afflicted, tormented, &c., then happily will we sit down and look upon him whom we have pierced, and begin to say within ourselves, And are the chips of the cross so heavy? What then was the cross itself, which first my Redeemer did bear, and then it did bear him? Are a few bodily pains so bitter? what then were the agonies which the Lord of glory sustained in his soul? Is the wrath of man so piercing? what was the wrath of God which scorched his righteous soul? Are the buffetings of men so grievous? what were
THE TRAVELLER, THE OLD MAN, AND THE
BY HENRY CLARKE.
(For the Church of England Magazine.)
AGED wanderer! name, I pray,
Time hath bleached these tresses gray:
to call apes from the bush, and make them talk with
that a man of distinction had come to hear them, and
THE ENGLISH REFORMERS.-Those persons who give to our reformers credit for the courage which they displayed in the flames, and regard their sufferings, as confined to their martyrdom, do them poor justice. To jostle with so many offensive obstacles for so many long years; to persevere unto the end in the midst of so much to thwart, to disappoint, to irritate; to feel themselves earnest, sincere, and single-hearted, and to have to encounter so much hypocrisy, double-begging them to honour his fetische by obeying the dealing, and pretence; to work their weary way through a sordid and mercenary generation, who had a zeal for God's service on their tongues, but who in their hearts admired nothing of heaven save the riches of its pavement; to see the goodly fruils of all their labours likely to perish through sectarian divisions, which might very probably have been healed by timely precaution, and the adoption (at some cost, to be sure) of measures which they were the first to recommend; these were trials by that slow fire of temptation which it requires a stout heart and a high principle to sustain; and though there might be many (as Milton ungenerously and ungratefully puts it) who would give their bodies to be burned if the occasion demanded it, yet there would be few who, were they so tried, would find themselves so unweary in well-doing. They, however, have their reward; and it was a noble prize for which they struggled. They are themselves gone to heaven in their chariot of fire, and to their country they have bequeathed as a mantle, a free use of the bible, a reasonable faith, a pure ritual, principles of toleration, liberty of conscience, and that virtue which goeth out of all these things; whereby a nation is made to put forth its otherwise dormant strength in the prosecution of commerce, of manufactures, of agriculture, of science, and of whatever else belongs to inextinguishable enterprise.-Blunt's History of the Reformation. FETISCHE.-Shortly after the commencement of the Wesleyan mission, a fetische, named Akwah, came from the interior to Cape Coast town, who professed to be able, when he had bruised a bead to powder, to unite the particles together again, and make it what it was before. Several persons put his skill to the test, and he contrived so adroitly to slip other beads into the places of the powdered ones, that the spectators were led to believe that he had really restored the broken beads to their former state. He professed, moreover, that he could thrust his finger through a stone, and produced one with a hole in it, which hole he said was made by his finger; and he managed to obtain credit with the people for having done it, although they did not see the alleged feat performed. He stated, moreover, that he had sufficient influence
At length a rushing noise was heard in the bush, and a small voice proceeded from it, saying, "We are come: give us some rum." The trader immediately sprang forward, saying, "I will give it to them;" but Akwah interposed, telling him that it would be more consistent with his dignity to sit down, however, did Akwah suspect that the boys had been and allow his servants to perform the duty. Little, previously instructed as to the part which they should act, or anticipate the result which followed. The boys took the flasks, and thrust them into the bush whence the voices proceeded; and each, as he extended a flask in one hand, stretched out also the other, that he might be able to ascertain, by feeling, what was the recipient. It being quite dark, this manoeuvre could not be perceived; and immediately one of the boys called out to his master, "My father! my father! it is not an ape; I have caught a boy's hand!" "Hold it fast," replied the trader, “until I come and satisfy myself;" but in the struggle which ensued the captive regained his liberty,and the trader and his boys pursued the fugitives, and ascertained that they were a number of boys who had been trained by Akwah to personate apes. On their return to the bush, the trader and his servants found that the fetische boys, in their haste, had left the bottles they had brought, into which to empty the trader's fiasks for the use of their master; but Akwah himself had taken to his heels, and was never seen or heard of more at Cape Coast town. This discovery broke the spell with which the popular superstition had bound
the mind of the trader, and he soon after became a member of Christian society.-Beecham's " Ashantee and the Gold Coast." London: 1841.
Wanderer, thy thoughts, I see,
Are where thoughts should ever be.
But name, I pray, this fairest gem
Traveller, the sun has set-
London: Published by JAMES BURNS, 17 Portman Street, Portman Square: W. EDWARDS, 12 Ave Maria Lane, St. Paul's; and to be procured, by order, of all Booksellers in Town and Country.
JOSEPH ROGERSON, 24 NORFOLK STREET, STRAND, LONDOY.
THE DUTY OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN "BOUGHT WITH A PRICE."
BY THE REV. CHARLES RAWLINGS, A.B.,
Curate of St. Stephen's and St. Dennis, Cornwall. ST. PAUL declares (1,Cor. vi. 19,20) "ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." The important principle assumed by the apostle is one which people in general are reluctant to admit-"Ye are not your own ;" and, therefore, they betray equal reluctance to acknowledge the propriety of the exhortation deduced from the principle assumed, "Glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." To imagine ourselves independent of God is a grand mistake, and is another fearful evidence of the corruption and depravity of our nature. No man is, or can be, his own: we may be free from any human yoke; we may not groan under the oppression of arbitrary power; we may exult in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; but still we are not our own, as it regards God, the duties we owe him, and the manner in which we are to employ the talents committed to our charge. There is to be no limited or partial view to the divine glory, but there is to be an universal regard to that high and commanding object: we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are his. We must not, however, suppose that we can add any thing to the essential glory of Jehovah "our goodness extendeth not to him;" he is the centre of all perfection; and around his august character beam all the bright splendour of moral loveliness and beauty. "He chargeth his angels with folly," and the very
VOL. XII.-NO. CCCXXXIV.
OF THE UNITED
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
[London: Joseph Rogerson, 24, Norfolk-street, Strand.]
"heavens are not pure in his sight!" Whatever we do, we cannot add any thing to the glory of God, or lend one additional ray to the lustre of his crown. Still God esteems himself glorified by our services-"Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me." There are many ways in which we may glorify the Lord our God; and there are many favourable opportunities which we may embrace, and which we ought to embrace, for this sacred purpose. With our tongues we may speak to the honour of Jehovah's name, and celebrate the anthems of his praise. We may labour to promote his cause, and advance his kingdom in the world: every effort that we make for the suppression of vice, immorality, and general wickedness, is an effort made for the furtherance of the glory of God, by a proportionate weakening of the power of the devil. Again, we are called upon to glorify God by a due and regular attendance on the ordinances of God, and by an enforcement upon others of the duty and the privilege of coming to share with ourselves the blessed means of grace. Still further, we are to glorify God by remembering the sabbath-day, to keep it holy; whilst we are encouraged by that gracious declaration, "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." A due observance of the Lord's day is not con