Parishioner.—I am anxious to take up our conversation at the point where we left off at our last interview.
Rector.—If I remember rightly, it was where we were talking of the injury our Church had received by tolerating the idea that richness and beauty of divine service were peculiar to the Romish system.
Par.—Yes; you said that you thought we had been playing into the hands of Rome by setting ourselves against a rich and glorious service: the remark struck me forcibly as an expression (which I had hardly dared to make) of ideas which have been passing through my own mind, and I would like to look into it more closely.
Rec.—It would gratify me to hear your own views upon this subject: what have been your thoughts?
Par.—Well, you know I am no philosopher or theologian, only a plain, matter-of-fact, common-sense sort of man, and I can only give my thoughts roughly, and they are perhaps not worth much after all.
Rec.—Pray go on; I would like to know them. I have great respect for common sense; I wish we had more of it in the Church.
Par.—Well, I have reasoned thus: I look out upon the world around me and I find it full of beauty; the heavens above are radiant with beauty; the earth beneath is clad in beauty; the waters teem with beauty; the very shells which are cast upon the shore are glowing with beauty; the clouds, the mountains, the plains, the trees, the flowers, the insects, the birds—every thing, indeed, in Nature is adorned with beauty after its kind.
Rec.—Yes, and the wisdom of Solomon tells us, "that by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportion-ably the Maker of them is seen,"—but excuse the interruption.
Par.—Yes, and St. Paul speaks of the Eternal Power and Godhead of the All-Holy One "being understood by the things that are made." I often used to think of that text (thank God that I learned it, for I think it was one of the various threads by which He drew me to know and love Him) when I had to go to sea. I used to sit upon deck at night and think of the "Heavens showing forth the glory of God;" and when we were in the Tropics, and I saw those lovely forms of life, animal and vegetable, all glorious and radiant with beauty,—excuse the repetition of the word, I seem somehow to be possessed by it,—when, I say, I saw and thought of these things, I wondered in myself, and asked, Why are not our churches beautified with all that man in Nature and in Art can give to beautify them? We read that the earth is God's footstool, and we see that it is very lovely, as it ought to be, to be God's footstool; but we read, likewise, that the Church is God's house, His house of prayer for all people; and if His footstool be thus beautiful, why should not the place where He hath put His Name, the very "house of God and gate of heaven," be likewise beautiful? We read that the heavens are God's throne, and they are very grand and glorious, as they ought to be, to be God's throne; but then we read that He dwelleth between the cherubim over the mercy-seat, and St. Paul tells us that we have the true Mercy-seat in our Saviour, and He tells us that in the Holy Supper He is especially near to us; and I could not but think that we might in some sort regard "the Lord's Table" as His throne; and then I thought, Well, if it be my Saviour's throne, how rich and beautiful and lovely it ought to be, and with what reverence and loving awe we should approach it. I do not know that this is entirely orthodox, but you asked me for my thoughts, and I give them honestly; and I can tell you that there are multitudes of men and women in this sorrow-stricken world who think as I do. They say, If God is our Father, and the source of all beauty, loveliness, order, grandeur, and sublimity, let us see something of it in the houses which are called by His Name; and when we go there don't let us see things carried on as they would be at a political meeting, but let us see reverence, order, beauty in buildings, in music, in vestments, in service; let us see at least as much of order and propriety in approaching the King of Heaven as we would use in going to a reception of the President of the United States, or to a presentation of the Queen of England. This, I say, is the feeling of multitudes of men in the middle and lower classes of society, and I cannot get it out of my head that there is some truth in it, and I am glad to have the chance of speaking of it: pray tell me how much of truth, how much of error, there is in these thoughts of mine.
Rec.—My friend, I see no error in what you say; and I see the acknowledgment of truths which seem to me to be simply undeniable. I cannot escape your conclusions except by believing that the God of Nature is not the God of grace, and that the Hand which framed the universe did not form the Church, the Kingdom which is to last when all things earthly shall have perished.
Par.—I am glad to hear you say so.
Rec.—My studies have made me more familiar with Scripture and with history; your experience has brought you more in contact with Nature; but I find that Scripture and history both unite in the same testimony which you have gathered from the book which you have evidently studied so carefully.
Par.—Scripture, History, and Nature! verily a threefold cord not easily to be broken. Will you tell me something from your books, as I have told you from mine?
Rec.—It would be easy to write a book on each; but you have only to study your Bible, and you will find it full of the amplest recognition of what we are talking about.
Par.—Will you not be more explicit?
Rec.—Why, read the minute directions which God gave concerning the Tabernacle, and which were carried out permanently in the Temple. Read of "the gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, oil for the light, spices for anointing oil and for sweet incense, onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breast-plate." Read of the golden candlestick, with its almond bowls and knops and flowers. Read of the curtains of fine-twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, all adorned with "cherubim of cunning work." Read of the golden pillars and the vail of glorious colors; see how time after time, as if the Lord took special pleasure in it, He gives directions concerning "the blue, and purple, and scarlet." Read of the construction of the Ark and mercy-seat and cherubim of gold. Read the description of the priestly garments for Aaron and his sons, and how the Almighty expressly commanded them to be made "for glory and for beauty,"—read all this, I say, and you will see that in Holy Scripture God gives his own sanction to the very ideas you have spoken of; as indeed it must be so, unless the God who clothed the heavens and the earth with beauty, takes more pleasure in His works in Nature than in His works in grace.
Par.—What! do you think that our Heavenly Father takes pleasure in beauty?
Rec.—Certainly I do; see how wondrously He hath lavished it on every thing in Nature; how he commanded it in the worship He instituted for His children; how, in the description of the glories of heaven, the most costly and beautiful of all created things are brought before us to teach us of its surpassing glory and beauty, and one must conclude that God takes pleasure in these works of His own hand.
Par.—Yes, it was in this very way I reasoned with myself; but I was brought up in a Puritanical system, and I could not entirely extricate myself from its influences, even though my reason and love of the beautiful in Nature compelled me to these conclusions. You think then that Holy Scripture coincides with them?
Rec.—I do decidedly, and I would advise any one who has any doubt upon the subject to read carefully the divine directions about the Tabernacle, to observe how the Lord filled Bezaleel with "the Spirit of God in wisdom and understanding and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship to devise cunning works; to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones to set them, and in cutting of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship." I would advise him to read the glorious account of the Temple, with all its wondrous beauty; and how Hiram was "filled with wisdom and understanding and cunning to work all works in brass," as Bezaleel was before him; and then I would advise him to study carefully the description of the heavenly worship in the Apocalypse, and see if it is possible to escape the conclusion that God delights in beauty, taking pleasure in the beautiful works of His own hands, and teaching us to use them for His honor and glory in His earthly worship.
Par.—It must be so: how entirely unscriptural then is this Puritanical spirit against which we have to struggle in the Church.
Rec.—Yes—let me read you something which puts the matter in its true light (Reads): "If ever an evil spirit has appeared on the earth of such a character as to put men out of patience with its inconsistencies and absurdities, that spirit is the spirit of Puritanism. Already has this powerful and remorseless agent directed more than one Quixotic foray against Art, and even now it has power enough, though superannuated, to fill the minds of multitudes with fears and prejudices more potent than all the arguments of an Aristotle, or all the holy persuasions of a Fra Angelico; cheating them into giving up the fairest things of all their heritage, stripping religion of the beautiful garments in which the Almighty clothed her, and maintaining that she appears to better advantage in the beggarly style of a pauper, than in her own proper robes of royal state. O Puritanism, Puritanism! Thou that abhorrest pictures and flowers, stained glass and altar-cloths! thou that lovest whitewash and blank hard finish! thou that eschewest whatever can move the senses or appeal to the imaginative faculty! with what amazement shalt thou hereafter discern the glories of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem! With what unutterable feelings shalt thou hereafter find thyself passing in through the gates of pearl, and traversing the streets of pure gold! With what a puzzled and incredulous stare shalt thou regard the walls of precious stones, the jaspers clear as crystal, the sapphires, the chalcedonies, the topaz! How will thine eyes be dazzled with the unfamiliar light as of jewels, and transparent glass, and crystal! In the midst of the golden altars, and the choirs robed in white and crowned with gold, and the angels with rainbow colors around their heads, what shall be thy feelings? What shall be thy thoughts when recalling thy former babbling about the incompatibility of purity in religion and outward splendor in Divine worship? Wilt thou even then be unwilling to confess thyself in the wrong? O Puritanism, Puritanism! "
Par.—You were speaking of the confirmation which history gives to the truth of these ideas; I cannot say that I see what history has to do with such subjects.
Rec.—You are thinking, probably, of the history of worldly countries and kingdoms; I am thinking of the history of the Church, God's kingdom, which He hath set up on earth: strange is it that men will be so eager and anxious about the histories of the kingdoms of this world, which change, and crumble, and decay, before our eyes, and yet think little or nothing of the history of the Church, a kingdom which is to last forever!
Par.—It is strange: my children are stuffed full of histories of Greece and Rome, of England and France, and Germany, and so on to the end of the chapter; but I have never heard one word in their public schools of the history of the Church; and yet, when one comes to think of it, Greece and Rome have almost passed away, and here within the last few months the map of Europe has been altered, and changes will go on; but we are taught that the Church shall last forever, and yet we do not hear any thing of the history of this immortal kingdom.
Rec.—Stop, my friend, you are touching on subjects which will draw us far away from the point immediately before us.
Par.—Well let us return; but what has Ritual beauty to do with the history of the Church?
Rec.—Much, very much; it has been largely and powerfully concerned in the propagation of the Christian faith, and in the enlargement of the borders of the Christian Church.
Par.—I cannot see how. I know that our Lord sent His Apostles to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, but I cannot understand what Ritual has to do with it.
Rec.—How do you suppose the Apostles and first ministers of the Church proclaimed the blessed gospel? Do you suppose they went out, a band of sleek, black-garmented, white-necked gentlemen, like our ideal parsons, on the mighty work of destroying the old heathen superstitions and building up upon their ruins the fabric of the blessed gospel?
Par.—Well, really, I do not know.
Rec.—Well, I will tell you: they went out armed with the divine commission to preach and baptize, and the Lord "worked with them, confirming the word with signs following."
Par.—Yes, they had the gift of miracles.
Rec.—But how do you suppose their successors did, when the gift of miracles was gradually withdrawing and they were left to the use of the ordinary gifts which God has given to His children?
Par.—Again, I do not know.
Rec.—And again. I will tell you: they used of course all the gifts of learning, wisdom, eloquence, patience, perseverance, indeed every power which God had endowed them with; but they likewise made large use of Ritual.
Par.—Of Ritual! you surprise me; do explain yourself.
Rec.—Suppose you wanted to teach some rude, unlettered peasant, some ignorant boor, some half-civilized savage the truths of our holy faith; how would you go about it?
Par.—I hardly know.
Rec.—Which would be the most effective,—to place your pupils all before you and talk to them about our Lord and tell them what He has done for us; or to show them some pictures, for instance of the Crucifixion, and show them what He has done for us?
Par.—Why, of course the latter. I remember how it was in my childhood: I went to the meeting-house and heard long sermons and long prayers until my little mind and little legs ached together; then I would go home, and when I got rested, would take the old family Bible and look at the pictures; there were Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and Pharaoh, the Passage of the Red Sea, and ever so many others; and I remember them now with quick, keen, living pleasure, while the long sermons and prayers have only left one feeling,—that of almost loathing.
Rec.—Did you ever think that this was, in its way, Ritualistic teaching?
Par.—Ritualistic teaching in our old family Bible!
Rec.—I thank God, yes; and I have known many an instance where the seeds of faith have been kept alive in the descendants of the Puritans by the memory of such Bible-pictures, when the only effect of their long prayers and doctrinal sermons was to alienate them from religion.
Par.—But what has all this to do with the history of the Church?
Rec.—Much; for it was in this way the ministers of Christ preached the gospel when the gift of miracles was departing from the Church.
Par.—Preached the gospel!
Rec.—Certainly; do you think that the ear is the only avenue to the soul? Can we not preach to the eye and other senses?
Par.—True; the gospel was preached to me in this way in my childhood through Bible-pictures, and in later years God preached to me in this way by His works of Nature, to lead me to seek His fuller glory in the gospel.
Rec.—And it was in such ways that the early missionaries preached the gospel, and it told. I think that in most instances where the gospel was carried into rude and barbarous countries, its success was largely owing to the lavish use of this much-decried Ritual.
Par.—You surprise me; can you not give me some instances to illustrate this remark? It seems to be a very important one, and to suggest some hints for our missionaries.
Rec.—I can and will. I had intended to call your attention to some instances of this kind, and had my histories all ready to point them out, but I have happily met with a passage from a very thoughtful writer, which tells the story better than I can. It is rather long; but I think it will repay your attention.
Par.—Pray let me hear it.
Rec.—I will read it to you (Reads): "As we descend the stream of history, details become at once more precise and more abundant. Foremost stands the powerful, and mainly successful effort of St. John Chrysostom to reclaim the populace of Constantinople from Arian dissent. The means he employed, though based on that thorough knowledge of human nature which he possessed, and eminently productive of the effect he sought to produce, were singularly unlike what an English bishop at the present day would ever think of using against a dangerous form of error, popularly current in his diocese. A good deal of the Arian success was due to their processions and hymns. St. Chrysostom determined to meet them on their own ground, and, by organizing far more magnificent processions with all the apparatus of crosses, banners, and incense, together with the aid of powerful and well-trained choirs, chanting hymns more swinging and effective than his rivals had used, succeeded in thinning the Arian congregations, and in filling his own churches with reverent attendants at the gorgeous Ritual which yet bears his name, and holds the first rank still as the office of more than sixty millions of Christians. And the most supercilious despiser of ceremonial in the present day will hardly venture to sneer at the great Confessor Bishop, as a mere lover of millinery and neglecter of more solemn things. Almost about the same time was made the triumphant attack of St. Martin upon the idolatry of Gaul, the history of which may be read in the pages of Sulpicius Severus. He too opposed the attractions of paganism with those of the stately ceremonial of the Catholic Church, and thus provided a continuous bond to keep together those converts who had been first collected around him by the fame of his austerities, his miracles, and his eloquence. That a similar policy was pursued by the great missionaries who won the barbarian conquerors of Rome to the cross, is tolerably well known to persons of even ordinary cultivation; and the eventful era of the fifth and sixth centuries may therefore be passed over with this slight allusion. The thread is best taken up again with the famous story of the landing of St. Augustine in England. That great man knew that much of his future prospect of success depended on the first impression made on the Kentish monarch, and he was careful to take his measures accordingly. The monastic company advanced in solemn procession, headed by the bearer of a silver cross, after whom came one who bore aloft a painting of the Redeemer, glowing with gold and color. As they passed to the place of meeting, they chanted the Litany -, and on their arrival, Augustine took the picture as his text, and spoke to Ethelbert of Him whom it symbolized. When their audience was over, they returned as they had come in procession, again chanting the Litanies which they had learnt in Rome. The striking ceremony riveted attention and provoked inquiry; and there is no need to tell how the seed sown on that day shot up into one of the statelist trees of the forest. Such, too, was the method of the great Celtic evangelizers of Germany,—Columbanus, Gall, and Kilian; and still more remarkably the policy of St. Willibrord and St. Boniface, and the noble band of followers who carried on the work, especially Sturmi of Fulda and Liudger of Utrecht. More dramatic, though not more in accordance with the principle here advanced, is the story of the conversion of St. Vladimir, grand prince of Kieff, and, through him, of the whole Russian nation—a greater missionary victory than had been won since the time of the Apostles, and incomparably surpassing all that has been done since by the combined efforts of all Christian bodies. He is said to have been visited by emissaries from Jews, the Mohammedans, the Latins, and the Greeks. The Byzantine envoy was the only one who made any way with him, and that was achieved (like the conversion of Bogoris, King of Bulgaria) by the exhibition of a painting of the last judgment, such as are common in Eastern monasteries to the present day. Next year, Vladimir sent out messengers in his turn, who were instructed to make inquiries concerning the various religions, and to bring him back a faithful account of what they saw. At that time Constantinople was the wealthiest city of Europe, and St. Sophia the most gorgeous church in the world. The elaborate and splendid Ritual of the Chrysostomic Liturgy, the vestments, the singing, the lights, incense, and processions, astounded the Muscovite envoys, and on their return they said as follows:—'When we stood in the temple, we did not know where we were, for there is nothing else like it upon earth: there, in truth, God has His dwelling with men; and we can never forget the beauty we saw there. No one who has once tasted sweets will afterwards take that which is bitter; nor can we now abide any longer in heathenism.' There remains one other example from the Middle Ages which deserves citation, because of the unusually full details which we possess, thanks to the zeal of a mediaeval Boswell. It is the conversion of Pomerania, by St. Otto of Bamberg. Pomerania, unlike most early mission-fields, was prosperous and wealthy, and the rites of Slavonic heathenism were celebrated in its temples with much pomp by the members, of a rich and respected priesthood. The first missionary who attempted the conversion of the country, did so merely as a preacher, and that too in the garb of a mendicant, without any Ritualism to back his efforts. His poverty was derided, and his sermons unheeded by the genial, but Epicurean burghers of Julin, and he retired in despair. He had tact enough, however, to recognize in Otto a man who could do the work in which lie had failed, and urged him on to make the attempt. The sagacious German, exactly reversing the plan of his Spanish predecessor Bernard, entered Pomerania with a gorgeous retinue of priests and soldiers, and preached his first sermon to the assembled multitudes, not in the garb of a beggar, but in the splendid vestments of his Episcopal rank. So, too, when he destroyed the great temple at Giitzkow, he replaced it by a church fur more magnificent; and at a later period overawed an infuriated heathen mob in Stettin, by boldly advancing in procession with his clergy, chanting psalms, with the cross borne before them. Exactly as St. Chrysostom had done more than seven hundred years previously, Otto of Bamberg fought his enemies with their own weapons, and triumphed over them."
Par.—It is wonderful indeed. Why do not our missionaries now make use of such means? I cannot but think that they would succeed much better than they do. I have often wondered why they make such a slight impression upon the people to whom they are sent.
Rec.—There are doubtless various reasons, but I believe that one of them is that they have carried with them into new, strange, half-civilized or barbarous countries the Puritanical traditions of their narrow-minded schools. They have discarded the use of those agencies which have always proved most powerful with rude people, and have contented themselves with simple oral teaching and preaching, and the effect has been just as one would expect.
Par.—It would seem then that Ritual has its missionary aspect likewise.
Rec.—It has, and to give you some new ideas on the subject, I will lend you the article from which I read the extract which has so interested you; it is entitled "The Missionary Aspect of Ritualism;" and is printed in a volume called "The Church and the World."
Par.—Would it not be well to have it published in "The Spirit of Missions"?
Rec.—It might do good. It would at least suggest the thought that possibly there are mighty agencies which we might employ, which are as yet untried in our missionary enterprises.
Par.—But it occurs to me that this objection might be raised, namely, that while it is possible that this mode of teaching did very well in rude and barbarous times, and might even now do well in rude and barbarous countries, yet for us,—for us refined, cultivated, civilized men and women,—such instrumentalities are out of place.
Rec.—Let us examine this. Do you find that the love of beauty and ceremonial decreases with the advance of civilization?
Par.—No; rather the reverse.
Rec.—Do you find that cultivated and educated people take no pleasure in pictures, music, and works of art?
Par.—Quite the contrary; I find that our wealthy people fill their houses with pictures and statuary and take great pleasure in music, and I have thought, in my old-fashioned way, that if their own houses are thus beautified why should not God's house be likewise; and I have remembered that David had some such ideas when he said to Nathan the prophet,—"See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains,"—but certainly my experience teaches me that refined, civilized, educated people take as much pleasure in color, in ceremonial, in music, in sweet sights and smells and sounds, as the rude, common, and uncivilized.
Rec.—Well, if this be so, does it not seem right and proper to make use of such instrumentalities as will appeal to them in this direction?
Par.—Do you mean to say that we should appeal to the senses and the imagination in all our religious worship and service? Does it not seem like degrading the gospel to treat it in this sensuous way?
Rec.—What right have we to set up one portion of our nature as higher and better than another; to say that our logical faculties are higher than our imaginative; that our powers of analysis and comparison are nobler than our esthetic faculties, and that we may lawfully use the one but not the other? It strikes me that we should appeal to every faculty which God has given to His children to draw them to His service. Our Lord preached in this way: He used the natural objects around Him to inculcate spiritual truths; His parables were so many object lessons; His miracles were signs of spiritual realities; He drew men to Him by appealing to their wants and sensible experiences; I do not see why His ministers now should discard the principles which formed so prominent a part of His divine teaching.
Par.—And you think that this is applicable to all classes of people, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant?
Rec.—I do; I find that the Ritualistic clergymen in England have larger and more crowded congregations, embracing all classes of society, than any others, and I believe that if we were to develop our Ritual gradually and judiciously, it would have a wonderful effect in popularizing, in its right and true sense, the services of the Church.
Par.—Yes; I remember in taking up an English paper, I found that a certain Canon Clayton, in preaching a sermon in Cambridge against Ritual, said that the Ritualists made the Sunday services palatable, and even interesting, to unconverted and unspiritual minds.
Rec.—I have no doubt of it, and I have seen repeated statements that they are reaching a class of population which has hitherto been inaccessible to the ordinary ministrations of religion. Thank God that it is so, and let us hope that the work will go on and prosper, and that it may not be checked by hasty and indiscreet legislation, or injured by any foolish or extravagant excesses.
Par.—But still there seems to be something lying under all this that I do not clearly understand; it seems to me that if this love of the beautiful in Nature and in Art is common to all classes of people, it must point to some common law or necessity of Nature in which all share alike.
Rec.—Now you touch the heart of the matter. There is this common heritage of humanity, this common law to all mankind that God hath implanted in His children, this love for bright, beautiful, and lovely things; you see it everywhere, from the rudest savage to the most cultivated gentleman; and I would reason thus: If God hath thus endowed His children and given them these gifts, He means that they should use them for His service, for I do not believe that our Heavenly Father has given us any thing to have apart from Him. Moreover, I hold that our Lord did not ransom a single portion of our nature only, but that its every power and faculty has been redeemed,—our imaginative as well as our reasoning powers,—and therefore all should be consecrated to Him; and lastly, that all our powers may not only be instrumental in ministering to His glory, but that, in so ministering, they are themselves exalted and sanctified.
Par.—Well, Ritual has depths of meaning that I little thought of when I first came to you.
Rec.—It has; it rests upon the primary laws of human nature, and recognizes these laws in their relation to Him who hath imposed them; and you will find that every society of Christians which has ignored these truths and set itself against them, has sooner or later come to naught, or if it lived, it has been compelled to pay homage to those laws by departing from its original traditions.
Par.—Yes. I see that even in Presbyterian Scotland there is a movement in favor of organs and other features of our worship.
Rec.—Only look around you and see how the various religious societies have been ritualizing for some years past; look at their architecturally constructed buildings, their organs, their occasional floral decorations, their recognition of Christmas and Easter; and some of the more advanced of those Ritualists are anxious for liturgical forms in their services; all this is only another illustration of the old adage, "You cannot drive out Nature with a pitchfork; sooner or later she will return."
Par.—You consider then that all these Ritualistic movements are really the efforts of the suppressed instincts of our nature to recover and vindicate themselves?
Rec.—I do, and I look upon this Ritualistic movement in the Church as the just, right, and natural recoil from the oppression which that cold-hearted and iron-handed Puritanism has exercised over her for some generations past, and I hope the bishops and clergy will have sense enough, to recognize the fact, and observe the signs of the times.
Par.—There was one other point which I would like to have explained. You spoke of our having played into the hands of Rome by setting ourselves against beauty of ceremonial in our public worship.
Rec.—I will tell you what I think. I believe that there are refined, cultivated, choice, poetic spirits who are "tuned to finer issues" than the mass of mankind. Such men and women are high-toned, cultivated, aesthetic, loving the beautiful in Nature and in Art, and longing for it in that which is the highest of all things, the public worship of God.
Par.—Well, why, if your remarks are correct, are they not entitled to it, as much as the man of logic is to a service which suits his colder nature?
Rec.—They are, and I believe that the reason why we have lost such men and women has been because we have not taken sufficient account of this fact; we have not made provision in our services for the outgoing and exercise of those faculties which are their peculiar gifts, and they have sometimes left us. I believe that the outward splendor of the Roman Ritual has drawn multitudes to her Communion who have not the slightest sympathy with her doctrinal corruptions.
Par.—But is not that an insufficient reason for forsaking the Church?
Rec.—It is; nothing can justify a person in forsaking this branch of Christ's Holy Church, in which we have the Apostolic ministry, the Apostolic doctrine, and the Apostolic sacraments,—nothing, I say, can justify a person in forsaking our Communion; and to do so for any love of a beautiful service; to embrace the doctrinal errors and practical corruptions of Rome because of her gorgeous Ritual, is only swallowing poison because the pill is gilded. Still human nature is weak; and as men of logical minds have erred in one way, so those of an ardent and imaginative character have erred in another.
Par.—But why not enrich our service in such a judicious, reverent, loving way that we may meet the wants of such persons, and not only theirs, but of that large class of men and women of which I have already spoken.
Rec.—I think it ought to be done, and again I hope that the Church will have wisdom to recognize this want, and not to interfere, to thwart a movement which has so much of good in it.
Par.—I hope so too; I would like to have your views as to the proper mode in which this question should be treated.
Rec.—We have already prolonged our conversation beyond the time I had allotted to it; but if you will call on me again, I will give you my ideas on the subject.