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NOTES OF A LESSON ON RITUALISM.
Do you know, scholars, what Ritualism is ?
High Church religion.
It is used in places where they have music and fine dresses, with crosses, candles, &c.
Why is it called high church? (No one knows.]
Because it is supposed to have a higher style of service than other places.
What is meant by the term Ritualism ? [No one knows. ]
Ritualism is any system of rituals, or of rites and ceremonies; and the term is now generally confined to what some would call excessive rites or usages in religion, but the principle is the same in all. Now
has told us that it consists of having music, fine dresses, with crosses and candles. To this we may add, bowing, marching in procession, &c. Now, tell me, is there any harm in Ritualism, or is it a harmless thing? [Some say
and some say there is no harm in it.]
Will those who say it is right tell us why they think so ?
There is no harm in music and dresses, candles, &c. They may not be needed, but it is not doing wrong. One says he has heard it draws a crowd of people together who would not come otherwise ; and these are preached to.
Whom do they profess to worship?
it is wrong,
Has He given
us a book to tell how we must worship Him? Yes; the Bible.
Is there one word in the Bible about worshipping God with candles, fine dresses, &c. ?
Aaron had a fine dress, and lamps in the temple.
Ah, so he had; but we are now considering the New Testament. We will try and look at the worship of the Old Testament another day. Is there any thing in the New Testament about Ritualism ? Read John iv. 23.
“ The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
The Jews said it must be in a particular placeJerusalem ; and the Samaritans said it ought to be on their mountain ; but Jesus does not say a word about where; only it must be “in spirit and in truth.” Where did not matter; but it must be of the right sort.
A A scholar says, But supposing the worship is the right sort, do music, dresses, &c., do any harm?
The first question we must settle is, is it according to scripture? Is there one word in the New Testament that those who minister must have a particular dress? or that there must be music, candles, &c. ? You all know that there is not one word about it; what right has anyone then to bring a lot of things into the worship of that One who says it must be in spirit and in truth?
But supposing these things are not ordered to be used, is there any harm in using them?
We must remember that God does not mention them ; and so they must have their origin either from Satan or from the evil heart of man. From Satan!
Would he set anyone to use any, thing that would draw people to churches and chapels ?
Certainly. He does not care how religious people are if they do not come to Christ. Nothing could please him better than to see people satisfied with the mere forms of religion.
But are not these things set up to bring people to Christ?
They are not God's way, and do a great deal of positive mischief in setting people to be religious instead of inviting them to come to Christ as lost sinners. How can the people think themselves lost and helpless, when they are regarded as religious worshippers ? God's plan of salvation is entirely reversed. He would have you come, as helpless and lost, to Christ, and receive salvation first; and then you become true worshippers afterwards. The aim of Satan in Ritualism is to get you to be occupied with yourselves and your religious services and so keep you from Christ.
As the subject is so important, we must try and look at it again.
WHAT IS A MIRACLE ? MR. EDITOR, I send herewith a "study" on miracles, in the
“ hope that your readers who have not considered the subject may be led to do so.
I suppose the common thought of a miracle is that it is something supernatural —-something above and beyond the power of man-something which God only can do, either directly, or by means of His servants, or by others by His permission.
The word commonly used in the original does not necessarily imply that which is supernatural, but is rather à “sign, mark, note, token,” &c. I
give a few passages where the word (seemeion) is used in these senses.
Luke ii. 12: “And this shall be a sign unto you."
Romans iv. 11: “He received the sign of circumcision."
2 Corinthians xii. 12: “ Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you.
2 Thessalonians iii. 17 : «Which is the token in every epistle."
It is sometimes associated with another word (teras) translated “wonders.” Thus John iv. 48:
Unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe.” This latter word is always _translated 66 wonders” in the New Testament. It signifies something to tremble atma prodigy, a wonder.
But in Acts ii. 22 we read of " miracles, and wonders, and signs." Here the word translated "miracle" is dunamis, which is, “a work of
a power,” something extraordinary, and hence something above the power of man. The three words are also found in Hebrews ii. 4, as things that accompanied the word of the Lord, and of His apostles.
Now to return to the first word, which is translated " miracle” twenty-one times- as a "sign,” it may have precisely the same meaning. Thus in Matthew xvi. 1, the Pharisees and Sadducees, when tempting our Lord, requested that He would shew them a sign from heaven. Here they evidently meant something that was not according to the ordinary course of nature: it was to be a sign " from heaven. Our Lord said that while they could discern the face of the sky as to the weather, they could not discern the “signs of the times." No sign should be given them but the sign of Jonas.
Nicodemus said, “ We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles [signs] except God be with him.” (John ii. 2.) The Pharisees also were obliged to confess, " How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles [signs] ?” (Chap. ix. 16.) The signs therefore that Christ did were tokens that God was there, and this in effect is that they were such that a man in his own power could not do. They were miracles.
Again, in 1 Corinthians xiv. 22, we read, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not." Here again it was a miraculous thing for a man to speak in a tongue he had never learnt, and which he himself may not have understood. It was for a sign to the unbelieving, but a sign of what? Why, that God was there acting upon a mere man. something that man could not do without the power and action of God.
From all this we may safely gather that though the word seemeion may signify " sign” or “token, it was a sign that God was there, doing in a man something which none but God could do; and this answers to our word miracle. Along with this we find classed wonders, which also implies something beyond the power of man, or there would be nothing to draw out astonishment. With these were also associated works of power, which also implies something super-human.
Men have from time to time discovered wonderful things in nature, which have excited astonishment for a while, but when they are proved to result from natural causes, no one would think of calling them miracles, or signs, or works of power.
Now it is important for us to see how far Satan