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THE BISHOP OF CHESTER ON RATIONALISMI…

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THE BISHOP OF CHESTER ON RATIONALISM I AND RITUALISM. Preaching on Sunday week in Chester Cathedral to the ministers newly ordained on that day, the Bishop said,â Our Church draws its doctrine jut of the pure fountain of Holy Writ It receives the Gospel in the plain sim- plicity of the Scriptural narrative. It receives what is written. Whatever there is mysterious in this great dispensation of God's mercies, our Church receives with the submissive reverence and the steadfast reliance of faith. But, my brethren, there ever have been men, and there are many now, who will not receive anything that reaches above and beyond the narrow limits of the natural powers of the human mind, and the narrow com- pass of human experience and knowledge. Such men presumptuously seek to lower the revelation of the Di- vine will to the level of theirown poor understanding. They lower the doctrine of Jesus Christ to little more than a mere system of moral philosophy; they lower the re- cord of the ministry of Christ to little more than a bio- graphical delineation of a perfect moral character. They recognise in the cross of Christ an example of heroic suffering indeed, but they will not see in it what the eye of faith seesâa propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the world. Now, my brethren, thus to deal with the sub- ject is to be false both to the substance of Scripture and to the doctrine of the Church; it is to evade the force and to pervert the meaning of the plainest language of Holy Writ; it is to rob the (iospel of its very es- sence, to rob it of that which makes it to be in reality what it is in name, a message of tidings of great joy, for what message of God to simple luan can be tidings of joy, unless it brings with it what man most needs, par- don for sin ? My brethren, preach to your people that Christ came into the world to be the light of the world, to be the teacher of the world, to be the educator of the world, if anyone likes that phrase; but teach them also, preach to them also, and above all, that Christ came in- to the world to be the Saviour of the world preach to them that true saying, worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners through faith in His Holy Name, and in the merits of His effec- tual mediation, This is the Gospel, this is the message we are sent to deliver, and woe unto us if we do not be- lieve it faithfully and truly. Then, our Church has its liturgy and its ritual tixed for it, a liturgy and ritual named in accordance with the language of Holy Scrip- ture, and after the model of primitive usageâa consis- tent and reasonable service adapted equally to direct the understanding and to impress the heart. And yet there are persons who are not content with its simplicity, but must needs go out of the way to superadd to it a variety of unwarranted forms, may I not even say, sometimes of fantastic ceremonies and theatrical pageantries, which, since the time of the Reformation have not been known in the service of our Church. -My friends, it would be a sufficient condemnation of these super-additionB to say that they are destitute of all authority, and that they are not suitable to the simple nature of our public wor- ship but, more than this inasmuch as in many instan- ces they are imitations of the ceremonial of the Church of Rome, they not unnaturally create in many men's minds a painful misgiving that mure is meant than meets the eye, and that there may be a secret desire and aim to depart not only from the simplicity of our ritual, but from the purity of our doctrine. In this way suspicious are engendered, men's minds are disquieted within them, the peace of the Church is broken. Can it be said that the minister who acts in this manner is doiug his duty to the Church ? Even if he have no ulterior design, even if he meditate no secret treachery, for far be it from me to speak on this subject or 011 any other subject otherwise than in the spirit of Charity, that thinketh no evilâyet, even so, how can the minister justify himself for being thus the occasion of such scandal and such dis- cord in the Church for merely introducing gratuitous in- novations for his own pleasure into the services of the Church, and overlaying the simplicity of our ritual with a tissue of incongruous excrescences Though all things .vere lawful, yet all things would not be expedient, if they became a stumbling block to others, and cause even a weak brother to oflend.

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ANXERCHIAL) I O. T. WILLIAMS,…