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In the following vision, lately seen by a prophetic person in Church during the celebration of the blessed Eucharist, the same truth is shewn : “ As the homily was read, I beheld a solemn vision : The Lord descended out of heaven, and the woman ascended to meet Him. He turned her with her face toward the font of baptism and towards the altar, shewing her the glory of God manifested in both sacraments. On the altar, beside the sacrifice, stood Two CANDLES BURNING BEFORE THE LORD ; and as the woman looked, the Lord said, Behold the mystery :' at the same time revealing unto her a vision of the household of God, built on the foundation of APOSTLES and PROPHETS, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone, in whom all the building fitly framed together grew up into an holy temple in the Lord; and then I beheld the Lord entering the temple, and extending His hands in the midst, and it was immediately filled with His glory. As the cloud followed, I beheld the woman worshipping Him, and, falling down before Him, she confessed Him to be the Light Of Light."
One of the most ancient methods of using light was by a chandelier suspended over the altar, and called a corona lucis. This, if composed of seven lamps, would be an apt emblem of the sevenfold distribution of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and is probably that which has been supplied by seven candlesticks on the altar. Yet, there is still wanting two principal lamps, one on either side of the altar, to point out the way in which that invisible Spirit, everywhere present, acts for the benefit of mankind. For although the Holy Spirit is in a measure in every member of the Church, yet He is not in each in equal measures for ministry, or acting upon others.
The people who are gathered into any one congregation are only a very small portion of the saints of God now living on the earth, and a still smaller fragment of the whole redeemed Church of Christ. Each particular Church is but an earnest, specimen, or first-fruits, of all mankind, who are to be ultimately delivered ; and as there is a first-fruits or specimen of man, so also should there be a firstfruits or specimen of the material creation. There never was an instance, from the first sacrifice of Adam down to the days of Protestantism, where sacrifice was offered to God without being accompanied by the burning also of the sweet gums of trees. It is no answer to this to say that if incense were used before the days of Moses, it was used only in order to overcome the stench of burning flesh of oxen and lambs, and that there is no proof of its being used before that time : let it be granted; its use then might have a reason which no longer exists, and another reason may have supervened : but it is a fact, that so soon as there is a record of positive instruction respecting the way in which men ought to worship God, the burning of incense is one of the things mentioned as well-pleasing to God. It is also a fact that the burning of flesh does create a stench, and yet the sacrifices are described as yielding a sweet savour. To pretend that this is a metaphorical expression for saying that they were well-pleasing to God, is to assert that there is a violation of all propriety of language, which nothing in the Scripture warrants ; that a most stinking thing was chosen as an emblem of that which is agreeable, and called sweet smelling. Noah's sacrifice was, doubtless, wellpleasing to God, and it is said to have given out a sweet savour spiritually, because it gave out a sweet savour naturally and literally, and which it could only have done by the sweet gums and spices mingled with it. In the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches, however, it is pretended that the devil is driven away by the instrumentality of incense; and also is it thrown on the thing or person whom it is intended to honour : thus the smoke of it is thrown upon the Gospel before the priest reads it, and before the face of the bishop and other ministers taking part in the service.
The term sacrifice, under the Law, contained many subordinate parts, just as the celebration of the Eucharist, or other Christian rite, has its subordinate parts. Coupled with the sacrifice on the brazen altar was its meat-offering and drinkoffering, as well as its incense; and incense was burned in the temple at the hour of prayer. (Luke, i.) Incense is, in the New Testament, connected with that form of address to God called intercession, which is a higher act than either supplication or prayer ; supplication is the cry of agony for mercy; prayer is the ask
is the asking for any thing that is wanted; but intercession is more for the benefit of others than for self, and is that act which the Lord is now performing for us in heaven.
He is not now, from the depths of agony, supplicating and crying out, “ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!” “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He is not praying for the supply of daily necessities, since He is beyond the reach of all terrestrial wants, but He is continually interceding for men. Intercession, therefore, must be separated from all other parts of worship by something indicative of it, since we then do directly share with Christ in the act which He is doing; and whilst it is performed by the angel at the altar of intercession, incense ought to arise from before the altar, not to do honour to the bishop, or to the priest, or to the altar, or to a book, as the Papists use it, but to do honour to the act, as an emblem of the peculiar work which Christ is now doing for us, and as joining with man, the first
fruits of the material creation, which shall be re. deemed with us in the world to come, and which shall redound, through the removal of its curse, to the glory of Christ.
Thus the appropriate accompaniments of the high altar in the sanctuary of the Christian Church consist of an ornamented and triumphant cross; a vessel containing the sacred consecrated elements; lamps for light on its sides; and incense in the front of it. The cross is invariably used in the Greek, Roman, and Lutheran Churches, and not objected to by the Church of England ; it is consecrated, therefore, by the example of nine-tenths of Christendom. The two tables of the Law were deposited in the Most Holy Place; and in these days, when the faculty of writing and printing has been developed in a way unknown to antiquity, it might be a right way of sanctifying this means of increasing knowledge to place on the altar a copy of such sacred books as the Jews have transmitted to us, and also of those which all Christian Churches are agreed in receiving as the genuine written Word of God.
Lights are also used in the same churches, and have more survived in the Church of England than crosses, inasmuch as they are still to be seen in cathedrals and chapels, in colleges and palaces. Incense is confined to the former churches, and the reservation of the consecrated elements to