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cardinals, whose splendid robes and attendant trainbearers form a singular contrast with the humility of their attitude, kneel down behind him.

On Good Friday are successively given various symbolical representations, as the Crucifixion, and the Procession to the Pauline Chapel, to raise up the body of Christ which they had buried the day before;—for the Roman Catholic church most unaccountably confounds the order of events, and, oddly enough, our Saviour is buried on Thursday—that being the day on which the host is deposited in the sepulchre—and raised again on Friday, the day on which he suffered death. Friday is also set apart for two other ceremonies, called the Discovery of the Cross, and the Adoration of the Cross. By the former is meant the taking off the little purple bag, which covers the crucifix of the altar from the morning of Palm Sunday till Good Friday, and the holding of it up to the view of the congregation. The latter explains itself.

The most curious service, however, on Good Friday, is the representation of the Crucifixion, or, as it is usually called, the “ Agonie” or “ Tre Ore.” In some of the churches this service forms a perfect drama. An altar is fitted up like a theatre, with painted trees and pasteboard rocks, and thickets in imitation of Mount Calvary. On the declivity of the Mount may be seen Roman Centurions, as large as life, decked out in military uniforms, mounted on pasteboard horses, and armed with drawn swords; while on a more elevated spot are the three crosses, to which are nailed the figures of Christ

and the two thieves; all represented with due attention to stage effect.

On this occasion it is the duty of the preacher to enlarge upon the words uttered by our Saviour while hanging upon the cross; the lecture being so managed as to occupy the three hours of the Crucifixion. And that nothing may be wanting to produce scenic effect, curtains are in the meantime drawn before the windows, to create a gloom significant of that darkness which prevailed from the sixth to the ninth hour.

Christ, say the Catholics, spake seven times upon the cross, and at every saying, it seems, a dagger entered into the heart of the Virgin. Hence she is painted with seven daggers sticking in her breast, and addressed by her votaries as “ Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows:”— Nostra Signora de' Sette Dolori. Hence also the service of the “ Three Hours" is divided into seven acts, between each of which is sung a hymn. In every act, one of the seven set dissertations upon the “ Seven Words” of Christ is read by an attendant priest, who goes on till he is interrupted by the preacher—the latter breaking in upon the dissertation at whatever part he pleases with a discourse of his own. The service having been spun out to the requisite length, the priest exclaims, “ The moment is arrived, the Saviour now expires,” and all instantly sink upon their knees. A short pause ensues. The preacher then again exclaims, “ Here they come, the holy men, to bear the body of our Redeemer to the sepulchre;" and forthwith from the side of the scene issues a band of friars, clad in black, who gradually ascend Mount Calvary, and take down the body, amidst the groans and lamentations of the bystanders.

Five prayers are then severally addressed to the five wounds of Christ; while the body itself, laid on a bier, decorated with artificial flowers, and covered with a transparent veil, is deposited on the stage, where the multitude throng to kiss the toe, through the veil, and vent their feelings in loud lamentations.

“ This disposition to represent every thing heavenly by sensible images is," as Mathews observes, “ the leading feature of the Romish religion; and the Roman Catholics would have us believe, that the distinction between the sign and the thing signified is never lost sight of. This may be true of the enlightened few; between whom, to whatever sect they may belong, there is perhaps but little real difference of opinion. For even among the old heathens, the initiated were taught the existence of one Almighty Spirit, though this doctrine was considered too sublime for the vulgar; whose grosser feelings were thought to require the interposition of some visible object of adoration. The Roman Catholic priests seem to take the same view of human nature at present.”

On Easter Day the Pope celebrates grand mass at St. Peter's. Seated in a chair of state, arrayed in robes of white with the tiara on his head, and preceded by two pole-bearers with splendid fans of ostrich feathers fixed on the top of their poles, the Pope is borne into the church on the shoulders of twenty men. On this day, indeed, the church puts forth all her pomp and splendour. Cloth of gold, and embroidery of gold and silver,

and crimson velvet, and mantles of spotted ermine, and flowing trains, and attendant train-bearers, and mitres and crucifixes glittering with jewels, and priests and patriarchs, bishops and cardinals, dazzle the eye, and line the whole length of S. Peter's. The “Guardia Nobile,” too, in their splendid uniforms of gold and scarlet, with nodding plumes of white ostrich feathers, and the Swiss guards in their polished cuirasses and steel helmets, muster in the church and keep the ground:-—“ A strange attendance this, for the successor of St. Peter—the Apostle of the Prince of Peace! But it may be doubted whether the apostles, if they could return to this world, would now be able to recognise their own religion, swelled out and swaddled as it is in the papal pontificals*.”

Mass, as it is explained in the “ Tesoro della Devozione,” a little book put into the hands of all Italians that can read, and answering the purpose of our Common Prayer-book, is intended as a representation of the last scenes of our Saviour's life and sufferings. Thus, when the priest approaches the altar, Christ's entrance into the garden is to be understood; and to the prayer which he offers there, the commencement of the mass alludes. When the priest kisses the altar, reference is made to that kiss by which our Saviour was betrayed. When he turns to the people, and repeats the “ Dominus Vobiscum,” he is representing Christ when he turned and looked upon Peter. . When he washes his hands, he figures Pilate, who declared that he washed his hands of the blood of that innocent man. When he elevates the consecrated wafer, he expresses the elevation of our Saviour on the cross. When he breaks it, he displays him expiring. A ceremony like this, where the priest turns his back upon the people, and mumbles the prayers to himself—where there seems to be no community of worship, except in the general genuflexion at the elevation of the Host - where the people have no functions to perform, and scarcely appear to differ from the spectators of a pantomime;—such a ceremony must always be tiresome; but when performed by the Pope it becomes absolutely ridiculous.

* Mathews.

“ If faithfully represented in a Protestant country, it would be regarded as a burlesque; as far beyond nature as King Arthur with his courtiers Doodle and Noodle;- for Noodle and Doodle, with all their bowing and head-shaking, would cease to be ridiculous at the celebration of grand mass. Just two such personages are in attendance on the Pope during the whole of the ceremony, to arrange the different changes in his petticoats, and take off and put on his tiara as the service requires *."

But pomp and mummery are tiresome enough to witness, much too tiresome to describe. Mass is over, let us finish the show.

“ Behold, then, fifty thousand persons, not crowded,

* Mathews.

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