THE Monitor took upon itself the task of defining in what the ritual of the sect to which the AMERICAN SENTINEL belongs, was “summed up.” We replied, showing that we have no ritual at all, and also showing the distinction between Christianity and ritualism, which is simply the difference between Christianity and Catholicism. In this we said that “the whole Roman Catholic system is only one of forms, of ceremony, of ritual. In that system all such things are used as means—as ‘means of grace’—with the hope of thereby obtaining Christ. Rome’s is a system of salvation—justification—by works.”
Upon this the Monitor says:—
To which we reply that the SENTINEL knows nothing—absolutely nothing about Rome’s system.
How does the Monitor know this? How is it that the Monitor knew so much about the “ritual” of the SENTINEL as to be able to sum it up in a single sentence? How is it that the Monitor knows anything at all about the SENTINEL or its “ritual”? Perhaps the Monitor will say that it has read and studied the subject. Very good. But is it a fact already decided by the Monitor that the editors of the SENTINEL cannot—absolutely cannot read or study at all? If the Monitor admits that the editors of the SENTINEL can read and study, then in that it certainly admits that our means of knowing about Rome’s system is precisely as good as is that of the editor of the Monitor to know about the “ritual” or anything else pertaining to the SENTINEL.
This is remarked, however, merely in passing. The material point of the Monitor’s reply is as to whether in the Catholic system, forms and ceremonies—ritual—are “means of grace.” This the Monitor vigorously denies in these words:—
We do not look upon forms or ceremonies or ritual as means of grace. There is only one source of grace and that is Jesus Christ. There is only one giver of grace and that is Jesus Christ…. Now, as Christ is the dispenser of grace, can’t he dispense it as he wills and how he wills? If he will have it flow through certain channels, who is Alonzo T. Jones that he will say nay to Omnipotence? If Christ’s virtue went out through the hem of his garment, what is to prevent it from going out through the waters of baptism? And if Catholics believe that the employment of baptism is the way appointed by the Lord for the conferring of regeneration—the way by which—not the water, not the form, but—Christ himself confers regeneration, what right has the AMERICAN SENTINEL to accuse us of barren ritualism?
This would-be denial is a full confession of all that the SENTINEL charged. We never  said nor intended to say that in the Catholic system any forms or ceremonies were looked upon as sources of grace, nor as givers of grace. What we said is, that these things are looked upon and “used as means—‘means of grace’—with the hope of thereby obtaining Christ.” That is what we said; and what we meant in that expression is precisely what the Monitor says that Catholics believe, namely: that these forms are channels through which they hope to obtain the grace of Christ. We used the word “means” in no other sense than “channel.” And the clause which said that these forms are “used as means—‘means of grace’—with the hope of thereby obtaining Christ,” would express our thought exactly if it said that these forms are used as channels through which the grace of Christ is expected to be obtained.
In that article we said in so many words that “the form of baptism, the form of the eucharist, etc., are employed in the Catholic system as ‘means of grace.’” In the attempt to deny this the Monitor says that the grace of Christ “flows through certain channels,” and that “Catholics believe that the employment of baptism is the way appointed by the Lord for the conferring of regeneration—the way by which Christ himself confers regeneration.”
Now, if there be anybody who, after reading our statement and the Monitor’s denial, cannot see that the Monitor says just what we said—who cannot see that the SENTINEL’S word, “means,” and the Monitor’s words, “is the way,” “the way by which,” and “channels,” say the same thing,—then let such an one read these definitions:—
“MEANS: That through which, or by the help of which, and end is attained; something tending to an object desired; intermediate agency or measure.”
“CHANNEL: That through which anything passes; means of passing, conveying, or transmitting.”
Thus it is as clear as anything needs to be that the Monitor’s would-be denial is nothing else than a confession of all that we charged upon the Catholic system as to ritualism.
In closing we cannot do better than to write again what we first said—February 14, 1895—on this subject, and write it now in the Monitor’s own words on the subject. As so written it runs thus: He who has Christ has the very life and substance of all the forms of service and of worship which he has appointed. Then these cease to be mere ceremonies or rites, and become the expression of the living presence and power of Christ himself in the life of the believer. This is the end of ritualism, of ceremonialism; the end of a form of godliness without the power; the end of any employment of the form of baptism, or the form of the eucharist, etc., as “means of grace,” as “channels through which grace flows,” as “the way in which Christ confers regeneration” or any other grace, as these are employed in the Catholic system.
“The law came by Moses, but the reality and the grace came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 (Syriac). Now, the whole Roman Catholic system is only one of forms, of ceremony, of ritual. In that system all such things as baptism, the eucharist, etc., are used as means with the hope of thereby obtaining Christ; that is, as “means of grace,” “channels through which,” “the way by which,” the grace of Christ is conferred and obtained: whereas with us any such things are used altogether as the expression of the grace, the presence and the power of Christ, which we already have, by faith. Rome’s is a system of salvation—justification—by works; while ours is the divine truth of salvation—justification—by faith.
That is what we said February 14, 1895, to the Monitor on this point, only with the Monitor’s would-be denial inserted. And thereby it is made as plain as A B C that by the Monitor’s own words Rome’s system is exactly what we said it is.