Holy Chairs

MUCH is said in these days about union with Rome. Union with Rome means nothing less than absorption into Rome: that is, all who are united to Rome become part of Rome. What, then, does this signify?
To form a just idea of what Rome is, and what union with it really means, the city of Rome should be seen. There the visitor beholds the temples, the idols, the practice of old pagan Rome, all turned to use in the name of the Christian religion. The light of God's truth and the darkness of paganism cannot have fellowship together, the glory of the sun and the gloom of the night can never be united. We propose to offer our readers a little information on the religion of Rome, and as a commencement we place before them some facts in reference to holy chairs.
In England the chair and the chairman are familiar ideas in all orderly meetings, and people are expected to abide by the ruling of the chair which is a figurative way of speaking of the man who sits in the chair. In ecclesiastical matters in our land the actual chair, seat, or throne whereon the bishop sits is of importance, for the cathedral "is the church of the bishop, containing his throne of office, or bishop's stool, as our Saxon forefathers termed it." It is that one church "where the bishop hath his seat...." or chair.” A bishop's see is, therefore, strictly speaking, a bishop's seat, or cathedral." 1In a somewhat similar way we speak of the message from the throne—that is, the message from the royal personage who fills the throne. The throne of God, the judgment-seat of Christ, are familiar Bible expressions.
In early Christian times, long before cathedrals existed, there was in many a building used for Christian worship, at one end a slightly raised platform; and here, against the wall, were seats placed in a semicircle, whereon the elders of the church sat. In the center of the semicircle was a seat or chair for the overseer, or bishop, of the particular church in question.
So that, whether according to primitive church practice, or whether according to present day conceptions, the "chair" or "seat" or "throne" is an important matter.
Yet, while this is the case, a sacred chair—even if formed of wood several hundreds of years old—hardly commends itself to the ordinary English man or woman as being worthy of worship. But, in the great Brompton Oratory in London, there is a reproduction in gilt of the bronze statue of St. Peter in Rome, seated in the chair, which, in common with the original, forms a center for veneration. And, so highly does "the Roman" in England prize this reproduction, that such as offer prayer before it are promised fifty days' indulgence. The foot is also kissed. Hence, the history of the "chair" in the Vatican Basilica of St. Peter's is of living and practical interest to English-speaking people.
The article on the chair following these remarks, is written by the Rev. James Wall, who has worked in the Gospel in Rome from the time when the Pope's loss of temporal power made it possible, not only to bring the Holy Scriptures into Rome, but also to preach Christ to the people without fear of the cruelties of the Inquisition, which were, up to 1870, legally perpetrated in the dungeons or torture chambers of the Pope's palace. That memorable 1870 saw the loss of temporal power of the Papacy and also the dogma of Papal infallibility, which, being translated into homely language, is the ruling of the Papal chair, commanding the unqualified obedience of every soul in Christendom.