Project Canterbury






NEW YORK, MAY 27, 1875.



The Rev. Dr. F. C. Ewer, Superior General,


The Rev. Dr. N. Hoppin's Sermon,


At St. Mary the Virgin's, N. Y.

The Rev. Dr. Theodore Edson's Sermon,


At the House of Prayer, Newark, N. J.


The Rev. Canon T. T. Carter, Superior Gen'l,

At the Conference in London, May 27, 1875.

New York:



Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2011



At this Solemnity, when millions of Western Christendom are commemorating the Institution of The Blessed Sacrament, our Confraternity stands at the close of another year of its existence. It has been a year of turbulence. But the General Convention has met and dissolved; and the anxiety which the lover of our Holy Faith felt a year ago for the safety of Catholic truth has given place to assurance and joy.

A twelve-month ago unusual efforts were started to gather and to group the elements of a storm, designed by its managers to crush, once and for all, the revival in America of our Anglican Mother's Catholic teachings. This storm was to break at the late General Convention, and sweep into ruin much that is precious to the Catholic Churchman. To dwell upon the means by which, months beforehand, it was raised, to summon to the memory the demagogism which fed with false rumors those, who were only too eager for such pabulum, to expose the mercenary spirit which clutched at and concocted sensational indictments calculated to sell an issue of a paper, to recall the haste with which those who were ignorant or careless of sound theology confirmed themselves with groundless imaginings of evil, to describe the traps and pitfalls that were laid for the innocent and credulous, and the turgid alarms that were spread to rouse the timid and anxious to fever heat, would conduce to no good end now, and surely would not be to the edification of charity. The readers of the Church Press are too familiar with it all. The Catholic Truths that [3/4] were threatened, though still alive in the Formularies of our Church, and pervading those Formularies everywhere, had since the days of William of Orange lain dead in the minds and hearts of Churchmen generally; and high hopes were entertained that those truths though stirring everywhere and rising to life could be successfully conjured back and held down in their graves. Suffice it to say, the tempest that covered the whole heavens of the Church with cloud and muttering broke at last, spent its fury, and passed away.

But what have been the results? One result is the amazing calm which we now enjoy; a calm, such as the Church has not experienced for over ten years. Two noble forms, indeed, are prostrate; the firm, generous Seymour, and the frank, brave De Koven. But this is about all the disaster which the storm has left behind it. However much we may deplore their fate, we cannot but rejoice that, at any rate, the precious truths of Catholicity, as our Anglican Mother "has received them" from the Church of the Six General Councils, still stand, as unharmed as the choice flowers of some garden that have merely been ruffled by a passing summer breeze.

Beloved associates, behind and above the black clouds of that storm was Almighty God, the Controller of all things. He maketh "the wrath of man" to praise Him, and "the remainder of wrath" doth HE restrain. They were His Truths that were threatened; we are too apt to think them ours only. They were under His protection; we are too apt to think them dependent upon our poor selves alone. In this great calm, cannot we, who stood a year ago full of anxiety and apparently helpless, and who did nothing whatever to avert or shield ourselves from the fury of the tempest, hear his voice speaking to us and saying, "Why were ye fearful, O ye of little faith!"

But alas that I, a member of this Confraternity, should so far forget myself, as to say to my fellow-members, that "we did nothing." We did indeed nothing earthly; and yet we did everything; we prayed. We fled not to the public press in our defence, or to create popular feeling; the press were all against us. We fled not to the lobby of the Convention. We looked not to man. We fled to our Altars and to our GOD. There we stood still, and beheld how "the stars themselves fought against Sisera," how "the battle was not to the strong," how "the LORD went before us, and the God of Israel was our reward." Beloved, should we not regard this signal evidence of the power of combined prayer, this evidence which our Father has given us, partly, we may humbly believe, in gentle consideration of our weak faith, as one of the richest fruits which the past year has borne for our Confraternity? Indeed may we not [4/5] regard it as the great lesson and encouragement of the year to us as a Praying Association? Let it fan to a blaze the smoldering embers of our faith in prayer and our trust in God. Let it call forth our devout gratitude to the loving Father, and above all let it stir us to more zealous perseverance in unitedly laying before Him our own wants and the wants of our fellow-members.

Another mercy that has been vouchsafed to us in the past year in answer to our prayers, is the prudence exercised by the House of Bishops when in Convention assembled. We all remember the fearful precipice, at the edge of which the Church was suspended at the General Convention of 1871 by the Declaration touching Baptismal Regeneration and by the hasty statement on Eucharistic adoration; Episcopal utterances, which unsettled the love of many of the laity for our Church and their confidence in Her, which lost us several hardworking Priests notwithstanding so many of their brethren, in meetings assembled, begged them to be calm and to wait, which, on the other hand, did not avail to ward off the Cummins schism and the steady leakage of "Evangelicals" into it, and which by fearful proximity, to say the least, to the borders of false doctrine, shocked and grieved more of the loyal and firm laity and clergy than the Bishops will probably ever realize now that the danger is past. But how different is the heritage which the Convention of 1874 has left us. In what contrast are the recent fatherly utterances and action of the Bishops. For the prudence and wise reticence which inspired their last Pastoral Letter, surely we have additional cause for gratitude to Almighty God. That Letter, giving token as it did that our Right Reverend Fathers were not alarmed either for the safety and integrity of our dear Church or of sound doctrine within it, seemed to fall like oil upon the subsiding turbulence of the unnecessarily alarmed clergy and laity.

To come to a subject that more intimately concerns us as an Association; we could hardly expect so extensive, not to say angry and blind a demonstration to be made against Catholic Truth in general as was made last year by the combined forces of our Evangelical brethren and of mere Insular Churchmanship, without our own quiet and peace-loving Confraternity in particular becoming subject to the assaults of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and slander.

In the Revolutionary War the Quakers would not fight. But they too were Americans, and were therefore whelmed in the disasters and bore their share in the privations brought on by the war which their fellow-citizens were waging. Thus has it been with our Confraternity. Otherwise than this, the year has been, as usual, uneventful to our [5/6] society. Some few have left us. Others have joined us, that they too may take part in and reap the benefit of our mutual and united prayers. Indeed, widely scattered as we are with some of our Associates at the East in Maine and Massachusetts, some at the far West in California, some at the North in Ohio and Michigan, some at the far South in Florida, and others spread through the states intermediate, it is quite impossible for us to gather together as an Association. We are freemen in JESUS, bound only to our Rule, and not to the will of any earthly person. Even at this our General Annual Conference—our one meeting of the year—it is, as usual, a mere handful of us only, that have assembled. No one has come except those within a radius of two hundred and fifty miles, and scarcely a tithe even of those. This is partly owing to the above stated impossibility of gathering our members upon any one point from their busy avocations and from all over our wide domain, and partly because there is almost literally no business to transact at our Conference except the annual election of officers. We never meet all together, except at the Foot of the Throne of a Prayer-Hearing God; and we never meet in any very great numbers anywhere else. The charge therefore, so cruelly or so ignorantly made, that we are a conspiracy to accomplish, by secret and illegitimate means, I know not what ends in and disasters to the Church, is simply impossible of belief, not to say absurd, to any one who knows the structure and internal condition of our Confraternity. And there is no one that need be ignorant of that structure. If it be Catholicity, that is feared, then by no means are all the Catholics in the American Church members of the Confraternity. If it be Ritualism that is feared, then by no means are all who have been nicknamed Ritualists members of the Confraternity, and by no manner of means are all the members of the Confraternity Ritualists. Our sole work the year round as an Association is combined prayer for each other's needs and for the needs of the spiritual life of our fellow-mortals, together with the setting by each Associate of a devout and unobtrusive example in tenderness and reverence to our Blessed Lord, present in The Holy Sacrament.

Correspondingly, therefore, the internal machinery of the Confraternity is of the very simplest kind. It consists almost entirely of collecting the petitions which each associate desires we should all together present to God, of arranging and classifying them when collected and approved, and then of distributing them monthly to all the members, in order that our united prayers may roll up in vast rythmic billows and beat, one after the other, day by day around the Foot of the Throne of Grace.

[7] Some time since it was charged upon us as a Confraternity that we interfered in Episcopal elections. This has already been kindly but unequivocally and officially denied by the Confraternity, acting through its Council, which put forth a document that was sent to every Bishop, Priest and Deacon of the American Church. That document stated:

"That the American Branch of the C. B. S. is not and never has been a Secret Society:

"That the American Branch of the C. B. S. did not interfere in any manner whatever with the late Episcopal election in Massachusetts; that it was not organized for the purpose of mingling at all in Church politics; that it has not so mingled at any time; and that as a Confraternity it is wholly averse to ecclesiastical or any other intrigue:

"That the members of the American Branch of the C. B. S. are not associated for any other purpose than solely and strictly to promote the 'Objects,' and conform to the 'Rules' set down in the Manual of the Confraternity, which are as follows, viz.


1. The Honor due to the Person of our LORD JESUS CHRIST in the BLESSED SACRAMENT of His BODY and BLOOD.

2. Mutual and Special Intercession at the time of and in union with the EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE.

3. To promote the observance of the Catholic and primitive practice of receiving the HOLY COMMUNION fasting.

And that the sole Rules that bind the associates are as follows, viz.:


1. To communicate, or at least to be present, on Sundays and the greater Festivals and other Holy-Days, when, the BLESSED EUCHARIST is Celebrated, unless prevented by sickness or other urgent cause,

2. To promote, by all legitimate means, frequent and reverent Celebrations of the HOLY EUCHARIST, as the Chief Act of Divine Service.

3. To make such Special Intercessions as shall be from time to time directed.

"And, lastly, that this Council recognizes the truth of the words of the Superior General in his Annual Address, [of 1874] namely, 'whatever means we may lawfully use as separate individuals to promote the Catholic Truth as set forth by our Church, we should bear in mind, that, as a Confraternity, our great means to that end is combined prayer.' And, as all wrangling in connection with its solemn objects [7/8] is distasteful to the Confraternity, the Council therefore places this statement on record in no spirit of discussion, but solely for the information of our brethren."

But, marvellous to relate, prejudice runs so high and is so blind, that we have again, and more recently, been publicly charged—and by one of the members of the late General Convention—with having been, as a Confraternity, at work in the lobby of the General Convention. To this, as well as to other strange misstatements which it is charity not even to repeat, our only answers have been wonder, sadness, silence and prayer for our enemies. The Superior General mentions, however, this new charge of interference with the action of the General Convention, in order that, in justice both to the Confraternity and to all whom it may concern, he may here, publicly, at this General Conference, state, in all gentleness but with the utmost distinctness, that the charge that this Confraternity lifted even its little finger to influence the Convention in any way other than by prayer to God is gratuitous, born of suspicion and fear, and totally unfounded in truth. The Superior General need not tell you, Associates, that our aim as a Society is, on the other hand, to exercise and to grow in deep humility towards GOD, and in uncomplaining meekness toward man.

Should we be attacked again the coming year, let our watchword of the year still be, "while they slander, let us pray." Like our Blessed Master we would indeed stand firm for the Truth, but as we look back upon the unnecessary manner in which we have been assailed, and the "dexterous misrepresentations" which have been used against us, let us, amidst buffetings and spittings, thank GOD that HE has deemed us worthy as a Confraternity to follow, even at our great distance, in the Footsteps of HIM Who also suffered from false witnesses. And, remembering that "when HE was reviled HE reviled not again, when HE suffered HE threatened not, but committed HIMSELF to HIM who judgeth righteously," let the language of the great Doctor of the Gentiles be ours, "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat." For, above all things, a Praying Association, how can it, my beloved, be at the same time a quarrelsome Association? If any, here and there, hath put his hand to the plough and, in the day of adversity, turned back from the Confraternity, let us that remain true strive that we fail not in that charity which hopeth all things; and let us take heed lest in some hour of temptation we fall.

There is a deep lesson for us in the fact that even the BLESSED SON Himself of the Blessed Mary could not be made perfect except through [8/9] suffering. It is whom the LORD loveth that He chasteneth. And surely if this was the case with our DIVINE SAVIOUR, much more must it be the case, not only with each sinful man, but also with such organizations as ours.

Let us the rather, in true Christian Spirit, rejoice, then, that the Confraternity of The BLESSED SACRAMENT has been counted worthy to suffer with our Master, and that it has had this signal token of God's love for and favor towards it.

But furthermore it is natural, it is indeed the part of humility, for us to regard such light afflictions as we have had, as, in part at least, a punishment also. Man laboriously gathers together many means in order to accomplish one end; but Almighty GOD uses one means to bring forth many ends. Let us, then, as a Confraternity, seriously ask ourselves, Is there nothing for which we have merited chastisement? Have our Priest-Associates, for instance, been always faithful to the Rule of the Confraternity? Have they prayed as earnestly they might have prayed? Have they, too, regularly, at every Celebration, made some act of Faith, or of Adoration, or of Reparation? Have they at stated intervals celebrated for the Intention of the Confraternity, or have they failed to do so? And again, have our Lay-Associates punctually and devoutly kept the Rule? Has everyone paid careful attention to preparation before, and to thanksgiving after every Communion? Has each and every Associate allowed no day to pass, in which he has omitted the prayers he has solemnly engaged to say for his fellow-Associates and for their wants? "Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the Congregation of Israel?" Behold, how, one single unfaithful Associate may possibly bring trouble upon the entire body of which he is a member.

But if it is the part of humility for us thus to look upon suffering as a punishment for our shortcomings, it is also the part of love and trust in the Loving FATHER who doeth all things in love, to look upon it at the same time as a blessing. If it purge the Confraternity of unworthy material, if it burn up the wood, hay and stuble that may have gotten into our walls, and leave them only walls of gold and silver and precious gems, if it make our Priest-Associates more careful in admitting new material—careful that all accessions to our ranks shall be such as will be faithful to their obligations in prayer and holy example—if it make all of us more true to our duties, if it make Superiors of Wards more faithful to their Wards, gathering them oftener together for mutual consolation among the enemies of the Faith by whom they are surrounded, for instruction in the verities of our Holy Religion, for [9/10] direction in the necessary art of Systematic Meditation, for instruction as to Spiritual Communion and the Sacramental Life generally, for training in the most necessary art of Self-examination, or in the "three modes of vocal prayer," then indeed will our light-afflictions have been an unspeakable and permanent blessing to our Confraternity, for which we should lift up glad and praising hearts to Almighty GOD, Whose alchemy by which HE turns dross into gold is marvelous.

One thing we are sure of, namely: by these afflictions GOD summons us, one and all, to a more earnest Spiritual Life. Who should exhibit from year to year a deepening of the Spiritual Life if not those banded together to do honor to the Blessed Sacrament of Life Itself? Let us make no mistake in this most vital matter. People are not spiritual because they take up a few forms, or do a little religion on Sundays. It is after all the quiet, real Spiritual Life which is the great desideratum for us as Associates of The Confraternity of the BLESSED SACRAMENT.

And what is this Spiritual Life? It is the union within each of us of the Divine Life of GOD with our human life, in order that our human life may be moulded, purified, enlightened, in short transubstantiated into the image and character of the Divine Life. This Spiritual Life, this union of the Divine Life with the human, was begun on earth in the Person of our LORD the GOD-MAN, and was subsequently extended to each of us individually in the Sacrament of Baptism. This is Regeneration.

The deepening of this Life is nothing less than our dying day by day and more and more to our pride, our jealousy, our anger, our covetousness, our lust, our envy, our gluttony and our sloth. It is our living day by day and more and more unto wisdom and understanding and counsel and ghostly strength, knowledge, godliness and the fear of the Lord. It is in short, our drawing into more and more thorough relations with the Divine Life, Which has united Itself with ours, and so our growing in love, in meekness, in joy, in peace, in recollection and in all grace. This deepening is something which takes place subsequently to that which we call conversion. It indeed, "assumes that the penitent Christian hath entirely broken with the hated past, either through Confession and Absolution, or by the exercise of that Supernatural and perfect contrition which arises from the pure motive of the love of God, and which takes the place of all ordinances. [Bishop Forbes.] It supposes that the penitent Christian, starting from this state of grace, is going on to perfection.

[11] How shall our Lay-Associates use the means for deepening their Spiritual Life, unless Priest-Associates, and especially Superiors of Wards, point out those means to them; teaching them, for instance, the necessity of an ever increasing sorrow even for absolved sin, of the crucifixion of all spiritual conceit—any satisfaction, i. e., with anything one may have done, of the ceasing to speak either directly or indirectly of one's self to one's own praise, of the ceasing to speak of others to their detriment, of the moulding of the life not so much "by the spirit of busy external works of goodness as by the spirit of prayer,"—that just mingling, in short, of the active and contemplative life, which is within the power and the opportunities of the secular Christian, of the making definite and daily battle with the temptation that most easily besets us, of the practice of habitual recollection, of the use of the divine art of Meditation, and of frequent ejaculatory prayer, of cultivating the spirit of obedience, of acquiring and practising the grace of silence, of nourishing that spirit of mortification and that love of abjection the absence of which is invariably an accompaniment of a low spiritual tide in the Soul, and finally the paramount necessity of a frequent use of the Sacraments.

If Priest-Associates would gather Wards, no matter how small the membership in each, and gently, by example, by instruction, by precept and by counsel, lead their members into a deeper and deeper Spiritual Life, the Confraternity would not fail to grow in grace and in favor with Almighty GOD, to Whose approval alone we should look. If we only do our duty, GOD will surely care for and bless us.

In conclusion, Beloved Associates, encouraged as we have been on all hands by GOD, the kind FATHER, Who, since last we met, has sent special, and in some cases marvelous, answers to no less than eighty-three of our petitions, let us with full faith and renewed zeal enter upon another year of united prayer.



"I am the Living Bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread he shall live forever: and the Bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world"—S. JOHN VI, 51.

[12] If I undertake the office of preacher on this occasion with diffidence and distrust, it is with no hesitation in my own mind as to the suitableness of the objects of this Confraternity, expressed in its Constitution and laws, the blamelessness and purity of its conception, and its practical value and capability of usefulness, if restricted to its legitimate work and carried out in accordance with its design. I could wish that some one had been selected better able to do it justice under the multiplied misconstructions, to which it has been exposed. But having been formerly connected with the English Branch of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, and a member of the American Branch from its foundation, having been appointed as its Superior for the unexpired fragment of a year between its institution and its first Anniversary, and always a member of its Council, although I never attended a single meeting either of the Confraternity or Council, nor joined in any of its public services in England or America, till now, yet when requested by our Reverend Superior General to preach before you at this Annual Conference, I did not feel at liberty, under existing circumstances, to decline.

Whatever relates to that most precious token of the Saviour's parting love, the Blessed Eucharist, His own chosen remembrancer and [12/13] mystical representation of the world's great sacrifice, may well occupy the time and care of priests of the Church and preachers of the Gospel. While therefore I ask your indulgence for myself, I claim your attention to some thoughts relating to the love, reverence and homage, to be rendered at the Holy Sacrament, or in one word, the Eucharistic worship due to our dear Saviour, as implied in His own declarations, "I am the Living Bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world;" taken in connection with his dying command, "This is my Body which is given for you; this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you; do this in remembrance of Me;" and also in connection with that "discerning of the Lord's Body," to which the Apostle points as a high Christian duty and as the great preventive of abuse in the Holy Sacrament; the Eucharistic love, I say, reverence, homage and adoration, which constitute the aim and spirit of the Confraternity; and which, as fitting to the occasion, might be considered either in itself, or relatively to this particular instrumentality for its promotion. Personally I should much have preferred the former; that is, a simply devotional and practical discussion of the text; but other considerations determined the latter.

We encounter at the outset an inquiry, why a special society for this object? Is not the Church itself the one grand Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, having the Eucharistic institution and every other ordinance of the Gospel in charge, and appointed to watch over all the interests and teachings of Christ's kingdom in this world? It is too late, however, to raise the question of special Christian societies for special Christian ends. They have been too prodigiously multiplied in number and varied in character, from local and parochial bands and circles to diocesan and general institutions, recognized or unrecognized by canonical legislation, incorporated by the civil law or constituted without it, but universally allowed and tolerated, and publicly and privately respected and encouraged in their several spheres, to make this specialty an exception on the ground of specialty.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have been sometimes called, and especially the nineteenth, the era of societies. The world has them for the purposes of the world and for some of the higher interests of humanity; and the Church would have been justly deemed behind the age, if it had not availed itself of this useful instrumentality for promoting the transcendent interests entrusted to its stewardship. Instead of discouraging, the true policy is to favor the multiplication of bands and brotherhoods, devoted to particular objects of [13/14] acknowledged excellence, or particular parts of the one great system of evangelic mission, truth and order.

The Church of Rome, with the keen sighted policy for which it is renowned, has fully adopted the plan of societies and confraternities, whenever and to whatever extent they can be formed and worked, with scarcely any other than practical limitations and local responsibility. And we are likely to be forced, in self-defence and by every consideration of interest and duty, to a larger employment of the same means.

But we meet another objection at the threshold; that this Confraternity rests upon one point of doctrine and is devoted to one observance or class of observances; and that there is danger from this circumstance of one-sided, distorted or exaggerated views, or of encouraging a morbid and unnatural piety, instead of the well-balanced and harmonious developement of Christian doctrine, character and work.

It must be owned that there is always some liability of this kind in following as a specialty any one line of thought and action, in any form or method of pursuit. But the danger might be greater than it is found to be in reality, if members of the several existing societies were interested and absorbed each in one alone; or if one society overshadowed the rest and confined to a single channel energies and efforts due to other objects of equal merit, or led to a neglect of other portions of Christ's work. But in fact modern societies are too numerous and too varied to incur this risk; their appeals are too incessant from too many different directions to admit of one-sidedness in the Church's practical life. Multiplicity offsets specialty, and the danger on both sides, if there be any, is mutually corrective; vagueness of interest is obviated by definite directions at the same time that narrowness is precluded by variety. Combined activities and the increase of bands for special religious objects seem now the Church's necessity and resource; and indeed if the Church itself were to take up these several objects it could scarcely be in any other way than by some such appointment of bands of workers and a voluntary division of labor.

We are aware of the feeling that the formation of societies and institutions should be confined, as a general thing, to practical work and carrying out objects of acknowledged utility, which cannot be accomplished without united action; but that they should leave theology or the maintenance of particular christian doctrines to the Church at large or to synods of the Bishops and Clergy. There is perhaps good judgment in this too in general. Yet if in any case, owing to peculiar incidents of the history or circumstances in the situation of particular portions of the Church, any important doctrine is neglected or forgotten, [14/15] there may be wisdom and piety in concerted attempts to revive it, and bear witness to its necessity and value.

This principle indeed is practically recognized and vindicated in our Church. In England and America associations or institutions of considerable standing in respect to time, and devoted to the support of particular points of doctrine, of supposed importance in the Christian system, or particular theological views, have performed their work and have pursued their chosen objects without blame or interference. Evangelical missionary societies, evangelical education societies, societies for the promotion of evangelical knowledge, and a variety of institutions all founded with one view, and presenting special points or aspects of Christian doctrine, are allowed without question on both sides of the Atlantic. In my own Diocese we have an important theological institution, recently established and amply endowed by the Christian liberality of one wealthy member of our Church lately deceased, a Seminary for the instruction of candidates for Holy Orders, by the statutes of whose foundation a single enunciation of doctrine found among the Thirty Nine Articles, is forever made the basis of its teaching, and the maintenance of which, (of course not without reference to other parts of the christian system,) is the chief and avowed purpose of that munificent endowment.

And who will undertake to assert that this whole class of Evangelical societies and institutions may not have done good service in their day by upholding important practical truths, which were in danger of being forgotten when the drift of the times was too much away from those subjective realities of religion, to which the attention and interest of their supporters has been so laudably devoted. The Catholic movement, as it is called, owes not a little of its healthiness and of its better life and spirit to the Evangelical, which preceded it in the Anglican Communion.

The truth is, and it is a further answer to the imputation of one-sidedness and a safeguard from the liability, that so indissoluble is the connection of the several parts of the Gospel with each other, so completely is the whole cycle of Divine truths bound together as one system, a unit in itself pervaded with one life, that wherever taken up, upon whatever portion the interest fastens, love and devotion to the whole, in the long run, naturally follows, and, if in living union with Christ, is inevitably in the same proportion developed and increased. Who does not know that a special interest in any one portion of the Holy Bible and an assiduous study of its meaning is a good introduction to a more complete knowledge of the whole? The votary of St. John or the enthusiastic student of St. Paul is not likely in the end to [15/16] be less a lover of the whole band of sacred writers. One may begin with the mystery of the Incarnation, but it must lead on to the mystery of the Passion; or, beginning with the Passion, it will carry back the thoughts with adoring love to the Incarnation. We have heard of devotion to the Holy Infancy of Jesus, and there is a scriptural example of it in the adorations of the Magi; and of devotion to Jesus upon the Cross, and a scriptural example of that too, in one who refused to glory in aught else; but wherein can either differ in the last result from devotion to the Saviour in His whole redeeming work? Awakened interest in any one part is the life-containing germ of deepest interest in the whole.

Were the object of our Confraternity therefore strictly doctrinal, it would not be without precedent in the Church. And truly a doctrine so sublime and heavenly as that of the Holy Sacrament, at the same time so eminently practical and useful, containing in itself so much of the instruction of the Gospel, its very pith and marrow, Divinely appointed, too, for setting forth the central truth of Christianity, the great sacrifice of the cross, salvation by the death of Christ, may well be taken as a rallying point by any association for religious action in any direction whatsoever; as indeed by universal usage the Blessed Sacrament imparts its own peculiar consecration to every other transaction of religion; it may well be taken, we say, as a standard and symbol by any associations, the text and watch-word of their fellowship in active duty, as in the higher spiritual life.

And if for other objects, most surely for the due and reverent usage of itself, as a heaven-appointed means of blessing and salvation. Devotion to the Holy Sacrament means devotion to whatever is most touching and edifying in religion, devotion to our Lord himself in His most loving and disinterested Sacrifice for us. Least of all, therefore, should any object to an organization having for its specialty this Holy Mystery and the truth which it shadows forth, who magnify reliance on the One atoning Sacrifice as the all important element of saving faith.

But after all, though resting upon doctrine, the object of the Confraternity is rather practical than doctrinal. It assumes, it is true, a certain view of the Holy Supper as Catholic and unquestionable; namely, that the Body and Blood of Christ are in that Sacrament after a heavenly and supernatural manner for our spiritual nourishment "under the forms of bread and wine;" as inseparably associated with those forms as the Sacrament itself is inseparable from them; that this immense benefit is imparted through the real though mysterious Presence of our Lord, in His Divine Person giving us His Flesh to eat and His [16/17] Blood to drink after the same ineffable and spiritual manner. All this is undisputed truth and scarcely needs controversy to maintain it.

But the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament asserts still further, as a part of the Eucharistic doctrine of all ages in the Church, though now unhappily obscured in some quarters by the controversies of the times, that this sacred Presence of our dear Lord in the Holy Eucharist is the proper object of worship, and should then and there receive the lowliest homage of the believing heart, with every fitting external expression, to be rendered to the present Saviour in immediate connection with His mystical Body and Blood, the one Sacramental channel of direct communication between Him and us. In other words, that inward worship including faith, love, thankfulness, and every thought and feeling of devotion, and outward worship, in gestures and attitudes and every other expression of that feeling, should point to the broken Body and flowing Blood of our Divine Redeemer, mystically exhibited and imparted, embodying His infinite love, in conjunction with His inmost Life and Spirit, and enshrined in His Divinity. The usual formula of this doctrine is logically exact; that in partaking of His Blessed Body and Blood, we receive into ourselves, into our souls and bodies, into the closest of all unions, the whole Christ, His Humanity and Divinity.

But these great truths understood, as established teachings of the Catholic Church, especially in its earliest Liturgies and the writings of the Fathers, (overlaid perhaps in later times, and burdened with metaphysical definitions and explanations, which add nothing to the spiritual effectiveness and benefit of this sacred institution,) we say that the original design of this Confraternity was the eminently practical one of contributing to a revival of Catholic usage, in a more devout, reverent and frequent resort to the Holy Eucharist as a means of spiritual life and blessing; particularly fasting communions; and, as conducive thereto, earlier celebrations; all with a view to the honor of our Lord; the mutual improvement also of the Associates, and the benefit of united intercession for the best gifts and the promotion of a higher spiritual life. The direct practical advantage was also contemplated of providing sacred vessels and other decent arrangements and requisites for reverent celebration for missions and poor churches, and the furnishing suitable directions and designs. And something has been done, especially by the parent organization, for this pious end.

But the American Branch, apart from its Annual Conferences and the private and personal action of its Officers and Associates, owing to its widely scattered membership and some other obstacles and discouragements, [17/18] has been almost entirely confined to mutual intercession at the Eucharistic hour for special blessings, in accordance with multiplied requests for its prayers from time to time; in truth a praying band, as legitimate in this respect and blameless as other association for united prayer.

Who can doubt that this spiritual exercise has been acceptable to our dear Lord and fraught with benediction on both sides, to those who pray and those for whom they pray; if not in answer to precise requests, at least in other returns of this saintly duty, in mutual charity, in purer feeling, in increased devotion, in deeper joy? When at the time of nearest communion with our Saviour, before the Altar and in presence of the Holy Sacrament, we have remembered far off brethren and their needs; how precious has been the thought that they sympathized with us in exalted views of this wonderful provision of His love, in Eucharistic adoration of His worthiness, in desire for our spiritual welfare, in fellowship with our purest aims, and that they were seconding our own petitions for His blessings!

Thus practically useful in design, and, so far as circumstances allowed, in actual operation, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, particularly in its American Branch, has sustained an unprecedented and appalling amount of misconstruction; and such incessant and ruthless attacks have been made upon it, as greatly to counterbalance the comfort and advantage, which, joining it in good faith, we supposed it would afford, and have found it to afford; but which we are not suffered to enjoy in peace; attacks, which have raised perhaps a doubt in the minds of Associates, whether it might not be better, for the sake of peace, to abandon the Confraternity and disband it altogether; were it not that we see in the present controversies a special necessity of standing firm upon that foundation of principles and doctrine, on which the Society was planted, and which it is pledged by its Constitution and Statutes to maintain.

In the alarm caused by some harmless and even much needed innovations, and some, it must be confessed, undesirable and unwise, and in the strenuous efforts which have been thought needful for the suppression of a spurious doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, which our revered Fathers, the Bishops, have called "the awful error of adoring the elements," (an error, however, to which this Confraternity has given no sanction whatsoever,) and to restrain certain usages by which it has been supposed to be taught, we are now threatened with a serious danger of going too far the other way, and of unduly lowering, in the conceptions of our people, the dignity of that Holy Mystery.

When the Apostle warns us against the equally awful and [18/19] soul-destroying error of "not discerning the Lord's Body," leading to unworthy participation, eating and drinking to condemnation, he dates the commencement of that error from a confounding the Holy Supper, not with ordinary eating and drinking, but with the agape or religious feast of charity, the preliminary meal in the evening, provided in the Apostolic Church by its richer members as a token of their spiritual fellowship, and preparatory, according to the custom of those times, to the celebration of the Eucharist proper, after midnight in the early morning. A mistake manifestly akin to that modern view of the Sacrament, which makes it only a religious eating and drinking in sign of spiritual communion, unaccompanied with any special presence or any greater "discerning of the Lord's Body," after the consecration of the elements than before.

To this imperfect and uncatholic view the American Church has seemed of late to be rapidly drifting, or rather driven. So many utterances, official and unofficial, have condemned any sign of worship, or reverence even, for fear it should be mistaken for worship of the Body and Blood of the Lord under the forms of bread and wine, and so many canons have been passed or proposed for the suppression of those signs, in order, as it said, that the commonalty, the uninstructed, the unsuspecting and simple-minded may not be led into idolatry, that it would not be at all unnatural if the same class should fall into low and inadequate and unedifying conceptions of the Eucharist. Continuous opposition to the doctrine of the Real Presence may lead to a belief of the entire absence of our Lord from the Blessed Sacrament, or impress it as the practical result, when the opposers would shrink from a positive assertion that He is absent.

As all voluntary bowings and kneelings are now interdicted to the Clergy at the Altar, on penalty of a summary prosecution and punishment under the new canon, it would not be altogether strange if the Laity should imbibe the idea that voluntary kneelings in their pews, or their approaching the communion with bowed heads and downcast eyes, as has been heretofore the habit of the devout, after the manner of the Angels in the presence of the Lord of Glory, is unallowable or unadvisable in His Courts below. Not that irreverence has been intended in these utterances and enactments. On the contrary, we all know that our Bishops have wisely and piously cautioned us against it; but they forsaw that such would be the natural tendency when they gave that caution.

But that which has most filled us with astonishment and dismay in this whole controversy, is a disposition in some quarters, even when a Presence of our dear Lord in the Blessed Eucharist for the strengthening [19/20] and refreshing of His members is acknowledged, and even asserted in strong terms, to deny that He is there for worship; or that such a Presence is to be adored with outward expressions of loving recognition. In our humble judgment and yet strong conviction, this strange doctrine, to use an expression which has been much employed in the Eucharistic discussion and litigation, seems "perilously near" a denial of the faith.

And yet it must be confessed that such a conclusion is only a consistent carrying out of the theory, on which the refusal and discouragement of all signs of adoration, directed to the Saviour through the Consecrated Elements, has been founded. For be it that such signs are meant for Him and Him only; so long as they are made in the presence of the elements, and are suggested and called forth by them, which is, as we firmly hold, the very purpose for which they were ordained, they have the same appearance, give the same impression, and are liable to the same gratuitous misconstruction. And thus all bodily worship at that service, even of the Supreme Trinity Itself, is subject to perversion and must be measured and curtailed.

Nor is this by any means an imaginary result. We have been actually told by some high in authority and influence in the Church, whose zeal for ritual uniformity, must surely be far enough from intentional irreligion and irreverence, that certain "ritualistic excesses tend towards and embody an idolatry of the consecrated elements and the worship of the Person of Christ in that Sacrament." The worship of the Person of Christ in that Sacrament, an evil consequent of ritualistic excess! The Lord of the feast not present at the feast! or if present, not to be worshipped as present! nor even, as it would seem, as absent! not to be worshipped at all, at least with outward worship! Or, if you will, not present under the symbols which He has chosen; or if present, not to be worshipped as thus present; even though in the very act of giving Himself therewith for our spiritual nourishment! And all this negation of worship solely out of the surprising fear of seeming to adore the elements; and that too, when every word that is uttered, interprets those signs as addressed to our Saviour in His supreme Divinity and glorified Humanity!

We are reminded, however, with all respect, that such denial is the apparent teaching of our House of Bishops, when in their Pastoral Letter, issued three years and a half ago, they held that "to argue that the Spiritual Presence of our dear Lord in the Holy Communion for the nurture of the faithful is such a Presence as allows worship to be addressed to Him thus and there present, is, to say the very least, to be wise above that which is written in God's Holy Word." But we [20/21] have, for our comfort, the private assurance of one of the most learned and venerable of their number, that this language was not meant in the sense, which it was at first thought to convey, and which made so many loyal members of our communion shudder with amazement, wounding their feelings and shocking their convictions. And another beloved member of their House has since put in print what was already known from various sources, that the expressions of that portion of the Pastoral were not weighed with theological accuracy; nearly the whole of that session having been taken up with discussions on the subject of Holy Baptism.

When they called Eucharistic adoration "emphatically a novelty in Theology," they may have had in mind the scholastic doctrine of transubstantiation and its concomitants and consequents; which, though nearly of a thousand years standing in the Latin Church, may yet be said to be comparatively novel; or they may have referred to the doctrine of the Greek Church, which expressly ascribes latreia, (the highest worship, which they pay to the highest object of worship, accompanied with prostration), to the elements after metousiosis, or the change which takes place in consecration; while they give only an inferior honor without prostration or bending to the ground to the same elements before it; our Bishops may have meant these or similar teachings, but they certainly could not mean that kind of Eucharistic Adoration, which pervades the Primitive Liturgies; that is to say, the special recognition of Christ's Body and Blood as Present in a manner unexplained under the forms of bread and wine in the Christian Sacrifice, justly receiving, according to those Liturgies, the outward homage of bowed heads and bodies in the reception; they could not mean to falsify history by calling this a novelty in theology. Or at most, if they had reference to the adoring recognition of that Sacred Presence, they may have only meant to say that it was, in some sense, a disturbing novelty in American theology; perhaps in the same way as another universal usage of the primitive times, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at burials, or on the anniversaries of burials at the grave, has been lately called an innovation; which it certainly is upon the funeral customs of New England and the interior of New York.

But in spite of definitions and declarations, and violence of debate, and "panic legislation," we may safely trust the devout instincts of Christian people, guided by Holy Scripture and the instructions of the Liturgy, to be with us in the end, to hold fast against all aspersions and contradictions, the doctrine of an unseen Benignant Presence at the august Solemnity of the Holy Supper, and to associate that Presence most closely with the Altar and That which is upon it, our most sacred Offering to the Majesty of Heaven; joining their devoutest act [21/22] of worship to very sight and touch of the hallowed and all-hallowing Flesh of the Redeemer; Who has said, "I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Reverend Father Superior and Brethren Associates of the Confraternity, I congratulate you on this day, fixed as our Anniversary; a day set apart by the Western Church for a devout acknowledgment of the surpassing benefits of the Holy Eucharist and the sovereign beningnity of its Institution; observed by our ancestors for some centuries before the Reformation, retained until a comparatively recent period in the authorized Calendars of the Church of England, and adopted by us partly on that account, and partly to show a disposition towards unity in any commendable observance, or any commendable part of an observance; however far off the probability of any real or substantial union of the great dissevered fragments of the Christian Body on the basis of Holy Scripture and the Primitive Church; for which union we yet devoutly pray, as our Saviour ever prays, and must yet as devoutly hope and believe that it will be brought about in His own good time and in His own good way.

We have been severely censured in some quarters on account of the selection of this day for our Annual Conference; but surely without reason in a Church, which has borrowed or continued so many other days and observances from the same common source and without any just imputation of sanctioning the distinctive peculiarities of the Roman Church.

Do our feasts of the Annunciation and Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary or of the Holy Angels, so far as they are days kept in the Latin and Greek Churches, commit us to the exaggerated Mariolatry and Angel-worship of those Churches? Is not rather the time, when erroneous views are presented with relation to these subjects or the Mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, the very time of all others for setting forth and defending the moderate and true teaching of our own Church upon the same points, in accordance with the Primitive standards? I congratulate you therefore upon this day, and the sweet and holy subject of this day. May the Divine Spirit of truth and purity, and love and peace guide our deliberations and inspire them with humility and modesty, with wisdom and firmness and a loyal allegiance to the One Faithful and True; to Whom, in the words of our Father with God, St. Gregory Nazianzen, the Theologian by eminence after St. John the Divine, we approach and closely cleave, as He approaches and close-cleaves to us at the Holy Table of Christian Liturgy and Sacrifice. Amen.



ST. JOHN, XVII. 21, 22, 23.

"That they all may be one: as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.

"And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:

"I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me."

[23] No authority can be higher, no words can be stronger, no expressions can be of clearer application to the wholeness and the oneness of the Church than these from the blessed Lips of our Divine Saviour. And when it is considered that this sweet fact is, directly or indirectly, expressly or incidentally, the outgushing of Scripture from one end of the Bible to the other, how strange that the trusting soul should have the slightest misgiving or that our wayward hearts should be drawn with the slightest inclination to the theories of sects and schisms! How magnificent, how firmly based, how soul-stirring, and how full of comfort and encouragement the stupendous fact that our Saviour did and should intend, this oneness!

"And now, Father, I come to Thee." But these are, and are to be, in the world a continuous succession, not of the world, but chosen out of the world, yet in the world; and hence subject to worldly seductions and hostility. "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine, Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, those whom Thou hast given Me [23/24] and them which shall believe on Me through their word." The Head comprehensive of the members in the past, the present, and the future. "Not for those alone, nor for these alone, but for them also which Thou hast given Me," partakers of infantile grace by initiate Sacraments, when, by reason of their tender age, they cannot perform the work of faith. "And for them also who shall believe on them through their word." These given ones and believers were, and are, and are to be so corporated into Christ, so as to be not of the world, but gathered from the world into one.

"That they all may be one." That like as the human race is one, united in a common nature, so these, a portion only, taken out from the whole, may be united into one by a uniting principle equally effective; nay, more so than that of humanity itself. "One as We are." Oneness like that which subsists in the Unity of the Divine Nature; not by the tie of a common nature, but by a corporate tie, which the Saviour compares with the union of Himself with the Father. "I and my Father are One;" "That they may be one in Us." That as the bond of a common humanity is sufficient to survive the disruptions of hereditary hostilities, of wars and furious depredations, so the superior bond of Oneness in Christ is strong enough to withstand and eventually overcome the frightful and immeasurable evils of schisms, heresies, and separations. How magnificent the Divine purpose! What the grandeur of the Catholic idea expressed from the Mind of Christ the Lord—"That they all may be one!" And observe not only this Catholic Oneness, but that which is comprehended therein, "I in them." Himself is corporated with them; and here is the power of the bond that makes them and keeps them one. Here is the strength of the tie that holds them in one—"I in them." "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Himself is of and in the Body; the Head Member thereof: the One Only-begotten of the Father; made flesh the Christ; dwelt among us. Joined with all the given; joined with all believers; He the One and the same forever. Oh, His garments may be distributed, but His coat is not rent. His Body may, indeed, be broken, sadly broken, dead but alive again, broken yet whole. Himself is the indwelling, the Almighty Power Which throws off the dessicated particles and fragments, and holds connected members in His Own vitality. They are one because He Himself is One with them. He, the Almighty, the Power of all created powers, Himself the overruling Providence, He is One with them, one of them, "I in them."

This connection of Himself with the Body is a relation of life. "Thou (the Father) hast given Him (He is speaking of Himself), hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give Eternal Life to [24/25] as many as Thou hast given Him. This power of vitality, and of vitalizing, is in the Son; and they that are given are in Him, one with Him, and He is in them, and His Life is in His Body; and the members are quickened by the vital circulation of His Body. "For the Father hath given to the Son to have Life in Himself, and this Life is in His Son. Hence He is the Way of Life, the Resurrection and the Life; so that the Life Everlasting is in Him, and He in them."

And this relationship is cultured and strengthened, deepened and sustained, by means divinely and specifically appointed to that end. One of these, that for the more faithful practice and deeper reverence, is the Blessed Sacrament, which harmonizes so delightfully with the Catholic Truth, and is so instrumental of Catholic Culture. The Saviour brings out, though indirectly, yet plainly, the Eucharist in connection with the Oneness. It is a Eucharistic relation. "These things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves." Observe the Catholic idea of their Oneness with Christ in this expression, "That they may have His joy fulfilled in them," that His joy is their joy. The emotion is one, and as the emotion of the head is the emotion of the body, so the pleasure of the body is that of the limbs and members. And so the Christian joy. What pleases Him, the Head, pleases them, the members. His interest is that which interests them. His way of managing His kingdom, the ordering of Divine Providence which the Father has committed to Him, His way (bating the apprehensions that come of ignorance, bating the necessary trials of faith, bating the disturbances of confidence through fear of His righteous judgments), His way of administering His kingdom and of governing the world relatively thereto, with all abatements, is, on the whole, in the Catholic view, more than satisfactory, and to His own is cause for gratitude inexpressible, even fills the vast realm with His own joy. And humble, earnest, trusting members, so far as they can see (and faith in Divine Promise pierces far beyond sight), do have the Saviour's joy in the travail of His Soul fulfilled, reproduced in themselves.

A purpose of our Association is the more reverent and effectual use of the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Communion, "Fellowship," as saith St. John, fellowship one with another, fellowship with us the Holy Apostles, fellowship with Christ through the Holy Apostles, fellowship with God through Christ. And herein is power given to become the "Sons of God." And there are higher and higher degrees of Sonship, as, indeed, there are of Oneness, up to the point of "perfect in one." In order to that attainment, Christ must often be received. Power to be the Sons of God must be increased by repeating [25/26] and perfecting the believings on His Name, by obediently receiving the Bread which is His Flesh, His Body, His Blood, Himself.

What a mystery in the extension of such benefits unspeakable to us! Oh, the mystery is not all in the upper links of the chain! What wonderment of love, what marvelous mystery, in the very lowest point of contact with us, the link that connects with our poor selves! We can take the Bread; and "the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." How amazing the truth! His Flesh given in Bread! Oh, here is mysterious truth, undiscoverable but from His Own Revelation, believable only from the statements of His Own Blessed Lips, "As the Living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me. He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood dwelleth in Me and I in him," and thus hath life. "This is the record, that God hath given unto us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son." The Bread which came down from Heaven! Bread of Life! Bread nourishing and sustaining the Life! Bread from Heaven, into Flesh and Blood! The sluice through which the Divine Life flows to humanity! Bread made that whereby Christ is communicated to the faithful sacramentally receiving it. "The Bread is My Flesh." He that eateth of this Bread, "My Flesh," feeding thereon from time to time, often, sustained by such feeding, shall live forever, nourished unto Everlasting Life. Catholic truth comprehends the Blessed Sacrament, and, Beloved, there is, notwithstanding our infirmities and sins, there is yet union, however disturbed, in Christ, and something of oneness of feeling, however marred; and there is, indeed, organic union in the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Divine and our Common Lord. So that the Eastern and the Western, the Anglican, and whatsoever else there may be of Apostolic derivation, proceeding from the same source and deriving from the same Divine Saviour, in much the same appointed way, the same sacramental grace and other benefits of His Passion. He gathering us into His One Self, "our fears, our hopes, our joys are one, our comforts and our cares."

And the power of this Sacrament, as instrumental in carrying forward the great purpose of our Divine Lord, is not accidental. "I will draw all men unto Me." Be we faithful to His grand design. Be we drawn, and aid we the drawing.

Catholic truth and Catholic feeling do ever embrace and hold fast the Blessed Sacrament. It is the tap-root of Christianity. I, if I be lifted up, will draw." He has been lifted up actually. He must be lifted up memorially. And we, dear brethren, must make, must often make—God forbid it should be from compulsion, but if from [26/27] compulsion—we must make before the Divine Majesty the Memorial which the adorable Son of God hath commanded us to make, that, like as the prayers and alms of Cornelius, the Roman, came up a memorial before God in behalf of the Gentiles, so must we offer the better Memorial of the Sacrifice of Christ, an offering of a sweet-smelling savor, memorializing the Father in behalf of the great wants and needs of His people in the world. As said the Saviour, "These are in the world. I pray for them." And, dear brethren, how could we—nay, we could not if we would; but oh, we would not—eliminate from this Memorial all that gives It Its superior value. We could not say that the Christ is not there. St. Paul warns us with great emphasis of solemnity that not to discern the Lord's Body therein is a damnable offense. But to deny that He is there! God, in His mercy, save us from adding such a responsibility to the sin of doing and of teaching men so!

On the subject of Prayer, allow me to remark, the Doctrines of the Sacrament and Prayer, however distinct, are naturally connected. It is remarkable how strongly the Scriptures everywhere inculcate Prayer. The promises to Prayer, as encouragement thereto, are amazing. It would seem as if God were offering His Gifts as premium for Prayer. So wonderful are His offers as to provoke the incredulity of feeble faith. Are we not ourselves, Dear Brethren, sometimes surprised to observe how little our devotions are animated by the high hopes of Divine Promise? It might teach us the great lack and need of Prayer (not to say in the world, but in the Church), and the difficulty of obtaining the needful amount of Prayer; so that blessings promised may be lost for want of Prayer, while pending punishments may be averted, might be (as in the case of Nineveh), by earnest and humble Prayer. Sodom perished for want of the requisite amount of Prayer on its behalf. Good King Hezekiah had fifteen years added to his life by Prayer. Intercessory Prayer is agreeable to the Divine Will. "Pray ye one for another." Intercession is an office which our Dear Lord discharges in Heaven. Our Head intercedes for His Body and His Members, and shows them and requires them to do the like. And if by any arrangement they can combine to provoke and aid themselves in so good and loving a work, they herein do follow an honorable lead.

Among the many ways of doing good, Intercessory Prayer is one of the most inoffensive and efficient. Some enterprises accomplish much good, and some harm. Plucking the tares may disturb the wheat, but Prayer is a method of benevolence immensely efficient, yet singularly inoffensive. No one can do me much injury by Prayer. If he ask good things of God for me, it is well. If he ask for harmful things, [27/28] God will discriminate. If he ask with evil intent; his prayers will not go far to my hurt. If he err, yet ask with devout emotion, "Thy will be done" sets it all right. Intercessory Prayer, while it may do vast good to them for whom it is offered, and is good for him who devoutly offers it, can scarcely do harm. While it is not obnoxious for harm, it is efficient for blessing, powerless for evil, powerful for good. Paradoxical, as applied to natural results; but no paradox, as applied to the answers to Prayer, and to the benefits to be received from the Lord's Supper; which the Church holds and teaches to be not merely natural results, but supernatural, and hence potent for good, impotent for evil. And it is comfort inexpressible that, should we err as touching anything that we ask in good faith, yet in devout submission to His Holy Will, the mistake would not be severely marked against the petitioner, nor allowed to disadvantage the subject of intercession.

In the Second Psalm, God the Father speaks to and through His Son. And He, the Christ, speaks to and through His Body, the Church. The Father attests prophetically, as afterwards actually, the mission of His Only Begotten Son, to wit, at the Baptism, at the Transfiguration, and at the Resurrection. "I have set My King upon My Holy Hill of Zion." And the Christ Himself appears: "I will promulgate the Decree," "will proclaim the law, whereof the Lord hath said unto Me, 'Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.'" "Desire of Me," ask, ask the prayer of vivid desire, and "I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance." "He shall ask." For His Body is a Praying Body, was, and is. His Own Body, His Mystical Self, shall pray after His own asking, "Thy kingdom come." Members of Christ shall pray through the Body to Him, the Head Member. And the Ever-living Intercessor shall offer the united intercessions with acceptable incense before the Father, Who Himself hath said, "Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for Thy possession." What a grant! How high the contracting Parties! How secure the promise! What a basis for Prayer!

Oh, it is good to ask for a boon which is promised upon the asking. "He shall ask, and I will give." And saith the Saviour-King in Zion, "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name," ye, as loving subjects, for Me, My cause, My kingdom, "I will give you," to your own unspeakable blessedness, even My joy fulfilled in yourselves. He said it that they might be encouraged to pray; that we, Brethren, might be encouraged, precisely you and I, to pray diligently and earnestly, having His joy fulfilled in ourselves. Surely, being faithful, we shall not lack encouragement.


Superior General in England,


[29] THE Confraternity is strictly a devotional Society. It is intended to act on the inner life in one of its great features, and one which is the special need of the day to develop in the Church of England. Our object is the honor due to our Lord in His greatest Sacrament; and that object is obtained by promoting a true faith and by prayer. It is therefore foreign to our character to aim at public demonstrations, nor do we in any way seek to agitate. I trust the Confraternity will always preserve this religious and quiet spirit. Our hope that we are making our way and telling upon the Church's life is grounded on the manifest advance in sacramental teaching and ritual, which we may fairly believe to be due in no slight degree to the influence exerted by the Confraternity, and to the vast increase of Intercession going on amongst us connected with the Holy Eucharist.

It is to this latter part of our operations that I have undertaken to read this short Paper to-day.

How much depends on Intercession is evident from what Holy Scripture speaks. Our Blessed Lord's power to save is exercised through Intercession. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that [29/30] come unto God through Him, seeing He ever liveth to make Intercession for them." How much Intercession avails on the part of fellow-creatures among each other is evident from what St. Paul says about himself and his power to work: "Strive with me in your prayers to God for me." "Brethren, pray for us." "I trust that through your prayers I shall be given to you," . . . are instances of the value he attached to Intercession.

But our special object is Intercession in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice. We are here at once met by objections. Why does prayer connected with the Blessed Sacrament differ from other prayer? Why is it necessarily more availing prayer, and why is not all prayer in the name of Jesus alike? And this question runs into another, viz., as to the use of what is called non-communicating attendance. Independently of any comfort there may be in such attendance, what practical gain, it is asked, can there possibly be in prayer for oneself or for others there more than elsewhere?

These questions evidently touch upon one of the most momentous controversies now rife amongst us, and one on which we of the C. B. S. have taken up in the face of our brethren a decided line. We affirm the fact that there is a momentous difference between Intercessions offered in union with the Blessed Sacrament and Intercessions otherwise made. We, in fact, ground our existence in part on this belief.

For proof of our assertion we appeal both to ancient teaching and to the teaching of our own later divines. For instance, consider the language of S. Chrysostom: "Not in vain," he says, "did the Apostles order that remembrance should be made of the dead in the dreadful mysteries. They know that great gain resulteth to them, and great assistance; for when the whole people stand with uplifted hands, a priestly assembly, and that awful Sacrifice stands displayed (prokeitai), how shall we not prevail with God by our entreaties for them?" [Homily iii., Philipp. p. 38, Oxford translation.] And again, S. Cyril [Catechetical Lecture, xxiii., 5. 10.] of Jerusalem gives the description of the ancient liturgical use as to Intercession, and the reason for such use. He writes as follows:—"After the spiritual sacrifice is perfected, the Bloodless Service upon that Sacrifice of propitiation, we entreat God for the common peace of the Church; for the tranquillity of the world; for kings; for soldiers and allies; for the sick; for the afflicted; and, in a word, for all who stand in need of succor we all supplicate and offer this Sacrifice.

"Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us; first, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayer [30/31] and intervention God would receive our petition. Afterwards, also on behalf of the holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and, in a word, of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great advantage to the souls for whom the supplication is put up while that Holy and most Awful Sacrifice is presented."

S. Cyril repeats the statement with renewed asseveration (he is specially speaking of prayers for the dead, but the same manifestly applies to prayers for the living also). "We, when we offer to Him our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, though they be sinners, wear no crown, but offer up Christ, sacrificed for our sins, propitiating our merciful God, both for them and for ourselves."

This, observe, is not merely S. Cyril's view, it is a digest of the order in which Intercessions came in all the ancient Liturgies, immediately following the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice; and S. Cyril explains why they came in that order, viz., because their special power with God depended on being made in union with this sacrificial offering.

The same, also, is the teaching of our own greatest divines; and this not merely in abstruse theological treatises, but in devotional manuals that have been in constant use, and with highest authority.

"Thus, in Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living:" "As Christ is pleased to represent to His Father that great Sacrifice as a means of atonement and expiation for all mankind, . . . so He hath appointed that the same ministry shall be done upon earth too in our manner, and according to our proportion, and therefore hath constituted and separated an order of men who, by 'showing forth the Lord's death' by sacramental representation, may pray unto God after the same manner that our Lord and High Priest does—that is, offer to God and represent in this solemn prayer and sacrament, Christ as already offered, so sending up a gracious instrument whereby our prayers may, for His sake, and in the same manner of intercession, be offered up to God in our behalf, and for all them for whom we pray, to all those purposes for which Christ died." ["Holy Living," Section v. 4.]

And I may add one brief extract, also, from Thorndike, which is the more impressive because it expressly refers to Holy Scripture as directly teaching the truth. Alluding to a well-known passage of S. Paul in his First Epistle to S. Timothy, he says: "As S. Paul enjoins the Church to offer up prayers, supplications, and intercessions for all estates in the world at the Celebration of the Eucharist, as recommending them in the Name of Christ, there mystically present, in the commemoration [31/32] of His death upon the cross, can it seem strange that the prayers which are so powerfully presented, by alleging an intercession of such essence, should have a special virtue, and take a special effect, in making God propitious to His Church, and all estates of the same, and obtaining for them those benefits which Christ's Passion tenders?" [Thorndike, Epilogue, 1. iii. c. v.]

It seems to me impossible to doubt the fact, which these authorities affirm, that the offering of prayer in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice is a blessing distinct from the Communion of our Lord's most precious Body and Blood, and that those who do not intend to communicate at any particular time have therefore a distinct work to do; and the fact that notwithstanding all discouragement, this use has now established itself as an accepted practice in the Church of England, is a proof that it has the approval of the true Catholic instinct. Of all controversies, it is the one that has been settled of itself by simple use. We may say of the controversy, solvitur ambulando. It is one of the many instances of the lex orandi being one with the lex credendi. We may appeal to it as an encouragement to us to believe that a doctrinal rather than a controversial line in our Confraternity is the truest and surest way to extend truth.

It is not difficult to see how the belief in the power of Intercession in union with the Eucharistic Sacrifice had died out in the English Church. It has been the natural result of the removal from our Communion Office of the Intercessions which followed the Prayer of Consecration, a deep wrong done to the integrity of the service and the principle of Eucharistic worship. It has been partially remedied in the Scotch and the American Offices, but still remains a blot greatly to be deplored in our own. Intercessions in our Office are confined to its commencement in the prayer for the Church militant, the ancient Intercessions after the consecration having been removed, and only a brief recognition of the principle retained in the Prayer of Oblation, following the reception, where prayer is offered for "the whole Church," but still separated from the Consecration, the Communion coming in between. This dislocation of what is, after all, but a remnant of the old intercessory prayer is a grievous obscuring of the truth, and accounts for the decline of belief in the special efficacy of prayer offered in union with the Sacrifice.

There is the more reason, when the public office is thus wanting in the full recognition of such a use, that private means should be encouraged to promote it. That the Church of England has felt the loss, and regrets it, and would, if possible, supply it, is proved by the restoration alluded to in the Scotch and American Prayer-books. This is [32/33] a real justification of our efforts, and an encouragement to persevere in extending them. Nor need we be without hope that the loss may hereafter be supplied. We can hardly doubt that one means God will bless towards such a recovery is the continual efforts and prayers of the faithful in a large and growing association such as ours.

Meanwhile it is a strength to know that never in the later history of the Church of England has there been such a wide stream of Intercession rising up to God in honor of our Blessed Lord in union with His precious Sacrifice. Amid the anxieties and dangers which now beset His truth, and when our position in the Church of England seems to be at stake, we may take courage and hope from this—that throughout England, from Scotland, from the United States, from Canada, from the East Indies, with one voice and heart, the same petitions, the pleading of the same assurance of faith in the one ceaseless Offering, the same earnest desire for the maintenance and extension of the Eucharistic faith and Ritual is being urged before the throne of grace in union with the ceaseless Intercession of the Son of God himself as He stands ministering before the throne of God, offering, with "much incense," the prayers of all Saints.

Project Canterbury