AND ITS PROGRESS, BY THE SECRETARY.
"Fear not for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the East, and gather thee from the West; I will say to the North, Give up; and to the South, Keep not back. bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; even every one that is called by My Name; for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
THE order in which the past history of the Church has unfolded itself, could not have been anticipated. The prevalence of sin and influence of the world manifested within the Church, the little progress made in converting the heathen nations, the constant struggle to maintain itself against constant unbelief, the universal tendency to decay and degeneracy, above all, the divisions which have sprung up ever freshly even from the beginning--who that lad felt the unearthly power which ushered the Gospel into the heart of mankind, could have foreboded such a future? I do not stay to speculate on the causes of such phenomena, or to dwell on the reasonings which reconcile them with the fullest belief in the truth of GOD. I only note them as facts in the progress and condition of the Church, which could not have been looked for. But we may surely conclude from such a remarkable [3/4] retrospect, that the future of the Church now before us is as inscrutable as its past; that no one can conceive what order of events, what conditions of spiritual life, will mark the onward advancing ages of the Church's history. This thought materially affects the question now prominently brought before our minds on the anniversary of the Association, here met together, which we are celebrating,--a commemoration fitly associated with the Festival which the Church observes to-day in honour of the Nativity of Her who was called and fitted to bring forth in the fulness of time the One LORD and Saviour of the world.
[Allusion was here made in the sermon (1) to the great success which the A.P.U.C. has already attained, consisting as it does, in round numbers, of about 1,200 Roman Catholics, 400 Greeks, and 6,500 Anglicans; (2) to the recent inter-communion between a London Priest and the Servian Church; and (3) to the fact that three of the London clergy had quite recently celebrated the Holy Communion according to the Anglican rite, with the Archbishop's sanction and assistance, at Belgrade. The preacher, after alluding to the condemnation of the A.P.U.C. by the Papal Rescript, read the following striking passage from one of the original Roman Catholic founders of the Association:--"May I request you to present to the meeting my warmest assurance of continued sympathy in the holy work of the Corporate Re-union of the three great bodies of divided Christendom, for which I shall never cease to labour according to my ability? I request you also to explain (if you think it worth while), that, although I felt it due to the chief authorities of my own Church to withdraw my name as a Local Secretary of the A.P.U.C. after the censure pronounced by the Roman authorities, still I shall never cease to maintain that that censure was grounded on a complete misrepresentation of the true facts of the case, and that sooner or later I firmly believe that the Court of Rome will enter warmly into the great movement for Corporate Re-union--it being always understood that such a Re-union is based upon the orthodox profession of every Article of Catholic Faith."]
Different and equally possible schemes may suggest themselves to a believer in the future Re-union of Christendom, by moans of which his fondly-treasured hope may be realised. The reducing of the Roman claims within more reasonable limits--the raising the English mind to a higher level of faith in the Church's life, and in Sacraments--the development abroad of the principles of nationality, made more consistent [4/5] than in our own case at present with a true spiritual independence--more especially the intercommunion even now thought to be probable with one branch of the Eastern Church, to extend itself as may be expected to the whole East, and thus, it may be, our position being recognised by four of the great Patriarchates of Christendom, the treaty with Rome rendered comparatively at least more easy--or again the final gathering of the already muttering storm of infidelity felt throughout Rome as in England, forcing both Communions, as the chief depositories of Christian learning and energy, to a common strife in a common cause against a foe more terrible than their own intestine quarrels,--these all alike not impossible suppositions may serve to make the idea of Re-union more reasonably practicable, and reconcile to its acceptance minds which cannot rest simply on the power of prayer, and the assurance of the Divine promises. But it must ever be borne in mind, that the way in which this hope may be carried out, is not the question on which your sympathies are appealed to to-day, nor is the unlikelihood of any one or all of the modes suggested, or of any other like event that may be conceived, any hindrance to the success of the cause we have at heart, any more than the surprising incidents of the past history of the Church, so contrary to any probable expectation, is a proof of the unreality of its Divine institution.
It is not the way in which Unity is to be restored, with which we are concerned, but the conditions of mind which are required in us, and throughout the Church, in order that there may be no resistance to the working of the Spirit Who, abiding as from the beginning within the whole Body, as the outer frame of His in-dwelling Presence, is ever tending to renew the original Unity in which He first formed it, Our responsibilities and our powers extend to cherishing the spirit most favourable to Re-union,--beyond this we cannot pass. The overruling of events, the changes of feeling and opinion in the mind of the Church, the ordering of the chain of Providences by which the complex web of confusion may be unravelled and reknit in order,--all such issues are in the [5/6] Hand of God. We are not however any the less to be stirred to the desire of Re-union, because we cannot see the way of its accomplishment. We are not the less to offer prayer for its being granted to us, because the difficulties may seem to be insurmountable. The accomplishment of a restoration of Unity is really not more difficult to imagine, than was the possibility of its loss, The one would have seemed on the Day of Pentecost not more improbable than the other appears in our own day. The first disciples went forth as one Spirit; they must have been startled to find the Babel brood of heresy spring up within their own company. We go forth with the din of conflicting opinions everywhere around us; the very misery and weariness of disunion may itself tend to the universal desire for unity and peace. It would be scarcely more improbable than that the blessedness of that first peace, sustained by the full power of the One Spirit, should have been so soon lost. The events which may at some future day lead to any reproduction of that first love, wholly inscrutable as they are, are beyond our power. "The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." But we need not the less rejoice to turn aside from the harassment of controversy, to dwell for awhile on thoughts which will by GOD'S blessing tend to peace, and induce us to foster, at least in our own hearts, the unity and love so precious in the sight of GOD.
And with this view before me, the point which I would urge, the only clear practical one, is this--that there are conditions of mind necessarily to be wrought in us, if we would share the spirit which conduces to Unity, conditions of mind directly tending to its restoration, which it must therefore be of the utmost moment for us to cherish, because every one of us must surely give account before God, how his own soul is disposed in regard to them, since He desires Unity for His Church, and He will surely shed a special blessing on those who put no hindrance in its way, or rather by their words and works, as far as in them lies, seek to promote it. Let us consider therefore some of these spiritual conditions of [6/7] which we must one day give account before GOD, and on which the hope of the returning of the grace of Unity essentially depends.
The text suggests the first point which I would urge. It is the holding firm the assurance, that the Church, though divided, still exists as one in the eye of God, and that consequently its Re-union is possible at any moment. The divisions of the Israelites, their strong belief of their restoration in one body, the existence of the many promises that their scattered families shall be thus gathered together again,--are facts bearing the most direct application to the Catholic Church. Nothing is more striking than the typical relations, which connect the Israel of old with the new Israel of GOD. I can admire, though I entirely demur to the truth of, that apparent faith which argues from the essential difference between the Christian and the Jewish Church, because of the Spirit's Presence in the one, as He was not in the other, that therefore division, though admissible in the one, cannot possibly exist in the other, the Spirit's in-dwelling Presence necessarily preventing it. So complete is the chain of types, so numerous and minute the particulars which represent in the provisions of the Mosaic Covenant, and in the course of its history, the new and perfect revelation which so constantly announced itself as its antitype, that there would seem to be no limit to the laws of resemblance connecting them. The history of the ancient people of Go in so many ways symbolised the history of the Catholic Church,--the counterpart can be traced so closely in great essential features, that an unprejudiced mind can hardly fail to discern in the long hostilities wherewith Judah vexed Israel, and Israel vexed Judah, a manifest type of the present unhappy divisions of Christendom. The opposite view has been urged as in favour of the Roman communion. But if that communion itself was capable of full sixty years' division within itself between the rival Popes, one half at war with the other half, having lost unity even in the very head of the body, the Spirit's abiding Presence can not be incompatible [7/8] with the yet wider rents and longer separations which mark our now existing divisions. The principle is the same; the question of length of time cannot affect it,
And how amazingly striking are the dealings of GOD both with Israel and Judah in spite of their divisions, in spite of the unbelief and iniquity which prevailed in both portions of that typical Church, proving that He had not separated Himself from either portion, but was in both, drawing each to the other, and both alike to restored Unity in Himself! If Judah possessed the true Temple, Israel had within its borders greater Prophets working greater miracles. Both Elijah and Elisha were Prophets of Israel. If in Judah the hereditary lineage of the Messiah was preserved, the care to bring back the dispersed of Israel to be united with Judah in the same inheritance of the Messiah's Advent, was equally great as the care which watched over Judah. If numbers are to determine the question, Israel, apparently the separatist, numbered ten tribes, Judah only two. And so again with the great critical events of the Incarnation. If our LORD came from Judah, His forerunner was the spiritual Elijah, the Prophet of Israel. If the Nativity took place within the borders of Judah, the Annunciation and holy Conception occurred in Galilee. If S. Mary was of the city of Bethlehem, "in the land of Judah," she dwelt, her own birth had been, at Nazareth. If the Atoning Sacrifice was offered at Jerusalem, far the greater portion of the Ministry and Miracles of our LORD, the calling of the Apostles, the Sermon on the Mount, made Galilee specially hallowed ground. If the Resurrection is the peculiar property of Jerusalem, the most glorious manifestation of our risen Lord to His assembled Church, the "five hundred brethren at once" was on a mountain of Galilee. If the glory of the Ascension rests upon the Mount of Olives, the Transfiguration has left a radiance of its own on Mount Thabor. If the first institution of the Blessed Sacrament specially consecrated the Upper Chamber within Jerusalem, the first eating together of our LORD and His Apostles as one body, after the Resurrection, was by the shore of the Lake of Gennesareth. If, again, the Gift of Pentecost fell on the infant Church gathered together [8/9] within Jerusalem, the first confirmation with the Holy Ghost by the Apostles was in Samaria.
How wonderfully did these two separations of the Church of old, however bitterly at variance, notwithstanding the grievous losses entailed on one or the other through their divisions, thus share with no unequal dispensation the love which failed not to fulfil in each its predestined grace, whilst to the outward view the virulence of party warfare was rending them asunder, and grievous unfaithfulness marred them both in various degrees in the sight of God. They were nevertheless one in His sight, and the promise of restoration embraced both alike even in their dispersions. What can express more clearly the Unity which combined the separated sections of the divided Israel in the Divine Presence, than the language in which the promise of the text is written, and which evidently describes the drawings of the Divine love acting equally on the two divisions of the people, however apparently far distant from each other? "Fear not for I am with thee,"--a divided body, and yet still as one person before. God" I will bring thy seed from the East, and gather them from the West; I will say to the North, Give up, and to the South, Keep not back" (from all quarters one drawing as upon one living whole). "Bring my Sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by My Name, for I have created him;" (mark again the unity of personal life ever recognised in the midst of the dispersions), "for I have created him for my glory; yea, I have made him."
2. Again, a second condition of mind, necessary for the promotion of Unity, is the largeness of heart, which can apprehend the largeness of the Divine design working itself out in the narrow earthei vessel of the Visible Church. The truth which embraces all possible phases of Humanity, must needs be greater than any age, or any race. The immensity of the Godhead revealed to the mind of the Church, must be greater than the Church. Consider the generations which it required [9/10] to elaborate any one series of dogmas, as, e.g., those relating to our Blessed LORD'S Nature, separating the truth from manifold errors, and fixing in unchangeable moulds the forms of truth on this one particular portion of the Church's Creed. Expand this process of the settlement of truth to the whole compass of the Divine revelation, and calculate what would be required for the elaboration of all its treasures. Again, consider how to one race of mankind, gifted with its own special genius, as distinct from that of other races, has been given the working out of one portion of the complex whole, to another portion; how, e.g., to the Eastern mind exclusively was consigned the working out of the problems affecting the Godhead in Its union with Humanity, the theology, properly speaking, of the Catholic Creed. Then see what important results flow from this fact as to the necessity of the different minds of the different races of mankind for the composition of the entireness of the truth, as affecting all the relations between GOD and man, the embracing all the effects of the vast revelation on all the phases of human life.
And we can surely trace in the past history of the Church this progressive development, through the instrumentality of different races, of different portions of the Faith. First, that which has been already noticed, as a notable instance of the principle, the work of the East alone in the settlement of the dogmas touching God Himself, which resulted in the Creed of Constantinople, or, as we term it, the Nicene; then next the work of Africa, specially in the person of S. Augustin, taking up the torch of light, and forming the code of doctrines which determined the laws of human free will in its relation to the Spirit of grace; and then Europe, with Rome at its head, moulding the wonderful system of objective Sacramental forms of truth in relation to their inward spiritual grace, the order of spiritual government, and the laws of the religious life, an array of teaching which was the glory of the Mediaeval Schools. Then, finally, Germany and England awakened to their inmost depths through the opening of the Holy Scriptures and of Christian Antiquity, arose as with a giant's strength to assert and to systematize in its relation to grace and [10/11] spiritual rule the subjective essential individuality of man, with the claims and responsibilities of conscience, the soul's own separate account with its Maker.
Oh, would that these magnificent developments of the powers of redeemed Humanity illuminated by the HOLY SPIRIT of God, could have been constructed in peaceful mutual harmony to form one hallowed fabric of sacred truth on earth Would that this consummation, which was assuredly the Divine purpose, could have been fulfilled as the triumph of the Gospel of peace! But surely we may in the grievous lack of harmony, which has marked the development of the full Catholic Creed, recognize one fruitful cause of division. For if in the attempt to reconcile the strong dogmatical system of the practical mind of the West with the more passive, philosophical theology of the East, the first lamentable rupture ensued, which was sealed by the Council of Florence, what wonder if in the next more hazardous effort to reconcile the profound and fervent passions of the Teutonic races, in their assertion of the subjective prerogatives and powers of the conscience, with the stern unbending systematizing of the traditions of the Schools, to which the Latin races adhered, the second miserable division which armed the West against itself occurred? Truth needed for its completeness the development first of one, then of other portions of the complex body of truth. Its very vastness required the different organs and varied gifts of the diverse natures of the different races in the progressive periods of their successive advances on the stage of the life of the world. If each portion of Catholic Christendom had always, as it fulfilled its own mission, recognized the greatness of the Catholic truth extending itself so far beyond its own narrow grasp, and also the mission of the other sections of Christendom, for the elaboration of their share of the portions of truth which were beyond its own line,--if each had reverenced aright the infiniteness of the truth, and the diversities of each other's gifts, recognising in them the One and Self-same Spirit, the disastrous separations might have been spared.
And now assuredly one condition of mind needful for the [11/12] restoration of Unity, is to be found in cherishing this consciousness, in recognizing the vastness of the truth, and the diversities of gifts. it will be, when East and West, and the divided portions of the West, recognize humbly and thankfully each other's mission, and reverencing the greatness of the truth of God, can see each other's appointed share in the development of the varied treasures of the Divine life, that one condition of Unity will have been fulfilled. The seed from the East, and the seed from the West, the North and the South, will be giving up each its own cherished deposit, and, apprehending the wondrous harmony of the different portions, will mould together the complex whole out of the SPIRIT'S witness in each. The perfected mind of Humanity to which each of the divided sections will have contributed its share, will embrace the perfectly revealed GOD. the mystery of GOD'S works which has been unceasingly accomplishing itself under the outward forms of human controversy, and endless division, will then be seen at last in its Oneness binding together "every one that is called by His Name."
3. There is yet a third condition to be noted, and this one which the very mind of Christ shews to be essential to the Unity of His Body, and which nevertheless more perhaps than any other note of the Divine life of. the Church, has been marred in her. I speak of the lowliness and modesty of self, which as it is essential to individual saintliness, is. no less essential to the character of the whole body. Yet how wonderful it is to observe, that this fruit of the SPIRIT, which we acknowledge to be a vital necessity in our personal life, has been so markedly wanting in the life of the Church, as a whole, a though the worldly spirit of the pride of caste had entered into it. It would seem that while we abase ourselves personally before GOD for our own individual sins, the idea has grown that it is true and consistent to uphold the honour of the Community by a proud self-assertion, as if an esprit de corps, which would be incompatible with individual sanctity, [12/13] is necessary for its collective position, penitential confessions of personal sins a daily necessity for one's own private approach to GOD, but no penitence needed on account of defect, or error, or sin, affecting the Community. Surely if we look dispassionately over the present aspect of Christendom, we see a marked lack of this vital spirit of Christianity everywhere discernible, as if the very fact of division had the more engendered a strange brood of self-complacency and arrogancy, the separated portions, as it would seem, thinking thus to justify their separate standing, constrained to defend themselves by the condemnation of their brethren, and refusing all acknowledgment of fault, as the necessary safeguard of their truth. And yet they continue to profess themselves the living witnesses on earth of Him Who "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant."
Though it would but add to our own sins, to be presumptuous in judging others, yet we may confess before GOD what we believe to be the common sin of Christendom, while truly acknowledging our own share in the condemnation. If, as it seems to us, the East exhibits a too great self-complacency in its rigid strictness of adherence to the ancient Canons and precise forms of words, thus hindered from onward energetic progress in the development of human thought, stationary in its ancient homes, as though it needed nothing of the later growth of the powers of the more active West;--if again the Roman Church, as we believe, is forcing upon the world, on East and West alike, a too imperial claim, too proud a Lordship over GOD's heritage, refusing all attempts at reconciliation, except at the cost of entire submission, not yielding allowance even for what the highest possible evidence warrants us in believing to be as clear as our belief in GOD Himself, and forcing on us with this same absoluteness what equally the highest possible evidence leads us to dispute, allowing no common ground of appeal but its own supposed infallible word,--a course of action inconsistent with the early Church's humbler mode of determining the truth, and we resist it, remembering how these same unbending claims sealed, if they did not cause, the first [13/14] rupture between East and West, the first most grievous rending of the robe of CHRIST;--if thus in others we mourn the lack of the humility which is the characteristic note of the mind of CHRIST, so equally, to our own shame be it spoken, we must acknowledge that our own portion of the Church of God has lifted itself too high, speaking of itself as if it were alone blameless, itself the only pure and undefiled one, as if we wanted nothing, as if in guarding what we believe to be the truth, and purging away what we cannot but see to be inconsistent with it, we had lost nothing which we needed to restore, as if we had not fallen even from what we at first professed, and needed no return to the witness of a better age, as if we had not been too hasty to condemn where only ignorance or misconception distorted the judgment, as if, while sacredly and reverently cherishing our own deposit of truth, we did not still need to learn of others, and abase ourselves in the consciousness that we too had erred even in the righteous endeavour to avoid error.
If a return to Re-union is to be hoped for, it must surely be based on this spirit of lowly love, and mutual acknowledgement of possible fault and liability to err. We may trust to GOD to defend His own truth, while we humbly strive to separate from it the error which human frailty may have suffered to mingle with it. The ready acknowledgment of error is in individual life the surest evidence of the love of truth; is it less so in the Body of the Church? Mutual consideration is the very bond of love and of peace in personal intercourse; is it less so in that of Churches? If Re-union, which is a renewed outpouring of the love of the Heart of Jesus, is to be granted to us, it cannot fail to manifest this likeness to Him Who is revealed as so specially the One "meek and lowly of heart."
But I must needs hasten to a close. I have touched only on some chief points which may suggest others as to the needful spiritual condition of a mind disposed to Unity. I have assumed that Unity does not mean the surrender of truth which is held dear as life. But there may often be explanations [14/15] of apparent differences so as to exhibit essential agreement. There may be forbearance as to minor distinctions, so as not to mar the spirit of harmony in the substantial elements of the Creed. There may at least be intercommunion where there cannot be the power of reconciling all questions of difference.
I have assumed moreover that Unity is to be obtained, if ever, by Corporate Re-union, not by individual Secessions. I cannot refrain from expressing the strongest possible conviction, that whatever else may be said of a secession from the Church of England, such an act has this dark blot stamped irremediably upon it, that it forms one of the greatest hindrances to the possibility of Catholic Unity. A seceder from us has done his worst to throw further back that blessed hope of Christian love. It is true that his going from us, because of some defect in us, may stir those that remain the more to strive to remedy that defect. It is true also that, if we love and honour him, his presence may draw us to speak and think more tenderly of those to join whom he has left us. So far we may gain by the loss. But, on the other hand, his secession has east a painful and injurious suspicion on all with whom he had once worked as in a common cause. It is a triumph given to those who are already too confident. It is a disheartening to those who are already too fearful. But the real severity of the blow lies in this,--that it utterly cuts beneath our feet the ground on which alone we can rest the effort for Re-union, by denying the very life of one portion of the Body which is sought to be re-united.
I have assumed that we have nothing to do with changes of events, with "the times or the seasons which the Father hath put into His own power." We are not answerable for destinies which are beyond our own control. But what is manifestly our Lord's will for His Church, we may believe possible. We may ask for it as an object of intense desire. Nay more, we may by such prayer and such desire, even if we fail to win the actual fulfilment of the longed-for object, be in His sight as really one, as though we had succeeded. If we cherish the spirit of Unity, if we put no barrier in its way if [15/16] we promote it as we are able, it will be to us as though it had actually been. It may arise in after ages as the fruit of the working of our own age. There may be a tending towards it, even if it be not wholly given to us The very desire is an unquestionable proof of its real existing life. There is a sure blessing on those who do what in them lies to further it. There is a promise contained in the injunction, "to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee." [Ps. cxxii. 6]
Meanwhile our practical duty is clear. To be gentle and forbearing, to overcome prejudices, to clear up misunderstandings whether in one's own mind, or in the minds of others, to make large allowances for variety of conditions, to reverence GOD wherever the trace of His footsteps can be discerned on the dark waters, to be ever ready to acknowledge error while sacredly upholding the soul's convictions of truth, to hope all things, to remember how Angels and Saints now at rest regard the controversies of this lower world while they look on His Face Who is Truth, and marvel at our contentions about its modes of expression in earthly forms, to catch their spirit as we contemplate them, and learn to look with their eyes on the same vision, and see all questions as they are reconciled in GOD,--moreover and above all, to live the life of the spirit of our Creed, and to seek to draw nearer to each other in the sameness of a saintly mind, that thus holding unceasing communion in the same spirit, we may more nearly apprehend the Truth under the same aspects,--and together with all this to mourn before GOD our own and our brethren's sins, which have widened the sad breach, and to trust to the compassion of GOD to grant for the sake of the merits of our dearest LORD what our utmost efforts in themselves must fail to accomplish,--such are among the signs which GOD approves as marking a true love of Unity.
Too much stress is often laid on the length of time which has elapsed since the divisions, as though in the power of renewing grace time was to be heeded. "Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a [16/17] thousand years; and a thousand years as one day." [2 S. Pet. iii. 8.] The revolution of a life in the conversion of a soul causes the past, however long, to be as though it had never been. Is grace different in Churches than in individuals? The Reunion of the Faithful is a certainty of the divine predestination. It will be granted within the vail, if not without. But the unceasing Intercession of our LORD is evidently pleading for the accomplishment of this blessed restoration in this world. He regards it as the necessary fullness of the proof of His own mission. He prays not merely for the first disciples, but for them also which shall believe on "Him" through their word, "that they all may be One, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be One in Us." And the reason given marks the reference of this desire to the earthly condition of the Church, as His witness, "that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." [S. John, xvii. 20.]
And He will surely bless those who pray with Him for the accomplishment of His own desire. He will return into their own bosom the peace they desire for His Church. They will be made to taste, as they pray for it, its inner rest. They will see more and more clearly revealed to their inner sight the glory of the new Jerusalem made one with GOD, and therefore perfectly one within itself. In each approach towards this most blessed accomplishment they will recognize His Hand, the token of His love in answer to their prayer. They will triumph with Him in the day of its accomplishment. Their own union with him will be enhanced by the oneness with Him of this fervent desire for Union with all their brethren, His own elect, in Him. Heaven will be brighter, Love more intense, the Communion of the Saints more inwardly, more profoundly, felt, because of their own enlarged capacity, and keener appetite, for the blessedness of its Unity. GOD, the Eternal Source of Union, will be more completely their own GOD, in the fulfilment of His will for the Church of His election, "according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself. They will have done their part in their [17/18] day towards the perfecting of His treasured purpose, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in One all things in CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him," to Whom with the FATHER, and the HOLY GHOST, Three Persons, One Undivided Trinity, be glory and honour for ever. Amen.
THE Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom was established on Sept. 8, 1857. Its aim and object is clearly and sufficiently set forth in the paper now so well known. It is simply an Association for prayer. Clergy who join superadd to the work of praying daily, a promise to remember the need of Re-union once in three months at the altar when they bless the chalice and "show forth our Lord's death." All that is required of persons desiring to become Members, is that they write out the appointed declaration, adding their names and, addresses at full length, and return it either to the General Secretary or to one of the Local Secretaries. It is expected that all who are in a position to assist by their substance as well as their prayers, will contribute 2s. 6d. as an entrance fee, together with 1s. a year afterwards, to cover the considerable and increasing expenses of printing, postage, and advertising. This, however, is not a sine qua non. The names of persons are enrolled. as heretofore who contribute nothing.
The following leading article from the Church Review of Sept. 10, 1864, contains so much that is interesting with regard to the general subject of Re-union, and mentions the A.P.U.C. in such kindly words of commendation, putting forth so accurately the principles on which it was founded, that it is here reprinted at length:--
"Having frequently alluded to the great advance which has been made in our own country in a desire for renewed inter-communion between the separated portions of the Church, we cannot do better than refer to the subject at greater length on the present occasion, and with reference to an Association which has, no doubt, done much towards bringing this state of sentiment into practical operation. It is impossible not to admit that Re-union is now more generally considered than it has been since the days of King Charles I. and Archbishop Laud. There [19/20] is a deep and wide-spread feeling--which recent evils, such as the heretical productions of Colenso and Renan, have brought out--that the sound and proper solution for much that is hard to bear, and difficult to reconcile with the true notes of the Church, is a bona fide corporate Re-union amongst those three great communities which claim for themselves the inheritance of the priesthood and the name of Catholic. Seven years ago this was seen by several who have proved themselves to be farsighted, and the A.P.U.C. and its admirable labours are the results. Ever since the true conception of corporate Re-union has been admitted and entertained, individual secessions have, as a matter of course, singularly decreased in number. People on all sides are apt to magnify the evils of their own communions. It is so amongst Roman Catholics. In matters political, in questions deep and intricate, of ecclesiastical polity, wide differences exist as well on that side of the wall as on this; while more Roman Catholic laymen in England than could be imagined would have come forward, do honestly and openly avow themselves supporters of this excellent Association. For could anything be more reasonable, more in accordance with the first principles of Christianity, than that those who are visibly separated should pray that in God's time and way that separation may cease? Is there any clergyman, either Roman, Greek-, or Anglican, who--when its objects are simply laid before him--could refuse to co-operate in so good a work? Here, in England, of course, mutual jealousies and social difficulties exist, which tend to render co-operation by no means easy; but, if this be so, the greater is the credit due to those who step out of their private sphere, and by deed as well as word avow themselves the promoters of unity and concord. Could any mission, under the present aspects of divided Christendom, be more high and holy, more needed or more truly calculated to bring all-abundant blessings on the progress of the Gospel? Individual secessions, though not uncommon, but still far less frequent than in past years, have been found by sad experience only to augment divisions, to separate families, to embitter and increase separations, and to hinder the broad and general acceptance of true Catholic principles and the great work of corporate Re-union. All this is admitted by several far-seeing Roman Catholics, many of whom are known to discountenance the policy. And this is most reasonable, for in too [20/21] many cases, to which we need not more particularly allude, the actual evils that have come to pass from people having been hurried 'over to Rome' by the short-sighted policy of impetuous convert-clergymen are known to many. Those who were once earnest, holy, energetic, humble, retired, have now wholly changed their mode of life; while some have returned to the Church of England, and others have altogether become disbelievers in the Christian religion. Of these latter nearly a dozen names occur to us as we write. The theory which the converts attempt to propagate is found not to be simply impracticable as a theory, but wild and absurd in practice, so that even several distinguished Roman Catholic bishops in England and Ireland--admitting existing evils on this score--have come over to the conviction that corporate Re-union is the great desideratum. for Christians on both sides. One distinguished Roman prelate in the south of Ireland, a warm friend of corporate Re-union, has again and again expressed this important sentiment--all the more valuable from one whose personal attainments are so high, and whose actual knowledge of the evils of disunion, and the absence of charitable co-operation in Ireland, is so accurate and sound. Thus much, therefore, on that score.
"The Secretary of the A.P.U.C., to whose labours the Society owes much, has furnished us with an interesting tabular statement of the progress of the Association since its institution on the Feast of the Nativity B.V.M. in 1857, which we are glad to place before our readers:--
"On September 8, 1858, a year after its formation, there had enrolled themselves members 675
On Sept. 8, 1859 (in addition) 833
On Sept. 8, 1860 (in addition) 1,060
On Sept. 8, 1861 (in addition) 1,007
On Sept. 8, 1862 (in addition) 1,393
On Sept. 8, 1863 (in addition) 1,202
On Sept. 8, 1864 (in addition) 929
Thus making a total of 7,099
[The record for the present year (1864) is incomplete, many of the local secretaries not having, as we are informed, made any returns for a twelvemonth.]
 "The numbers have been increased by steady work and earnest prayer. The clergy have been foremost in the good cause; and the laity have not been behind-hand. Abroad the increase has been influential and steady. No doubt much may be done in England, but any active work for the actual restoration of Re-union will be commenced abroad. Already we hear that an Association for promoting the gathering of an ecumenical Council is being formed under high auspices in France, while the needs and work of Re-union have been brought out wisely and powerfully by many Continental prelates both in Germany, Belgium, and Italy. In England what has been done by the Unity Association--with very imperfect machinery, and by one or two almost single-handed--is a good earnest of what could be effected were men found to labour heartily for the sacred cause. If, for example, three clergymen and three laymen in every diocese of Great Britain and Ireland were to begin to organize Local Associations for adding numbers and influence to the general Society, the numbers might be increased every month, not by tens, but by hundreds. On Thursday last great energy and devotion were evidenced in many quarters. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated by many on that the seventh anniversary. Archbishops, bishops, religious and secular clergy, all joined in the work, with thanksgivings for the past, and with prayers and hopes for the future. In England, Scotland, and Ireland, the Holy Sacrifice was offered for its intention. In France, Austria, Prussia, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Malta, North and South America, and South Africa, members met together for a like holy purpose.
"All this, then, is cheering. Here is a good work of love and peace progressing really through the blessing of God. Let those, therefore, who have not yet joined at once send their names to one of the secretaries; let them influence all Catholics within their acquaintance to do the same; let them talk of the Association, its plans and its operations; let them interest their friends in its labours; and, above all, let them pray for its success. And should they be enabled to contribute towards its expenses, which a recent circular from the Secretary declares to be an urgent necessity, it will be well. 'As the Association,' he remarks, 'is carried on entirely by voluntary donations--there being no fee for admission, nor annual subscription--I trust you may be enabled to gather together a small sum [22/23] towards the current expenses, and forward it to me. The burden of work and almsgiving during the past seven years has been borne by a very few.' Of this we are convinced, that the more its principles are faithfully considered, the more will all Catholic-minded members of the Church of England begin to see a solution of our difficulties; and a relief from present isolation--as the Bishop of Salisbury so eloquently pointed out in his recent Charge--by putting into practice, with faith, and hope, and charity, the Divine principles of corporate Re-union as a means of permanently healing the wounds of Holy Church."
It is well to add to the table of new members given above a more complete form, made up to the last anniversary:--
From Sept. 8, 1857, to Sept 8, 1858 were enrolled 675 Members.
From Sept. 8, 1858, to Sept. 8, 1859 were enrolled 833 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1859, to Sept. 8, 1860 were enrolled 1,060 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1860, to Sept. 8, 1861 were enrolled 1,007 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1861, to Sept. 8, 1862 were enrolled 1,393 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1862, to Sept. 8, 1863 were enrolled 1,202 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1863, to Sept. 8, 1864 were enrolled 1,340 New Members
From Sept. 8, 1864, to Sept. 8, 1865 were enrolled 1,317 New Members
Making a Total of 8,827
These may be divided as follows:--
Roman Catholics in various countries 1,271
Uncertain or Miscellaneous 75
In future a half-yearly paper of the A.P.U.C. will be issued containing a record of progress and a list of donations. The first number will be published at Christmas.