Of the Holy Trinity, Palamcottah.
PRINTED AT THE DIOCESAN PRESS, VEPERY
OUR first thoughts to-day must be of those who have been called to higher service above, since my predecessor held his last Visitation in 1921. I will ask you to stand while I read the names and in silence we commemorate them with thanksgiving before God for their life and work for Christ and the Church. We remember first
Reginald Stephen Coplestone some time Metropolitan of the Province:
Samuel Morley some time Bishop of this Diocese: and the following clergy of this Diocese:
Samuel Daniel Gnanamuthu
David Masillamoney Pakkianathan
Vedamonickam Jesudason Dare
Savarimuthu Madurendiram Devadoss
Jesudason Devasahayam Samuel
We offer a hearty welcome to those who have been ordained in the Diocese since 1921:
1. Vedadason Devapiriam Vedamuthu
2. Athinarayanan Vedamanickam
3. Vedamanickam Svvamidason
4. Joseph James Jesudason
5. Jesudason Michael Devadason
6. Pichaimuthu Luke Brown
7. Devasagayam Koilpillai Gurubatham
8. Rajendram Ezekiel
9. Isaac Navaneethan Samuel Ponnuswamy
10. Pandian Gnanadesigar James
11. Sandhoshom Chellaswami Samuel
12. Suviseshamuthu Rajendram Gnanakkan
13. John Devasagayam Mahiekavasagam
 14. Antonimuthu Samuel
15. Vedakan Arulappan David
16. Gnanaiah Thomas Simeon
17. Swamikalai Paul Manickam
18. Manickam Duraiswamy
19. Robert Ponniah Peter
20. Samuel Jebamani Devasirvatham and the following Deacons:
1. Devasagayam Koilpillai Arthur
2. John Abraham Jesudason
3. James Antony
4. John Jesudason
5. Devasagayam Koilpillai David
6. Muthuswamy Basil
7. Bakkianathan Abraham Gnanasigamani
8. Swaminathan Charles
and those clergy who have come to us from outside the Diocese:
Cecil William Frederick Bennett
Alfred Rupert Penn
On such an occasion as this we try to lift our eyes above the more immediate problems of our individual and pastoral life and catch a vision of the work of the Church in the world as a whole, and I have therefore chosen as the main theme of my charge to-day the subject of Fellowship. Fellowship is the most remarkable characteristic of our age. It is the universal trend of human aspiration. Modern scientific discoveries have annihilated distance and transformed space. The most salient fact in the study of geography at the present time is the shortening of distance and the shrinkage of the world. All nations and races are now next-door neighbours and bound up in the bundle of life together, and this growing sense of world-unity is insistent and demands expression. You see it in every department of life. Men of science no longer work in water-tight compartments. The medical profession for example in their work of healing attend not only to the patient's body, but to his mind and even his spirit. So too in the industrial world, we are beginning to realize that capital and labor are not opposed and contrary interests, but complementary and even identical. If the work of the world is to go forward peacefully and profitably there must be fellowship between employer and employed. Again politically a few years ago statesmen only thought of national interests, and talked of 'the balance of power'; but now they realize that we have come to a new stage in world-politics, and men think in terms of world-fellowship and [2/3] the League of Nations. Even racial barriers are no longer regarded as final and fundamental but men of good will throughout the world are seeking for a harmony even in the clash of colour.
Now the herd-instinct, as the psychologists call it, is common to all animals. Cattle and sheep will draw together in self-defence if they see a clog or other enemy. On the other hand a wolf-pack unites for the purposes of loot and attack. It is combination for the sake of aggression. Another example of the herd-instinct is the bee-hive which reminds us of a modern factory or an industrialized nation just as a herd of sheep may be taken as the type of a nation united for common defence and the wolf-pack as the type of an aggressive militant nation united for conquest. This instinct for fellowship then is a natural instinct which we share in common with animals, but because men are made in the image of God it is capable of being purified and sublimated so that men and nations in their relations lo one another should exhibit the love of God. There is fellowship in the mystery of the Godhead, for there is God the Father the Eternal Lover, God the Son the Eternal Loved and God the Holy Spirit the Eternal Love who binds them both together, and human society, is intended to reflect this love of God on earth. In St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians we have an inspiring conception of the Divine Purpose and the goal of human history. Before the foundation of the World God chose the Church to be the agent through which his purpose of Love in Jesus Christ, who is the Incarnate Love of God, might be fulfilled, and that purpose is to sum up all things in Christ. God's purpose is to bring all men into fellowship with Himself and with one another through their individual conversion or repentance. When all men everywhere have repented the reign of God will be complete. Meanwhile what is the duty of the Church?
There are Christians who are not interested in politics or social relationships. Politics, industries, art, music are condemned as worldly and unspiritual, but such an attitude is unscriptural and unChristian. The task of the Church is to win the whole world for Christ, to bring every department of life under Christ's sanctifying spirit, and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
To-day then I desire to consider (1) Fellowship in relation to Human Society as a whole and (2) Fellowship in the Church. These two subjects are burning topics of the day. On the one hand there is a deep and growing desire in many hearts for the Reunion of all Christians in one visible Fellowship which we call the Holy Catholic Church. On the other hand men are striving to end War and create a great World-State of which the League of Nations is, it is hoped, the germ, and thus establish the Brotherhood of Man. Through successive stages human history has climbed. First the family, then the tribe, then the nation, then the empire and in each stage the respective claims and duties of [3/4] family or tribe or nation had to be related to each other, and when there was a clash of conflicting interests, those interests had to be straightened out and the principles on which a just settlement could be made clearly defined. Man has now reached the stage when national interests and patriotic claims have to be related to the Claims of a World State, or a Fellowship of Nations.
Taking then the question of Fellowship in relation to human society as a whole, how is the Church to bring its influence to bear upon the existing order of human society? If the Church is to be the instrument through which the whole of human society can be won for Christ, it is clear that the Church must have something to say and do in these great political, national and social questions. First what did our Lord teach? When our Lord's enemies endeavoured to entrap him on this difficult question of the relation of Church and State He replied, 'Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.' So too St. Paul had great respect for the powers of Government. Government is not secular in essence, but divine. Human society as it endeavours to rule and govern itself is fulfilling the Divine Purpose. 'Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God' (Rom. xiii. 1). 'Ye must be subject . . . for conscience's sake.' S. Peter also writes, 'Fear God. Honour the King.' 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the King as supreme or unto Governors.' (1 Pet. ii. 13-17). The second stage in the relation of Church and State is found in the later books of the New Testament. Here the State is endeavouring to crush the Church. It is the beginning of the age of persecution. In the book of Revelation, the whole weight of the Roman Empire is massed against the Christians and determined to annihilate them. The worship of the Emperor is pictured as the Worship of the Beast, and Babylon, the City on Seven Hills, drunk with the blood of the Saints is obviously Rome herself, whose downfall and ruin are imminent. The outlook of the Christians towards the Government has changed considerably since St. Paul's time, no doubt because under the cruel tyrannical Emperor Nero the attitude of the State has changed.
The third stage is the stage of State Patronage when the Church has won its way and the days of persecution are over. Here we have a very different picture. Eusebius the Church historian gives a vivid description of the entry of the Emperor Constantine into the Council of Bishops at Nicaea in A.D. 325. 'Not a voice broke the stillness of that expectation which precedes the coming of a long-wished-for unknown spectacle, the onward march of a distant procession. Presently a stir was heard--no heathen guards with array of shields and spears, only converted courtiers. At last a signal. The whole assembly arose and then for the first time set their admiring gaze on Constantine the Conqueror, the August, the Great. He entered. His towering stature, his [4/5] strong-built frame, his broad shoulders, his handsome features were worthy of his grand position. There was a brightness in his look, and a mingled expression of fierceness and gentleness in his eye which well became one who, as Augustus before him had fancied himself to be the favourite of the Sun-God Apollo. The bishops were further struck by the dazzling, perhaps barbaric magnificence of his dress.'
Basking in Constantine's favour, the Church began to think that God's Kingdom on earth had already begun. But wealth and prosperity are dangerous gifts, and when Constantine's son favoured the Unitarian heresy known as Arianism and the Emperor Julian the Apostate revived and encouraged Paganism, the Christians were not so eager to depend on the State to promote the coming-of the Kingdom of God. At last (I have only time to picture certain vivid scenes in history)--in A.D. 410 Alaric with his infuriated Goths sacked Rome and that great imperial city lay humbled to the dust. A chill of horror ran round that ancient Mediterranean world and it was then that S. Augustine wrote his great book, The City of God. In that book, which had immense influence on Mediaeval history, S. Augustine contrasts the Earthly City based on love of self which leads to contempt of God and the Heavenly City based on love of God which leads to contempt of self. Both cities seek for peace, but one seeks heavenly peace and the other earthly peace, and S. Augustine even dares to say that a State can become 'a great dacoity' (grande latrocinium). Both cities are needed, says S. Augustine, but lasting peace and true order are only possible when the Earthly City is the instrument of the Heavenly City. The Heavenly City must act through the Earthly City. To see the influence of this great book of S. Augustine's at its best, let us look on another scene.
We may take this as the fourth stage, when the relation of Church and State appear equally balanced. Four hundred years have passed, it is Christmas Day, A.D. 800 and there in the great cathedral at Rome, the clergy sit in the semi-circular apse, tier upon tier, with the bishop's throne raised high in the centre behind the altar. There before the high altar kneels in prayer Charles the barbarian chieftain from Northern Europe. After reading the Gospel, the Bishop of Rome Leo III rises and goes towards the kneeling figure and in the sight of a vast congregation places the crown of the Caesars upon his head and the whole multitude bend in homage before the Emperor shouting 'Life and victory to Charles Augustus crowned by God, the great Emperor, Maker of peace.' Once again men began to think that the Kingdom of God had come on earth, and that world-wide unity and peace was at last established. The Earthly City was supported by the Heavenly City, the Holy Roman Empire on the one hand and the Holy Catholic Church on the other, not two societies but one with two outlooks, one heavenward, and the other earthwards--one towards God and the other towards man, and all went well so long as neither city tried to dominate [5/6] the other, but the tares, alas, are ever mixed with the wheat, and soon one side tried to dominate the other and a struggle followed.
This brings us to the fifth stage when either the Church or the State gained the upperhand and trespassed on the rights and position of the other. Here is another mediaeval picture. The date is January, A.D. 1077. The Pope. Hildebrand, Gregory VII is staying at Canossa, a fortress built on a lofty hill of the Apennine range in Europe. It is a bitterly cold day. Snow lies thick on the ground, and there comes the Emperor Henry IV himself not with crown and sceptre and purple, but barefoot and in a coarse woollen shirt. He climbs the long winding path up the hill and begs in vain for admission. For three days he is kept waiting in the cold and at last when he abjectly submits himself, he is allowed into Hildebrand's presence and with a cry of 'Holy Father, spare me', the Emperor throws himself at the Pope's feet. Hildebrand raises him up, forgives him and sends him away with good advice and his blessing.
But Hildebrand had gone too far. He was right in that he saw the affairs of this world, and all the actions and policies of Government can only be rightly regulated when they are done in accordance with the Will of God, and the Will of God is revealed to us in the life and teaching of Our Lord. There is no question that the world would be a much happier world if all the states and governments in it were to organize their life on the principles of the Sermon on the Mount. But Hildebrand in trying to assert the eternal principles of truth and righteousness made the great mistake of asserting his own personal authority as Bishop of Rome over the Kings and Emperors of the earth. Kings were to be under the actual direction of Pope. He had usurped Temporal Power and from that time onwards there was ceaseless struggle between Popes and Emperors. First one side and then the other would secure the ascendency and trespass on the rights and position of the other until the power of both the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church declined, and both were rent to pieces in the great cataclysm of the Renaissance and the Reformation. The great mediaeval experiment to win the unity of mankind failed and centuries would have to pass before another great effort would be made to create a world state and a universal human fellowship deriving its life and strength through the Church.
We have now come to that stage and the world is once again seeking world fellowship and the unity of mankind. The tragic failure of the Middle Ages has now become clear. As the moral and spiritual authority of the Church weakened, men began to think of States and Governments as ends in themselves. The rise of Nationalism coincided with the weakening of the Church and so arose the terrible modern idolatry of the State, and men thought, 'I am first an [6/7] Englishman or Frenchman or German and secondly a Christian.' Each nation must forward its own interests. Christianity became largely an individual matter and only influenced national policy indirectly. The unity of Christendom was lost. As some one has said, 'Protestantism in breaking up the idea of a universal Church came near losing the idea of our universal humanity.' Hence the world-war and men now realize that unlimited rivalry with each nation working only for its own selfish advantage is not in the true interests of all. If men and nations will not live in fellowship and love, as members one of another, God's judgment falls upon the peoples and through the disasters and sufferings of war men learn that selfishness brings inevitable punishment, for the universe is built on justice and love and not on selfishness.
As the modern world is groping its way to find a solution for its great international and interracial problems, what is to be the attitude of the Church?
1. The Church must seek to serve and not to be served.--The Mediaeval Church lost her moral supremacy and her spiritual leadership, because she struggled for her own position and profit. Thus, for example, the world was scandalized to see a Pope leading his own armies to secure wealth and territory for himself. It is a lesson which we do well to remember in India to-day. The Christian Church in India will only secure the moral and spiritual leadership of India if it is clearly seen that like her Master she can say 'I am amongst you as he that serveth.' In the midst of the struggle for office and power, and the rival claims of different communities, the Christian Church must not allow material interests and prosperity to conflict with her supreme task of interpreting God's will and speaking in His name. In the words of Dr. Stanley Jones whose knowledge of the educated classes of all communities in India is unrivalled 'As the physical atmosphere becomes saturated with moisture and heavy to the point of precipitation, so the spiritual atmosphere of India is becoming saturated with Christ's thoughts and ideals, and is heavy to the point of precipitation into Christian forms and expression. As to when that will take place depends upon how much Christlikeness we can put into the situation. The leading Arya Samajist in India recently said, "Everything depends upon the Christian Church". The lesson of history is clear. A church that seeks her own temporal advantage is doomed. 'As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.' 'The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.'
2. The Church should not control politics and social life but consecrate them.--'The Earthly City' and the 'Heavenly City' must work side by side in comradeship and not in rivalry. The Church as a Church should not touch politics. Her members may and should belong to different political parties. The Church's task is to state the Christian principles and to provide the Christian atmosphere in which the statesmen and politicians can work out the constitution of the [7/8] State and the institutions of human society. In 1924 I was privileged to be present at the Consecration of the glorious new Cathedral at Liverpool. In his sermon on that occasion the Archbishop of York said, 'We are wont to think of the great cathedrals of the past as the creation of the ages of faith, with which sometimes wistfully we contrast our own, but this Cathedral proves that the same faith, purified and deepened, lives and moves in this twentieth century's doubt and stress and toil. ... As Liverpool Cathedral stands on its rock above the ebb and flow of the city's river, so its witness will stand above the ebb and flow of the city's life, consecrating, uplifting, guiding.' These words express the Church's task to mediate between the eternal and temporal, the spiritual and material, the infinite and the finite. Round its great new cathedral, the busy life of that great commercial port circles. Bank, office, market, ships, and shops, and factories, home and clubs--all these activities have their own organization and their own constitution. The Church does not control them, but she consecrates them, for her members derive their spiritual life from the Church and each in their own temporal sphere interpret that life to those around them.
3. The Church should proclaim unflinchingly the Christian conception of life upon which alone a world-fellowship and the unity of mankind are possible.--At the remarkable Conference on Christian Politics, Economics, and Citizenship which was held at Birmingham in April 1924 and at which India was represented, four great social and political principles were laid down as essential to a Christian conception of life.
(i) The Sacredness of Personality. This principle is the root principle of democracy and though it is liable to great abuse, e.g., the tyranny of the majority over the minority or violent self-assertion and competitive rivalry, nevertheless it is a Christian principle. Men are not machines. They are not slaves. They are free. This liberty should be expressed in all political and social life. It is a principle which applies to the treatment of the depressed classes in India, in South Africa or in any other country.
(ii) Fellow-membership. This principle corrects the danger of excessive self-assertion to which the first principle may give occasion. We are members one of another; fellow-members in God's family. We can only use our individual liberty in order to promote the common good.
(iii) The Duty of Service. Like Christ, we have come to serve. Our confirmation service emphasizes this great truth. It is the ordination of the laity. There is a vocation, a calling to be a doctor, or teacher or farmer or clerk just as much as to be a clergyman. To be a wife and mother is a vocation. This sense of vocation in all spheres of service is essential if the State is to be Christian, if the Spirit of Christ is to permeate human society.
 (iv) The Power of Sacrifice. Men find it hard to give up their belief in war and force. When the warring Saxon tribes of Northern Europe were baptized, they dipped themselves beneath the water but took care to keep their right arms lifted above their heads. All the old Adam should die beneath the baptismal waters, except their fighting arms, for they would not give up their love of war. This influx of baptized heathen helped to paganize the Church, which became so permeated with worldly spirit and desire for temporal power that she sought victories not by love and sacrifice but by force and the sword. Hence the Inquisition and religious persecution. But the cause of peace and unity cannot be won by the exercise of force. Our Lord chose the way of suffering and sacrifice, the way of Love when He went forth to found His Kingdom in the hearts of men. Victory by force leaves behind the bitterness of defeat and the desire for revenge. Victory by love leaves no sting behind for the loving sacrifice converts the enemies into friends.
4. The Church herself must be united.--How can the Church act as a peacemaker in the world, if she has not attained peace herself. There can be little doubt that the great war would never have taken place, if the Church had been united and could have spoken with authority and power. But so long as Christians are divided, the sin of schism stops the mouth of the Church. To-day the world torn with inter-national and inter-racial jealousies and hate is seeking a world-fellowship. A beginning has been made in the League of Nations, but the ultimate International State which must surely be the Divine Purpose can only be possible through divine strength and inspiration. Only a world-wide Church fellowship, only the Union of all Christians in One Holy Catholic Church can provide the spiritual background and comradeship which will enable earthly governments to find their unity in one great world state. We thus come to the second part of my main theme--Fellowship in the Church.
When the historian Gibbon tried to explain the rapid expansion of the Early Church he seized upon five 'secondary causes' and the fifth of them he called 'the union and discipline of the Christian republic.' Gibbon was probably correct in this estimate but his phraseology suggests something harsh and mechanical. Such a union might be a union imposed by external authority or by force of outward circumstances. Nations and parties will often unite in crisis of war but fly apart as soon as the crisis is over. Their union is a result of a common hatred rather than a common love. But the Christian Church made its marvellous progress in its early years because it was a unique adventure and a unique experiment in fellowship. Think for a moment of the apostles--think of the incompatible extremes--a publican and a Zealot--an unpopular Government treasury official and an extremist non-co-operating and by no means non-violent nationalist--and yet fused into a unity. Our Lord came to establish a new [9/10] fellowship, a new unity, and throughout the Gospels we read of the growth, and deepening of the fellowship between Himself and His disciples whom he had called that they might be with him. But it is the Acts of the Apostles which is the great classic in human fellowship. On that first Whitsunday when the Spirit of Christ's redeemed and glorified Humanity descended in living flame and fiery tongues upon the company gathered together in that upper room, He baptized them into a new fellowship. The very word comradeship is derived from 'camerada'--chamber, room, but the comradeship of the upper room quickly leaped over barriers of wall and plaster--yes, of race and language--'We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God'. And as we study this book of the Acts, we find that it is one great fellowship of adventure. We sometimes read of Church Defence Leagues, but the Church of the Acts is not a society for the defence of privileges, but a great fellowship for the propagation of the truth and the salvation of all sorts and conditions of men. Men usually think that deep fellowship can only be preserved by careful selection and exclusive membership and so our clubs and societies are limited, and undesirable candidates are blackballed. Universality and deep fellowship do not go together--according to 'the man in the street'. But St. Peter discovered a new truth in the law of fellowship, when he cried, 'I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,' while S. Paul rejoiced that in the Christian fellowship, which is the Church, the Body of Christ, Barbarian and Scythian, Jew and Gentile are no longer divided. The middle wall of partition is broken clown. He no longer sees the exclusive Jewish temple with its insulting intolerant notice forbidding entrance to all 'foreign devils' or 'Gentile dogs'. A new temple is in process of building, made not of bricks and mortar but of living men, Jew and Gentile alike, uniting in one glorious Sanctuary, the Temple, of the Holy Spirit of the God of Love. Look at S. Paul's letters. He could never write-to any Church without glorying in the communion of saints, the Christian-fellowship. They were far from perfect Christians. He could write to the Christians at Ephesus and say 'Stop getting drunk and be filled with the Spirit'. Intellectually they often showed a lamentably weak grasp of the truths they believed, but none the less they were all kindred souls, linked together in a great fellowship, and to sin against that fellowship, to break the communion of the saints would seem to be the unpardonable sin in S. Paul's estimate. The Church then needs no boundaries, no 'blackballs' to keep men out--why?" because it has a magnetic centre to draw men in, and all who are drawn to the centre are of necessity drawn to one another, and that magnetic centre is Jesus Christ. He is the Head of the Church, the great nerve centre which gives unity to the whole body. My predecessor, Bishop Waller, whose great work in unifying this diocese and creating a deeper fellowship will always be remembered [10/11] with gratitude and joy in the Church of this diocese, in his last visitation and charge referred at some length to the problem of the Reunion of the Churches and especially to the negotiations proceeding between the S.I.U.C. and our Church in South India. He had recently attended the great Lambeth Conference in 1920 and he reminded you of the Lambeth Appeal for Unity. Let me quote the actual words of that appeal. 'God wills fellowship and means to manifest it in an outward visible and united society, holding one Faith, having its own recognized officers using God-given means of grace and inspiring all its members to world-wide service of the Kingdom of God.' During the last five years some progress has been made and there is a growing conviction that unity is the Will of God. Some of you may have seen the Dean of Canterbury's useful book called Documents on Christian Unity. It was published in 1924 and contains some 370 pages of close print. There are ninety documents, eighty-seven of which have been published since 1920, and the remaining three which deal with our unity negotiations in South India were published in 1919. These documents come from every Church and country in the World. East and West, the Roman, the Orthodox, the Anglican, the Presbyterian, the Free Churches--all are represented and reveal a deep and world-wide longing for the recovery of Christian unity. It is not surprising that men are eagerly working and praying for the World Conference on Faith and Order which is due to meet in Switzerland next year, and which under Divine guidance may set the Churches steadily and purposefully on the path which leads to full corporate union. To-day I desire to call your attention to three important aspects of this great Church Fellowship. I do not propose to touch on questions of order. In the May number of the Diocesan Magazine I commented on the interesting and important proposals which were made at the recent Unity Conference at Trichinopoly. With God's blessing those proposals may help to solve the difficult question of the recognition of ministries during the transition time before all the clergy of the uniting churches have been ordained in the united Church. If this problem is solved and the Indian Church Measure giving freedom to the Church in India is passed there is nothing to prevent an immediate union here in South India, between the South India United Church, the Wesleyans (who have also officially joined these negotiations) and ourselves. But important as questions of order are, they are not so important as matters of faith and worship and service. And it is of these thjee aspects of the Fellowship of the Church I wish to speak. We read in the Acts ii. 42, 'They continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine and the fellowship and in the breaking of bread and in the prayers' and again S. Paul writes, 'I thank my God for your fellowship in the Gospel' (Phil. i. 35). These verses sum up the three aspects, Fellowship in Doctrine and Faith, Fellowship in Worship, Fellowship in Missionary Adventure.
 When we examine the early centuries of the Christian era, before the Christian religion was established by Constantine the Great, before there was any universally accepted standard of doctrine such as the Nicene Creed, or any uniform liturgy of worship, we find that every Church had its own creed or baptismal confession, all no doubt constructed on much the same lines but with considerable verbal variation. Every diocese had its own rite or form of worship, although here again the general construction of the liturgy was similar. The Churches had frequent intercourse with one another, and since there was no rigid uniformity or stable tradition, new ideas could spread quickly and forms of worship be modified. We must remember that in those days there were no printing presses--no possibility of spreading information rapidly by circulating printed pamphlets and pastoral letters and the Early Church ran immense risks by the elasticity of both its worship and its doctrinal statements, but when every Christian was in danger of persecution and death, the standard of life, and conduct and faith was very high; there was little if any nominal Christianity and the Church had 'an anointing from the Holy One', an instinctive realization as to what was Christian and what was pagan, and thus behind all this freedom and variety, there was an extraordinary unanimity of faith and similarity of worship. There was no difficulty to a minister from Asia Minor conducting worship in Gaul or Africa or Rome. In the words of a reliable scholar, 'Great travellers like Polycarp and Irenaeus would find themselves at home in the teaching, the life, the discipline and the worship of each Church they visited; would find also each Church developing on its own lines and making its own contribution to the Christian faith.' There was Fellowship in Doctrine and Fellowship in Worship, but fellowship did not mean total agreement, for where there is a complete agreement there is no fellowship. Gradually however the red tape of the Imperial system penetrated the Church. It was felt most in Constantinople where the later Empire centred and court influences tended to stereotype both doctrine and worship. The Byzantine Church, from which the modern Orthodox Church of the East is descended, grew more and more strict in its demand for uniformity, but even in the East in these first centuries there was not yet an unchanging tradition, a regimentation of creed and liturgy. Later a rigid uniformity was enforced but at tremendous cost, for it led to the breaking away of various national Churches like the Coptic Church in Egypt which refused to be dragooned by an Imperial State Church, and these lamentable schisms paved the way for the rapid success and development of Islam.
When we come to the Mediaeval period, the Christian Church is more developed, and tradition become more rigid and set. There is a universally accepted canon of Scripture. There was also Canon Law. But nevertheless there was a considerable measure of freedom and variety. Except for the doctrine of [12/13] transubstantiation at the Fourth Lateran Council in A.D. 1215 and perhaps we should add the doctrine of Papal supremacy at the Council of Florence in A.D. 1439, the Mediaeval Church added nothing to doctrinal definitions and a clear distinction was recognized between matters of Faith and matters of theological opinion. For example in theological schools, within the limits of the Nicene Creed there was immense freedom of theological thought and discussion and so long as no one attempted to challenge Papal supremacy or force his opinions on others as dogmatic truths necessary to salvation, there was no attempt at regimentation of dogma or uniformity of thought. Fellowship in doctrine did not involve a rigid uniformity or shackle freedom of thought, while fellowship in worship allowed very different rites and uses even in adjacent dioceses. Even in a small country like England and Wales, there was a Salisbury use, a Hereford use, a Bangor use, a York use and a Lincoln use. Each diocese could have its own liturgy and there was variety and freedom of worship.
Turning to the Fellowship of Missionary Adventure, during both these periods the Early Church and the Mediaeval Church went steadily forward in the great fellowship of missionary adventure. Northern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, South India and even China were evangelized by eager servants of the Cross. It is true that later Islam presented an almost impassable barrier to the East and South, nevertheless we can never forget that great and heroic Mediaeval Missionary to Islam, Raymond Lull who at the age of seventy-nine was martyred in North Africa. We now turn to the Reformation Period. The Church of England is a Reformed Church and is never likely to underestimate the very great benefits and blessings of the Reformation. It has restored to us the open Bible; it has given us worship in the vernacular so that congregations can take an intelligent part in the service; it has broken through the cruel bonds of priestly tyranny and superstition; it has given the priceless boon of freedom of conscience and individual liberty. We thank God for Luther and his fellow-reformers who won back for the Church the forgiveness of sins and freedom of access to God. These are indeed inestimable benefits and we can never cease to thank God for them. But in this twentieth century we are far enough off from the heats of controversy and theological strife to be able to discriminate and we recognize that the Reformation like all human affairs has its treasure in earthen vessels and that it did bring with it immense changes in these very matters we are considering--the fellowship of doctrine, the fellowship of worship and the fellowship of missionary adventure.
Instead of unity, the Reformation substituted division, instead of variety, uniformity, instead of missionary adventure, missionary stagnation. It was the Roman Catholic Church which first recovered the spirit of missionary adventure after the shattering blow of the Reformation (no doubt partly due to [13/14] the historical and geographical position of Spain) and the Roman Catholic Missionary orders and communities carried her missions to India, China, Japan and the uttermost parts of the world. But for almost 300 years the Reformed Churches practically ceased all missionary enterprise. The sectarian outlook dominated the Churches instead of the Catholic outlook with its world-wide vision. The Fellowship of Missionary Adventure did not revive until the nineteenth century, the greatest missionary century since the Reformation, and it is significant that with this^ revival of evangelization has come the great yearning for the recovery of complete Church fellowship. It is the Church on the Mission Field which is the driving force in this world-wide desire for the unity of all Christians. Face to face with the great strongholds of non-Christian faiths and civilizations, Christians realize the shame and sin and weakness of our unhappy divisions. We shall never crown Jesus with many crowns, the crown of Asia and of Africa, the crown of Europe and of America and of the islands of sea until we are one. In His High Priestly Prayer (John xvii) Our Lord prayed twice for unity, once for mystical unity such as existed between His Father and Himself and once for, unity with a missionary purpose 'That they all may be one--that the world may know that Thou has sent Me.'
But to return to the influence of the Reformation on the fellowship of doctrine and of worship.
(i) Doctrine. We have seen how the Early Church and the Mediaeval Church allowed considerable variety and freedom of thought and expression although everywhere there was a remarkable unanimity of fundamental faith, but at the Reformation most of the separated Churches began to define the whole faith and impose their credal statements upon every single Church Member. Rome published the elaborate decrees of the Council of Trent. In Scotland you have the Westminster Confession, in England the Thirty-nine Articles. On the Continent of Europe there were other confessions and doctrinal statements, which have a tendency to become more and more elaborate and complete. There is little distinction between fundamental truth on which the Church is built and theological opinion in which great variety and freedom of thought are permissible and even desirable.
(ii) Worship. The same tendency is seen in the fellowship of worship. Instead of freedom and variety, you have uniformity. England sweeps away the different diocesan uses and imposes by an Act of Uniformity one Prayer Book upon the whole people--(Compare 'Where as heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in Churches within this realm--now from henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one use.' Concerning the service of the Church--Preface to the Book of Common Prayer). When the Presbyterians won political ascendancy they in like manner imposed the Directory of Worship [14/15] upon the whole nation. In Scotland they had their own uniform type of worship and when an attempt was made to use the English Prayer Book, there was a riot and almost a revolution. The Roman Catholic Church animated with the same desire to strengthen its internal unity and solidarity swept away all national and diocesan uses and imposed the Roman Mass upon the whole Church, and it is only in recent times that Rome has allowed, as in the case of the Uniat Churches, any relaxation of this rigid rule of uniformity. This tendency to drill and regimentalize, this desire to enforce uniformity spread in all directions to the disciplining of life, e.g., the clothes, the amusements, the books which were permissible and also to the stereotyping of different forms of Church organization. The Reformation had its roots in the great and glorious principle of liberty, and the sacredness of personality, but as we have seen this principle is liable to great abuse, the tyranny of the majority over the minority, and there is no question that soon after the Reformation all the separated Churches both Roman and non-Roman surrendered to this unfortunate tendency.
Now I have put these thoughts before you to-day, because it is important for us to face these questions frankly and honestly. In our negotiations with the S.I.U.C., and the Wesleyans, much of our time is inevitably occupied with the question of order, the status of a universally recognized ministry, but questions of faith and worship are of greater importance, and history shows that schisms and divisions usually arise on a matter of faith and doctrine or on some point of ritual or ceremonial rather than on a question of order. Just at present there is a very strong and almost universal desire for unity, but when the swing of the pendulum comes, as it always comes, and a reaction sets in towards the assertion of personal and individual liberty if we have not thought out these important questions, the Church may again be broken with schism and division. God's purpose, as S. Paul emphasizes, is to sum up all things in Christ but this unity will allow very great variety and much freedom in forms of worship and matters of theological opinion. I say theological opinion, because we should distinguish between the fundamental truths on which the Church is built and theological opinion on which there may be great freedom, as in the Church before the Reformation. In all the negotiations and conferences on Reunion which have met in recent years, the Nicene Creed is usually taken as the best available statement of the fundamental truths on which the Church is built. It may not be an ideal statement. It is inevitable that a fourth century document will use language and phraseology which are not altogether adequate for the twentieth century. It may be that the reunited Church Universal of the Future may produce a better statement, but it is clear that no sectional or regional Church could improve upon this creed or produce a creed which would gain universal acceptance. Now the Nicene Creed is of fundamental importance. It [15/16] gives certain historical facts. Christianity believes that 'God is working His purpose out' in the arena of history. This world is not an illusion. History is not an unreal drama as so much of Indian thought and philosophy have insisted. God Himself is in History, for not only as the Old Testament teaches us has God guided the nations, but the Christian Faith is a witness to certain historical facts, that at a particular time, in the days of Herod the King, and at a particular place, Bethlehem, a Babe was born who was perfect God and perfect Man and that at another particular time under Pontius Pilate, and another particular place, Calvary, this God-Man was crucified, Mid the;c historical events not only reveal the character of the Eternal God but have made a difference to God Himself, so that the Eternal God and Father is able to deal with his penitent and believing children differently. 'Christianity' says a great living theologian 'is far the most materialistic of the great religions; its central affirmation is "The Word made Flesh". It is materialistic not because it is unspiritual, but because its spirit is so strong that it need not run away from matter--even from flesh--but faces it and dominates it.' Then again the Nicene Creed leaves no doubt as to what the central faith of the Christian Church is and always has been. It is this. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not an inspired Man, nor is He a demi-God, but He is God--the human life of God on earth--and God is just Jesus everywhere and at all times. The Nicene Creed only expresses more explicitly the essential condition for membership in the Christian Church which the New Testament laid down. It was a very simple condition 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.' 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' Gibbon the historian once sneered at the Christian Church being divided by a diphthong, but he lived to admit his mistake. He realized that the question of our Lord's person is vital and decisive for the Christian Faith. Christ is the central Miracle of Christianity, and all the other miracles of the Gospels, from the Virgin-Birth to the Resurrection are credible in the Light of His Person. As someone has truly said, 'The virgin life of Jesus makes it possible to believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.' Now if men will accept this Nicene Faith loyally and sincerely, lot just as a statement of doctrine, but as a living faith (for we are saved by trust in a person and not in a doctrine) then all other matters may be considered subordinate. They are important but men should be free to hold various theological opinions. Thus theories about the Sacraments, about the Inspiration of he Bible, about Episcopacy and the Ministry, about the Atonement and so on are most important and men should be free to state their theories, but they mist not be required as the dogmatic fundamental faith of the Church. If the new Churches which are being built up in India, China, Japan and Africa are to [16/17] contribute their intellectual treasures to the Church universal, such freedom and wealth of theological opinion combined with loyal simplicity of fundamental creed are inevitable and essential. If we seek for guidance in the past, we must look back beyond the Reformation to the early days of the Church. My predecessor in his last charge referred to India's contribution to the Church which is the Body of Christ. He said, 'India's offering to Christ will not be a few thoughts and doctrines culled from Hinduism or Muhammedanism and woven into the Christian faith. Nor will it necessarily be a Prayer Book or Hymn Book compiled from India's ancient religious books. There is much in them that is beautiful and true, but that was the offering made in their generation by men who had a glimpse of the light which lighteth every man coming into the world. < Our offering will not be what our fathers thought and said but our own lives lived now. When a man opens his heart and mind to the Spirit of God, he does not lose his nationality nor his natural way of life. India must bring to Christ Indian lives, Indian thoughts, Indian experience.' That is truly and wisely said, but if this contribution is to be possible, there must be a great freedom in matters of theological opinion. In the Body of Christ we must learn to be tolerant and fair minded, endeavouring to see the other person's point of view. No one person, no one nation can see all the beauty and truth that there is in Jesus Christ. There must be fellowship, comradeship, sharing of doctrine. So too there must be fellowship in worship. In South India the various Missions have brought their own forms of worship, their own ritual and ceremonial; with some Missions the ideal of worship is simplicity, sincerity and freedom; with others there is rich beauty of ceremonial, and music and art and architecture, because they feel that nothing can be too beautiful and too magnificent for the worship of Almighty God. Speaking generally and allowing for many exceptions, it would seem that the Mohammedan convert would naturally follow the Puritan ideal of a severe simplicity of worship, while the Christian of Hindu ancestry will prefer a mote ornate worship. But generalizations are dangerous and in actual experience these two divergent tendencies are found even in the members of the same family. Now if we are to have fellowship of worship in the United Church that is to be, and if India is to have full opportunity to express her great gifts of devotion and worship unhampered by Western forms and liturgies, once again we shall have to allow for a very wide variety of worship and liturgy, and each diocese will probably require a very full liberty and have its own rite of worship and its own ceremonial as was the case in the Early Church. At present diocesan liberty is limited by a certain amount of central control from the Metropolitan and the Episcopal Synod. If and when the S.I.U.C. and the Wesleyans join us, we shall no doubt have to form a new Province and there will be a Province of Calcutta and a Province of Madras, [17/18] just as there are the Provinces of Canterbury and York in England, but the question we shall have to face is the amount of liberty each diocese in the Southern Province will be able to claim. Free Church worship is largely extempore and free, and it is difficult to visualize any central control for such worship and I imagine that we shall move in the direction of much greater diocesan liberty. No doubt it has its own risks and dangers, but 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty', and like the Early Church we must not be afraid to run risks.
Let us, in conclusion, consider the Fellowship of Missionary Adventure. One of the most encouraging features at the present time is the awakening of the Church to a realization of the imperative duty of world-wide evangelisation. It has been said that the eighteenth century was the century of individual missionaries, the nineteenth century the century of great missionary societies, and the twentieth century will be the century of the whole Church sharing in the Fellowship of Missionary Adventure. Last January the Church in England was stirred by a series of great meetings organized not by the missionary societies, but by the Missionary Council of the whole Church. The subject of these meetings was the world-call to the Church, and in a striking series of books published about the same time the facts of the situation in all the mission fields were reviewed with great ability and insight. In the General Preface to this series occur these words 'The moment has come to face actual facts. If as we believe the times are making a new and unprecedented call upon the Church, it is high time that we knew accurately in terms of men and money what that call really is. It may be that the facts when known will themselves act with awakening power upon the Church. It may be that the young men and women when they see the God-given opportunity for adventure and sacrifice will not be "disobedient unto the heavenly vision" and a great movement of self-offering will be seen in our time such as the Church has never known hitherto. On the other hand, it may be that the Church will turn a deaf ear, that the seductive influences of comfort and the zest of domestic controversy may have paralysed her spirit. Whichever way it be, the Church of our generation is on its trial, and the opportunity before us is the tribunal before which we shall be judged.'
These stirring words addressed to the Church in England might well have been addressed to the Church in this diocese. Thank God, the Tinnevelly Church has not been forgetful of the claims of missionary adventure. There is the Indian Missionary Society, there is Gospel Sunday, in some circles there is considerable evangelistic activity. In the Call from the Far East one of the volumes to which I have just referred occur these words in connexion with the Church in a certain Chinese diocese. 'The experience of some missions has been that the great extension of native control and self-support often leads [18/19] at first to a slackening of evangelistic effort; finance and organization absorb energy?' I think we all recognize this danger. The Church in this diocese during the last few years has been very busy in setting her house in order and reorganizing all the work on a diocesan basis. We are now a self-governing Church. We are in a large measure self-supporting. But do we realize the vital importance of self-extension? There are not a few who do realize that the primary duty of the Church is to preach the Gospel. There is no reason for discouragement, but I think we need to aim at a far larger circle. Evangelistic work must not be left to a few keen and enthusiastic supporters. The Adi-Dravida movement is a call of special significance to the Church in this diocese. In a short time we hope to publish a special survey of this movement, so thai the Church both here and in England may know the actual facts of the situation. There is every reason to expect that it will prove to be. an urgent summons to our Church to take up the work of evangelism not spasmodically, not in little groups, but with the united energy of the whole Church. There is not only the call of the Adi-Dravidas, but the recent meetings conducted by Dr. Stanley Jones in Tinnevelly town show how ready is the response from the educated classes when the Gospel message is presented with sympathy and power. Tinnevelly can be won for Christ. The signs of the times are full of hope and inspiration. Will the Church respond? Is the Christian community in Tinnevelly so bound together in a real fellowship that it will provide a spiritual home for all whether high or low, rich or poor who are seeking salvation in Christ? That is the supreme question at the present moment. You will remember that when our Lord was brought before Annas the High Priest, he asked first of his disciples and then of his teaching. So to-day modern India is face to face with Christ, and the first question asked is 'What of His disciples? What is the Church like?' To you, my brethren, has been committed the Ministry of the Word and the Sacraments. You have often heard the proverb--'Like priest, like people.' If we desire to answer this question what is the Church like? We should ask ourselves another question 'What are we clergy like?' Just as the water cannot rise above its own level, so the congregations will not rise to a higher spiritual level than the clergy who minister to them. Let us bring to mind the solemn exhortation the Bishop gave on the day on which we were ordained to the Priesthood. 'Have always therefore printed in your remembrance, how great a treasure is committed to your charge. For they are sheep of Christ, which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his blood. The Church and Congregation whom you must serve, is his Spouse, and his Body. And if it shall happen the same Church, or any member thereof, to take any hurt or hindrance by reason of your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the horrible punishment that will ensue. Wherefore consider [19/20] with yourselves the end of your Ministry towards the children of God, towards the Spouse and Body of Christ; and see that you never cease your labour, your care and diligence, until you have done all that lieth in you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as are or shall be committed to your charge unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among you, either for error in religion, or for viciousness in life.'