AND RELIGIOUS REFORM.
At the last meeting of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, held October, 1894, the following action was taken, viz.: (see Journal of Proceedings, pp. 116-17).
Resolved, (I.) That, inasmuch as movements for religious reform have extended beyond the bounds of the Church in Italy, and are being vigorously pressed in Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, and other parts of Christendom, the House of Bishops concurring, a Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform be constituted, in place of the Joint Committee on Religious Reform in Italy, whose office it shall be to give moral co-operation to movements in progress throughout Christendom, which are preparing the way for a return to Apostolic truth and primitive order.
(2.) That such Joint Committee consist of five Bishops, five Presbyters. and five lay members of the General Convention.
Resolved, The House of Bishops concurring, that another member of that House be added to the Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform.
(See p. 194 of the Journal.)
At a regular meeting of the Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, held in New York, January 18, 1876, the following action was taken, viz.:
Sub-committee No. 3, on the Church of Sweden and other Churches of Northern Europe, reported as follows:
The Sub-committee on the Church of Sweden and other Churches of Northern Europe, reports that in fulfilment of the duty entrusted to them, a correspondence has been held with the REV. DR. TUSTIN, with reference to the Church in Sweden, which is hereby submitted to the Joint Committee.
T. F. DAVIES.
Then followed the reading of DR. TUSTIN'S communication by the Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Connecticut. The REV. DR. LEEDS then offered the following resolution, viz.:
Resolved, That the thanks of the Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform be presented to the REV. J. P. TUSTIN, D.D., for his exceedingly interesting and useful communication.
On motion of the REV. DR. DAVIES, it was further
Resolved, That the able paper of the REV. DR. TUSTIN be printed by the Joint Committee as Document No. 2, if DR. TUSTIN will kindly assent to its publication.
The Secretary subsequently, in correspondence with the REV. DR. TUSTIN, obtained his assent to the publication of his communication, and the same is here submitted to the Church. Signed,
NOAH HUNT SCHENCK,
NEW YORK, February, 1876.
Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform. ORGANIZATION. MEMBERS.
THE BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT, Chairman,
THE BISHOP OF OHIO,
Kokosing, Gambier, Ohio.
THE BISHOP OF PENNSYLVANIA,
708 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Penn.
THE BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK,
See House, Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York.
THE BISHOP OF LONG ISLAND,
170 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, New York.
THE BISHOP OF CENTRAL NEW YORK,
Syracuse, New York.
THE REV. BENJ. I. HAIGHT, LL.D.,
56 West Twenty-sixth Street, New York.
THE REV. NOAH HUNT SCHENCK, D.D., Secretary,
144 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York.
THE REV. GEORGE LEEDS, D.D.,
100 Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
THE REV. THOMAS F. DAVIES, D.D.,
717 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
THE REV. JOHN FULTON, D.D.,
MR. SAMUEL B. RUGGLES. LL.D.,
24 Union Square, New York.
MR. CAMBRIDGE LIVINGSTON, Treasurer,
44 West Twenty-second Street, New York.
MR. ROBERT M. MASON,
MR. JOHN A. KING,
Jamaica, Long Island, New York.
MR. COURTLAND PARKER, L.L.D.,
Newark, New Jersey.
1. On Oriental Churches.
THE BISHOP OF OHIO, REV. DR. FULTON, MR. RUGGLES.
2. On the Old Catholic Movement in Europe:
THE BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK, THE BISHOP OF LONG ISLAND, REV. DR. SCHENCK, REV. DR. LEEDS, MR. MASON, MR. KING.
3. On the Church of Sweden and other Churches of Northern Europe:
THE BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT, REV. DR. DAVIES, MR. LIVINGSTON.
4. On Religious Bodies at Home and Abroad looking to a return to primitive order:
THE BISHOP OF CENTRAL NEW YORK, REV. DR. HAIGHT, REV. DR. LEEDS, MR. PARKER.
5. On Correspondence with Foreign Chaplains:
REV. DR. SCHENCK.
Communications for the Secretary should be addressed to Brooklyn, N. Y.
To THE RIGHT REV. JOHN WILLIAMS, D.D.,
BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT.
Chairman of "The Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform."
RT. REV. AND DEAR SIR:
I have been requested by yourself and others of your Committee to report to you such facts and views as have come within my experience during a residence of nearly six years in Europe (interrupted by several short trips to America), respecting Church Relations and Religious Reform.
During the earlier part of my residence abroad I was actively connected with two Committees of the General Convention of which I had formerly been a clerical member, and which Committees had relation to Sweden.
Within the last two or three years I was appointed by the "Standing Committee on the part of the General Convention of Churches in Foreign Lands," with discretion to organize an American Episcopal congregation in Berlin, Stuttgart, or elsewhere, according to the tenor of Instructions from the Bishop having such jurisdiction.
Some five years ago I furnished several Reports to the Committees of which I was the working member and representative abroad, and these reports, and various communications to the Board of Missions and similar articles went the rounds of the Church papers at the time.
As I have no official connection with any such [5/6] Committees now, I will simply comply with the request made to me by yourself and other members of your Joint Committee, to give a short summary, such as my experience suggests.
And I will first and chiefly treat of the Scandinavian Church or churches.
The General Convention of our Church took the initiative, on "Friendly Intercourse with the Church of Sweden," in 1856; and through every successive Convention till the last, the "Joint Commission," and another Committee on "The Prayer Book in the Swedish Language," were renewed or continued. I have not been advised of what was done at the last General Convention, of which I was not a member.
We must, of course, clearly distinguish between the Church of Sweden and Finland, on the one side, from the Churches of Denmark and Norway on the other.
In the great Council of Odense, held in 1537, under the leadership of Bugenhagius, the Churches of Norway and Denmark--countries for a long time before, and until 18,o, held under a common crown, lost their Episcopate, the same as the Lutheran Churches in Germany. But very soon after, an Episcopate, "ex re nata," was established by legislation, and the Episcopal office has ever since been honored as much in Denmark and Norway, where the lapse occurred in 1537, as in Sweden, where no break in the Episcopal and historic continuity of the Church has ever occurred. There is among many of the leading men of Denmark and Norway a peculiarly strong churchly feeling, in its best sense. In 1867 the present Bishop of Iceland (Bishop Peterson) attempted [6/7] to secure an Anglican or American Bishop to assist in and ratify his consecration, but without success, owing to some legal technicalities.
The Church life and spiritual feeling, both in Denmark and in Norway are of a very hopeful kind. But in conversing with some of their Bishops, Deans, and other high ecclesiastics, I found that it would be a sore point to have their so-called Episcopate ignored now, after a lapse of nearly three hundred and fifty years.
We are, however, on clear ground in treating with the Church of Sweden.
And surely it is to be desired, that this fine Scandinavian race should be put right in its position and record. The Church of Sweden should be a makeweight, and sea-wall as against Romanism and the non-Episcopal Protestantism of Europe. The race includes about ten millions; four and a half millions for Sweden, nearly two millions for Denmark, and about the same for Norway and Russian Finland, which is in large part Scandinavian, with the numerous islands, make up the complement of ten millions.
Besides, we have over 400,000 native Scandinavians in this country, a large majority of whom are Swedes.
The Swedish Church should be put on recognized relations with the Anglican Church in its various branches; and this might lead the way for the Churches of Denmark and Norway at length to fall into line.
I do not propose to make an argument in behalf of the validity of the Episcopate of Sweden. That would require too much space; but the facts are too well known to need a long course of proof.
 We can recognize the claims of Church unity and fellowship with the Church of Sweden on the following, points:
1st, The Episcopate:
2nd, The Creeds:
3rd, The Sacraments.
There are some anomalies or peculiarities in the Swedish Church, which have somewhat disinclined some Churchmen in England and America to recognize the Church of Sweden, when tried by Anglican standards. But let us look at the essential facts.
1st, As to the Episcopate.--The Church of Sweden took open and independent ground for separation from the Roman Papacy before the Church of England did. Gustavus Vasa, the kingly patron of the Reformation in Sweden, was in many respects Henry VIII. of England all over again; though his personal and religious character was immeasurably more pure and noble than Henry's.. In royal prerogative and in assuming the political headship of the Church, Gustavus and Henry were nearly in all respects alike.
As early as 1522, Gustavus caused the election of the three Bishops of Skara, Strangness, and Aebo, without. waiting for confirmation from Rome, or any other ecclesiastical metropolis, or from any Papal legate. These Bishops hesitated a long time about performing their functions without due consecration, according to the ancient practice; but when the king left them no discretion between consecration and abdication, they were finally consecrated at Strangness, on the 5th of January, 1528, [8/9] by Petrus Magni, who himself had been consecrated at Rome according to the Papal ritual.
So far, the old order of the Catholic Church was preserved, though the supremacy of the Pope was no longer recognized. The Apostolic succession was thus preserved to the Bishops of the Swedish Church, by continuous and derived authority received from duly consecrated Bishops. The recorded proofs of the historical continuity of that Church are not open to any serious suspicion. The archives of their respective Dioceses have been singularly well protected. There was an instance in the time of King Sigismund, and another later, in the Diocese of Lund, which were open to criticism, but nothing affecting the propriety of any Episcopal consecration, according to Swedish practice. And no vandalism or schism has marred their archives.
It is very true, that, canonically considered, the Swedish Church has not so good a record as the Anglican and some other branches of the Apostolic Church. But validity is not always affected by a departure from canonicity. The canon of the Council of Nicea, requiring consecration to be performed by not less than three Bishops, has always been recognized by the Eastern and Western Churches, and especially by the Anglican. and the Anglo-American Churches.
But ever since the Council of Trent--nearly as far back as the Reformation in England--the Latin Church. has disparaged and absorbed the Episcopate in the Supremacy of the Papacy. The old British Church, and the Reformed Church of England has a better record as to [9/10] the observance of the Nicean canon than the Vatican Church has. The Church of Rome has been guilty of many canonical irregularities--such as enforced and hurried consecrations of Bishops and Popes--sometimes taking a layman through all the orders of the ministry in a few days--raising a Cardinal Deacon to the Papacy, conferring orders as fast as the outward manipulation could be performed--and in later times, consecrating Bishops by a single consecrator, as in the case of Bishop Carrol, their first Archbishop in America.
In the case of the Church of Sweden, unlike the three .or four surviving Bishops on the restoration of the Reformation at the accession of Queen Elizabeth, there could be found no other conservators among the Reformed in Sweden, besides Petrus Magni; but the three new Bishops received valid, if not formally canonical consecration.
The notable succession of the first Protestant Archbishop of Upsala, runs through another parallel line, from Laurentius; Petri, also through another single line of succession, derived from the Bishop of Smaland, who was consecrated in communion with the Roman Church. The Apostolic succession of the Swedish Church is quite as valid as that of the Roman succession in America, and though a single cord instead of a triple one, as under the Nicean canon, the Swedish Church has at least two separate lines for its succession.
The Anglican Church, in all its branches, is in a better position to defend its succession than the Roman, Swedish, or perhaps some of the Eastern Churches. But if we are ready to admit the validity of any Episcopate [10/11] besides our own, we may as well admit the Swedish as the Latin.
If the succession, in the first instance, depended upon a single chain, rather than upon a triple cord or cable, then the argument is practically as good for the Apostolic ministry in the one way as it is in the other.
Both a chain, and a three-fold cable, are imperfect illustrations. A chain may be made up of many strong links, but if there happens to be an occasional weak one, the strength of the chain is no greater than that of the weakest link. Not so, with a three-stranded cord, or cable. But a chain, and a three-corded cable are poor figures to illustrate the Apostolic succession. A better symbol is that of a net or a web; where each corner of a mesh or angle is interlaced with three other angles, and each of these with three others, running through the entire texture of the seamless fabric. Each Bishop, consecrated by three or more legitimate consecrators, is represented by the antecedent multiple, in an arithmetical ratio, through a series branching out through a pre-existing Episcopate, to the Apostles; so that, in point of fact, historically, as well as on a priori ground, the Nicean canon applied to the Apostolic succession makes it practically a demonstration. If an occasional little break in one strand, or corner of a mesh in this great net should have happened, it could by no possibility invalidate the multiplex connections by which each threefold consecration joins on to the arithmetical ratio of antecedent connections, which must have made every consecration valid at more points than one.
The Swedish Church was indeed fortunate in keeping [11/12] up her succession, by means of the character of the first Bishops and Archbishops, from the breaking of the Roman bonds, down to the great Council of Upsala, in 1593 That noble Archbishop, Laurentius Petri, consecrated to the Primacy in 1531, and who died on October 25, 1573, was the blessed instrument, in guiding the Church quietly and soundly through her transitions of reform. The forty-two years of his Archepiscopate began before England was freed from Rome, under Henry, and extended over all the turbulent and unsettled period of the English Church, when, under Henry, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, the Anglican body was tossed backwards and forwards between Reform and the Papacy. The grounds so well settled at the great Council of Upsala, in 1593 have remained essentially unchanged in the Swedish Church, from that day to this. But while the Episcopate, the Creeds, theology and regimen of the Church have thus remained stereotyped for three hundred and fifty years, some other changes have supervened, not always for the better. They are the changes of an old machine, from wearing; hard to repair, except by a clumsy kind of mending, which makes the machine creak and drag from friction and weakness.
The Church of Sweden has long been thoroughly Erastianized. The habit has insensibly grown, of seeing the Church only through the State and the King; and the King is the "summus Episcopus." This small but noble kingdom has something less than 3,000 clergy of all grades--about the number on the clerical list of our Anglo-American Church. Our Church probably does not represent more than a tenth part of our upwards of [12/13] forty millions. But in Sweden, the established Church lays claim to the whole population. It is not more than five years or so, that any kind of dissent or voluntaryism, could have any show of decent toleration. Since then the few Jews and Roman Catholics, schismatics and dissenters have enjoyed civil franchise and social status.
There seems to be no necessary connection between high views of the Episcopate, and high views on the sacraments, in Sweden, with its valid Episcopate, in Norway and Denmark with their broken Episcopate, and in Germany, without any Protestant Episcopate at all.
In the German Lutheran Church, with its Presbyterian orders, there is yet an assumption of all Episcopal and sacerdotal powers, in every species of consecration, the ordination of ministers, the rite of confirmation, and all other acts and things which in the reformed branches of the Apostolic and Catholic Church belong only to the Episcopate. Yet no people in Christendom--not even in the Roman Catholic Church--are stronger for clerical prerogative than the German non-Episcopal Lutherans. And no Protestants have such high views on the sacraments as Lutherans generally.
The Church of Sweden, Erastianized as it is, perhaps is not any worse off than was the English Church under the miserable rule which came in under William III. and continued for more than a hundred years under the Hanover kings. It was during the ecclesiastical misrule of the first three Georges that our American colonies were for a century kept deprived of an Episcopate, which, if it had been granted at an earlier date in our colonial condition, would have made the Anglo-American Church [13/14] an overshadowing power long before we had to fight for our independence, and then to beg the English Parliament and Bishops to grant the pittance of the canonical number of Bishops, in order to begin our American Episcopate and succession.
Politically, and organically important as the Episcopate is in Sweden, yet it is sad to say, that the clergy and people hold but indifferent notions as to the Divine authority of the Episcopate, as to its Scriptural and Apostolic basis, or as to its Primitive Church witnesses. They adhere to Episcopacy from tradition, expediency, and national pride. This may be said, perhaps, of the majority, but a majority which is now happily growing less.
But there is a growing class of better Churchmen. coming up, who, with the blessing of God, will some day make themselves felt. They would see the Church a good deal loosened from the State; and they would not shrink if pressure and persecution were brought to bear upon the Church, from the new levelling doctrines with which hostile political parties are now beginning to regard religion. The purifying process of persecution would be the making or the saving of the Swedish Church. Her members would then value the Episcopate, of which they have the undoubted succession, historically, but which they too little appreciate. When a Bishop is made to feel that he is the chief pastor, and the foremost missionary, and especially as the chief witness and confessor, as in the days of England's martyr Bishops, and everywhere and always in the persecutions of the early Church, then would Sweden, also be made to feel that [14/15] the gift of the Apostolate or Episcopate is a gift worth having.
The principle of translation, as in England, is of universal recognition. Scarcely one of the present twelve Diocesan Bishops of Sweden proper, except perhaps the very newest and most obscure, remains in his first Diocese, promotion being a received maxim.
2nd, As to the Creeds.
The Primitive Faith is expressed in their Liturgy and preaching. But the Liturgy of Sweden was seriously modified and impaired in ,81o, under a semi-Arian Archbishop. The effect of that revision was to impair and displace a previous robust and primitive one; and many of the best men in Sweden now wish to see the old Liturgy restored.
Extremes meet, and incongruous associations occur in very unexpected ways. With regard to the working of the present Liturgy, the Church of Sweden seems intensely anti-papal. In the Apostles' Creed, the words "holy Catholic Church," are changed into the "Christian Church." The mere sound of anything suggesting historical associations and affinities with 'the old Roman Church, offends the prejudices which have been deeply seated in the national mind for 350 years--the result of the bloody price of freedom in the days of Gustavus Vasa, and of the Thirty Years' War, begun by Gustavus Adolphus a century later, when Sweden, at unequal odds, fought the battles for Protestantism in Europe.
But there is a strong undercurrent of religious feeling in the national mind, which tends to development, not [15/16] in schism, but in modes of expression different from the Liturgical symbols. One party represents the singular combination of high notions on the Sacraments with a species of revivalism. They are a kind of Puritans and legalists, called Schartuaner, from their leader, who are intensely opinionated, almost superstitiously addicted to the Sacraments, and are yet given to special pleading and expedients like our American revivalists, and press their measures with such persistency, that the necessary reaction becomes a barren formalism. The leader of this party died in 1823, but he lives in his works.
Another party, called by the general name of Lasare (a word which simply means Readers), is made up of persons who are specially given to reading the Bible; the Church Postills, and other devotional works, at frequent and fixed hours every day. They would be known as the Pietists in the Roman Church of former days. Many of the clergy and the people belong to the Lasare; but they are extremely antisocial, claiming to have all the piety among themselves, and looking askance at all people suspected of worldly conformity.
The pulpit is a great power in Sweden. "Preaching the word," is the. pet saying, to denote the chief idea of public worship. The common people go in crowds to hear any earnest preacher, on almost any day of the week. Such things speak well for Sweden, as compared with Protestant Germany. When I was in Berlin, some seventeen years ago, a census was taken of that city, of all the persons attending all places of worship, including Roman Catholics, on a given Sunday; and the number did not reach 12,000 in a population of half a million. [16/17] And in Hamburg, one of the principal churches which nominally claims all the population in a district of 60,000, stands empty nearly every Sunday.
It becomes one who loves the Gospel, to speak with caution and tenderness in regard to the great staple of Lutheran preaching, the doctrine of Justification by Faith, as Luther himself called it, "articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesia:," the article by which the Church stands or falls. But from the days of St. Paul till now, it has been a doctrine easily perverted, and a misapprehension of which is attended by a long train of dangerous consequences. And whenever the doctrine has been forced out of its limits, it has led to antinomianism or immorality. The present fossilized condition of Lutheran dogma must be chargeable with some tendency towards social and moral looseness. It is too much the fallacy of the Lutheran movement, that it has placed dogma instead of the old Creeds witnessed to by the Apostolic and Catholic Church.
3rd, The Sacraments.
Most German Protestants, as well as the Episcopal Lutheran Church of Sweden, hold stronger views on the effect of the Sacraments, especially of the Lord's Supper, than Anglicans generally hold. The Swedish Church especially lays great emphasis on the words of consecration. The forms, indeed, are variable and discretionary. Some of the strongest expressions in their Collects are these: "O Lord Jesus Christ, who in this Holy Supper givest us thy precious body, under bread and wine." Here is another: "Here is distributed and received, under bread and wine, His body and blood, in a [17/18] supernatural and inscrutable manner, according to God's own wisdom, truth and omnipotence, who has himself ordained the Holy Supper." But the symbol is always explained, as "under bread and wine."
The mode of rendering the service is very much like the Roman in their great churches, in the large towns. But it is always in the vernacular, never in the Latin. The priest wears as gorgeous a dress during the Communion office as the Latin priest does at the celebration of the Mass. There are no thurifers, incense burnings, nor processions. But the people have very much the habitudes and modes which the Roman Catholic congregations have--at least, so far as the common people are concerned. In fact, while so intensely anti-Roman as the Swedes are, the Swedish service is only the old Mass cut down, with some alterations. Indeed the service is called "High Mass," with the usual distinction of "Matins and Vespers," called by us the Morning and Evening Prayer. Offensive as these terms are to Protestant ears, the Swedes innocently enough speak of their Mass, or High Mass, as if such things had never been known among the Roman Catholics.
In the structure of their Church buildings, furniture, and dresses of the priests, there is a strange mixture of the Latin cultus with Protestant simplicity.
The old Church buildings are of a clumsy order of architecture, and very poorly adapted to acoustic and auditory purposes. But some of the new buildings show great improvements. Exteriorly these are quite churchly: interiorly they are plainly finished, generally with white plastered walls, natural wood work, [18/19] oiled or varnished, with little expensive ornamentation. Nearly every church has a fine altar piece, and this is generally the best feature in the building. A conspicuous crucifix is always present.
The official position of the Diaconate seems technically ignored, as the third office of the ministry; but as the equivalent of this, they have an order, or several orders of the ministry for the work of the Diaconate, practically doing its work. We have the Diaconate in theory rather than in practice, and only as a steppingstone, impatiently recognized by young men who wish to become full-blown priests, under no leading strings of Bishops or Presbyters.
The Swedish and other Scandinavian Churches have a good distribution of working orders, for which the Diaconate was originally intended, and without having the name of the third order, they have subdivisions of the general order of ministers for parochial work, which a thoroughly organized Diaconate, after the model of the ancient Church, and according to the theory (not the practice) of our own Church, was intended to subserve.
But now the practical question arises, what are all these facts and data worth, for any available church unity and church work, as between the Church of Sweden and the Anglo-American Church? Let us see. We can and ought to have some visible recognition between the two churches. There is a noble old society in Sweden called "Pro Fide Christianorum," which originated like the noble Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in England, and is nearly as old. The society [19/20] was long in a state of decline, but a noble band of men of high purpose, faith, and zeal, are seeking to revive that society. They can use it as a medium, also, for the exchange and translation of important works, between the two churches. They could easily use this organization for fitting out and sending some suitable ministers for the more than 200,000 native Swedes in this country.
There are other more modern missionary societies in Sweden, who have sent out missionaries to Africa, Turkey, and India. For there are indications of the revival of that missionary spirit which was the glory of Sweden more than two hundred years ago; which animated Gustavus Adolphus to colonize the countries around the Delaware more than fifty years before William Penn entered upon ground already owned and civilized by two generations of Swedes.
At that period the faith of that northern race was as simple and robust as the military history of Sweden was resplendent. Their colonies around the Delaware Bay were originated in 1627, under the auspices of that wonderful king, and by his still more wonderful minister, Count Oxenstien, who carried on the work of the Thirty Years War, after the death of Gustavus Adolphus, to its successful termination.
For more than a hundred years after the political rule of Sweden over these American colonies had ceased, the best people in Sweden, including several of their kings, continued to foster the Swedish churches planted on the three States lying along the Delaware. They were impelled to seek the conversion of the heathen as well as to provide for their compatriots [20/21] and their descendants. Bishop Swedburg of Scara in Sweden, (the father of Emanuel Swedenborg) became a member of the Propagation Society of the Church of England, with a view to mutual co-operation between Sweden and England. Not less than thirty-four clergy were sent out from Sweden, mostly after the Swedish political rule had ceased, and a considerable number of the best parishes in Delaware, Jersey and Pennsylvania, now in connection with our Church, are but the continuation of the missionary churches planted by the Swedes, some of them two hundred and forty years ago.
The initiative taken by our Church toward the Church of Sweden, 20 years ago, might be followed up with good effect, if some one of our Bishops should visit Sweden at the time of their general Diet or Council. Our Bishops could receive their regularly ordained clergy the same as clergy are received from the Church of England. The resolutions adopted in 1871, at the meeting of the Convention at Baltimore, would allow Swedish congregations in this country to use their own language and liturgy, during their formative and transitional assimilation to the Anglo-American Church.
When the right time comes, perhaps our Church will allow a mutual appointment of Swedish Bishops for the Swedes in this country, who may take oversight of the colonies of Swedes in this country, in a manner similar to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Gibraltar over the British consulates and colonies along the Mediterranean.
I supplement a few suggestions as to the relations of Americans, and especially those of our own Church, to [21/22] the religious systems in Europe, especially outside of Great Britain.
While our American Church has six chaplaincies on the continent, the English Church has two hundred and sixty-three, none of which are any longer supported at all by the English government. At the close of 1874, the chaplaincies attached to the Embassies of Legation, and the consular chaplaincies, all ceased to receive any allowance from the government. But all of these two hundred and sixty-three chaplaincies are sustained by the voluntary aid of the English people, often assisted by Americans.
English Church people would not often place their families for education in any foreign country, where there is not an English Church. And every American Church family residing for any time in a Continental town, ought always to find a religious home with the services of the English Church or the American Episcopal. Otherwise such a family would do far better never to leave America for the purposes of education.
With all the objections to the German notions of Sunday-keeping and worship and their ecclesiastical system, if our young people in Europe could get anything like the routine of religious instruction which the German children themselves receive in their own schools, we should perhaps be the gainers by adopting the same methods. Religion is taught in every German school several hours every week, from the time a child is eight years old, till he reaches the higher institutions at sixteen years or over. The Bible, the Catechism, the Christian history and ethics are part of the nearly daily [22/23] drill of a system where education is universal and compulsory. And every young person is required to be well prepared for confirmation by the time he is fifteen or sixteen years of age.
In communications which I have addressed through the Church papers to Bishops Stevens and Littlejohn, who have had jurisdiction over our American Chaplaincies in Europe, I have suggested how some better cooperation could be brought about between the English and American Churches on the Continent. The Bishop of London has personally assured me of his wish to promote this co-operation. The details must be left with the proper Societies and Committees in England with such corresponding ones in this country.
Very respectfully submitted,
J. P. TUSTIN.
Philadelphia, Dec. 29, 1875.