At the Morning Service, Sunday, October 2d, 1881, in the First Moravian Church, Franklin and Wood streets, the Pastor, the Rev. W. H. Rice, made the following announcement:
"It was my melancholy privilege to attend, last Friday morning, September 30th, 1881, at the Protestant Episcopal Church of the. Atonement, Seventeenth and Summer streets, an ordination service "held by the Rt. Rev. William Bacon Stevens," at which the Rev. Walter Jordan, a former baptized and confirmed member of this Congregation, and a recent associate in the ordained ministry and work of our Brethren's Church, was Re-ordained a Deacon.
"Bishop Stevens gave as his 'First Subsidiary Reason' for Reordaining a Moravian Presbyter, that he would thus ordain our Brother Jordan with 'a more ample ordination' than that with which Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz had ordained him a Deacon, in this very sanctuary, on Sunday evening, August 6th, 1876; with 'a more ample ordination' than that with which Bishops Henry A. Shultz, Amadeus A. Reinke, and Edmund de Schweinitz, had ordained Brother Jordan, a Presbyter, in Hope, Indiana, at the Provincial Synod, October 13th, 1878.
"It is fit, on this first possible opportunity, that I should publicly, in the same pulpit in which, in the years since 7742, the Bishops Zinzendorf, Spangenberg, Wolle, Shultz and De Schweinitz, have preached the Gospel (names which Bishop Stevens mentioned in his fulsome adulation of our Denomination), resent the insult which he has thus put upon the Ministry of our Ancient and Renewed Brethren's Church. I propose to take up the Rt. Rev. Wm. Bacon Stevens' dishonest interpretation of our simple Ordination formula, on which he bases his 'more ample ordination' views, for our [3/4] consideration, on next Sunday evening October 9th, 1881, God willing, or as soon thereafter as possible."
PHILADELPHIA, October 3d, 1881.
"As one who was present at the recent ordination of the Rev. Walter Jordan, and listened to Bishop Stevens' sermon on the occasion, I have been greatly grieved to see the course that criticism has taken, both with reference to the act itself and to the sermon that was preached. Being myself of the number of those who doubted the propriety of the ordination, I can only say, that, going into the Vestry-room at the conclusion of the service, I could not but express to the Bishop my entire satisfaction with the reasons he had given for the course which he deemed it incumbent on him to pursue. * * * * * * * * * *
But now as for the expression in the sermon which has been particularly cavilled at, * * * * (Bishop Stevens) referred, as entirely subsidiary to his main argument, to the words in the Moravian ordination service as compared with those in our own; and did undoubtedly say, that the latter conferred a more ample ordination than the former." [Extract from a letter written to, and published in the Moravian, the official organ of the American Moravian Synod, October 19th, 1881, (Vol. XX VII, No. 3), by the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Watson, Rector of the Church of the Atonement. The italicized words in the Extract, are in the original manuscript letter.]
Rector of the Church of the Atonement.
PHILADELPHIA, October 14th, 1881.
"That they (who believe on Me through their word) may all be One; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Ids; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me." John xvii, 21.
For the unity in spirit of the Church of God in the earth, our Blessed Lord and Master prayed with highpriestly fervor and efficacy of petition to God the Father, on the night before His cruel death on Calvary's cross. For the unity in spirit of the Church of God in the earth, the membership of the Moravian Brethren's Church, the eldest in the sisterhood of Protestant Churches, has never ceased to ray, to testify and to labor, to endure persecutions of fire and of sword, to die, if need be, the death of heroic martyrdom, ever since this Church raised the first Protestant standard as a denominational organization, amid the mountains of Bohemia, in 1459--sixty years before Martin Luther first raised the standard of the German Reformation, and more than one hundred years before the Anglican Church was fully established, from which the Protestant Episcopalians in America are descended.
In the light of her history, since the downfall of the Roman Empire, the Church of God in the earth, has more to fear from the foes who are within, of her own [5/6] household, than from any or from all the foes who threaten her from without.
Jesuitical Sectarianism, which aims to set up one branch or one section of the Church of God as the sole representative of the true Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, at the cost of peaceful fellowship with all the remaining branches or denominations within the Church, has rent and torn Christ's body, the Church, of which He is alone the Head; and it has done more to hinder the progress of Christ's work of Salvation, than the Unbelief of the world.
The prelatical Pharisaism which, under the garb of Protestantism, apes the presumptions of the Roman papacy, and would lift itself above its fellows, claiming We are the only True Church, and are destined to universal regency, is, in this age of the world, the most direct attempt that can be made, to defeat this realization of Christ's highpriestly prayer for the unity in spirit of all who believe in the precious Gospel of Salvation; and in the front rank of those who oppose this ecclesiastical Infidelity, and who testify against that fell Sectarian spirit that would unchurch those of the Church of God who do not belong to their "restricted" communion, stands our own Moravian Brethren's Church, because she has learned in the school of fiery and bloody Roman Persecution the true character of this Sacramentarian Exclusivism, and because it has been so deeply graven into her history, by the murderous hand of Jesuit zealots, that this hierarchical Infidelity gives the lie to the very words of the Blessed Master: "One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are Brethren."
The position which our Moravian Brethren's Church [6/7] has maintained for the well-nigh Four Hundred and Twenty-five Years of her denominational organization, is thus set forth in the Law-book of the Church:
Chapter I, Paragraph 4. "While the Brethren's Unity, both in ancient and in modern times, has, by her distinctive Constitution and Episcopal orders, taken the position of a separate Church, she has, nevertheless, always considered herself a member of the one, universal, Christian Church, the Head of which is Christ, and, particularly, a part of the Protestant Church, whose standard of doctrine are the Holy Scriptures alone."
"Our Church has ever maintained and practically exhibited the position of a true Union Church, in which individual Christians of every Protestant denomination can meet as on common ground, and which also, as a Church, labors in particular for the accomplishment of the highpriestly prayer of our Saviour, with regard to the members of the true, one Church of Christ in all denominations: That they all may be One!"
In practical demonstration of this union-spirit, our Moravian Brethren's Church receives into full Communicant membership any member of any sister denomination, on the simple certificate of good standing in the same; invites any Communicant member of a sister denomination to a place at the Lord's Communion-table. In reference to the reception into her communion, of Clergymen of any sister denomination, the Law-book says:
Chapter IX, Paragraph 62. "Such Ministers as have received Ordination in Protestant Churches, and have already served a Congregation in this office, with the Word and Sacraments, and in the care of Souls, are recognized as Presbyters" [without Re-ordination] "when they become members of the Brethren's Church, and fill a spiritual office in the same."
 In a word, the fellowshiping of all sister denominations, in the fullest possible sense of the word, is a part of the Constitution of our Moravian Brethren's Church.
I think, therefore, you will bear me out in affirming that, this Church of earnest Protestant confessors, which took up as an organized denomination in 1457, the banner of the Universal Priesthood of all Believers in the Gospel of Salvation, by the blood of Jesus Christ, and of an open Bible, as the sole Rule of Faith; which was organized as a Unity of Brethren having this shibboleth, One is your Master, and All ye are Brethren, in an age when God's heritage in the Christian world was lorded over by hierarchical potentates and princes, who asserted and maintained their supreme and absolute dominion over the minds and consciences, the souls and the bodies, the prerogatives and possessions of kings and of subjects; this Church of the Moravian Brethren has maintained, with heroic consistency, through all the wonderful mutations of the Four Centuries and a Quarter of her history, her sincere devotion to the Unity of the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, of every name, under the banner of Calvary's cross.
We are to consider, specially, this evening, some features in the recent official conduct of a leading clergyman in a sister denomination, which characterize the spirit in which that denomination proclaims its inability, officially to fellowship this eldest sister of the Protestant Faith, a sister, by the way, for which the same denomination constantly affects most extravagant, un-official, esteem and affection.
On Sunday evening, 6th of August, 1876, Brother [8/9] Walter Jordan, a baptized and confirmed member of this First Moravian Brethren's Congregation, of Philadelphia, was ordained a Deacon, by Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz of the Brethren's Church, who preached the ordination sermon on the text, "For we are God's fellow-workers: I Cor. iii. 9.
The official church paper, the Moravian, of August 17th, reports: "A very large and deeply solemnized congregation was present. Brother Jordan is the first young man, born and confirmed in the First Church, who has entered the Moravian Ministry, and his friends joyfully gathered to bid him God-speed."
I am sure some of those who are present this evening, were present on that occasion, a little more than five years ago, and remember the circumstances of such solemn and peculiar interest to which I allude.
You doubtless remember the laying of Bishop de Schweinitz's hands upon the head of Brother Jordan, as he solemnly ordained him, with your accompanying prayers, "to be a Deacon of the Church of the United Brethren, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." You heard the Choir sing the Doxology, beginning,
"Glory be to Thy most meritorious Ministry,
O, Thou Servant of the true Tabernacle!"
and you joined in the "Amen! Hallelujah!" by way of joyous affirmation.
The Law-book of the Church thus interprets the signification of the rite of Ordination which you here witnessed, on that Sunday evening in August, 1876.
Chapter IX, Paragraph 59. "The Ministry in the Protestant Church of the Brethren, in consequence of which she enjoys a sphere of activity in the Kingdom of God, which is independent [9/10] and undisputed as regards her relation to other Churches, is based on the Ordination of Bishops, Presbyters and Deacons. All those who minister in the Word and Sacraments receive the outward legitimate authorization for Church transactions, through ordination exclusively imparted by Bishops. As, however, they are set apart for one or the other Church degree in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with imposition of hands, and with invocation of the Lord, the Head of the Church, in his immediate presence, and accompanied by the prayers of the assembled congregation, we consider them as especially blessed by the Lord for the important COMMISSION: TO FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD. [ACTS XX, 28] WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD."
This clearly sets forth that our simple formula of Ordination means, according to the Constitution of our Church, and is interpreted by our Church as meaning that, our Deacons, as well as our Presbyters and Bishops, are Ministers in "the Church of God" and of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the "amplest," the "broadest," and "widest" sense of the word in which it can be predicated of any minister in any Protestant denomination.
It shows that nothing less can be affirmed, according to the standard law of our Moravian Brethren's Church, of the simple Ordination formula, as interpreted by that standard, than that Brother Walter Jordan's ordination as a Deacon of the Brethren's Church, made him, in the "amplest" sense of the word, a Deacon in the Church of God in the earth, a Minister of our Lord Jesus Christ, in as full and as ample a sense as any Deacon in any Church, which maintains the three orders of the Christian Ministry.
Do any of you remember, when listening to the ordination sermon of your former honored Pastor, the ordaining Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz, that he, when preaching on the text, "For we are [10/11] God's fellow-workers," and when holding up the dignity and the power of the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Church of God, said, or intimated by anything he said, that whilst he believed in the validity of this ordination as equal with the validity of any that claimed "apostolic succession" for its authorization,' yet it was less "ample?" The question answers itself. It was reserved for another occasion; for a Bishop of a younger, sister denomination, to raise the question of a "more ample ordination," in order to justify his flying in the face of all historical fact and precedent, and his giving the lie to our own interpretation of our Ordinal.
I was present in the Moravian Church, at Hope, Indiana, on Sunday evening, the 13th of October, 1878, almost three years ago, when Brother Walter Jordan, with four other Deacons, was ordained a Presbyter. The three Bishops, Henry A. Shultz, Amadeus A. Reinke and Edmund de Schweinitz, took part in the ordination services. I never heard the slightest intimation of any views which militated against that positive interpretation of the meaning, intent and scope, of our Ordination formula, which our Law-book necessitates: AS THE IMPORTANT COMMISSION, TO FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD (Acts XX, 28) WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD,
On Friday, the last day of September just past, I was present at an ordination service, which had been announced, in the public journals, to "be held" in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Atonement, Seventeenth and Summer Streets, in this city, by the Rt. Rev. Wm. Bacon Stevens, of the P. E. Church. Seated before the chancel railing was our brother, [11/12] the Rev. Walter Jordan, my former associate in the ordained Ministry and work of our Moravian Brethren's Church, whom the Rt. Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz had ordained a Deacon, in this church, in August, 1876, and a Presbyter, in the Moravian Church at Hope, Indiana, in October, 1878. For four years he had been engaged in the pastorate of two of our churches, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and in Canal Dover, Ohio. Having been a pastor in the Moravian Church, of four years' standing, twice ordained by her Bishops, Bishop Stevens, on Friday morning, began the service of the Re-ordination of Brother Jordan, under a painful sense of the awkwardness of the circumstances of the case, shared alike by the officiating Bishop and by his slim audience of from twenty to thirty people. For was he not about to commit the grossest breach of ecclesiastical comity and fellowship over against the eldest sister of the Protestant faith? for which he had no precedent, but for which he deemed it the path of "Wisdom" to set, so ruthlessly, this precedent, as he afterwards assured us, in the midst of many flattering and sweet things which he said of the dear Moravian Brethren.
After announcing to his auditors that the result of his own investigation of the question, years ago, in connection with literary labors in Georgia, had only been strengthened and confirmed by the later results of subsequent investigations, carried on by others, viz.: THAT THE VALIDITY OF THE ORDINATION BY THE BISHOPS OF THE MORAVIAN BRETHREN'S CHURCH, DATED BACK pari passu WITH THAT OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH, TO THE APOSTLES; Bishop Stevens declared that, in view of the appointment of two [12/13] special committees to consider the question of the Validity of Episcopal ordination in the Moravian Brethren's Church, (one committee by the recent Lambeth Convocation of Bishops, and one by the American P. E. General Convention), he would eschew the path of "Boldness" in setting a precedent by admitting this Moravian Presbyter into the ministry of the P. E. Church, without Re-ordination, even a hypothetical ordination ("If you are not already ordained, I ordain, etc."), and he would take the path of "Wisdom," and treat our brother Presbyter as though "Apostolic ordination" had never been conferred upon him.
It is not my province to criticise this position of our Brother Stevens, which he assumed over against the views of many of the most scholarly ministers and devoted members of his own denomination, who deeply and sincerely regret that, the brother did not see his way clear to setting a precedent in the direction of what he confessed, with emphasized re-iteration, to be his own personal conviction of what is due to our Episcopal ordination.
It is no compliment to our Moravian communion to intimate that we ask any clergyman, of another denomination, to violate the law of his church in any matter that may seem to affect us.
Bishop Stevens pleads the canon law of the P. E. Church, as set against receiving a Moravian Presbyter into the ministry of his denomination, without Re-ordaining him a Deacon.
If, then, it is simply a matter of Obedience to the canon law of the P. E Church, why all these [13/14] protestations as to a path of "Wisdom" over against a path of "Boldness?"
The path of Obedience ought to be the path of "Wisdom" and the path of "Boldness."
Now we Moravian Brethren did not help to enact the canon laws of our younger, sister denomination, and we ought not and do not intrude any criticism of what concerns only our neighbors.
But will not our brethren of the P. E. Church excuse us for having cherished some little curiosity on our part, as to how a Moravian Presbyter who had exercised any man's right, on leaving the Church of his fathers, to make application to be received into the communion and ministry of the P. E. Church, how such a Moravian Presbyter would fare!
The Methodist Episcopal Church loves and honors us, because, as history tells us, the Methodists caught the fire from our Moravian altar; the Congregational, the Lutheran, the Reformed, the Presbyterian and the other Evangelical Churches, treat us as their equals, on a footing of perfect equality with them, our younger sisters in the Protestant household of faith. But, ah! what Moravian brother or sister who has ever heard the praises of his or her Moravian communion sounded forth with "apostolic" unction from P. E. pulpits, can ever forget it? The tone in which the descendants in America, of our younger Anglican sister, have generally condescended to speak of their dear Moravian Brethren, does any one wonder that it has had the effect, in anticipation of this recent opportunity to set a precedent, to stir our feelings of curiosity what all this unofficial admiration and conviction would actually amount to, when these might, perhaps, have the [14/15] opportunity of running into the mold of an official precedent?
Our brother in the P. E. faith, fairly outshone any other Episcopalian, I have ever heard, in the utterance of his admiration of his dear Moravian Brethren.
A quotation from "a distinguished clergyman of the Church of England," in reference to the Brethren's Church, which was read, was only the text upon which our Brother Stevens grew "more ample" in expressing his own flattering estimate of our Church. Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz, as "a lineal descendant" of the Bishop, Count Zinzendorf, was mentioned by name, in more than formal utterance of admiration and esteem, for his learning, liberality and zeal. It was thrilling,--the eloquence with which Bishop Stevens portrayed the scene when, at the dedication of the P. E. Church of the Nativity in South Bethlehem, Pa., seventeen years ago, the Moravian Bishops, the Rt. Rev. Henry A. Shultz, the late Rt. Rev. Peter Wolle; and the Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz (since ordained, validly and amply, a Bishop), on the gracious invitation of the P. E. Bishop Stevens, entered within the chancel rails. The "important speech from the chancel," delivered on that happy occasion by the validly and amply ordained Presbyter, de Schweinitz, was remembered, on this melancholy occasion, by a quotation.
I repeat, in spite of all this explanation which took up so large a part of the ordination discourse of our Episcopalian brother, I see no room for criticism on the part of any outsider, even on the part of a Moravian brother or sister, of the fact that Brother Stevens [15/16] sheltered himself behind the battery of his ecclesiastical artillery--the canon law of the P. E. Church.
But it is my province to reply to what was introduced as the "First" of several "Subsidiary Reasons," why this Moravian Presbyter should be Re-ordained a Deacon, before he could be admitted into the ministry of the P. E. Church.
This "First Subsidiary Reason" was, in substance, stated thus: when our Brother Jordan was ordained by the Moravian Bishop, he was ordained in these words. "I ordain Thee a Deacon of the Brethren's Church;" but this morning I will ordain him "a Deacon in the Church of God." Therefore he will receive a more ample ordination than the one restricted to the Moravian Brethren's Church.
I have already quoted to you the paragraph from the standard Law-book of our Moravian Church, which sets forth the meaning, intent and scope, of our simple Ordination formula: AS THE IMPORTANT COMMISSION TO FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD (Acts xx, 28) WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH His OWN BLOOD.
What more convincing evidence need be brought forward to prove that, according to our formularies and standards, the Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops of our Moravian Brethren's Church, are ordained Ministers in the Church of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, in as "broad" and "wide" a sense, with an equally "ample ordination," as the Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops of the P. E. Church.
Could Bishop Stevens honestly believe, when he wrote and spoke the words of his "First Subsidiary Reason," after having made such ample re-iterations of his esteem and love for his Moravian Brethren, and [16/17] of his conviction as to the VALIDITY of Moravian Episcopal ordination, that his theory as to the lesser AMPLITUDE of this ordination was shared by the Brethren's Church?
Could Bishop Stevens honestly believe that, the Bishops of our church would allow so narrow an interpretation of that simple Ordination formula in our Liturgy, as to preclude the idea that an ordained Moravian Deacon, Presbyter or Bishop, has been as amply ordained to the Ministry in the Church of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the laying on of the hands of the venerable Bishops of our Moravian Brethren's Church, in the name of the Triune God, as any man can be ordained by the laying on of the hands of Bishop Stevens, who professes to ordain par excellence to the Ministry in the Church of God?
There is nought in the history of the Moravian Episcopate; nothing in the official action of our Synods and Conferences; nothing in the canon law of our Church, which justifies such an interpretation of the scope and intent of our Ordination formula.
We protest, therefore, against a "First Subsidiary Reason" which implies that such an interpretation, as Bishop Stevens gave, is authorized and entertained by our Brethren's Church; and we assert that, it was neither a wise, nor a bold, nor an honest thing. for any man to put such a construction upon our Ordination formula, with such an implication.
What did Bishop Stevens mean when, after announcing his belief in the VALIDITY of the Moravian Episcopal ordination, he suddenly raised this question of its AMPLITUDE? He lays one formula, the Moravian, upon the other formula, the Episcopalian, [17/18] and says that his formula is more "broad," more "wide," and hence "more ample" than is our formula, on its face.
We assert that the Moravian Church understands her formula to have an intent and scope just as "broad," and as "wide," and as "ample," as the Episcopal formula, according to her own view of that intent and scope, as interpreted by her Lawbook.
He must then assert a lesser amplitude in the very face of her interpretation of her own formula, in the language of her Law-book, thus denying to the Moravian Brethren's Church the right to interpret her own formula.
Or does Bishop Stevens mean to assert that, independently of any interpretation of the Moravian formula, Bishops of the P. E. Church can and do ordain to the order of Deacon, Presbyter and Bishop, "in the Church of God," in an ampler degree than it is possible for Moravian Bishops so to ordain, because the P. E. Church of God is ampler, in point of membership, social prestige and wealth?
It is not the first time in my Ministry, nor will it be the last time, that I must meet invidious criticisms of our Moravian Church. Let me relate to you an incident in my Ministry, to which it is always a comfort and a source of satisfaction to refer.
When in October, 1894, the Provincial authorities of our Church deputed me to convey, as corresponding delegate to the General Council of the Congregational Churches, then in session in New Haven, Conn., the fraternal greetings of our Moravian Church, that assembly, of Fathers and Brethren in Christ, gave [18/19] me, the representative of the smallest Protestant denomination in point of numbers, as fraternal a welcome as was given the representatives of the larger denominations. I shall never forget the session of the Council, at which it became my duty to present the 'official greeting of our Church. The Rev. Dr. O. H. Tiffany, then of Washington, D. C., now of this city, had spoken, as the representative of the Methodist Episcopal Church, as a man has a right to speak when he represents so glorious a constituency as the millions of the Methodist host. After him came the Rev. Dr. Edson, of Indianapolis, who, with all the exuberant vigor of his western Presbyterianism, spoke in the 'name of the re-united Presbyterian Church, with a fervor and an unction well worthy of the happy event still fresh in the minds and hearts of his auditors. My name was next called by the Assistant Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Magoun, of Iowa, as the corresponding delegate to speak the word of fraternal greeting from the Moravian Church. You will allow me to repeat, in substance, what it was given me to say, under such 'circumstances, after having expressed my regret that an older and more worthy representative of our Church had been prevented from being present with them, on that occasion.
"Brethren, you will remember the grand Review that was held in Washington, immediately after the close of the Rebellion, when the veterans of the armies of the Republic passed in review before the great Captain, who had led them through the mighty conflict to its victorious issue. Many thousands of their fellow citizens, from all parts of this northern land, hurried to Washington, to witness the final Review.
"As the ranks of veterans came sweeping down the broad Pennsylvania avenue of our capital city, in Regiments, Brigades, [19/20] Divisions, Army Corps and Grand Divisions, cheer upon cheer rang out in gladsome greeting. But why was it that, at certain points in the line of march, the crowds of enthusiastic spectators grew more enthusiastic in their cheering? The reason was readily apparent.
"It was caused whenever there was passing in review, a Brigade, whose numbers had melted down to that of a full Regiment; a Regiment scarcely mustering enough survivors to count a full Company; a Company of whom perhaps only a file of veterans survived, only men enough left, of those who had once swelled the ranks of the old organization, to carry the battle-stained, torn, Colors; sometimes, too, only enough of the old flag left, to show the colors, and on which side the men had fought!
"These thinned ranks and tattered colors, and battle-scarred survivors, called forth the most enthusiastic recognition, because they had come forth from the thickest of the fight, and had borne the heat and burden of the campaigns of the war.
Brethren, at the close of the Thirty Years' War between the Protestant and Papal powers of Europe, it was found that the extreme Left wing of the Protestant host had been crushed, and by the terms of the Peace which ensued, the remnant of this Left wing, the Protestant Churches of Bohemia and Moravia, were left alone to face the fire and sword of the Jesuit oppressor, unaided by their brethren of other Protestant lands.
"I represent, to day, all that is left of that Church of heroic martyrs and confessors. We are but few in number. But there are enough of us left to hold up the old Banner of the Fathers; it is bloodstained and battle-rent; but it is the same old flag, and what is left of it tells the story of which side we are on; and we are not ashamed of it.
"In the name of our Moravian Brethren's Church, whose fathers' flag we still hold up, under it to carry on our dear Lord's work, I greet you, and pray for the choicest blessings of God upon your counsels and your work!"
I shall never forget the applause which rang through the old First Church of Christ, in New Haven, when the representatives of New England Congregationalism, gathered from all sections of our American land, [20/21] responded to these words of greeting. They made me forget that my Church was less ample in point of membership, and social prestige and wealth, by their hearty recognition of the glorious achievements of her heroic past, when our Fathers sacrificed every thing, their positions of highest trust in the state, their estates and their lives, in the defence of the truth as it is in Jesus.
And whenever, since that autumnal day in 1874. I have been called on to endure contemptuous criticism, I revert to the generous enthusiasm of the venerable Fathers and Brethren in Christian Council assembled in Old Center Church, on the New Haven Green; and the "ample" fellowship in all the "validity" of truehearted Christian brotherhood, which was extended to me by such a representative assembly of Christian scholarship and of genuine piety, makes amends for any contemptuous slight which a so-called "churchmanship," run in narrowest of sectarian grooves, may essay to put upon the Moravian Brethren's Church.
Brethren, our number is not large, but it is "ample" enough for us to carry the old standard; its folds are not "ample," because they have been borne through the fire and blood of fiercest persecution; but there is enough of the old flag left for you and for me to show which side we are on; and nothing that our brother in the P. E. Church of God can say about us, will make us ashamed of our colors, and of the cause they represent.
Or does Bishop Stevens mean to assert the lesser amplitude of the Moravian Episcopal ordination, in common with that of all other Protestant denominations, because, We of the P. E. Church are the True [21/22] Church of God, and the other denominations are mere Sects?
If such be not only the "First Subsidiary," but the prime "Reason," for asserting this lesser amplitude of the Moravian Episcopal ordination, then it should be emphasized, as a fact, and all the more emphatically emphasized over against the profuse, un-official, professions of Episcopalian friendship and fraternal regard, that, with such a spirit of Sectarian Self-assertion and Exclusivism over against the Brethren of other Protestant Churches, the Moravian Brethren's Church is at radical variance.
There is no other Protestant denomination from which we do more differ, toto caelo, than we differ from the P. E. Church of God, if the intent and scope of this "First Subsidiary Reason" be, to assert that, We are the ampler Church of God, and you are only the "restricted" Brethren's Church.
Our Church, which officially recognizes as "valid" and "ample," the ordination of all the other Protestant Churches, may, surely, and does demand as "ample" a recognition for herself, from them. Our Church is bound to a recognition of the fact that, at least as much is due to herself as she accords to all the other sister churches.
It was this fell spirit of Sectarian Self-assertion and Exclusivism, in the 17th century, which crushed out our Bohemian and Moravian churches, their schools and seminaries of learning; which destroyed their printing presses and burnt their Bibles, translated and published in the Slavic vernacular; which drove into exile, into prison, and to the stake or scaffold; the Nobility and the Peasantry of these lands, whilst [22/23] vieing with each other and with their Clergy, to prove their devotion unto the death, to the cause of an open Bible, and of the Unity of all Believers in Christ Jesus.
We Moravians have learned in other centuries, and from the lips of red-cassocked Jesuit hierarchs, what the difference is, between soft speech and complaisant suavity in unofficial laudation, and the hard, formulated, assertion of Sectarian dogma. which runs into the narrow groove of hierarchical official action. Those Jesuit oppressors and usurpers, in the Papal Church of God, smiled, with quiet satisfaction, over the amplitude of their Church regency, but our heroic fathers died in exile, in the dungeon, at the stake or on the scaffold.
Such a prelatical slap in the face as Bishop Stevens gave the Ministry of the Moravian Brethren's Church, from his place in the pulpit of the P. E. Church of the Atonement, on Friday morning, when he asserted, in effect, that the Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops of our Moravian Church are not ordained Ministers in the Church of Jesus Christ, ought to preclude any further fulsome adulation of the Brethren's Church from that quarter, in regard either to the VALIDITY or to, what Bishop Stevens suggests as, the AMPLITUDE of the Episcopal Ordination of this venerable Protestant Church of God.
And now a word as to that Episcopal Ordination, sometimes styled "Apostolic succession," which, it is now admitted with substantial unanimity on the part of historical specialists, acquainted with the results of thorough investigation, was conferred, in 1467, upon the first Bishops of our Church, and from [23/24] them has been transmitted, in due succession, to our day.
What does the Law-book of our Church say?
Chapter IX. Paragraph 60. "Episcopal Ordination, which has been transmitted to us from the ancient Bohemian and Moravian Brethren's Church, we, therefore, desire to hold dear and precious, as a Possession (Depositum) faithfully guarded by that venerable Church amidst Grievous Afflictions and Bloody Persecutions, which, when the Church seemed extirpated, was still maintained, in hope against hope, and which, at last, when the time for the Church's renewal had come, was handed over to our Fathers. Upon this, essentially, rests not only our connection with the ancient Brethren's Church, but also our right to call ourselves the renewed Brethren's Church."
Now where did our Moravian Fathers of the ancient Church obtain this Episcopal Ordination in 1467, of which our Law-book says, that they "faithfully guarded" it "amidst Grievous Afflictions and Bloody Persecutions," and which "was handed over to our Fathers" of the renewed Church, on March 13th. 1735?
I will summon only one witness, of the many unimpeachable witnesses which might be summoned, to testify to the historical fact of the VALIDITY of this Episcopal Ordination, which, in the opinion of our Brother Stevens, runs back pari passu with that of the younger, Anglican, Protestant Church, to the times of the Apostles. [See De Schweinitz's "MORAVIAN EPISCOPATE," London, 1877.]
Our witness is a Roman Catholic. When you and I remember what the position of the Papal church over against our Fathers has been, the testimony of a Roman Catholic, in any degree favorable to us, will be apt to strike us as of peculiar weight.
The Roman Catholic Encyclopaedia (Kirchen Lexicon, [24/25] von Wetzer and Welte, Freiburg, in Breisgau; 1848) says, Vol. II, page 65:
"A body of Waldenses had settled on the Moravian Austrian frontier, of whom the Brethren knew that they bad legitimate Bishops, descended from the Apostles in an unbroken succession."
"The Brethren, in 1467, caused three (previously ordained Priests) to be consecrated Bishops with the imposition of hands by the [Austrian] Waldensian, Bishop STEPHEN, who was afterwards burned at Vienna,"
Bishop John Amos Comenius puts it thus, in his Ratio Disciplinae: They (Michael Bradacius and two other ordained Priests) were sent to certain Waldenses on the confines of Austria and Moravia. "They find their Bishop Stephen." The Waldenses "approve of and congratulate" the Brethren upon their secession from the Pope and the Calistines. "And what is more, conferring upon these three the power to make Ministers, they create them Bishops with the imposition of hands, and send them back to their own."
Now whence did Bishop STEPHEN and his colleagues, of the Austrian Waldensian Church, secure their Episcopal Ordination, which they conferred subsequently upon Michael Bradacius and his two colleagues, of the Moravian Brethren's Church?
Bishop Stephen with his colleague, had been consecrated by their predecessors, Bishops FREDERIC NEMEZ and JOHN WLACH.
Bishops Nemez and Wlach, previously ordained to the Priesthood, at Prague, by the Roman Catholic Bishop Nicholas (Philibert), a Legate of the Council of Basle, on the 14th of September, 1433, were sent to Basle in the summer of the following year, 1434 [25/26] and were there consecrated Bishops, in a Convocation of clergy, by Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, in attendance upon the Council of Basle.
Bishops Nemez and Wlach, subsequently, consecrated as their successors in the Waldensian Church Stephen and his colleague.
Bishop STEPHEN and his colleague, in 1467, consecrated MICHAEL BRADACLIS and his two colleagues, at the earnest request of the Synod of the Moravian Brethren's Church, to the Episcopate. BISHOP BRADACIUS and the other two, previous to joining the Moravian Brethren, had been Episcopally ordained Priests, in the Roman Catholic and Waldensian Churches.
Bishop John Holmes, says; (History of the United Brethren, Vol. I, page 52.) The first question which came before the Synod of 1467, was, whether ordination by a number of Presbyters was equally valid with that performed by a Bishop. The decision of the Synod was to this effect;--that Presbyterian ordination was consonant with Apostolic practice (I Tim., IV, 14), and the usage of the Primitive Church, which might be proved from the writings of the Primitive Fathers consequently the newly elected ministers might be ordained by those now exercising the sacred functions of the Gospel among them, and who had previously been Calixtine clergymen in Priest's orders. But as for many ages no ordination had been deemed valid in the reigning church unless performed by a Bishop, they resolved to use every possible means for obtaining Episcopal ordination, that their enemies might thus be deprived of every pretext for discrediting the Ministry among them."
The entire succession of Bishops from 1467 to 1865, in the subsequent history of the Brethren's Church, is printed in the "Moravian Manual" (pp. 108-111), embracing, up to that date, 167 Bishops. This is the documentary proof of the language of our Law-book, which records the faithful guardianship exercised in all these centuries over the "possession," "dear and precious," by historical association, of an Ordination which was recognized in its "validity" alike by Papist foe and Protestant friend. A later Stevens, of 1881, [26/27] arises with friendly "pretext for discrediting" the earlier STEPHEN'S Ordination, of 1467, as less "ample" than his own, of American P. E. Church of God amplitude, and as, therefore, needing to be amplified by his ordaining touch.
The sum and substance of the whole matter is simply this: If there be any such thing as "Apostolic succession," the Moravian Brethren's Church has it. If there be any such thing as "Apostolic succession," and if there be anything in it, the Moravian Brethren's Church has whatever there is in it. And this fact, of her "possession" of "Apostolic succession," it is which so stirs up all the Jesuitical casuistry of modern American Episcopalians, to rid themselves of the logical sequences which follow from their arrogant assumption, that only an Episcopally ordained ministry is valid; that only a Church with an "apostolically" ordained Bishop may claim to be a true Church; and that any such Episcopal Church, which first occupies any territory, has the primacy, absorbing the jurisdiction. For, if these points are insisted on, then the American Moravian Episcopal Brethren's Church might fairly claim, on the strength of Brother Stevens' arrogant assumption over against all the other Protestant denominations, a primacy, absorbing Episcopal jurisdiction in America, because the American Moravian Episcopate was established in this country in 1744, forty-three years before the establishment, in 1787, of the Episcopate of the American P. E. Church. [Consult "Protestant Churchman," New York City, May-June, 1856; Episcopal Recorder," Philadelphia. June 17th, 1854, May-June, 1856; see also Pamphlet "The Two Views of Episcopacy, Old and New," 1856.]
 The recognition of the validity of our Moravian Episcopal Ordination, by the formal Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, in 1749, and by the whole bench of English Bishops, does not diminish the difficulties and perplexities of the situation, for our P. E. brethren in America.
The Anglican Church has always officially recognized the oldest of the sisterhood of Protestant Churches.
Bishop JOHN Amos COMENIUS was consecrated at Lissa, in 1632, the 54th Bishop in the line of uninterrupted succession from Bishop MICHAEL BRADACIUS, who had been consecrated in 1467.
Bishop Comenius was driven into exile from Fulnec, in Moravia, in those years of bloody persecution, 1621-24, when 30,000 Moravian families, including 500 families of noble birth, left all for Christ's sake, and went into exile.
Bishop John Amos Comenius was one of the leading scholars and educators of the times in which he lived. His Latin Grammar (Janua Linguarum Reserata) introduced a new method for the study of that language. The book was translated into twelve European languages, besides being translated into the Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Mongolian languages.
During the years of his exile, Comenius was officially summoned, in 1641, by the English Parliament, to visit London, to reform the English educational system. The troubles in Ireland interfered with his permanent engagement by the English government. In 1642 he left London, and proceeded to Sweden, to which country he had been urgently invited in 1638, by the [28/29] Royal Council, and in that country he enjoyed the special patronage of the Chancellor Oxenstierna.
How near to our own America it brings this illustrious Divine and Bishop, of our venerable Mother Church, to read this tribute to his apostolic heroism and eminent scholarship, from the pen of an earlier New Englander, written of him when Bishop Comenius was a resident of Amsterdam, in Holland. I read this passage from Cotton Mather's Magnalia, published in 1702, Vol. IV, Page 128.
"That brave old man, JOHANNES AMOS COMENIUS, the fame of whose worth has been trumpeted as far as more than three languages (whereas everyone is indebted to his Janua) can carry it, was agreed withal by our Mr. Winthrop, in his travels through the Low Countries, to come over into New England and illuminate this College (Harvard) and country in the quality of President, but the solicitations of the Swedish Ambassador diverting him another way, that incomparable Moravian became not an American."
The aged hero appealed to the kindly offices of the Anglican Church, in behalf of the broken remnants of--"the left wing of the Protestant army in the Thirty Years' war"--the Brethren's Church, in Moravia. His great anxiety was that the Moravian Episcopal succession be maintained intact; that it might not die out; in view of the time, which he confidently believed would come, when God would "Renew our Days as of old." After a brief residence in Poland, Hungary and Silesia, he spent the greater part of the last years of his life in Holland, where he died in November, 1671, a broken-hearted exile, mourning over his beloved Moravian Zion's desolation.
Let me now read to you a page, or two, from Whately's "Gospel in Bohemia," to give you some impression of the kind of men who constituted the lay [29/30] membership of the old Moravian and Bohemian Brethren's Church. After the battle of Prague, in 1620, which was favorable to the Papal supremacy,
"Fifty of the most distinguished Noblemen and Gentlemen of Prague, whose high character and qualities had rendered them the ornaments of their country" "were seized, arrested, and imprisoned in the citadel of Prague." "On the 19th of June, 1621, the sentence was finally pronounced by the Judges. Twenty-seven of the prisoners were condemned to death by beheading; some of them were to lose the hand or the tongue first. The remainder whose lives were spared, were condemned to exile or imprisonment for life, and forfeiture of property."
"On the evening of June 21st," "the Jesuits and Capuchins" "crowded about the prisoners, harassing them (in the words of the Chronicle) like swarms of flies. To some they held out hopes of life, and by this and other means, they endeavored to induce them to recant. But not one wavered."
It was a bright June morning, when these noble martyrs came forth, each, in his turn, mounting the scaffold to receive the death-blow. The sound of the trumpets and drums of the soldiery, was employed to drown the lamentation and weeping of the populace who saw these heroes die.
"The next to die was the Baron de Budowa, a man advanced in life, but full of animation and vigor, and richly gifted in talents and acquirements. He with Otto de Loss, were officially the "Watchers of the Crown." "The Jesuits harassed him much upon his trial. Later his enemies reproached him with presumption for his full assurance of safety."
This noble Moravian had a clear notion of the validity and amplitude of his assured hope.
"A Jesuit [and oh! how suave these men can be when trying to cheat you out of the truth] professed to quote Scripture to the effect that a man could not know whether he was the subject of [30/31] grace or wrath. Baron de Budowa referred to the Apostle's words. 'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of Righteousness.'"
"The Jesuit objected--"
The suave Papist professed to doubt the validity of the Baron's assurance, and did not seem to know all that was written as to the amplitude of the assurance:
"The Jesuit objected that Saint Paul said this of himself only. Budowa replied by quoting the end of the verse. "Not to me only but unto All them also that love His appearing!"
The heroic Baron proved to the ignorant Jesuit, that his was the valid assurance of a salvation as "ample" as it was "valid."
"An honor awaits thee, my grey head," Budowa said on the scaffold, "to be a Witness for the Truth, and to wear the Martyr's crown." He then prayed for the Church, his country and his enemies, and, commending his soul to God, received the blow of the executioner."
Let me quote only one more incident from the bloody tragedy of that day in Prague.
"John Kutnaw was the youngest of the victims, he was scarcely forty; but in his lofty enthusiasm and joyful firmness he almost surpassed them all. A Jesuit [ANOTHER SUAVE "UNDOUBTED CATHOLIC" BROTHER] who had vainly endeavored to convert Kutnaw, said to one of his colleagues, 'These men are as HARD AS ROCKS; they cannot be moved.'
'Yes!' said Kutnaw; 'you are right. WE ARE FOUNDED ON CHRIST, A ROCK THAT SHALL NEVER BE MOVED!
"Kutnaw sang a Bohemian hymn as he approached the scaffold. His last words were, 'I have committed no crime; I die because I have been faithful to my Country and to the Gospel. God forgive my enemies; they know not what they do; and then, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, and receive my spirit.'"
My Brethren, could we ask for a nobler ancestry? Is there a nobler heritage, than to be standing in [31/32] due order of succession to men of such "undoubted Apostolic" heroism, who were validly and "amply" anointed from on high, with the unction of the Holy One, to know the truth, and once having known it, to hold it faithfully, even unto death!
When, in 1722, men and women, awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit, left their Moravian estates, to find, in the good providence of God, the exiles' refuge in Saxony, on the estate of a young nobleman, under whose patronage they might enjoy a free gospel, it was not many years before God opened a way for the transfer to these descendants of the old Moravians, of the Episcopal succession of their fathers.
The grandson of the sainted John Amos Comenius, Bishop DANIEL E. JABLONSKY, who, with others, had been duly consecrated a Bishop, in expectation of a reorganization of the Church of the fathers, consecrated at Berlin, March 13th, 1735, with the written concurrence of his colleague, the aged Bishop Christian Sitkovius, DAVID NITSCHMANN, to be the first Bishop of the renewed Brethren's Church. Bishop David Nitschmann came to America that same year, in the same ship which brought John and Charles Wesley to Georgia, and after almost forty years of faithful and ample work for the Lord's cause, on sea and land (he crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic), this worthy successor, in the Episcopate, of BRADACIUS and COMENIUS, rested from his labors on the 8th of October, 1772. His body rests, in the hope of a glorious resurrection, in the old God's Acre of the Moravian Church at Bethlehem, of which community Bishop Nitschmann was the founder, in 1741.
What John Wesley thought of Nitschmann, and of [32/33] Spangenberg (a name our Brother Wm. Bacon Stevens professes so highly to esteem), as the "undoubted Apostolic" successors of the fathers of the ancient Church, we are told by the 'Rev. Dr. Abel Stevens, in his "History of Methodism.'
"Wesley's churchly prejudices were rebuked by the Apostolic purity of their ecclesiastical forms. They met, he says, to consult concerning the affairs of their Church; Spangenberg being about to go to Pennsylvania, and Bishop Nitschmann to return to Germany."
Then followed an ordination by Bishop Nitschmann, which Wesley described.
"The great simplicity, as well as solemnity, of the proceeding, almost made him forget the 1700 years between him and the Apostles, and imagine himself in one of those assemblies where form and state were unknown, but Paul, the tent-maker, or Peter, the fisherman, presided, with the demonstration of the spirit and of power."
The Rev. Dr. Abel Stevens, of the M. E. Church, does not quote any subsequent opinion, as put on record by Bishop John Wesley, who afterwards came to ordain men to the ministry of the M. E, Church, using the formula, "I ordain you a Deacon (Presbyter or Bishop) of the Church of God," that, the use of such a formula made the ordination "more ample" than the ordination which he witnessed that day, in Georgia, when Bishop Nitschmann's Apostolic simplicity of form almost caused the Anglican Episcopalian, John Wesley, to forget the 1700 years between that company and Apostolic times.
It was reserved for an abler Stevens of the P. E. Church, to stretch these identical words so broadly and so widely, as to cause the words of saintly Nitschmann, and Zinzendorf, and Spangenberg, to [33/34] shrink into a less "ample" ordination formula; than that with which this same, suave, Stevens re-ordained the Moravian Presbyter of 1881, with the P. E. ordinal, to the Diaconate of that denomination.
Let Bishop Stevens, this professed friend of our Moravian Brethren's Church, follow up the footsteps of our Missionaries to icy Greenland, and tell those successors of the Apostles, in their heroic persistency to compass the salvation of heathen souls by preaching the cross of Christ for seven long, weary, years, before a soul would heed them, that his "undoubted Apostolic" hands must needs be laid upon them, to bestow upon them "a more ample ordination," thus "widening out (their) commission to its utmost breadth and making it commensurate with the demands of a world-wide humanity! "
Let Bishop Stevens hurry after our Missionaries, from one island of the sea to another, from one continent to another, from one hemisphere to another, and tell those Moravian successors of the Apostles, whether immured in the Leper Hospital of Jerusalem, or amid the Himalayan mountains in the Thibetan land, in Africa or in Australia, among the Indians of America, or the Negroes of Africa; tell them that an "undoubted Apostolic" touch, from his hand is necessary, with uttered words of his P. E. ordinal, in order that their "commission" may be "widened out" to an "utmost breadth," "commensurate with the demands of a world-wide humanity!"
I reply to the insult put upon the Apostolic Ministry of our Moravian Brethren's Church by the man who stands in the place of William White, his apostolic predecessor, that our Moravian Episcopal [34/35] Ordination is not so "weak" as to need "fortifying," nor so "narrow" as to need "amplifying," at his hands.
Bishop White, who presided in 1789 over the convention held for the organization of the P. E. Church of the United States, was ordained to the Episcopate, in that denomination, more than forty years after the establishment in this country of the Moravian Episcopate in 1744, and William White had special, personal reasons for refusing, at any time, to lend himself to any official or 'unofficial utterance or action, in the way of an arrogant attack upon the validity or the amplitude of Moravian Episcopal Orders.
But there is another name that comes up, unbidden, at such an hour. It is the name of a man whose fame and life-work, now that he has gone to glory, belong to no one denomination, but to the Church of Christ in America. I refer to the Saint John of our American Protestant Church, the late WILLIAM A. MUHLENBERG. In the time in which the good providence of God permitted me to aid Dr. Muhlenberg, in the pastoral work of Saint Luke's Hospital, in New York City, his brotherly words breathed a far different spirit, and came forth in the utterance of an "ample" fellowship, in all the "validity" of a brotherhood, that recognized the Ministry of the Moravian Brethren's Church, since the time of STEPHEN, the Bishop of 1467, as ordained with a "Commission" which needed no re-touching at the hands of Stevens, the Bishop of 1881, in order to its "widening out" to the "utmost breadth," to make it "commensurate with the demands of a world-wide humanity!" William A. Muhlenberg recognized the Episcopally ordained Ministry of the Moravian Brethren's Church, as having received, in the language of [35/36] our Church's Constitution, the world wide "COMMISSION TO FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD (Acts xx, 28) WHICH HE HATH PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD."
I turn away from the arrogant assumption of Stevens, to the ample churchmanship of WILLIAM A. MUHLENBERG, whose hand I grasp, in the spirit of the "valid" fellowship and "ample," of which the younger Wesley sings:
"Let saints below in concert sing
With those to glory gone:
For all the servants of our King,
In heaven and earth, are One.
"One family, we dwell in Him,
One Church, above, beneath,
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.
"One army of the living God,
To His command we bow;
Part of the host have crossed the flood,
And part are crossing now.
"E'en now, by faith, we join our hands
With those that went before;
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
On the eternal shore."
And now to Thee, the One Spirit, be glory, with the Father, and with the Son, in the Church which is in Christ Jesus; the Holy, Universal, Christian Church, in the Communion of Saints, at all times, and from eternity to eternity: Amen.