WITH THOSE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND.
Many efforts have been made in the past to bring about a union between the Eastern and the Western Churches. The last effort, I think, of any importance was made in 1848, soon after Pope Pius IX. took possession of the Papal chair. He addressed an official communication to "The Easterns," imploring them, and I may almost say commanding them, to return to the one fold, and acknowledge the headship of the Church as connected with the throne of St. Peter. A letter penned in this style was not altogether likely to secure the ends for which it was written, and the four great Patriarchs--of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem wrote back to the Bishop of Rome, in terms not more amiable than those in which, they had been addressed, giving the Pope at the same time to understand that Satan had been permitted for purposes best known to the Almighty to introduce many heresies into the Church of God; two of these they named,--Arianism as the heresy of the ancient Church, and Popery as the heresy of modern times. So terminated the last effort on the part of Rome to bring about a re-union between these two great Churches. [For a full account of this correspondence see Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church, Part II. p. 1192, &c.]
Efforts have also been made in former times to effect a union between our own Church and the Greek Church, or the Eastern Churches generally. What may be the circumstances of the present day, which promise in any way greater success than has attended the efforts made in the past, I cannot comprehend. Every Christian man must desire union. No one can read the Word of God, no one especially can reflect upon our Saviour's prayer recorded in the 17th chapter of St. John's Gospel,--"That they all may be one"--no one can read the epistles of the New [3/4] Testament, where we are told that "There is one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all," without earnestly desiring that all Christian men who love the Saviour, and love each other, by reason of their union with that Saviour, may possess not only real unity by virtue of their connection with the person of our blessed Lord, but also, as far as may be possible, even external uniformity. It is the prayer, too, of every sincere member of the Church of England, "That all who profess and call themselves Christians, may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." These words, Mr. Chairman, express what our Church at least would represent as the terms of Christian union.
The question for our consideration to-night is this--Is union with the Greek Church, as that Church at present exists, either desirable, or possible?--It seems to me that if we regard the terms of the "prayer for all sorts and conditions of men," and then look at the doctrine of the Greek Church, with her superstitions ritual, or at the moral condition of her clergy and laity, we shall find such union not only to be undesirable, but more than that, absolutely impossible. Let us first briefly inquire what are the doctrinal differences between the Greek Church and the Reformed Church of this country. We begin, where I think we must always begin in such matters, by endeavouring briefly to state what are the Standards of the two Churches, because it is obvious that if we are not agreed upon the standards of appeal in matters of doctrine and practice, there is but little prospect of our arriving at the same conclusions. The Greek Church holds that tradition is of equal authority with the Holy Scriptures in matters of doctrine and practice. She teaches that the Scriptures are to be received "according to the doctrines and interpretation of the Catholic Church," and these are declared to be "an authority not inferior to that of the Scriptures themselves." The Catechism of Peter Mogilas, a prelate of the Greek Church, which was revised by the four Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, and several other Bishops and Divines in 1643, declares that "All articles [4/5] of faith owe their authority and acceptation partly to the sacred Scriptures, partly to ecclesiastical tradition and the doctrine of the Councils and the holy Fathers." Now I ask, Mr. Chairman, is this the teaching of the Church of England? Does the Church of England make the traditions of the Church, and the teachings of the Fathers of co-ordinate and co-equal authority with the Scriptures? In a letter which was published in the Times newspaper shortly after the delivery of what was called "the Cairns judgment," Mr. Mackonochie said that the worst feature of the judgment was, "the argument on which the decision was based," in that it "cuts us off as far as the act of a mere Civil Court can, from Catholic tradition. Now this Catholic tradition," he proceeded to say, "is the thing, and the only thing, on which the Church of England professes to stand. It is her one defence for the Reformation." Mr. Mackonochie did not oblige his readers by telling them where they were to find such statements in the formularies of the Church of England. It was easy to make the assertion, but I do not think that he or any other member of the Church of England will be able to establish its truth.
Does the Church of England declare that tradition "is the thing, the only thing on which" she "professes to stand?" How does this assertion agree, for instance, with what we read in the 6th Article, on the sufficiency of Holy Scripture. It is there declared that nothing is required to be believed, as necessary to salvation but what "may be proved,"--not by tradition but--"by the Holy Scripture." Then again, in the 8th Article, when she speaks of the three Creeds--and if anything has come down to us from antiquity it is the Creeds--does she say they are to be believed and received because they have been handed down by the traditions of the Church? No, but because they can be thoroughly "proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture." When she speaks on the subject of General Councils,--and if there be any means by which the Church can express her deliberate convictions and make them binding it is through a General Council,--what does the Church of England say? "They may err and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God," so that the things they may decree, the [5/6] article goes on to say, as "necessary to salvation" cannot be made binding, "unless it may be declared that they are taken out of Holy Scripture." When the Church of England condemns the worship of images and of relics, the invocation of saints and other Romish doctrines, why does she reject them? Because they are "grounded upon no warranty of Scripture but are rather repugnant to the Word of God." When the Church of England gives us to understand that prayers are to be said in the language of the people, and condemns the opposite practice, whilst she appeals to "the custom of the Primitive Church," she first declares that the Romish practice "is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God." When, speaking of ceremonies--and it is the only case in the 39 Articles where the word tradition occurs--she says: "It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like," and "they may be changed according to the diversities of countries, times and men's manners," she adds, "so that nothing be ordained against God's Word." There is another place where our Church does mention tradition, and in reference to doctrine. It is in the first homily, which, like the rest, contains a "godly and wholesome doctrine," as every clergyman has solemnly affirmed. In that homily she bids her members to "search diligently for the well of life in the books of the Old and the New Testament, and not run to the stinking puddles of men's traditions," I ask again, then, where in the formularies of the Church of England can Mr. Mackonochie have read that she professes to stand only on Catholic Tradition? Can he have read the 39 Articles, which he has solemnly said contain the true doctrine of the Church of England, and yet tell us that she rests only upon Catholic Tradition! Why she never mentions tradition as a binding authority except to condemn the notion, and in the homily on the fruitful reading of the Scriptures, she warns us against running to the "stinking puddles of men's traditions." I ask, is union with the Greek Church desirable? It is plain that her Standards are totally distinct from ours, and any Church that holds tradition to be of co-equal and co-ordinate authority with Holy Scripture, dishonours, so it appears to me, the Word of God and practically [6/7] renders it of none effect. Tradition can always be made to mean what any party desires. That saying of Tyndall when desiring help from a wealthy draper in London to enable him to translate the Scriptures into the language of the country is worth remembering. When the good tradesman told him that with every desire to assist him as a friend, the laity ought to receive the teaching of God's Word as expounded by the doctors, Tyndall replied, and I hope Christians will always reply in the same spirit, "Here are in your shop twenty pieces of stuff of different lengths, and here is the yardstick, will you measure the yardstick by the stuff, or the stuff by the yardstick?" Tyndall added, the Word of God is the universal standard. This is the teaching of our Church, and on this cardinal point some great change must take place before there can be any real union between her and the Greek Church.
I come in the second place to speak of the Sacraments; and here too we shall discover great and irreconcilable differences between the two Churches. Christians, as regards churches and denominations are numerous, but I think to a great extent, they may be comprehended under three divisions: Sacramental or Sacerdotal, Rationalistic, and Evangelical. The members of the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches come under the first of those divisions; not that we in the Church of England underrate the value of the sacraments; we believe them to be precious moans of grace when administered and received according to the teaching of our Church. You will, however, as we proceed, see what I mean by describing the system of the Greek as well as of the Roman Churches as pre-eminently Sacramental or Sacerdotal. The Greek Church holds in common with the Church of Rome, that there are seven sacraments or mysteries. Does the Church of England agree with her? She teaches distinctly in the 25th Article that "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Orders, Penance, Matrimony and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for [7/8] Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles." These are the words of the Church of England. Let me now invite attention to the teaching of the Greek Church on the two Sacraments, held in common between us; and also on her Sacrament of Penance. The ceremonies, used in the administration of the Sacraments in the Greek Church are so numerous, the rites so complicated, that it would take us almost till midnight to go through the various ritualistic forms to be found in the Greek liturgies.
In reference to Baptism we learn that the day on which the child is born, the priest visits the house, and offers up prayers on behalf of the mother and child. On the eighth day the child is taken to church to be named by the priest; this is a distinct service of itself; but the child is not yet admitted into the Church of God. On the fortieth day the mother, who is supposed to be well enough, takes the child, accompanied by the sponsor to the Church, and then it is received into the Church. Next comes the further ceremony of making the child a catechumen, which chiefly consists in "exorcising" the devil from the child. Three prayers at least are so headed, and a fourth would probably come under the same description. The priest having done this blows upon the child's mouth, forehead, and chest. [See King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia, pp. 189 to 220.] He also tells the sponsor, after declaring that he has renounced Satan, to blow and spit upon him. Again, in connection with the administration of this sacrament, oil is mingled with the water, and the priest pours it upon the water three times in the form of a cross. The oil is applied in the figure of a cross to the child's forehead, feet, back, breast, and hands. Various prayers or sentences are said deemed eminently suitable, to characterise each act. In connection with the Coptic Church, the sign of the cross in exorcising the devil from a child is used 37 times. Then follows another ceremony called the Sacrament of the Chrism, corresponding to Confirmation in the Western Church. Here, again, the process of anointing is repeated; all the members of the body, forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, breast, hands, feet--are anointed. And as [8/9] though these were not sufficient, the child is taken to church once more after eight days, and the priest undresses it, washes it, cuts off some of the hair cross wise from its head in four places, as near the crown as possible, folds it up in a piece of wax and casts it into the font; and this confers on the child, in the Russian Church, the privilege of membership. This account gives but a slight notion of the complicated ceremonies connected with Baptism.
I must say a few words about the making of the chrism or holy ointment. You will find a long service connected with this. It takes place once a year, and the proceedings occupy a long time. Dr. King enumerates 23 ingredients of which the ointment is composed. The ceremony begins on Monday in Passion week, and terminates on the Thursday, and during the whole of that time this precious compound is boiling in a large cauldron, night and day, the deacons with long rods stirring it up. Every ingredient has to receive the episcopal blessing and be sprinkled with holy water before it finds its way into the cauldron; at the end of the fourth day, priest after priest having in succession been repeating the whole of the Gospels, from the beginning of St. Matthew to the end of St. John, as often as is necessary--they are not allowed to stop for a moment--the bishop blesses the contents by making over them the sign of the cross; and they are then placed in sacred vessels and conveyed to the several towns in the patriarchate. I think that this brief statement will indicate at least something of what I meant when I represented the system of the Greek Church as a sacramental or sacerdotal one. The extent to which a belief in the efficacy of external ordinances is held in the Greek Church, or at least in some of its branches, is really extraordinary. Dean Stanley, in his book on The Eastern Church, quotes a writer who gives a summary of the moral code of the Abyssinian branch of the Greek Church, and I find it there recorded that it is the opinion of every member of that Church that every sin is pardoned the moment the kiss of the pilgrim is imprinted on the stones of Jerusalem, and that the body is purified by [9/10] kissing the hand of the priest. Perceiving as we do at St. Alban's, Holborn, and in other places the great extent to which they would carry such ritualistic practices, we cannot be surprised that they should desire union with the Greek Church.
The Lord's Supper.
In the teaching of the Greek Church on the Lord's Supper and on the so-called Sacrament of Penance, we see her sacramental system strongly developed. Dean Stanley has given a summary of the doctrines of the Greek Church drawn to present them in a guise as little forbidding as possible to the minds of his Protestant readers. It is clear, however, from the Dean's statement that in a modified form at least the Greek Church holds, Prayers for the dead, Purgatory, Mariolatry, Invocation of Saints, and Transubstantiation. "Prayers for the dead," he says, "exist, but no elaborate hierarchical system has been built upon their performance;" he states that "A general expectation prevails that by some unknown process the souls of the sinful will be purified before they pass into the Divine presence; but this has never been consolidated into a doctrine of purgatory." With regard to Mariolatry, we are told that "The Mother of our Lord is regarded with a veneration which, in elevation of sentiment, equals any of the devotions addressed to her in the West; but it is too abstract and indefinite to allot to her in the scheme of salvation or the protection of the Church, the powerful place which is so precisely ascribed to her by Latin divines." Then the Dean goes on to say that the reverence for the sanctity of the Virgin "has never crystallized into the modern dogma of the Immaculate Conception." As to the Invocation of Saints he writes; "the boundary between the rhetorical, poetical addresses to the saints in the Eastern worship and the actual invocation of their aid, has never been laid down with precision." "Transubstantiation, if used at all as a theological term, is merely one amongst many to express the reverential awe with which the Eucharist is approached." Such is a summary, given by Dean Stanley, of the doctrinal teaching of the Greek Church. [The Eastern Church, p. 12.] Wherein does it [10/11] differ from the teaching of the Church of Rome? It would be extremely difficult to show any substantial difference except upon one point. The Dean says that the term, "Transubstantiation, if used at all, is only one of many to express the reverential awe with which the Holy Eucharist is to be approached." We shall find however that in the most precise, definite, and distinct terms, the doctrine of Transubstantiation is affirmed in the Greek Church. Dr. King, writing of the Russian Church,--and I quote him, for I am not aware that any one denies that he is a reliable authority,--says that, in the oath every bishop now takes at his consecration he absolutely swears that "he believes and understands that the transubstantiation of the body and blood of Christ in the holy supper, as taught by the Eastern and ancient Russian doctors, is effected by the influence and operation of the Holy Ghost, when the bishop or priest invokes God the Father in these words, 'And make this bread the precious body of thy Christ.' "* Can anything be more precise? But let us take the statement from the Greek confession of 1643. "the bread verily is changed into that body itself of the Lord which was born in Bethlehem, of her who is ever Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, has ascended, sitteth on the right hand of the Father, will finally come in the clouds of heaven; but the wine is changed and transubstantiated into the true blood itself of the Lord, which flowed from him when hanging upon the cross for the life of the world." Can anything be more definite, more precise? There is nothing stronger in any document or book to be found in the Church of Rome. Is the doctrine of transubstantiation the doctrine of the Church of England? (A voice: Yes.) Somebody says yes. (No, no.) Surely our 28th Article declares otherwise. It says that it "cannot be proved by Holy Writ but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions." According to the teaching of the Church of England the Greek Church has got no sacrament of the Lord's Supper, for in the article just quoted she says that "Transubstantiation overthroweth the nature of a sacrament [11/12] and hath given occasion to many superstitions." It is clear that on this point there is a vast difference between the teaching of the Greek and the English Churches. Both. Mr. Cobb, in his Kiss of Peace, and Dr. Pusey,--when he tolls us the Church of England denies transubstantiation in one sense and the Church of Rome affirms it in another, and that the difference between them is but verbal,--may labour till Doomsday, but they can no more establish their position than they can show that darkness and light are the same thing, that truth and error are closely allied to each other, that the North and the South Poles are in close proximity. Let them prove these things, and then, but not before, they will succeed in persuading men of common sense, men who know anything of the Book of Common Prayer, that the Church of England and the Churches of the East and of Rome are practically at one in their teaching on the Lord's Supper.
The Consecrated Elements a Sacrifice for Sin.
The Greek Church teaches that after the consecration prayer, the sacred elements are offered up as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. "Also," I quote from the Confessions of the Synod of Jerusalem, "that it is a true and propitiatory sacrifice which is offered for all the faithful, both for the living and the dead." I ask again, does the Church of England teach that in the Lord's Supper the priest offers up the consecrated elements as a sacrifice for the sins of the living and dead? At the meeting held in favour of union between the two Churches last Monday week one of the speakers remarked that on the subject of sacrifice, "the Church of England had spoken but timidly." Why, so far from that, there is no point upon which she has spoken more boldly and openly. What he meant was that it was a point on which she had spoken timidly, as recommending it. That is perfectly true, but she has spoken boldly and strongly in condemning it. It is idle to talk about the English Church holding the doctrine in any sense! See what the late Archdeacon Wilberforce says. He tells us that by the changes made in the Prayer Book of 1552, "The service was divested of its sacrificial character, and [12/13] no longer bore witness, as in early times, to the great event which is transacted at the altar." [The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, 2nd edition, p. 379.] Again, what is still more upon this point, I hold in my hand, The Future Communion Service of the Church of England, published by Joseph Masters, the well-known ritualistic publisher. I find in that book a short preface, and in that preface it is declared that all ancient liturgies agree about four things: 1--the mixing of wine and water in the holy chalice; 2--the offering up of the consecrated elements to God the Father; 3--the invocation for the descent and presence of the Holy Spirit to make such elements the body and blood of Christ; and 4--prayer for all saints departed as well as living. Has the liturgy of the Church of England got them? This preface shall tell you. "Two years afterwards," speaking of the revision of the Prayer Book, "the Protector Somerset and Archbishop Cranmer, influenced by Calvin and other foreign innovators, superseded this apostolic service by one in the present or second Prayer Book of Edward VI. in which these four usages with the doctrines embodied in them are discarded, and the Church of England thereby and so far cut off and discommuned from every branch, East and West, of the Church Catholic." Here is an acknowledgment on the part of ritualists themselves, that the four things essential to constitute a proper service,--a liturgy for offering up the holy sacrifice,--are wanting in the liturgy of the Church of England. Now one would think that this must be enough to damp the ardour of any ritualistic clergyman--obliged to use a service which wants every element and every feature to make it what it ought to be! This is the service they are compelled to conduct, though now and then they introduce other things which are not legal, acting rather when they do so, we must add, in the spirit of the Greek and Roman Churches and not as faithfully representing the Church to which they belong. Again, I would ask, has the Church of England spoken timidly upon this point?
So far I have only referred to what I may call her silence as against the sacrificial system; let us see whether she [13/14] absolutely says anything against it. In the homily of our Church on the Lord's Supper, which contains a "godly and wholesome doctrine," and I may add as necessary for these times as when it was written--in that homily, we are told: "For this is to stick fast to Christ's promise made in His institution, to make Christ thine own, to apply His merits unto thyself. Herein thou needest no other man's help, no other sacrifice or oblation, no sacrificing priest, no mass, no means established by man's inventions." And again we read, "We must take heed lest of the memory it be made a sacrifice; lest of a communion it be made a private eating." "Take heed;" if the Church said so in those days, certainly we ought to "take heed" in our days! Is it true that she has spoken timidly? No: she has spoken boldly; there is no point on which she has spoken more clearly and decisively. The great work of the Reformation was to get rid of the Popish mass, the great effort of modern ritualists and innovators is to restore it. Our Church, I again say, has spoken not timidly but most strongly on this very point.
Reception by the Wicked.
I find, again, the Greek Church teaches that the wicked receive the body of Christ in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper: "Also the body itself and the most pure blood is distributed and is introduced into the mouth and stomach of the communicants whether holy or unholy, save only that remission of sins and life are imparted to the holy and worthy, but damnation and eternal punishment accrue to the unholy and unworthy." These are the words of a Synod held at Jerusalem in 1672.
Does the Church of England teach that doctrine? In the 29th Article she says that the wicked when they receive the sacrament are in "no wise partakers of Christ." She tells us that they "carnally and visibly press with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing." Can language be more definite? It was the saying of the great Irish agitator that there was no Act of Parliament through which you could not drive a coach and six. But it certainly would be a clever performance on the part of any [14/15] member of the Church of England if he succeeded in putting-aside those plain statements. Yet there is a venerable Archdeacon who explains them in the following way: "In nowise," he says, are the wicked "partakers of Christ," but they are "receivers." Does the Church herself make that distinction between receiving and partaking? The Archdeacon admits that the Church uses the word as having the same import, but affirms that in the Article this distinction is intended. It must be so if Archdeacon Denison's theory is for one moment to be defended; but the distinction rests upon his own arbitrary construction. I ask, are the two Churches agreed or opposed in regard to the wicked receiving the body and the blood of Christ. This point has been beautifully and strikingly handled by one of the most eminent Divines of our Church, a man acknowledged to be of high authority, I mean the immortal Bishop Jewell. He was not only the chief reviser of our Articles in 1571, but he wrote the Apology, which was sanctioned by Convocation in the following year. In his work on the Sacrament he asks: What is the difference between the sacrament of the Lord's body, and the body of Christ? And then he answers, "A sacrament is a figure or token: the body of Christ is figured or tokened. The sacrament bread is bread, it is not the body of Christ. The body of Christ is flesh, it is no bread. The bread is beneath, the body is above. The bread is on the table, the body is in heaven. The bread is in the mouth, the body is in the heart.....The sacrament is eaten as well of the wicked as of the faithful, the body is only eaten of the faithful. The sacrament may be eaten unto judgment, the body cannot be eaten but unto salvation. Without the sacrament we may be saved, but without the body of Christ we have no salvation." [Jewel, 2nd Portion, p. 1121, Parker Society] Or to use the words of the great Hooker, "The real presence of Christ's most blessed body and blood is not therefore to be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament." [Book V. ch. lxvii. 6.]
 The Table an Altar, the Minister a Sacrificing Priest.
The Greek Church teaches that the sacrifice must be offered up on an altar, and by a sacrificing priest: "No man can minister this mystery, however urgent may be the necessity, unless lawfully created a priest, whence the priest must take care that wherever the service is offered there be an altar, or at the least a consecrated table-cloth or carpet, available, without which it is most improper to offer the unbloody sacrifice." Does the Church of England hold that we have got an altar and a sacrificing priest? If there be no sacrifice, and we have seen there is not, then an altar would be of no avail, a sacrificing priest would be useless and worthless, because he would have no work to do. Further, I hold that there is nothing which more clearly indicates the teaching of the Church of England, than the history of the use of that word "altar" in connexion with the Reformation. It is found in the first Prayer Book of King Edward VI., 1549. In the following year Bishop Ridley tells us why Altars were to be removed, viz. to "move and turn the simple from the old superstitious opinions of the Popish Mass, and to the right use of the Lord's Supper." In 1551, a royal injunction was issued to "pluck down the altars" and to have tables put in their places, and because Bishop Day refused to obey that injunction he was sent to the Fleet. I name this in order to show that the Reformers deemed it a matter of importance that we should have no altar, but simply a communion table. In 1552 the Prayer Book was revised, and wherever the word "altar" occurred it was expunged, and the word "table" substituted in its place. In the Communion Service we have the words "table," "Lord's table," or "holy table," to the number of eleven times, but the word altar never occurs once, from the beginning of the Prayer Book to the end. The further history of the use of the word altar is interesting and most instructive. Queen Mary succeeded to the throne, she had the tables swept away from the churches, and stone altars erected in their stead; it was with reference to this proceeding that Cranmer's chaplain, [16/17] Thomas Becon, wrote: "Heretofore we were taught to beat down the idolatrous and heathenish altars which Antichrist of Rome, intending to set up a now priesthood and a strange sacrifice for sin, commanded to be built up." Queen Mary soon passed away, though not before persecution had done a fearful work. We know that an Archbishop, four Bishops, over twenty clergymen, some 220 or 230 laymen went to the stake in the course of five and a half years rather than acknowledge that the communion table was an altar, and that in the Lord's Supper the real body and blood of our Saviour were offered up for the sins of the living and the dead. What took place on the accession of Queen Elizabeth? the Reformers implored Her Majesty that in memory of her brother, and of the holy men who died at the stake during her sister's reign, she would have the altars removed and the communion tables restored. The Queen complied with this request, and the altars were once more swept away. Very shortly afterward there came out Queen Elizabeth's Advertisements, which required that in every church the churchwardens should provide a table, to be set upon a "frame." Why, we ask, a table upon a "frame?" Why? but to meet the provisions of the fourth rubric, which requires that the table "shall stand in the body of the church or in the chancel," as convenience may suggest the object of these directions was to have a table which should be a moveable article, and that one rubric alone deals a fatal blow against that mass of superstition which has of late years gathered round our chancels. It shows that our Church declines to recognise the notion of any special sacredness attaching to the chancel, as contrasted with other parts of the church. Moreover in 1571, a Synod was held--a Synod to which Ritualists often refer; one of the Canons of which required that the communion table in all our churches shall be of "joiner's work." Why of "joiner's work V Because an altar is of "mason's work." Harding, in his controversy with Jewell, charged the Reformers with having thrown down the altars of God. Jewell replied that there could be no more heresy in tearing down superstitious walls, than in burning communion tables, in the use [17/18] of which they had Christ himself as an undoubted example, as well as ancient Catholic Fathers. Again, when Archbishop Laud introduced, for the first time after the Reformation, an altar into the cathedral at Gloucester, the Bishop protested, and said he would never enter the place again till it had been removed, and the communion table restored. May I just caution our friends never to call the Lord's table an altar. We have got a table, and a table is for a feast; but we have got no altar because we have not got a sacrifice. What has much surprised me is, that gentlemen generally so designate the Lord's table when speaking of the subject of marriage. They talk about leading the bride to the altar. In my judgment this is far from complimentary. Why an altar is for sacrifice. But seriously 1 do strongly urge on all grounds, and especially in the interest of Protestant truth, that you should never misrepresent the Church of England by misnaming the Lord's table. It is the Lord's table, or the Communion table, but an altar it is not.
With regard to the minister being a sacrificing priest, one word and I pass on. If we have got no sacrifice and no altar, I think I may assume that a sacrificing priest would be altogether out of place within the pale of the Church of England. I know that I shall be told we have got the word "priest" in the Prayer Book, but I am also aware that Dr. Hook--and he is not a Low Churchman--tells us the word is simply an abbreviated form of presbyter. Archbishop Whitgift, in reply to Dr. Cartwright, the Puritan, said: "The name of priest need not be so odious unto you as you would seem to make it; I suppose it cometh of this word presbyter, and not sacerdos;" and this is the explanation also of Archbishop Whately in his Bampton Lectures. Indeed, I am not aware that there can be any difference of opinion on the subject. People speak very often in such a way as to make it appear that the word priest as used by the English Church means the same thing with the word priest used in reference to the ministers of the Church of Rome--saying, for example, the priest offers sacrifice, the priest celebrates marriage, the priest does this or that, but such [18/19] use of the word docs not affect the word itself. It is an abbreviated form of presbyter, nothing else. I was asked once whether I meant to say that we have not got the word sacerdos in the Latin of the 31st Article. I replied, "Certainly; but the priest of the Church of Rome is spoken of, not the minister of the Church of England." And that very article it is which condemns the sacrifices of masses, and denounces them as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."
Confession and Absolution.
We inquire what is the teaching of the two Churches about the sacrament of penance? The doctrine of the Greek Church is precisely the same as that of the Church of Rome. Some persons tell us she does not enforce it so rigidly; but still I repeat, the teaching" is itself the same. You have only to read the form of confession given by Dean Waddington in his History of the Greek Church, where he quotes from the ritual of the Greek Church, and you will see that it is demanded by the priest addressing the penitent that he shall not conceal anything, and that if he does, he will incur a double sin instead of receiving a healing medicine, the Greek Church also provides a, form of absolution: "I, an unworthy priest, by the power committed unto me, do pardon and absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." I am told the Church of England holds the same doctrine with regard to Auricular Confession, and has a similar form of Absolution. Mr. Chairman, the confessional makes a priest more than man, and the penitent less than man. It exalts the priest almost to the very throne of God, and it renders the penitent a culprit or criminal at his bar. We are told by Dr. King that the Greek Church is after all not so bad as the Roman in this respect, because the confession is supposed to be made to God himself, or to his angel, who is present. The priest says: "Behold, the angel of the Lord standeth by to receive thy confession from thy mouth." Dean Waddington, and no one [19/20] will accuse him of misrepresenting the Greek Church, says this only makes the matter worse than in the Roman Church, because the torture by which it extorts the secrets of the culprit's heart is the more perfect: the supposed presence of the angel only makes the affair more terrible. But then we are told the Church of England holds this doctrine. I ask where? Perhaps some will say in the Visitation of the Sick. That is in any case exceptional. There is not a word about systematic private confession, nor is the confession in any way demanded. Whatever it be, and time will not permit us to examine it fully, it is for the sick man and the dying man, whoso conscience is troubled with some weighty matter. Supposing I were to go to Dr. Pusey to make confession, and ask him as a minister of the Church of England, in what form he would give mo his absolution, which of our formularies would he adopt? The form prescribed in the service for the visitation of the sick? No, for thank God, I am not a sick man. Two other forms remain, but one of these, that in the daily service is declaratory, and the other, that in the Communion service, is precatory. Some may refer me to the exhortation, which speaks of "the benefit of absolution." There is not a word about auricular confession there. Let any one compare those words with the passage in the first Prayer Book of King Edward, and he will see that our reformers intended to abolish auricular confession. In the one case it is: "let him come to me or some other discreet and learned minister of Word's Word;" and in the other, the first of King Edward, "let him come to me or to some other discreet and learned priest taught in the law of God, and confess and open his sin and grief secretly." Now it is: "and open his grief." In the former it is: "that he may receive comfort and absolution" from "the ministers of God and the Church." Now it is: "that he may receive the benefit of absolution," through "the ministry of God's holy word." In the former case, the first of Edward, those who adopted auricular confession were not to complain of those who did not use it, and who were "satisfied with their humble confession to God, and the general confession to the Church." Where are these words now? Why, they are gone. [20/21] When they were in use there was a short rubric in the Service for the Visitation of the Sick, which stated that "the same form of absolution shall be used in all private confessions;" when, however, the words which authorised the penitent to use "the auricular and secret confession to the priest," were expunged from the exhortation, then the direction to use this form of absolution, after private confession, was also expunged. Here we see perfect consistency; as long as auricular confession was sanctioned a form of absolution was provided; but when she ceased to exhort men to practise auricular confession, she no longer provided a form of absolution for such occasions. Further, we have got a homily upon the subject, which all the clergy--at any rate those who are beneficed--have declared to contain a "godly and wholesome doctrine." I will give you an extract:
"It is most evident and plain that this auricular confession hath not his warrant of God, else it had not been lawful for Nectarius, Bishop of Constantinople, upon a just occasion to have put it down. For when anything ordained of God is by the lewdness of man abused, the abuse ought to be taken away, and the thing itself suffered to remain. Moreover, these are Augustine's words: 'What have I to do with men that they should hear my confession as though they were able to heal my diseases?' A curious sort of men to know another man's life, and slothful to correct and amend their own. Why do they seek to hear of me what I am, who will not hear of thee what they are? And how can they tell when they hear of myself whether I tell the truth or not; since no mortal man knoweth what is in man, but the spirit of man which is in him?' Augustine would not have written thus if auricular confession had been used in his time. Being, therefore, not led with the conscience thereof, let us with fear and trembling, and with a true contrite heart use that kind of confession God doth command in his word; and then doubtless as He is faithful and righteous He will forgive us our sins and make us clean from all wickedness." It then proceeds: "It is against the true Christian liberty that any man should be bound to the numbering of his sins, as it has been used heretofore in the time of blindness and ignorance." [Homily on Repentance.]
I might refer to several other matters to show that the Church of England has discountenanced this doctrine. In 1562 Archbishop Parker approved of a paper which was intended to be brought before Convocation, in which it was [21/22] recommended that confidential intercourse should take place between minister and people, but it is probable that Archbishop Parker dreaded the possibility of the occasion being used for auricular confession, and, therefore, the paper was not introduced, still it clearly serves to show what were the views of the reformers. Among other matters it lays down that every person old enough to communicate should be required to offer himself to his parson, vicar, or curate for examination; but it concludes with these remarkable words--"what priest or minister soever, under colour hereof shall practice auricular confession, shall be deprived of all his livings, and deposed from the ministry." [Cardwell's Synodalia, p. 512.] Again, Bishop Pilkington wrote an answer to charges brought against the Bishops and preachers of the Church of England, by a Romanist; one of those charges being, That they had done away with auricular confession. Strange charge this to bring against them by the Church of Rome, if they had not done away with it! Bishop Pilkington pleaded guilty to the charge that they had abolished it, but in doing so alleged they had only followed the example of Nectarius, and of other holy men before them. [Bishop Pilkington's Works, p. 551. Parker Society.] Bullinger, replying to Bp. Home, of Winchester, wrote: "Your common adversaries are only aiming, at this, that on your removal they may put Papists in your places, or Lutheran doctors and presidents who are not very much unlike them. Should this come to pass, not only will all ecclesiastical order be disturbed, and the number of most absurd ceremonies increased, but even images (which we know are defended by the Lutherans) will be restored; the artolatry in the Lord's Supper will be reintroduced; private absolution and after this auricular confession will creep in by degrees." [Zurich Letters. Appendix, p. 342. Parker Society.] Seeing moreover we have had no such practice for 800 years, is it not abundantly clear that the Reformers intended and succeeded in abolishing that abominable system of auricular confession, which I repeat again makes the priest more than man, and the penitent less than man.
 Use of Pictures in the Greek Church.
The Greek Church also sanctions what we believe to be the worship of pictures; she, of course, denies that this is the intention of their use. The extent, however, to which she goes in this direction may be gathered from what Dean Stanley says in his Eastern Church: "No veneration of relics or images in the West can convey any adequate notion of the veneration for pictures in Russia. It is the main support and stay of their religious faith and practice;" and he quotes an eminent writer who says of a whole army that "there is not a single man but carries in his knapsack a gaudy picture within a simple cover, with which he never parts, and wherever he halts he sets it up on a piece of wood and worships it." [The Eastern Church, by Dean Stanley, pp. 362-3.] It makes not the slightest difference whether the picture be exquisitely painted or an unsightly daub. Platon, a former metropolitan of Moscow, states that his Church intends to do no more than to stir up the mind of the spectator to the imitation of the virtues of those represented by the picture. He does not, however, deny but that this reverencing of pictures may be turned into "the most abominable sin of idolatry." We are of opinion that this is too often the result. That the theory of the learned and the practice of the ignorant are widely different, is strikingly expressed by Dr. King:--"the images and saints of the learned are the gods of the vulgar, who cannot salve their idolatry with refinement and distinction, but adore with their heart what they behold with their eyes." Let us consider the difference between the Greek Church and our own in this matter. We have a homily against idolatry, which deals with both pictures and images: "It is impossible that images of God, Christ, or His saints can be suffered (especially in temples or churches) any while or space without worshipping of them; and that idolatry which is most abominable before God, cannot possibly be escaped and avoided without the abolishing and destruction of images and pictures in temples and churches, for that idolatry is to images an inseparable accident, so that images in Churches and idolatry go [23/24] always both together, and that, therefore, the one cannot be avoided except the other." Our Church further declares that the whole of Christendom for seven or eight hundred years before the Reformation was sunk in idolatry, including the East as well as the West, the clergy and laity. Again, the Greek Church sanctions the invocation of saints: and the Prayers addressed to the Virgin Mary are quite as strong as those employed in the Church of Rome. I will cite one prayer from the Office of the Holy Oil: "Give car unto the prayers of thy servants, O thou most pure; assuage the evils which befal us, and deliver us from all affliction; for thou only art our firm and sure refuge, and thy protection will we seek; let not us be ashamed who call upon thee, but grant the prayers of those who faithfully invoke thee. Hail, O Sovereign Lady, who art the help, the joy, the protection of all, and the salvation of our souls." [King's Greek Church, p. 333.] The present Bishop of Winchester, in his charge in 1866, declared that union with the Church of Rome was impossible, partly on the ground that she sanctioned Mariolatry, and Dr. Newman, in a letter to Dr. Pusey, has undertaken to prove that the Greek Church is more vulnerable on this point than the Church of Rome. Now if this be so, my case is strengthened.
We find that some of the Greek saints are commemorated for the most extraordinary reasons. At page 806 of Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church he speaks of one branch as having in its calendar five or six saints for every day in the year. One, an emperor of Ethiopia, was honoured because he never died; Eusebius was exalted to the position of a saint because an angel took him to heaven, where he remained seven years; Aaron, we are told, obtained the honour because in time of sickness he caused roasted figs to fly into his mouth; John, because he extracted a serpent from the womb of a princess; and, strange to say, Pilate figures among the saints; the reason assigned is simply this, that in attesting his conviction that Jesus was a just man, he took water and washed his hands. One is almost disposed to say that if Pilate is found amongst the saints, who ought to be excluded.
 Superstitious Practices.
In addition to what has already been said, I will name two things, the Benediction of the Waters and the Miracle of the Greek Fire. The whole Church, from the Emperor downwards, bishops, priests, and laity, take part, at least all by their presence on the occasion, in sanctifying the waters on the 6th of January. Having been sanctified, and sprinkled on the soldiers and those gathered round the Jordan, as it is called, the people take the water to their homes as "a remedy not only for spiritual but for natural infirmities." They have a curious practice, that night, says Dr. King, of crossing their window shutters and doors lest the evil spirits that have been chased by the benediction of the waters should enter their houses.
Another miracle peculiar to the Greek Church--is that of the holy fire--which is practised every year in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This takes place in Easter week, and Dean Stanley, in his Sinai and Palestine, declares that the proceedings, previous to the manifestation, can only be compared to the noisy scone of a nomination at Guildhall. He says that, "considering the time and place, and the professed intention of the miracle, it is the most offensive delusion to be found in the whole world." Dean Waddington, who witnessed the scene, describes it as probably the grossest imposture practised by the impudence of any priesthood on the credulity of any people. Thousands, he states, are gathered within the Church, and during the awful interval before the coming of the fire from heaven the multitudes are engaged in leaping on each other's shoulders, building themselves into pyramids, hanging by their heels naked or half naked; amid shoutings and yellings which baffle description. At last the bishop or priest appears upon the scene and enters the small chapel. Soon afterwards a glimmering is observed in the orifices of the holy chapel, and the shout announcing this event is the prelude to an exhibition of madness surpassing all that had preceded. In but a very few seconds the place is ablaze with light communicated from the chapel to every [25/26] spectator who carries a candle, and this light they believe has in the first instance miraculously descended from heaven; and so strong is the conviction, of the people in the genuineness of the miracle that they boldly declare the fire will not burn them, and should it do so, maintain the innocence of the holy flame by saying that God has permitted it to hurt them because they have failed to confess some sin. This, Mr. Chairman, is one of the practices of a church with which we are told union is desirable; a church we have seen to be corrupt in its doctrine, superstitious in its usages, and which docs not hesitate to stoop to the practice of gross impostures and lying wonders.
Moral Condition of the Greek Church. It remains for us to ask what is the moral condition of the members of the Eastern communities, communities I say, for of the Greek Church there are fourteen divisions at least? According to Mr. Arthur Arnold, in an able article in the Quarterly of 1868, these sections of the Greek Church are distinguished for their intense hatred and detestation of each other; in that one thing, at any rate, they seem to be agreed. And what does this writer say of the moral condition of their members? "The married Greek," he says, "is generally a kind and even an easy-going husband, and always an affectionate and over-indulgent father." "The young and unmarried Greek is seldom, if ever, what we should call well-conducted; he is not immoral because in truth he has no morals whatsoever, and when the time for marriage conies he quits a career of profligacy as easily and with as little effort or feeling of shock as when first he entered on it. He has no remorse for the ill-spent past and no self-laudation for the well-spent present in these matters. He has no subjective conscience, and often, thanks to his clergy, very little objective." Speaking of the priests in the Greek Church, Mr. Arnold divides them into the married and the unmarried. "Of the unmarried clergy or monks, from whose ranks the higher ecclesiastical dignitaries are as a rule selected, 'least said is soonest mended.' In no respect can one say any good [26/27] of them. The non-celibatary or parish priests, though generally boorish and ignorant to the last degree, are on the whole hard working and honest men; a better sort of peasants." He then sums up the moral creed of the Greek Church in these words; "In its moral aspect the Greek religion is a great enfranchisement from all restraint, united with an intense, a more than Byzantine hatred of Latinism and Latins, summing up all in one great commandment, 'Thou shalt deceive thy fellow and hate everyone else.'"
Perhaps the friends of the Greek Church will say that this is the testimony of one of whoso views they do not approve, who is himself untrustworthy. What says Dean Stanley? In his book on the Eastern Church, at page 13, speaking of the Ethiopian Church, he writes, "the fatal division between religion and morality which disfigures to so large an extent the rest of Oriental Christianity, is seen in its most striking form in the usages of Abyssinia." What! "fatal division between religion and morality;" I was not aware there could be such a thing. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." What says Dr. Hook in his Dictionary. He contrasts the condition of the clergy of the Greek Church in olden times with that of the clergy of the same church at the present day, and he says that" now nothing but wretchedness, ignorance, and poverty are visible amongst them." He further states that from the highest dignitary to the lowest their existence is almost entirely kept up by simony. "The patriarch of Constantinople assumes the honourable title of Universal Patriarch, and as he purchases his commission of the Grand Seignior, it may be easily supposed that he makes a tyrannical and simoniacal use of a privilege which he himself holds by simony." "The secular priests not having any settled and competent livings are obliged to subsist by simoniacol practices;" and he quotes Ricaut, an eminent authority, to shew that no one can procure absolution for his sins, be admitted to confession, have his children baptized, get married, obtain an excommunication against his adversary, or receive [27/28] holy communion in sickness, without paying down a valuable consideration. The priests, he adds, too often make "the best markets they can, and fix a price on their spiritual commodities in proportion to the devotion or abilities of their respective customers." Such is the testimony of Dr. Hook, can anything be stronger?
We have heard the opinion and testimony of Arthur Arnold, Dean Stanley, and the Dean of Chichester; I will now give you the statement of an Evangelical. Mr. Marsden, in his book on The Christian Churches, speaking of the Russian Church, which be it remembered comprises four-fifths of the whole Greek Church, says: "The priests of inferior order--the village curates--are universally despised even by the poor. Their ignorance is extreme, and their servility and avarice proverbial. It is not uncommon to see a priest who has been publicly whipped like a miserable vagabond perform his religious services a few hours after before the parish which witnessed his disgrace." Is a Church which tolerates such a state of things one with which we arc to seek union? Are we to ignore the five million intelligent, and excellent nonconformists of our own country, as the promoters of this union movement would have us do, in order to seek union with the corrupt Greek Church? I will merely add the testimony of Dean Waddington, because his words bear upon this very point, the possibility of union. He writes:--"When I speak of the regeneration of this Church I never imagine the possibility of its conversion or of its union with the Church of England or any other reformed Church. I only supposed such an improvement in its doctrine and practice, and especially in its practice, as will remove its grossest scandals and most hurtful abuses, and make it respectable not only in the eyes of Protestants, but also in the opinion of the most enlightened of its own members." Can anything be stronger? I for one cannot understand how any intelligent member of the Church of England can talk of union with the Greek Church in its present condition being desirable, or even possible. True there are those among us who look upon our Reformation as "a limb badly set, requiring to be [28/29] broken again before it can be righted," who tell us that our communion service is a "judgment of God on the Church," that the Roman Missal is a "precious monument of antiquity," that "the thirty-nine articles are the forty stripes, save one,"--such iiion indeed may desire union with the Greek Church, and why? Because they are heart and soul in communion with her already their sympathies are with her and not with the Church of England.
In the Church Times of Friday week, it is stated of the High Church party, that is, the Ritualistic portion, that they love the Thirty-nine Articles less and less. I am sure it is so. They find them, in very truth, as they irreverently say, the "forty stripes save one." In the Church Times we are told of certain things that want righting, as there were some things in which we went wrong at the Reformation, and that by redressing these evils we may pave the way for union with the rest of Christendom. This union is to be wrought by concessions on our part, and not by a reformation of the Greek or Roman Churches. The changes arc to be on our side; we are to embrace their doctrines, it is not they who are to embrace ours. But who has the right to declare that the English Church should be united to the Greek Church? Who authorised those gentlemen who met together last week to publish the banns of marriage between the two Churches? [Allusion is here made to a public meeting which had been held to promote the reunion of Christendom, first with the Church of Rome, and afterwards, through her, with the Greek Church. To our separation from these Churches many of our social evils were ascribed. It is astonishing that Ritualists should invite a comparison between our own and Roman Catholic nations. Mr. Hobart Seymour has given the average number of committals for murder, for every million of the population, extending over a period of ten years, in almost every nation of Europe: they range from 18 in Belgium to 174 in Naples; whilst in Protestant England the average during the same period was 4 for every million. In other things the comparison is far from complimentary to Roman Catholic nations. Lord Macaulay tells, us that "throughout Christendom, whatever advance has been made in knowledge, in freedom, in wealth, and in the arts of life, has been made in spite of her (Church of Rome), and has everywhere been in inverse proportion to her power. The loveliest provinces in Europe have under her rule been sunk in poverty, in political servitude, and in intellectual torpor; while Protestant countries once proverbial for sterility and barbarism, have been turned, by skill and industry, into gardens, and can boast of a long list of heroes, statesmen, philosophers and poets."--(History of England.)] When I noticed their statements, I was reminded [29/30] of a gentleman who deeply lamented his narrow escape from being married. "I was within one word," he said, "of matrimony." "What was the one word?" "Well," he said, "I proposed to a lady and she said 'no' instead of 'yes.'" It is my firm conviction, that 99 of every 100 members of our Church will forbid the banns put up, for they are not prepared for union with the Greek Church. When she shall have reformed herself, and discarded her errors and corruptions, we may then desire a union; in the meanwhile be it our earnest prayer that both she and the Roman Church may be cleansed and purified, and brought to "hold the truth in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." In leaving this subject I would say let us lay it upon ourselves as a solemn duty to resist those who are seeking to undermine the bulwarks of our beloved Church. Let us take care to be up and doing', manfully maintaining the great and glorious principles of the English Reformation. Our martyred Reformers have bequeathed to us the most glorious heritage a nation ever received--a free and open Bible, the right of private judgment, the supremacy of the Crown, and a Liturgy unrivalled for its beauty, simplicity, and evangelical purity. Let us love the truth, maintain and propagate the truth as we find it in the pages of God's Holy Word, and embodied in the formularies of our Church. We possess great privileges; let us hold them fast, value them, and prize the-is for ourselves, and take heed that we hand them down unfettered and uncontaminated to generations yet unborn. [At page 24 it is stated that Bishop Wilberforce had declared the "Mariolatry of the Church of Rome to be a bar to our union with that Church. In his Lordship's charge of 1860 he represents "Her (Church of Rome) cultus of the Blessed Virgin" as "long bordering on the highest act of Impiety against the only God, that of transferred worship." Dr. Newman in his letter to Dr. Pusey, on his Eirenicon, declares that the Eastern Churches even surpass Romanists "in their exaltation of the Blessed Virgin." What he asks, "Have the Latins done so bold as that substitution of the name of Mary for the name of Jesus at the end of the collects and petitions in the Breviary; nay, in the Ritual and Liturgy," pp. 95, 96. It seems difficult to understand how Bishop Wilberforce can regard the Mariolatry of the Church of Rome as a serious obstacle to union, and yet favour union with the Greek Church, seeing that "Her cultus of the Blessed Virgin" not less than that of the Church of Rome, "borders on the highest act of Impiety against the only God, that of transferred worship." In 1865, the year before he delivered his charge, his Lordship presided at a meeting held in London, for the purpose of uniting the Church of England with the Greek Church. At this meeting a motion was made "That works should be published in England, setting forth the history of the English Church, with a view of proving that it is not a Protestant but a Catholic Church, and accordingly related to the Eastern Church." It is further stated that Bishop Wilberforce and the then Bishop of Edinburgh proposed at once to celebrate the Lord's Supper by intercommunion if such were the wish of the Chiefs of the Eastern Church.--Times, December 28, 1865.