Project Canterbury

Admitting All Impossibilities, Nevertheless Unity Is Possible

By His Grace, the Most Reverend Platon, Archbishop of North America and the Aleutian Islands.

From The Constructive Quarterly: A Journal of the Faith, Work and Thought of Christendom, September, 1913, pages 425-444

Mindful of my promise to write an article on some special subject for the next number of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY, I opened the March number this morning, the first number, wrought with so much labour, and so impatiently expected. I opened it in order to become acquainted with the review as fully and thoroughly as possible, so that I might be able to choose for myself a theme in harmony with the spirit and character of the magazine, analogous to the themes already elaborated in it.

I must state that I have so much work of my own, to which it is my duty to attend, that I have no time for subjects even of kindred character, yet in spite of this, I spent an entire day reading THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY.

[426] I also read the printed notice of the review. I must say that these notices gladdened me; this could not fail to be the result of such notices, such as Mr. Roosevelt’s. Yet, in my opinion, a work so great in conception and so good in realization needs, speaking strictly, no notices of this kind, as it stands without question above unproven praises, which say but little to a serious-minded, well-informed reader, and, to a commonplace reader, say what he does not need to know.

Viewing the great cause of Unity, as it should be viewed, in its completeness and full grandeur, I declare my firm conviction that this cause and its adequate realization are matters of such magnitude that they cannot fail to arouse discussion among all those who set a high value on the truth, in life, in religion, in Christianity; and that this cause will lead them to speak the language not of conventional politeness, but of conviction and admonition, calling Christians to listen to the appeal of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY for Christian union and Christian fellowship, compelling Christians to realize that they must exchange ideas and views, in order to understand each other, and so to form one heart and one mouth for the confession of the Faith of Christ.

The truth of life is more precious than life itself, and the purpose of THE CONSTRUCTIVE, which is that the very truth of life, imperatively demands that the scheme of the great work planned and undertaken should be discussed first by the readers of this review, and, through them, by many others. But, as “one swallow does not make spring,” it is impossible to foretell from the first number to what extent and in what manner THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY will succeed in what it has undertaken. However, Mr. Roosevelt was moved to say that as an American, he was glad that a review like this had been started in America. This stands to reason. Being a statesman, Mr. Roosevelt is bound to consider each [426/427] occurrence from the point of view of its practical value, and we cannot expect him to hold a different attitude toward the very important subject which we are discussing. Quite rightly seizing the supreme importance of the purpose of this review, Mr. Roosevelt declares with conviction than an adequate realization of that purpose will bring honour to the whole of America. This is well, even very well, said: a quite true idea expressed in a characteristic and acute way. Work, worthy work toward the solution of this great problem cannot fail to bring honour to individuals and whole nations as well, who have all been equally called to this work by the Founder of our Faith, saying: “That we all may be one.”

We need say nothing of the greatness of the problem which THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY is trying to solve. We of the Orthodox Church, as well as the Christians of America, offer up special prayers for the union of all believers in Christ. Yet, to mention ourselves as an example, out of the great mass of worshippers, there are but very few who believe in the actual possibility of this union. This is extremely sad, but nevertheless quite true.

But why is it so? It is so, because these people of ours, who, we must say, believe profoundly in Christ, accept real life as they see it, and derive their opinion as to the union of the Churches from what they see. I am extremely reluctant to say what I am about to say, but the importance of the subject forces me to speak. Our people say: How can there be any talk of the union of Churches or of Christians in our days, when, for example, Roman Catholics are so anxious that Scutari should not remain in the hands of an Orthodox nation, preferring that this city should belong to Mahometan Albanians. It stands to reason that, in expressing wishes and inclinations like these, they are obedient to the purposes of Catholic propaganda; but think of the feelings which they arouse in our hearts, which, [427/428] though not Roman Catholic, are nevertheless Christian hearts. This shows, then, the intensity reached by religious separatism, and the strong force of its rigidity, which makes it possible that, in the Roman Confession, the love of Christians who do not belong to the Roman Church should be so trampled under foot.

There are matters which must not be treated in this way. It is profoundly sad, and, at the same time, quite incomprehensible, that a Church, which sanctions the transfer of members of our Orthodox clergy to equal grades in the Catholic clergy, can at the same time express such wishes. Very much against our wills there arises in us a feeling which, permeating our souls, does not lead us to give our adherence to the idea of the union of the Churches, but on the contrary, while not inducing us to work against it, yet forces us to doubt the possibility of this union.

It is, of course, true that we too are compelled to think of those who do not confess Christ as does our Holy Church as heretics. I know this; and, in obedience to my Mother Church, I think of Roman Catholics as heretics. But, at the same time, I know that they are Christians, that they believe in Christ, in my Christ. I know that a time will come when they will believe in Christ as my Church believes in Him. I know that our present relations are but for a time, that they must be only for a time; as a certain mood, created in us by circumstances beyond our control, is only for a time. I know that, among the Roman Catholics, there are also those who wish with their whole hearts that the rigid separatism between the various Christians should cease to exist; and even that the papal throne has had occupants who shared this view. It is known that Leo XIII would have taken actual steps toward the practical solution of the union of the Churches, had he not been prevented by those around him. We are, therefore, justified in thinking that the unrelenting attitude of the [428/429] Roman Church toward all other Christians is not supported either by the spirit of Christian faith or by any purely historical data, and is certain to be influenced by the gradual growth of brotherliness and Christian solidarity in other civilized Christian communities; and that, even if it does not altogether disappear, it will at least, be softened, and the ears of the Roman Church will be sufficiently opened for it to discern sincere notes in the fervent appeal reaching it from the camp which it now feels to be so inimical and alien that it feels justified in turning to it a dear ear. It is especially pleasing to note, in this case, that the above is no “exaggerated opinion of an enthusiast of the idea of union,” being also the expressed opinion of learned Roman Catholics, like the well-known Augustinian monk who says, with much assurance, that the situation is quite obviously improving in this regard. Can it be, then, that the relation of modern Christians of different Confession can still be described in words which St. Augustine addressed to his contemporaries: “A man more willingly passes his time with his dog than with a stranger.” Even in his day, these words could hardly have caressed the ear, though they certainly did not hurt it; for, at that time, there was still too much life in the principle that man was the measure of all things, in the sense of egotistical enjoyment of them, all men being as wolves among themselves. But it would seem that what was true then could not be thinkable in our day, after nineteen centuries of Christian ideas ruling the souls and minds of men.

And so it is. There is a reason for the great rejoicing in the fact that, at present, in the midst of so many Christian denominations, there arise clear voices speaking for the union of the Churches, and that the question is discussed openly, though only sporadically and without any plan. But at the same time that which, only recently, was unthinkable, has now become a reality.

The Editor of THE CONSTRUCTIVE spoke to me [429/430] enthusiastically of the way in which he was received by the superior hierarchs of the Russian Church, and of their Christian attitude toward the union of the Churches. The Editor tells the same story in his book. But here is something which made him greatly wonder: the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod and his assistant, both laymen, showed less sympathy for the idea of the union of the Churches, and less faith in it. According to the Editor, the Chief Procurator said to him: “It is necessary to be Orthodox; we are Orthodox, and there is nothing for others to do but to become Orthodox also.” [An Eirenic Itinerary, Silas McBee, 1911, p. 27.] This view is shared by the overwhelming majority of us who belong to the Orthodox Church; to our thinking, the union of the Churches must and can take place only under the banner of Orthodoxy.

What, then, is the difference between us and the Roman Catholics, who so loudly proclaim the hegemony of the Roman Church throughout the Christian world? The difference is, that the Roman Catholics demand that union should mean submission on the part of all Christians, without conditions; but with us of the Orthodox Church, it is possible to discuss, it is possible to try to convince, and even to succeed in convincing, us of many, very many things. While giving up nothing that is our own, we are always ready to accept that which is good in other Confessions, that which is historically correct, and justified by historical data. Mr. McBee speaks of the wonderful kindness and amiability of our supreme hierarchs, and of their readiness to meet those of other Confessions. This is absolutely true. The Orthodox have nothing to hide, and need not conceal themselves. Our supreme hierarchs are quite aware of this, and openly receive all those who come to them, with perfect love. This policy, thank God, has hitherto brought only good results. All who wish may come in, look, and become [430/431] acquainted; we have no secrets; everything here is visible and open,--such has hitherto been the method of our Russian Orthodox Church. Not only the Editor of THE CONSTRUCTIVE, but all foreigners who have come to Russia in order to become acquainted with its religious life, have said that this life was a true revelation to them; what they heard and saw, filled their souls with delight, and made them long to learn more of the ancient Eastern Christianity, our holy Russian Orthodoxy. Read the pages about the Russian Church, in Bishop Grafton’s Personal Reminiscences, and they will immediately demonstrate to you the importance of personal intercourse with our Church and with religious Russians.

Until now, it may be said that we, Christians of different Confessions, have had but little acquaintance with each other. All, believing that they alone held the truth in their hands, remained wholly indifferent to Christians of other Confessions, taking no interest whatever in them. But once the study of the nature of another Confession was undertaken, it led to the expression of such views and opinions as we find in the Rev. F. G. Cole’s Mother of All Churches, or the Rev. T. A. Lacey’s Beginning at Jerusalem, or, recently, in the Rt. Rev. C. P. Anderson’s Manifestation of Unity, according to whose very American phrase, “the Church of God is so overshadowed by Churches, that even a postmaster could not find it,” (p. 20), and so on. We need more intercourse with each other; we need practical intimacy and scientific study; it is time for us to abandon our seclusion and overcome our inertia.

It is true that the seclusion which the Roman Church preserves so strictly may be taken by some for fortitude, and they are so impressed by it that many a possessor of great theological learning among them has joined the Roman Catholic Church, fancying that behind  that wall of granite, Christianity was preserved in perfect purity and integrity. We may add that some of these new [431/432] Roman Catholics had previously had long talks with us, and very flattering intercourse. But, while their voices were with us, their eyes were with Rome, and thither they went. No importance should be attributed to this, however. These are only isolated cases, which, being the exception, only prove my general thesis concerning the effect which the supposed fortitude of Rome produces. But even were I mistaken in this, the above cited examples do not at all prove that the union of the Churches ought to be solved by all Christians joining the Roman Church. However, the Roman Church has never hitherto discussed the question with us, denying us the right to an opinion of our own.

But for us members of other Confessions, it is, comparatively speaking, a good while since we began to talk to each other and to discuss different questions; and, although we have not yet succeeded in even tracing the way to future reunion, by mere branches along the track, yet we have made a few steps toward each other, and have uncovered our faces enough to justify our conversing with each other in a friendly way, when we meet. Our intercourse is very helpful to us. Without it, and outside it, no learned treatises and investigations however persuasive, can have much propulsive power on the road to the union of the Churches. Here is an example:

Not long ago, I received a serious article, Concerning the Validity of the Anglican Hierarchy, recently written by one of the eminent Russian professors who have applied themselves to this question. The erudition of the critical analysis, the scientific objectivity and well based caution of the conclusions are characteristic of the article from beginning to end. On reading it, one t cannot fail to see that the subject is being discussed by a man who has studied it thoroughly from many sides But the author's final conclusions were such that, when I sat down to write him my thanks for sending me the article, I was also compelled to inform the learned [432/433] professor that it was very difficult to accept his opinion concerning concession toward the Anglicans.

It is more than doubtful whether concession is in place, in the establishment of mutual relations between religious Confessions. It is impossible to suppose that Professor I. P. Sokoloff, the author of this article, suggested concession as a practical measure or means, and that, at this point, his kindness got the better of his learning; for great pressure was brought to bear upon his good nature by the "Society of Workers for the Rapprochement between the Anglican and Russian Churches," before whom he read his essay. In such a case, the conclusion concerning concession would be wholly out of keeping with the earnest and strictly scientific character of the essay. In reality, it cannot be doubted that Professor Sokoloff expressed his idea in entire good faith, springing from the depth of his erudite consciousness of the breadth, the truth and the loftiness of our holy Orthodoxy, and the weakness of the Anglican Church in the matter of holy orders. But it is also possible that he did not think of readers in England and America (the essay will be translated in the organ of my diocese), nor of his hearers and readers in Russia, but only of truth, of truth acquired along strictly scientific lines. As a man of learning, he must have been chiefly interested in this result, expecting that the rest would of itself be added unto it. The majesty and purity of Orthodoxy are beyond all doubt, for Professor Sokoloff, nor is it to be doubted that, if the question of the validity of Anglican holy orders cannot with justice be answered in the negative, yet that an affirmative answer would not be wholly correct either. He finds data on the basis of which he practically, as it seems to him, suggests the acceptance of a concession. To him, such concession is not opportunism, coming, as it does, from the fact that one side, Orthodoxy, is able to give, while the other side, Anglicanism, is in need of [433/444] receiving. This is my understanding of the meaning of Professor Sokoloff's suggested concession. But when it comes to putting it in practice, I repeat that it can hardly be accepted or realized. In this country, I have twice expressed in print the idea that our Orthodox Church so abounds in love that it may find it possible to accept the Anglican hierarchy, and, in speaking, I put forward the idea that, after this acknowledgment, there would be a chirotonia (laying on of hands), after which, the validity of Anglican holy orders would be beyond doubt.

I can say nothing categorical concerning the Church of England, but from my experience in this country I can definitely affirm that no concession from us is sought, nor is any need of such concession felt. The Episcopalians wish us to accept their holy orders, not as a concession, however, but on the basis of undoubted historical data, critically verified and firmly established. Acceptance as a concession would be of no earthly use to them; it might weaken their position, by depriving them of complete confessional equality. Now, as before, they wish one thing only: that their hierarchy should be accepted unconditionally and without any reservations.

This is a great question. Having become acquainted with this question, and with the opinions of Professor Sokoloff of Moscow, Professor Kerensky of Kazan, and Professor Bulgakoff of Kieff (whose lectures I followed) on it, I would have been quite willing to side with those who accepted the validity of the Anglican hierarchy, had not Professor Bulgakoff categorically announced that the only real obstacle in the way of a satisfactory solution of the question is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. An insurmountable obstacle, indeed, as the Thirty-nine Articles deny that holy orders are a sacrament. Yet Dr. F. W. Puller publicly announced that an undue importance was given to the Thirty-nine Articles, and [434/435] that they were not dogmatically binding; he did this first in a public lecture in St. Petersburg, when speaking on behalf of the Church of England, and then in a book which he published in 1912 under the title of The Continuity of The Church of England. In his book, Dr. Puller discusses this question (on pages 46, 47, 49 et seq.) in an extremely interesting way, placing it on a new foundation, and shedding a new light on it. I was so interested by it that, when Dr. Manning, of Trinity Church, called on me, I could not refrain from questioning him on the validity of Dr. Puller's assurance; from Dr. Manning, I received a categorical statement that he, as well as many others, completely shared Dr. Puller's view. If this be so, it becomes much easier for our Church to solve the question, and to acknowledge Anglican holy orders, not as a concession, but from a profound conviction that, by doing so, our Church would think and act rightly, though the action was of the greatest importance, and the Roman Church hesitates to decide on it.

When this will come about, we do not know. Such knowledge is for God alone; but our hope of its possibility is almost a certainty, and this alone is enough to assure us that our labours for the solution of the union of the Churches are not in vain, though, so far, they can be directed only toward clearing away the weeds which prevent the various Christian Churches from understanding each other.

The importance of living intercourse between the members of various Confessions is great. It might seem that no Church is closer to the Orthodox than is the Roman Catholic. Chief among their resemblances, the two have the same number of Sacraments; yet the distance between them is so great as to terrify us; it is almost immeasurable. But in the case of the Episcopal Church the Sacraments have not an equal importance, and the validity of the holy orders is [435/436] questioned; yet the nearness to the Orthodox Church is undoubted, for it is real. The cause of this lies in the vitality of living intercourse, such as does not exist between Roman Catholics and Orthodox.

It follows that the merit of THE CONSTRUCTIVE exceedingly great, since it has succeeded in gathering together before the same speaking tube, as it were, Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, and has also succeeded in persuading them to speak through this tube. The Rev. Dr. Mathews would especially appeal to me, if, by his words, "I am particularly glad for the articles from the Roman Catholics," he meant that he was glad to see their names in the pages of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY, as Roman Catholics, apart from any praise of these articles for their individual worth. This is, indeed, matter for rejoicing. Hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, Roman theologians walking with their colleagues of other Confessions; with them clearing the paths towards that place where, as we believe, we shall some day meet all the children of Christ who believe in Him, to confess Him with one heart and one mouth, ceasing to be strangers and becoming true brothers in spirit and in faith.

This is why I particularly dwell on the merit of THE CONSTRUCTIVE in having united those of different religions in the wish to work for the same object. We have had in the past, perhaps, workers among our own and the Roman Catholic theologians, who attempted to work toward that aim in their own way, but I know that a similar undertaking of such organic strength has never existed. There was a time when Europe undertook something of the same kind in the case of the Old Catholics, but this attempt did not last. There have been other similar magazines which have had a fairly wide distribution, such as the Revue Internationale de Theologie, The Orthodox Catholic Review, and others. But it seems that the real work is only now beginning. First, it is [436/437] guaranteed by the character of those who have now put their hands to the work, and, secondly, by the enthusiasm, delight and joy experienced by all who have come into touch with even the beginning of this undertaking.

If any of my remarks seem captious or harsh, I hope that I shall not be too severely judged. These words were dictated by my great admiration of the idea of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY, and of the Editor who planned and initiated this great work. This is why I also trust that he will accept in the spirit of love my opinion concerning his review, a further exposition of which I shall now endeavour to set forth.

I fear that, should THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY remain such as it has showed itself in its first number, it will fall short of the influence and importance which it should have. It is quite true that it contains articles by authors of different Confessions. I have already said that this by itself does great credit to the Editor. But where is the "constructiveness" of the magazine? It seems to me that, were it to remain as it is, the importance of this magazine, and its influence on society, will be expressed in just such notices as have already appeared about the first number. Separate articles will be praised, as will their authors, some more, some less, perhaps these praises will be a demonstration of confessional sympathy and closeness,--the Editor will also be praised and thanked, and this will be all. What would be "constructed" in this way? I do not see what would be "constructed," and yet I do not say that nothing would, for I may be shortsighted in this case, seeing nothing "constructive" in the future of the magazine, while others may see farther. How exceedingly glad I should be to learn that I was mistaken. With all sincerity and force, I affirm that my wish is to see this magazine fulfilling its constructive destiny; but I cannot find that, in its present shape, it does so. Ivan Kriloff, the Russian fabulist, aptly illustrates what the situation [439/440] grasped only by those who have a living faith in the Son; of God. To believe in the Son of God is to be conscious of life eternal. Living faith is the consciousness of life eternal. What an inexhaustibly profound truth is contained in this definition for all who believe in Christ.

If the importance of faith in Christ is so great, it is not to be wondered that it is so exceedingly difficult to form any exact or definite idea of it, or to gauge all its depth with words. Accordingly, Holy Scripture gives different ideas of our faith, considered from different points of view. Sometimes, it is theoretical. (I John 2:24); or more practical (Galatians 5:6); or as the faith that trusts (Matthew 9: 2, 22); or as the faith that justifies (Romans); or as the miracle-working power of God in man (I Corinthians 13:2); or as the unshaken conviction of the conscience (Romans 14:23); or as faithfulness in keeping promises (Romans 3:3), and so on.

Is it not evident that, under all the images by which the word of God represents our faith, there is represented the divine Christian life itself which is communicated to our hearts through our faith and according to our faith? Is it not equally evident that our first duty as Christians is to agree as to our faith, that we may not differ so widely in our understanding of it, that for some of us "the just shall live by faith," and for others "faith without works is dead"?

What a task would lie before the contributors to THE CONSTRUCTIVE and at the same time what a service, worthy of eternal gratitude THE CONSTRUCTIVE would have rendered, if in its pages might be established the idea of faith, of its indispensable and salutary nature, common to all Christians. And when I think of the modern assaults against our faith, the modern tendency to drag heaven down to earth, I feel inclined not merely to advise the Editor to amplify his plan and the character of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY, but even to implore him, as forcibly as I can, to do so.

[441] The powers of this world are now arising against our Faith, and we Christians are divided into fragments, isolating ourselves in the consciousness that we believe in Christ in a more correct way than other believers. And this, at a time when the trivial novel of Frensen becomes a new Gospel in Germany, ridding humanity of the oppression of the Church, dogmas and traditions, when a new Christianity adapted to modern demands appears. Of course it is true that in Germany one manifestation inimical to Christianity always follows another in the region of religious thought: Feuerbach's Essence of Christianity was superseded by the New Faith of Strauss who, denying the existence of Jesus, proved to be a lunatic, before Nietzsche, who actually became a maniac. But this struggle goes on without interference from us who are Christians; from which results no triumph or glory to our faith, but instead a New Faith of Frensen. How many people perish, therefore, in the belief that the faith of Christ is not necessary; that, on the contrary, it is necessary to get rid of it as of the mud "which sticks to a man's feet making his progress on the path of life more difficult." To be sure, this latest fashion in the realm of religious thought will also disappear, but I feel sure that its disappearance will not be caused by blows of ours.

And what do we see at present in France? If, in Germany, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are compared to decrepit regimental vivandières, who trundle along in their broken-down carts at the tail of the army, instead of marching ahead of it, leading it on the higher way to the supreme liberation; in France, religion is treated as so much harmful rubbish, which has long outlived its purpose as an influence on personal and social life. It would seem that the Anti-Clericals have definitely taken possession of France, Freedom of conscience has become freedom from conscience; and the Anti-Clericals are guilty of acts which one cannot hear [441/442] of, without the deepest grief and indignation. In England, Switzerland and Saxony, there already exist Buddhist communities, and one is about to be founded in Russia. So that in our days the preaching of Christian missionaries to the heathen has been reversed.

I am sorry to say that, in my own dear country, just as here and in other parts of the world, anti-Christian literature spreads in a striking way, and school and college youngsters absorb it as a sponge absorbs water. This theoretical danger, so to speak, for Christianity from scientific arguments and quasi-scientific deductions and the practical danger coming from the spread of unbelief and the tendency to move away from Christianity, this general attack against our faith, ought to unite us into one family. Besides the common consciousness that we, who believe in Christ, should be members of one family, of one Church that should be bound together by mutual brotherly love, because of our love for Him, who called us to this love, having offered Himself on the cross for the sake of us all, the two above-mentioned dangers should bring Christians together, to settle all accounts with each other, in order to arise in full armour to do battle with the enemy, not of Roman Catholicism, nor of Orthodoxy, nor of Protestantism, alone, but of the whole of Christendom, the prince of this world, who will not spare us, because there is no love in him.

We must become one. All sincere believers in Christ recognize this nowadays, but religious separatism has penetrated so deeply into the very roots of Christian life and teaching that it stands like a stone wall or a "great chasm" between the different Christian Confessions.

Yet at present not walls only but whole mountains can be blown up with dynamite, and bridges are thrown across chasms. This is especially well done in America; witness the enormously costly monster-bridges between [442/443] New York and Brooklyn. But can we ascribe to THE CONSTRUCTIVE, such as it now is, the power of dynamite, able to blow up the walls which keep the Confessions apart? Can THE CONSTRUCTIVE, such as it now is, play the part of a bridge on which Christians of all denominations could meet, talk matters over, mutually understand each other, and come into a union? If we judge with calm deliberation, we shall be compelled to say that, even were these articles capable of chipping off a piece of this wall, or even a whole block, no separate article, nor all of them in their totality, could ever hope to make a breach through it. I am not a military man, and have no connection with the art of war, but I can say that the "military metaphor" of the Editor (if we should not rather say "analogy") is in this case truly a metaphor. Exaggeration is the characteristic of metaphor, and I think that speaking of the constructiveness of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY in its present form is to speak in metaphor. For, were we to compare its articles to bombs, we should immediately note their aimless waste. They will fall below or beyond the mark, or they will explode in the air, they will even fly in the wrong direction, and will thus fail of their object; and even if any of them do reach the mark, it will be at haphazard. Why? Because there is no adjusting screw in the gun, though its aim is well established.

Such is my opinion of THE CONSTRUCTIVE in its present form. In a private letter to the esteemed Editor, I shall make certain suggestions to render the magazine more truly constructive and fitted to carry out a great constructive labour with the object of uniting all believers in Christ. If, in the course of time, THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY changes its form, not in any external way, but in the selection of questions and their elaboration, I shall understand that my opinion has been appreciated, and that my ardent wish has been found applicable [443/444] to the further development of this review. The Editor of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY possesses the rare gift of grasping all the sides of a subject that interests him at once. I may, therefore, be confident that he will not misunderstand me, that he will take in the right way my opinion of the magazine, my relation with which, as he knows, has gone further than mere expressions of sympathy. What I have written, is not criticism for the sake of criticising; it is a photographic image of my impression of the first number, to which I looked forward so eagerly. It is also the result of the present need of an undertaking of this kind, which I clearly realize, and of my own idea of the adequacy of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY to supply that need.

The future of THE CONSTRUCTIVE QUARTERLY, its importance, and its influence in the great cause of helping all believers in Christ to become one and to remain one, is of the utmost moment to its Editor. I therefore trust that he will accept this opinion of mine as I would have him accept it: as a fervent offering, resulting from my eager wish to give him what assistance I can in his work.

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