The American Church Union, soon after its organization, initiated proceedings looking to some unity of action with the English Church Union; and, in the tenth annual report of the President and Council of the last mentioned society, the following appears, in gratifying response thereto.
"AMERICAN CHURCH UNION.
"The President and Council are glad to be able to announce that the hope expressed in the last annual report 'that the American Church Union will shortly be placed in union with this society' is likely to be verified; a resolution requesting the Council to establish more intimate relations with the English Church Union, having been unanimously adopted at the first annual meeting of the American Church Union, held in New York on the 1st of April."
Having occasion to visit England in May last, and with the view of giving practical effect, so far as was in my power, to the resolution of the American Church Union above referred to, I availed myself of the earliest opportunity, after my arrival in London, to call upon the Hon. Charles Lindley Wood, President of the English Church Union, and present to him a letter of introduction, with which I had been honored by one of our esteemed Vice-Presidents, the distinguished Rector of Trinity Church.
I need not say to those of you who have much acquaintance, either personally or by reputation, with Mr. Wood, that I was received by him with great courtesy, invited to the hospitalities of his house, and furnished by him with every facility, not only of visiting the public buildings and institutions of interest in London, and its vicinity, but also for obtaining information, interesting and instructive, in regard to the history of the English Church Union and of its somewhat important utterings and doings for the past few years. And here let me say that, doubtless like some of those who hear me, I had formed an opinion in respect to some of the late transactions of that well known organization of English Churchmen, not, in every respect, of entire approval.
With the limited knowledge which I had been enabled to obtain of its workings, (and that knowledge, I am free to confess, obtained under difficulties, and through channels sometimes blocked up with prejudice and not unfrequently with misrepresentations,) I had been forced into the impression that the English Church Union had been for years going about, Quixote-like, seeking for a combatant--sometimes running a tilt against the sails of anti-ritual wind-mills, and at other times, rejoicing in the opportunity to shiver a lance with some ecclesiastical knight, or esquire high in political position, and protected by the armor of the state.
Candour compels me to confess that a more thorough examination, and a better knowledge of its sayings and doings, have removed from my mind many impressions unfavorable to the healthy action and working of that influential Church organization.
But let me, before proceeding to do this, give you a brief sketch of the governing power of the English Church Union.
It was founded in the year 1860 and has made eleven Annual Reports. The number of its members is about eight thousand, including Associates and Women Associates (the latter numbering about 2i5o). It has one hundred and forty-eight branches and twelve District Unions.
The Council consists of a President, two Vice-Presidents, (one clerical and one lay), elected annually; twenty-four members of the Union, half clerical and half lay, one-third of whom retire annually by rotation, but are re-eligible; and the Presidents and Delegates of District Unions, who are ex-officio members. The Council consists, at present, of sixty-five persons, twenty-eight clerical and thirty-seven lay members.
The objects of the Union, as set forth in the rules, are "to defend and maintain unimpaired the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England; to afford counsel, protection and assistance, to all persons, lay or clerical, suffering under unjust aggression or hindrance in spiritual matters; and, in general, so to promote the interests of religion as to be, by GOD'S help, a lasting witness in the land for the advancement of His Glory and the good of His Church."
The necessity for such an organized body, to undertake, under GOD, the work of defence, is alleged to be "eminently asserted by the circumstances of the times; the laxity of professing Churchmen; the desire, in high places, for changes in the Prayer-Book, and in the old established order of the Church; and the tendency amongst statesmen to apply the test of expediency to the most sacred subjects of religious truth."
The more especial design of the creation of the English Church Union is that of defence. This is very clearly set forth, as above, in its rules, in the addresses of its President, the reports of its Councils and the speeches of its members.
I will here present to you a few brief extracts bearing upon this point.
The Hon. Charles Lindley Wood, the President, in his speech delivered at a meeting of the Leeds Branch, says; "I have said enough to prove to you the dangers from within to which the Church of England is exposed, and to demonstrate therefore, the imperative duty incumbent upon all those who care for the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, to forget party strifes and party differences, and to combine as one man for the defence of all that we, in common with the Church throughout the world, hold to be most sacred, and upon the maintainance of which in this country, depends, in so great a degree, that re-union of Christendom, which is so infinitely necessary for the well being of the Church of CHRIST." Again, the Rev. A. H. Mackonochie, in reply to a welcome address to him from members of the Bradford Branch, thus eloquently speaks upon this point. "And now turning to what they might consider the proper subject for him to speak upon, the character and objects of the English Church Union, he felt that the objects of the Union were so fully set forth in the first chapter of their rules, that he need not state them. They were really all contained in that one thought, the defence of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England. In speaking at Leeds on Monday night he had taken occasion to congratulate the Union on its work being one of defence, and he earnestly hoped the day might never come when the Union should be persuaded to depart from that policy. Their organization was not established to compel others to advocate ritual, or to teach doctrine. That was certainly the duty not of the Union, but of the Bishops of the Church. He knew, of course, that there were great temptations to impatient spirits. He knew that he could not attend meetings of the Union without hearing that, because their opponents had done such and such things, therefore they ought to retaliate upon them; but, again and again, he would emphatically say he hoped the Union would not depart from the one safe, quiet course of claiming the liberty to worship GOD in the mode they believed to be right, and leaving the force of the truth and the power of the Gospel to make their way amongst those, who do not now feel that power or see that truth."
I may remark here that the only instance in which the English Church Union can, with any degree of plausibility (but not justly), be charged with a departure from this line of action, that of defence only, is that wherein the President tenders to the Chairman of the Church Association, a low-church and aggressive organization in the city of London, its effective cooperation, and to the Archbishop of York pecuniary assistance, towards remunerating the latter, in instituting proceedings against the Rev. Mr. Voysey, whose teaching, in the language of Mr. Wood, "attacks the very roots of Christianity itself." But the position of the English Church Union in this proceeding, is thus explained and defended by its President. "Though as members of a Society, whose object is purely defensive, we might have felt it was not for us to institute proceedings against Mr. Voysey on our own account, we cannot hesitate in assisting the Archbishop of York, in a case which affects not his Grace only, but every member of the Church of England."
And the Rev. Mr. Mackonochie also thus defends the course of the Union in taking this step. "What," says he, "was the history of the English Church Union?" It was this: that it had been established simply for defensive purposes, simply for claiming liberty for English Churchmen, liberty within the boundary of the law, it had confined itself strictly to the work of defence, and claiming liberty for clergy and laity to do that which the Church of England, in her formularies, claimed for herself, or had refused to repudiate for herself. Let that which is ordered by the law, be decided by the rightful course, but do not let there be oppression by simple might, neither might of wealth or might of any other kind. They had offered money to the Archbishop of York to prosecute one of his clergy for heresy, which might be considered not a defensive but an aggressive proposition. But when the Archbishop said he should like to move in a matter, which was a scandal to his Diocese, the promulgation of what was manifestly false doctrine, if he had the power, whether the case succeeded or not, then the English Church Union felt that they were acting purely on the defensive, by enabling the rightful officer of the Church to proceed in such a case. They were a defensive body in the strictest and most literal sense of the word."
I have, my friends, read to you these extracts, and they might be greatly multiplied, from speeches of members of the English Church Union, whose utterances may fairly be considered as representative, for two reasons: one, that a charge of aggressive action on the part of the Union, might be refuted by denials from the lips of its leading members, and the other, that the language which contains these refutations is more pointed, more forcible and more conclusive than any in my power to use. And I am quite sure that you will not censure me if, in this communication, I shall prefer generally to use the language of those members of the English Church Union, who may fairly be presumed to speak for it in defence of its policy, rather than my own. And I hope that you will not accuse me of needless prolixity, if I stop here to answer two other charges brought against the English Church Union; one, of being controlled by political sentiments, the other, of insubordination and disloyalty to the Church of England. And I shall not claim to be over modest, if, in doing this, instead of resorting to my own imperfect utterances, I shall choose to let the acts of the Union, and the words of those who, through good report and through evil report, have been its friends and authorized expounders during the whole of its not overquiet and not uneventful existence, proclaim its innocence.
And, gentlemen, if, on the conclusion of the reading of this address, you, in your charitable view of it, shall be pleased to accord any merit to it, you will have no difficulty, I think, in finding the merit to consist in the judicious selection, which, for the purpose of proving the position it takes, I have made from the speeches and acts of those who have the right to speak and act for the English Ch. Union, rather than in any original matter contained in it. The President, Mr. Wood, in his annual address delivered before the Union in 1869, uses this very significant language. "The third point upon which I wish to say a few words, is in some degree connected with myself; it is upon the relation of the Union, in its corporate capacity and the relation of the individuals included in our Society, in their capacity as private individuals, to the political questions and parties of the day." I may remark here that Mr. Wood is a son of Lord Halifax, who is a member of the Cabinet of Mr. Gladstone, and that this circumstance, coupled with the fact of his high position in social circles and of his acknowledged intellectual prominence, has, perhaps, lent encouragement to this charge of interference by him and the large and influential organization over which he presides with so much dignity and ability, with some of the more important political questions lately agitated in England. Mr. Wood continues. "Now gentlemen, upon this point, I wish to be clearly understood. Our Society, as a society, has not, and with my consent never shall have anything whatsoever to do with the political party of the day. We are associated for the defence of the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, and know no other object. But, gentlemen, because we are members of a Society whose objects are religious and not political; because, in our capacity as members of that Society, we vigorously exclude, and rightly exclude, political matters from our deliberations, is that a reason, that, as private individuals, outside the limits of that Society, we should forfeit our liberty of acting as Englishmen, in the manner we think best for the interest both of Church and State? For myself, gentlemen, I want to say it with all distinctness, I can admit but one answer to that question. I believe that Churchmanship is not necessarily confined to one party or one set of opinions. I believe that I am but expressing your opinions in these sentiments, and that it may not be said again, as it could only have been said through failure to comprehend the real issues of the question, that members of the Union, whether in office or out of office, compromise the Society by any political act, which they may think it well to perform in their private capacity."
Another prominent and influential member of the Union remarks: "He wished just to refer to the impression which he believed was abroad, that the Church Union wanted to mix political questions with those which are spiritual. He knew that it was talked of, that because certain members of the Council of the Union happened to belong to one particular school of politics, therefore all the Council were of that school. Now there were on the Council, men of all shades of politics, from Tories to the broadest Liberals, and he had never heard, at any of their Council meetings, a single allusion to politics, except when it was dragged in by some member who attended for the purpose of charging them with being a political body."
And now a few words as to the charge of insubordination and disloyalty to the Church on the part of the Union, and I shall say no more upon this part of the subject. It will not be disputed that, within the past two years, decisions have been reached and judgments pronounced by the authorities of the Church of England, which have tended most severely to test the spirit of loyalty and submission of many of the truest friends of our Communion. Amongst these are the judgments in the case of Martin v. Mackonochie, the appointments which followed the decease of that venerated Prelate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and lastly, the administration of the Holy Communion in Westminster Abbey in June last, upon notice or invitation, to some of those who had been chosen to revise the Sacred Scriptures, one of whom at least denied the Godhead of the SAVIOUR, and both before and since, openly repudiated the doctrine of the two recognised creeds of Christendom; and especially the sacrificial character of CHRIST'S broken Body and shed Blood, partaken by the worthy recipient in the most holy Sacrament of the LORD'S Supper. I shall refer to some of these trying tests of fidelity to the Church on the part of some of her most devoted children.
The appointments referred to are: 1st, the appointment of the Right Rev. Archibald Campbell Tait, Bishop of London, to the Archi-episcopal See of Canterbury. 2d, the translating of Dr. Jackson, Bishop of Lincoln, to the See of London. 3d, the placing of Canon Wordsworth in the See of Lincoln, and 4th, the appointment of Dr. Frederick Temple, Head-Master of Rugby, as Bishop of Exeter, on the death of the late Bishop Philpotts. In regard to the appointments consequent upon the death of Archbishop Longley, all of which, except Dr. Wordsworth's, were most unacceptable to sound Churchmen, the President of the English Church Union, as the representative of that body, and apparently with the entire assent of those to whom his words were addressed, uses the following language in an address delivered by him at one of the ordinary meetings of the Union: "Let me pass," he says, "to a subject more directly affecting the interest of the whole Church, and which has lately absorbed, almost entirely, the attention and the prayers of Churchmen; I mean the recent ecclesiastical appointments. Upon the death of the Primate which rendered those appointments necessary, I will say nothing, since another opportunity will arise in the course of the evening, for giving expression to that respect which, when we think of the Lambeth Conference, his support of the Bishop of Capetown, and his assertion of the rights of the Church, will always surround the memory of Archbishop Longley. Upon the appointments themselves it is different, and I have no hesitation in saying, though we might have wished them other than they are, it is our duty, as loyal Churchmen, now that they are completed, to accept them as GOD'S will for His Church, and not to forfeit, through any impatience and self-will, the fruit of those prayers, which were offered up by so many members of our Society, while yet we were uncertain what the good providence of GOD had in store for us in this matter. It has been the duty of some who have gone before, and it may be our own duty again, to contend for the truth with those whom we would fain only obey. Let us only remember that, if it does please GOD to lay this most painful of all duties upon us, it is no less a duty to contend lawfully; and no contention can be called lawful which fails to remember the respect due to the successors of the Apostles, and the rulers, by GOD'S permission, of His Church in this land." And again, in the same address, the distinguished President of the Union, thus advocates not only submission but moderation: "In conclusion, gentlemen," he adds, "may I be allowed to remind you, though the times are times of difficulty and danger, the only real difficulties, the only real dangers are those which we make for ourselves. Let us be very careful, when we consider the greatness of the cause which we have undertaken to defend, that no rashness, no impatience, no want of the most perfect consideration for the feelings of others, no undue haste in contending for things, which though legal, are yet unaccustomed, above all, no deliberate use of expressions which, we know, will be misunderstood--may endanger the stability of all that has been secured within the last thirty years."
The action of the English Church Union, which has followed the judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, now the highest Court of Appeal in matters ecclesiastical, in the case of Martin v. Mackonochie, can scarcely fail to commend itself to the approval of all moderate and judicious Churchmen. In the defence of this suit, the Union had taken a deep interest--not that it anywhere expressed its direct approval of all the peculiar forms of worship which the incumbent of St. Alban's was wont to use in his Church. But the clergyman in question was a very prominent and highly-esteemed member of the Union, and the society felt it to be their duty to assign him counsel for his defence, in order that, if he had rights, they might, so far as legal counsel could effect it, be preserved to him. The presenter or prosecutor was a stranger to Mr. Mackonochie, not a resident of the Parish, nor a member of his Church--a mere outsider therefore, who officiously stepped in to disturb the harmony of the Parish, and annoy the Rector and congregation. In the decision of the case by the Court of Arches, some of the practices charged as illegal were sustained, viz.: the use of lighted candles upon the Altar, when not needed for purposes of light, during the Celebration of the Holy Communion, and also that of kneeling before the Sacred Elements during the Prayer of Consecration. But these two practices, on appeal to the higher Court, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, were condemned, and the decision of the Court of Arches thereon reversed.
In the face of this latter decision, and smarting under what, whether justly or unjustly, was regarded by many as a wrong to one of the most zealous and beloved of their members, the English Church Union, with entire unanimity, passed the two following resolutions. These resolutions, it will be seen, are remarkable for two things: first, an unmistakable desire on the part of the Union to manifest a loyal and quiet submission to the authorized judgments of the tribunals of the Church; and second, an indisposition to waste the funds of the society in protracted litigation upon matters settled by previous decisions, and therefore likely to prove unsuccessful and profitless. The resolutions read thus:
"Resolved, 1st. That under present circumstances the precise practices from which Mr. Mackonochie has been commanded to abstain, in the monition issued on January 19, 1869, by Her Majesty's Court of Appeal in causes ecclesiastical, ought not to be defended by the Union in any future suit, unless the President and Council be satisfied that there are features in the case which make it important that it should be submitted to a proper tribunal.
"2nd. That as regards ornaments or usages not directly and specifically prohibited by the said monition, though indirectly and generally coming within the reasonings or principles of the report of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Union is of opinion that the President and Council ought to exercise caution in dealing with any application which may be made to them to defend such ornaments or usages, if made the subject of legal proceedings."
The ecclesiastical courts in England have long been an object of very just denunciation by some of the most intelligent as well as moderate of English statesmen. The late Lord Cranworth, when Lord Chancellor, in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and a large number of English Prelates, characterized them as "cumbrous, dilatory and expensive," and also asserted from the woolsack that" nineteen in twenty of the ecclesiastical Judges in England were incompetent to perform their duties." But still, notwithstanding the anomalous and most unsatisfactory character of the appellate court in England, made up as it is mainly of lawyers, and by its very composition of political and legal material, not likely to possess the qualifications essential to the final and satisfactory settlement of important and intricate ecclesiastical questions; and although we have the greatest respect for the conscientious convictions of Mr. Mackonochie in regard to what we may be allowed to call his somewhat peculiar notions about certain modes of public worship,--I think that you will agree with me that the Rev. Mr. Mackonochie would have evinced more loyalty to Church authority and Church discipline, and avoided consequences somewhat humiliating to himself, and certainly hurtful to the best interests of the Church, if he had really and fully, and not in form or letter only, and that but partially--abstained from the practices which the Court had the legal power not only to condemn, but to punish. [It is fair to add that from full reports of the late proceedings before the Judicial Committee in Mr. Mackonochie's case it would seem that he cannot justly be accused of an attempt to evade compliance with the monition of the Court, but rather that the Committee adopted the somewhat unusual course of putting a new and strained interpretation on the language of their judgment for the purpose of sustaining the charge of disobedience to it.]
And just here, whilst this matter of lighted candles is before me, I beg to be permitted to say a word or two. The expression of my own individual opinion, in a matter like this, of (as I regard it) mere taste or expediency, is, to be sure, of not the least importance, and therefore, though I presume to give it, it must pass for just what it is worth. If my own taste or feelings alone were to influence me in regard to the use or non-use in the Church in which I worship of lighted candles upon the Altar, the latter would be preferred. In all these matters of Church ornaments my own tastes are exceedingly simple and my views quite conservative, and perhaps a little old-fogyish; and therefore personally I am very well contented with rather a plain exhibition and use of either ritual, so-called, or ornaments. But at the same time, I must say that I trust the time will never come when I shall be found to lisp a syllable of objection against the use of lighted candles or other similarly innocent practices, where a rector and congregation desire such use, and where, in their estimation, they serve as helps to devotion. Dr. Pusey has well remarked, in a paper read by him to the English Church Union at one of its ordinary meetings, that "Light is a beautiful symbol, because GOD is uncreated Light, and GOD the SON is 'Light from Light,' and CHRIST in His humanity is the 'Light of the World.'" And I can conscientiously aver that I see no possible objection to their use, either on the ground of taste or principle, which does not apply to the use of flowers on Easter Day. The candles and the flowers are both symbolical--the former as the SAVIOUR, as the "Light of the World," and the latter of the SAVIOUR as "risen from the dead." And I am not to be told that there are, in the case of the Easter flowers, inducements for their use which do not apply to the lighted candles; that it is not the symbolic significance of the flowers, but their beauty and fragrance, which lead to their use. If this be so, may I ask why, then, they are not put upon the Holy Table on Good Friday, instead of, or as well as, on Easter Day. It will scarcely be denied, even by the most ultra and sensitive anti-Ritualist, that on the former day their fragrance is just as delightful and their beauty just as captivating as on the glorious Easter Morn.
Again, if the reasoning of the Judicial Committee is to prevail, viz.: that the absence of positive rubrical permission for placing lighted candles upon the altars forbids their lawful use, then, upon parity of reasoning, the Easter flowers are to be excluded, for there is no direct permission in the rubrics to use the one any more than the other.
But I must hasten to consider, for a few moments, one more, and (I am sure that you have cause for congratulation upon its being so) the last of the important events referred to, and which has elicited much discussion, and awakened no little excitement as well as regret amongst Churchmen, not only in England but in this country, I mean the admission to the Holy Communion, in Westminster Abbey, upon notice and invitation, one person at least, who was known to those who thus welcomed him to the "Heavenly Feast" as a denier of the atoning efficacy of the SAVIOUR'S death--a repudiator of the Creeds wherein we avow our faith in His Godhead, and who afterwards boldly acknowledged that he did not "join in reciting the Nicene Creed," and again, that this was not the first time that he "had been a silent listener in Church to a Creed in which he could not join."
You have doubtless all of you read the correspondence which has taken place on this subject between the President of the English Church Union and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The latter has favored us with two communications relating thereto--one addressed to Mr. Wood, the other, in answer to a memorial presented to his Grace by the Rev. T. T. Carter, rector of Clewer, and signed by more than 1,500 Clergymen of the Church of England. In the first letter, the learned Archbishop is slightly noncommittal, assuming, which was not correct, that Mr. Wood, in his letter, took the ground that the Unitarian Minister, the Rev. G. Vance Smith, should have been repelled from the LORD'S Table, on his coming forward to participate in the Holy Communion, and saying further, somewhat in the way of apology, that he, the Archbishop, "was in no way consulted by the Ordinary of Westminster Abbey on the subject to which Mr. Wood had invited his attention." In the second letter of the Archbishop, which is quite long, and in which the whole question is very elaborately argued, his Grace exonerates the Dean of Westminster and those who had agency in administering the Communion to the Unitarian Minister aforesaid, solely upon the ground that no personal invitation had been given to Mr. Smith, saying upon this point: "I confess, however, that I do not understand the frame of mind which would lead a teacher of religion at once to protest against the Nicene Creed, and at the same time to join in a solemn Service, of which that Creed and its doctrines form, from the beginning to the end of the Service, so prominent a part. Neither can I understand any one feeling it right to invite to our Communion Service a teacher of the Unitarian body which so protests. My belief is that in this case no such personal invitation was given, and I think that the gentleman in question, feeling that he could not accept the great doctrines which the Service most distinctly proclaims, committed an error in being present," &c., &c.
The Archbishop more than insinuates that censure ought to rest somewhere. He exonerates Dean Stanley, on the sole ground that Mr. Smith was not invited by him or any one else to the Holy Communion, and that the latter having voluntarily presented himself, he could not repel him from the LORD'S Table. Mr. Smith objects to being thus made the scapegoat of the concern, and most emphatically denies that he voluntarily and officiously presented himself at the Communion Service in question, saying, in a letter to the Times, written one month before that of the Archbishop: "From some of the expressions used in the debate on this subject at the late meeting of Convocation, it would almost appear as if the non-conformist members of the Revision companies had presented themselves at the Communion Service without any kind of previous invitation. Speaking for myself alone, I shall be glad if you will allow me to say that such was not the case. Most probably it would not have occurred to me to attend the Service had I not thought that I was invited to do so, and that my presence would not be objected to, but even welcomed by the other Communicants."
And here I shall drop the subject with this simple remark, that, in my humble judgment, no little harm, I will not say scandal, has been brought upon the Church by this most unwise, ill-timed and justly censurable proceeding in Westminster Abbey, and that, in calling public attention to the matter, in the calm and courteous way in which it has been done by the Hon. Charles Lindley Wood, on behalf of the English Church Union, and the nearly 2,000 of the most learned and most devoted of the Clergy of England, who concur with him, a step has been taken in the right direction, and a very essential service has been rendered to the soundness of the Church's faith, the protection of her discipline and the purity of her worship.
In conclusion, let me remind you that, in this paper, designed to facilitate the effort on the part of this Society to establish more intimate relations with the English Church Union, by making our members, or some of them, at least, better acquainted with the true position in Church matters of that organization, and, in some degree, remove from the minds of those who may have been led astray by a fanciful and deceptive coloring of some events, and a designed perversion of the truth in regard to others, such false impressions as the circumstances alluded to have created--in so doing, I repeat, I am not to be supposed to endorse every act which the English Church Union has done, and, still less, every sentiment to which any of its members may have given utterance.
But that, in the main, it has been not only sound in the maintenance of doctrine, but courteous and fair in the expression of its views, I cannot in my conscience refuse to acknowledge. And here upon my personal, and if you please, my official responsibility, I hesitate not to say that, in my judgment, the English Church Union has been an instrument in the hands of GOD, not only in successfully defending the primitive, Catholic, purest, and most devotional practices of the Church, but has also helped to build up her venerable faith upon a firmer and more enduring basis than it has been wont to occupy in the past.
Let us, gentlemen of the American Church Union, do what we can to avoid the errors, if errors there be, which the members of our sister organization across the water may have committed. But let us not be afraid to imitate their example in this particular--viz., to abstain from aggressive action, and to be ready and willing at all times to defend the doctrines and maintain the discipline of the Church, whenever, in the persons of the humblest of her children, they shall have been unjustly invaded. Let us be bold and courageous, but not rash. Let us be zealous in the discharge of duty, but let that discharge be ever characterized by wisdom, by prudence, and by love.
Whilst I would never advise any compromise with error, I would most earnestly urge upon you a charitable construction of the views of those who may be just as zealous Churchmen as we claim to be, but who have not yet been brought to see things precisely in the light in which we see them. Do not let us go down from our high position to attack those whom we may regard as below us, but let us strive by arguments, calmly presented, by appeals earnestly but lovingly urged, to draw them up to the higher level on which we profess to stand. Let us, by judicious counsels and by wise and discreet action, always avoiding offensive personalities, and abstaining from utterances extreme, or likely to be misunderstood, convince our enemies, if we have any, and those of our friends who may have kept back from us, in some instances, and deserted us in others, that we, like them, mean not only to keep within the pale of sound principles, but, in their maintenance, to give needless offence to none.
By so doing we shall regain confidence that has in some instances been weakened, I hope not destroyed, and draw to our organization very many of those who have heretofore kept aloof from us; and thus, with confidence restored, with numbers increased, and with our means for good greatly multiplied, the American Church Union will prove to be what its founders intended, and what, with renewed zeal, with increased effort, and with prayers unceasing we mean to make it--not an obstacle to the progress of the Church, but a co-helper with it in its blessed mission to do good to the poor and needy, to win perishing souls to CHRIST, and to promote the honor and glory of GOD.