POTT & AMERY, 5 & 13 COOPER UNION.
Letter I. Why we Should not Fear.
Letter II. Our Past and Present Position.
Letter III. Plain Truth as a Law of the Church.
Letter IV. Why and How this Church should be Americanized.
Letter V. Sacrifice as a Law of the Church.
Letter VI. The Mobilization of the American Church-Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods
Letter VII. Parties in this Church.
Letter VIII. Ritualism and Dissent.
Letter IX. Bishops and Dioceses.
Letter X. Whether a Priest in this Church be a Priest or No.
Letter XI. Church Work as Related to the Prison System of the United States.
My dear Friend:
YOU have written me a very long and excited letter about Church affairs, and you ask me, at its close, whether I think the coming Council in Baltimore will give Churchmen any relief from the uncertainties and confusion which oppress them. I answer your question by assuring you that, without doubt, that Council, led to true patience and justice by the Holy Ghost, will in several matters give the Church a necessary and timely relief; and that, whatsoever may be deliberately left undone by it, will be done, when time is, thoroughly and unflinchingly. I am sure of this, because the American Church is a Church of God, and the Church of God--though we sometimes unwisely think her patience slothfulness--has in all ages reached her point in her one straightforward path of truth, to protect her children by preserving for them all ancient treasures of orders, creeds, sacraments, and customs for their growth in true religion. The American Church has been sometimes weak and overborne of enemies, and therefore not swift to accomplish her will; yet, during the two hundred and fifty years of her existence in this land, she has marvellously held on her way, and must go on her way in time to come, to achieve her victory. Inaction would create in her a fatal paralysis, and the spot where she should halt and go no further would be her grave. I answer you, therefore, that the coming Council will touch Church affairs to relieve all Churchmen, and touch them, too, so as to broaden [5/6] and deepen all spiritual forces in our communion into greater mastery and blessing.
The other matter which so evidently and deeply distress you I cannot as briefly answer to. They are most of them grave affairs, which concern the very soul of the Church, and you do well to be alarmed when you see anything that stabs at our spiritual Mother. You are, besides, a layman, and therefore have hardly the time to examine down below the surface into the forces which are moving on this Church, as I believe, to a rounder and richer life. With me, the Church is my profession, my passion, my all. No mock modesty forbids me, therefore, telling you that I have examined many of the laws which underlie these movements that distress you in the American Church, and therefore, as you have asked me, I will tell you what they mean. But first, let me assure you that Churchmen have no cause for alarm. If ever a Church was manifestly and by infallible proofs under the care of the providence of God, it is the American. Under the same protection, whoever betrays, or whoever falters, this same Church will escape all snares and stand.
My dear Friend:
AS I promised, I undertake to discuss matters vital to the Church. But what we call the American Church is not the creature of to-day, and has a history. To judge, therefore, in any age what her needs are, or her capacities, we must look back to see how she begun and how she has fared. The American Church, then, has already experienced three eras in her history. The first era is the age of the planting of the Church, when pious English Church-folk established parishes in the original thirteen colonies, and gave men and money out of old England to bring the Gospel to the new world. Under their care our religion had begun to take root and thrive. The so-called war of the Revolution ended this era by the almost total destruction of the Church in the United States. After that war ended and passions began to cool, the few and scattered American Churchmen, desolate among the ruins of their Church, undertook, in fear and weakness, to gather up the fragments and rebuild the temple. Facing a hostile public sentiment which looked upon theirs as an alien and unfriendly religion, and obnoxious as Churchmen to all Puritans, they found their task to be heavy, wearisome, and very slow of accomplishment. From the age of the Revolution until a very recent date, it has been for the Church a mere struggle for existence and to maintain herself alive in the light of the sun. This is the age of the replanting of the Church. Of late, however, the Church has [7/8] entered upon her third or present era of existence. Ceasing to be merely colonial or missionary, and no longer obliged to apologize for being here at all, nor existing by the tolerance of the stronger, and passing beyond the weakness of her early years, she is everywhere raising herself up among men to fulfil her mission and to subdue a great nation to her obedience. The inspiration of her coming victory is in the hearts of her most thoughtful and devoted children, and the glory of her future supremacy is the substance of all their dreams. Churchmen of to-day and of to-morrow are no longer satisfied that the Church should merely exist among others, but demand that she should be before and above all others. This third era, therefore, for the Church, is the Age of Conquest.
You will therefore see, my friend, how her new position demands of her children new duties and sacrifices. What some of them are I shall hereafter show you. But just here I will show you one fact to comfort you. It is impossible that any future political complications can arise such as in the Revolution consumed the Church in flame. It is moreover true that not only are the old animosities against the Church dying out, but many of the elements of our national life are rapidly harmonizing themselves with her temper and behavior. It looks as though the extremes of national hot headedness, self-will, and insubordination were already reached; and in the inevitable reaction toward obedience, order, and fixedness of national habits which is now upon us, it cannot be but that the Church will more and more embrace and satisfy conservative tempers and the men who are searching for something fixed and full of peace. For the first time, then, in the history of these United States, the Church not only does not withstand the national temper, but the national temper is becoming in harmony with hers. Behold the avenue of victory!
My dear Friend:
THE architect who builds a church, first of all makes a plan of it; so does the general, making a campaign. The master of a ship has a chart, and follows it. This working by a fixed plan, as all wise men do, has not only the power to insure order and harmony of labor, but this additional excellence, that, in the midst of storm, and noise, and bewildering strife, one may safely follow a plan maturely fixed and shaped by cool heads, in a time of peace. Besides, a plan of great minds, enfolding a great policy, makes even the weak and small, who faithfully follow it, great and strong in action. This is as true in Church affairs as in any other. Without doubt, also, our Church fathers recognized this vital principle and followed it. But new times demand new methods; and even old principles sometimes require fresh statement, that they be not forgotten. I state, then, a principle which must lie at the root of all Church policy, by what you may think a mere truism, in telling you that, first of all, this Church, in affairs both great and small, must plant herself squarely upon the principles of outspoken truth and justice toward all men. This principle, of necessity, at the start, excludes all timidity and reserve in Church action and declaration. It confronts the world with a gallant and fearless courage, which wins all brave and open spirits to admiration. Though in doing this the Church, on her great eminence of absolute truth for all, may be the more exposed [9/10] to storms, these only make her walls stronger, and she lifts her children with herself above the malaria of time-serving and disingenuousness, and fills them with the pure air of the pure truth of God. That I am not striking at a shadow, nor withstanding a fashion of Church behavior which has no hurt and weakness in it, I shall make plain to you from what has happened in the Roman communion. When in the early centuries Cæsar destroyed the Christians in persecutions, while I nowhere find that they invoked with unnecessary zeal his cruelty, I everywhere find that they made no compromise with him, either by concealing the faith or denying its logical conclusions as they affected either the social or ecclesiastical life of his empire. They professed themselves votaries of Christianity, and died as Christians. This outspoken Churchmanship, since it was the fruit of the pure grace of God in a living Church, made the Christians a victorious Church, respected by every honest heathen, and accepted among men as a shining, unwasting temple of unveiled and unchained truth, shaming down the lies and moral laxity of the times.
But after these great ages, others followed, degraded by the makeshifts and craft of selfish and venal prelates, who undertook to lie themselves into authority and to crawl through any mire or by-way to their point of ambition or emolument. This is the story of a thousand years of Rome. I know she, too, often won her way, but she won it by degrading the nations she professed to nurture, and by utterly destroying their sense of truth. Though she ruled thrones by whispered lies, and under robes outwardly modest and humble worked her indecent and proud devices, and be hind a tongue of piety stationed all devils of wrath and blasphemy to curse humanity, she yet prepared her own destruction by her mendacity, and breeds that cancer at her very soul to-day which one day will waste her and her lying devices into ashes. The Reformation is a proof of this; the French Revolution also, and the political behavior for the past one hundred and fifty years of every Roman nation in Europe. In other words, Rome has made herself strong with a medicine which, by a law of God, becomes, beyond His fixed limit of time, a most fatal poison. If there be any God, it is clear that Rome, as she is, must perish.
The Reformation of our Mother Church of England, above and beyond all question of creed or ritual, was first of all a protest against the historic and monstrous mendacity of Rome, and a declaration that in all Church and human affairs, clear, square, unyielding truth is blessed above all things else, and the very fountain of ecclesiastical and national life. This is true of all, even the most radical and bitter of the Protestants, who, however, as we may think, falling into many and grievous errors, always have merited well of the catholic Church for this one thing, that they always declared how truth is the most blessed, and that it is better to live alone with truth though a man should die a beggar and under the heel of lies, invoking in his last extremity the final justice of Almighty God.
This I take to be, dear friend, the vital, radical temper and dogma of the Reformation. I may not be able to see in history that in post-reforming ages our Anglican forefathers always behaved to the level of this high dogma; nor can I, allowing for the shortcomings of human weakness, greatly wonder that the virus of the Roman system was not at once and forever banished from the Reformed communions. But I see, as I see the sun, one plain fact in Anglican history for the three hundred years now past: that whenever the Anglican Church has planted herself squarely on her own dogmas, she has been a vital and living Church; and that whenever she has tried compromise and the veiling of her own features, either before the State or Dissent, she has lost power and position both.
Our American Church confronts to-day, in these United States, first of all, the children of the Protestant Reformation; and not forgetting the foreign multitude on our shores, [11/12] bred to the mendacity of Rome--for whom we invoke the grace of God to lead them to the custom of truth, when His will is--it still remains true that our Church must deal with a nation with the veracity of the Reformation still at its heart; and that there is in Americans that which will rise high to respond to pure, lofty truth in the Church. The historic unveracity of Rome culminates in Jesuitism) and the flower of Jesuitism is the gigantic falsehood of Infallibility. With Jesuitism--the substance and the spirit of it; its sultry southern atmosphere of spiritual narcotics and sensual perfumes--the American nation, with its soul filled with the pure, cool, northern air of Reformation, will have nothing, please God, to do, except to curse it when the provocation is strong enough, as the enemy of liberty, humanity, and God. Ignoring the fact, then, that should we attempt to go their way in our own behalf, the Jesuits, trained to their ill-omened craft beyond our cunning, would overmaster us in unveracity, and we should only gain by imitating them, to assail and outrage the instincts and the religious affections of a nation whom it is our business to conciliate to the Cross of Jesus as lifted up in our communion.
Am I wrong then in thinking, dear friend, that just here lies one far-reaching element in the policy of American Churchmen; that the policy of this Church should plant itself squarely upon that which bears in its bosom justice; that our policy should be plain, outspoken, fearless, and, above all, straightforwardly honest; that in all Church affairs--in the election of a bishop, the dividing of a diocese or the ordering of its affairs, in the treatment of parties, in the rights of the obscurest priest--Churchmen, casting away management, craft, and subtlety, should simply ask what, in this great or small thing, is plain, simple truth and justice, and then enact them fearlessly! It is an old saying, "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." But the heavens never fall when justice is ever done; though they weep when it is not.
 For myself, I believe there is nothing higher than truth, since truth is the very brain of God, beneath His awful crown of majesty.
I believe the catholic Church is the Mother of Truth, and that she has no saintlier nor mightier child. As a son of the Reformation, I utterly abhor the Roman mendacity. As a Churchman, I believe there is nothing in Church action more salutary and healthy than simple truth and justice. As a Christian, reading the Oracles of God, I am convinced that it is better, rather than live in peace with lies, to leave city, luxury, and the full garners of carnal delights, and wander alone into the wilderness, and fling myself upon the bare granite of the hill-sides, where is no bread nor ease, and perish under the pure snows as a winding-sheet, and leave it to God to raise me from the dead again, and give me, what lies never can, His peace, His fulness, His paradise.
My dear Friend:
I ARGUED in my last letter that the Church should base herself on simple truth, bearing in its bosom justice. I am now to show you one great law which must control her development. It is this: the Church must be Americanized. I shall now discuss the questions, Why? and How? Ours is not the English Church in America, but the American Church. The English Church is venerable beyond my praise or blame, and I can only confess humbly among the great multitude who chant her praises, that she has full right to my respect and gratitude. And yet, I say, this Church is to be made American, and not Anglican. By this I do not mean that the deposit of the Faith handed down to us by English Churchmen is to be in anywise modified, since the Faith is not Anglican but catholic; but that the Faith, through the wisely variable methods of the Church, is to be applied and adjusted to the qualities and needs of our national life. In this I but plead for ancient custom, whereby in antiquity the Church shaped herself to the peculiar traits of every ancient nation. At Alexandria, in Egypt, among the Copts, and confronting the Judeo-Hellenic culture, the method of the Church was one thing; among the German barbarians by the Rhine, another thing. With us, every thing is continental, alterable, on-moving. Ours cannot, therefore, be an insular, immutable Church, resting in the quiet of old cathedrals and having about it the quiet of the graves of ancient saints and martyrs, as England's is. It must, therefore, be a Church to gather up with a pure sympathy; to tone and fashion all our aspirations and passions; to control as mistress, and not to destroy as enemy, our national instincts. The American Church must, therefore, put herself at the head of American civilization, to guide it to the obedience of her own altars, and must use American art, literature, and dynamics, material and spiritual, as her handmaids. It is her mission, therefore, not to destroy into something foreign our nationality, but to lead it ever up and on toward her catholic standards. In England, the hierarchical element has very naturally, in the presence of aristocracy and royalty, intensified itself; with us, the democratic element of the catholic Church must take precedence over all the rest. The American Church must be the Church of the people. Thus, while our hierarchy must be secluded more and more into a peaceful realm above the reach of popular prejudice and passion, the great multitude of her priests and workmen must identify themselves with the interests and habits of the masses. The American Church, while she is not strange to the University and the more elaborate forms of social life, must, above all, cultivate the society of the hovel and the log-cabin, the workshop and the toiling multitudes. Thereby she will not only protect the weak ones of Christ's especial care, but she will also follow the ancient custom whereby the Church in purer ages showed her self to be not first of all for the few in purple, but for the many, who wear the sackcloth of poverty and toil. However stately, therefore, this Church may grow in the higher realms of her ecclesiastical ritual and ordinance, her hands must always delve in the soil of common interests for the children of the soil as her special wards. I cannot regard, therefore, but with suspicion every attempt to Anglicize this Church, and I cannot think her ever more in the way of duty than when she employs new and pertinent methods to our new wants as Americans. This Church, therefore, must be made at her very soul American.
My dear Friend:
THE standard which the Church lifts up before this nation is the Cross of Calvary. But that Cross does not more surely declare the sacrifice which God has made for man than it does the sacrifice which man must make for God. Now sacrifice, on its human side, is our act of laying something of ours in the hand of God, as His. It is ever the measure of the piety and vitality of the Church. It is, so to speak, the blood-red blossom of the grace of God in us. The great ages of the Church have been the ages of sacrifice. Christ did not more surely conquer the realm of demons by His Cross than the Church has conquered rebellious races--not by her magnificence or station, but by her sacrifices. Sacrifice is the sister of that catholic piety which, for the sake of others' peace, endures the thorn and chain, becomes homeless, suffers frost and night as a pilgrim that wanders through the world to find its shrines wherein humanity needs its services and it can give them. It is the root virtue of the catholic religion.
To nurture, therefore, this virtue and rouse it in action is the radical duty of the American Church. For out of this virtue alone must blossom all vital charity, philanthropy, and the great missionary enterprises of our Communion. We have gold and unused slumbering forces enough, but we lack this virtue of surrendering them to God. I am aware that [16/17] when I declare we have not sacrifice enough, I am only saying the Church has not religion enough, and that how to remove this lack and put fulness of service in its place, involves the whole method of the Church's dealing with mankind. I do not suppose that these words of mine, or any man's, will reach beyond the surface of the difficulty, since sacrifice in men is by the grace of God, the giving of which does not depend on any words; but I am sure a long step will be taken in the right direction, when everywhere is taught and blazoned forth by every prelate and priest of the Church--as men blazon and body forth the faith in creeds and sacraments--perpetually, that sacrifice is an organic law of Churchmanship, and that without it there is no religion, and no salvation. God might as soon take away the Cross from men and they still hope salvation, as men may take away their sacrifice from Him and yet avoid perdition.
It must first, then, be everywhere taught and practised that ours is a Church of sacrifice; that neither she nor her children exist on this continent for their own ease or comfort, but to forever make themselves weary and faint with sacrifice; that the Church is not a dormitory or a summer house of leisured indolence and self-indulgence, but the shadowy, awful home of Christ, still nailed by sin upon His Cross, wherein reasonable and ransomed men, inspired of His sacrifice, gain grace to become weary and heavy laden and consumed in His service. It is absurd to think that this Church can conquer this continent by wealth, wit, or numbers; for if you measure forces by such worldly standards, the odds are too much against us. The Church that conquers this continent must conquer it by the supremacy of her sacrifices. And as the Cross had greater gravity than all sin of all ages, so sacrifice, even of life and blood, weighs down resistance in our mastery. The weight of sacrifice has such subtlety and grasp to it, that we can measure its influence no more than we can the law of gravity or the quality of light; and yet it is a force that subdues nations to God.
 By this sacrifice, moreover, we give the Church her strongest protection. In these days of peace, we defend ourselves against accusations by sacrifices. Men may assail our creeds, our sacraments, our orders, but they cannot assail an act of charity, nor gainsay our devotion to the poor and ignorant Blame breeds shame against any who contradict our devotion to the weak ones of Jesus Christ. Give us a Church that bends all her regalities lowest under the stain and weakness of sinful men, to lift them up purified in blessedness, and you enthrone that Church above the strife of tongues and the force of arms.
Again; in my judgment, sooner or later, on this continent, there must be a struggle to the death between Romanism and the Reformed religions. This struggle will complicate itself with political parties, and there will arise a great confusion of interests and policies. In that struggle, the non-religious class--they who are of no religion; for a long time now rapidly increasing--will hold the balance of power. Careless of theological questions, they will throw themselves on that side which has won their good-will by its fidelity to the poor and outcast. I hold, therefore, that the last and adequate defence of our position against Rome must be prepared by faithful Churchmen in the homes of the toiling multitudes for whose welfare they sacrifice their leisure and their lives. I hold, still further, that in the same manner our Church must provide in a far-sighted policy against the possible era of revolution and bloodshed. Revolution, as in France, may strike the priest preaching court sermons, or ministering to the hierarchy of class, or lazily consuming the tithes of labor; but its sword can never touch the priest bending over the bed of pain or giving bread to the hovel, or become the helper of the masses. The gratitude of the poor, when once fairly won, is the broadest shield before the whole strain and structure of the Church. But the price by which we win a nation's gratitude is catholic sacrifice.
I venture to affirm one thing more. Catholic sacrifice is at its root an emotion of the human mind flowering into outward actions; that emotion is itself the fruit of the Divine grace in a soul, and therefore, grace is its inspiration. But this emotion thus bred in men is also evoked into action by some outward aim set before it, as the sun must call out the flower to blossom, though it carry in its bosom all vital vegetable forces. Now, the aim and object of the catholic sacrifice should always be exposed before the mind of the catholic Church. It is, in one word, a magnificent and blessed victory over this mighty American civilization. This, as Churchmen, we mean to be the crowning of our sacrifice and our adequate reward. Under a great standard, little men show great courage and achieve great victories. Would we summon the youth of our Communion to a new crusade with the old enthusiasm of martyrs?--would we tempt them to suffer and die for the Church?--show them the austere and mighty standard of your Cross, and promise them, through the path of their sacrifice and martyrdom, a final victory, not over an age, but over the ages wherein the American race shall bow themselves to the yoke of the catholic Church, their mother. More than by promises of ease, or fame, or luxury, you rouse their ingenuous minds to a great endeavor, when you show them the path to a great victory by a great sacrifice.
I am painfully conscious, my dear friend, that I have delivered on a great theme only meagre utterances. I shall now hide my weakness behind the great, strong words of the strong Son of God: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it."
My dear Friend:
WHEN the regiments of an army are scattered in garrisons, and its batteries parked in villages, and its supplies scattered over a kingdom, it is in no condition for a campaign, and to go forth to war. But let that army gather up all its resources of engine and food into its own hand, and be in serried, unbroken ranks, at the will of one man, and it is ready to do its work. In this last condition, we say the army is mobilized.
Now, then, the American Church must be mobilized; that is to say, she must put in action all her unused forces, and with her resources well in hand, advance in any required direction upon the citadel of the world and sin. The Catholic Church, in her full life, must be catholic in her adaptations; and, contrariwise, whenever she fails to reach a class or control human movement, in the measure of her inability is her lack of catholicity. In other words, the Catholic Church must be like the atmosphere, which, though always one, pours itself round and embraces all. Now, there have been those who seemed to think that they could conquer a continent by reading prayers, in a surplice, twice a day on Sundays, and celebrating the Holy Communion twelve times a year, and baptizing all the parish children on Holy days. I do not hold their views, because of the ugly fact that, in spite of all the proffered attractions of their stately [20/21] service, the multitudes have not been there to hear or see. I do not think the first step to convert an Indian is to read the Nicene Creed, as a sort of pious incantation over him; nor do I imagine that the choral service, with processional and recessional, exactly the spiritual panacea for a backwoodsman or a Mississippi boatman. In other words, I would conform the service to the mind of the heathen masses whom we approach with the Cross, if I ever expected the mind to conform to the service. But, to discuss no further the perhaps complex question of the adaptation of Church services to the American mind--many-sided in its needs and in its perversions--I shall take my stand on the firmer ground of providing agents to bring the Church in contact with the American people. The census of 1870 shows a population of about forty million souls in these United States. In the next thirty years, at former rates of increase, this multitude will increase to eighty millions, or nigh three times as many as in all Great Britain. I see from the Church Almanac of this present year, that we have less than three thousand clergy--bishops and all--and between three hundred and four hundred candidates for Orders, or actually one clergyman for every thirteen thousand souls. Now, counting a generation of clergy as well as laity to be from thirty to thirty-three years, and in the next thirty years the present generation of clergy having gone to their graves, at the present rate of our clerical increase from candidates for Orders we should have a clerical staff of about nine thousand persons to deal with eighty millions of Americans, or one clergyman to every nine thousand souls. Or, to make my point less ominous and striking, if we suppose an increase of one third more clergymen, we should then have one clergymen to, say, between six thousand and seven thousand souls. I ask, then, in the face of these statistics, when and how this Church proposes, on the present basis, to find ministers and stewards of the grace of God for this nation? I ask what chance this. Church has, on the present basis of her ministry, to furnish [21/22] her services to this ever-increasing people? I ask whether, on our present basis, the work of this Church must not inevitably fail by default of workmen? I ask, in the name of reason and common sense, how this Church can control this continent, on her present scale of effort?
But you turn on me, my friend, demanding that I should answer my own question. I answer you: the remedy lies in the speedy, sharp, strong-handed, fearless, unflinching utilizing of all our present unused forces. Undertake to use every willing man and woman for that Church service which they are able to perform; and encourage, by Church temper and legislation, all such minds to such labors.
I pass by the question of local and parish guilds of pious men and women, laboring in uncertain and ever-varying measure, not because they are not useful and inevitable, but because their use lies more remote from the heart of the question I am discussing.
I say, boldly, we must have Church Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods. I am aware that these words are like a red flag to some people, who will shout out against me the epithet that expresses for them all villanies--"Romanism!" I am not moved by that sort of clamor. I regard all such utterances--to break for once over the reserve which I proposed myself in this discussion--as senseless and silly. I feel that beyond a certain point, all such outcries should be entirely disregarded by all honest Churchmen. There is no more reason to condemn Brotherhoods, because Rome has them, than there is to condemn prayer, because Rome has her devotions. I cannot and will not conceal my contempt for all such accusations levelled against loyal Churchmen. They and their progenitors ought to be buried under the scorn of all honest men.
I repeat, then, that this Church should boldly legislate Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods, as vital and aggressive forces in her most holy service. This age and nation demand Sisterhoods--companies of pious women, wearing, for prudential [22/23] reasons easily to be seen of all men, a distinctive dress, and living together in communities. In this way the Church answers the powerful demand which women make on her to be put to service; and this, in my judgment, must be her solution of the so-called "woman question." Just here the Church satisfies the reasonable element in the claim which women are making for their so-called "rights." It is the right of a Christian woman, able and willing to be set to work in a life-long service for her Lord, to have work given her. I do not forget the pious labors of women who, bound to the world by the ties of kindred and family, do and will labor in a thousand ways for the Saviour of all women. But I choose to remember also that other class of women--always increasing in a civilization that intensifies itself--women without worldly ties, and with the world blighted and vanished from them--who desire as their sole happiness, this side the grave, to sacrifice their very souls in a perpetual Christian service. It is these women in our own Communion--our sisters in Jesus Christ, many with the power of martyrs in them--whose great power for good this Church has not yet utilized and put in action. They should be trained under skilled leaders, as our clergy are, to acts of charity; to be skilful nurses, ready to enter hospitals and encounter epidemics; to educate forsaken or vicious children; to guide their fallen sisters gathered in Magdalene asylums, and, in general, to conciliate the world to the Church by the saintliness of their Christian sacrifice. I leave to others the details of their organization and their government; but this I am driven to say, that the Church who declines to organize the forces of Christian womanhood in behalf of Jesus Christ casts away the most precious myrrh and frankincense which woman can ever bear in her hands as sacrifice to the royalty of Him whose Cross was surrounded by women, and whose most tender care amidst His unutterable agony was for that Woman, ever Virgin, who had once nurtured at her breast Her Son and God.
 I claim also for Brotherhoods, or associated orders of men, bound together by a common service of our Lord, the practice of the purest and most successful ages of the all-conquering Church. I affirm, as an immutable and unquestionable fact of history,--whatever prejudice the statement strikes,--that it was these orders of pious men who exercised a dominant influence in the conversion of Western Europe and the motherland of our Communion, England. God forbid that I should ask for Brotherhoods based on Roman ideas; for Church ideas are ample enough for the whole structure to stand on. But I ask for these orders under Church control, doing Church work, in the Church temper and devotion. I do not assume to decide the details of their discipline or government, for that belongs to the legislation of the Church herself. I merely stand in my place, and declare, with such force as God has given me, a widely-spreading sentiment of our Communion, that these orders are necessary to accomplish the great mission of the Church in these United States. Yet I may point out some laws that should regulate their movements. I omit to discuss their policy, when established in great cities, since their chief mission, for a long time to come, must lie outside of cities. In my judgment, they should establish themselves at the dominant central points of provinces as yet unsubdued to the Church. They should, through the alms of the faithful, assume to themselves land, cheap and located with reference to the future material developments of the province--enough to furnish food for the community, which they should cultivate in part by their own hands. This would not only lessen present expense, but, as Church property is inalienable, would in the course of time assure valuable properties to the Church in perpetuity. On this land they should rear a modest house--whenever it can be done--of the most enduring material, and in part by their own labor. The head of this house should always be a thoroughly educated man, in Orders. In this house, a school should always be established, able to give a [24/25] better education than the best in that province. As teachers cost nothing, the house thus approaches to support itself, and cheapness induces the public patronage. In these houses, a common library would afford that intellectual stimulus always needed by Christ's ministers, such as the solitary parish priest or missionary cannot have the means to gain. From this house, as centre, the brethren should go out into the province to do necessary work, and come back again for the comforting and society of their fellows. These houses should always be under the control of the bishop of the diocese where they exist, which would prevent the danger of centralization and the building up of an irresponsible power within the Church. Thus more work and cheaper work could be accomplished than in any other way. You ask me where men for this work are to be found. Call for them, and promise them protection and certainty in their life-long sacrifice for Jesus Christ, and true and self-denying men will not be wanting.
Pardon me, if in the face of the vast necessities of our position, I make another suggestion. I make it because this unconverted nation cries out for the exercise of all the unused forces of the Church. I say that, as an ally of our three Orders of the regular clergy, and either in connection with Brotherhoods or apart from them, as the Church may determine, we should create an Order of Christian workmen which, for want of a better name, I will call the Order of Perpetual Deacons, or, if you please, Sub-deacons. Let every bishop who has not regular clergy enough to supply the waste places of his diocese, summon and accept the services of every willing man. He should always have at the start, as a claim to acceptance, a common English education, and a zeal for the service. Put him, and every man like him, in some one parish, under the care of a thoroughly educated priest, with personal power enough to shape the character of his pupils. Let him teach them the fundamentals and outlines of the faith and practice of this Church--giving them the cardinal points of our system; force them to study in [25/26] order to read decently our liturgy; compel them to speak extemporaneously. Drop from the list all those incapable of making these attainments. Give the rest a year or so of discipline, and then send them out into the highways and by ways of the province--to enter every home not shut against them--to give the rudiments of religion--to baptize--to read the service, whenever they can gather a company, and to exhort, at least, to good works and religion. Or, if the bishops are afraid to trust any or all these men to preach their own sermons, then let the House of Bishops, or their committee, contribute, or cause to be contributed by the most serviceable preachers of our Communion, a volume of suitable sermons for every Sunday and service of the year; print them, and under such rules as will keep them out of the public's hands, put them in the hands of these men to preach. Thus this, our sermon-loving nation, and the humblest classes in it, would have sermons level to the best spoken in the highest places. These men, thoroughly in the bishop's care; should never be allowed to take service, without his consent, outside the diocese where they were created; and that consent should never be given except for the gravest reasons. If these men, as some would, become uneasy to be made priests, they should only be gratified after having passed a rigid literary and theological examination, and proved their ability to administer a parish. In these ways, my friend, I would endeavor to satisfy the vast demands which the needs of this nation are making on the Church for her services. I know the objection sure to be made--that I would fill the clerical order with illiterate men, and so degrade it. I believe with all my soul in an educated clergy. I will not qualify that belief for any one. But as I know some men well versed in Hebrew points and Greek inflections, who are mere useless timber in the Church edifice, so I call understand how there may be men unskilled in the sacred tongues who may be able, by the grace of God, to do honest work for the Church, and save some souls among this people. I am in favor of giving all such a chance.
 I will close this somewhat long letter upon a great subject by giving you, my dear friend, a practical illustration of my preceding propositions. I know a province of fifty thousand souls, in which there is not one Church parish. It is a province about ninety miles long and from fifteen to three miles broad--a cape running into the sea. Through the whole of this province lie towns and villages, not distant from each other, and averaging, say, from twenty-five hundred to four thousand souls. The people are of ancient Puritan stock, moral, and say, rather more than half of them, religious, according to the Puritan and Methodist standards. The rest have no religion except such as they inherit from nature and the uncovenanted mercies of God. It is a province that in its ecclesiastical history challenges Churchmen to bring to it the Church. I know that province well. I would begin at one end of it. In the main village, of two thousand people, say, I would buy in some central place, for a price of fifteen hundred dollars, an old-fashioned, square-built house, such as abound in those parts, with land enough about it for a vegetable garden and a churchyard. I would put, as head of that house, a priest of learning and able to tea with him should be associated two brethren or perpetual deacons. One half of that house should be turned into a school-room, which might also be used on Sundays as a chapel. Here a school for secular education should be established to help pay expenses. From here the associate brethren should go out on week days into the main village and the four outlying villages that are within a range of, say, seven miles, and canvass from house to house. They would find many families living entirely without any religion, or, at least, broken away from Puritanism. In any one of these villages, where a respectable company could be permanently gathered--and that result I should anticipate in all--a common house with land could be bought for some five hundred dollars. That house should be so altered inside as to furnish a chapel, made churchly in the very face of Puritanism. In this house the congregation [27/28] should be gathered and a Sunday school formed, and if on any Sunday the Brother was absent, the most fit layman should read service. A room or so should be left in the house for the missionary to use on his visitation. Thus there would always be a rectory and a lot of land to start with, and in due time a modest church might be built. From the start every church building in that province should be painted of some one ecclesiastical color; a vestibule, with a cross on it, should always be built to the house, to show its sacred use, and the grounds and churchyards kept carefully, to put in greater contrast the slovenliness of the usual meeting house. What with the revenue from the house-school, and the moderate contributions of well-affected persons to be de pended on in every community, and the moderate expenses of living, apart from the first outlay for buildings--not large--and from the start the enterprise would prove no expensive charity to the Church. I believe, in a few years, it could be made self-supporting. As means are provided, other centres of the Church should be established, until the whole province was reached. And what is possible in one province is possible in many.
Thus I close this letter, in which I have pleaded for the mobilization of the Church, and the utilizing of all her forces in behalf of the American people. I do not know how Churchmen will regard this problem, but sure am I that sometime the great spiritual needs of this nation will force this Church to solve it somehow.
My dear Friend:
THERE have been from the beginning in the Church diverse tendencies in respect of practice and doctrine, and such diversities are only proofs of a vigorous Church life; but when tendencies clash together in open quarrel, and mutual tolerance ceases, they become parties, and partisanship causes strength to cease. As a Churchman, I blush to confess that there are parties in this Church, and I would gladly avoid the whole matter; but as I did not create the fact, so I cannot ignore it. I shall, therefore, handle it. Now, whoever or whatever may be right or wrong in Church parties, I am sure that discourtesy and uncharity of act or speech in any one dealing with them, are clearly wrong. I cannot understand much of the temper exhibited in the discussion of Church questions, when I observe that the combatants call themselves Christians. If it be a struggle for supremacy between parties, I can understand a reason able motive in it; but if, on the one side, it be a demand for rightful privilege anyhow denied by the other side, the controversy, as it seems to me, should never have been allowed by the common sense and common justice of the Church to have arisen. The difficulty with us as a Church is not so much in antagonistic ideas as in the handling of them. Bad temper is more than bad position. The two great tendencies in this Church, now become more or less abased by partisanship, are what may be called the Continental and [29/30] Catholic. These tendencies are as old as the Reformed Church of England, and have a plain and simple history. The aim of the Anglican reformers was to include in their national Church all Protestant men of tolerably sober ideas, in order to present the strongest front to Rome. But in order to this inclusion and to avoid exclusion, it became necessary to lay foundations broad enough for men of the Continental strain of Calvin and Luther to stand upon. This they deliberately did by a skilful balancing and putting in the friendly company of the Prayer Book ideas which, if they be different sides of one and the same truth, certainly look on the surface antagonistic. In doing this, the Catholic party not only gave up some things which they would gladly have retained, but tolerated some things to exist before their altars which they would have gladly seen disappear. The men of the Continental strain, on the other hand, while disrelishing many Catholic things, agreed to live in peace with them in order that they might enjoy their assured privileges, and Reform might exist at all. The two elements contained in this act of inclusion stand over against each other in the national Prayer Book, in the Liturgy, and the Thirty-nine Articles. Upon these conditions the English Church established herself and kept her place against Rome. Thus both parties made a contract, and gained a certain advantage as the price of it. As they cannot give back the advantage, they have no right in common justice to break the contract. No man who buys a house for a price has a right to release from the price unless, at the very least, he restores the house. If he cannot, he is bound to pay. The English Reformation, then, was a compromise between two tendencies by which each, in order to enjoy its privileges, sacrificed somewhat in the name of peace. The American Church, following the same law and for substantially the same reasons, is also a compromise between Catholicism and Continentalism, which remain with us to this day. Now, each party to an agreement are entitled to all its benefits, and [30/31] are bound to all its duties. Both parties secured in this compromise the right to exist and follow out its own ideas within the canonical limits; and both parties bound themselves to leave the other its own status and its own freedom. For either now to take from the other anything thus solemnly guaranteed to it and enjoyed by it for centuries, would partake of the nature of a breach of contract, and be at variance with common justice. This rule works both ways, and is fair to all.
Thus the Prayer Book, as the formal and ratified instrument of this agreement, cannot be essentially abridged in any doctrine or practice under which the Catholic and Continental elements exist, without destroying the compromise on which the whole structure of the English and American Churches is based. For instance, the compromise would be broken if we should eliminate the doctrine of Justification by Faith from our Articles, or the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration from the office of Infant Baptism. Or, to notice that most singularly grotesque idea of so-called "alternate forms," if you grant them at the request of the Continental school in the baptismal service, there is no reason in the world why they should not be granted in all the formulas and Articles that wear a Calvinistic air, at the request of Catholics. In that case, these two things would be true: you would have the most absurd and senseless formula and mixture of irreconcilable ideas in matters ecclesiastical and theologic ever contrived by the human mind, and you would organize and make chronic quarrel and schism. The Prayer Book is the chart and plan of the Church, expressed in writing, and denotes the rights of all. Alter it, either against Catholic or Continental, and we are all at sea, and with no rights except such as the will of the majority may give us. In that case we become a mob without fixed law, and anything which the controlling party may choose to make us. That the Catholic party in our Communion is and is to be a majority is a fixed fact, which no wise man can question. I am, therefore, [31/32] amazed that the Continental party should lead the way in demanding to have that Prayer Book changed, which is the ancient and historic covenant and shield of all their privilege. Every wise Catholic stands ready to maintain for them and their interests the ancient pledge made them by our fathers, but they also demand under the same agreement the rights guaranteed to themselves. To alter the ancient compromise in the face of a majority declining their views, is, in my judgment, for the Continental party the plainest suicide. To alter the Prayer Book so as to deprive either party of their ancient privilege, is to assail the Reformation.
It is necessary, however, just at this point, that men should understand each other. I hold it to be a fact that the vast majority of the Reformers in the age of the Reformation, and of Churchmen ever since and now in this Church, were and are Catholics. They guaranteed to the minority existence and a privilege within limits, but they did not guarantee them to rule. If they could become a majority, they would have a right to rule, but only so as to leave guaranteed Catholic privilege alone. As a majority, they might develop their old articles into a hundred new forms of statement; but they could, with regard to justice or their plighted faith, neither add a single new doctrine nor take away a single Catholic one. So the Catholic side, while bound to abstain from a curtailment of their brethren's privilege, can only develop and emphasize the ancient Catholic ideas. If you ask me, in alarm, how, under this rule, there can be any Catholic advance, I answer you, that in many cases the Church can declare what may be done, where she has no right to say what shall be done. For instance, the Church would have a right to say that two lighted candles might be placed upon the altar at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, but no right to order that they should be placed there. For to compel all to this ceremony would be to take away from the Continental party their ancient and guaranteed simplicity of ritual; and for these latter to forbid this [32/33] ritual would be to deny to Catholics the expression of their historic and guaranteed dogma. Of course, whether the Church ought to establish any such ceremony at any definite time, looking well that peace be not broken nor offence given, is quite another question, with which I do not here concern myself.
I close this letter with a confession. I am a Catholic, loyal and obedient in my very soul to every canon and dogma of this Church, and willing to submit to her judgment all questions of times and changes. But I believe this Church to be at her very soul Catholic. I believe the Prayer Book to be Catholic, and to constrain men first and last with the power of a law of God to Catholicity. I believe it to be at the same time the best friend and the most powerful antagonist of the Continental party: their friend as protecting their privilege, and their antagonist as creating against them an ever-increasing majority. If their hostility to it is a matter of self-preservation, then it is suicide; if they base it on any other motive, it must be as a struggle for power. In this last aspect of the controversy, it excites neither my affection nor my fear.
My Dear Friend:
I PROPOSE to say in this letter a few things about both Ritualism and Dissent. I am aware that both these terms are inexact, but they will serve well enough to denote the things I mean. I apply the word Dissent to that non-Catholic element in our Communion which betrays its liking for those methods in the application of Christianity to men's hearts which the Dissenters proper employ. These methods show a disrelish for symbol and ritual, so far as to desire a baldness in them, not in keeping with Catholic ideas, and a habit of emphasizing certain doctrines, at their core true and churchly, which have come to be known by the term "Evangelical." Their theological basis with us is Calvinistic, and they always show an affinity with Dissenting rather than with Catholic practices. Therefore I have called this element Dissent. At the other extreme of our Church liberty, and as some think, overpassing it, the thing called Ritualism exists. Now Ritual and Ritualism are two very different things, and should by no one be confounded. There never was a Church or denomination that had not a ritual, and was not in that sense and to that extent ritualistic. Yet the word Ritualism has come to have a specific and acquired sense, very well and commonly known. It is in that sense that I shall now discuss the word and the thing behind it.
But first I wish to say that I belong to that large class of Churchmen who, while they are not able to accept Ritualism [34/35] as it has been developed among us, are yet firm advocates of the development of ritual. But we also believe that there is a right time for it and a right way in it. We are not disposed to push our wish to the alarm of even those we may consider too timid but honest Churchmen, who take alarm at what at the worst would be the shadow of the ghost of Romanism. We are content to wait for more peaceable times and more sober and just ideas on their part before we make those additions to Church ritual which are sure to come. We are in favor of anything which may make our service more beautiful and more effective, provided the change be always in the direction of Church doctrine and under law, and on no other conditions. One difficulty with Ritualism in this Church is, that it has seemed to many to set forth strange doctrines; and that many people, alarmed at it, have set themselves against everything that looks like it. To a certain extent this alarm I think to be unreasonable, and yet, as I shall presently show, Ritualism, whatever its honesty or its virtue may have been, did and does confront an actual and perplexing difficulty, which, with the wisest handling, must necessarily give it great trouble. I shall also show how it has not had a wise handling. Yet I am not the man to abuse its advocates. I believe Ritualism, so far as it is not the silly pastime of ecclesiastical fops and mountebanks, to be a solemn and earnest aspiration after a fuller and riper Church life and service. I believe the whole movement from the days of the so-called Oxford revival has indirectly added to the decency, reverence, and beauty of our public worship, and brought before the mind of the Church certain neglected but necessary doctrines and practices. Neither am I one to hastily think that any Ritualist has hid himself beneath our surplice to work Rome's service, since my mind has never been able to imagine a caitiff obscene enough to minister at an altar in order to betray it. I do not, therefore, propose to abuse Ritualism, but to examine it.
The root of Ritualism, then, is theological, and the heart [35/36] of it is its doctrine and treatment of the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist, as the Ritualist understands it, is the fact that creates his ritual. His ritual is merely the expression of his dogma; and apart from his dogma his ritual has no vital significance. You will notice that just here is revived the theological question over which the Reformers amongst each other, and all against Rome, fought out the theological battle of the Reformation. I confine myself, for obvious reasons, to that controversy in the English Church. The English Church, before the Reformation, held in the matter of the Holy Eucharist the school doctrine of Transubstantiation. That doctrine was sharply defined in scholastic formulas; everywhere preached and practised. No man could mistake it. In all the Anglo Roman Uses or Prayer Books of England it was to be read and seen as the heart, giving shape and life to all religion, and color and form to all ritual. The Use of Sarum, for instance, is full of it. The Reformers had been educated with these Prayer Books in their hands; had read service from them in the churches and cathedrals, and as men of sense and learning must be supposed to have known the drift and doctrine of them. Yet when these men were called on to prepare a new Prayer Book, in Edward VI.'s time, they left out of that book all words and ritual which by any means could teach Transubstantiation. The one vast difference between the Anglo-Roman Uses and our Prayer Book is this, that the latter leaves out Transubstantiation, and all ritual teaching it, which are in the others. I may assume, then, that the Reformers made these omissions not through ignorance, but with the plain intent that Transubstantiation should forever cease to be a doctrine of the Reformed Church. If I am answered that in the Anglican Church much of the old ritual was for a long time retained in spite of the new Prayer Book; while I have no time to measure that statement by the facts of history, I reply that whatever ancient customs, if there were any, not writ in the Prayer Book, were allowed for the sake of peace or to gain time, the Reformers did [36/37] form a Book, whose plain and pronounced teachings would always lead men away from Transubstantiation and to a very different dogma, and they were willing to abide results.
But the Reformers did put forth and announce a doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, which they said was the ancient doctrine of Christ's Church. That doctrine, as opposed to Rome, is simply this: Rome says that the bread and wine, after consecration, are the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and then tells us how they are so. Her how is her dogma of Transubstantiation. We also, that is the Church, say that the consecrated bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ; but we refuse to define the how of this awful mystery, and reject the Roman definition of it. Thus every loyal Churchman must affirm with his Church, and deny with her what she affirms or denies; and the man who will not either way is not loyal.
But now, as I before mentioned, the inherent difficulty in Ritualism lies just here; that even in endeavoring honestly to symbolize the Anglican doctrine of the Body and Blood, it may symbolize the Roman. Here, in my judgment, will always be the great difficulty in any Catholic modifications of the ritual of the altar; the difficulty of symbolizing a doctrine that approaches another and yet not teach the other. I confess to think that the limitations in this ritual, so long as we hold our ancient dogma, must be both in quantity and quality. A too elaborate ritual, or one with Latin vices in it, would misdirect the minds of the faithful into the Roman error, which has this advantage toward controlling minds in this, that the Roman statement has more definiteness and concreteness than the Anglican has. From all which it follows that Ritualism must always, and so far without blame, confront a great difficulty which only the Church, by the grace of God, can overcome. But in the face of this difficulty Ritualism has laid another heavy burden on its own shoulders, for which it must take the consequences. It has introduced in the ritual of the altar many of those very rites and ceremonies [37/38] which were practised in England before the Reformation, and which the Reformers put away from the Church. In this it assumes the right to judge the Reformation and go contrary to it. In this it also contradicts the will and temper of our Communion, and in this it becomes a strange doctrine to be abated by the firm hand of law, as ill-timed, ill-judged, against Reform, against true Catholicity, and the standards of our Communion.
I will willingly grant to Ritualists all that they may demand for themselves as self-sacrificing, loyal, catholic men; but I must yet declare their mistakes; which are, that they have flung themselves in the face of some of the most wide spread and deep-reaching affections of Churchmen by assailing the Fathers of the Reformation, by sneering at their work, refusing to make allowance for the difficulties under which they wrought, refusing all sympathy with the Protestantism of our Communion, and finally by assuming a ritual foreign to this Church and alarming to many Churchmen. It has not lacked courage nor ability; but it has lacked tact and power to weigh the value of times and methods as they concern the American people. It has clearly shown itself incapable of controlling the mind of the American Church, and it has no root nor organic life in our Communion. Ritual is ever the blossom toward God of the life of the Church. The Use of Sarum was the flower of the Saxon and Norman piety, and contained a ritual fashioned by men who had given through ages their all of service in a sublime devotion to the Catholic religion. But how can a foreign ritual express the aspirations of any national Church? American ritual in its advance must be the outward expression of the inner life of our Church and the flowering of our devotion. The men who would wear scarlet before the altar must win that right by wearing first before the people the sackcloth of humility and sacrifice for the people. True ritual is not the scaffolding around the Church, but the beautiful blossom growing out of the heart of the Church.
 As to the Dissenters in our Communion, we may simply remark, that when they stand within canonical law, they are to be let go their own way; that when they go outside that law, they are to be without partiality and with gravity and a firm hand repressed. Thus Church law applied without discrimination and without passion to Church parties pressing wilfully against it, is our safety against heresy and schism. Under equal law, rightly administered, all parties, conscious of the security of their own rights and relieved from apprehension of strange doctrines coming in upon them like a flood, would subside into inaction and gradually disappear. In treating both Ritualism and Dissent, this Church, which has been patient, must be also vigorous. The time has now come when movements, having been weighed, must be sentenced.
My Dear Friend:
I PROPOSE in this letter to say some things about Bishops and Dioceses. I speak always of Bishops with the greatest embarrassment, both because they are above me or my criticism, and because I might work harm on those below me in the order of the Church. For all wise Churchmen see that the Bishop's throne, in this nation of levellers and democrats, must be surrounded by the reverence and obedience of the faithful, and that no true Churchman can afford, as he would avoid treason against spiritual things, to abase its loftiness or to smirch its glory by any words. The Bishop's office is a spiritual throne always established in honor in all ages of the Church; and is over both priest and people. And yet I may without offence affirm that neither the Bishop nor his throne are above God--that is to say, above truth, justice, right, which are His will, nor can they ever cease to be judged by His will, however men may choose to refrain in silence. On the contrary, in His sight, only so long as that throne is based on these virtues, is it a true throne at all. On any other basis it is a throne of an antichrist. It is the claim, therefore, of the Church upon a Bishop, that in the measure of the preëminency of his station should be the preëminency of his virtues. Great office demands great officers; and in the Church balances greatness is always Christlikeness. I venture also to suggest that any lack or taint or aberration from justice the most exact, in the [40/41] administration of affairs, great or small, in our greatest Church office, inflicts a wound on the Church, not measured in its greatness by the affair itself, but always by the greatness of the office from which the act proceeds. It is our great office that makes most or mars most in the Church. I do not choose to know or say that there ever have been or ever will be any such dangerous and fatal aberrations in our Communion. I, however, defend my right to admit the possibility of such, not only by appealing to the quality of human nature itself, and by a recollection of what has happened in the Latin obedience, but by remembering for an instance that there have been in our mother Church of England such a man as Cartwright of Chester.
I say thus much with the profoundest deference and loyalty to the great office on which I remark--I, a helplesss voice, a nothing, if you please--in a great system of control and subordination, in order to declare what I am sure many reflecting men think, that the welfare of the Church, in all time, depends upon this great office, lifted by the reverent affection of Churchmen above all public passion or need of indirection and time serving, enacting pure, simple justice in all things, and on all persons, always. I am impelled to say thus much because the attempt will be made to increase the power of this office, already great. I do not object to this being done; but irresponsible or extensive power has clearly its danger. We must set over against this danger as remedy the thorough conviction among all orders of men in this Church, that the exercise of this power, except by the rule of absolute justice for all, is an act which, beyond most others, goes to destroy the strength and life of this Church. I leave the question of law to be applied even to this office, to the wit and churchmanship of others.
I also am in favor of small Dioceses. I am in favor of them because in large Dioceses the Bishop cannot do his work. There is no Bishop in this Church known to me, who tries to do his work, who is not being surely destroyed, I [41/42] may almost say murdered, by it. Our system destroys the very men whose experience and whose talents are the most valuable to us. Overworked, and suffering the pain of sensitive and conscientious natures, who see the work growing on their hands and themselves growing weak under their burdens, I cannot imagine a more life-destroying position than that which many of our fathers in God occupy. I do not suggest how far Assistant Bishops are in harmony with ancient practice, but the system seems to me, as one man, so far as I have been able to observe it, fraught with evils and inexpedient. The relief must therefore be sought in small Dioceses. In them the Bishop is free for his own plan of work, can do it, and, above all, can put himself at the head of it as the chief and foremost missionary and workman of his province. He thus conforms to the ancient Catholic custom to go rather than send.
It will be objected that in small Dioceses, with meagre revenues, the office of Bishop would be degraded by poverty and sordidness. But poverty did not degrade our blessed Lord, and surely the servant is not above his Master, nor the disciple above his Lord. I am aware that the world bases the dignity of a Bishop upon his outward state--that Rome does so, and the Erastian, Hanoverian materialism, and greed of certain ages of the English Church, has affirmed the same thing. But I am also aware that all the purer and holier ages of the Church have declared, with the emphasis of the loftiest sacrifice and self-surrender, the exactly opposite doctrine; voiced it in the ears of all men that the dignity and eminency of a Bishop does not lie in the purity of his lawn or the elegance of his palace, but in the preëminency of his devotion and self-surrender to his Lord, throned in that Church wherein he is under Him a Bishop. But to argue the question on the lower plane of these men's objection,--and I answer that the Bishop who makes himself a beloved Father in the homes of the multitudes of his Diocese will never lack suitable revenue.
 I therefore believe in small Dioceses. If you ask me what I consider the chief qualifications of a Bishop of one of these American Dioceses, I answer you with an outward levity, which I do not wish should conceal my real sense of the gravity of the matter, that they are, in my judgment, two--legs and a backbone, legs to carry him into his post of duty, and backbone to keep him bolt upright in filling it.
"To this General I answered, with another more true, that I never did attempt to bring the temporal power under the Clergy, nor to free the Clergy from being under it; but I do freely confess I did labor all I could to preserve poor clergymen from some laymen's oppression which lay heavy on them. And de viri laica hath been an old and an urgent and too just a complaint; ... and assuring myself that God did not raise me to that place of eminency to sit still, see his service neglected, and his ministers discountenanced; nay, sometimes little better than trampled on. And my standing thus to the Clergy and their just grievances is not the least cause of my present condition."--Archbishop Laud's Defence, State Trials.
My dear Friend:
I PROPOSE now to ask and answer the question Whether a priest in this Church be a priest or no? You may wonder at the question, but the fact is stranger, that all through our Communion self-willed and selfish people are answering "No." I answer, in the name of my order, to all men, "Yes." I shall discuss this matter with more feeling, per haps, than any other, not merely because it is hardly second to any other, but because it affects my order--that order, with a great past to it and with a great future for it, whose very existence I see threatened by the disorders of the times. For me, every priest is a brother, and whatever touches him reaches me also. Whatever degrades my order lays a burden on my very soul. I and my brethren are priests, and we do not intend to cease to be so. We are threatened with destruction. I say, and I will prove it, that as Rome has [44/45] destroyed Bishops, by crushing them under the centralized tyranny of the Roman Curia, so in this Church the attempt is made to destroy the priesthood under the heel of American self-will and insubordination.
What now, in our Church and by Church law, is a priest? He is a man consecrated and set apart, and lifted up to a great and holy office--as all other men are not, to do certain things for God which other men cannot; and to make him a priest it is not sufficient to be aided by any human force, but we invoke the very aid of Almighty God, given, as we believe, through the holy and apostolic benediction of one whom we call a successor of the Apostles. By the Church dogma, therefore, it is no light or common thing to make any man a priest, nor is it other than a sober thing to destroy a priest when made. But in proportion as a priest is hindered from his work he is destroyed. I can very easily understand how the Puritan, who creates his minister, can logically destroy him, and how, since the creator is always greater than his creature, the same man may degrade his servant under his own selfish mastery, and regard the man who ministers to him in spiritual things as his serf and vassal. But whoever acts thus in this Communion gives the lie to the doctrine of Christ's Church. Was it ever heard that Christ's priest was a helot? Was it ever taught that a priest, who is lifted in spiritual things above other men, was to be made in the Catholic Church, the victim and the slave of other men's vulgarity, wealth, or power? That doctrine would destroy the priesthood, and by consequence the Church, which cannot exist without a priesthood. A great outcry has been made sometimes about priestcraft or the tyranny of the priests over the people. The order of priests, sprung generally from the people, have always been the friend of the people. It was not priests, but a centralized power crushing down priests also, which in Roman lands forced an unwilling priesthood to do its will, and enacted priestcraft. But is there not greater danger in our Communion from laycraft than from [44/45] priestcraft? Consider the situation an instant. On the one side stands a great, strong, self-willed, sometimes arbitrary and passionate civilization, impatient of restraint and resolute to have its way. It possesses all wealth, all secular machinery, like the public press; almost all the land and the material resources of the realm; and its numbers are forty millions. On the other side stand three thousand priests. They are isolated in so great a multitude, are almost always poor, have no hand in what buys or wields physical power, are unarmed by their own religion, which teaches them priests are sworn to serve the people, and whenever they give over serving them, become secular, and lose the sympathy of their own order. Who are these men, to lord it over this nation or this Church? Where are the resources and the machinery of these possible tyrants? Where is housed the hidden enginery of these our masters, whose lives are spent at the sick-bed, at the font, at the altar? Who are these paupers that can put their feet on the neck of wealth and lord it over the lords of our railways, our commerce, our manufactures, our agriculture,--over the all of the nation? The very idea is an absurdity. But, on the other hand, I say never a priesthood stood in a more difficult and dangerous position than ours. Our whole Church system is voluntary, and a priest can control only by his personal qualities, and is strong only in his people's love. But suppose, as a priest of the truth, he sets himself against wrong or sin in his people in any practical way? Honest or conscientious Churchmen may leave him alone in peace to preach his Gospel, and practise it too; but how about the vulgar, or malicious, or lying residue? If they do not crucify him it is only because they cannot find the nails and a cross; and there are very clever executioners in this realm. This Church is to-day a polyglot collection from all Communions, and while I grant the loyal Churchmanship of many, the Puritan and dissenting self-will which regards a priest as a hireling, not seldom wounds the peace and power of our order. I say, then, suppose a priest [46/47] sets himself squarely against an actual and current sin, like drunkenness, for instance; where is his protection if the drunkards of his parish choose to hunt him? Besides, no man who has studied American civilization but knows that great lack is a conservative element, able in times of popular passion to gainsay and withstand that passion for the people's good. Suppose passion based on a wrong or sin is rife in our parishes; what shall we do? Shall we bend before it like reeds in the wind? Then we betray our Lord. Shall the passion control our lips? Who is our master, passion or Christ? Shall we withstand it, this powerful master of the public will, we paupers and non-combatants, as the world fights its battles--we alone against the multitude? Count me the chances that we do not go under. Find me a power that protects us in doing our duty. Shall we sacrifice ourselves like men and martyrs? Too often the very sympathy of our own household of the faith would be denied to us. I say we priests are the line soldiers of the Church, put against a civilization unruly and dangerous in a thousand ways. It is we who must withstand sin, pushing against us in innumerable shapes and agencies. There is only one protection for us. In doing our duty the whole power of the Church must be behind us to protect us.
I argue now without veil or blind over my words for the protection of the clergy in their bounden duty. My proposition is this: if the clergy have too many rights, abridge them; but whatever rights they are entitled to must be guaranteed and maintained for them by the whole power of the Church. Even the criminals in your States' prisons have their rights protected for them. Have the clergy no rights and no protection for them? I think this a fair, honest claim before men and angels. I hesitate less to make it, because in defending clerical rights we defend both the rights of the bishops and the rights of the laity. The bishop's throne, by its very position, is lifted above the popular strife and passion, and is protected not more by the [47/48] respect of the laity than by the reverence of the clergy who, knowing the necessity for its elevation and dignity as an integral part of the Church, have only the desire to honor and protect it. The priesthood has always been the body-guard around the throne to keep harm and irreverence away from it. Let this American civilization trample down the priesthood into helplessness, and it will next assault the bishop's throne itself. In the abasement of its natural protectors the result is easily foreseen.
In the next place it is vital to the welfare of a Christian laity that the priesthood be protected, and without it the laity must be defrauded of their dearest rights. For it is the chief right of the laity to have the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. The very fact that there are an order of men established to preach that Gospel to them proves that these men are the best able to preach that Gospel to them, or what need of priests at all? But suppose you reduce the priesthood to that subserviency, wherein they can only repeat just what the laity will, and nothing more; then their Gospel is no longer of Jesus Christ but of John, William, and the churchwardens, who may be passable Christians, but certainly not instead of the Lord from heaven. And suppose in this subserviency popular passions fill the air? Then the priest repeating them, advocates the very cause of demons. Or suppose ten controlling men in a parish decide their pastor's teaching. The residue of the flock will thus be deprived of their natural right and blessing, and have lost their pastor to a minority. When you put a padlock on a priest's lips you make him worse than a dumb dog, a spaniel flaunting a badge of shame before the world. Is this the normal condition of Christ's ministers? Thus will the Word of God have free course amongst us? Is this the Catholic Church that fights her ghostly battle, with soldiers smarting in battle line, under the whips of vulgarity and brute power? You must read the history of the Church eighteen centuries back ward before you can answer "Yes."
 I grant you we have, to a large extent, a noble and generous laity to deal with; men who understand that to dishonor and trample a priest dishonors and tramples them, and they would blush to do a discourteous act to their minister; but I am free to say that we priests often find a very different class from these. I do not know how they came in this Church; but I know they are here, and that they work us much mischief. They are very small in a Diocesan Convention, where gentlemen gather, but they are very great in small parishes among the hills, which they fancy they carry in their pockets or own as a family appanage or a private chapel of their vulgarity and wilfulness. The bishop may not know them, but his priests do,----know them in years of personal discomfort and silent disgust; know them as clog-wheels on parish progress, and miasma in the very soul of parish life and peace; popes over priests in a Church who has rejected even the Pope of Rome. As I do not intend to beat the air in this matter, I will describe to you the serfdom which these men endeavor to enforce upon our clergy. In some country parish, some man, great as a village politician, or with money enough to live in a big house, got anyhow but honestly, hires a front pew in the parish church, and is a communicant. He is also an increasing drunkard, and his case becomes a scandal in the town, that is injuring the Church. The priest hears of it soon enough, and at once arises the question of his duty. He has had experience in such matters. Therefore his little children and a delicately nurtured wife and his own poverty, and his sensitive nature shrinking away from controversy, tempt him to silence. Why should he not keep his mouth and his parish too? He looks around for a way of escape from duty. Very soon he finds that if he would not betray his Lord and break his oath, he must do his duty. Therefore some day, with great tenderness and delicacy, he speaks privately to the man, and beseeches him, for his own and the Church's sake, to change his habits. If the man chooses to lie, he denies the charge; [49/50] if he is a bully, he rails at his rector; if he is a sneak, as he is like to be, he goes away in what looks like silence to prepare his revenge. He is intermarried with other families in the parish, and he has business relations with others; while the priest's money has gone into the Lord's service, and his business is to save souls, and he cannot marry everybody. He looks around for the stuff to make a party in the parish, and is not over nice as to its cleanliness or godliness. If he can find man or woman ready for mischief, he strikes hands with them. He whispers, or gets it whispered, by his wife, perhaps, among her gossips, that the minister is not all he should be. A new flood of criticisms, after Morning Service, when the people are leaving church, inundates the parish. It is wonderful what a defective man the rector has suddenly grown to be. He is, or he is not, a thousand lamentable things. The parish emotion, well nursed, deepens. Ancient women, not versed in nurseries, and, by ancient custom, judges and overseers of only a priest in orders, very useful in works that please them by a release from the monotony of their solitary and barren lives, try the case at tea-table, and render a verdict against the criminal. He snuffs calamity in the very air. It is his coming reward for a duty which he has done. The drunkard has made his party, and all goes well. When time is full, the bishop of that diocese is honored by a letter signed by this influential drunkard and the most available malcontents, which is to the effect that they regret to say that the Rev. Mr. ------------, their rector, though a very well meaning man, has his peculiarities which, while they might be passed by in other places, have given great dissatisfaction in that parish; that in consequence his ministrations are not acceptable to a very respectable portion of his parishioners, and that therefore, if the bishop will suggest the state of the case to the rector, he would, with a natural delicacy, resign, or, perhaps, the bishop could find him some other parish where his services would be more acceptable, as his influence with them is gone. The suggestion is perhaps [50/51] made that if he does not go, his stay will be the death of that particular parish everlastingly.
The plan has worked, so far, favorably. A bad man has made a party in a good man's parish because he would not be a base man too, and now has the face to demand that an innocent man shall suffer for his own rascality. In other words, the man who did not do the mischief is called on by the malefactor to pay for it. The bishop is overburdened with his labors and cannot visit the parish, and here is a letter accusing his priest. Perhaps he sends the letter, or conveys the substance of it, with great delicacy, to the accused. The poor man is humiliated by the accusation, and there is sorrow in the rectory among the little children and women. It looks as though they must find new friends and a new home. If the rector stays, he must face a storm if he goes, he carries with him a sense of a great wrong; and if of a weak nature, he becomes cowed; and a perpetual bribe to time-serving and selfishness, to the neglect of duty, in the shape of a bitter memory, stands ever after before his soul. If he finds another parish, or his bishop finds one for him, and he goes away, he is a sufferer and the parish too, and a premium is ever after put on disorder in the parish. If he goes, he has this not over-perfect consolation, viz., if he had shut his mouth and kept his parish, he would have been a caitiff; he opened his mouth and did his duty, and he made himself a martyr. In a case like that, I say, it would be better for all parties that the man should be kept in his place, if it took the whole power of the Church to do it and a General Council to legislate it. A public example, in every diocese, would very soon discourage the lazzaroni of both sexes who breed their rector trouble. Men may criticise my story and the picture of wrong I have written in it; but I can find them many priests who suffered it.
If men say that these wrongs are a part of the heaviness of that Cross which a priest takes up at his consecration, or in other words, that they are part of the inherent sufferings [51/52] of his office, I take plain issue against the statement. Christ's Church has never been able to make a priest's yoke of service easy, and no priest expects it; but she has always protested against unnecessary burdens, and has protected her servants as she best could. To say that the Church willingly allows her priests to suffer to her own harm when she could relieve them, would be to say that the Church intentionally burdens her own work and connives at the destruction of her own mission. The Church that would not protect her own priests would come to lack priests to protect. The men of this Church, looking to orders, or in them, are not afraid of poverty, hard work, and obscurity, for all these they are ready for; but they are shrinking away from the vulgar tyranny and unchurchly domination of men put under them by Church law, and are unwilling to be the slaves of wealth, or family, or anything but the Cross of their one Lord and Master. Every mistreated priest helps diminish the priesthood.
But I have held back the strongest argument till the last. I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that it is as much against common justice as the Word of God, that any man should be obliged to serve two masters. In the actual condition of affairs at present, with us, a priest is responsible both to his parish and to his bishop. I say we have a right to be responsible to only one. At present the vestry elect the rector, and not the bishop. I will not complicate the plain issue that I am making by suggesting any change in this respect; but I do say that so long as this is the custom the bishop has it in his power to prevent this wrong of a double mastership. He can do it by establishing the rule in his diocese, that a rector, once elected to his place, shall be kept there, until it can be plainly shown by legal and sufficient proofs that he is unfit to fill his place, or has been guilty of maladversion in his office. If this be a hardship to the parishes, it only remains for them to be more careful in their elections. A parish and its rector are bound together in a [52/53] solemn and binding relation that resembles marriage, and so this Church regards it. The marriage tie under Catholic law is never broken easily. The bishop, in his own diocese, is a court of eminent domain to preserve the sanctity of the aforesaid contract, and to prevent the scandal of frequent and disorderly clerical divorce from parishes.
You ask me the remedy for this dangerous scandal. I answer you briefly, and with a reticence which the as yet unshaped determination of my order requires of me. But I tell you this, that we do not expect, or wish, that our bishops, already overburdened, should fight this battle for us. We are able, under their permission, and having the sympathy of all honest laymen, to protect ourselves. The time is not ripe, and perhaps the evil has not yet reached the point when further endurance becomes destruction. But if there arises no sooner remedy, and, when the day comes, the General Council should be asked to declare it to be the sense of the American Church, that the priesthood should be protected in their rights by the whole power of the Church, and call upon all its officers to see that this be done. Thus we should be put, at once, on the vantage ground of this supreme decision and public Church sentiment, fairly invoked, would, I think, do the rest. If this refuge failed us, there is one other way, weary, but certain, here unmentionable, in which obeying law as submissive and loyal priests, I think we may reach our point in spite of every obstacle. I may not live to see it, but the time will come when, in this Communion, a wrong done to the obscurest priest, in the obscurest wilderness, will, if needs be, be resented by the whole wit, wealth, and strength of this Church.
I have written these words, impelled by a strong sense of their necessity, and I leave their accuracy to the especial judgment of my order. I have written them in behalf of as honest and self-sacrificing a body of men as are to be found on this continent. I have written them in behalf of the defenceless against the armed, of the meek against the [53/54] proud, of the servants of Jesus Christ against the vulgarity and passion of this present world. I have written them in behalf of justice, which is the privilege of every man, and of right, which is the crown of every Church; and I have written them in the name of the unseen agony and suffering of many pious men. I invoke for them only fair weight and measure, and in ending them, I appeal submissively to Him who judges righteously priests and their cause. Finally, I claim from all honorable and Christian men, of whatever place in our Communion, assent to this simple proposition, "A priest in this Church is a priest of the Church of God."
My dear Friend:
I WISH to end these letters to you by pointing out the possible relations of the Church to the prison system of the United States. I say possible relations, because as yet, so far as I know, the Church has made no special effort to bring under her blessed influences the unfortunates who fill our prisons. I count myself happy in such a Close, since how ever I may have erred in what I have already written (and my sins of ignorance may God forgive), I cannot be wrong in urging Church folk to a wiser and broader care for the prisoners; and I remember how it is our Lord, upon His judgment-seat, who remembers it for our eternal blessing, "I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me." I hold also and always to the proposition that, in so far as the Church fails to reach any class of unfortunates in this land, she fails to be catholic.
The criminals of the United States who reach a prison are a great and ever-increasing multitude. I believe that many of them are the victims of circumstances and misfortunes; but whatever they are, they are for the most part rightly punished for plain violation of law. I am not one of those who weakly think that punishment should be remitted, and that a man who offends law should be allowed to escape law. But I know (for this is the universal testimony [55/56] of the men who have studied the matter) that in the criminals who fill our prisons crime has become a disease, and they are to be treated like every other sick patient--scientifically. Of course that which is scientific is systematic. Now the so called prison system of the United States is actually no system at all, but a blind and hopeless mistreatment of the criminal, which makes him worse than he was before. I may grant that in certain American prisons, good and wise men--as far as they are allowed by existing laws--labor success fully for the reformation of the prisoner. But the exception only proves the rule. I am bold to say, that in nine tenths of the prisons, the state of things there existing makes crime chronic, and the prisoner worse when he leaves than when he entered their walls. My authority is the undivided testimony of all the philanthropic men who have studied the workings of our prison system. I have no time to show you how this state of things comes to exist. You will find in the admirable reports of the Prison Association of New York ample proof and explanation of what I allege. Our prison system, therefore, as it exists, will be destroyed, and ought to be. It is itself a crime and an affront to the sense and justice of the whole nation. It will be destroyed, for two reasons chiefly 1st, because it is foolishly expensive, and must as the fruit of its own indecencies become more so, until the public will destroy it because they have to pay for it beyond all reason and for no use; 2d, because it clearly fails to reform the criminal. As fast as the old system is destroyed, the new system--which rests upon a truly scientific basis--will be established in its place. For you may know (thanks to the pious labors of brave men here and in Europe) that there has grown up in Christendom a science of prison discipline, founded on the inductive process, almost as exact as the science of chemistry or any other science. That science applies to the disease of imprisoned crime medicines--medicines that affect the will, mind, conscience of the criminal, strengthening in him what is morally [56/57] weak, and weakening in him what is immorally strong. I point you to the so-called Irish system in full explanation and defence of what I say. In Ireland, a convict discharged, under the Irish system, has such faith reposed in him by the public that it hires him without hesitation. Here, a discharged convict, when known as such, cannot often find employment; nor when he is employed, does he turn out well. I and my friends have tried employing them, and are not pleased with the results. We are convinced that our prison system makes crime chronic in the criminal. If that costly system does that, it should be made to perish. It is already doomed by the singularly harmonious verdict of the men of every party and religion who have studied it. But when the honest men of this nation have destroyed the old system, they will put in its place the scientific one. Where that change is made, the new system will call for prison chaplains, able to carry it out. But most of the clergy and ministers of the United States are profoundly ignorant of prison science. It is not, so far as known to me, taught in any theological school either of Church or sect. It follows, therefore, that if this Church is wise, she will take care to occupy this wide field of philanthropy soon to be opened for her. She can certainly do this, if she can educate, at least, a portion of her clergy in prison science; for then she can offer the State educated men to fill a post for which those ignorant of that science are utterly unfit; for the apathy of the sects in this matter would leave her without competitors. The spiritual control of the prisons of this nation by this Church would give her a power more than parochial and hardly less than national. I leave the matter of this suggestion to be carefully weighed by those whom it most concerns. It is to me plainly a grave matter. I do not hesitate to say that prison science should be taught in all our theological schools as a part of the education of every candidate for Orders; that the professors should point out to their students this opening and shining path of Christian [57/58] sacrifice, and that organized effort should be made by the Church authorities to give theological students desiring it, opportunity to learn by experience the actual duties and labors of a prison chaplain. So grave is this matter in its present, and especially its future aspects, that it might not be below the dignity of our coming Council to appoint a committee to examine and report on Church work as related to the prison system of the United States.
I have thus written, my dear friend, these letters for the great love I bear you and our Holy Mother, the Church. Peace be to her and hers, in all places and through all ages! Amen.