THE LIVING CHURCH COMPANY.
The Faith is one.
But it is one in its presentation much more literally than in its reception by particular minds. SS. Peter and Paul believed the Faith as it was delivered to them of the Holy Ghost, but it suggests no argument against the unity of it that it took on in one mind a Pauline, and in the other a Petrine, type. The pure humanness of its perception made nought against the absolute divineness of its delivery, but rather illustrated the fact that when God unveils Himself to our vision He does not take away our eye-sight, but permits each eye to look conformably to its powers and methods of looking.
The truth seen by St. Paul was the very truth seen by St. Peter. The angle of vision differed--the perspective differed--the power of insight differed; but the differences did not by any law of necessity lead to division and alienation. The Christian result of differences is charity, not anathema.
But who dare count without a blush the centuries of conflict which the Church has suffered because the Paulines could not harmonize with the Petrines!--because men would quarrel over their different methods of looking at the immutably one and eternally unchangeable fair form of heavenly truth!
How many an inquisitor, popish or protestant, has tried to thumbscrew everybody into his way of thinking!
And how signally have they all and always failed to accomplish their infatuation!
Just at this epoch in the history of our American Church there is a growing impression that our tribulations as between "schools" may not after all involve so much the essence of the Faith as the ways of looking at it, and that on the whole it would be wise and well to lay aside all thumbscrews and all thought of them; recognize the honest loyalty of all who claim to be honestly loyal to the Church, the Creeds, and the Book; and turn our attention somewhat more manfully to the real enemy.
This impression, amounting almost to a conviction, has softened the acerbity of feeling and modified the tone of denunciation which used to characterize zealous partizanship.
Magnanimity is in the air.
Perceptibly the school which is usually styled "Catholic" shares the blessedness of this era of good feeling.
Many fruits of the Tractarian epoch have arrested attention and challenged admiration. In spite of fears and prejudices which can easily be forgiven, many have seen that the portentous cloud was big with blessings for the Church, and in view of the remarkable results have been disposed to exclaim--O, si sic omnes!
But the question that cries halt to their gathering appreciation is--Into what ocean will this beautiful stream empty at last?
Then comes the ominous suggestion of the mare Romanum!
Meanwhile the stream makes no trend in that direction. It flows through all our borders, beautifying, fertilizing, making many a wilderness blossom as the rose.
Those who were expected to go, stay.
They work, pray, build churches, plant schools, found religious orders, create missions, write books, conduct hospitals, preach the Gospel to the poor and the Gospel to the rich, and in a variety of ways show that they are at home and intend to stay there.
Reaction from Protestant error does not necessarily lead to Rome. That reaction may assume one of three shapes. It may conduct the mind to Rome as it did Newman's, or to scepticism as it did his brother's, or to Catholicity as it did Palmer's.
Dr. Ewer as a writer has seen and made many to see most clearly this matter of reaction. He has walked very bravely along that third way when it was a via dolorosa, and now very modestly when it is an attractive path to thousands. His papers which follow, and which are published in this shape in response to the urgency of many demands, show his happy way of putting the principle of that system which not only saves from Rome but delivers from unbelief. They will be widely read, and it is the hope that they will prove a real eirenicon. Peace is practicable on the earth to men of good-will. The bitterness of party is the token that charity has expired, and that is even a sorer calamity than heresy.
But if we are capable of retaining the present calmness of spirit, and can look each other in the face for awhile without anger, we shall certainly find reasons for more mutual confidence. The first illusion that will he dispelled is the idea of Paul endeavoring to stop Peter's mouth by forcible repression, a policy that has not succeeded either in this or in the old country. Lord Penzance's court tremblingly awaits its merited doom. Instead of forcible repression, the nobler thought of a fraternal recognition of loyal men, whatever the shade of their stoles, will occupy the mind, and the blessing of peace will descend like the dew upon Israel.
Finally and forever, also, will disappear the hallucination that there is but one logical terminus for a true Catholic. Why, the characteristics of the Oxford movement are after all discoverable throughout the entire Protestant world.
If you view it as a reaction from the one-sided fatalism of Genevan heresy, it is working its way silently hut surely among the Calvinistic bodies.
Considered as a revolutionary protest against baldness and bad taste in the forms of worship and against the consequent irreverence, it has made its deep impression upon non-liturgical Christians.
As a revival of definite method in the cultivation of holiness, it has done almost as much for them as for us.
It supplies the English-speaking world to-day with a devotional literature.
Its indirect rays of influence penetrate the spiritual life of modern times) and give a "Catholic" tone and color in many quarters where their presence would be least suspected.
The terminus ad quem of all these drifts, seen without as well as within our borders, is not on the banks of the Tiber, but where "Canterbury bells are ringing." It is "this Church," One, Catholic, Apostolic.
The surest way to decide this question of terminus is to go back to the fons et origo of the Anglican Church. The Protestant Reformation was in reality the Catholic Restoration.
It was Primitive Catholicity built up again on the ruins of Papal Despotism.
If there is one principle upon which the fathers of the Reformation are agreed, it is that the Reformed Church must recognize the binding obligation of Catholic Belief and Usage. Cranmer, Ridley, Jewell, Laud, Usher, Hammond, Hooker, Beveridge, Bull, Thorndyke,--these and many others of the illustrious roll who might be named, sound one note of entire concord upon this point. Thus wrote Bishop Beveridge: "When this our English Church, through long communion with the Roman Church, had contracted like stains with her, from which it was necessary that it should be cleansed, they who took that excellent and very necessary work in hand, fearing that they, like others, might rush from one extreme to the other, removed indeed those things, as well doctrines as ceremonies, which the Roman Church had newly and insensibly superinduced, and, as was fit, abrogated them utterly." That was clean work--the Romanism was torn up, root and branch. But was Catholicity torn up with it? The good Bishop proceeds: "Yet, notwithstanding, whatsoever things had been at all times believed and observed [1. The Faith; 2. The Customs.] by all Churches in all places, those things they most religiously took care not so to abolish with them. * * * Hence therefore these first reformers of this particular Church directed the whole line of that reformation, which they undertook, according to the rule of the whole or Universal Church, casting away those things only which had been either unheard of, or rejected, by the Universal Church, but most religiously retaining those which they saw equally corroborated by the consent of the Universal Church."
That was the principle of the English Reformation. Nothing more, certainly; but, as distinctly, nothing less. To be true to that, one is perforce under obligation to be, in sympathy with all that is Catholic in doctrine and visage. On the other hand, he is not a good English Protestant who is willing to be Catholic only up to some terminus and who rejects all that is beyond that, notwithstanding this is confessedly as truly Catholic as that. The best exponents of the Reformation are they who in theory, and, so far as the Church permits them, in practice, are governed by the fundamental principle of the Reformation. To be content with less than all is to adopt another principle--a principle that fought hard to gain the day in England and left some scars on the Church. The very notion of Catholicity is that one must accept the whole truth. To be half a Catholic is to be no Catholic at all.
The principle of the Anglican Reformation was that of Catholic Restoration. Such a principle must in the very nature of the case have permanent and abiding force. If Catholic Faith and Usage be indeed obligatory, as the Anglican Fathers held and maintained, then Catholic Restoration is the duty so long as anything is to be restored which ought to be restored. The Catholic doctrine of Episcopal Parity was restored, and papal supremacy fell to the ground. The Catholic Practice of Communion in Both Kinds was restored, and the fallacy of the Roman practice was overthrown. If the blessed process of restoration was marred, impeded, set back by uncatholic influences emanating from the continent, so that while Roman error was eliminated any Protestant error was grafted on, then the duty of restoration, under obedience to law and by legitimate and honorable processes, is the bounden duty of every true son of the Anglican Reformation.
As charity helps men of different types to see eye to eye, they will find it easy to unite hand with hand in the laudable effort of the Church to restore to herself and to her children all that belonged to her that was Catholic and all that was taken from her by the hands of her enemies.
It is pleasant to learn from Bishop Huntington that it will quiet hundreds or thousands of minds to be sure that all there is or will be asked is the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. They may feel perfectly sure, because that Book goes too far back to be Romish and began too early to be hacked and hewed by Marian traitors. With deep respect for our seniores, we would rejoice if they should unite with all who have felt the enthusiasm of the Church's new life in the final application of the principle of the Reformation.
The re-publication of the letters of the Rev. Dr. Ewer has a sad, almost a tragic interest, in the sudden death of the able, brilliant and noble-hearted author, in the brief interval between their second and third editions. It is well that providential circumstances of so remarkable a character should give weight and impressiveness to Dr. Ewer's words. Whatever view may be taken of details, the general purpose and teaching of these utterances must command the respect and sympathy, if not the unqualified approval, of all who read them. They display the, learning with which the head was stored. They breathe the charity with which the heart was filled. They are not self-chosen words with which Dr. Ewer would bid us farewell. God arranged, in Whose Hand the lives of all men are. that they should be his final message to the Church. The closing scene in Montreal, the superhuman effort to preach, the text, "Our Conversation is in Heaven," the unfinished sermon ending in unconsciousness, and the gradual withdrawal from things temporal to things eternal, give pathos, power and meaning to these noble letters of the lamented author. "He being dead yet speaketh." Let us listen, and as we hear, let us remember that it is God Who bids him cease to speak, and makes these his last words to us.
Fitly to sum up his labors and teachings as a Priest in the Church of God--whether his methods were right or wrong, we may leave out of account--his aim, the supreme desire of his heart was to promote the unity of Christendom. To this noble endeavor he gave himself with all the ardor of his impulsive, enthusiastic nature. It is not always allowed men to vindicate in life their sincerity and fidelity to truth. This was Dr. Ewer's privilege and he proved not unequal to the trial.
It is within the writer's knowledge that the late Dr. Ewer might, had he chosen to suppress what he believed to be truth, and accommodated himself to the ignorance and prejudice of the day, have enjoyed comfort, ease, and popularity; but instead, he preferred to suffer affliction, to bear reproach in the maintenance of principle and the discharge of duty, lie suffered, indeed, for righteousness' sake. He has his reward, and we share in his reward in that Catholic truth has been promoted by his life and labors, and trials and glorious though tragic death.
Let us seek to advance what he nobly strove for: the gathering together in one, as far as may be, the scattered sheep of Christ's flock, on the historic basis of the Nicene Faith, and in the Spirit of the Good Shepherd Who ever liveth at the right hand of the Eternal Father, to pray that we all may be one in Him.
GEORGE F. SEYMOUR,
Bishop of Springfield.
To answer this question adequately, and to fortify each statement with reasons, would require a treatise. In a brief article like this a few salient points only can be touched.
Whether or not the Anglican Church was founded in Britain by St. Paul in the first century, she was at any rate in full existence there as a national part of the Catholic Church, with her Bishops and Archbishop, as early as the latter part of the second century. She has had a continuous organic life in Great Britain from that time to this. And, in comparatively recent years, she has spread thence wherever English is spoken throughout the world. That part of the Anglican Communion which is in the United States is known under the singular, and in some respects absurd local name of the "Protestant Episcopal Church." As well might one dream he had adequately defined Massachusetts in her art, literature, government, order, philosophy, villas, farms, education, social life, manufactories, comfort, elegance, influence, and power, when he had called her an "Anti-Mormon, Gubernatorial State."
In her long career of eighteen centuries, the English Church has no more been exempt from the vicissitudes of time than have other parts of the Catholic Church. Intrusted from the first with a treasure to carry through the centuries for her Lord, she has been attacked by a succession of mighty foes, all along her career. She was attacked by the Northmen, bringing their barbarism with them. In the seventh century she was attacked by the Papacy, bringing with it its absolute monarchy and ecclesiastical tyranny; however, all through from the seventh to the sixteenth century there were more or less evidences of resistance among the sturdy English to the usurpation of the foreign potentate. Freed at last from him, she was attacked by Cromwell and the Puritans; and now she is successfully resisting the attacks of the Erastians, or those who deny the divine authority of the Church, would ride over her spiritual rights and reduce her to something like a department of the State. Of course she has often been wounded and has staggered. But she has succeeded in retaining her treasure, and bringing it down through time into the last half of this nineteenth century; and she is strong enough to-day to hold that treasure up triumphantly in the face of all her old foes, who would either have permanently lowered its value by Papal alloy; or, when it had been cleared of Papal alloy, would have stolen it entirely from her for the purpose of destroying it; or not succeeding in this, would have left her some poor fragments of it only. Perhaps the very struggles she has been through (mainly with Rome on the one hand and Protestantism on the other), have been overruled into blessings in disguise, by training her to be for all future time a more determined and faithful custodian of that with which she was at first entrusted. She seeks to present Christianity to the nineteenth century as she received and presented it in Apostolic times, and as it was presented in the first six or seven centuries by the whole Catholic Church of which she was a national part.
Ever since the storms that followed the throwing off of the Papal yoke, and the unsuccessful struggles of the Protestants to capture her, her children have been learning more and more what she was at first, and still is. She is God's for man, and not man's for God; and the Divine Will has had its own purpose in her. Often have schools of thought within her tried to identify her with their own notions of what she ought to be; and just as often have they found themselves discomfited by God. Low Churchmen have tried to control her, and have failed. High Churchmen have tried to control her, and have failed. Erastians have been trying to control her, but have failed. Even overwhelming majorities of her children within her have tried to control her, and have found themselves unable to do so. She is a mystery to the world. To her sons and daughters she is a fascination. Low Church, High Church, Broad Church and Catholics, they would all die for her. Different from a Protestant denomination, she holds, but is not composed of, her children. Her members have not been able to mold her; she trains and alters them. If in the Plantagenet era they hold Papal error mingled with her truth, she succeeds at last in curing the evil. If in the Tudor era they grow turbulent and almost insane, she succeeds at last in bringing calm. If in the Stuart era they grow Puritan and uncatholic, she restores her votaries to their right minds. If in the Georgian era they grow cold and unspiritual, she warms them with new life. Time and developing event, especially recent time and developing event, have been displaying what she really is. In short, her members cannot make her what they want; in the long run she makes them what she wants. And but yesterday her dying Archbishop felt his impotency and her power.
In the first place she is not a via media between Rome and Protestantism. It was a misunderstanding of her, and an effort to avoid both Rome and Protestantism, that lauded Newman in Rome, and others of the early Puseyites, especially American early Puseyites, in Protestantism. As these went their several ways, such men as Keble and Pusey were left, cool, and comprehending their own Church better and better. A man may walk a crooked and ramshackle fence for awhile, but he is sure to tumble at last on the one side or the other. The Anglican Church is not on the fence. Her way is not a via media between any two things. But it is a via recta spatiosaque in Catholicity. As Keble and a friend were going up to town on some business connected with the "Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology," Keble said "You may take the 'Anglo,' I'll take the 'Catholic,' and we'll fight over the hyphen." On the one hand, she recognizes and applauds all there is of good in each and every Protestant denomination. She is, herself, all of them together so far as their affirmations are concerned; and a good deal more besides. But she is as wide as you please from each and all, in their negations of each other's truths, and of Catholicity as a whole. She is Unitarian, for she teaches one God; but she does not deny the Tri-Personality. She is Lutheran, for she teaches the necessity of faith; but she does not deny that of good works, nor call them "filthy rags;" not hers is it, or has it ever been, to cry with the old Scotch Calvinist preacher, "My friends, ye canna' be gude; an' if ye could be gude, it would do ye na gude." She is Presbyterian, for she has Presbyters, but she does not ignore Bishops. She is Baptist, for she immerses, at least her rubrics say, "shall dip;" but she does not deny that those baptized with pouring are Christians. She is Congregational, for she recognizes the rights of the laity, but she does not destroy those of the clergy. She is Methodist, for she has revivals, which she calls "missions," and, in her "after-service meetings," her so-called "Ritualistic" children are using freedom of spiritual intercourse, mutually encouraging words and extemporary prayer; but she does not trust the new life in the soul to the storms of feeling only, for the development of its fibre; if to live one must breathe, so also one must have the solid food of life. She is Quaker, for she teaches the need of the inward light of the Spirit, and her children have hours of silence and of meditation; only their meditations are not mere desultory ruminations on some religious subject, but are arranged on a scientific plan that they may the better edify the soul. With the Protestants she teaches the Atonement; with the Unitarians, good works and intellectual culture; and with the Romanists, the Sacraments. Her chief aim is to destroy mortal sins within the soul, to cultivate the spiritual life there, to develop there the Seven gifts of the Spirit, the seven capital virtues, the twelve inner Christian characteristics called by the Apostle the Fruits of the Spirit, and to cause the soul to produce the fourteen Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. As she does not fail to use all inner and spiritual means to this end, so neither does she ignore the outward and visible means. Whatever some of her Broad-Churchmen may do, it is her spirit neither rashly to catch up modern ideas, nor yet to stand aghast before them. She seems to say, "When you have really read a truth out of God's book of nature, or of history, or of philology, tell me what it is, and thank you;" for she is sure of her Faith and of her Bible. She is old, but not a fossil; young and fresh, but not an infant. Whatever some of her High-Churchmen may do or claim, they find at last that she will be bound by none of their iron straps. However some of her children may have affected "respectability" for her, she has stripped off the broadcloth from others and sent them packing down before her, clothed in serge, to work in the slams and rescue the poor. On the other hand, whatever her Low-Churchmen may do, she does not blindly and madly fly at any and every thing in Rome, because it is in Rome; but she recognizes all there is Catholic in Rome; not because it happens to be in Rome, but because (even though her own children may not for awhile have used it,) it is good and true, and has always been, is now, and always will be in the Anglican as well as in the Roman Communion.
So that the Anglican Church does not walk a via media, between and equi-distant from Rome and Protestantism, avoiding both. Her way includes the entire elements of good in both, from Unitarianism clear up to Ultramontanism. We are all finding by the logic of stubborn results, as we criticise each other, and as her several schools of thought within her are trying in vain to control each other, that she is larger than we knew, and big enough to hold us all. She cannot afford to be partial and not complete. She cannot afford to ignore any Sacrament, any means of grace, or process, whether used in Rome, Methodism, Quakerism, or anywhere else, whether outward or inward, that has been found over and over again to be useful in getting at and curing the souls of poor, struggling, dying sinners. She cannot afford to neglect any of those means which have over and over again been proved to be divinely instrumental in producing not only men of high morality, but also something more than this, and different in kind, viz: the Saints. If such means are declared by Protestants to be Popish, "So be it," says she, "and they are Anglican also, because they are Catholic." As she looks at Pusey, and Lowder, and blessed John Keble, and St. Francis de Sales, and St. Jean de Chantal, and St. Philip Neri, by their fruits does she know such means. In ministering the doctrine and Sacraments and the discipline of Christ, her children in ever larger numbers are beginning to set forth and use all those Sacraments, means and processes, both external and visible, and internal and spiritual, because "this Church hath received them" as her priceless heritage from the past. Furthermore, her children in ever larger numbers are beginning to have the courage of her convictions, and are ceasing to be afraid of anything, Confession, prayers for the dead, Unction of the sick, or anything else, which "this Church hath received" from the early Church, to which she points us for further particulars, without specially defining those particulars herself.
The world knows all about the growing pains with which Anglicanicity has been writhing these past fifty years, while Keble, Pusey, and others, taught by her formularies, and understanding that she points them for instruction to the early Church, have been writing Low and High Churchmanship and insular pride and independence and Erastianism up into Catholicity. It is astonishing, by the way, that the Church's troubles should occupy so large and exceptional a space in the eye of the world and of the secular press; and yet when we think of what she is, a city, namely, set on a hill, and that cannot be hid, not so astonishing either. The world cannot help looking at her. The meaning of those growing pains is not that the Church herself is expanding; but that the narrow children within her, Low Church and High Church, are learning what their mother Church really was, is, and always will be; that is to say, a good deal less sectarian and more Catholic, a good deal wider and deeper and more elastic, a good deal broader and a good deal less full of starch and buckram and insularism than they are. Her breadth and Catholicity are her constant quantities; and it is not she, but those children within her, that are afflicted with the growing pains and making all the outcry, as the Lows are becoming Highs, and the Highs are becoming Catholic, and so all are widening and deepening to fill the measure of her capacity. It is quite noteworthy that almost no Catholic ever goes back and becomes a High, and almost no High ever goes back and becomes a Low. The movement today is steadily upward.
One sect will assert a Christian truth which Catholicity has always insisted upon, but deny another Christian truth which some other sect maintains; while the latter will assert still another verity and deny some truth upheld by the first. But the Church agrees with the sects all round, we repeat, in their several affirmations of the Christian truths, and differs with them all round in their several mutual protests against each other, and in their common protest against Catholicity; because she has all the truths together which they are mutually protesting against in each other, and additional truths besides, which they are protesting against in Rome. For she agrees with Rome, too, wherever Rome is ancient and Catholic, and differs only in so far as Rome is modern and sectarian. Protestantism is a violent witness against Rome, and Rome is a violent witness against Protestantism. But the Church is not, like Ishmael, a Double Witness against both; she is a Double Witness for all the truths of each; her way, not a narrow and tortuous via media, but a broad and inclusive via catholica. Some of her Bishops, and people and editors may be Low, and some High; but she is not sectarianly "Low," nor sectarianly "High," but Catholic. Through her Lows she shows, in spite of the Highs, sympathy with members of the sects; through her Highs she shows, in spite of the Lows, sympathy with the organic ancient "Church continuous;" through her Broads, in spite of her fossils, she shows sympathy with the life and advance of modern thought and investigation; and through her "Catholics," she shows sympathy with Protestants, Rome, Medieval Church, Lows, Highs, Broads, Ancient Church, and fresh modern thought. If the Catholics swing incense and hear confessions, they are very apt to startle by affirming that Darwin and evolutionism are not necessarily wrong, and that perhaps the critical school has not, in its exploring, struck only solid chunks of nothing but falsehood. Indeed, as likely as not, you will find yourself amazed at seeing a Catholic, who happens to be visiting a Low Church Rector, "celebrate" for him in a surplice, and appear in his pulpit in the unwonted attire of that Rector's black gown. What does it all mean, quotha? Why, it means that the real Catholic, though a Ritualist, is not a mere Ritualist.
So, within the Church, the Lows are apt, so to speak, to catch it from the Highs; and the Highs from the Lows; and the Broads from both; and the Catholics from pretty much everybody; and this latter, because the High Churchman, the Low and the Broad, the Protestant and the Roman Catholic, each and all find something in the Catholic to condemn which they are condemning in each other; and it is in human nature far more energetically to condemn what we dislike, than to approve in another what we like. The approval is the quiet of peace; the condemnation is the noise of war. Nevertheless, all the schools of thought in the Church roll along together as a one body full of life, struggling with each other in a sort of love, and loving each other in a mutual struggle.
If one goes into an empty Protestant house of worship, it would be impossible for him to tell simply by its arrangement of pulpit and pews whether it is Unitarian, Baptist, Congregational, Presbyterian, Methodist, Reformed Dutch, or what not. If the preacher be in the pulpit at prayer, and the people in the pews, still it would be impossible for him to tell, unless the preacher uttered something markedly distinctive. But if one enters an empty "Episcopal" church, the instant he sets eyes on the chancel and Altar he declares without hesitation, "This is an 'Episcopal' church; I don't know, it may possibly be Roman; but at any rate it isn't Protestant." And if the service is going on, his means of deciding are even more sure. Here there is a striking difference between the interior of an "Episcopal" church on the one hand, and that of any Protestant denomination on the other. These things do not fall out by chance. It is not a question of mere taste. Men, on the whole, and in the long run, are logical; and ideas clothe themselves with fitting and harmonious external forms as their proper expression. Nor would any one hesitate an instant about a Quaker meeting-house, if he got a glance at its interior. It is evident that these differences in plan of interior and of furniture grow out of and express different ideas. In an "Episcopal" church, with its chancel and Altar and Font, whatever else may be considered as important, it is clear that the Sacraments are most prominent. In a Protestant one it is preaching that is prominent. And in Quakerism, neither Sacraments nor preaching, but sitting in quiet meditation. Here, then, must be three different ideas as to what Christianity is, and how the soul is to be treated for its cure. You cannot grow a palm-tree from an oak root. Given the root, and we know what the tree is in its branches, twigs and leaves. What then is the radical idea at the bottom of Churchmanship? For, as all its forms and distinctive peculiarities grow logically out of its radical belief as to what Christianity is and what the cure of souls is, having learned its radical belief we need not dwell afterward upon its forms and peculiarities in their minutiae and multitude, nor answer such questions as, Why do we have written prayers, or Bishops? why do we wear vestments, or baptize infants, etc.?
First and foremost, the human race is in a sad state of disaster by sin. A man on earth is not simply a soul; and a man is not to be simply a disembodied soul in heaven. The Anglican Church treats primarily the soul, but not that only; she deals with the whole man as a sinner. On earth the body is filled with elements of disease and death through violation of law; it reacts upon the soul to make it sin. And in each man the immaterial part also is wounded in all three of its elements: for, the intellect is wounded, and the result is ignorance; the will, and the result is weakness; the affections, and the result is they are apt to play on unworthy objects, and oftentimes wrongly even on worthy objects; and the soul reacts upon the body to make it sin. Within each human being there is war through and through; death, in the larger sense of the word, by sin. The issue of this internecine war is that the body falls apart at last from the soul and then tumbles to pieces itself in the grave, while the soul, which cannot be disintegrated, goes on with the war in itself. Man, indeed, is not totally depraved. The wound at the Fall was not instantaneously fatal. The Divine justice is held back for a while. Man's case is not yet that of the Fallen Angels. He is only "very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil." He is still left, after the Fall, morally responsible. "Some flowerets of Eden we still do inherit, though the trail of the Serpent is over them all." He is still left able, but only through the help of the prevenient and co-operative grace of the Holy Ghost, to accept, if he will, the Divine conditions for his cure. He is warned, however, that the wound of the Fall is in itself such as to be inherently fatal, and that unless he accept and avail himself of those Divine conditions, he will, in the end and after the temporary dispensation of the Divine patience shall close, become "as the Devil and his angels."
Now the Churchman asks himself: How is the cure of this rapidly progressing ruin within me to come? Is it merely by some one descending from heaven into this scene of ignorance and supplying it with new abstract moral and religious truth? That, indeed, in part; but will that alone suffice? Or, after the messenger from heaven has departed, and left a Book behind him containing a statement of his utterances, is it by certain selected men going through the world and through time, gathering decorous crowds around a pulpit, preaching those abstract truths and urging men to live accordingly? That, indeed, in part, yes; but will that alone suffice? If this were all, it would imply that the original elements and powers of improvement were already within human beings by nature, and that all they need is to be stirred by preaching to love and accept the truth, and then go on building up the nature they find within them accordingly. Or, furthermore, is the cure to come by all this, plus even the action upon each man of the Holy Spirit towards his illumination and sanctification? That, indeed, yes; but will even all that alone suffice? No. Very well; if not, why not? And herein lies the difference between Christianity as a Sacramental system and cure, rearing its Altar at the centre, and sending its pulpit and prayer stalls down to the sides; and Christianity as a preaching system and cure, rearing its pulpit at the centre, and abolishing Altar for a table beneath the pulpit; or Christianity as a meditating system, without any pulpit or Altar at all.
The fall and ruin of the race came from a man, "the first man Adam." Before the Fall, human nature had come fresh from God's hand. It presented, therefore, no obstacle whatever within itself to the action of the Holy Ghost and of supernatural influences. But sin introduced into it the seeds of death; and reared within it an obstruction to supernatural influences. Our fallen nature needs, therefore, the gift of a Pure Humanity to enter into itself and penetrate body and soul to their very springs. "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." As the ruin to each man's nature came by a man, so the cure must come to his nature, not only by the Holy Ghost, but also by a man; as the evil comes to us by the communication of the imperfect human nature of the First Adam, so it must be cured by the communication to us of the perfect Human Nature of the Second Adam. We must be as actually reborn from the Second Adam in soul and body as we are literally born from the First Adam. We must each have Christ's Human Nature as substantially as we have Adam's. We need something else besides the mere sweet meditations of the Quaker, and something else besides the action of the preacher and of the Holy Ghost upon us. Indeed, the Divine Spirit, although He operates by prevenient and co-operative grace, requires, so to speak, Christ's sacred and pure Human Nature as an instrument with which to work out the cure of our fallen nature. And as Christ's pure Human Nature penetrates ours more and more deeply and thoroughly, so does our fallen nature open its doors more and more to the enlightening and sanctifying influences of the Spirit. Thus it is that the Son and the Spirit mutually aid one another in. the work of our cure as individuals.
Now the Churchman asks himself: How is that Pure Humanity to pass from Christ to me? The old question of Nicodemus comes up again: How can a man be born again? Man is powerless to reach forth and give his own human nature, in its perfect form, to himself. As God created us, so it is only God that must Himself recreate us. Has God, then, given to us any signal of the place where, and the time when, it pleases Him to work this tremendous transaction, to bestow the gift necessary to our cure?
As the Churchman looks back to Palestine he finds, in harmony with all this, that a new Adam, came; not only and merely to teach, and to have His teachings spread and enforced by preachers, but also to be indeed the Beginning of the new creation of God, from Whom we are to be reborn.. As he looks at the Gospels, he finds them not a mere list of moral and religious maxims, but the memoirs of that New Adam. As he looks at his Creed, he finds it not a set of doctrines, but mainly a statement of facts about that New Adam. He finds that the record of that great life in the Gospels is the record of its sinlessness, and of the trial and perfecting of it by suffering, even to the suffering of the Cross, and of its subsequent resurrection and glorification, and of its mission of the Holy Ghost. So, the Divine Spirit, lost to human nature at the Fall, is regained, first, by Christ's Human Nature, and afterwards at Pentecost sent down from Human Nature as it was in Christ to the Church, that through the Church it may reach human nature as it is in us individually. "Then," as St. Augustine says, "the Holy Ghost came .... no longer by grace of visitation and operation, but by the very presence of His Majesty; no longer in odor of balsam, but the very substance of the sacred unction flowed down." Thus, indeed, we have the Spirit restored in full to the Church, to operate thence by means of Sacraments on us as individuals. But all this only in conjunction with something else, for how does the Humanity of the God-Man become ours also?
The Churchman finds that as that great life of Christ draws to its close it gathers itself up and fruits in five great acts; three of which are the institution of Baptism, the institution of the Eucharist, and the organization of a Priesthood to apply them. These three acts stand out in very apparent and very awful significance, emphasized as they are by their exceptional character, by the perpetuity of their obligation and by their being Christ's gifts to the world and to all time, from, so to speak, His dying bed. The other two gifts were the commission to His Ministry of the power of Absolution, and His commission to teach. Have the three first mentioned gifts anything to do with the imparting to us of His Humanity?
To touch with harmful hand either of these five gifts in their original integrity is, at any rate, to the Church sacrilege. As to the last two she knows nothing of any other line of ministry than that which Christ then and there created; especially as it was so created as to have a continuous life, and as it was to be blessed with His presence till the end of the world, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations; baptizing them; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." "Do," poieite--"offer" this Eucharist to the Father as a memorial before Him of My Sacrifice. "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." Christ's line of Ministry, then, must be in existence now; and if Christ will be with it unto the end of the world, He doubtless has His own way of taking care of it; and it is better to cleave to it, and let Christ cure it, if in any respect it seem to any one to need cure, than to attempt to regulate matters ourselves by setting it aside and creating a new line of ministry of our own. Nor does the Churchman dare to tear away from that Ministry Christ's gift to it of Absolution. Of course God in heaven forgives sins; but God also regenerates us; and God gives us the Holy Ghost; and God feeds us with the Body and Blood; and God sets apart men to the Ministry; and God makes man and wife one; but it seems to be His way in doing these things to work through means; and it is no more unreasonable to suppose He does one of these mighty acts, namely Absolution, through means, than another; and the Churchman remembers that when the popular question was put of old as to-day, "Who can forgive sins but God only?"--a question that would regard Christianity as a system of immediateness from heaven, rather than of mediation and of means--that it was replied, "That ye may know that the Son of Man hath power, on earth, to forgive sins," etc. And the Churchman finds that the Son of Man, after saying that all power was given to Him in heaven and earth, by solemn act at the close of His earthly career passed that power of Absolution, as well as other powers, on to His Priesthood, in order that God, Who does not speak directly out of the blue expanse of heaven, may speak to a man through His earthly Ambassadors, and assure him that he is baptized, or married, or made a Priest, or pardoned.
But why was Baptism reared by Christ at that hour into such awful prominence? The Churchman feels that it were but an anti-climax to suppose that that great life of the God-Man went up to its crisis of death and resurrection, and produced at that solemn hour, among the very few salient acts it did, something that, after all, is but a mere form. Away with mere forms; the Quakers are right. If a form is not the breaking out into visibility of some great reality, it is mere child's play, unworthy a serious man or woman. If Baptism is not the God-appointed signal to man of the place where, and the time when, it pleases God to make a man "a member of Christ," to graft him into the pure Humanity of the Second Adam, to implant in him in germ-form the elements of that pure Humanity which he needs for his cure (otherwise he is not reborn from Christ), if all this can be and is done in some direct and abstract way before Baptism, and independent of Baptism, what, pray, the Churchman asks himself, does one want the mere putting of a little water on his forehead for afterward? Surely it were not necessary, if it were only to indicate admission to external church privileges; for the Quakers get along very well without it. Such an act must be one thing or the other; it must be frivolous, or it must be Divinely effective of something very serious. There is no middle place for it to stand in. If we suppose the real thing needed has actually taken place by an invisible ictus immediate from heaven upon the individual, then surely the act of baptizing him with water afterwards would fall off into the position of a mere form, it is of no avail to the Churchman to say, we baptize with water afterwards, nevertheless, because Christ commanded it. The point is, Why did He command it? Surely in the very few things He commanded at that solemn hour, He would not have commanded a mere non-essential.
The Churchman asks the Holy Apostles, "If God does not reach down His Holy Arm and do something in and through His own appointed Sacrament of Baptism, what can you mean by laying such stress on Baptism rather than on anything else, when you say, 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism?' What do you mean in the 6th chapter of Hebrews by declaring Baptism to be one of the first 'principles' of our holy religion, and a part of the very 'foundation' of a Spiritual Life?" And those Apostles give answer, that the Spirit does, indeed, work through it; and, by consequence, that it is not a mere form; that "by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body"; that those who have been by the Spirit "baptized into Christ, have put on Christ"; that we are born again in Christ "by water and the Spirit "; that Baptism is "the washing of regeneration"; and that the baptized are "members of Christ's Body, of His flesh, and of His bones." The Churchman finds, moreover, in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Food, which, if he correspond with it, is to sustain and build up the new Life within him. It has been happily said that "the outward elements of Bread and Wine do not sensibly cease to be what they were before, but they become what they were not before." He finds not only all the parts of the churchly scheme to fit logically together, but he also finds the ways and teachings of the early Apostolic Church to be the only commentary of the Apostolic Scriptures that will satisfactorily explain them as a whole, and not empty some of their extraordinary utterances of credible meaning. In short the Churchman knows that he is sacramentally grafted by God into the Humanity of the God-Man, his body into Christ's Body, his soul into Christ's Soul, his imagination, reason, affections, reverence, all parts of his nature, into the corresponding parts of Christ's Human Nature, in order that Christ's pure Humanity may, by the Holy Ghost, Who operates through the Sacraments, and all other means of grace, and cooperates with himself, be as leaven, not only to his fallen soul, but to his whole fallen nature; Christ in him, "the power of God and the wisdom of God."
In short, he is by nature sundered from God, the Source of all spirituality. Sin has done it. Religion comes in to cure the evil. What is religion? Religion is from "re" and "ligare"--to bind back again that which has been sundered. How is this done? Jesus Christ, the one God-Man, comes in between God and man. By His Godhead He is one with the Father; by His Human Nature He is ready to be one with me. If, therefore, I can be made one with His Human Nature, I shall be caught up out of my sundered condition, and, in Christ, shall be bound back into unity with God. But I cannot do this myself; I cannot "get religion"; I cannot get the binding back; no process of feeling will effect it. It must be done for me. All I can do is to co-operate with the Spirit's prevenient and co-operative grace, and sorrow for my past life. That is to say, all I can do is to become ready for this great act of binding me back into unity with God, which God will do for me It is "by one Spirit," it is by the Holy Spirit that "we are all baptized into Christ," and made one with His Humanity, and thus one with His Divinity, and thus one with God, the very Source of life and holiness. Oh, flood me, then, my Father, with Thy grace! To this mighty, uniting work of the Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism there is no obstruction in the case of an infant. And the serious obstruction in the case of an adult, "viz., his actual sins, is done away by his deep and sincere repentance, and resolution to amend. When the Churchman is asked, therefore, whether he has "got religion" by a species of "apprehension," the question is to him vague; the two words "getting" and "religion" do not apply to each other. "But this I know," he says, "that whereas I was once sundered from God, on my repentance and earnest desire to amend by God's help, which repentance and desire to amend were all I could bring to God, I came and left the rest to God. And He lovingly reached down to me and helped me when I could not further help myself; for through His own appointed means of Baptism He caught me up and made me a member and part of Christ, and thus bound me back into unity with Himself. I do not wait until I am spiritual in order to become a Christian; I am made a Christian in Baptism in order that I may grow more and more spiritual. And this I know, that I must, therefore, with God's help, strive, myself, and use, and correspond with all the means and holy influences in Holy Church to become more holy and more spiritual; to grow in Faith, Hope, and Charity, and in Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Ghostly Strength, Piety, and Holy Fear; and to nourish within me, by the help of the Spirit, the Fruits, i. e., the Christian, characteristics, of Love, Joy, Peace, Long Suffering, Meekness, Temperance, and Chastity; and to work all the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. All this is the end and final cause within me of Apostolic Christianity. And this I know, that God's two greater Sacraments of Baptism and of the Eucharist, which are 'generally necessary to salvation,' are God's assurances to me that I am bound back into unity, and made at one with Him."
It is this binding back that is God's act, regenerating a child of Adam. Regeneration is a very distinct and different thing from conversion. In regeneration the individual takes life. The infant is born with original sin. This is in itself offensive and sunders from God the source of spiritual life; and to be sundered from God, is to be spiritually dead. By nature, then, the infant is dead in sin. "Be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins," is the cry from Heaven; "for we can neither make ourselves God's adopted children, nor cleanse ourselves from sins." The guilt of original sin being wiped out once and forever by "the washing of regeneration," the child (no longer therefore sundered from God and spiritually dead, but at one with God) takes spiritual life from God--rises from death unto life, is a new creature in Christ, and becomes capable of growth in grace. Its Baptism is its resurrection from, the dead to a new life. It is no longer a citizen of earth only; its whole life is raised into another plane, it receives, so to speak, letters of spiritual naturalization, and it is a citizen of heaven. "If children can be guilty of original sin while unconscious, they can be partakers of this grace while unconscious." But thus to take the principle of spiritual life in Baptism, is not necessarily to take the development of that life; one may receive the grace of God in vain; the growth, the sanctification must come afterward; the talent may prove quite unproductive. Baptism or Regeneration, then, is that by which we are brought into a new relationship to God, and differs from conversion. The baptized man will never need to be made a member of Christ again. Once baptized, always baptized. As we are born but once naturally, so we can only be born, once of water and the Spirit. To baptize again, therefore, were sacrilege. But he may need conversion again and again. For conversion is the turning of the heart, from a will acting generally on the life unto evil, to a will acting generally on the life unto good. The adult who has long lived in sin must have conversion as a condition precedent to his being regenerated by God through Baptism; and if after regeneration he lapses again into habits of sins inconsistent with his having been made in Baptism a member of Christ, he will need conversion.
Therefore Christianity to the Churchman is a system of a sacramental cure. He believes not in a book and a preacher only; but in a man; and that man, The Man; and The Man in the Church-visible, as a soul in its body. He feels the vital need not only of union with God, but also of having the perfect Humanity of Christ imparted to his fallen nature for his cure; that as he is by nature like Adam, so he may become like Christ; that as with Adam he dies, so with Christ he may rise again. He finds that God's plan is to impart Christ to him by Sacraments. He feels that he is made a "member of Christ," and fed, and strengthened by the Spirit, and cured when sick with mortal sin, and provided with spiritual care-takers, and soothed and fortified at death, by God--by Christ working through His Body, the Church, and through its limbs, the Ministry and the Sacraments. Some one must administer those Sacraments. God has taken care of that. To the Churchman, therefore, the Ministry are not simply preachers; they are Priests first, and by consequence preachers also.
Christianity is not to him mainly a religion of the Holy Spirit only, made operative by preachers; it is mainly and centrally a religion of the Son, made operative by Sacraments. Nor does he by any means ignore the functions and mighty influence of the Holy Ghost. It is the Holy Ghost that operates on his soul before Baptism by prevenient grace. It is the Holy Ghost that operates in Baptism; and, after Baptism, in all the other Sacraments and means or channels of grace. And, when he has been a recipient of those Sacraments and used those means, it is the Holy Ghost that operates within him. It is the Holy Spirit that helps him from first to last by prevenient and co-operative grace. If he were helpless without the Son, so even with the Son he were helpless without the Holy Spirit also.
He finds, too, that the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Godhead means not only the reconsecration of the soul, but also of the body--the reconsecration, indeed, of all matter to the service and glory of God. He uses his body therefore, as a reconsecrated creature of God, in the worship of God. Furthermore, by acts of blessing and of consecration, the material things of the world which are to be used in God's service are lifted from beneath the primal curse at the Fall; and so he offers no cursed thing to God. To him holy churches, and holy Altars, and holy vessels, and holy waters, and holy cloths of service are not strange. Moreover, if the Priests are the divine caretakers ("he that heareth you heareth Me"), and the holy Sacraments are the divine medicine, and the strengthening food of his sacramental and spiritual life, he finds that prayer and meditation are the breath of its existence; and that practical good works are its exercise, necessary to its vigor and health and to the assimilation of its spiritual food. Furthermore, he is not satisfied with the one single mode of extemporary prayer, to serve for all occasions whatsoever; it is a flower, indeed, and a very beautiful flower; but God's garden, the Church, is to him of richer soil than to bear one flower only. In the plurality and fulness of his sacramental life he craves for and finds need of all the other delightful and helpful forms and varieties of prayer: Litanies, Liturgies, Offices, Crowns and Chaplets of prayer, Acts of faith and hope, of Spiritual Communion, of contrition, of love, of intercession, forms of confession and of meditation, and even, at times, of contemplation, and of the application of the senses to spiritual objects. So that the great circle of his Christianity sweeps round and includes all that the Protestant has, and a great deal more besides. Via media, indeed! Why, the Protestant, when he comes to the Church, really has to give up nothing but his negations; he has only to accept something in addition to what he already has. And the Romanist has only to give up those affirmations which are over and above what the whole Catholic Church has hitherto declared to be true.
The internal structure of the Churchman's house of God, then, with its chancel and prominent Altar and Font, so different from the interior of Protestant houses of worship, all grows out of and expresses this sacramental aspect of Christianity, rather than that aspect under which Christianity presents itself as a preaching system and cure, or that other aspect under which it is neither a preaching nor a sacramental, but a meditating system. And all the Churchman's grand Liturgies and Offices, his Litanies, and songs, and adorations, and vestments, and ritual generally (for all Churchmen are Ritualists--it is only among them a question of degree, more or less), nay, even the very people themselves cluster, not around a mere preacher, but around the preacher's Master. They do not go to "Doctor John's Church," nor to "Doctor Thomas's Church," nor to "Doctor Henry's." They do not ask each other, "Whom did you go to hear this morning?" but rather, "At what Church did you attend Divine Service?" They gather, in short, about the pure Humanity of the God-Man, Who is really present in the Sacrament of the Altar, and "verily and indeed" to be taken and dispensed from thence, in order that through the action of the Holy Ghost, "we may dwell in Him and He in us." In short, the postulate of the Churchman's Christianity is this, viz: "From the Head, through God's Sacraments, administered by a God-appointed Priesthood, flows the life to all the members."
Nor, in all this, does the Churchman by any means underrate the sermon. The High Churchman, indeed, used to underrate the sermon. But that was simply a temporary reaction from the times when the sermon was overrated. The sermon is of great importance in the Church's plan; but it is never to be forgotten that it is an adjunct of the service, and specially of the Eucharistic service, and that the service is not a mere adjunct of the sermon.
Now, who is Christ that is present in the Sacrament of His Altar? He is a "Priest for ever." A Priest must, as the Apostle says, "have somewhat to offer." A "Priest for ever" must have somewhat to offer forever. He is, therefore, a "Priest for ever," offering to the Father in Heaven, as He displays there His glorious wounds, His "One Sacrifice for ever." The actual slaying of the Victim was on Good Friday. He did not command us to repeat that act. He suffered and was slain once and for all. But the solemn, formal and ceremonial act of offering Himself as our Victim took place on Maundy-Thursday evening. And that act He commanded us to repeat. "This is My Body which is given for you (in the original Greek, which--not to-morrow, shall be--but is now and here being given for you). This is my Blood, which is now and here being shed for you. What I am doing namely, offering, do"--poieite, i. e., "offer you also." He did not merely command us to remember His death by an act of memory. He did that impliedly, but he did something else besides. Nor did he simply command us to eat His Body and drink His Blood. He did that, but not that only. All sacrifices were of course consumed in one way or another; and that we were to eat His Body and drink His Blood is prima facie evidence that it was a sacrificial act He was then engaged in. Indeed what he instituted on. Maundy-Thursday evening was very plural. For as He began then by making His formal and solemn Offering, to be our Priest for ever, and as He was continuously to display His wounds in heaven as our Sacrifice for ever, so besides wishing us to remember His death and to partake of His Body and Blood, He commanded us to join in the offering of Himself, by pleading Him till the end of time before the Father as our "one Sacrifice for ever." What He does in heaven, He wishes us to unite with Him in doing on earth. And He gives Himself to be present in the Eucharist that we may fulfill His mandate, and offer Him in the solemn, ceremonial, Memorial Sacrifice, which He then and there instituted. "Why," says the catechism, "was the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ordained?" Not simply that we may remember His death, nor that we may simply partake of His Body and Blood, but "for a Continual Remembrance" (or memorial before the Father), "of the Sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby." Thus the Churchman has the sweet memory in the Eucharist which the Protestant delights in, and very much more besides. His chief Sunday service, therefore, does not consist in two prayers, a hymn, and a chap her, preparatory to hearing some one preach a sermon. To him prayers and hymns alone are not adequate material of "Christian worship." For him the great act of Christian worship consists in presenting, not merely the poor words of his lips and thoughts of his heart, but in offering in solemn and august ceremonial his Great Sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to God the Father; in pleading, that is to say, at the Altar, the Crucified Son, first as his perpetual Sin-Offering for the forgiveness of his continuing wickednesses; and at the same time, secondly, as his Eucharist or perpetual Thank Offering, or "Sacrifice of Thanksgiving" in return for God's infinite mercies; and in adequate return, because, as an Offering, Christ is infinite also; in offering that Son at the same time, and thirdly, as a Burnt-Offering, i. e. an act of infinite, and therefore adequate, adoration and worship or "Sacrifice of Praise" to the Father, Who is infinite; and in offering that Son, lastly, as an infinite and therefore all-prevailing Peace-Offering to God, through Whom to call down favors. And so he loves to fly with his intercessions for others to the Holy Altar, and to put them up in union with the all-prevailing Peace-Offering, which he presents then and there. For to him Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharist, and giving Himself to be present there, both that we may have Him to offer, and to be our Sacrificial and Sacramental Food afterward, is at once our real Burnt-Offering, Sin-Offering, Thank-Offering, and Peace-Offering, in the Christian Church, of which the four separate offerings of the same names in the Jewish dispensation were but types and shadows. Clustering round this great Altar service of "Christian worship," which was the only one Christ commanded us to keep, though He did not forbid others, are the entirely subordinate and additional services of simple prayer and praise; namely, Matins, Evensong and Litany. They are the humble satellites revolving round the central sun of the main "Christian worship" at the Altar, and shining with reflected light from that. The Churchman's house of worship is not therefore, like the old-fashioned New England meeting-house, arranged mainly for the purpose of an audience which is to listen to a speaker, but is made glorious, and with the Holy Altar most glorious of all as its nucleus. It is made glorious not because an eloquent preacher is to preach there, nor yet to please the eyes of fastidious taste; but that it may be a fitting casket to hold Christ in Real Presence at the Holy Altar, to hold the Antitype throughout the Christian ages, of which the Shekinah on the mercy seat in the Jewish Holy of Holies was but a type and shadow. If the house of the type was by God's command made glorious, much more should the house of the Antitype be glorious.
It is by Baptism that men are grafted by God into Christ, and compacted, so to speak, around Him. It is thus they are gathered up one by one out of a disintegrated race, and organized by God into Christ's Body Mystical--the One Catholic Church. It is by the Eucharist that Christ imparts His one Body and Blood to all His ingrafted members. It is this, His pure Humanity, outgoing to them, that is at once their common Spiritual Food and their union. Thus does God make the Catholic Church One. If, on the one hand, "a church"--Presbyterian, Baptist, or other-can be created merely by a set of men who agree in certain views, then of course what is created by human agreement will come to be broken by disagreement. But as on the other hand the unity of God's Church did not and does not issue out of men's consenting together in certain doctrines, there are differences of human opinion, and even such wide differences as would inevitably split a sect in two or more, which are yet not incompatible with the Sacramentally created Unity of the Catholic Church; specially as we do not come to that Church to help create it by our agreement of views, but ourselves to be learners from Her as the Divine Teacher, and "to grow up into the unity of the Faith" which She possesses and teaches.
This Catholic Church was from the very first an invisible and spiritual life in a visible form and organism. From the first it had its Bishops, Priests and Deacons, its Sacraments, Creed and Liturgies. St. James was its local Bishop in Jerusalem before the Apostles separated to organize the Catholic Church in all lands after the model which had grown up under their combined hands in those ten years subsequent to the Ascension, during which they remained in Jerusalem. From the first this Church Catholic possessed the truth, embedded in its Creeds and Sacraments and very self, but did not have the New Testament. The books of that Testament were afterward addressed to different parts of the Church, mostly in the form of letters. They were not gathered together into a New Testament till the fourth century. In selecting from the innumerable writings (of Apostles and other holy men) that were in her possession those books which she was to declare should be considered ever afterward as the New Testament, she tested the various writings by her truth, and rejected some, and gave the stamp of her authority to others accordingly. So that the Apostolic Church is the best Commentary on the Apostolic Scriptures. From the first this Church contained the good and the bad, the tares and the wheat. From the first it was not a mere Church invisible only, abstract and ideal, composed of all good people, God only knowing whom. From the first it was not confusion and indefiniteness. When the Apostolic Christian said, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," he meant a definite Organic Body, with sharp limits, and that Body known to the world. He did not mean, I believe in no One Organic Body at all, but in separate clusters of folk; and unattached individuals scattered here and there, who are all more or less good, according to different ideas as to what obedience to God consists in, but not necessarily baptized, not necessarily believing in Baptism at all, nor even in the Godhead of the Son. We know that living languages grow and change; and the word "Catholic" may possibly mean nowadays something that sprawls all around, thinning as it sprawls, and finally flattening out and disappearing in vagueness and unintelligibility. But however it may to-day be used outside, when it was inserted in the Christian Creed and repeated by Apostolic Christians it meant a very definite thing, and that definite thing only. And the Creed really means to-day what it meant when it was written. And those who do not believe in that thing, and surrender to It, whatever else they may believe, do not believe the article about the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in the Apostles' Creed. The Churchman knows that man can no more make "a church" than he can make a new Sacrament or a new particle of matter. Man can cluster a society of men consenting together in politics, or science, or religion. But such are associations, not churches. God only can make an organic Church, and there can be but One Organic Church. Whatever men may say now, the Apostolic Christians at any rate did not say: "Oh, yes, God organized a Church, but no particular church; and founded a Ministry, but no particular ministry; and instituted Sacraments, but no particular sacraments; and said, 'Hear the Church but no particular church; and said of the Church that it was to be the pillar and ground of the truth, but of no particular truth: and promised to be with the Church till the end of the world, and to guide it into all truth, but with no particular church."
In short, as Christ promised to be with that Church which was the only one the Apostolic Christians and their successors knew, since there was no other, that Church must be in existence now. If different sets of men can make "churches" fifteen hundred years afterward outside of that Church, why, what shall hinder me and my neighbor from creating a church to suit our two selves only; or me from making a church for myself alone? Logically it were possible to have as many churches as there are men and women. But if God has made a Church, the Churchman's view is that one is simply left without discretion in the premises; that one cannot pick and choose among the so-called "churches," but must belong to that Church, and that only, whose continuous life can be traced back to the Apostles' days; to that Church only that took form and Ministry, and Sacraments, and Faith, and worship, and mode of building up the spiritual life in the soul, under the Apostles' hands from Christ and the Holy Spirit amidst n blaze of miracles.
But one may say, Does the Anglican Church claim to be this whole Catholic Church? Oh, no; a part was never yet the whole. Rome and the Eastern Church, and the Old Catholics have a valid Ministry also. A valid Ministry gives valid Sacraments; and it is through valid Sacraments that God organizes men into Christ's Body Mystical, the one Catholic Church. Four sisters, after having lived harmoniously together, may get provoked with each other, and not speak to each other; thus they may, indeed, act inconsistently with their oneness of blood. But as their agreement of mind did not constitute their unity of blood and of family relation, so their anger cannot destroy that unity. Anglicans, Greeks, Romans, and Old Catholics may act toward each other inconsistently with their unity; but God makes them one nevertheless, by grafting them by one Baptism into the foundation of their unity, the one Christ, whose Body and Blood going out to them all through the valid Eucharist is their common Food, and binds them into its own Unity, which they cannot escape.
In short, the one Catholic Church is, like the Holy Bible, both divine and human. It is divine, inasmuch as it is the Body Mystical of Christ; but it is also human, inasmuch as it is formed by God partly out of human materials. It shows, therefore, the marks both of the divine and of the human. It is both perfect and imperfect. Inasmuch as it is divine and perfect, the whole of it cannot formally, and as a one Body, agree in error. But inasmuch as it is human and imperfect, each or any part of it, when acting separately from the rest, may superadd its own local errors to the basis of Catholic Truth, which it holds in common with the whole One Body of which it is a part. God never promised to be with a part of the Church, to guide that part, acting independently of the rest, into all truth. Each part may differ from other parts, but not by denying any portion of Catholic truth, only by affirming something as de fide, which the whole Catholic Church, the One Body, has not yet declared to be an element of Catholic Truth. The Catholic is sure that an error appearing in any part of the Church, Anglican, Greek or Roman, will always be local, and never spread through the whole Church and be formally announced by the Whole to the world as the infallible truth. Whatever the Whole Church says is binding upon each part of the Church; and every part of the Church must utter that Faith by authoritative living voice to the world. So long, then, says the Catholic, as I belong to any part of the One great Catholic Body, I feel safe. I can find the valid Ministry, valid Sacraments, and Catholic Faith in all parts of It. Furthermore, he feels perfectly free, not indeed to pick among "the churches," still less to reject the Catholic Faith, but to betake himself to that part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which he honestly thinks has superadded the least local error of its own, to the great substratum of the Catholic Truth which it holds in common with all the rest. Indeed, though he cannot be a member of anything but the Catholic Church, as there is trouble between the sisters of the One Visible Family, he is shut up by God to the necessity of exercising his discretion in so far.
The real question as between the Anglican and Roman parts of the Church is this, viz.: Can or cannot Catholicity exist without Popery? The Anglican, with the four great Patriarchates of the Eastern part of the Church, and with the Early Church, maintains as of old, that it can. The one single Roman Patriarchate out of the five great ancient parts of the Catholic Church is singular and alone in maintaining that it cannot.
In Western Christendom Catholicity has been falsely identified with Popery. In the Greek part of the Church it never has been. And one subordinate work which the Anglican part of the Church is doing now, through much tribulation to some of her sons, is to free Western Catholicity from the reproach of Popery.
The Lord said to Peter, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." And doubtless when Peter is converted, the brethren--Anglican, Greek, Old Catholic and Roman--will be strengthened all round, and will act once more consistently with their unity, with their sacramental oneness of Catholic blood.
REVEREND AND DEAR FATHER IN GOD:--
Your letter in reference to the pamphlet entitled "What is the Anglican Church?" has been a great comfort to me, and at the same time an embarrassment. I do not underrate its importance, nor am I unappreciative of its fatherly love. I thank you for its kind expressions, and hail with answering heart its hope, as it looks to a possibility of peace in our dear Church.
But what shall I say in reply to your frank, manly and irenic challenge? I cannot speak for the Catholic party; I would not presume to do so. But your letter asks me to speak, and to speak moreover to a Bishop of the Church. This, in spite of myself, can hardly fail to add a certain importance to my words which does not inherently belong to them. I would it were otherwise; but I have drifted helplessly into a strait.
You say, "It has long seemed to me that some competent person should make a fair and thorough statement of the special beliefs and objects of the men in the Church, called Anglicans sometimes, and sometimes Ritualists. What frightens and worries people, is a suspicion of a tendency, a drift, they do not know whereto it may grow, or where it will stop; and imagination shapes a horrendum. So, you often hear it said, 'To be sure, we don't see anything bad in these Ritualists; but then we see only the entering wedge. They are going somewhere, to Rome, or some where else.' Thus a definition of the terminus ad quem has been much needed. Out with it, the whole of it, the worst of it; and then we shall know what to deal with! I rather think it would quiet hundreds or thousands of minds, to be sure that all there is or will be asked is the First Prayer Book of Edward VI."
As for the "special beliefs and objects" of men called Catholics in our Church, a sermon has been published having for its title almost the identical phrase you have used. It is bound up at the end of a volume entitled "Catholicity, Protestantism, and Romanism," a copy of which I send with this letter, and beg you to accept. This sermon gives, so far as I know, "The meaning and object of the Catholic Movement," without subterfuge or mental reservation.
But you speak of "a tendency and drift;" and ask for the terminus ad quem of the Catholic Movement. There is a sense in which your question can be answered; and there is a sense in which it cannot. It were easy to state the wishes and designs, yea, even to the very last, of the men who are in the Catholic Movement. But there is another sense in which no living man can possibly reply. And as I desire to meet you in the same spirit of frankness with which you have written to me; as, in short, I desire to do my best in giving you "the whole of it, the worst of it," let me say freely that it is this latter sense that gives me pause in trying to reply.
Let me state then, first, what I suppose will be "the very worst." It is the worst, solely because of its indefiniteness.
1. If this movement were of man's device only, I should have no difficulty under this first head. But if there is one thing that every Catholic is fully and firmly convinced of, it is that the great Revival that began in July, 1833, when Keble preached his Assize sermon at Oxford, is not of man, but of God. It was God Who permitted, to say the least, the iniquitous preparations that preceded and opened the way for it. It was God Who moved its earliest springs; and it is He Who has been guiding and controlling it from its beginning to this day. It has had indeed its prominent men whom we all respect. But it is a marvellous fact, recognized by none more than by Catholics themselves, that these men have not always agreed together; and that it has had absolutely no leaders; no Luther, no Calvin, no Wesley. Pusey did not control it, nor did Keble. They saw the movement sweeping on by them; for it was swayed by another, a more powerful, and a mysterious Hand. And surely Newman proved impotent to control it to his purposes. In spite of him, and equally of those who, in alarm at his apostacy from it, and at that of others, have regarded it as essentially Romish in its principles and its drift, it has developed the strongest, firmest, most pugnacious and damaging opponents of Popery that to-day has seen; and it has developed also a gradually organizing and consolidating rank and file, impregnable by Rome. It has set up a new foe of Popery and an abler one than Protestantism; namely, real Catholicity; all the stronger because it does not march under a banner inscribed with the word "Catholic," while at the same time it is rejecting many of the Catholic doctrines and practices of the early Church. Where, in the "forties," and during the confusion and ignorance necessarily incident to the beginnings of such a great and at first obscure movement of God, one person went to Rome, Newman has lived to see, in the "sixties, seventies and eighties," one thousand come into the Catholic Revival, to remain there, and to be far more intelligent in the real issues between Rome and ns, and far more firmly set against Rome than ever before. For these thousands stand no longer on the slippery hill-side of mere congenital prejudice, bracing themselves simply by holy maledictions and impotent scorn, ready as of old to be captured therefore as soon as Rome can catch their ear.
The revival has educated them in Catholicity; and they have learned that Catholicity is far stronger than Protestantism, nay, is destructive of Romanism. Not only does no one of the slightest prominence go to Rome to-day, but the movement has proved to be of such character as to save thousands from. Rome, instead of sending them thither. An individual, here and there, under the adroit manipulations of some skilful Roman propagandist, may be captured; but that does not signify. The great Revival itself, instead of having a drift Romewards has proved to be a solvent, analyzing Romanism, and separating for condemnation its mediaeval and modern Popery from ancient Catholicity. And if Pusey and Keble and Newman did not control it in their day, neither do President Wood, nor the Church Times, nor the Church Review, nor Littledale, nor Berdmore Compton, nor Carter, nor any man or committee of men control it to-day. It has developed some of its phenomena in spite of men and not because of them. It is too big and plural, it has unfolded in some respects too unexpectedly, to be attributed to anything merely human. God has been and is its alone Leader. Often in' the last fifty years has He, to our amazement, overruled to His own purposes the mistakes and extravagances of its friends; and as invariably has He turned the very opposition of its foes into its most efficient ally. Men, even its most prominent men, have found themselves but mere instruments in His hands.
There is, then, my dear Father, a sense in which to ask, "What is its terminus ad quem?" is simply to ask, what are God's final designs in it. I would I could penetrate to the secrets which He hides in the arcana of His ultimate purposes. But how can one presume, how can one dare to say, when such a revolution is come, that he can see entirely through to its end. All one can say is, the truth has come, and its results are coming. We are living in a great age in which God is moving. What can we do but hold the finger on our lips and in silence watch; what, but "sail with God the seas?"
But still one thing is to be said under this first head; and let me, in the attempt to conjure up the very "worst of it," say it. It is this:
Certainly there is an irrepressible yearning among Catholics for a re-union of Christendom. It is their daily prayer "that all the divided members of the Catholic Church in the East and in the West, and that all who confess Christ's Holy Name and are called Christians, may be re-united, as at the beginning, in the Apostles' doctrine and the fellowship, and in the breaking of The Bread and in The Prayers." And certainly, so far as the prominent men in the Catholic movement are concerned, and (I may say without presumption) so far as the rest of us feel, a terminus ad quem of our desires, if not the terminus ad quem of this movement, is such blessed Reunion. One of our daily prayers is, that God will, in His mercy, "remove from us and from all others whatever may hinder or delay such Re-union; all suspicions, prejudices, hard thoughts and judgments; and that He will endue us with such ardent love toward Himself and toward each other, that we may be one in heart, even as Thou, Lord, art One with the Father."
But that I may convey no false impressions, as I should if I left the matter here, that I may open no door for vague apprehensions of some secret willingness among Catholics to yield, for the sake of Reunion, any of the principles of the Anglican Reformation as expressed in Edward's First Book, let me say with an equal distinctness, that Catholics are to-day, all of them, humanly speaking, in a sort of despair of such Reunion, even though they yearn for it. To them all is dark ahead. For, a reunion of Christendom, with the hundred and seventy millions of Roman Catholics left out, would be no reunion at all. And yet, if one understand the feelings of Catholics at all, it is a fact, that never would they be willing to see the Anglican Church yield to Rome. It is their feeling, I am sure of it, that any such yielding would be utter and shameful disloyalty to that Divine Constitution of the Catholic Church, which she did not adopt, but which she received from the Apostles; that man has no right to alter that Constitution; that it was given to him not to tinker or vainly strive to improve, but to preserve; that if Rome, through Leo and Gregory VII. and Pius IX. presumed to be wiser than the Apostles--and radically to change that constitution in the direction of centralization of power, to alter that wise distribution of power, which the Apostles left as one of its features, and which was consistent with unity, then Rome must be content to alter it for herself alone, and not for the rest of the Church, and she must go her way; that the blame for the consequent suspension of inter-communion, lies at her doors and not at ours; that the Anglican Church, not merely for herself to-day, but also for the Catholic Church of the future, must, at all hazards, preserve the Apostolically given rights of her Bishops, Priests, and laymen; that even the blessing of a united Christendom would be bought at too fatally dear a price, if it were purchased at the cost of a sacrilegious surrender of the polity with which Christ and the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles, endowed the Catholic Church from the first and for all time. As well think of altering one of Christ's Sacraments. To mar the integrity of the Constitution of the Church, is to rebel against the Church, and to send Christianity itself among the rocks and whirlpools.
A Reunion, then, can only be based on a return all around and specially of Rome, to the state of things, to the polity, the doctrines, and the teachings of the early Church. But Catholics see no hope for such return at present; and, as it is utterly out of their power to conceive of any other basis for Reunion, they are therefore in a sort of despair. Away, say they, with all modernisms, whether Protestant or Romish. If I do not misunderstand those in the Church with whom I symbolize, their words to Rome are the very words uttered in 1870 by the Patriarch of Constantinople when he declined, for himself and his brother Bishops of the Greek Church, the Pope's invitation to attend the Vatican Council. Those words were as follows: "Since it is manifest that there was a church in existence thirteen centuries ago, which held the same doctrines in the East as in the West, in the Old as in the New Rome, let us each recur to that; and see which of us has added aught, which has diminished aught therefrom. And let all that may have been added be struck off, if any there be, and whatever it be; and let all that has been diminished therefrom be re-added, if any there be, and whatever it be. And then we shall all, unawares, find ourselves united in the same symbol of Catholic Orthodoxy." In this spirit the Anglican Church, from Edward's day, has been steadily pointing her children to the early Church, and saying of everything that is there, "I have received the same." But alas, those children have been wayward, and have not heeded. Thus too she has said, as it were, to Protestantism, "Nothing less than that;" and to Rome, "Nothing more." This, my dear Father, is precisely the spirit of true Anglicanism in which the Ritualists are acting. They look to the Early Church to see what it is that "this Church hath received." And much that they find in the Early Church, they find also in neglected or unnoticed parts of our Prayer Book. The trouble is, that there have been and are many in our Church who close their eyes to, and in their hearts reject, certain things which were universal in the Early Church. But the Ritualists stand firm, equally against those who thus want less, and those who may want more, should any arise. They appeal to the Prayer Book and to history. How can the Anglican Church ask others to do what her sons seem unwilling to do? She is herself willing. When will her sons all be?
Catholics are not indeed so faithless as to feel in their inmost hearts that Christ's prayer will never be answered, and that Reunion will not sooner or later come. But to their minds it will have to come in God's own mode and time. And so, with absolutely no designs or plans, secret or open, as to how it is to lie effected, they simply pray for the result and leave the rest to Heaven. The Vatican Council has hushed to silence every other voice, has paralyzed every other effort.
Vague apprehensions, then, lest Catholics, even in view of a wished-for Reunion of Christendom, be less loyal in their secret hearts than others to those principles of the Anglican Church under which she resisted, in Henry's, Edward's and Elizabeth's clays, the usurpations of the Roman Popes, have no foundation. Is there not some way to lay such apprehensions to rest?
II. And now, having spoken as frankly and as fully as I know how to speak of all that could by any possibility be considered as indefinite in the "tendency and drift" of the Catholic revival, indefinite because it is God's and not man's, and no one but God can know what its end is in His own purposes--let me answer your question "What is the terminus ad quem," according to that other sense in which you would seem to ask, What are the ultimate wishes and designs of the mere men themselves who are identified with the movement.
I am sure you will see how awkward my position is. If we had a leader, or five or ten leaders whom all followed, I could enquire of them and give you definite information. But I can only say what I, as a single individual out of the thousands think, what, from more or less knowledge of the men in the movement, I certainly feel that the poor human wishes and designs of Catholics are.
If I know anything of those with whom I sympathize, they have had, and have nothing whatever to conceal. They have no sinister motives. The hue and cry that was raised some years ago against the American Branch of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, the charges that it was a secret society, with hidden designs, a political body with purpose to interfere in Episcopal elections, etc., were, my dear Father, utterly and totally baseless and false. After the lapse of these years I speak at last what I know in saying this, for I speak as its Superior. When those charges were made, apprehensions in the Church and curiosity in the world were, of course, awakened and aroused to fever heat. We were besieged by interviewing reporters of the secular press; efforts were made to secure a list of our Priests. But interviews were declined, and lists of Priests were refused; not because we were a secret society, for we were not; but because, in the false alarm and the irritable state of the Church, the purpose was to hound those Priests. This quiet and silence into which we settled while the storm was blowing, and the obviously proper provision that Intercession Papers in which prayers were asked of the twelve thousand Associates in England and America, perhaps for some drunken father, or fallen daughter, or infidel mother (whose names were known not to us, but to God) should contain the harmless words "For Associates only," were calculated of course to confirm, meantime, the false charges of secrecy and of hidden designs against the integrity of the Church, and we knew it; but this was inevitable. And it is never difficult (however unpleasant it be) for those who know they are simply misunderstood, to wait for time to justify them. In vain did we point to our Manual, procurable at any Church book-store, as containing "the whole of it, the worst of it." But the public were in no temper to believe that what we said was true. But, dear Father, I point you to that Manual as containing a complete statement of the objects and recommendations of the Confraternity. In England, I believe none are admitted to the annual meeting but associates; not so in America. But even this custom in England has been severely criticised by Catholics themselves as quite unnecessary. Indeed, if there is anything that the men from whom I have been learning since 1842, and with whom I am happy to think to-day, are not chargeable with, it is duplicity.
For one I could not look up to and honor them were this otherwise: I speak of such men as Pusey, Keble, Littledale, Lowder, Neale, Vaux, Bishop Forbes, Mackonochie, Berdmore Compton, Liddon, the Hon. C. L. Wood, Baring-Gould, Sidney Faithorn Green, Canon Carter, Denison, etc. Their spirit in this respect has spread through the great body of the Catholic party. Do not judge a great party and its prominent men by any tricky exceptions, if any there happen to have been. The great party knows no disciplina arcani. It scorns to demean itself by anything like cheating words. Its prominent men do not publish one thing and menu another; or say one thing to Bishops and do another; or state a half thing and intend a whole thing; or put forth a mild thing which it will do to utter to the world, and conceal a strong thing which they intend to utter subsequently. They have no little end of the wedge to insert. It is the blunt end they show to the world.
Since 1833 there has indeed been a drift in our Church. There is still a drift; but whither? By no means to Romanism. As I said above, the firmest opponents of Rome to-day are these very Catholics. Witness, for instance, those unanswerable and most erudite papers in the "Church Quarterly," entitled "The Petrine Claims;" witness the "Reasons against joining the Church of Rome" which the Oratorians, with Newman behind them, have in vain tried to answer. Who, to-day, are really fighting the practical battles against Rome but Catholics? Whether they speak to Protestants or to Roman Catholics they use no indefinite words, no vague phrases, for they wish to be distinctly understood by the world.
There is, indeed, I repeat, a drift in our Church; but it is not to Romanism. It is to Catholicity. There is a drift in our Church but there is no drift in these men that I have named, nor in the rest of us who learn from them. They are to-day just where they were eighteen years ago. They will go to prison if needs be, or they will go to their graves; but they will not, because they cannot, go to Rome. They are alarmed at its doctrine of development; they grieve at and are as firm as flint against the idolatrous cultus of images, and the idolatrous cultus of the Blessed Mother of God, that are prevalent in Rome; they are shocked at the extravagant phrases that are used in her worship; they reject Rome's unity without diversity; they utterly and with a sad indignation repudiate the modern claims of the Pope, whereby he tramples the combined Episcopate under foot, and would Latinize and Italianize all national churches; whereby, to use the Roman Archbishop Conolly's language in the Vatican Council, "he would transform the whole Church and the Bishops with it into a rabble of blind men, among whom is one alone who sees, so that they must believe whatever he tells them; whereby the thousand-headed Episcopate, with the millions of the faithful at its back, is to shrink into the voice and witness of a single man." They would be willing to admit the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome till such time as the whole Church sees fit to alter what the whole Church decreed as binding upon all in the third Canon of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople and the twenty-eighth of Chalcedon. But they repudiate not only the modern claims of Pius IX but also the mediaeval claims of Hildebrand, yea, and even the unwarrantable claims of Leo I. in the early Church. They do not even admit that the Primacy of Rome is of Divine right, but claim that it is of Ecclesiastical regulation. They repudiate the Roman definition of transubstantiation; denial of the cup to all but the Celebrant; some of the principles of the Roman system of casuistry; the Roman view of Purgatory; compulsory confession; compulsory celibacy of the clergy; and the saying of Offices in other than the vernacular.
They accept the truth that souls of the faithful are not ready at death to enter Heaven; but that they are susceptible of advancing until they become fit for the final resurrection and the Beatific Vision; therefore they believe those happy souls can become more happy, and can be helped by our prayers; they accept the Real Objective Presence; they believe the Prayer Book intends that we shall make the Holy Eucharist, and not the Morning Prayer, the main service of the Church; and that the plain English rubric provides that the Eucharist shall be surrounded with its respectful, and fitting, and expressive adjuncts of vestments, lights, incense, song and adorations; they claim that as Christ instituted it in the mixed chalice, there is nothing in the Prayer Book to hinder the use of the mixed chalice to-day; nay, that under the "ornaments rubric" its use is implied. They claim the right of worshipping Jesus Christ by outward acts wherever He is; and they refuse therefore to be hindered from worshipping Him thus, when He is especially present (in some way undefined, and mysterious, and supernatural, and non localiter, but very real) in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood; as Blessed John Keble says, they can no more help adoring their Lord and God when they contemplate Him. with the eye of faith in the Blessed Sacrament, than can a mother help loving her child when she gazes at it in its cradle. They claim that the Prayer Book teaches, in its Catechism and by its prayers, that the Eucharist is a Commemorative Sacrifice as well as a Sacrament and a Communion. They do not claim the right of treating it as a Sacrifice only; or of altering the service at any time by leaving out all parts that refer to it as a Communion; they do not claim the right of playing fast and loose with the Prayer Book. They may, indeed, agitate for permission to use a better Prayer Book; but not till their wise Mother, one of whose glories and safe-guards for them and for all her children is her conservatism and the care and deliberation with which she moves, not, I say, till their Mother, the Church, sees fit to permit them to use a better Prayer Book, will they deviate from the Prayer Book they have. They claim that the Prayer Book permits them to be present at the Eucharist and to make a Spiritual Communion; nay, that in its Longer Exhortation taken in connection with its Shorter, it implies that others will be present than those who are to make a Sacramental Communion. They claim the right to develop the Religious Orders in the Church; to hold retreats and missions; to make and hear voluntary confessions; that confessions are not voluntary, if they are prohibited except a Christian has committed murder, arson, adultery, highway robbery or such like; since all sin is a weighty matter; and that they are not voluntary, if a man is prohibited from confessing except at intervals of two, three, five or twenty years. They claim that death does not sunder the faithful departed from the Church; that the living can therefore still meet the faithful departed in Christ at the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice; and that the Prayer Book puts into our lips every time we join in the Communion Service, and every time the Burial Office is said, a prayer to the effect that God in His mercy will grant to those departed whatever He knows they may need till the Judgment day; they do not rank Confirmation, Orders, Absolution, Marriage, and Unction of the sick with the two great Sacraments; but they admit their Sacramental character; and they do not believe it wise now for the Church to be without an authorized Office for the Episcopal Consecration of oils; or for her Priests and laymen habitually to disobey the Apostolic injunction, "Is any sick among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord."
In short, my dear Father, if we can judge of any men by what they say--if there are any men who have no ulterior and secret designs beyond what they put forth to the world, I for one am sure it is the eminent men whose names I have mentioned above. They have come out to the world with "the whole of it, with the worst of it." They have stated the terminus ad quem.
What is it? It is the Anglican Reformation. The Anglican Church reformed in Edward's day. Her Reformation was radically different from the Reformation on the Continent; that is to say, the one was a Catholic Reformation, the other was a Protestant one; the one was wrought by the Church herself in convocation met; it was the Church herself reforming from within; the result was therefore binding upon all; the other was the work of unauthorized individuals; the former was preservative of the Catholic Church, and Ministry, and Sacraments, and doctrines, and not destructive of them. That Reformation was expressed and exemplified in Edward's First Book. The Anglican Church declared of that Book what she has declared of no subsequent Prayer Book that has been in use within her; namely, that it was framed under the influence of the Holy Ghost, and that there was nothing superstitious in it. Then came from the Continent, Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer; dissatisfied with our Anglican Reformation; determined to destroy it, and to substitute the Continental in its place. And, as a partial result of this, Edward's Second Prayer Book, with centuries of confusion, and of eventual stumbling back towards the real Anglican Reformation. Every alteration in our Prayer Book since Edward's Second Book (in Elizabeth's, James' and Charles's times), has been an alteration in the direction of the First Book, and of the Anglican Reformation pure and simple, and before the Independents and Presbyterians tampered with and adulterated it; as though God, having made the Anglican Reformation distinct from the Continental, would keep it so, and not suffer his work to be finally thwarted. The tendency has been and is steadily to Edward's First Book, and towards undoing the foreign and incongruous work of Martyr and Bucer in England. And there is not, so far as I at least can see, after scanning the entire horizon around, a particle of yearning in the great Catholic party proper, which is the only body of men in the premises worthy of consideration, to go one fraction of an inch beyond the principles of the real Anglican Reformation as set down in Edward's First Book.
There have been now and then efforts to go beyond this. But such efforts have been confined to obscure, not to say sentimental cliques, each of limited numbers, utterly without influence, evidently unblessed by God, rejected by the Catholic party (witness, for instance, the Society of Corporate Reunion) and of brief career. When such efforts transpire, the great Catholic party continues soberly about its business, and pays them not the slightest heed. They are but as butterflies flitting about a rock.
I have thus, my clear Father in God, tried to be frank and full in my statements, in answer to your request. Permit me to reiterate, however, that I am not the spokesman of the Catholic party. I do not know of any one that is. But in all sincerity I believe that these views which I have expressed would be endorsed, as "the whole of it, the worst of it" by that party.
I remain sincerely your Son in the Church,
F. C. EWER.
St. Ignatius Parish, New York City, July 27, 1883.