AND RELIGIOUS REFORM.
Episcopal Church in the United States on Ecclesiastical
Relations and Religious Reform.
with the Church of England
Committee on "Ecclesiastical Reform and Toleration in the East."
Joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform. RE-APPOINTED BY THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF 1877. MEMBERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION. MEMBERS
THE BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT, Chairman,
THE BISHOP OF OHIO,
Kokosing, Gambier, Ohio.
THE BISHOP OF PENNSYLVANIA,
708 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Penn.
THE BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK,
See House, Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York.
THE BISHOP OF LONG ISLAND,
170 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, New York.
THE BISHOP OF CENTRAL NEW YORK,
Syracuse, New York.
THE REV. NOAH HUNT SCHENCK, Secretary, 144 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.
THE REV. GEORGE LEEDS, D.D.,
100 Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
THE REV. THOMAS F. DAVIES, D.D.,
717 Pine Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
THE REV. JOHN FULTON, D.D.,
THE REV. CHARLES R. HALE, S. T. D., 239 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, Md.
MR. SAMUEL B. RUGGLES. LL.D.,
24 Union Square, New York.
*MR. CAMBRIDGE LIVINGSTON, Treasurer,
44 West Twenty-second Street, New York.
*MR. ROBERT M. MASON,
MR. JOHN A. KING,
Jamaica, Long Island, New York.
MR. EDWARD H. WRIGHT,
Newark, New Jersey.
1. On Oriental Churches,--
(a) The Bishop of Western New York, The Rev. Dr. Leeds, The Rev. Dr. Davies, Mr. Edward H. Wright.
(b) On Ecclesiastical Reform and Toleration in the East,--The Bishop of Ohio, The Rev. Dr. Hale, The Hon. S. B. Ruggles.
2. On the Old Catholic and other Reformed Movements in Europe:
(a) Germany and Switzerland. The Bishop of Western New York, The Bishop of Long Island, The Rev. Dr. Schenck, Mr. John A. King.
(b) Italy and France. The Bishop of Connecticut, The Bishop of Pennsylvania, The Rev. Dr. Leeds, The Rev. Dr. Hale, The Hon. S. B. Ruggles.
3. On the Church of Sweden and other Churches of Northern Europe,--The Bishop of Long Island, The Rev. Dr. Davies.
4. On Religious Bodies at Home and Abroad looking to a Return to Primitive Order,--The Bishop of Central New York, the Rev. Dr. Davies, The Rev. Dr. Fulton, Mr. Edward H. Wright.
5. On Correspondence with Foreign Chaplains.--Rev. Dr. Schenck.
Communications for the Secretary should be addressed to Brooklyn, N. Y.
At a regular meeting of the Joint Committee of the General Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform, held in New York, March 10th, A. D., 1879, it was upon motion of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Littlejohn, Bishop of Long Island, seconded by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Huntington, Bishop of Central New York:
Resolved, That a Committee consisting of the Bishop of Ohio, the Rev. Dr. Hale, and the Secretary, be appointed to prepare for the press and publish as Documents of this Joint Committee the Reports of the Bishop of Ohio and the Rev. Dr. Hale made to the last meeting of the Joint Committee, with such enlargement of matter and change of form as the Special Committee may decide upon.
(Signed), NOAH HUNT SCHENCK,
Secretary of the Joint Committee.
BROOKLYN, Oct., A.D., 1879.
To the joint Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform.
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON "ECCLESIASTICAL REFORM AND TOLERATION IN THE EAST" BEGS LEAVE TO REPORT:
At your late meeting this sub-committee was requested to consider the question whether any and what steps should be recommended to be taken, at the present time, by our Church, with reference to closer affiliation with the Oriental Churches and to their reformation.
Our consideration of the subject committed to us led to a review of proceedings suggested by the Joint Committee. This review has an historical interest; and will justify the conclusion to which we have arrived.
The Joint Committee was pleased to charge the Chairman with the duty of presenting the subject of the Armenian Church, to the Churches both in this country and in England.
At the session of the General Convention in 1877, it was understood in the House of Bishops, that without a formal commission, Bishop Bedell, who was chairman of the Committee on Foreign Missions, should lay before the Conference at Lambeth the report of the Committee of the House on that subject; especially regarding the relations of our Missions in China and Japan to those of the Church of England.
Accordingly the following steps were taken.
The Armenian Papers were published and circulated in this country, attracting considerable attention. They [5/6] included a valuable letter from our aged Missionary, Rev. Dr. Hill. They are as follows:
The Armenian Papers. To the "Standard of the Cross."
CLEVELAND, May 9, 1878.
DEAR BROTHER:--Yesterday, I wrote to The Churchman, expressing the hope that "soon" the Lord would open for us a way by which the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States might help the Protestant Episcopalians of Armenia, in their struggle for truth, without violating Apostolic order.
To-day, the Lord graciously throws a bright beam of light on the way, by a letter received from our venerable and beloved missionary, Rev. Dr. Hill, of Athens, Greece. His letter enforces the appeal of the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, and of the Armenian ARIDIS GARBOUTHIAN, which follow, and which I had already prepared to send you. Aridis Garbouthian is a layman. Bishop Gobat of Jerusalem is a Prussian; but is placed in charge of both the English and German churches in Syria, (and the chaplaincies of the English consulates in Egypt,) by a treaty between England and Germany effected by the zeal of Chevalier Bunsen. Under this treaty, the Superintendent (Bischof) Gobat was chosen successor to Bishop Alexander. He went to England, and was consecrated by, or by authority of, the Archbishop of Canterbury; and, as a Bishop of the Church of England, was present at the first Lambeth Conference, and was recognized as holding office and jurisdiction. This statement is necessary because of some counter misstatements made at a meeting of the Board of Missions a few years ago--made in ignorance of the facts, and which for lack of opportunity could not then be corrected.
By his letter it will be seen that he has not recognized Archbishop Megerditch as his suffragan," nor has he encouraged the formation of Protestant churches within theArmenian Church. Both these objections were urged at the above-mentioned meeting of the Board, and could not then be corrected.
Another objection made at that time, against our [6/7] suggestion that our Board of Missions should help the Armenians in an effort for Religious Reform, was based on an idea that Archbishop Megerditch had "renounced communion with the Catholikos of the Armenian Church." This was not my understanding of the facts, and is not my impression. But I wrote immediately to Bishop Gobat, requesting information. No reply has been received, probably because of the unsettled political condition of affairs. As I recollect the Bishop's statement, the Archbishop had never been deposed, nor placed under any discipline, on account of his opinions; these were entirely in accord with the views of the Church of England and our own. He was working among his people, if not with the open consent, at least with the tacit approval, of the authorities. He had done and was doing precisely the same thing which Archbishop Crammer and his co-laborers did in the days of Henry VIII.; and the Armenians were gathering around him as the English did around Cranmer, reforming within their own Church, not outside of it; especially refusing to unite with any body of believers which was not Episcopal.
Now the light which comes from Dr. Hill's valued letter is thrown on two points, as follows:
First, In any reasonable effort to help the Armenian Church to a Reform within itself, our Church will be acting on the principles adopted by our Fathers in 1830; and in which the Mission to Greece has always persevered, with abundant success--thank God!
Second, Our Mission to Greece, already established, offers a pivotal point for such Reforming labors through the whole region occupied by the Oriental Churches.
I bespeak for these letters a careful, prayerful, sympathetic reading. Especially, I beseech the members of the Board of Missions to consider them. Has not the time come, which the far-sighted Dr. ANDERSON, of the American Board, prophesied would come, when their Congregational missions, noble in inception, and generous in operation, would prepare the way for a Reformation of the Eastern Churches, within the cherished bounds of their own Ecclesiastical order? If so, ought we not to seize the moment?
G. T. BEDELL.
 Letter from the Rev. Dr. Hill.
ATHENS, April 17, 1878.
To the Rt. Rev. G. T. BEDELL, D.D., Bishop of Ohio:
VERY REV. AND DEAR FRIEND:--Among the various papers which reached me respecting the subjects brought before the Church during the sitting of the General Convention in October last, was the first Triennial Report of the Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Reform. This pamphlet was read with much interest; but at the same time it occurred to me as strange, that the Committee had not recognized that this object was the spirit that moved the venerable fathers in our Church in 1830 to make the first Foreign Mission one to the ancient household of faith.
I have long been anxiously desirous that the friendly relations, which now so happily subsist between the Church in Greece, and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, should be strengthened. This desire increases more and more with my advancing age. The attention which, from your youth, you have given to the work of this Mission, the deep interest and personal efforts in its behalf from its foundation, rendered by both your venerated parents, as well as the many eloquent words you have "uttered in its behalf, cheering and encouraging us during many a despairing hour, give us good reason to claim you as one of its warmest friends, and induce me to present to you my last plea for the strengthening and future sustaining of the old Greek Mission.
There can he no doubt that ere long a cry for help will be sent forth from all the decayed churches of the East, and this cry must be answered by the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church of the United States. These considerations, at this peculiar crisis, when spiritual life seems to be agitating the stagnation which has so long enveloped the Greek Church, have led me to call the attention of your Committee to the strengthening of the Church's present Mission to Greece, as the basis of such future operations as events may indicate, when "the difficulties which at present prevent missionary work among the Asiatic Churches and tribes, shall be removed."
 The present state of religious feeling in Greece affords, I think, a very promising field of labor for a properly qualified clerical representative of the American or Anglican Church, who would acquaint himself with this spiritual temperament, and judiciously counsel that seeking after a better state of things which certainly exists among the laity, the influence of which is, even now felt upon the higher clergy: and when we reflect what laical influence did for the Church of England in her days of coldness and depression, we cannot but acknowledge its value.
While my mind was dwelling upon this subject, Bishop Whipple's letter on the Mission Work of the Church reached us (in the March number of the Spirit of Missions.) His question respecting Greece seemed to chime in so exactly with what I had been thinking upon, that I must make it the text of some remarks on this subject:
"Shall it be Greece, by whose door God is fulfilling prophecies, which have waited two thousand five hundred years?"
This, my dear friend, is as weighty a question for the Church as that which has for the last fifty years been agitating the Powers of this world. Who is to be dominant at the East? These Powers are at this moment at fault, and may literally be said not to be knowing what to do. The same Almighty hand, who has made the nations of the past subserve one great purpose, is now equally at work in the fulfillment of His design for the universality of that kingdom which is to be of lasting continuance.
The Church will have to take up the Eastern question, and ask herself how the prophecies of two thousand five hundred years are to be fulfilled, and what part she is to take in the preparation to fight against that great army by which Satan has so long maintained his power--the evils of a debased Christianity--the unbelief of the Jews and Mahometans, now dominant among their numerous tribes--most of whom are the children of Abraham after the flesh, and are to be participants in the blessings purchased for them by the Son of Abraham born after the Spirit.
"O that Ishmael might live before Thee," was the prayer [9/10] of the father, whose tender heart yearned after the son by the bond-woman, amid its rejoicing that a child should be born to him of his beloved Sarah.
The prophetic answer to Abraham's prayer is most distinctly marked on the page of sacred history, so far as it extended to temporal blessings, but as yet the old covenant in the flesh has not been superseded by the new covenant of the Spirit. How this is to be accomplished, is the question now to be asked by the Church. And we answer, can a more appropriate instrument for this be found than in those Apostolic Churches, who even to this present antichristian age have retained in their creed, and the formularies of their devotion, the faith once delivered to the saints?
O say, in all the bleak expanse,
Is there a spot to win your glance,
So bright, so dark as this?
A hopeless faith, a homeless race,
Yet seeking the most holy place,
And owning the true bliss!
Effectual work among the Eastern churches cannot be carried on to any extent by the denominational churches, however well designed it may be, as we have for proof the Armenian Church, which has for 40 years been their special work. And we could hardly think it desirable in the present state of loose doctrine which prevails among them. The founders of the Constantinople Mission were men of sound doctrine, as also I believe the present missionaries to be. But there is no guaranty for the future, when we see universal salvation, the entering wedge to all false doctrines, and which eventually lands its advocates on the sandy shoals of every form of infidelity, so prominent among them. There could not be a more satisfactory proof of the power and solidity of those articles framed by the Nicene Fathers, than finding them still held in veneration amid the debris of superstition and ignorance which has covered these churches for ages; and which have retained for these, churches, (as you yourself say), a heritage of truth marked by "unaffected confidence in God's truth, constant reliance upon and reference to God's [10/11] Word written, and logical precision and clearness. The golden thread on which the whole argument is wrought, is the oneness of the Revelation. There is a continual recognition of the fact that the Old and New Testaments are parts of a whole; and that the Law, the Prophets and the Gospel compose an undivided and indivisible manifestation of God's revealed will."
All this has not only been retained, but has been, and is becoming more and more developed by the Greek Church, while the advancement she has made in an acquaintance with modern ecclesiastical thought, will prepare her for becoming a useful co-operator with the Western Protestant churches, for the benefit of those more Eastern.
I have thus, revered friend, endeavored to convey to you the thoughts arising from the reading of the Report of the Committee on Ecclesiastical Relations and Religious Reform. And while we read the solemn warnings dictated by the Holy Spirit to the ancient churches, which have so sadly been realized, shall not our Church be foremost in their restoration, and pray, in the words of old Matthew Henry:
"Let the churches of Asia that were 'golden candlesticks,' which the Lord Jesus delighted to walk in the midst of, be again made so. Restore unto them their liberties as at first, and their privileges as at the beginning, purely purge away their dross, and take away all their tin, and turn again their captivity as streams in the South." Amen!
As she began, so let our Church carry on to perfection this work. The way may be long and arduous, but it is illuminated by the torch of faith, and the victory is certain. With what delight will we, who now are waiting to enter into our rest, listen to the victorious shout, "The Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." Rev. xi. 15.
I forward to you with this a small volume of selections from the Scriptures for family reading, by Mr. Diomedes Kyriacos (a layman), one of the Professors in the University [11/12] at Athens. The preface is worthy of notice, full of deep feeling, and a true appreciation of the Holy Scriptures. There are other intimations of the estimation in which the study of the Scriptures is held. In the Theological Faculty of the University the Old Testament is studied in the original Hebrew, and in all the Theological Schools, of which there are several, among which is a very efficient one in Ermoupolis of Syra.
The Parnassus Association maintains a school for Scripture reading, and religious instruction for working men in Athens on the Lord's day. And the Association of the Friends of the People extends the same benefit to other parts of Greece.
Sermons on the Gospels for every Sunday, Theotoky's Kyriacodromion, and Homilies by Mela (a layman) are read in many schools, churches and families. The book I send will no doubt he used extensively in families. Such are some of the evidences of spiritual life. May the quickening of the Spirit increase it more and more, till the cloven tongues of fire once more rest upon the old Apostolic Church!
Mrs. Hill unites with me in the assurance of affectionate regard to yourself and Mrs. Bedell. JOHN H. HILL.
Letter from The Bishop at Jerusalem (Gobat).
OCTOBER 4th, 1875.
MY DEAR BISHOP:--Having been absent from England for some weeks, I have not been able before to reply to your letter in reference to Archbishop Megherditch, and the Protestant Movement in the Armenian Church with which he is connected.
With the details of his history I need not trouble you, as I recounted them to you when I had the pleasure of seeing you in Jerusalem, on which occasion we talked over the proposal referred to in your letter. It is sufficient for me to say, first of all, with respect to Archbishop Megherditch, that I have the highest esteem and respect for him. I believe him to be most sincere and conscientious in his religious convictions, and at the same time a man of high intellectual attainments, and, what is perhaps of more value still in his [12/13] peculiar position, a man of singular judgment and worthy of all confidence. I have for fifteen years past watched with anxious solicitude and deep interest the growing feeling existing at Aintab, Diarbeker, Kessaab, and other places in Mesopotamia, which has led to the desire on the part of many enlightened members of the Armenian Church to have established among them an Episcopal Church, purified from errors of faith, ritual and discipline.
It has been a subject of great regret that, for reasons of which you are cognizant, I have been unable to meet their oft-expressed desire, by establishing churches connected with the Church of England, and under her protection. I therefore hailed with satisfaction your approval of my suggestion that in some way your American Episcopal Church should aid in this important end, believing, as I do, as I explained to you, that your Church co-operates very efficiently. I should rejoice with thankfulness if your Board of Missions would help me, by employing Archbishop Megerditch as a missionary under the supervision of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. I am ready, according to the act "authorizing," etc., to take this supervision upon me.
If this proposal should be carried out, I have a firm conviction that it will confer a great blessing on the Armenian Church and nation. I believe it will result, under the favor of God, in the restoration of that ancient Church to its early parity; in fact, in a reformation like that which produced a return to Apostolic faith and discipline in our own Protestant Episcopal Churches. I am, my dear Bishop,
Yours affectionately, S. ANGL. HIEROSOL.
THE RIGHT REV. DR. BEDELL, Bishop of Ohio.
Extract of a Letter from Thomas Smith.
40 LOWER TULSE HILL, BRIXTON, S. W., Oct. 8.
DEAR BISHOP BEDELL:--I think and hope that the enclosed document will meet your requirements.
You will see that the statement is drawn up by one who has been a moving principal in the Protestant Episcopal [13/14] movement, and his history and experience may be taken as a sample of some hundreds of others. (Signed) THOMAS SMITH.
Letter from an Armenian Layman. CALL OF THE ARMENIANS UPON THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF AMERICA.
The following are the powerful reasons which justly hinder the great majority of Armenians from adopting the pure Gospel under the form presented to them by the Congregational Church of the United States:
I. Armenian Ordination.--The independent missionaries would never recognize (in practice) the Armenian ordination; consequently whenever a Bishop, a Doctor, a Priest or any other ecclesiastic left his Church and joined the Protestant congregation, he was treated by the missionaries simply as a layman, and forbidden to perform any official act without receiving a so-called fresh ordination from them. In Diarbeker (Mesopotamia), another consequence was that the missionaries began to baptize a second time children, under pretence that the Armenian Priest who baptized them was not a true Christian.
II. Petty rules concerning Membership.
III. Infant Baptism.--In the Armenian Church every child has to be baptized, and there is a general belief that any unbaptized child cannot enter heaven, not having on his forehead the external sign of the Christian faith. But the Independents refuse to baptize any Protestant child whose father is a non-communicant, although he may be a non-communicant perforce. In Cassab alone there are one hundred children now growing up, denied the rite by which they should enter a Christian Church.
IV. No Christian Festival observed by the Independents.--The Independents in Turkey do not celebrate the five great days, viz.: Christmas, Good-Friday, Easter, Ascension and Whitsunday, which remind us of the five great events in the life of our Lord.
The following are the reasons which induce the [14/15] enlightened Armenians to wish for a communion with an Episcopal Church on the basis of the Protestant Reformation.
I. The Armenians find in the Episcopal Churches of England and America, their own Church, but reformed and purified.
II. These two Churches (of England and America) recognize the ordination of the Eastern Churches as well as that of their own churches.
III. The Armenians find the rules concerning membership and infant baptism, more in accordance with the word of God in the two above mentioned churches than in the body of American Independents.
It is very difficult for me to state how the Armenians became acquainted with the Prayer-Book of the Church of England, but the following circumstance, told me last year, at Aintab, where I was sent on a mission, by Bishop Gobat, will in some measure explain it. A man told me, that about fifteen years ago, he was employed by the American Missionaries as a bookseller. Once, among other books, recently received, he accidentally found a Prayer-Book of the Church of England, which, after having read most attentively, he communicated to others. "The joy of this great discovery, was," said the man, "extraordinary." A great many of the Armenians cried aloud with one voice, "We have at length found the Church we were seeking long, long ago, to reform us. But, alas!" continued the ex-bookseller, "our enthusiasm was to be followed by a great sorrow. The Independent Missionary demanded and got back the Prayer-Book. We went and offered him five Turkish pounds ($22 90), its real value being fifty cents, but he refused to sell it to us, saying that this book would do us no good, but only trouble our minds. This answer of the Missionary, far from calming us, kindled rather our ardor, and we at once wrote to Smyrna and to Jerusalem, and had no rest until we got the forbidden and beloved book. When we were well acquainted with the doctrine of the Church of England, as expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles, when we had learned by heart the beautiful prayers and litanies, [15/16] not only we who had already separated ourselves from our old church, but also one hundred and fifty other heads of families united secretly with us, collected among ourselves a great sum, chose a suitable man, gave him a testimonial signed by us all, and sent him to England. He started secretly, leaving his family here, (Aintab). We heard of his having embarked at Alexandria, but what became of him afterwards no one knows but God. We believe that he died on his way to London."
Almost at the same time in Diarbeker, the Protestants were so disgusted with the Independent system, and having heard, through pilgrims, that there was another Protestant Church in Jerusalem, sent to Bishop Gobat, Mr. (afterwards Rev.) Carabet. This gentleman, after his ordination, used to travel a great deal in Turkey, and it is chiefly through him that the Church of England was known to the people. In the above mentioned town, there are now more than one thousand families who separated from the Independents and bought from the Missionaries both their chapel and schools. Their pastor, Rev. Thomas Bojagain, wrote several times to Bishop Gobat, asking that he and his congregation might be recognized by the Church of England. Besides these two towns, there are a great many others where the people are ready to accept the truth, if only they might be allowed to reform their own Church, that is, to have an Episcopal Reformed Armenian Church, with a liturgy and Prayer-Book similar to that of the Church of England.
When I was at Aintab, a very old man came to me, saying, "More than fifteen years we have been expecting the salvation of our Church. Many died without seeing John the Baptist announcing to them that the Lord was coming; it may be that I shall die without being able to sing the beautiful song of Simeon. But, for the sake of our children, do, oh do, tell Bishop Gobat that we kiss his hands and feet, and beseech him to do his utmost to help us. Our nation cannot be saved but through an Episcopal Church." Poor old man! he was weeping like a child, [16/17] while thus laying open to me the deep feeling of thousands of my countrymen.
I, the undersigned, was born and baptized in my national church; but when only two years old my father joined the Independent Missionaries. From that time, up to the age of sixteen, I was educated in the schools superintended by those Missionaries. At sixteen I went to Jerusalem and entered the Diocesan School under Bishop Gobat. It was there that I really found Jesus. I was converted in that excellent school, and confirmed by Bishop Gobat in 1866. Then I went to Switzerland, where I studied among Presbyterians for more than five years. I saw the Lutheran Church in Germany, the Reformed Church in France; but I never, no never, doubted for a single moment, my profound conviction, that it is only an Episcopal Church, similar to that of America, which is able to do a great work among my countrymen. I am convinced that if only one or two Episcopal Missionaries, were sent to the Armenians in Turkey, that they would be able to bring more souls to the Fountain of Life, than the Independent Missionaries could do in forty years.
N. B. Compare this statement with Dr. Hill's letter.
The Lambeth Conference.
We now proceed to narrate the steps taken by your sub-Committee to bring this topic, together with its kindred topics, before the Church of England, and the great Conference at Lambeth.
During the visit of the Bishops to England in 1878, a paper on our Foreign Missions, including the chief points in this case, was read by Bishop Bedell at the meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in London, on June 28th.
On July 3, in the afternoon, during the session of the Lambeth Conference, Bishop Stevens, who was to present the subject of our Missionary interests, gave an opportunity to lay before the Conference, copies of the Report made to our House of Bishops, which is referred to above. [17/18] The Report was read, favorably received, and referred to the Committee on "the relation to each other of Missionary Bishops and Missionaries of the various branches of the Anglican Communion, acting in the same country." Of this Committee, the undersigned had the honor of being subsequently appointed a member, and took part in its action.
On July 5, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced that a Committee would be appointed to receive and consider questions submitted by the Bishops; and having already been instructed by him, that the subject of the Armenian Church could be appropriately introduced under this head, the undersigned alluded to the topic briefly, and asked leave to present the printed documents to the Committee. Leave was granted. A fortnight later, opportunity was given to meet this Committee, when the documents were laid before them in detail, and the subject was explained verbally, and urged on their attention.
In the Committee on Missions of the Conference, of which the Archbishop of York was chairman, the grand topic of the relation of the several Protestant Episcopal Churches to each other in the Missionary field, was fully discussed, in the line suggested by our House of Bishops, under a grave sense of the important principle at issue, namely, the actual unity of the Anglican Communion.
The first conclusion arrived at by the Conference in considering these topics, was formulated almost in the words of our House of Bishops; namely, that our Anglican Missionaries, when acting near each other among the heathen, should arrange a Book of Common-Prayer that may be used by all.
A Common Book of Common Prayer.
The history of this subject is curious and interesting.
The Missionary Bishop of Yedo, in Japan, reported to the House of Bishops, as follows, (in 1877.)
'Especial attention is called to the fact that Missionaries of the Church of England and of our own Church are [18/19] working side by side here, in the same cities, but kept separate by the use of different Prayer-Books. We are not here to plant a branch of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, and a branch of the Church of England, but to lay the foundations of the future Church of Japan; and it seems most unwise to introduce the differences of our National Churches, which will prove a serious barrier to the future union of the Christians in one united Church. An effort has been made to get a common translation of those parts which are the same in the two Prayer-Books; but it is feared that it will fail, so long as there are an English Book and an American Book to be translated. In view of the approaching Pan-Anglican Conference, it is respectfully asked, cannot the General Convention take some steps to procure for us a Common Prayer-Book? Anything which may be done towards this end must be done at home."
The Committee of the House of Bishops, upon considering these suggestions, reported as follows:
"Your Committee sympathize in the view thus expressed by the Bishop of Yedo. They feel that all such hindrances to harmony in organizing the National Church of Japan should be removed; and especially that the Churches of the Anglican Communion should unite in an effort to lead that ancient nation (when it shall become a Christian people) to adopt primitive and catholic usages, undisturbed by the divisions of Western Christianity. They recommend, therefore, that our Church shall indicate to the Missionary Bishop of Yedo, that it does not impose upon the National Church which is to be formed under the labors of his Mission, the necessity of adopting our Book of Common Prayer, but only insists that it shall adopt the catholic creeds, administer the sacraments in all things necessary to a rightful administration as taught by our Church, and in worship shall conform as far as is possible to catholic usage, as interpreted by our Prayer-Book. Your Committee believes that this Church confides in his fidelity and wisdom, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost; therefore, while expressing to him warm, fraternal [19/20] sympathy, abstains from indicating any details of a policy as to a Japanese Liturgy, which (except in the principles which govern it) must be shaped to meet the exigencies of his distant and peculiar field. Those principles are embodied in our Book of Common Prayer, and are included in allegiance to the Faith, Discipline, and Worship of our Church."
After deliberation, the House of Bishops adopted the following resolutions: (We quote only those resolutions which directly relate to our subject.)
"(3.) That this House advises the Bishop of Yedo to translate, at present, for the use of the Japanese Christians, only so much of the Book of Common Prayer of this Church as may be immediately necessary for his mission.
"(4.) That this House regards as important the suggestions contained in his report, and expresses the hope that the relations of missionaries laboring in Japan and China from the Church of England and our own Church may be so adjusted, that only one Liturgy may be used by them in ministering to native congregations.
"(5.) That this House is of opinion that when the national churches of Japan and China shall be organized, they should be provided with a Liturgy framed under the precedents of primitive and purely Catholic Liturgies, whilst adapting itself to the peculiarities of the national character."
The object of the third resolution was to prevent the raising of obstacles to the adoption of a common Liturgy by the missionaries both of England and of our country, laboring in Japan. The two latter resolutions, namely, the fourth and fifth, refer to a grave ancient principle, which has almost been buried out of sight by the narrowness of our thought in modern times.
Conclusions of the Conference.
It will thus be seen that the conclusion arrived at by the Lambeth Conference in reference to a Joint Prayer Book for Missionaries among the heathen is precisely that which [20/21] was suggested by our House of Bishops in their fourth resolution.
This important principle being settled, the time had arrived to press a more difficult question, that of the preparation of Liturgies for use by Churches gathered from among the heathen. After long and careful consideration, (in which, however, the conclusion already reached by our House of Bishops--fifth resolution--led to the result,) it was decided, that such churches should not be required to conform to our Prayer Books, but should prepare (under restrictions) Liturgies suited to their own modes of thought, social customs, and spiritual habits.
Then the time had arrived for pressing a final decision which should settle the question of actual unity between our churches. Such Liturgies require a higher sanction than can be given by a body of missionaries at any one post. It is all important that essential truths shall be maintained in these Liturgies. It is not less important that idiosyncracies of individual missionaries shall not be allowed to stereotype themselves on such national Liturgies. Consequently the Conference wisely suggested that two conditions be imposed, namely: the use of the Creeds; and in administering the Sacraments, the preservation of the essential Scriptural terms of those two institutions; and also, that no such national Liturgy shall be considered as authorized until it shall have received the sanction of two Boards. One of these Boards is to sit in England, and includes representatives from the three Churches, English, Irish and Scotch. The other is to sit in the United States of America, and will be formed by the authority of the General Convention. As their duties will be only an examination of documents, the two portions divided by the Atlantic Ocean may easily act together by correspondence.
Unity of the Anglican Communion.
The Joint Committee will perceive that this decision recognized the unity of the great Church of which ours forms a part: and that when accepted by our General Convention, it will furnish an instrument by which the whole body can [21/22] take united action on vital questions of missionary cooperation. A similar decision was reached by another Committee in the same line; proposing to form another joint Board to co-operate as to questions which may arise respecting the relations of either of our Churches to other Episcopal Bodies.
The Conference decided that hereafter, as far as possible, the sending of another Bishop by our churches to a missionary field already occupied by either of them, should be avoided. The importance of this principle in effecting the unity, peacefulness and economy of our missionary work, can scarcely be estimated. Already we have two English-speaking Bishops in Shanghai in China. Although our missionary Bishop Boone had been settled in China for several years, the English Church thought it important to send a Bishop to the same field. And now, although our Bishop Schereschewsky continues to make Shanghai his residence, an English Bishop has settled in the same city, and erected and taken possession of a cathedral there. Consequently the native Chinese Christians are divided in their allegiance to two Episcopal heads, in a Church which, although consisting of several national parts, professes absolute unity. If notwithstanding the well-adjusted relations of our Churches to each other, we, in the United States, could not endure the perplexities of such an ecclesiastical commixture; if, for example, with all our enlightenment, we could not endure the residence of an English Bishop in New York; who should divide with our own venerable Bishop there the missionary work which he has undertaken among the hundreds of thousands of heathen and unconverted people of that city, how can we imagine that unenlightened Chinamen, just emerging into the light of the peaceful Gospel of Christ, and beginning to hear about the unity of the Church, will be able rightly to interpret the fact that the Protestant Episcopal community offers to them two Bishops in the same capital?
So our Bishop in Japan was first in residence there; as indeed our Church service was the first Christian utterance of worship on the shores of that great nation, during this [22/23] present century. But now it is rumored, that the English Missionary Societies are preparing to send a Bishop to reside in those Islands. Such an appointment is probably desirable; may indeed be necessary under the peculiar circumstances of mission work in that Empire. But under the decisions of the Lambeth Conference it is hoped that if an English Bishop should be appointed, the jurisdiction of the two will be so adjusted territorially, that the evils which have existed in the relations of our churches in China will not re-appear in the Empire of Japan.
These conclusions bore directly upon the principal topic which interested our Joint Committee, although the report to the Conference on the Armenian papers only expressed interest in the subject, leaving specific action to be the result of subsequent consideration and consultation.
How wonderfully the Conference was guided by the Omniscient Spirit! For having established such principles as have been referred to, and having recognized as both catholic and wise the principles on which our Church is aiding the Church of Jesus in Mexico, nothing could have been more judicious than to await the turn of events and the issues of further consultations, respecting the Armenian and other Oriental churches before deciding as to the details of action regarding them.
A Turn in Affairs.
Scarcely had the Conference adjourned, when an amazing turn in the affairs of those churches occurred. For the Berlin Treaty altered the relations of all the churches in Asia Minor, to the rest of the Christian world, by placing them under the immediate brotherly care of the Church of England; and instantly relieved our Joint Committee of its anxieties on their behalf.
So that, at the Farnham consultation, where, at last, the subject of the Armenian Papers was fully presented, the undersigned was able to say, with truth, that, on account of the connection of the State with the Church in England, the protectorate of the one lately assumed over the [23/24] Turkish, Empire involved a fraternal guardianship of the other over the feeble and oppressed Churches in Asia Minor.
The Relation of the Church of England to the Oriental Churches.
The Church of England has already taken a first step in acting on this idea; for at the same time that the British Government established itself in Cyprus, the Bishop of Gibraltar, by commission of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was preparing to visit that island specially. He did so visit it; and now the Church of England worships there under the flag of its own State Government; in Cyprus, whence (speaking almost without a figure) its voice can reach the ruins of the seven Churches of Asia, and stir the old echoes with the old story of the cross. Certainly its loving care and help will not fail to follow. Certainly its authorities must be intending to push to the happiest results this providential opportunity. Certainly we may anticipate that the Church of England will draw these desolate Churches by the cords of brotherly sympathy to share its heritage of Apostolic truth.
These prognostications have been fully realized; for in the interval between the presentation and the publication of the present report, the Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following letter concerning the relations of the Church of England with the Nestorian Church. It is, a happy inauguration of intercourse with the Oriental Churches; and involves the acceptance of the principles of action herein defined.
"LAMBETH PALACE, July, 1879.
To the Vice-Chancellors and to the Divinity, Hebrew and Arabic Professors of Oxford and Cambridge.
"You are doubtless aware, that the ancient Church in Kurdistan, commonly but improperly called, 'the Church of the Nestorians,' has, from time to time, solicited instruction and enlightenment from the Church of England. These appeals have been increased earnestly of late years; members of that Church have come to [24/25] England, and in person have preferred their petitions to myself. In 1876, the Rev. E. L. Cutts, the Vicar of a parish in London, was sent by the Archbishop of York and myself on a visit of inspection to Oroomiah and Kurdistan, and his report, which has been published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, has verified the representations which have been made to me, and has satisfied me that to assist our oppressed brethren in their efforts to revive themselves is a good work which it is our duty to undertake. A Committee of the Upper House of the Convocation of Canterbury, reported on the 9th instant, that "the best mode of aiding this ancient and suffering Church, will be by the appointment of a competent person to go out to the Nestorian Church, for a period of not less than five years, to assist in the instruction of the people." Subscriptions have been promised, but not as yet to the amount which will be required. But I have no doubt that the necessary funds will he forthcoming, if only suitable agents can be found.
My object in addressing you is to ask you to be so good as to make known this immediate want; and especially, if you know young clergymen competent for this interesting work, to request them to put themselves in communication with myself. I am informed, that while, of course, it would be a great advantage if the clergymen who go to Kurdistan should know the language of the country, which will, in any case, have to be acquired, persons ignorant of the language would find a great field of useful work ready prepared, on which they could at once enter. Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has assured me, that, notwithstanding the unsettled state of the East, there is no danger in these regions to be apprehended by an English clergyman properly accredited. A copy of Mr. Cutts' report is sent to you.
I am, etc.,
A. C. CANTUAR."
Such being the facts, your sub-committee can reach only one conclusion.
In the first place, the Lambeth Conference has acted on the supposition of the actual unity of our Churches.
In the next place, it has provided for giving effect to that unity with respect to Missionary efforts.
In the next place, it has recommended, that for the encouragement of unity, and for economy of strength, the Churches shall not interfere with each others' labors; suggesting to them an adherence to the principle of Mono-Episcopal oversight in our common Missions; a principle which necessarily reaches beyond the case to which it was at first applied; and will prevent our American Church from interfering with labors which have been providentially assigned to the Church of England.
In the next place, the Church of England shares in the protectorate assumed by the English Empire over Turkey; and has acknowledged it by sending a Bishop to Cyprus. Brotherly care of the Armenian, the Nestorian and other Oriental Churches, has therefore been providentially placed in the hands of the English Church.
Our pecuniary and moral aid may indeed be needed, and may with all propriety be offered, but only through the channels opened and guarded by the English Church; just as the aid which English Churchmen will offer (as we hope) to the Mexican Church, will pass through the channels which our Church guarantees.
Any further questions regarding our relations to Oriental or other Churches will necessarily be referred to the Board which the Lambeth Conference has proposed to establish; and which (if sanctioned by the General Convention) will count among its members our Presiding Bishop, and the Bishop in charge of Foreign Congregations of our Church.
 American Congregations in Egypt.
On the remaining topic, which was referred to your sub-committee, namely, the establishment of a joint English and American congregation in Cairo, in Egypt; the principles and decisions already announced guide our opinions. An English Church already exists in Cairo (as also at Alexandria), which is under the oversight of the English Bishop of Jerusalem.
American citizens in those cities should be encouraged to unite with their English brethren, and give to them all possible help and co-operation. But we would not recommend any such organization as would appear to need super-vision by a Bishop of our Church.
All which is respectfully submitted,
G. T. BEDELL,
Chairman of the Sub-committee on Ecclesiastical Reform and Toleration in the East.