The Church of England came to America the first colonists of Virginia, and on St. John the Baptist day, June 24, 1607, the Holy Communion was celebrated for the first time by Rev. Robert Hunt, Chaplain of the colony. The New England colonists who came 13 years later were Puritans, and not in sympathy with the Church of England, which they regarded as a miserable compromise with the unholy matron of the Seven Hills, but the rest of the English colonists were for the most part adherents of the Established Church, which became more or less the established Church of the colonies, always excepting the Puritan colonies of New England. Methodism came into the picture just before the Revolutionary war.
For a century and a half the Church flourished in the colonies and the gentry of the country, particularly in Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas were Churchmen. There was however one serious drawback to the progress of the Church during this period; there was no Bishop in America, to supervise the Church. All the clergy were under obedience to the Bishop of London.
With the head of the Church so far away, there was little of discipline or leadership, and as in England itself these were the days of the easy going fox hunting parsons, the same life reflected itself in the clergy of the colonies. They were many of them, intelligent and cultured Christian gentlemen, but they did not have quite the same point of view about their religion as did the French Jesuits who were pushing up the St. Lawrence and down the Mississippi in their religious zeal, or of the Spanish friars who were building their missions and establishing the Inquisition in all of South and much of North America. The Latin and Anglo Saxon civilizations differ in religion and in other things as well.
So things went with the Church in the Colonies until the outbreak of the Revolutionary war. Then the story was different. Because there was no American Bishop, all the clergy in America had been ordained in England and had taken an oath of loyalty to the Bishop of London and the English King. A large proportion of the clergy were Tories, and now they suffered bitter persecution from the rabble element. Their churches and houses were burned, their cattle were shot, they were beaten and assaulted, and driven out from their homes, so that at the end of the war, there were scarce a third of the Clergy left. (There were of course other Tories beside Churchmen, 400 Methodist preachers went back to the Mother country at the end of the war.) When the war was over the Church was as badly disorganized as the civil government.
Three efforts were made simultaneously to extricate the Church from its disastrous situation. In Maryland and Virginia there were valuable lands, properties, and endowments, which belonged to the Church of England. As there was no longer a Church of England, Rev. Dr. Smith, president of Washington College, attempted to incorporate the "Protestant Episcopal Church", as he named it, as the legal successor of the Church of England. He did not succeed in saving much of the Church's property, as most was soon confiscated by the state, but he did succeed in giving the Church a name which proved an unending subject for argument and discussion. Any clergyman, if you give him opportunity, will be pleased to explain just what the precise significance of this title is.
In New England there was no endowment and the clergy were anxious above all things else to secure the Episcopate for the Church. Their motto was "Do nothing without the Bishop", which has good precedent, as it goes back to St. Ignatius in the year 107 A. D. They met secretly and elected Rev. Samuel Seabury as their Bishop. So fearful were they as to the outcome of their action that they resolved that if the new Bishop would not be tolerated in New England he was to reside in some other state, and that if he were not permitted in the United States of America, then he was to reside in Nova Scotia and rule the Church from there, which would at least be nearer than the Bishop of London. However it was not so easy for Dr. Seabury to secure the Episcopate. He waited in vain a year or more in England. The English were not overly cordial about the Colonies at this time, and a bishop could not be consecrated without taking an oath of loyalty to the British crown. So Seabury turned his steps to the Episcopal Church of Scotland, the non jurors, who would not take the oath of loyalty to the house of Hanover, because they regarded the Stuarts as their lawful sovereigns. In consequence of this, the Scottish Episcopal Church was harried and persecuted, while worldly wealth and favor was showered upon the established Presbyterian Kirk. Here in an upper room, which formed the chapel of the Bishop of Aberdeen, Samuel Seabury was consecrated first Bishop of the Church in America by three non-juring Scotch bishops, on November 14, 1784. He returned quietly to America and resumed his duties as Rector of his Connecticut parish. Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York never heard of it until a year later but all the faithful in New England knew that at last there was an American Bishop of undoubted Apostolic Succession dwelling in their midst.
The third group represented the middle part of the colonies between New England and Virginia. Their leader was Rev. William White, Rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, and chaplain of the Continental Congress, a man of affairs, the friend of Washington and the other leaders of the new government. The mind of this group was not to conserve property or doctrine, but to effect an organization for the Church, as for the Nation, that would bring harmony and order out of chaos. Accordingly, as the fathers hammered out the constitution of the country, at the same time and in the same city, Dr. White and his companions worked out on almost identical lines a constitution for the Church in America that would give it form and unity. As the Federal government was to have a president, a senate and a house of representatives so the Church was to have a Presiding Bishop, a house of clerical and lay deputies from each state, with equal powers, and a balance of power between the clergy and laity. The Bishops were to constitute a separate house by themselves corresponding to the Senate, and each state was to have equal representation. The Church within the state was to be organized as the state legislature, the Bishop corresponding to the Governor of the State, and the parishes to be represented in the diocesan convention, by their clergy and legally elected lay representatives. As it was the first time that a nation had been constituted by a written constitution, so in the history of the Church, for the first time a National Church was similarly constituted. Two-thirds of the members of the Constitutional Convention were Churchmen, and naturally the constitution of the Church and of the Nation followed similar lines.
Following the consecration of Seabury in 1784, Rev. Drs. White and Provost, the Rector of Trinity Church, New York City, were consecrated Bishops in England, the attitude of the Mother Church having ameliorated toward the colonies, and there were now three American Bishops necessary to perpetuate the episcopal succession in the new land. Thus, in September 1789, in Christ Church, Philadelphia, in the city and year of the promulgation of the American Constitution, met the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church, fully organized with its House of Bishops and its house of Clerical and Lay Deputies, under the presidency of Bishop White, who as long as he lived was the presiding Bishop of the American Church.
While this marks the beginning of a new National Church, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in a larger sense, and using the word as we understand it in the Creed and the Bible, there was no new Church established or founded. It was the continuation of the same Church, the Church of England which has been in America for over 160 years the Church which came to the new world with the coming of the first Virginia colonists. The Episcopal Church is essentially one with the Church of England. And the Church of England is very much older than those Churches which had their origin at the time of the Reformation. We often hear it asserted that the Church of England was founded by Henry VIII. This is far from truth. The Church of England existed long centuries before the time of Henry VIII. In the Year 1215 when Archbishop Lang-ton and the Barons wrung the Magna Charta from the reluctant King John, they began their document with the assertion, "The Church of England shall be free." Henry could not have founded a Church which existed many centuries before his time. Just as the Episcopal Church is the continuation of the Church of England in the colonies, so the Church of England itself is the continuation of the ancient British Church which was found in England in the time of Constantine, whose mother was an English woman, and a Christian, St. Helena. Three of the early British Bishops are recorded as attending the council of Aries in the year 314 and this early British Church had an honorable record for sending missionaries into heathen parts, among whom were St. Patrick, St. Columba, and St. Boniface.
In these early days the British Church was quite independent of the Bishop of Rome. In 596, with the coming of Augustine and the conversion of the Saxons, the English Church was brought within the sphere of papal influence, and so continued with more or lees protest, until the time of Henry VIII when obedience to the pope was repudiated, and the Church of England continued to be again what it had been at first, an autonomous national Church. If we are to assume that separation from the communion of the Bishop of Rome is an act which in itself constitutes the formation of a new Church, then that would imply that the Greek Orthodox Church was founded in the nth century. But that would be an absurdity which no one would have the termerity to assert, for all scholars know that the Greek Churches are older even than the Roman Church itself. We must then admit that separation from the Bishop of Rome does not in itself, constitute the founding of a new Church.
But it may be countered, "What then does constitute the founding of a new Church?" We would answer, the institution of a new form of ministry in place of the ancient catholic form, the acceptance of a new creed in place of ancient catholic creeds, the promulgation of new forms of worship in place of the ancient historic forms. These three things, for example, both Luther and Calvin did in the 16th Century. They founded new Lutheran and Calvinistic Churches, with new forms of ministry, and chiefly the abandonment of the episcopacy; the formulation of new creeds, and the employment of new forms of worship. But these three things are exactly what Henry VIII did not do in England. He did not change the ministry, the bishops, priests and deacons of the Church of England continued exactly as they always were. There was no change in the creeds. They continued to be said, and Henry continued to burn heretics for denying the old medieval doctrines. Nor did he change the forms of worship, for the Latin mass and the services, vestments, etc., all continued exactly as they had been. It was in no sense a new Church. It was exactly the same Church, only it was no longer obedient to the Bishop of Rome. It was obedient to its own Bishops. Perhaps some color of argument might be put up on behalf of Edward VI, or of Queen Elizabeth as founders of a new order, but certainly not of Henry VIII.
It may be said that Henry VIII was a bad man, and it is no credit to the Church of England that he was the one who separated it from the Bishop of Rome. Now we regret that Henry was a bad man, but so was Pope Alexander VI as you may read in the Catholic Encyclopedia. It was Pope Alexander the VI who blessed the voyage of Columbus in discovering America, but it is no reflection on America, if a bad man blessed its discovery. God works His purpose out in many ways.
The conclusion at which we arrive is that the Episcopal Church is not a denomination or a sect formed by splitting off from some other body, but has historic continuity, and is a part of that ancient Catholic Church, which was found in the British Isles in the earlier ages of our era, and has existed without a break among the English people, from that time till the present. We have an old and venerable lineage.
Note:--In order to insure the integrity of the Episcopal succession in the Church, the Nicene Council, 325 A. D. (which also gave us the Nicene Creed,) enacted a Canon or Church Law, that every Bishop should be consecrated by the Laying on of Hands of at least three Bishops of the Province. This rule has been scrupulously observed in all parts of the Catholic Church from the time of Nicea.
Chapter II. The Apostolic Succession
WHEN Christ said to his Apostles at the time of his Ascension into Heaven, "Go, make disciples of all nations. Lo I am with you even unto the end of the world," his words imply that the Apostolic ministry was in some sense to be a permanent institution in his Church until his coming' again. The function of this group is to teach, to convert, and to baptize. On two other occasions Christ also gave authority and command to his Apostles to celebrate the Lord's Supper as his memorial (until his coming again) and to forgive or to retain sins. On another occasion he spoke of their ruling the Church; "Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Accordingly we find the Apostles immediately after their Master's Ascension, performing all of these functions in the newly formed Christian Church. They teach, preach, baptize, administer confirmation, celebrate the Lord's Supper, forgive and retain sins, and rule the Church. Their first act after the Ascension was to choose Matthias to fill the place of Judas, who had fallen from his place, and so complete the number of the Twelve. Ten days after the Ascension when the Twelve were gathered together with the believers, about 120 souls, a remarkable thing happened. The place was shaken by a rushing wind, there appeared the resemblance of flames of fire on the heads of the Apostles, and the whole group were filled with the Spirit of the ever present Christ, their fears and uncertainties vanished, and they went out into the streets of a hostile city and began boldly to preach Christ and to baptize converts, who reached the incredible number of 3000 on this first day of active propaganda. It was always regarded as the beginning of the Church. A few days later there were 5000 converts, and from this time it is not an exaggeration to say that the new religion spread like wild fire throughout the world, so that before the death of the last apostles, there were believers and Christian groups in all parts of the empire, not only in the great centers of the Greek and Roman cities, but in the far away provinces of Galatia, and Spain, Gaul, and Britain.
It would be fantastic to maintain that all of these groups of Christians were the result of apostolic preaching, or founded by men who had received authority to do so from the Apostles. When St. Paul came to Ephesus he found a group of believers who knew only of John the Baptist's baptism. The Apostle immediately proceeded to instruct them more perfectly and to administer Christian Baptism and Confirmation. When the same Apostle wrote his Epistle to Rome, about the year 55 A. D. there is no evidence at all that any apostle was resident in Rome or had ever visited the Imperial City, up to that time. Yet there were certainly Christian groups there called churches, and the distinctive Christian rites must have been carried on. The spread of the faith outran the apostolic organization. However the latter eventually caught up with it, as in the case already referred to at Ephesus. There were people who called themselves Christians there, ahead of any of the apostles. They met together and worshipped Christ. When St. Paul arrived, he instructed them more perfectly in the faith, administered the sacraments of Christian membership and fellowship, and ordained Elders, (presbyters) to whom he gave authority to conduct the worship and administer the sacraments. Later on he ordained Timothy as an apostle or superintending minister to rule the Church in Ephesus and its surrounding towns. By the end of the century, the great surviving Apostle, St. John, is found in Ephesus, exercising an authority over the seven bishopricks of Asia Minor, and thus exhibiting the first development of what was known later as the Provincial system in the Church.
This process repeated itself throughout the empire. The Church spread so rapidly that there were at first doubtless many local congregations with only such ministers as they themselves appointed, but as rapidly as possible the Apostles extended their organization of an apostolic rule, which covered the whole territory, and every congregation was eventually brought within the jurisdiction of one of apostolic ministry and authority. The historic records of the second century are very scant. It is entirely probable that there may have lingered well on into the second century independent units of Christian believers, outside the jurisdiction of any diocesan Bishop and organized upon what we might call a congregational basis. The congregational plan for Church government is an entirely logical one. It represents pure democracy and as such makes its appeal. But it does not have the support of the New Testament, for while we say there must have been congregationally organized churches, the New Testament does not tell of any, except when they are being taken over and placed under apostolic authority.
There is another theory of the apostolic succession which we may call the presbyterian theory. It is this: That the Apostolic office was unique, and not to be perpetuated. That the Apostles, however, delegated certain of their powers to local ministers who were called elders or presbyters, and that after the death of the apostles, the presbyters were the highest ministers in the Christian Church, and they had the power of perpetuating their order by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. This theory came to light at the time of the Reformation, when, because the Bishops were disinclined to join the reform movement, the Reformers did away with the episcopal order. In this position the Reformers, Luther, Calvin, Knox, etc. were greatly comforted by the discovery that in the Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament the words "presbyter" and "bishop" are clearly synonomus. Believing as they did in the literal and verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, they proclaimed, "the Bible teaches that a bishop and a presbyter are exactly the same. Every presbyter is therefore a bishop. We need no more of Episcopacy or prelacy."
It is quite true that S. Paul uses the two words in the same sense but it is also equally true that he is describing in his epistles a three-fold kind of ministry. There is the local pastor, who was called at that time indifferently, either presbyter or bishop. There was a minor order of minister called a deacon, or assisting minister, and there was a higher governing order of ministry represented by Timothy or by St. Paul himself which was called that of an Apostle. There are some 23 different persons who are called ''apostle" in the Greek of the New Testament, among them are Titus and Timothy, and the "angels" of the seven Churches of Asia. After the New Testament times, the word "apostle" was used less and less frequently of the governing minister, and the word "bishop" was used instead, while the local pastors continued to be called "presbyters", or "priests" for short. But how do the Presbyterians explain the fact that at the beginning of the fourth century the diocesan episcopate and the three fold orders of bishops, priests and deacons, was everywhere prevalent throughout the Church?
They explain that at some time unknown between the end of the first and the beginning of the fourth centuries, the leading presbyter in each city in the Empire seized episcopal jurisdiction over all of his fellow presbyters and arrogated to himself the powers of a diocesan Bishop. That this happened simultaneously all over the world, and that there was no protest or opposition, taxes the bounds of our credulity. Presbyterianism was "sunk without a trace", until it emerged 1200 years later in the gentle doctrines of Calvin and Knox.
While then episcopacy was an early and universal development from apostolic times and practices, it may be asked, was not the papacy also a similar development? The Roman Catholic will answer enthusiastically, Yes. While the Anglican and Greek Orthodox will answer, No, it was not a similar development, for two reasons. 1. It was not universal. The papal power was exclusively a western or European growth. The supremacy of the pope was never recognized in the East, therefore the development was not "catholic" or universal. 2. While the three fold order of the ministry has its roots in the New Testament, as we have endeavored to show, the idea of an autocratic and infallible man having universal jurisdiction over all Christendom, has no ground whatsoever in the New Testament. "Call no man Master upon earth, for one is your Master even Christ." Even if we grant the fullest interpretation to the words spoken by Christ to St. Peter, there is not the slightest evidence of jurisdiction or supremacy over his fellow apostles. In fact, Christ recognizes their equality of jurisdiction in the Church, when he says "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." When the Apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter to Samaria to administer confirmation, they showed that they had jurisdiction over him, not he over them. St. Paul limits S. Peter's jurisdiction to the Jews, and at the same time says that the apostolate to the Gentiles had been committed to himself; and in the book of Revelation, which comes from the end of the first century, we still find the twelve foundation stones of the New Jerusalem, and the twelve Apostles of the Lamb, without any distinction. The Anglican and Orthodox belief is that the papal development, while natural, was neither catholic or scriptural, and that therefore acceptance of papal authority is not of the essence of the Catholic Church or New Testament belief.
Autocracy has much to commend it under the head of efficiency but it is too large a price to pay either in Church or State for the surrender of individual responsibilty. The Anglican Church has produced a type of laity unequalled for leadership in all realms of _ achievement, whereas in Latin civilizations there has often been an antagonism between the state and an infallible Church that has arrayed the patriot against religion in a manner that made it extremely difficult to render duty impartially both to Caesar and to God. We doubt that in Italy today, where there is an armed truce between two absolute autocracies in Church and State, either the leaders or the people are entirely happy about the situation on either side of the Tiber.
The purpose of this Chapter has been to show that the Episcopal order of Church government with its three-fold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, is of New Testament origin, or at least is a natural and spontaneous development from the New Testament Apostolate, and that it has continued in unbroken succession from the time of the New Testament in all of the historic and Episcopally governed Churches, save that in European Christendom it has been modified by the development of an autocratic and centralized authority, under the Bishop of Rome. For the first eight Centuries, the highest authority in the Catholic or universal Church was the General or Ecumenical Council of all the Bishops of the Church, as at Nicea in 325, Constantinople in 381, Ephesus in 431 or Chalcedon in 451, etc. The Faith during this period of the Church's history was established not by the ipsi dixit of one infallible man, but by the united witness of the Episcopate throughout the world. Seven such Ecumenical Councils were held. Then in the nth Century came the great Schism between the East and the West, and until this is healed, there can be no more general or Ecumenical Councils.
Our argument shows the difference between the Anglican Churches and the Roman Catholic in respect to Church authority. Also our point of divergence from the protestant Churches in our belief regarding the Ministry. The Clergy of the Anglican Churches have an unbroken succession in their Bishops from the earliest times, and whatever of apostolic authority has persisted in the Church it is to be found in the Anglican Episcopate equally with that of any other branch of the Catholic Church.
Chapter III. Forms and Ceremonies THE PRAYER BOOK
UNTIL recently there has been a strong prejudice against the Episcopal Church on the part of American Protestantism. This has been due to the Puritan tradition which looked with disfavor on all forms of social recreation, as worldly and irreligious, and upon all forms and ceremonies of public worship as being empty and vain, if not hypocritical and superstitious.
In addition to this, more particularly in the South, the intense prejudice against the Roman Church made the populace look with disfavor on any Church that had any points of resemblance with her. For example the use of the word "catholic" in the creed was a cause of much distrust. Also the polemic of the Roman Church was largely directed against Episcopalians, as you will see in Cardinal Gibbons "Faith of Our Fathers"; so the lot of the Episcopal Church has not been strewn with roses by our brethren of other communions.
However a change has taken place in American Protestantism. Its attitude of hostility has ameliorated. First in regard to worldly amusements; the popularity of the drama, movies, dancing and card playing, has swept away the old puritan tradition, and Methodists and Presbyterians are now as worldly as ever Episcopalians were. The attitude of being "holier than thou" has evaporated.
But what is more important still, the old prejudice against the use of forms and ceremonies in public worship is also rapidly disappearing, and in its place protestant worship is now employing more and more of the ritual that it once despised, and is actually becoming catholic in its outward expression at least. That is all to the good. Just why this change has taken place would be difficult to say. For one thing the amazing fondness of American people for lodges and fraternities with their secret ritual, their pageantry and costumes, has developed a liking for symbolism, which has always been the accompaniment of Catholic religion, and hence we find protestants adopting vested choirs, pulpit gowns, processional hymns, chants, and responsive readings. A Congregational Church in Boston has a seven-branch candlestick on the altar, and Dr. Fosdick's Church on Riverside drive has a high altar with cross and six altar lights. In part this may be due to the appreciation of the artistic and esthetic values in symbolism, but we believe there is a deeper reason than mere estheticism. Namely the desire for deeper worship experience than the old type of extemporaneous service afforded. Worship is of course an inward and spiritual act. If it is to be a corporate action there must be some symbolic ceremony to signify that which is otherwise inexpressible. It is the natural desire of the human heart for corporate worship that is leading modern protestantism to adopt the symbols of catholic worship which their forefathers discarded. The Episcopal Church is no longer sneered at for being worldly and substituting empty forms for pure spiritual worship. On the other hand it is commended for its reverence and seemliness in the conduct of public worship, for the beauty of its matchless liturgy, and for the emphasis that is laid on worship and communion rather than on preaching and instruction. We are thankful for this, but let us as Churchmen never forget that without the love of God in the heart, the most beautiful liturgy is but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
The heart and shrine of the devotion of the Episcopal Church is its Prayer Book. This is the one thing that binds Churchmen together in one family. They may differ very widely on many matters, but they are one in their love for, and their use of their Book of Common Prayer. Where did it come from?
The Book of Common Prayer is the compilation and translation of the various forms of public service that were used in the Church of England before the Reformation. These books were in the Latin tongue. As few of the laity could read Latin, and books were expensive before the invention of printing, the lay people depended more on the eye than on the ear for following the service. In other words there were distinctive acts of ritual on the part of the priest and his assistants, which enabled the people to follow the service; the Epistle, Gospel, Creed, Offertory, Consecration, Communion, etc. Even though they did not understand one word that the priest said, they knew what he was saying and doing.
With the freedom that came to the Church with the break from Rome, the first thing was the attempt to share with the laity the privilege and responsibility for the Church's worship. This was done by translating the services into the English tongue, and printing them in a book that all might own and read, and bring to church. Thus the people not only heard for the first time the old service in their mother tongue, but were able to have their own book and follow the service intelligently, and to join with the priest and the clerks in singing the public worship of Almighty God. What a wonderful thing this was in the Church of England, Whitsunday, 1549! For the first time in a thousand years they heard the solemn worship of the Church each in the tongue wherein he was born. It was a second Pentecost!
Now we must examine the Prayer Book, more in detail. It is one book compiled out of four. The English priest before the Reformation had his Missal from which he said the mass, or communion service. He had his Breviary from which he read his daily offices of Matins, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. He had a Manual that had prayers for visitation of the sick, etc. The Bishop had a Pontifical with the offices to be said only by the Bishop, including the forms for ordaining Bishops, Priests and Deacons. All of these four books were condensed into one. The largest part of the Prayer Book was made up of the Breviary and the Missal, which forms our Morning and Evening Prayer, and our service of Holy Communion. When you open your Prayer Book, after varioiis calendars and tables of lessons, you find the Order of Morning Prayer, to be said daily throughout the Year. The parts of the services are not printed together. The scripture lessons which are read at Morning and Evening Prayer are not printed in the Prayer Book but are indicated in tables in the front of the book, which give the lessons from the Old and New Testaments for each day in the year. The psalms, or Psalter, is found in the back of the Prayer Book. There is no other Church which uses the Bible in public worship so methodically and completely as does the Episcopal Church. Its services of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer cover the whole ground of both the Old and New Testaments once a year.
After the Morning and Evening Prayers and the Litany, an ancient form of responsive Supplication and Intercession, comes the Order for the Administration of the Holy Communion, followed by the Collects, Epistles and Gospels which are used at the Communion throughout the year. The Communion is the distinctive service of the Christian Church. It is the one service instituted and commanded by Christ, and is the sacrament of His abiding presence with his people until He comes again. From the very beginning Christians met together on the First Day of the Week for the Breaking of Bread. In fact there is evidence in the New Testament that this was a daily observance among some of the groups. The form of prayers and hymns and scripture readings which grew up about the administration of the Communion became known as "The Liturgy", and in the course of a few centuries each Church had its distinctive Liturgy which it treasured with great honor, as having been handed down from the time of the Fathers. While the Liturgies differed from one another they were similar in their structure, and in the order of their parts. The following would be a simple skeleton that fits all of them: 1. An Introit or solemn entrance of the clergy. 2. A penitential Litany and confession of sin. 3. Prophesy or reading from the Old Testament. 4. Reading from the Epistles. 5. Reading from the Gospel. 6. Creed. 7. Offertory, that is the presentation of the Bread and Wine on the Altar. 8. Sursum Corda, "Lift up your hearts, etc.," a preface, often long, leading up to the Sanctus, the Angelic Song. Then 9, The Consecration and oblation of the Elements, including an invocation of the Holy Spirit. 10. Intercessions for the living and departed. 11. The Communion. 12. Thanksgiving. 13. The Blessing and dismissal.
There were many interesting variations in the Liturgies. For example at Milan, twelve old men brought forward the bread and the wine at the offertory. As time went on, and the services were in the Latin tongue, and understood only by the clergy, many variations and special prayers for special days were introduced, until at last it was said that it took more time to find the proper prayers to say, than to say them when they were found. Also there were introduced many legends of the Saints as well as passages from the Scripture. When the services were put into English for the use of the people, they were simplified, and the variable parts were reduced to a minimum. Secondly, the legends of the Saints were omitted and only those saints were commemorated with special gospels who are mentioned in the New Testament. Thus the Annunciation and Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary were retained because they are described in the New Testament. But the Birth and the Assumption of the Virgin were omitted because they are not mentioned in the Scripture, though it is unquestioned that the Virgin both was born, and that she went to Heaven.
Saints of later days are called Black Letter Saints, and there is for them a "common" or general commemoration, on page 258 in the Prayer Book that has to do for all of them.
The Prayer Book has a special Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, for the Communion on every Sunday in the Year and for some 44 other Holy Days, and then says that on all other days of the year, the Collect, Epistle and Gospel of the preceeding Sunday shall be used. Thus the Prayer Book provides for three services every day in the year: Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Holy Communion. In Cathedrals and in many parish Churches as well, these services are performed every day and there is an unbroken round of worship going up to the Throne of God morning and evening, like the daily sacrifices in the ancient temple. These services, when said without music or sermon are short, none of them over half an hour in length, and where there is a daily communion it is usually at an early hour so that people may go to Church before the day's duties begin.
The Sunday Services in the average American parish consist of an early Communion service, at 7, 7:30 or 8 A. M. Morning Service with music and sermon at 10:30 or 11 A. M. and Evening Service with or without sermon in the afternoon or evening.
The late morning Service may consist of Morning Prayer and Sermon, Morning Prayer and Holy Communion, Litany and Holy Communion, or Holy Communion alone. All of these services are found in the Prayer Book which says that none of them are to be habitually neglected. However it is the invariable practice to have a late Communion service once a month, generally on the first Sunday; in many parishes there are two late communions, and in some, on every Sunday. Where the late Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday, it is regarded as a service of sacrifice and worship, and comparatively few receive. The Eucharist is our Christian sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. In it we commemorate the death and resurrection of our Lord, and join with Him in offering ourselves as a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice to God.
In addition to the services of public worship, the Prayer Book contains the forms for administering Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Visitation of the Sick, Burial of the Dead, Ordination of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, The Offices of Instruction and the Catechism, The Articles of Religion and many other beautiful and helpful prayers for both public, family and private use. To be an intelligent Churchman, one must be familiar with the Prayer Book through daily use.
Chapter IV. The Christian Creeds
AN important purpose for which the Church exists is to teach mankind a definite body of truth. In his commission to the ministers of the fellowship Christ said, "Go teach all nations whatsoever I have commanded you." "Go make disciples of all nations." While a disciple is much more than a person who knows and understands a body of doctrine, this is a most important factor of discipleship, and without it Christianity would come to naught. The Church has therefore most carefully guarded this deposit of truth, and her supreme task is to teach it to this generation and to hand it on unimpaired from age to age.
Christ came to bear witness to the truth. He calls himself "A man who has told you the truth." The power of religion is the power of the truth. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Upon this truth the salvation of mankind depends. The man who possesses it is wise unto salvation. It is for humanity the most precious thing in the world. It is the pearl of great price for which a man will sacrifice everything in the world. The Church was founded to propagate and defend this truth. One great branch of the Church, the Eastern branch, has taken to itself the title "Orthodox" which means "right teaching". It holds the Orthodox Faith. In the West the term "Catholic" faith is employed, meaning the whole and entire faith, held everywhere in contrast with certain sects which deny certain parts of the faith.
SOURCES OF THE FAITH
The Truths of Christianity were derived in the first place from the Jewish religion. God spake in times past to our fathers through the prophets, and in these last times through His Son. These doctrines first taught by the Hebrew Prophets are the oneness, holiness and spirituality of God, the moral law, human accountability and the immortality of the soul. To this Jesus Christ added certain truths which are specifically Christian. And at the command of Christ, and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles by word and act elaborated the teaching of Christ, so that the Christian faith in its full and complete form was held by Christians everywhere by the end of the first century. It was the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints. This faith was not drawn from the pages of the New Testament, but was taught directly by Christ and the Apostles. Nevertheless the New Testament is a written record of what that teaching was, and so the Anglican Church asserts that Holy Scripture "containeth all things necessary to salvation so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."
There is however in the Bible much more than the articles of faith that are necessary to salvation. The Old Testament is the history of the Jewish nation for over a thousand years, and contains its whole national literature; not only history, but law books, sermons and prophesies, poetry, and forms of prayer and praise for public worship. The early stories of Genesis are folk lore that had been handed down from prehistoric times among the Semitic people, but written over by later writers from a monotheistic point of view. Modern literary study of the Scriptures, known as "higher criticism", has done much to trace out the various sources from which the present Old Testament was compiled. The supreme value of this modern study of Scripture is to show that the Hebrew Religion was a progressive revelation extending over more than a thousand years, and that in the course of its national experience the people progressed from a belief in a warlike tribal deity engaged in conflict alike with other peoples and other gods, to the sublime concept of the prophets, of one Supreme Being, who made and was served by all the nations of the earth. This idea of development in religious thought and progressive revelation, frees us from many Bible problems which perplexed our fathers. Some of these are historic inconsistencies, and others are moral difficulties. For example, our fathers were put to it to explain the command of Jehovah to kill all the men, women and children of certain Canaanitish cities. The record shows that Joshua believed it to be a command of Jehovah, but we do not believe it was. However as late as 1918 there were clergymen in America who believed that God approved of killing Germans. The love of enemies is a purely Christian doctrine, but there are many Christians still who do not believe or practice it.
Turning to the New Testament, we have the record of the life of Christ in the four Gospels, the first book of Church History in the Acts of the Apostles, and a numerous collection of letters or epistles addressed to Churches, groups of Churches, and to individuals. It ends with the "Revelation of St. John the Divine", a series of apocalyptic visions of a dreadful conflict going on between the Christians and their persecutors, of the Roman empire, and ending with a very beautiful picture of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem descending from heaven to earth, and accomplishing the triumph and beautitude of the saints.
Not only in this book, but in all the New Testament, there is much figurative language, and it is necessary that there should be some rule for the interpretation of its meaning. If each man interprets the New Testament for himself, there will be as many interpretations as there are interpreters. We are told that "No prophesy of Scripture is of private interpretation." The Church has Authority. This means that the interpretation which has always been understood in all parts of the Church is the true interpretation. For example, at the last Supper Christ performed two symbolic acts and gave command for their continuation. He washed his disciples feet and told them to do as He had done.
He also blessed the Bread and the Wine and told them to do this for a memorial of Himself. Both of these commands, so far as the Bible stands, have equal authority. Nevertheless the Church has universally observed one and ignored the other. Why? The consensus of belief in the Church in all ages, is that the washing of the feet was a symbol of humble service to one another. The Church takes the act symbolically. It has ever urged the feeding of the hungry, the clothing of the naked, the care of the sick, and other works of corporal mercy as the fulfillment of this symbolic act of Christ. On the other hand it has taken in a literal sense the command, "Do this in Remembrance of Me," and has made it the Church's central act of worship. Who is to decide? The catholic consent or universal belief of the whole Church in all time and everywhere throughout the world, is the key to the true interpretation of the Bible.
This explains the attitude of the Episcopal Church to Holy Scripture. It is a Bible Church. It uses the Bible more than any other Church in its public worship, even though it does not believe in the verbal inspiration. But it is not founded on the Bible. It is founded on Christ.
But all this is walking about Zion and telling the towers thereof. What is the content of the Faith? What is the truth that makes a man wise unto salvation? What is this pearl of great price? It is the revelation of God Himself to men as their Father and that consequently they are his children, and that it is the Father's purpose that none of them should perish, but should have everlasting life. This is revealed by God's only Son, Jesus Christ, and the events of his earthly life, his birth and death and resurrection and ascension have a vital connection with the process of salvation. Christian faith is inculcated in each human heart through the power of the divine Spirit. The Church is the holy Brotherhood of God's redeemed children, and the agency for propagating this salvation, the communion of Saints, on earth and in Heaven alike, which brings men forgiveness of their sins, and at last the resurrection and everlasting life.
You will recognize that this is all summed up in the Apostles Creed, which contains in epitome all Christian truth. It is the most tremendously important and vital formula of truth in the world. We always stand when we say the Creed. But there is a wide difference between reciting a formula, and holding a saving faith. If a man knew that the wisest and the richest and most powerful ruler on earth was his father, it would profoundly influence his thought and conduct. If he knows that God is his Father, that faith saves him from sin and wickedness and selfishness and every moral ill, and gives him power to over come every physical ill as Christ triumphed on His Cross. This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith! But it is only a saving faith when it is a living faith. When it enters into the daily web and woof of our every act and thought. We are to live our creed as children of God and heirs of immortal life.
The central doctrine of our religion is the Incarnation. The truth that Jesus Christ is a divine person, who existed from all eternity, and who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who came down from Heaven and was born in a miraculous way of the Virgin Mary, and so took human nature to himself, uniting it with his divine personality. His human life became the medium of his teaching, his example, his sacrifice, and the fountain of healing- grace to all mankind. Through the sacraments we have union with Him, and receive power to become sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church is his body, and continues his saving work in the world, uniting souls to Him, and incorporating them into the number of the redeemed, the blessed company of all faithful people, the holy Fellowship of the friends and companions of Jesus Christ.
We love the Church, not because it has a beautiful and dignified form of worship, and a reasonable faith, and an historic background, and a noble tradition; not because it is broad and liberal in its outlook on modern questions, not because it is sensible in its attitude toward recreation and human interests; for these and many more qualities we resepct the Church, but we love her because She is our Mother, the Bride of Christ, whom our Lord loved and purchased to Himself. We love the Church because it is Christ's Church, the Family of God's Children on Earth, indwelt and inspired by the Holy Spirit. She is the New Jerusalem, which is above, which is free, which is the Mother of us all!
Chapter V. The Catechism
THERE have been in the course of Church History many instances of sudden and dramatic conversion from an unbelieving or wicked life to the full measure of Christian faith and practice. St. Paul and St. Augustine are classic examples of countless others who passed through the same experience. In a Christian civilization however, the normal approach to religion on the part of children is through an educative process rather than through an emotional crisis. Here is a dividing line between the Episcopal Church and the traditional types of American Protestantism. Among these, the two outstanding traditions were the Puritan and the Methodist. Methodism split from the Church of England on the ground of requiring a sudden and conscious conversion from sin to a life of surrender to God. A believer was required to put his finger on the exact spot where, and exact moment when, he saw the light. If he could not do this he was not a true Christian. The Episcopal Church did not feel that it could go to such lengths and indeed was rather inclined to look with disfavor on the hysterical revivals which swept the country, and to stress the educational processes of the Church and the Christian Life. "Bring up a child in a way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." So great stress is laid on instruction in the home, the Church, and the Sunday school, and a special method of teaching is provided in the Prayer Book called the Catechism, which contains a brief but very complete epitome of religious faith and practice. When the child has mastered the Catechism he is brought to the Bishop, at about the age of 10 to 14, according to his understanding, and receives the laying on of hands in Confirmation. He is then admitted to Holy Communion, with careful preparation and instruction from his pastor. So he grows into maturity and passes through the rapidly changing years of adolescence with the nurturing care of the Church guiding him and forming in him habits of Christian life and worship.
The Catechism is found in two places in the Prayer Book. The old formula is at the back of the book, just before the Articles of Religion, and also a modernized form with some few but important additions, is contained in the Offices of Instruction, which follow the Baptismal service and precede that for Confirmation. The Catechism deals with five subjects: 1. The Baptismal Covenant, 2. The Creed, 3. The Ten Commandments, 4. The Lord's Prayer and 5. the Two great Sacraments. These epitomise the whole scope of Christian Life, Faith, Ethics, Worship and the Means of Grace. The child who is rightly instructed in the Catechism has a clear and intelligent knowledge of the nature, the duties, and the privileges of the Christian Life.
Chapter VI. The Sacraments Baptism and Holy Communion
CHRISTIAN discipleship involves not only holding and believing certain truths, but living a certain kind of a life. This life is one in which the dominant note is love for God and for our fellow men. This love is symbolized and expressed in public worship. In the Church which is God's family, we unite on every Lord's Day, in memory of the Resurrection of our Master to renew our communion with the Father, with our Divine Lord and with the beloved brethren.
Christ instituted two sacraments or holy mysteries to promote and continue this communion. The first of these is Baptism. It is the sacrament of spiritual re-birth, of entrance into the Family, of membership in God's household. In this mystery the New Testament tells us we are united to Christ, our sins are washed away, we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit, we are made God's children by adoption and grace, and inheritors of his heavenly Kingdom, in short we are brought into a state of salvation, and in the catechism we are taught to pray that we may continue in the same unto our life's end. "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."
From time to time sects have risen which deny the propriety of baptizing children, because the implications of baptisms are such that only a person of mature years can understand them. But the oldest and wisest Christians do not understand their religion fully, and children inherit privileges and rights as members of the Church which in time come to have much significance. Just as the best citizen of our country is the one who is born a citizen and grows up as such, so the child is the normal type of member in God's Kingdom, and Christ says that we must all become as little children before we can enter into it. However there is need for an open profession of faith in Christ. The words of Christ make this obligatory, and opportunity is provided in Confirmation, which is a sacrament supplementary to Baptism. In this there is renewal of Baptismal vows, and a declaration of faith in Christ as our divine Saviour. This is accompanied by the laying on of hands by the bishop after the example of the holy Apostles. See Acts vm. With the blessing of the Bishop is given a new gift of the Holy Spirit, strengthening the Christian soldier for his spiritual welfare. The Prayer Book provides that none shall be admitted to Holy Communion until he has been confirmed or is ready and desirous of receiving this sacrament. Confirmation is not "joining the Church", as all who are baptized are members, but it is the means by which baptized members are admitted to the privilege of Holy Communion.
This brings us to the consideration of the other great sacrament of our Lord's institution, the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, or Holy Eucharist as it is variously called in the Prayer Book. It is the pledge of Christ's abiding presence with his people. He is present at each Eucharist as the true priest and again breaks the Bread and blesses the Cup, and gives it to us as he did at his first institution on the night of his betrayal. In giving us the outward elements He gives Himself to us, His Body and His Blood, (that means his very life) that he may dwell in us and we in Him. We spoke in the last chapter of the good news of our divine sonship, but this sonship is only in Christ. Only to1 those that receive Him, does he give power to become the Sons of God, even to those who believe in his name, and are born again not of the flesh, or of man, but of God. The life of Salvation which comes to us in the Gospel is only maintained by constant communion with, and life in Christ, which it is the purpose of the sacrament to renew. There are some Protestants, perhaps the majority of them, who regard the sacrament as simply a memorial of a past event and an absent Lord; something to do occasionally so that we will not forget. But the historic and Catholic belief is that it is a meeting with the Living Christ, and for the devout communicant, it is the very Bread of Life. S. John vi. For this reason the Eucharist occupies an entirely different place in the Church than it does in average American Protestantism. The Altar is the center of our devotion, and the most solemn and reverent ritual accompanies the observance of these holy Mysteries. This communion service is read every Sunday in every Episcopal Church in the land, in the identical words of the Prayer Book. It may be a very simple service at an early hour without music or sermon, or it may be a service with elaborate music and stately ceremonial. The accessories vary, but the words said in every case are identical. As a matter of fact, there is much variety in the ritual which accompanies the service. The Prayer Book says nothing about vestments of ministers or choir, little about music. But there is an unwritten tradition about these things in the Church, handed down from former times. The Clergy and choristers are clothed in white linen vestments, certain parts of the service are sung or chanted, sometimes all of it. The choir occupy stalls in the forward part of the chancel, on either side, facing each other. The altar at which the priest stands is raised on a higher step and enclosed within the communion rails. There are often servers or acolytes, to assist the Priest. It should never be forgotten that ceremonial is secondary to the service itself, as contained in the Prayer Book, and the intelligent Churchman should sufficiently familiarize himself with variations in ritual so that he will feel perfectly at home in any service where the Prayer Book is used. Just as he would enjoy a good meal whether served by waiters in full dress, or by the housewife who cooks the meal herself.
Sometimes we hear the criticism that it is inappropriate to worship the "lowly Nazarene" with such magnificence, and to wear elaborate vestments when he was a poor man and wore plain clothing. Christ was not an object of public worship during his earthly life. In fact He and His apostles constantly attended the worship of the Synagogue and Temple, which was quite as elaborate as that of any Christian Church. It was not until after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven that Christ became the Center of the Church's devotion. It is not the lowly Galilean that we worship, but the King of Kings who sits upon the throne of Heaven in the Glory of the Father. The worship of our earthly temples is patterned after that of the heavenly Sanctuary, as described in the visions of the Beloved Apostle. In the Eucharist we join with Angels, and Archangels and all the company of heaven, in the Adoration of the Lamb.
Chapter VII. The Church Year
AN important feature of the Church's worship is the observance of the various seasons of the Church Year. The custom of observing times of penitence and festivity was inherited from the Jewish ceremonial. In the Old Testament we find the celebration of outstanding feasts such as the Feast of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These correspond to changes in the natural year, and the accompanying employments of sowing and reaping the grain. There were also commemorations of National deliverance such as the Passover, the Feast of Purim, etc. Then in contrast to these times of rejoicing, were times of penitence, self discipline and fasting. This element of change and variety gave color and freshness to religious observances just as the change of Nature's seasons brings variety and health to our natural life.
So from the beginning the Christian Church observed the great Christian Passover, or Easter Festival, and Pentecost, 50 days later, commemorated the descent of the Holy Spirit. The observance of the Epiphany or the manifestation of Christ became the third great festival, which at first included the commemoration of the Birth Day of our Lord. Later Christmas Day became a separate festival. The penitential season of Lent in commemoration of the 40 days fasting of Christ; and of Passion Week, and Good Friday naturally took their place, and so a new year of observance sprang up in the Christian Church, based on the commemoration of the important events in the life of Our Lord. This element of constant progress and variety in our worship keeps it fresh and vigorous. All human society enjoys its celebration of great days. National life is fostered by the keeping of Independence Day, and the birthdays of our great national heroes. It is the natural expression of the patriotism of a united people. And similarly in religion the celebration of great Christian festivals simultaneously throughout the world does most to maintain the unity of spirit and the bond of common faith among all Christian peoples.
Chapter VIII. The Church Building
EPISCOPAL Churches are consecrated by a service of prayers and dedication conducted by the Bishop, and are set apart exclusively for the worship of God. They are regarded as sacred for religious use and are never used for secular or social purposes. It is impossible to maintain an atmosphere of worship and reverence for a building that may be used at one time for entertainment, and at another for religious worship. The Churchman feels the presence of God whenever he enters into the building, and at once kneels in acknowledgment of the Divine presence.
Whatever may be the size, the wealth or poverty of a Church, there are certain outstanding features that are common in all of them. At the end of the building opposite the entrance door is the Altar, built of wood or stone, to which there is an open pathway through the center aisle. On the altar or immediately behind it are certain ornaments, namely a cross, vases of flowers and candles. There is a book rest and Prayer Book, for the use of the minister, and nothing else is placed on the altar but what is offered to God. The altar is raised above the floor by several steps, and is enclosed by the Communion Rail to which people come and kneel when they receive Holy Communion. The front part of the Church is called the Chancel. The part of the chancel within the altar rail is called the Sanctuary, and that outside is called the Choir. In this are the stalls for the singers, and at the front side toward the congregation is a kneeling desk for the minister for reading Morning and Evening Prayer. A Lecturn, often in the form of an eagle, with outspread wings, holds the Holy Scriptures, and opposite the Lecturn is the Pulpit for preaching. The Pulpit is never in the middle of the Church, as is common in Protestant places of worship. The place of honor is always occupied by the Altar because worship and communion are of primary importance, and preaching is secondary to it. In fact there are many services when no sermon is preached.
The Church building is often in the form of a cross, the cross parts being known as transepts. The long part of the church occupied by the congregation is the nave, from the word navis, a ship. The Church is the ark of safety which carries us over the troubled waters of this life to the heavenly haven. It reminds us of brotherhood because we are all "in one boat". There is no distinction of persons in the Church. The rich and the poor alike, the old and young, all kneel and worship together, are baptized at the same font, eat of one Bread and drink of one Cup at the Altar, and are buried with the same prayers. The Baptismal font usually stands near the door as Baptism is the door of the Church, the sacrament by which we enter into its membership. If the font occupies an alcove or separate part of the building that part is called the Baptistry.
Much symbolism is used in the windows, and other decorations. The Greek Letters, IHS, Iota, Eta, Sigma, are the first three letters of the holy name, Jesus, and the letters XP, Chi, Rho, are the first letters of Christ. The IHS are also the initials of the latin words, In Hoc Signo, which Constantine saw in a vision at the time of his conversion, and which led to the substitution of the XP for the eagles on the Roman Standards. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet, and are used in the Revelation of St. John as the symbol of Christ. The Lamb, Agnus Dei, and the Pelican are also symbols of Christ. The Dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the Triangle is the symbol of the Holy Trinity.
The seasons and days of the Year are indicated by the use of different colors in the hangings and vestments.
White, (or Gold) is used on Festivals and at weddings.
Red, the color of blood and of fire, is used on the festivals of martyrs, (most of the .Saints Days) and on the Feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost came down in the likeness of fire.
Green is the color of life and growth, and is used during the Epiphany and Trinity Seasons.
Purple is the color of Penitence and is used in Advent, Lent, and other days of abstinence.
Black is for mourning, and is used on Good Friday, and at funerals.
Different postures of the body are used to express respect and devotion. The congregation stands at the entrance of the clergy and choir, and also at their exit. It also stands at the creed, and for those parts of the service expressing praise, such as the psalms, the canticles and the hymns. It kneels during prayer, and it sits for instruction, during the reading of the scriptures and the sermon. These changes in bodily posture are a physical relief, and lend the cooperation of the body to the inward attitude of the soul. Similarly the clergyman frequently changes his attitude, sometimes facing the congregation, when he is addressing the people, sometimes facing the altar when he is addressing God. He is not "turning his back upon the people" as is sometimes supposed, but rather facing the same way they are and so showing his oneness with them.
The following terms should be familiar with all Churchmen. Parts of the Church: Porch, Vestibule or Narthex, Baptistry, Nave, Aisles, Clerestory, Transepts, Chancel, Rood Beam, or Screen, Choir Screen, Chancel Gates, Choir Stalls, Fald Stool, Litany Desk, Pulpit, Lecturn, Bible, Sanctuary, Chancel or Communion Rails, Altar, Reredos, Dossal, (cloth or curtain) Gradines, or shelves behind the Altar, Credence Table or Shelf, Clergy Chairs or Stalls, Bishop's Chair or Throne.
Vestments of the Choir: cassock and cotta. Of the Clergy: cassock, cotta or surplice, Stole, academic hood. Square cap is called a biretta. The stole, always the color of the season. Sometimes in its place a broad black band is worn called a tibbet.
The Eucharistic vestments are Amice, Alb, Girdle, Stole, Maniple, Chasuble. A deacon and subdeacon wear dalmatics at a solemn Eucharist. A Cope is a large semi-circular cloak with a large hood on the back and an elaborate clasp in front called the morse. The cope is worn by Bishops and priests on solemn occasions.
The vestments of the Bishop are rochet and chimere. The Mitre is the head dress of the Bishop and is symbolic of his office. So also is the pastoral staff. The Bishop is usually depicted in cope and mitre.
Altar ornaments and sacred vessels: The altar ornaments are Cross or Crucifix, Flowers and Candles. The Altar is covered with three linen cloths, the top one being long and falling over each end. It is called the fair linen cloth, embroidered with five crosses symbolic of the five wounds of Christ. There may also be an embroidered cloth in front of the altar falling to the floor called a frontal, or a covering coming down part way, called a super frontal.
The sacred vessels of the Eucharist are the Chalice and Paten. These are covered with a purificai or, a pall, a silk chalice veil, and a silk burse, in which is carried the corporal, a large square of linen about 20 inches square which is spread upon the altar and upon which the sacred vessels are placed. On the credence are two cruets for wine and water, a bowl and a napkin for the washing of the priest's fingers, called the lavabo. The bread box contains the wafers. Candlesticks are sometimes placed on the credence table and are carried by the acolytes at the reading of the gospel.
A processional cross is carried in front of the choir, by the crucifer. If incense is used it is burned in a censer or thurible and is carried by a thurifer, accompanied by the boat boy, who carries a boat or small recepticle for the incense. The use of incense is not so general as that of vestments and lights, though the Scriptural authority for it is unquestioned.
Chapter IX. The Church Today
WE have seen in our first chapter that due to the lack of the episcopate during the Colonial period, the Church was hampered in its normal development and as a result it was not until one-third of the 19th century had passed away before the Church realized its responsibilities and grasped the opportunity for missionary work in the new territory of the West which was then rapidly developing. With the General Convention of 1835 and the election of Jackson Kemper as the first missionary Bishop, a new spirit of enterprise came into the Episcopal Church, and since that day it has grown steadily in numbers and influence until today it comprises 2,540,548 baptized members, 1,688,611 communicants, 6,654 clergy and 164 bishops. There are over half a million children in our Sunday Schools, and the annual contributions for the year 1950 were $73,844,880.41. The Church supports missions in the United States, its dependencies and territories, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Phillipines, the Canal Zone, and the foreign countries of Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, and Liberia. In the foreign field the American Church works in collaboration with the Church of England, so that for example in China, what is known as the Holy Catholic Church has 12 dioceses of which three have American bishops, seven British and Canadian and two native Chinese Bishops. The Anglican Church in Japan is similarly organized. The Mission work also includes educational and medical fields, and there are many outstanding colleges, schools, and hospitals that form an important factor in our mission work.
There are Bishops in every state and territory of the continental United States, and strongly organized work exists among the Indians of the West and the colored people of the South. The Episcopal Church is stronger in the East than it is in the West, and stronger in the cities than in the country.
An interesting development of recent years is the erection of great cathedrals in our larger cities, outstanding among them are those of Washington and New York. For centuries the world has admired the great gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe. But the faith which produced them still lives in the Church today, and we see again the rising walls of Cathedrals which rival in size and beauty those of England and France. The question is sometimes raised as to what is the value of a great Cathedral. Without going into a discussion of the question at this time, it may be said that it stands as a witness of the Christian faith. If it is worth while to spend millions every year in advertising automobiles and cigarettes, it is worth while spending a few millions in erecting a monument to religion which will last for centuries. A cathedral is the See or Seat of a Bishop, and is the center of the life of the Church in each diocese.
Chapter X. The Church of Tomorrow
AS we look about the world today we see that Christianity is divided into many branches and sects. This is not in accord with the intention of Christ when he founded His Church. Christianity is not fifty or a hundred different things. It is just one thing. All Christians are followers of one Lord. There is one Master, even Christ. There is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all. It was our Lord's purpose that all of his followers should be one. He prayed for this at His Last Supper.
It is the sin of man, not the purpose of God, that has brought division into the family of Christ. The divisions among Christians are also the source of moral weakness and lack of spiritual influence in the Church against the forces of evil in the world. People often raise the question in the face of moral evil, "Why does not the Church do something about it?" And the answer is, the Church is weak and powerless because of its unhappy divisions. A united Christianity would be a great moral force. An illustration of this is the good results accomplished by the League of Decency in improving the moving picture industry, in which all churches cooperated.
There are many other moral problems such as divorce, and crime, that call for a united protest on the part of the Christian forces of the world. It is also a great economic waste to attempt to support half a dozen different weak and struggling churches in each' village community when one strong and united Church might do the work.
It is incredible to suppose that this condition is going to exist indefinitely. The forces of evil and unbelief and worldliness are too strong. Christians must cease their competition with one another and unite against the enemies of the good. The causes which brought division and separation no longer exist. There are already movements toward reunion. First of all within certain denominations there has been an integration of divided parts, as among the Presbyterians in Scotland, and the Methodists in America. A further important step has been taken in Canada, where the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congre-gationalists have united to form the United Church of Canada. There have been other unions of smaller groups in our own country. Thus far, no Anglicans have been included in these Church mergers.
There has been a growing attitude of union between the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Churches of the East, and it seems that only a step remains to effect full intercommunion between these two branches of Catholic Christendom. The last General Convention also saw the union of the Episcopal Church with the Old Catholics, a group of Europeans who were formerly in communion with the Roman See but who refused to accept the dogma of Papal Infallibility.
The Anglican Church is the largest body of English speaking Christians in the world, comprising some thirty million people according to the World Almanac, and will have its part to contribute to a united Christendom. In fact it is often spoken of by European theologians as the "bridge" Church, standing midway between the old tradition and the new. It has preserved the essentials of the ancient historic and Catholic Faith and worship, and on the other hand it is in perfect sympathy with modern thought and evangelical effort for which protestantism at its best stands. In the mean time we believe that we will best serve the cause of unity by being steadfast to the Faith which has been handed down through the ages, for the United Church of the future will be a catholic Church in all the breadth of meaning which the term implies, a Church of the past, and at the same time it will be truly evangelical and modern. With growing confidence and charity it will look forward to the coming of Christ's Reign when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. God speed the day!