Prof. SYSTEMATIC DIVINITY,
DIVINITY SCHOOL, PHILADELPHIA.
EVANGELICAL EDUCATION SOCIETY,
1224 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America completed her organization as a particular, national Church, and thus as a branch or constituent part of the one Catholic Church of CHRIST on earth, just one century ago. In her preface to the Prayer Book which she then set forth, she declares that: "When in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence was necessarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of worship and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the constitution and laws of their country." And then she adds: "The attention of this Church was in the first place drawn to those alterations in the Liturgy," etc. Here, it is evident, she distinguishes "this Church," not only from the Church of England, but especially and directly from the other different religious denominations of Christians in these States," and her organization from "their respective Churches." She claims the right to exercise the same liberty of modelling her own organization which they all possessed in common.
 I know it may be said that she has here inadvertently used only the loose popular language of the times, that it is a mere casual, inconsiderate and incautious utterance, a timid and unwise concession. On the contrary, that utterance was well weighed in every syllable. They who made it knew well, when they made it, that it would stand as an historical landmark; as it has stood and will forever remain. It was no inadvertency, no concession of ignorance or weakness or worldly policy or fawning conciliation. It was the expression of the true, thoughtful, well instructed, large-minded intelligence, and of the sturdy, manly Catholic sentiment of the whole Church. It was placed in the fore-front of the Book which contained her standard of worship, doctrine and discipline. That it was so, is the plain lesson of history; and, even if that lesson were not so plain, to presume such to have been the character of that utterance, would best become a loyal member of this Church, and one who, on being received into her service and ministry, has solemnly promised conformity to her doctrine and worship.
Nor was this a mere passing phase of the Church's thought and expression. It has been reproduced and continued in all her subsequent legislation. In her Canons from the year 1795 to the digest of 1886, she has persisted in speaking of "the ministers of other denominations of Christians seeking to be admitted to Holy Orders in this Church;" where the implication contained in "other denominations" and "this Church" is unmistakable. Our Church has never spoken, in the later Churchly (?) language so much affected by some, of "a minister of a denomination," or of "the ministers of the denominations," but always of "the ministers of other denominations of Christians." And, if this phraseology, which has characterized our Canon law from the beginning hitherto, should now be changed, for example, from "other denominations of Christians" to "other Christian bodies;" what would be the difference, after all, in the logical result? Are not "other Christian bodies" as near being Churches as are "other denominations of Christians?" If we speak of other Christian bodies, we shall acknowledge ourselves to be a Christian body side by side with those other Christian bodies; and how does it appear that we have any more right to claim to be the only [4/5] true Church, than to be the only true Christian body, in this country? What is the Church, as a body, but a body of Christians? Is not the Church CHRIST'S body? But be all that as it may,--the form of expression in the Canons has uniformly been "other denominations;" and what is implied in the word other is perfectly clear and perfectly correct.
Our Church, "this Church" of the Canons, is certainly a Christian body, and as certainly there are other Christian bodies in the United States of America. Each of these Christian bodies has its name or denomination. In the common use of the English language in this country they are called and will be called Churches, and in distinction from them "this Church" must have her name or denomination. Even if she should call herself "the Church in (or of) the United States," she would still have to be known as the Church that used to call herself the Protestant Episcopal Church,--which was organized immediately after the American Revolution, adopted her Constitution, and held her first General Convention in 1789, and which still continues the series of the General Conventions of that Church, acknowledging those Conventions as her supreme legislative authority. If she should prefer to name herself "The Catholic Church in the United States," she would as certainly be confounded with another Christian body in this country as she can now be with any of the Protestant "denominations." She certainly has been Protestant, and has called herself so for a hundred years, and if she is not really Protestant still, she must have undergone a very fundamental transformation, and that by the plain confession of those who hate the name as well as by the assertion of those who love it. When she ceases to be Protestant she ceases to be the Church she was--the Church of White and Seabury and their Apostolic successors.
But if it is claimed and admitted that after changing her name she might still remain the same Church that she was before, then, confessedly, she would be in fact the Protestant Episcopal Church still, or else it must be that either she did not know what she was when she called herself Protestant Episcopal, or those terms have changed their meaning, or at least one of them, since she applied them to herself. Has either of them--has the term Protestant a different meaning now [5/6] from what it had a hundred years ago? If so, what is the difference? And if not, the change of name carries with it a change of identity and character. And whether it did or did not, observe, after all, it is only a change of "name"--a change of "denomination" that is clamored for, and not the abolition or abandonment of any name or distinctive appellation altogether. The "denomination" will still remain even if it is reduced to the article "The," whether used by way of exclusion or pre-eminence or emphasis. It will only be, for short, the T-H-E Church, instead of the P. E. Church.
As to the importance and effect of this change, it is scarcely less than ludicrous how those who so zealously urge it blow hot and cold almost in the same breath. To their opponents within their own Church and to the Courts of law they earnestly protest that what they propose is only a harmless "change of name," a change to what they claim indeed to be more appropriate and significant, a more ecclesiastical designation; but which after all is only a matter of sound, and form, and expression; that the old Church will remain really unchanged, the same in her original claims and fundamental character, in her creed, her doctrine, her liturgy, her ordinal; continuing in an entire and unbroken succession to all her antecedents, whether Protestant or Catholic. But, on the other hand, to all others outside of her organization, to all other Christian bodies around her, they proclaim that this change works a wondrous revolution, a marvellous, if not miraculous transformation in her whole position and character. No priestly hocus-pocus ever equalled it in potency. Instead of being any longer one among the "sects or denominations;" by simply assuming a new name, a new corporate title, presto, change! she will stand forth before the Christian world an entirely new creation, in an entirely new aspect and attitude. She will no longer be "this Church," but the Church, the very and only Church of CHRIST, the Church of the living God, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Forthwith all around on every side, Romanists and Protestants, infidels and professed believers, will acknowledge her claims and will fall down and worship her. At once and as if by enchantment, at the mere proclamation of her new name, the scales will fall from every eye, and all will confess that God is in [6/7] her of a truth. From all sides men will hasten to her bosom, as the flying clouds and as doves to their windows. It is hard to say whether these sanguine representations of the stupendous effects of this "change of name" are more ridiculous or more painful.
Do those who indulge in such dreams suppose that the people around us are mere children or idiots, to be so marvellously imposed upon by a simple change of our corporate title? Do they imagine that our domestic assurances and averments that we mean no real change, but that our good old Protestant Episcopal Church will after all remain just what she was before in all her fundamental nature and character and claims, can be kept secret from the people without? And if that could be, do they suppose that all around us will not of themselves know that we are the same people, the same body of Christians, the same ecclesiastical organization that used to call itself the Protestant Episcopal Church; and that our assumption of a new name cannot add one jot or tittle to our real character or claims, be they what they may? A stream, even with a new name, cannot mount higher than its source.
But we are assured that this will remove the great stumbling block, and bring the Romanists into our fold. Now, everybody in his senses knows, that so far as our Church is to grow by accessions from other Christian bodies, they are to be expected mostly from other Protestant denominations, and not from the Roman Catholics. Still, it is insisted that what keeps the Romanists away from us is our unchurchly name; let us change that and nothing can hinder them from coming to us in crowds. But, not to speak of men so astute as the Jesuits, even the less instructed Romanists are not fools. When we tell them that now we are "the Church," and invite them to come into "the Church's" bosom will not the feeblest-minded among them say: "You 'the Church!' Are not you the same people, the very same corporate body, that called yourselves 'The Protestant Episcopal Church' only yesterday and for a hundred years before? The same by your -own confession and asseveration, unchanged in character, in faith, in succession, in doctrine, in worship, in refusing obedience to the Apostolic See and the Vicar of CHRIST, in everything that goes to constitute--or rather to contradict--the essence of the Church? Do [7/8] you become anything else by a mere change of name, the mere assumption of an alias? Do you really become the Church, by merely dubbing yourself 'the Church'? It is only adding impertinence and trickery to what might have been honest error. Can even you pretend that you are really any more the Church now than you were by your other name? Or, have you abandoned that name because you have grown ashamed of it and of yourself and of your founders? This assumption of yours, this attempt to clothe yourself in the lion's skin is too late, too flimsy, too awkward. You are the very same ass you were before; away with you and your alias together."
And as for the Protestant bodies, are they not all intelligent enough to see through the thin pretext? Will they not all see as well as we ourselves that our real status and claims as a Church are not one whit more or greater than they have been for a hundred years past, and under our old name, a name which they had learned more and more to honor and respect? Will they not be repelled from us with a feeling akin to contempt, by our gross arrogance in the assumption of being ourselves the only and the entire Church and Body of CHRIST in this country; and consigning them in a mass to the uncovenanted mercies of God, or at least to the category of mere "sects and no Churches of CHRIST at all? And this, too, just when we are posing ourselves before them as being seized with an extraordinary desire and longing for the harmonizing of the discords among Christian people, as praying and striving with a new outburst of enthusiasm for the restoration of "unity" to the Body of Christ? "Not seeking," as our Bishops expressly say, "to absorb other Communions, but to cooperate with them on the basis of a common faith and order, to discountenance schism and to heal the wounds of the Body of CHRIST." In all which it is manifestly assumed that it is the very Body of Christ which has been rent asunder, and that the Christian bodies around us are still constituent parts of the great divided Catholic whole--are parts of "Catholic Christendom." And this is more manifest from another fact, that, in their appeal for "unity," (or "re-union," as the Lambeth Committee say), our Bishops distinctly address themselves, not to the Roman Church or to the Greek or Oriental Churches, but to the other Christian bodies around us, and propose to "enter into [8/9] brotherly conference with all or any such bodies seeking the organic unity of the Church "--with these Christian bodies as organized bodies, observe, and not with scattered and independent individuals. So that no existing ecclesiastical organization, no existing Christian body, whether in this country or anywhere else--not even our own Church--can claim exclusively to contain or represent the entirety or the unity of the Body of CHRIST; for, in that case, "The Body of CHRIST" would not be said to be "rent asunder."
But again, if we are to change our name, to what shall we change it? As to the denomination "Catholic Church," it seems now to be admitted by the wiser ones among our New "Catholic" brethren (see "Catholic Papers," No. 4), that the name "American Catholic Church" would not be a proper name for our Church, because "to call our national communion 'American Catholic' is to say that she is American and at the same time universal; which is a contradiction in terms." This is indeed refreshing; after so much vaporing and eloquence having been spent over the grave assumption' that. our Church, by confessing "the Catholic Church" in the Creed, names and declares herself to be the Catholic Church. In the Creed "the Catholic Church" unquestionably means the Church Universal, as the name has been translated by our Church in the Litany and in the prayer for all sorts and conditions of men, in which last case she has substituted "Holy Church Universal" for the "Catholic Church" of the English Prayer Book. So then, it is now admitted that our Church--the Church whose name it is proposed to change--is not the Universal Church of CHRIST; and if she should call herself so, she would not make herself so. For this admission let us be duly thankful. [It is a curious fact that even the New England Primer contained the Apostles' Creed with "the holy Catholic Church," and all.]
It is also admitted by the same parties that we cannot properly denominate our Church "The Catholic Church in the United States of America;" and for this the following reason is given:
"For our Church to so [sic] name herself would be an assumption unwarranted by the facts of our status here. However the Roman Church may have departed from the true faith and apostolic practice, she is still in fundamentals Catholic. Should we declare by our name [9/10] that we were the Catholic Church in America, we should in effect be unchurching all Roman Catholics here, and taking the same ground towards them which they assume towards us. . . . To do it would be to throw away the brightest jewel in the coronet of, the virtues of the Anglican Communion, 'which is that she has never unchurched any other part of Catholic Christendom. . . . Therefore we cannot believe it would be desirable for us to assume the name "The Catholic Church in the United States."
Thus a tender and loyal regard for the Roman Catholic Church may save us from such self-stultification. For this, again, let us be thankful. The Church of Rome may thus be, at least indirectly, the means of some good. But we may note that it is not recognized, in all the foregoing, as of the slightest moment that, by assuming such a name, we should be unchurching all our Protestant brethren as constituting no "part of Catholic Christendom," as being no part of CHRIST'S Universal Church, and as being farther gone from the true faith and the fundamentals of the Christian religion than is the Church of the Papacy herself. And this forsooth, is plucking no jewel from our glorious coronet. But after all, let us be thankful that, for whatever reason, our Protestant Episcopal Church is to be spared the folly and impertinence, as well as the disgrace and odium of denominating herself "The Catholic Church in the United States of America."
For this conclusion far larger and deeper reasons could be given than that alleged by our New "Catholic" brethren. In passing down the current of usage the term "Catholic" has become quite as much smirched by offensive connections and associations as has the term "Protestant." It is true "Protestant" has in many minds become no longer associated with the Confessions of the great Churches of the Reformation, but with the minute divisions and discordant doctrines and manifold irregularities of multitudinous sects. But in many other minds "Catholic" is associated not so much with the grand idea of the Unity of Christendom as with the sacerdotalism, the sacramental materialism, the papalism, the idolatry, Mariolatry and superstition, the persecutions and inordinate pretensions of the self-styled "Catholic Church." Moreover, in all the languages of Continental Europe, whether of Protestant or Roman Catholic [10/11] countries, and in the use of the great majority of English speaking people, and particularly of nine-tenths of such people in the United States, "Catholic," as a specific ecclesiastical designation, means "Roman Catholic." This, too, has been the use of the State language in England. from the great Reformation, and has been continued to the present day, as may be seen in the "Catholic Emancipation Act" of the Duke of Wellington, that stiff and sturdy old high churchman. I am well aware that the simple "Catholic" method of brushing all this aside, is to say that the Church of England herself never adopted the style of "Protestant," and that we are not bound by Acts of Parliament. But that is quite missing the point of the argument. Parliamentary usage is of no mean authority in determining the right use of the English language; and it is of that we have now been speaking. In that usage "Catholic" means Roman Catholic. In the language of the State, moreover, the religion of the Established Church of England--if she has any honest right to her legal establishment--has always been, since the "glorious Revolution" of 1688, and still is, "The Protestant religion as by law established." Our New "Catholic" friends may therefore abate somewhat of their fervor in their tirades against Protestantism. They have no more right to assume an ideal and expurgated sense of the term "Catholic," than we have to assume such a sense for the word "Protestant." Let them consider this. They talk largely of the "failure of Protestantism;" but has the historical failure of Protestantism been any more marked or disastrous than the historical failure of Catholicism? They hold Protestantism responsible for all the rabble of sects with their wild extravagances, the infidelity and the atheism that have been engendered in her bosom; but in whose bosom was this horrible monster, Protestantism itself, engendered? By their own mode of reasoning, Catholicism must herself be held responsible both for Protestantism and for all its brood of consequences. [Calvin was once led to deal (or to promote the dealing) with an alleged and acknowledged heretic in the approved "Catholic" style, by burning him at the stake. In their denunciations of Calvin's zeal in such vindication of orthodoxy, no men are swifter or louder than those who are foremost in flouting at the swarming sects, the wild vagaries, the rationalistic tendencies, and the religious indifferency of Protestantism.] And the practical question after all is, as we [11/12] stand now before the Christian community and our fellow-countrymen, which appellation will provoke the greater repugnance and opposition and odium, that of Protestant or that of Catholic?
And here one word more. It might very naturally be supposed that our brethren who call themselves New "Catholics" have assumed that appellation by way of protesting against the historic character of our Church, as being, by virtue of its Anglican lineage, what the universal consent of Christendom has recognized it to be, a Church of the Protestant Reformation, or, in the language of an Encyclical of our Bishops not many years since, "Our Reformed Church." And this some of them might acknowledge to be the fact. But we are ready to admit the more charitable supposition that they have assumed the title as a kind of protest against its alleged abusive application by the Roman Church. And so they are themselves only "Protestants" after all. And, on the latter supposition at least, they too are in a small minority protesting against an immensely preponderant and almost universal usage of Christendom. It is true they speak of "a subtle twofold meaning of the word Catholic," besides its meaning of universal. But in no "subtle and twofold" sense could it be a fit or distinctive name of the Church; for we should always remember that for retaining a name it is not so necessary that it should be manifestly plain, appropriate, and fitting in its significance, as it is for the adoption of a new name. A name may be retained in a creed or in the designation of a Church, as being venerable for its antiquity, or convenient for its familiarity, or endeared by long associations, even though, in consequence of such changes as are continually going on in the usage of language, it may have come to require explanation and careful distinction in order to its being properly understood. But of a new name, such a necessity ought of itself to be a sufficient and final condemnation.
For these reasons, then, or for whatever reason, the name "Catholic" at all events, is condemned on all sides, and is to be dropped. So much progress, therefore, has been made in the discussion.
But our New "Catholic" friends admit also, according to the authority above referred to, that:
 "To call ourselves 'The Church in the United States of America,' as it certainly would be viewed by the various denominations about us, is a name [sic] at once arrogant and ludicrous. In the eyes of the world there are many churches in the United States, several of them numbering four or five times as many adherents as our own body, six or seven of them at least excelling us in the number of their buildings [not churches?] and communicants; but we forsooth, are the Church in the United States. Leaving out the Roman Communion, it may be perfectly true that we are the Church in this country, but are we going to gain anything by assuming a name that to all men outside of our own body is arrogant because it unchurches all the denominations, and ludicrous because we are yet far down in the list of religious bodies of this country in number and zeal? Grant, that if it be plainly the right name of the Church we ought to take it, despite the apparent arrogance and absurdity involved in so doing; but there is no Catholic authority for the assumption that it is the right name of our national Church."
The writer, then, having rejected all other proposed names, narrows the question down to this: The name should be "The Church of the United States of America."
"How then," he adds, "is this so different from the proposed name which we have just characterized as arrogant and ludicrous. The Church in the United States?' It is radically different by virtue of the use of the preposition of instead of the preposition in. When we say the Church in the United States, the accent which the mind irresistibly puts falls upon the definite article the Church; whereas in the name, 'the Church of the United States,' the mental accent falls naturally upon the words United States. The title ceases to be offensive by reason of this change of accent; it has become merely descriptive as a title should be."
So then, what was before characterized as "arrogant and ludicrous," has now become altogether inoffensive and dignified by simply observing the "mental accent." The writer has neglected to suggest that a note of direction should always be appended to the title whenever it should be used, lest some of our own people or others, in reading or speaking, should hereafter bungle and chance to place the [13/14] "mental accent" wrong. Truly this is an extraordinary refinement of ecclesiastical erudition. If our dear brethren outside can only learn how to lay the "mental accent" right they will neither be provoked to indignation nor to laughter. Their trouble was they "irresistibly" laid the "mental accent" in the wrong place; and for my part I must confess that, so far as I can see, they would be perfectly justified in saying that, with the amended title, they are irresistibly led to put the accent in the same place. At all events, as they are the party whose feelings, according to our New "Catholic" authority, are here to be considered, would it not be well to ask of them beforehand whether they can appreciate the marvellous transforming efficacy of this mental accentuation? For one, I think they would find quite as much arrogance and ridicule in the latter title as in the former. This transmuting virtue of mental accentuation reminds one of the Jesuitical doctrine of the "direction of intention," which was exposed to everlasting infamy and ridicule by Pascal. A son has overwhelmed himself in debt, and growing tired of waiting for the death of his father that he might inherit his patrimony, quietly takes his father off by poison. The question is, whether this parricide is a mortal or a venial sin. That depends, say the Jesuits, upon how the son directed his intention; if to the killing of his father for the mere sake of killing him, without regard to the ulterior motive, it was mortal sin; but if he strenuously directed his intention--placed the mental accent--upon getting the estate, it was only a venial offence. For the desire of wealth or of obtaining the means of paying one's debts is not mortal sin, if any sin at all. The father, however, was killed all the same.
And now as to the relative authority for the respective titles in question. Whenever in the New Testament a distinctive geographical designation is given to the Church, or a Church, it is uniformly "the Church in," as the Church in (at) Corinth, in Antioch, in Ephesus, in Pergamos, in Philadelphia, etc. We have also "the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria." We have, it is true, "the Churches of" quite familiarly, but it is always in the plural number, as, "the Churches of Judea," "of Galatia," "of Asia," (and in Asia), etc. In the singular number it is the "Body of CHRIST, the Church of God, the Church of the first-born." We have also "the [14/15] Church of the Thessalonians," and "of the Laodiceans;" but nowhere such an expression as "the Thessalonian Church," except in the old Text (now corrected) for "the Church in Ephesus," at Rev. 2: I; although such an expression would, in the looseness of ordinary speech, but not as a formal corporate title, doubtless be entirely proper. But New Testament authority, I am aware, is of very little moment with our new catholic-minded brethren. It is too old to be reckoned by them "Catholic authority." To come, then, to later usage. I believe we never find, certainly it would be rare to find, in early ecclesiastical history "the Church of" connected with the name of any province or region or country as such; or with that of any city either, until the Church in that city stood in the relation of a mother Church, as being a Metropolitan, or Patriarchal or Papal See. And then we begin to have the Church of Jerusalem, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Alexandria, the Church of Rome, the Church of Constantinople. But we do not find, as far as I remember, the Church of Judea, or of Syria (except as the name of a sect), or of Egypt, or of Italy, or of France, or of Gaul. If the Syrian Church, or the Egyptian Church or the African Church, or the Gallican Church were spoken of it would mean simply the church or churches in those countries, and not any organized bodies under those corporate names. And so in later times before the Reformation, we may have the Gallican Church, or the Anglican Church, or the Spanish, or the German Church; but these were never in those times titles of separate or independent organizations, or corporate bodies, but only common and loose designations of the portion of the Church in each of those countries respectively. After the Reformation the Church of England, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Sweden, the Kirk of Scotland, the Church of Ireland, etc., were designations of the Church in these countries respectively, as connected with the State and established by law. That the Church of Ireland, upon being compulsorily disestablished, should still retain its old title is perfectly natural. And it is not to be forgotten that when those names were assumed there were no other organizations claiming to be Churches in those countries; if we except the universal claim of the Roman obedience.
This state of facts was thoroughly understood by the Fathers of [15/16] our Church when they formulated her name; and there can be no doubt that they studiously phrased it in and not of the United States, in order to avoid the appearance of assuming to be a national, in the sense of an established Church. And there can be as little doubt that our "denominational" brethren, who are admitted to have some good reason for regarding our assumption of the title "The Church in the United States" as both arrogant and ludicrous, would regard this other title "The Church of the United States," not only as equally exclusive and arrogant and ludicrous, but as implying besides at least a covert assumption of some sort of inherited or inherent precedence and primacy over all the other Christian bodies in the country, or a claim for this Church to some kind of rightful authority and jurisdiction, not only over all its own members in the United States, but over all the members of the other Christian bodies also. In short, so far as "The Church of the United States" differs from "The Church in the United States" the former must imply that the Church pertains to the United States in some other respect than that of place. Now "the United States" stands either for a certain territory geographically bounded, or for a certain body politic, a national or political organization. But as a political organization it has no Church; and no Church has any right to claim as such to pertain to it.
In any case "The Church of the United States," whether taken territorially or politically, must either be a name of absolute exclusiveness, or, if it is to have anything of a distinctive character, that character must for us be secured by either mentally or expressly appending to it the explanatory clause "which used to call herself: The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States."
Such are some of the difficulties in coining a new name for a would-be anonymous Church. But, after all, what is the matter with the old name? And why this boiling zeal and passionate determination, at whatever cost of peace and quietness, of Christian unity and fellowship both within and without, to get rid of a name which has been handed down to us. from our fathers, which from our earliest childhood we have learned to love, which has won the ever increasing respect of the Christian world around us, which has been hallowed by the memories of a century, and under which, by GOD'S blessing, our [16/17] Church has increased and flourished through that whole period with an almost unexampled vigor and growth?
No objection is made to the appellation "Episcopal," except that it is surplusage; and it may be freely admitted that it would not well stand alone, that is, without its co-efficient term "Protestant." The whole stress and storm of the onslaught upon the name is directed against this latter title. This is the object of the hatred and odium, the scorn and disgust of the assailants. This is the red rag that stirs up their mighty fury. Their special and avowed aim is to unprotestantize our Church.
To this term "Protestant," it is objected that it is merely negative, and that it implies subordination and defeat. So is death negative, even though, it be the death of CHRIST; and, in its original sense and character, the cross is a symbol of defeat and ignominy. Words are not to be interpreted simply by their etymologies or by their first or their casual associations. The derivation of the word and its original associations may be an interesting historical inquiry, but we have no further concern with it. What we have to do with is the actual living meaning and use of the word. And, in its actual reception and use the word "Protestant" has quite as definite and positive a sense, and stands for a form of Christian belief as positive and distinct as the word Episcopal, or Catholic, or Orthodox. All these words are often employed in abusive or looser senses. The Protestant religion as by law established in England, is not a pure negation. And there the word "Protestant" is used in its proper, authorized and accepted sense; and moreover, with legal precision, in its distinct technical application. The objection is a mere quibble, and scarcely deserves the notice here given to it. Everybody knows what "Protestant" means as well as he knows what "Catholic" means, if not better. As has already been said, one has no more right to assume an expurgated sense for the latter than for the former.
Some have alleged that the name "Protestant" was foisted upon the Church--as they would fain suggest, in some clandestine and to her unconscious way; that it was never deliberately or authoritatively adopted by her, and that it should therefore be expunged from her Constitution and proper standards.. On the contrary, the simple and [17/18] patent fact is that the name was assumed by our Church as a matter of course, as expressing a then notorious and universally acknowledged fact, and therefore not needing even the formal recognition of a distinct enactment. The Constitution contains no distinct declaration and enactment that "this Constitution shall be the Constitution of this Church" or of any Church. That is simply assumed in the premises. Moreover, it is odd if it has taken the Church a hundred years to return to her consciousness and recover from her surprise. [After certain informal meetings of Clergymen and laymen of our Church in the several states, there was a Convention (still informal) held in New York, October 6th and 7th, 1784, at which the Churches in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland were represented; and one Clergyman from Virginia was present. The Journal of this Convention is styled: "Journal of a Convention of Clergymen and lay deputies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." "The first (regular) Convention of the Church in Pennsylvania, was held in Philadelphia, May 23d, 1785. Its Journal recites that: "In consequence of a recommendation from sundry of the Clergy and laity assembled at New York, October 6th and 7th, 1784, for organizing and associating the Clergy and congregations of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the different states," etc. This Convention adopted "an Act of Association of the Clergy and congregations of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania;" and in one of the articles of this Act, it was definitely "determined and declared by the Clergy who do now, or who hereafter shall sign this Act, and by the congregations which do now, or which hereafter shall consent to this Act, either by its being ratified by their respective vestries or by its being signed by their deputies duly authorized, that the said Clergy and congregations shall be called and known by the name of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania."]
But it is said that the recognition of the propriety of this title "Protestant" was not "universal;" that even at the first there were earnest opposing voices. Be it so. If there were, they were only just enough to show that its adoption was no half-unconscious or inconsiderate act, but was an act of the deliberate and consenting judgment of the great body of the Church. There is no record of any protest against it, or of any dissenting voice, in the General Convention that framed and adopted our Constitution.
But the term "Protestant" is declared to be a "misnomer." This could hardly be, unless it had at least some definite and intelligible meaning. If it was a misnomer at first, then our fathers did not know their own proper name. And if it has become a misnomer since, it is not because it has changed its own meaning--for it will hardly be denied that it has substantially the same meaning now that [18/19] it had a hundred years ago; but because our Church has changed her essential character and position. Has she undergone this change at the end of the first hundred years of her organized existence in this country? It may readily be admitted that the present name of our Church has ceased to be fairly descriptive of the position of certain parties. It is abhorrent to their ears, a very smoke in their nose. Whether the change of name would indicate, in a legal sense, an essential change in the character of the Church or not; in the view of those who are the most earnestly agitating for that change, "the Church" is a very different thing from what it was to our fathers at the close of the last century. With the views of these New "Catholics," it is no wonder that the name "Protestant Episcopal" is odious to them; that they are restive at being compelled to march under a banner with such a device. And would it not have been equally so to our fathers who adopted the name, if they had held the same doctrines? The name "Protestant Episcopal," we may admit, does not describe the character and position of these moderns; but it certainly did describe the character and position of our Protestant fathers who knew what the words meant as well as do their degenerate "Catholic sons."
Some have ventured even to allege that the fathers of our American Church were not Protestant at heart, and though they may have known very well what "Protestant" meant, yet, considering the weakness of their little flock, and finding themselves surrounded by inveterate prejudices and antipathies against anything more churchly and "Catholic," they, through timidity and an unfortunately misjudged view of expediency, adopted the name "Protestant" as a means of conciliating the favor of public opinion and of the Christian world around them. In short, the, name was forced upon them by circumstances and external influences, and adopted from policy--as a ruse. Now the great men who framed the Constitution and effected the organization of our Church in this country, were, no doubt, wise and considerate men, men of great prudence, calmness and discretion; but they were men, too, of bold Christian hearts, broad views and far-reaching forecast. They were not ignoramuses, nor weaklings, nor cowards, nor time-servers, nor cheats; and it is not to the credit of [19/20] their children to asperse the character of their fathers by the insinuation of such charges against them. Those men knew the ecclesiastical history of the past, and among other things, they knew the origin and the then prevalent and received use of the word "Protestant," as well perhaps as their "Catholic" successors. If they called themselves Protestants they were Protestants. There can be no reasonable doubt that they were Protestants to the back-bone, and would have shrunk with horror from the vision of the New "Catholic" reaction that now casts out the very name of "Protestant" as a reproach; that threatens to unprotestantize the Church which they loved and for which they would as willingly have laid down their lives as did the glorious martyrs of the Reformation, through whose lives and deaths "the Protestant religion" was by law established in England. Those men were not cowards and time-servers. They were honest, earnest, brave men; men, too, of large comprehension and of truly catholic views and characters. When they organized our Church, they found themselves surrounded by a variety of other Christian bodies, which, though some of them corrupt in doctrine and others irregular in ecclesiastical organization, they yet were not disposed to stigmatize as being in no sense constituent parts, though more or less imperfect,, of the one great Catholic Church and Body of CHRIST. They considered what title they should assume for their organization which should answer the purpose of a name, that is, should serve to distinguish themselves from the organizations around them, without unchurching them all. If they called themselves the Episcopal Church, so was the Roman Catholic Church Episcopal. If they called themselves the Protestant Church, it would not distinguish them from the other Protestant bodies around them. They therefore called themselves: The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. The name was indeed somewhat awkward in length, but scarcely more so than the name of "The United States of America." It answered admirably the descriptive and distinctive purpose of a name. It has continued to answer that purpose, and has gathered to itself the growing love and attachment and filial devotion of its members, and gained the ever heightening respect and regard of other Christian. bodies.
 Our Church's name still answers as well as it ever did the purpose for which it was originally adopted. Its single defect (in the eyes of those who decry it, but its singular merit in the eyes of those who love it) really is, at bottom, that it does not unchurch all other Christian bodies in the United States, except the Church of Rome. With this name and under God's blessing, our Church has had a wonderful growth, and this growth has come chiefly by her drawing multitudes from other Christian bodies into her bosom. This attraction has been steadily increasing. She has stood upon her merits, and not upon her exclusive claims or her mere appellation, and has prospered. But she has not yet absorbed all other Christian bodies, and some of them have increased even more rapidly than she has done. What shall we do, therefore, in order to draw all into her bosom? That is the question. And here a wonderful stroke of policy is proposed. Just change our name and call ourselves "The Church of the United States." Then we can say to the Roman Catholics: Come now, you used to think we were only one of the heretical sects when we called ourselves Protestant Episcopals; but now you see we are "the Church," and you are only Romanists. Whereupon, they, forgetting that we are the same people and organized body that had called ourselves by the other name for a hundred years, will forthwith receive the new name as an immediate revelation from heaven, transcending in authority even the infallibility of the Pope himself; and without any demur they will come over to us in a body, Cardinals, Archbishops, Priests, Jesuits and all.
On the other hand, to the Protestant Christian bodies we can say: Under our former name you used to think that we belonged to the same rabble rout of Protestants with yourselves; but now you see we are not Protestants at all, we are not a "denomination," we are "The Church"--the only Church of the United States. You are no churches at all; you are only Protestant sects. Whereupon, at the very sound of "The Church," as if they had never heard of the name or the claim before, without stopping at all to inquire what newly discovered right we have to our newly assumed denomination, and utterly forgetting that they could, any one of them, make themselves "The Church" as well as we by simply assuming the same title, if [21/22] only they had the stupid impertinence and effrontery so to do--they will cry out with one accord The Church! The Church! that is what we want, we want to be in The Church. And so they will come over to us in crowding multitudes until none are left behind. Then we shall have achieved and attained that Christian unity for which we have been longing. And this is just what we meant in our recent outbursts and professions of earnest and irrepressible desire and prayer for Christian Unity, which we have addressed to our brethren of the other Christian bodies around us. We have simply meant to say to them: Leave all your denominational churches, which are no churches; leave all your sectarian organizations, and come in with us. It is true our Bishops expressly disclaimed this intention; but now we will no longer call ourselves the Protestant Episcopal Church. We will call ourselves "The Church, The Church of the United States," and therefore there can be no mistake that in coming to us you are coming to the true flock. Come, one and all, into this fold; and thus we shall all be one, and at last our common desires and prayers will be fulfilled.
How easy it is to dream. How beautiful and natural the dream seems to the dreamer while he dreams it. But when he awakes, how wild, disjointed, incongruous and irrational the picture which a haphazard fancy had busied itself in painting!
Let us open our eyes and look; and answer one or two simple questions. The Church of England has neither "Protestant" nor "Episcopal" in her name. Why then have not the Roman Catholics been flocking into her, instead of flocking out of her bosom, and especially for the last fifty or a hundred years? Has she in that time received proportionately more Romish converts than our "Protestant Episcopal" Church has received in the same period? And again, take, on the one hand, the numerical proportion of the members of the Church of England to the adherents of the dissenting bodies, as it is now in England, and compare it with the proportion of a hundred years ago; and then, on the other hand, take the proportion of the members of our own Church to those of the Protestant bodies around us, as it is now, and compare it with the same proportion as it was a hundred years ago, when she first called herself Protestant Episcopal; and say [22/23] which Church has made the greatest progress in drawing members from those other bodies--that which has called herself the Church of England or that which has called herself the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States? That is the question. And in answering it let us not forget, on the one hand, the immense advantages at the start in the position of the English Church, with her great preponderance in numbers, her legal and established authority, her ancient memories and ancestral endowments, with the prestige and power of her aristocratic connections, and, above all, the influence of her social standing and her control of the universities and of all the institutions of higher education; and, on the other hand, let us consider the immense disadvantages of our little despised flock; not merely a small and powerless minority in the community, but so very few and poor and weak, as to be scarcely noticeable except as an object of odium or contempt or suspicion; without political influence or popular favor, or institutions of learning; and with no social prestige, but in many places quite the contrary. Yet what has been the result? I have not collected or examined the details of statistics; but am ready confidently to abide the reckoning. One thing, however, is of course to be observed in striking the balance. The bodily transfer of thousands and millions of Roman Catholics and Lutherans, from one side of the Atlantic to the other must not be allowed to disturb the account. With respect to the Romanists particularly, the question is not as to our relative numbers at the two dates respectively, but as to the number or proportion of conversions from the one side to the other. Let the account be fairly made out, and the result maturely pondered.
In all the discussion hitherto the Church has been considered as an actual external and visible body, a corporate organization; and our Church, "this Church," as that organized body which framed its constitution and assumed its name in 1789, has held its General Conventions periodically ever since, and will hold its next General Convention in New York (D. v.) in October next. Some may think to make a great point of it that this Church did not then begin to exist, that she really existed before that organization, and then organized herself. I answer that the Church is indeed an organism [Rom. 12: 4 and I Cor. 12: 12]; but no organism can actually and visibly exist [23/24] without an organization, and no organization can exist before it is organized. Our Church did not exist before as one visible corporate body, as "this Church," with her definite boundaries. and organic constitution. The elements, or materials, existed before, but not the visible organized body. She existed before only as the United States existed before the Declaration of Independence and the assumption of their name. They did not exist before as the United States, they did not exist as a Nation. So this Church did not exist as "the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States" until her organization in 1789. The Church and all her parts have existed in potentia ever since the Incarnation, if not from all eternity; but certainly in a quite mystical and invisible way. Into actual, visible being as a particular Church, she has come at sundry times, now in one place and now in another.
The Church did not begin to exist at the day of Pentecost; for, not to speak of the 120 in the upper room, or of the more than 500 brethren, the eleven Apostles existed before and were already members of CHRIST'S body, they had received the Holy GHOST breathed by their Blessed LORD, and they had received the most comfortable Sacrament of His Body and Blood. At the Pentecost the Church was visibly inaugurated, constituted, instituted, if you please; but it did not then begin to be, it was not then founded, its foundation had been already laid. Indeed, we know very little about beginnings. Of absolute beginning we can form no conception. We can assign to it no historical date. We may say that the Church has had no absolute beginning since the primeval creation, or even at any assignable date in the antecedent ages. The absolute beginning of all things is only in the bosom of God. When we speak of beginnings, therefore, we cannot use the attenuated and absolute strictness of Hegelian metaphysics; we must use the loose and ordinary, the relative, language of common sense. Using that language we say that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States began to exist as such, as a definite visible body, when she was organized in 1789.
At all events, the Church which is now called by that name--whensoever she began to exist--is historically and actually no other than the organized body which I have above described. This I affirm and assume.
 This is the Church about whose name the whole question of change is moved. The question is not at all what should be the name of the whole aggregate of Christian people, of those who are either professed or living members of the Body of CHRIST in this country. That name might well be: The Church of CHRIST, or The Christian Church, in the United States. But the question is as to changing the name of that organized body which I have described. And not all Christian believers--not all "faithful men"--in the United States will be called upon or permitted to decide that question; but only those who are duly accredited members of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
But it is plain that "this Church," the Church so organized and constituted, is not the whole Body of CHRIST, the whole Catholic Church in this country, or of this country; even if you add to it the whole Roman communion. It seems to be admitted on all sides that all baptized persons are thereby members of the Church. If so, "The Church in or of the United States" includes among its members all baptized persons of whatever "denomination" resident in the United States. But our New "Catholics" say, and some say who may speak with official authority,--as though this were a sufficient relief from the odium of unchurching their fellow-Christians,--that these persons are indeed individually members of the Church; though the bodies with which they are connected and in which they were baptized are, in fact, no parts. of the visible Church at all.
And it seems to be admitted, by the same authority, that those persons may not only receive their baptism in those "denominational" bodies which lie outside of: the Church, but also may receive all the benefits of the Sacrament of the Holy Supper, which they claim or believe in. Only, those who are in "The Church," and who claim and believe in more, also receive more. Here we might ask whether this something more is the very essence of the Sacrament of the LORD'S Supper, or merely a higher perfection and fuller efficacy of the same? If the former, then those bodies, together with their individual communicants, have no Sacrament of the Body and Blood of CHRIST at all, but merely a parody of that Sacrament, a kind of love feast of their own invention. If the latter, then the character and efficacy of the [25/26] Sacrament are made dependent either upon the intention of the administrator or upon the notions and expectations of the receivers, or upon both. And, moreover, in regard to baptism also, we might ask whether, by parity of reasoning, it would not follow that those who are baptized in other Christian bodies receive only those benefits of baptism which those bodies believe in; and, therefore, if they chance not to believe in what is called "baptismal regeneration," baptismal regeneration is not received? And, even within our own Church, would it not follow that, in either Sacrament, only such benefits are conferred and received as the priest, or the recipient, or both, intend and believe in? Or else, is it meant that a person who receives the consecrated bread, believing it to be the literal and substantial body of Christ, receives that body accordingly; even though the minister from whose hand he takes it be a mere evangelical Episcopalian, or even a Methodist preacher, or a Presbyterian deacon? If so, the conclusion is remarkable; and if not, then the real character and efficacy of the Sacrament are made to depend either upon the regular orders of the ministrant, or upon his belief and intention, or upon both. Whereas, our House of Bishops have solemnly declared, as one of the four things "essential to the restoration of unity among the divided branches of Christendom": "The two Sacraments, Baptism and the Supper of the LORD, ministered with unfailing use of CHRIST'S words of institution, and of the elements ordained by Him." Thus they do not adopt the doctrine of the Puritan Cartwright, that "the minister is of the essence of the Sacrament;" nor do they recognize the intention or belief of the ministrant as having anything to do with its character or efficacy. In their utterance they have shown an historical grasp, a breadth and independence of mind, and a freedom from the pettiness of prejudice and partiality, which do them infinite honor. .
They evidently meant to state what is essential to the right ministration of a Sacrament; and, of course, they have stated "all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same"--"according to Christ's ordinance."
But to proceed more directly with our argument. If all baptized persons in the United States, not in the Roman Communion, are members of the Church, without being members of our Church, then there [27/27] is another Church in the United States far exceeding ours, not only in numbers, but in weight and influence and Christian work; and consequently ours is not "The Church," the only Church in or "of the United States," even though you add to its title: "besides the Roman Catholic."
But, on the other hand, if all baptized persons in the United States, outside of the Roman Catholic Communion, are members of the Church, and so, of our Church--although how that point should be settled between us and the Romanists does not appear--the membership of our Church is vastly greater than has been generally supposed. And the wonder is that she has hitherto been so utterly unconscious of so important a fact; that it has been overlooked in all our parochial reports, and in the statistics of our Church as published with the journals of her General Conventions, from her organization to this day. If those baptized persons belong to the Church, they belong to the Church in the United States; and. if our Church is "The Church in, or of, the United States," they belong to our Church; yet our Church, as an organized body, seems, as well as they themselves, to have been in complete if not blissful ignorance of the fact. If the Church of which all these persons are members is not an invisible body it is certainly very indefinite in its outlines as a visible body.
The definition of the visible Church in our nineteenth article is taken almost in the same terms from the Lutheran Confession, where it was unquestionably meant to recognize non-Episcopal bodies; and it can scarcely be supposed that the authors of our Articles, having taken this formula from such a source, meant by it--and we know historically that they did not mean by it--to unchurch all such bodies; especially as the modifications they made in it tend rather to enlarge and relax than to restrict or restrain its application. But whether so or not, what we have to say now is, that, unless it applies to those bodies, neither will it apply to such an indefinite Church as is above described--nor will it apply to our own Church either, if that include such an indefinite membership--without being first amended so as to read: "The visible Church of CHRIST is a congregation of faithful men in some small part of which at least the pure word of God is preached and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to CHRIST'S ordinance, in all things that of necessity are requisite to the same. Those who thus set forth this indefinite view of the visible Church, as consisting of unorganized disjecta membra, as a disintegrated, atomized, uncongregated congregation, are accustomed to reject with scorn the idea of an invisible or mystical Church. To this, therefore, they cannot resort. Now Hooker has very pertinently said that: "for lack of diligent observing the difference first between the Church of God mystical and visible; then between the visible, sound and corrupted, sometimes more, sometimes less; the oversights are neither few nor light that have been committed." [III. i. 9.] And so he hesitates not to recognize the Papal Church as a part, though greatly corrupt, of the Catholic body of CHRIST. But he needed no argument or preface for so recognizing "the Reformed Churches, the Scottish especially and the French;" though they, without indeed being corrupt in doctrine, were irregularly organized in polity; for "they have not," he says, "that which best agreeth with the Sacred Scripture, I mean the government by Bishops; inasmuch as both those Churches have fallen under a different kind of regiment . . . which to remedy is for one altogether too late, and too soon for the other during their present affliction and trouble. This their defect or imperfection I had rather lament in such a case than exagitate." [III. ix. 16.] So, according to Hooker, a part of the visible Church may be corrupt, or, without being corrupt, may be irregular and defective in its constitution, and yet not cease to be a part of the Church visible. And the judicious Hooker never uttered a wiser or shrewder speech than when, in pointing out "the error of all popish definitions of the Church"--and the error is not confined to "popish definitions"--he said: "They define not the Church by that which the Church essentially is, but by that wherein they imagine their own more perfect than the rest are." [V. lxviii. 6.]
But we need no appeal to the authority of Hooker or of anybody else. The simple fact is, and we cannot deny it, that, in the current use of the English language, the Christian bodies around us are with ourselves denominated "Churches." We must, perforce, take the English language as it exists, if we are to speak English. We cannot reconstruct it by an Act of Congress, or even by a major vote of dioceses [28/29] in our General Convention. The people make the language; and our business is to use "the language understanded of the people," and not attempt to construct a dialect or patois of our own. It may be said that "The Church of England "is good English, and why not then "The Church of the United States"? I answer, "The Church of England" is the established Church of England, and, though she should be disestablished, she might still properly and intelligibly retain the name; but our Church was never the established Church of the United States, and never will be. To assume that name, therefore, would be an impropriety of speech, besides being in fact both "arrogant and ludicrous." The Christian bodies around us are called "Churches," and will continue to be so called in spite of us. This usage, do what we will, and call ourselves what we may, we shall never be able to get rid of, until we shall have drawn them together into one body with ourselves, (which may God grant in His time); but this we shall never do by putting on grand airs or by insulting and fighting our Protestant brethren. Would it not be better for us all to remain loyal to the spirit and language of the Preface to our own Prayer Book, and of all our canonical legislation from the beginning hitherto? That Preface and that legislation we can never blot from the page of history. They will rise up in the judgment against us.
I know it is gravely suggested by some that; in recognizing other Protestant bodies as Churches, though Churches imperfectly and defectively constituted, in approaching them in a respectful, friendly and fraternal way, we shall only make them more self-satisfied and content with their imperfections, and so shall hinder and arrest any tendency among them to seek a more perfect organization. But is the truth to be sacrificed to expediency, or charity to a rigid absolutism? Are our brethren to be presumed so obtuse or stupid as to fail to perceive that it is their bounden duty not to be content with imperfection, but to have what is best if they can be brought to see what it is? In order to frighten them into our ranks, should we be justified, or should we be profited, in telling them that to believe in Episcopacy is absolutely necessary to salvation? Or, in like manner, must we refuse to admit that an infant dying unbaptized can be saved, lest people should be led to neglect the baptism of their children? Besides, what shall we say [29/30] about approximations so zealously made in some quarters among us to the Church of Rome? Will they tend to hinder the Romanists from coming over to us? Just the contrary is constantly argued by such as favor these approximations, and particularly by those who would unprotestantize the very name of our Church.
But some, in seeking to expunge the word "Protestant" from our name, have much wider and much farther-reaching views than either to the Romanist or the Protestant bodies around us here. They would fain conciliate the favor of the Greek and Oriental Churches, who, they say, must look upon us with our present name as a mere heretical sect of Calvinists or Lutherans. We can imagine clergymen of this way of thinking--after donning the most approved style of clerical dress and dialect, and dancing attendance upon some Eastern Pope or Bishop, whose ignorance is equalled only by his arrogance--becoming vastly elated by receiving some patronizingly courteous and non-committal epistle of paternal or fraternal common-places from his Apostolic Sanctity. Perhaps one may be allowed, without offence, to express one's regret that our Church herself, yielding to the zealous urgency of a few busy and enthusiastic manipulators who have been seized with this Oriental mania, has for some years been carrying on what irreverent outsiders might denominate a sort of coquetting courtship with the Eastern Church or Churches;--and hitherto in vain. But does the stumbling-block of this failure really lie in the mere name "Protestant"? If so, why has not the Church of England succeeded better than we? And, indeed, why did she not succeed long ago, being free from that ill-starred epithet? The truth must press itself upon every careful observer of history and facts that no portion of Christendom is filled with a more overweening spirit of arrogance and self-sufficiency than those same Greeks (whether Turkish or Russian) and Orientals; and that, unless they shall have become greatly enlightened, they are never likely to admit us to their communion and fellowship until we have reformed our Creed, expurgated our Litany, and transubstantiated our Articles of Religion. The question for us is, should we not make use of our time, and ingenuity, and painstaking efforts, and fraternal colloquies, to much better purpose in conciliating the Christian bodies around us, and bringing about a closer intimacy and communion, and [30/31] if possible a Christian unity, among all the members of CHRIST'S rent and divided Body amidst whom we live, than in humbly and fruitlessly paying our court to the stiff and stagnant Churches of the Orient?
I would not speak lightly of any earnest effort for the restoration of unity with any part of the great Christian body. But the sad, the humbling, thought is this;--that while we spurn those who are near us, or recklessly make ourselves disagreeable to them by studiously and contemptuously--not sorrowfully and reluctantly--treating them as "the sects," and "the denominations," or "the schismatics;" while in our very Church Almanacs we gravely set down, as sober and received statistics, ourselves together with the Church of Rome as being "founded by JESUS CHRIST in the year 33," but all the other Christian bodies in the United States as being "founded by John Knox, Martin Luther, Ulric Zwingle, John Brown, Roger Williams, John Wesley, etc., at sundry dates since 1520," without any reference direct or indirect (except by immediate antithesis) to JESUS CHRIST at all; I say, while we pursue such a course and maintain such an attitude towards great bodies of Christian men around us, to whom God, who knoweth the hearts, hath given the HOLY GHOST even as unto us (for by their fruits ye shall know them), we greatly detract from any claims we might otherwise put forward to Christian charity in making pretty overtures to others at a distance; or, in order to gain their condescending recognition, offering even to change our very name, a name endeared and consecrated by the lapse and the love of a hundred years. Before GOD and man will it not look as if something besides the love of CHRIST were constraining us?
In short, the sum of the whole matter is this: If our Church still continues to be Protestant, there is no good reason why she should not continue to call herself so; for falsehood and superstition, usurpation and tyranny, will need to be protested against, not only as long as they exist and remain, but as long as they threaten to return and need to be warded off. And when our Church ceases to be a Protestant Church in the proper historical sense of that word, her raison d'etre, as a distinct and separate Church, ceases forever: she
"lingers superfluous on the stage;"
she has no longer any business to exist.
 As to this new scheme of saving her by finding a new name for her as an unprotestant Church, our New "Catholic" friends, all must admit, have met with very ill success. They have tried "The Catholic Church in America," and found it preposterous; they have tried "The Church in the United States," and characterized it as "both arrogant and ludicrous;" and their other suggestion of "The Church of the United States" has, I think, been shown to be not a whit less, but rather much more, arrogant and ludicrous still. If, then, they must have a new unprotestant name, will they allow me to suggest one which seems to hit the very depth and subtilty of their true idea with plainness and precision? Since it cannot be "The Church, or, The whole Church, in the United States," let it be "The Church and nothing but the Church, in the United States; not "The only Church," but "The Church only;" and that will bring the "mental accent" just where they would have it. Or, instead of "The Protestant Episcopal Church," let it be the "Churchy Church," or, "The Church which is a Church," in the United States. For surely it is better by all means, while we are about it, once for all, to express our exact meaning and intent, however subtle and profound; and, in so doing, the expression, if it must be one or the other, had better be a little rude than both insolent and ridiculous.
But to return to a more serious strain.
Two ideals stand before us. The one is, that we should seek to be the means of drawing together in bonds of Christian love and fellowship, and consolidating, so far as possible, the great Protestant bodies into one communion, through friendly conference and fraternal sympathy, on some such basis as that formulated by our House of Bishops--minimizing our differences and magnifying our points of agreement;--awaiting either the consequent gradual extinction of the Roman schism, or its thorough reformation in the presence of a united and aggressive Protestant Church, and in the progressive light of the advancing age, and thus its resumption of its own place in the great Christian body, with the further natural and ultimate result of a restoration of the unity of the East and West.
The other is, our nearer and nearer approximation to the doctrinal and practical type of the Church of Rome; our minimizing [32/33] the differences between her and us; our closer conformity to her teaching and temper, her spirit and ritual--at least as she was before the Vatican Council--all culminating in an Eirenicon after some such plan as that of Dr. Pusey; and waiting for the other Protestant bodies to linger on or disintegrate and die out as heretical sects; leaving the great Reformation to be stamped as a blunder or a crime, and mediaevalism to be restored to universal and absolute sway.
Which ideal shall we choose? Shall we go back to the principles and practices of Rome--whether the Rome of to-day or of a hundred years ago--to be drawn again, in a false peace and a stupefying slumber, under her poisoning and deadening malaria? Or shall we and our Protestant brethren, standing with united front, leave her to the alternative of either dying out herself or reforming her abuses and taking her place with us upon the solid ground of Holy Scripture, upon the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief Corner-stone?
It is one thing, be it remembered, to condemn and repudiate the Pope's claim of infallibility, double supremacy and a divine vicariate, and all the politico-ecclesiastical pretentions of the Church of Rome; it is quite another thing to reject and detest also her unevangelical sacerdotalism, her false doctrines, her superstitious and idolatrous practices, her "fond inventions" and "blasphemous fables." The "Catholic" who is thoroughly opposed to these latter can hardly be far from being a "Protestant" at heart.
Let not the "Catholic," then, despise his "Protestant" brother, and let not the "Protestant" condemn his "Catholic" brother. But let us all be Catholic Protestants and Protestant Catholics together. Both terms may be used in a lower and abusive sense; but in their higher and better sense, a true Catholic must be Protestant, and a true Protestant must be Catholic.
Perhaps this somewhat extended discussion ought not to be closed without recalling attention distinctly to the legal aspect of the case.
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is not a legally incorporated body, but, in the eye of the law, it is a merely voluntary association. If, by a major vote of its dioceses, it should [33/34] divest itself of its original name, as such association, and assume another and quite different denomination, the question would arise which would then be the rightful and legal continuators and heirs of the original association-those parishes and dioceses which, adhering to the character and principles of the original "Protestant Episcopal Church," should still retain the name also as their own; or those parishes and dioceses which, expressly acknowledging that their tenets, principles and character had become such and so changed that the original name was no longer applicable to them, but had become an utter "misnomer," should renounce it and adopt another denomination?
Meantime it may be proper to add that every clergyman of our Church has solemnly promised under his own signature," to conform to the doctrines and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States." And every Bishop is under a solemn oath of "conformity to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." The diocese of Pennsylvania in its Constitution declares (Art. r, 7): "This Church is a constituent part of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America; accedes to, recognizes and adopts the General Constitution of that Church, and acknowledges its authority accordingly." And the charters of our parishes, generally, contain a provision like the following: "This Church acknowledges itself to be a member of, and to belong to, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the diocese of Pennsylvania, and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of- America. As such it accedes to, recognizes and adopts the constitution, canons, doctrines, discipline and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States and the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the diocese of Pennsylvania." It maybe assumed that the constitutions of the other dioceses and the charters of their several parishes contain similar provisions.
I am well aware that the Constitution of the Church provides in itself that the General Convention shall have power to alter and amend it, without any express restriction whatever; and therefore it may be urged that the allegiance of the Bishops, clergy, dioceses and parishes extends to all such alterations and amendments. But it must be [34/35] remembered that the General Convention has the same unrestricted constitutional power of alteration and amendment over the' Prayer Book and all its adjuncts that it has over the Constitution itself. Does it follow, therefore, that by no revolutionary changes in the Liturgy, the Creeds, the Articles, the Ordinal, would it forfeit the pledged allegiance of the parties aforesaid? So that even if it should abolish Episcopacy, or rescind its Articles of Religion and submit to the Church of Rome, or should reject the Nicene Creed and the doctrine of the Trinity, and adopt a Unitarian liturgy after the fashion of that of King's Chapel, Boston, all the Bishops and clergy, the dioceses and parishes would be legally bound by its acts? Common sense will certainly answer, no.
The question is, then Can this "Protestant Episcopal Church," as represented in her General Convention, having become so revolutionized that her very constitutional name, which was descriptive of her original principles and character, should confessedly have become a misnomer, proceed, in virtue of her power of altering and amending her Constitution, to repudiate that name, and assume another or even an antagonistic denomination, and yet continue to claim and hold the allegiance of her clergy, dioceses and parishes? This is the question which the courts of law in the several States would have to decide.
Perhaps the nature of the case may be put thus: Suppose a person should claim that he believed in the same doctrine of the resurrection that is confessed in the Creed, only that to call it a "resurrection of the body" he holds to be misleading, and therefore rejects it--rejects, as he avers, not the faith, but only the phrase of the Creed, the name given to that faith in the Creed? Is he therefore to be adjudged as still holding the Creed? And suppose, in like manner, he should reject the phraseology of all the thirty-nine Articles as doctrinally misleading and conveying falsehoods, and yet should claim to hold unchanged the doctrines of the Church as contained in those Articles--what then? Is he to be adjudged to hold those doctrines as the Church holds them? Or if the Church herself should thus change the terms of her Creeds and Articles, could she be held to retain the same Creeds and Articles as before?
It will, of course, be said that the Church, with her new name, [35/36] would retain all her Creeds and Articles just as they were. But would a change--not totally subversive of the Christian religion--in any article in the whole range of creed or doctrine, be, in a legal point of view, of so great moment in determining whether the Church's identity had been affected or not, as an essential change in the very name which had been assumed as descriptive and distinctive of that Church's true status and fundamental character?
That is the question which plain common sense and the courts of law would have to determine.
In fine, a centenarian child or church is rather old to be brought to a new naming; and a christening is commonly understood to carry with it the idea of some great inward change. Its iteration is unlawful.