I can hardly believe that I am numbering this Address rightly; and welcoming you, my well beloved of the clergy and laity, in my fifth Address, to the sixth Annual Convention of the Diocese of Albany. Truly, the years fly swiftly, and leave their traces, slight perhaps and unnoted, on ourselves; although the deep marks of graves are furrowed in their track at every turn.
To me, as a Bishop, the graves, that lie along the pathway of the year just closed, have their peculiar meaning.
Of the Bishops who sat in council together, in the last General Convention, seven, out of fifty-three, will be with us, in council, never more. Six are not, because God hath taken them; one has gone out from us, because he was not of us; and of the six departed, three have died, since we were gathered together a year ago. And as part of our loss, and no small part, the foremost Bishop of Christendom, Samuel Wilberforce, has passed from unwearied labour to eternal rest.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. McIlvaine, Bishop of Ohio for more than fifty years, consecrated at the same time and place with my dear Father, entered into rest, in Florence, on the 14th day of March, 1873. Not unexpected, for his health had been long a matter of anxiety; yet his removal was a shock and a surprise. The record of his own Standing Committee contains an expression which we may all adopt: "Full [1/2] of years, distinguished among the great men of his time, and held in high honour throughout the Christian world, he has ceased from his labours, and his works will follow him."
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Randall, Missionary Bishop of Colorado, passed into Paradise on the 26th of September, 1873. He has left behind him a record, brilliant both with sacrifices and with success. I doubt if the record of any eight Episcopal years is fuller of results than his. And in the heroic vigour and the fresh enthusiasm of his labours and his achievements, we so far forget his age, that he seems, to-day, to have died young.
And only the other day, with a suddenness that startled the Church, my dear Brother, the Bishop of Wisconsin, has gone away from labour into Life. Only two years my senior in age, he was among the younger Bishops in the House. And his loss to us is very great. Quiet and patient, with great determination and energy, his character was very lovely, and his labours abundant in toil and in return. We shall miss him sadly, and his Diocese will mourn him long. But, for him, "the tearless life" is a most blessed exchange. I shall always associate him with his last letter to me, suggesting as the seal of the Albany Cathedral Incorporation, the crossed palm branches underneath the seven stars; and the legend that utters our assured hope for him: "aeterna fac cum Sanctis Tuis in gloria numerari."
I should not venture to speak of the great Bishop of Winchester, but for the fact that it was among the chief privileges of my few weeks in England, to have seen him, with some degree of intimacy, in all the varied phases of his life, each one of which he thoroughly adorned; as Bishop, statesman, gentleman and friend I never saw a man so penetrated with the solemnity of his office. His preaching, his administering of Confirmation, his whole bearing as a Bishop, were most impressive; with an intense realization of what it is, to be a steward of the mysteries of God's truth and God's grace. His hospitality, so courtly and so gracious; his genial, expressive manner; his marvellous power of work, [2/3] concentrated in the midst of conversation, in which he took part without seeming interruption of the work; the sadness of his face in moments of quietness, that seemed weary of a life, so full of heart-sorrows and of cruel slanders and suspicions; and the power of his face that showed, in keen and kindling interest, a hold on all the duties of earth, which promised years of labour; all these, and the charming social powers of the man, marked him instantly as a peer, with few equals, in every line of his many-sided nature. I should have mourned his loss had I never seen him, as the greatest loss the Catholic Episcopate could meet with. Seeing him, so short a time as I did, I feel there is one less on earth to love.
"In his full flush of genial life,
Even as he drank the air of summer noon,
Sweet air, swift motion, scenes with beauty rife,
While the apt speech rang from his eager tongue,
And the glad light played in his eager eye,
A stumbling hoof, a careless rider flung,
And death had claimed, what of that life could die.
Now first we learn, how hard that Bishop toiled,
How dove, with serpent, still in him was blent,
How in the world, not of it, hands unsoiled,
And heart unspotted, to his work he bent.
To all his mitred brethren, what a guide
"What a sustaining presence unto those
Who came beneath his overseeing wide,--
To Friends how genial, courteous to foes--"
and, as that queer chronicler of England's politics adds, comparing the great Bishop with his great opponent, who died soon after him, Lord Westbury; and pointing a moral we may all lay to heart,
"And so, Life's judgment set to right by Death's,
Lay busy Bishop, and keen Judge to rest;
And by their coffins, think, with bated breath,
How good the worst of us, how bad the best."
In our own Diocese, save by removals, we have lost, thank God, none of our clergy. But the roll of honoured laymen, as it drops names, except from our faithful [3/4] commemoration and the bright record of the book of God, admonishes you, my brethren of the laity, to more earnest self-devotion, to imitate their examples and to make good their loss.
The death of Mr. Streatfield Clarkson, of Potsdam, leaves vacant a place that never can be filled, to his Bishop or his Rector, to his Parish, the Ogdensburgh Convocation, or to the Diocese. He was a pattern Christian gentleman. In boundless hospitality; in the cheerful, genial simplicity of his nature; in the strong, manly purity of his life; in the generous steadfastness of his friendship; in the deep, daily religiousness of his wholesome piety, and in the staunch and loyal allegiance of his Churchmanship, he has left behind him a memory and memorials that will endure while the earth lasts. I can only thank God that his name and his character, perpetuate themselves, in those whom he has left to bear the heaviest burden of the sorrow, which the whole Diocese shares.
The death of Mr. Varnum Kenyon has removed a man, never known in the public assemblies of the Diocese, but who deserves our grateful mention for his generous interest in the Missionary work. The Church at Middleville, to which he gave liberally, will add his name to the sacred names which it commemorates, and its building, I am glad to say, is doubly blessed, in that it was the means of bringing him, by baptism and the reception of the Holy Eucharist, into the full Communion of the Church on earth.
Mrs. Hubbell, the daughter of one of our old clergy, has left behind her a record fair with the good works and alms-deeds which she did, in the Parishes of Athens, Coxsackie and Catskill, in our own Diocesan School, and in the admirable School of the Prophets at Nashotah.
The venerable Judge Nelson, full of honours as of years, has passed away, after a life, lived in the keen light of public criticism, unsullied by even a cloud of reproach; and also, as we are most thankful to record, in the faithful discharge of his religious duties, and in the full enjoyment and [4/5] appreciation of his privileges as a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The death of Mr. Scott, the co-warden of Judge Nelson, in the Cooperstown Parish, has also bereaved the Church of a tower of strength. He was a man of incorruptible integrity, adorning with his Christian profession the sphere to which God had called him. He was devout and earnest in his life, and honoured in his death. It was a rich Parish that could lose two such men, and I am thankful to feel, that with all its loss, it is not impoverished.
And a life, very valuable to us, was suddenly extinguished, in the cruel coldness of the wintry sea; missed greatly, and mourned with unaffected sorrow, in the Parish of Grace Church, Waterford, and elsewhere through the Diocese; when Mrs. Curtis sank, with so many others, to sleep, until the sea gives up her dead.
Surely, my well-beloved, we may well turn saddened and shamed for our short comings, and quickened to keener energies and efforts from such emptied places as these--to think how we may better fill, while God shall give us life, the places in which He has set us to work for Him.
As you are aware, my work in certain ways, this year, has been somewhat less than usual. But the most kind assistance of the Bishops of Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, during my absence in Europe, with what I was able to do before going, and since my return, has enabled almost every Parish to secure Episcopal visitation this year, so that the record of results, though smaller, is not greatly diminished.
I shall set before you, at another time, these results. This morning, I call your attention to certain matters, all of which seem to be important enough, to warrant my acting on the suggestion of very many of the clergy, that, this year, I should substitute a portion of my Address, for the usual Convention sermon.
I propose to speak to you of the Cathedral Church, of [5/6] Sisterhoods, of the Old Catholic movement, and of its most false counterfeit in America.
It was among the main purposes of my visit to England to see and study, so far as I might, the Cathedral; not as a building, but as an institution. To this end I gave eleven weeks of hard work, abundantly repaid; and was able, not only to see nineteen of the great buildings themselves--the peculiar charm and characteristic of England--but to have the great advantage of full conversation, with many of the Bishops, and with members of the Cathedral Chapters.
I must say a single word of the material and visible side of this matter. And I am not sorry to say it here. I have bid you welcome to this Cathedral Chapel, not unmindful of its contrast with the dignity and beauty of the Houses of God, in which we have gathered before; and fresh myself from the majesty and glory of built Cathedrals. And I have done it, because, above all other places, this is all yours and yours all, since it is mine; and because the idea and principle of the Bishop's Church, as the Church of every clergyman and layman in the Diocese, as the focal point of all ecclesiastical vigor; as the place in which all churchmen assemble and unite; as the radiating centre of co-operative counsel and zeal; are so infinitely above the reality of a magnificent building, that they inform and dignify, even this meanness, into the decency and fitness of a Cathedral Church.
Anything more striking than an English Cathedral town would be difficult to find. As you approach it, the great old building catches your eye. It stands with its venerable beauty crowning and consecrating the town that nestles at its feet, that gets close to it, that looks up to it, that has often no other distinction, and sometimes no other life, than its Cathedral. It takes its time from the Cathedral chimes. It is tuneful with the Cathedral choir. Its traditions have nothing older, its expectations nothing lovelier, than the Cathedral itself; and as you go out of the place, up to the great building, [6/7] you are in an atmosphere that mingles all that is venerable in time, with all that is celestial and eternal in feeling. The very building is a petrified history. Biographies of men, great national events, the progress of architecture, all are written in it ineffaceably; and through all these, and underneath them all, is to be read a story of religious devotion, the devotion of lives and fortunes to the glory of God; so that if, in crypt and choir among the monuments, one is impressed, first, with an intensely human feeling--a consciousness of illustrated history--another step, another glance, another sound, carries the soul up and out to the gathered company of worshippers in the Paradise of God. Perhaps it was prejudice; I do not doubt it was in part the feeling of a child, for the first time going to the home of his mother which he had never seen; but in part, I am quite sure, it was the towering and impressive dignity and soberness of the buildings themselves, that made me feel how immeasurably superior the English Cathedrals are, as Houses of God, to any that I saw on the Continent, even including Strasbourg, Cologne and Milan. It was a very rare pleasure, and it is an unanswerable argument against the objection that Cathedrals are out of date, to find everywhere, very large sums of money spent or spending on the repair and restoration of the buildings; and to find the services everywhere conducted with a hearty reverence that realized to the full the beauty of holiness; and to note the vigor with which, at every turn, the working side of the Cathedral organization was increasing in efficiency: and this implies what is true, that mismanaged foundations of this sort may be a sore evil; as in England they have been an incubus upon religious energy and life. The Cathedral service is the very highest ideal of the earthly worship of Almighty God. The buildings seem so full of ages of song, that the old echoes are wakened, to become the chorus to the anthems of to-day. The carved angelic corbels lean over the surpliced singers, till one wonders whether they are listening to, or making, the music of the services. The psalter, as they chant [7/8] it, furnishes, in every verse, with the thoughtful modulation and adaptation of organ and voice, a comment on its meaning, as though a Seraph sang a sermon on the words; and the ringing fulness of the Amens, or the pleading entreaty of Confession or Litany answer, awaken and satisfy the most intense idea of penitence or of praise. And this, I confess, I hope to begin a reproduction of, here. Nay, I account this unattractive building and this simple service the cradle of an American Cathedral.
Of this, however, I have not set myself to talk. I did not go to study buildings and get architectural plans. Our American building would differ naturally from an English Cathedral, and our American architects are abundantly able to build it. The idea, which the building incorporates and represents, is what I want to talk to you about, and what I want you fully to understand. For just as our childish idea of royalty represented a person who ate, drank and slept, in a golden crown, so the only thought, in many minds, of a Cathedral, is of an imposing and magnificent building and nothing else. It seems to me, taking the derivative meaning of the words, that the cathedral idea grows out of very common place facts. The cathedra is the Bishop's chair, and this is not, as some people account it, a carriage or a railroad car: nor is it as some people imagine it, a comfortable place of ease and dignity. It is under cover, and hence the need of the cathedral. It is stationary, for the Bishop is needed at the centre sometimes, and is not to be always going around the circumference. It ought not, either by reason of incessant journeyings, or of ingenious devices to deprive a Bishop of his official rights, to be generally empty. And it is simply the place, not in which he rests, or which he fills, as an expensive and ornamental appendage, on grand occasions, but the place from which he oversees, orders and accomplishes his work.
The Cathedral is the enclosure of the Bishop's chair; that is to say, the cost of the building is not an essential feature of it. Every Church ought to cost just as much as it [8/9] possibly can; because we ought always to offer the best to God And the Bishop's Church, as the chief Church in the Diocese, ought to be the best of all; but its only two essentials are, as a building, that it shall be large, because it is everybody's Church, where all may come to worship; in which the whole Diocese, by representation, can gather; to which may centre, for the great acts of worship, all those concerned in, or cared for, by the Institutions of learning and mercy that will gather about it; and for the same reason, it ought to be free, because every child, and every man and woman, in the Diocese has a baptismal right to worship in it. The enclosure of the Bishop's chair, I repeat--and it is enclosed quite as much for the comfort and convenience of the people, as of the Bishop--the enclosure of the Bishop's chair, that is, the Cathedral, may be as magnificent as wealth, and taste, and skill can make it: but the only essentials are, that it be large, and that it be free. And, by-the-by, the history of all Cathedrals teaches one lesson, about this matter of building, that we might well learn. We want, in America, to do everything to-day; and to finish instantly whatever we begin. The result is, poor churches, badly built, cheaply furnished; and lying inside and out with stucco and staining. The great Churches of the world are the growth of centuries, sometimes; and the man who builds a tenth part of a Church well, leaves a truer and better monument than he who builds it all, meanly. I had rather put an unhewn pillar in, rough with the scars of its splitting from the virgin rock, and let a third generation shape the shaft and carve the chapiter, till the faces in it speak and the flowers in it smell; than shape, out of sanded wood or moulded plaster, the fairest lie that ever seemed to support what would crush its unreality into powder, if the weight rested on it.
And this Cathedral idea implies secondly, that a Bishop is needed in the heart and centre of his Diocese, as much as any where else, and perhaps more. It is a very grateful indication to any Bishop's ear, when it does not take the shape of [9/10] unreasonable faultfinding, that he is wanted to come oftener, and stay longer, in the Parishes than he does. That I have fallen short of your expectations in this matter, means only that I have fallen farther short of my own sense of duty and desire; and grows out of the absurd idea, that because Albany is smaller than New York was, therefore it is a small Diocese. But granting the need of more Episcopal visitation, there is need also of more Episcopal staying at home. If I speak of myself, God knows I do not mean to speak in any boasting. God has abundantly blessed, with many tokens of spiritual and material prosperity, the venture of faith that set off this Diocese six years ago. It is due, in large part, to the fact that the Bishop can be oftener about the Diocese; can go, if he is wanted to hold special visitations; can give services in places where neither Missions nor Parishes are organized; can know thoroughly well his Clergy, and love them as well as he knows them; and to a great degree, can know personally the people in the Diocese.
But I honestly believe that the best work, I have done for this Diocese, has been in making more vigorous the beating of the heart of this central City; till, in feelings and in acts of sympathy, it beats with stronger and warmer pulse to the remotest mission in the jurisdiction; in drawing together and drawing out the churchly feeling of the cities of Albany and Troy; in founding S. Agnes School, and in this very faint beginning of Cathedral work and Cathedral worship. It has involved harder blows, struck and taken, and warmer fires lighted and felt, than ever this old furnace knew. But the forging has been good, as far as it has gone, and I have faith to believe that strong arms will strike, and warm fires will kindle yet, to make more shapely and enduring-work than has yet been attained; to accomplish larger and better plans and means, for the glory of God and the good of men. I want you, my well-beloved of the clergy and laity, to realize, that, what the Bishop is doing here, and what he has been helped to do by the generous confidence of a [10/11] friend now at rest in Paradise, and of living friends who have rallied about him, he is doing, not for the advantage of the churchmen of this city. They feel it of course, and they deserve some return for what it induces and incites them to do. But the work done here reacts sensibly, practically and directly upon the Diocese at large. And just as a sound heart is better than hot water bottles, to keep the feet warm, so the keeping up of strong and vigorous life at the centre, is essential to the vitality of the extremest part of the Diocese.
The place of the Bishop, in the Cathedral, one would think to be a matter beyond dispute or doubt. In England it is not so. There is a distinction among the English Cathedrals by which they are known as Cathedrals, of the old, and of the new foundation. Those of the old foundation were "Ecclesiae Cathedrales Canonicorum Secularium;" and there were nine of these in England, and four in Wales. The other thirteen Cathedrals (Ripon and Manchester being rather Collegiate Churches), either constituted with Deans and Chapters, or founded with new Bishoprics, by Henry VIII, were Conventual Cathedrals. And in the days of Dunstan and Lanfranc, the Benedictine Monks dispossessed the secular clergy in three, at least, of the nine Cathedrals of the old foundation. And it is the distinguishing feature of the Conventual Cathedral, that there is no express provision made, in the charter or in the statutes, for the Bishop's taking part in the Divine Services; nor any definition of his rights and duties in the Cathedral Church, except as Visitor, and even the visitorial power was not always assigned to him. "He has not," the Cathedral Commissioners say, "everywhere the right of preaching, and sometimes asks leave of the Dean to hold an Ordination in the Cathedral."
The great Bishop of Salisbury, Hamilton, said of his own Diocese, "the Bishop has extraordinary jurisdiction as a Visitor, but not ordinary jurisdiction as a Bishop." Of course this is Hamlet with the part left out. And a large [11/12] Parish Church, into which a Bishop comes on sufferance, or in which he graces, as an ornament on special occasions, a special chair, is no more a Cathedral, than is a private soldier's tent headquarters, because the Commanding General looks into it, now and then. It is easy to understand how this came, about. For it is historically true, that no holier hatred ever existed, than that which a Monk felt for a Bishop, unless perhaps it was that which a Bishop felt for a Monk, in those tremendous days. And while I am not disposed to deny, as Pere Hyacinthc said to me, that there are a great many good things about a Benedictine Monk; while no one can see, without admiring, the traces they have left, too often only in ruins, in the Cathedral towns of England; yet I am quite sure that the plan which pertained in England before the Conquest was the wise one; to have the Cathedral, and to make it what they called the Episcopium, the Bishop's house, the overseeing-place, the watch-tower; and apart from it, to build the monasterium, the place of retirement for study and education; as Mellitus, who was Bishop of London in the beginning of the seventh century, founded the Cathedral of S. Paul within the city, and the Monastery of S. Peter (now Westminster Abbey) on the island of Thorney. The true Cathedral is the Bishop's Church, whose worship he not only attends but directs, infusing its spirit through the Diocese; whose preaching he oversees and in part discharges; and into which he gathers for ordinations, for Synods, for Conventions, for important meetings of Diocesan interests, clergy and people; as New Englanders go back, long journeys, to keep Thanksgiving day, and as we all gather our families about us, for the home Christmas feast.
And lastly, this Cathedral will be the Bishop's seat, not of rest and inactive dignity, but of duty and work. I have been very thankful, whatever the future may bring forth, that the beginning of this Cathedral was in this idea; that it grew naturally out of the necessity of the work that preceded it. For the first pressure, that opened this building, was the need of providing Church room, for the increased [12/13] number of children in the Diocesan School. And here the Bishop is to be the head of various works, laboring with his own hands, but also inspiriting and provoking others to more work than his own hands can do. It becomes, as he gathers about him the clergy of the Cathedral Chapter, a strong missionary centre from which feeble Parishes and out-lying places are cared for and served. Originally this was its first function. Mr. Beresford Hope says that the first cathedral was the upper room in Jerusalem,--and it is hardly too strong language. The first Christian foundations in England were the Episcopia, the Cathedrals. And long before parishes were thought of, or could be set apart and formed, the work was done by the clergy whom the Bishop sent out from this central seat. I believe, to-day, and I am glad, that the general Board of Missions is awaking to the truth, that instead of Cathedrals being a luxurious addition to wealthy Dioceses, the cathedral idea is not only the most churchly and the most effective, but the cheapest way of working the missionary Dioceses in America. It costs no more to keep a Bishop alive than a Priest, and a Bishop can do all a Priest can, and more beside. And here, to-day, with weak Parishes in our own city, with weaker Parishes lying near us, with Missions, weaker still, not far away, and with the wilderness of Albany county into which we send no foot of missionary, this may be, it ought to be, please God, it will be, a radiant centre of strength and life.
The Cathedral becomes, also, the gathering place of men who can care for the theological training of Diocesan Candidates. It groups about it the Diocesan Schools for children. It opens the best places of shelter, under its strong shadow, for Houses of Mercy, Orphanages and Hospitals. It is the true place for the training of Sisters, under the Bishop's eye, and of teachers, to go out, as they increase in number, into the Parochial Schools, and the Parochial Organizations throughout the Diocese; and it ought to be the place where men can come to study; to learn how to preach; to find time to prepare a sermon, now and then, at any rate [13/14] that shall not be, what sermons must so often be, when the preacher is everything, from Sexton to Priest, hurried and imperfect utterances, forgotten when the echo of their utterance has died away.
And so I might go on, but there is neither time nor need to impress upon you, what is my only reason for desiring the adaptation, and then the adoption, of the Cathedral idea; not enhanced dignity, nor splendid luxury, nor costly magnificence, nor leisurely repose; but a workshop for more and harder and more telling work; whose blows, struck here, shall ring and reproduce themselves through every nook and corner of the Diocese; along its northern river bank, and through its central forests, into its western mountains and down the valleys of its southern boundary. I had hoped to be able to sketch out for you the Constitution of an American Cathedral Chapter, but the Committee, appointed by the Trustees, have not yet had time to mature their plan; and the various questions of the number and names of its officers, the manner of their appointment, their relations to the Convention of the Diocese, etc., are of too much consequence to be hastily propounded; and I leave, therefore, here, this imperfect discussion of a subject, asking your cordial interest and cooperation in the future development of our Cathedral plan and work.
I turn from this to the consideration of a kindred subject--the organization and authorization of Christian Women for Christian Work. Of the English Sisterhoods I do not feel called upon to speak. Worthy of all honor, in the spirit of self-devotion, that inspires them, they furnish us, I think, not models of organization, so much as inspiration to organize for ourselves. It would be worse than invidious to criticise what involves so much of holy purpose and of self-sacrificing work. And I set myself to speak, therefore, not comparatively, but positively, saying only at the start what is true of Cathedrals or of Sisterhoods, that what we want is not transplantation, but indigenous growth. For this American Branch of the Holy Catholic Church must be [14/15] not a servile imitation even of its mother; but taking and owning all its authority, and its rich inheritance of Faith and Orders and Worship, from her, we must make ourselves autocqoneV sons of the soil, in all details of adaptation to the conditions of the time and place in which we live. The Established Church in England and the monarchy there; the Church utterly tree from the state and a Republic here; are natural conditions: and without any thought of superiority, but merely on the principle of adaptation to natural and fixed conditions, the Church of God, in this country and in every country, will be set immovably to the great catholic principles; and varied, with innumerable varieties, in all matters of practical detail.
Under this conviction I have organized, in and for the Diocese of Albany, the Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus. I am not prepared to say that I will not recognize any other. But I greatly desire that this shall be the Diocesan Sisterhood, not as a model merely; but that all Christian women, able and desiring to give themselves exclusively to the service of God shall come into fellowship with this Community, wherever in the Diocese their sphere of work may be; that all Christian women working any where, in the Parochial Schools, as Visitors of the Sick and Poor, in Orphanages, or in any branch of charitable work, shall become Associates of this Sisterhood as our rules provide; and that all church women privileged by providential position, to devote themselves to this life, shall come and fit themselves for it under our Rule. And because I desire this and in order to promote this, I set myself to sketch out to you, in some detail, the spirit and purpose of this organization.
The chief wonder of what the S. Michael's Collect calls "the wonderful way in which Almighty God has ordained and constituted the services of angels and men," is, that He reproduces Himself alike in them that serve, and in those to whom the service is rendered; for He says of them whom He sends, "whosoever receiveth you receiveth me; and of [15/16] those to whom He sends them, He says, "inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these, ye have done it unto me." This is the chief wonder. And the chief honour is that He makes His angels ministers, that is, servants; and His ministers angels, that is, messengers; and we, in all our earthly imperfections, share the angelic privilege and honour, sent forth with them, "to minister to the heirs of salvation." It is just here, that the great essential difference lies, between the plans and organizations of merely human beneficence, and those of Christian philanthropy. I use the word philanthropy, in all its broad, deep meaning; the love of the man, the whole man, mind and body and soul; and the love of the Man, the Crown of the creation, the second Adam, the Man Christ Jesus, in Whom all men are, by baptism, members of His Body; and Who is in every man, showing to us in them His own likeness, the Elder Brother of the great human brotherhood of all redeemed men. In the one case, the cup of cold water is sweetened by the kindliness that gives it, and the refreshment it conveys. In the other, almost the Cana miracle is wrought again, and the water is warmed and blessed by the name of the Disciple, which includes always the Master's name. The one is the ministry of physical and material relief, drawn from the wells of earth; the other is the ministry of spiritual gifts and consolations, consecrating the physical, and the natural, and the intellectual, drawn from the wells of salvation, the wounds of the loving heart, the thorn crowned head, the generous, busy, pierced hands and feet of Christ; fresh from the very Person and presence of our dear Lord.
The whole question of the call to follow Christ, of the Vocation, as it is called, is an important one because of its variety. Everybody has a vocation wherewith he is called by Christ; but it is not the same to all, not the same at every stage of life to every one. Andrew and Peter and James and John were called, for instance; Andrew and John by St. John Baptist's pointing; Peter and James each by his brother. They abode for a time with Christ. They confessed [16/17] Him to be the Messiah. They were with Him as His avowed Disciples, at the Marriage Feast at Cana. They believed on Him there. And they returned to their former avocations as fishermen. That is to say, there are those called to follow Christ, who are not compelled to give up their earthly avocations; and if they do not make them, by entire absorption in the pursuits of this world, a-vocations, that is, callings away, they may consecrate them to be vocations, to be followings of Christ. They may find the water of earthly returns, changed to the rich wine of heavenly benedictions. They may sit, as did those fishermen in Cana, so they, as fishermen, as men, in, though not of, the world, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This is the vocation, wherewith ye all are called, to whom the sound of the Gospel comes.
But to some of these, at any rate, there comes a closer call. It finds them, as the Angels found the Shepherds, and the Star the Wise Men, and the Lord those fishermen, in their ordinary places of life. It calls them to give up their whole time. It calls them to give themselves, as they are, with their own personal and individual characters, to God's service. The fishermen becoming fishers of men means, that God asks each of us, to give Him what He has first given us--our natures, our faculties, our characters. It does not warrant those who are called, in looking clown upon, as unworthy, the secular occupations of religious men. Because those very disciples, who had forsaken ship and nets, went back to fishing again, during the great forty days. Nor does it warrant any violation of natural tics, or any violence done to natural feelings. Brother called Brother in the Gospel, till there were two pairs of them among the Apostles; just as the Law was founded, as we may say, upon natural brotherhood in the call of Moses and Aaron. And this call involves, in different persons, different degrees of sacrifice; some forsaking only nets, others leaving their ship and their father. That is to say, some people have the privilege of giving up earthly occupations, so far as they are means of earthly support, that they may [17/18] be wholly servants of God. And yet the Sacred ministry, is the highest and most tremendous of all consecrations to God, with its divinely authorized legend, "the laborer worthy of his hire," proves that there is no superiority involved in the idea of a laborer, who is only paid, by the provision of the simplest needs of life. And some people are permitted and called to sunder earthly ties, as did these two who left their father; as did the martyred Melanesian Bishop, whose father shared the blessing- of his son's sacrifice, when he gave him to his work. Only this needs to be, not sentimentally, nor wilfully, but very plainly, others bearing witness to it, the call of God, because God's first call to duty is in these very natural ties and providential circumstances. It seems to me, without further elaboration, that this covers the principle which underlies this separation of people to special work for Christ; and that it guards against the superciliousness which calls them the religious, by eminence; and against the sentimentalism which makes too much of the sacrifice, and against the wilfulness that chooses this line of duty, in the face of plainly appointed duties in the state of life into which God calls men.
The other questions are: first, the gathering of such people into communities, which is plainly, the apostolic plan of work in the earliest and best days; since S. Paul lays down rules to S. Timothy, for the admission of such people into, and the government of such people, in communities. And, by-the-by, I believe he lays down the rules to the right person, for I am well convinced that the direct personal authority and responsibility of the Bishop are essential safeguards, in the whole ordering of Sisterhoods. That these workers may be women, that they will generally be women, I need not stop to prove. It has pleased God especially to honor womanhood, in all its three estates. Born of a Virgin, revealed in infancy to a widow, and gracing the marriage feast; with the first Miracle; He outlined, so, what has been a prophetic picture of the history of the Church. Women, chiefly, ministered to Him, in life and death and [18/19] burial. Chloe, who is counted the head of her household; Priscilla, named always with her husband Aquila; Mary, who bestowed much labor on the apostles; Tryphena, and Tryphosa, and Persis the beloved, who labored much in the Lord; the mother of Rufus and the sister of Nereus; Lydia, the chief Churchwoman in Thyatira; Lois and Eunice, who transmitted their unfeigned faith to Timothy; the women which labored with S. Paul in the Gospel; the women, Clement's fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life; the widows indeed, in the community of Ephesus, and Phoebe, the bearer of the Epistle to the Romans; all these are but the first, of the long line of holy women, wives, mothers, widows, virgins, who, singly, and with no distinctive name or dress, or in communities, under rules, have blessed the world, adorned and advanced the Church, glorified God, made shameful and needless, the thought of an apology for Sisterhoods, and shamed men for their withheld, cold, grudging service. The question of the name, I count of less importance. The Deaconess or the Sister; both are recognized. And in the catholicity of the Church's power to absorb and adopt all kinds of character, she provides for both. I only take leave to say, that the claim of Scriptural authority seems to me, sometimes, rather arrogantly set forth in favour of the Deaconess, for Phoebe is called adelfh, which is Sister, as well as diakonoV, which, not being in the feminine, is not necessarily Deaconess, but Deacon, which means servant: Phoebe, Sister and Servant.
And when I have said all this, I am most ready to recognize the danger and difficulties which beset, of necessity, and by experience, all organizations of women for work, The very element in their nature, that quickens them most readily into love and self-sacrifice, exposes them to danger; for sentiment is close akin to sentimentalism, and sentimentalism is the most wilful of all wilfulnesses. And the extravagant indulgence in fancies, the morbid exaggeration of feelings the elevation of opinions into doctrines, and of personal [19/20] preferences into absolute duties, are possible abuses; which do not warrant the refusal to employ an agency, so highly commended and so eminently needful; but which do require a recognition of danger, and the guarding against it by responsible authority.
The fact remains, that the best and highest kind of service, in teaching, nursing, visiting the sick, reclaiming the fallen, and so on, is the service of a consecrated life; which reveals Christ, in all that it does, to those to whom it ministers; and sees Christ, in them all; doing all in the Name, and to the praise of the Lord Jesus. And the advantage of this associated labour, apart from its meanest advantage, its economy, is, that it admits, controls and utilizes individualities. That is, each individual gives her own abilities. There ought to be no favoritism, no cant, no conventionalism, no conventualism, no setting of voice, and face, and manner to a cast iron rule. Each person is herself; not "unclothed" of her natural characteristics, but "clothed upon." And yet there is a unity of counsel and co-operation, that corrects mere eccentricities; and a division of labour, securing that all shall be well done, by assigning to each, what she is best suited to do.
For myself, I desire it to be understood that I exercise the rightful authority of a Bishop over the Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus; and that I purpose, God helping me, that in letter and in spirit, in life, and in work, and in service, it shall be conformed to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Catholic Church, as this Branch of the Church has received, and holds them.
And speaking of the Sisters, I desire it to be understood, that they claim for themselves and for their position, no superior sanctity. Every distinctive act of increased help in every life, but recognizes, how, in our sinfulness, as we feel it more keenly, and desire, less and less unworthily, to serve the Lord, there is more need of prayer and Communion. The holiness of any life is, in its fulfilment of the duties of its divinely appointed sphere, whatever that sphere may be. Nor do they dwell on any thought of sacrifice, which is [20/21] common to every discharge of duty, everywhere. They think rather of the privilege vouchsafed to them, to draw near to their Lord, in their ministries to His children, and in the extension of the work, He came to do. Nor are they seeking their own. With them, by every principle of duty, the work they are set to do is the consideration, to which all else is subordinated. They are not here, to cultivate first, the religious element, the spiritual life, the salvation of their own souls. But all the culture of themselves, all holy living, and all their growth in grace, all their withdrawal from the social conventionalities of life, all are, but to make their lives more worthy of, and better furnished for, the work they have to do. The scabbard, if it shut up the sword in the day of battle; or the sharpening stone, if it wear all its substance away to fragileness, is but a hindrance and an injury. But yet the one serves to keep rust away, and the other to put the edge upon the blade, and make it ready for the fray: and a Sister's Rule of Life is a scabbard, and a sharpening stone. And we account it here to be true, that all gifts, given or gained by any means, are for the Lord's use; to be hidden neither in the dirty earth of sinful abuse, nor even in the clean napkin of a meditative and ascetic life. In any other view, the life becomes selfish in the most sinful way; spiritually selfish, selfish in soul, selfish with divine grace.
You will give them and me, my well beloved, your prayers, that God will accomplish in them the good work He has begun. That woman, in the Master's day, who chose the better part, sat at the feet of Jesus, as they are fain to sit, in lowly learning of His will. They would be ready, as she was, to go from thence to the religious courage, and the religious duty, of anointing his Body, of ministering to those that are members of Him. She sat in the House of Bethany, as they, in the retirement of the obedient practice of Christian virtues. They would be ready, as she was, to rise, with instant promptness, to every call of His, to active duty. She brake the box, and poured the fragrance forth that filled the house, and shed her tears and [21/22] spread her hair, and gave her kisses to the Master's feet. So, in the unreserved devotion of every gift, in the free and fervent offering of their love to Him, they seek to lavish their lives, in lowliest service to the Master. And wheresoever the Gospel is preached, through the whole world, this, that this woman did, is told for a memorial of her. For them, the even better gift is all they ask, is what you will ask for them that no short coming may so spoil their service, as to keep their names out of the Book of Life, that Book of remembrance, which the Lord shall open, that he may own them His, in the day that He shall make up His jewels.
I pass to a matter gradually attracting to itself among us the attention which it deserves. The movement in Germany and Switzerland, known as the Old Catholic movement, in one sense, is not a movement. For it is the standing still of men, in the position from which, since the Vatican Council, the whole Roman Communion has drifted by a swift and passionate, current; that has not only broken away banks and broken down barriers; but is bearing the whole Latin Church, into new channels, away from the course of historic Christianity. And yet in another sense, it is a movement, quiet, earnest, patient, cautious; a movement of men who, while they "stand in the way and see," are asking "for the old paths, where is the good way," and meaning to "walk therein that they may find rest for their souls."
When I was in Geneva, where I had the pleasure, under a commission from the Bishop of Pennsylvania, of organizing an American Chapel and administering Confirmation, I was urged very strongly, by the Rev. Mr Langdon and by Pere Hyacinthe, to attend the Constance Congress of the Old Catholics. But it seemed difficult for me to retrace my steps, and add that journeying, to my very crowded time abroad. But when I received, in Paris, an urgent invitation from Prof. Huber, well known every where as "Janus;" and from the Bishop of Maryland, strongly advising me to [22/23] go, I felt that I had no right to stay away. And I count my presence there, among the chiefest privileges of my life.
Of course my service to the cause itself was purely official and representative; an evidence that the interest had not died out, nor the confidence lessened, which, a year before, had sent to Cologne, such eminent men, as our own incomparable Bishop of Maryland, and the distinguished Bishops of Ely and Lincoln. And my official service was important in that sense, and was gratefully appreciated. But the personal pleasure to me was far more than anything, that I could add to them; and in my impression of the Congress, and of the movement which it represented, T want to make you sharers.
The old Council Hall at Constance, standing on the shore of the placid lake, is a memorable place for such a gathering. The room itself is very large, holding about three thousand people, and the meeting on the first night was a meeting of welcome, with every provision of cheer, for mind and body. But one could not stand there, even in a presence so distinguished and impressive, without going back, in thought, four hundred years and more. The Council of Constance, famous now in history, gathered in this very room, and here, on the sixth of July. 14-15, pronounced the condemnation to death, of John Huss. One fresco on the walls represents the martyr's protest before the Emperor and Council, in the Cathedral (where the spot is shown in the stone that marks his standing place); and another represents the burning of Huss, upon a spot, marked now by a colossal boulder of rock bearing his name and that of Jerome of Prague.
But it was stranger still, in this old hall, to hear Michaud, the priest, announce himself more liberal than Gherson had been, in the former council; in calling the death of Huss "pas un supplice, mais un martyre; "and to hear the old Landmann Keller, with a vigor of earnestness that agreed well with his noble and commanding figure, tell the story of his first coming to Constance, fifty years before, when his [23/24] master told him the story of Huss, and bade him be brave to live and die, if need be, for the Faith. And it was almost stranger still, to feel, that that martyr fire has lighted the candle of a long-delayed illumination, not only in the painted tribute to John Huss, and the honourable marking the place of his burning; but in the fact, that more than one-half of the whole population have openly espoused the old Catholic cause, and to note the courtesy of the men as I passed along, and the reverent sympathy of the children, who ran up, at every turn, to ask my blessing, in the streets. As outside representatives of sympathy, beside myself, Bishop Lyman, Mr. Nevin, Mr. Langdon were there from America; Dean Howson, and Professor Mayer of Cambridge, and the English Chaplain, at Zurich, from England; Michaud from France; the Archpriest Wassilieff, with a word of cordial interest, from the Greek Church in Russia; Hyacinthe and Keller from Switzerland, and two clergymen of the Evangelical Church, in Switzerland and Germany.
Of the men themselves, whom God has raised up for this work, one cannot think too highly; of their wisdom, their decision, their patience, and their ability; their thoroughness of quiet purpose, to find, and then walk in, the old ways. Nothing, it seems to me, short of Divine guidance can explain, either the courage, that enables men to break out of the tyranny of Roman bondage over mind and soul; or the ability, with which priests and laymen, excluded from all thought of place or power in council hitherto, have marked out a system of Synodical action, in which Apostles and Elders can come together, with lay representatives, to consider the great matters of doctrine and order in the Church of God. No one who was there can ever forget three things: the modest bearing and self-possessed ability of the Bishop, whose name could not be uttered or his face seen, without ringing welcomes of applause; the wisdom and thorough mastery of the whole subject, on the part of priests like Michelis and Huber, distinguished canonists like Von Schulte, or strong laymen like Fieser and Wülffling; and the key note, [24/25] which waked such a full chord of consentient agreement from the whole assembly, when Herr Keller ended his stirring speech with the "Vorwarts, Gott nut uns." I put on record here the few words that I said, because they express my own conviction of our duty, at present, to this great question.
[That which will interest your readers most, however, will be the speech of the Bishop of Albany, who was called on as the first speaker of the evening. After touching on our kindred origin, and the large German contributions to our nationality, and expressing the great sympathy of the American Church in their movement, and his unqualified confidence personally "in the Divine direction and human wisdom of the leaders whom God has raised up, I trust and believe, for a far greater work than the old Council of Constance ever proposed to do--the working of reform from within"--the bishop went on to say: 'Ami it is simply to see this that I am here. For it is your work to do, and not ours to direct. And when the Bishop of Maryland, at whose feet we are well content to sit as disciples, told me that he was satisfied to be among you at Cologne, not to teach, but to learn, I had no shadowy doubt left of your abundant ability to carry out the delicate and difficult duty which God has laid upon you. For myself, I can only say, my friends, that I shall count it among the chief privileges of my life to have had a part, ever so unimportant, in this greatest undertaking of the century. And I shall be proud and thankful if my children, and those who come after, may say that I added the power even of the little finger of the left hand toward its furtherance and success.
["We have admired in America two things especially in the spirit of the Old Catholics. Realizing but imperfectly, perhaps, the intense power with which the system ol Rome enchains the thought and binds the very soul and conscience of a man, I have wondered at the courage which has inspired the thinkers and students, the canonists and professors, the priests and people trained in these restraints, to stand up and speak out with fearless honesty, when the time came to stand and speak. I count it a courage higher even and holier than that which made invincible the German armies in the recent war; and our admiration of this spiritual bravery has equalled our astonishment.
["Not less have we wondered at the patience of your well-considered plans--the patience which is the bravest and the rarest side of courage; patience to brave the hastiness of men, and bide the time of God. Your task has been, and is still difficult and delicate on every hand--to reject what is false and new, retaining the true and old; to move slowly enough to make each step secure, and yet not to hold back or hinder the magnificent movement of reform; to balance the conflicting questions of your relations to the State as it is, and to the Church of God in its purer primitive days; to separate the tares from the wheat which they assimilate; to secure a liberty of religion that shall not run into the license of unbelief,--these have been, and are still the difficulties which beset you. And I thank God for the rare patience with which you have set yourselves to untie, and not to sever, to solve rather than to tear apart the knotty problem. Slowly and step by step, beginning wisely to make good your organization, and to regulate questions of discipline and order, you will secure the wise adjustment of the greater questions of doctrinal reform. With your Bishop at your head--and no name of all your well known names is better known or more highly honored than his,--you are far better able to deal with the weightier matters that are yet to come.
["And that which I hope to add is not counsel, which you do not need, but the cheer and comfort of a most hopeful confidence and sympathy.
["And I look forward with thankful joy to the day when there shall be a recognized intercommunion between yourselves and us, as portions of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I say intercommunion between the churches, because I believe that to be the true intention of the words 'the communion of saints'--the unity of strict adherence to the old symbol of the faith--the Creed of the Councils of Nice and Constantinople, and to the Apostolic government and order; with liberty outside of these for diversities of national use--the consuetudo diversa in imitate fidei; this is the intercommunion which we desire--the communion of the faithful, the unity of the many members of the same body, under the One Head, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."--Correspondence of the Churchman.]
And it is a matter certainly worthy of mention, as among the strange coincidences of history, that, here, to-day, a Bishop of Lincoln sends words of cordial greeting to this Congress of reform; while four centuries ago, a Bishop of Lincoln, Fleming, in 1428, was commissioned, by Martin V., to execute the shameful but symbolical decree of the former council of Constance, that the bones of Wycliffe should be exhumed and burned; which "ashes," as old [25/26] Fuller says, the Swift into which they were cast conveyed into the Avon, the Avon into the narrow sea, and this, into the wide ocean. And so the ashes of Wycliffe were the emblem of his doctrine. It is now dispersed all over the world."
Comparing and contrasting the two Constance ecclesiastical gatherings, one is struck, in the first place, with the difference between the two attempts at reform. Then, amid the unseemly struggles of rival Pontiffs, the avowed effort was to reform the church "in capite et in membris." Now, the reformation of the so-called earthly Head is silently acknowledged as hopeless. Then, a general council was deemed superior to the Pope. Now, an Italian conclave has declared the Pope superior to council, and to history. But then, as now, the Germans were urgent for reform from [26/27] within; and for unity as the outgrowth of reform. Protestatur haec natio Germanica coram Deo, tota curia coelesti, universali Ecclesia, et vobis, quod nisi feceritis praemissa, modo et ordine supra dictis, quod non per eam, sed per vos, stat, stetit et stabit quominus Sponsa Christi, sancta mater ecclesia, suo Sponso inconvulsa, purior et immaculata reformetur; et reformata ad perfectam reducatur unitatem." [Von der Hardt, quoted by Hardwicke.]
The two important questions about the old Catholics are, their intentions, and the relations into which we are likely to come with them. Of the first I speak with very full confidence. They are surrounded by danger and difficulties. Politicians are inclined to use them; ultra Protestantism desires to patronize them; infidel philosophy has hopes of them, and the old traditions of the errors of Rome are fresh and strong in all their habits of thought and faith. I believe they will escape them all, God being their helper. Up to this hour, they have been wisely and necessarily occupied with questions of organization. And they have shaped out a scheme, not faultless, but wonderfully efficient and churchly in its details. Fully organized, now, as a Synod, with the Episcopate as the centre of unity and the bond of union, they will proceed to other questions, first, I think, of disciplinary, and then of doctrinal reform.
I have no doubt, from personal conversations with both priests and laymen, whom I talked with fully, that the three questions, of the Communion in both kinds, the liturgy in the vernacular, and marriage permitted to the priesthood, will be definitely and authoritatively agreed upon at once; as Pere Hyacinthe has already settled them practically, and with a good deal of individualism, for himself, and for the Swiss Church. Other matters will follow in their train. The Bible will be restored to its rightful place of free and frequent reading by the people. The materialistic anachronism of transubstantiation is already openly denied; and the simple and unmetaphysical teaching of the Eucharistic [27/28] mystery will take its place. Private Confession permitted, but not required, with the danger of arbitrary direction removed, and the spiritual emasculation of frequency and formality taken away, will become, what I believe it is meant to be, among us, the last resort of one deeply convicted of sin, and not the first thought of one seeking vainly, as Jonah sought the ship in Tarshish, or Adam the shadow of the trees in the garden, to shirk the personal responsibility of every conscience to God. The Cultus of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they are determined to restore to the honour in which "the Blessed among women" has been ever held; with no desire for, and no dependence on, her mediation between us and God. And their purpose I believe to be the return to the Church of the undisputed General Councils, the imposition of the Nicean Faith as the only rallying point for the unity of Christendom; and the recognition of the National Church idea, with independent Diocesan Episcopacy, and simply patriarchal honour given to the Bishop of Rome, as the occupant of the first sec in Western Christendom.
I speak of these points, not as including all, nor as being all that you or I might hope for. But they cover the points, upon which I was able to talk with their leading men. And they certainly embrace the essential features of a true and guarded reform. I am perfectly certain, that they do not propose to Anglicanize the Church in Germany; but I am certain, that in Catholicizing the National Church, they will so far adapt themselves to primitive principles and a pure faith, as to make possible, not the undesirable thing of an absolute, unvarying similarity in all the national churches, but the one chiefest prayer of the Widowed Bride, the intercommunion among the different portions of the Church, which is the true idea of unity. I have already spoken of this so much, that I need not dwell upon it here. It was my hope, three years ago, when I urged the action which the House of Bishops took in Baltimore. It was my expectation a year ago, when I called your attention to the true meaning of the Communion of Saints. It is my [28/29] distinct conviction now, of what is to be, since I saw the men and studied the movement at Constance. And I confess my chief anxiety, to-day, is not as to what they will do, but as to the spirit in which we will meet them. They are patient and cautious. Bishop Reinkens told me that till there were more Bishops, and the Synod more fully organized, he would not dare to undertake measures of doctrinal reform. We are impatient and in haste. They will be broad and generous, in their consideration of terms of Communion. We are inclined to be narrow and pertinacious, about unessential details of agreement. They will aim, rather at conforming themselves to the old standards of unity. We are inclined to aim, rather at conforming everybody and everything to our standard.
And no more fatal barrier exists, than this ecclesiastical conceit of nations and of individuals. One man is strong for union with Rome. Another is crying out for union with all the sects, no one of which is at one with any other. What is wanted, is neither of these, but that all should aim at unity, with the Faith, the Worship and the Order of the early, undivided Church; it being understood that customs, ceremonies, ritual, may vary, and will vary with the change of times, and the tempers of nations. What is wanted, is a real acting out of the principles of the Book of Common Prayer, stated in the Preface, the recognition of the blessed liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; that "in His worship different forms and usages may, without offence, be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire; and that in every Church what cannot be clearly determined to belong to Doctrine must be referred to discipline": a principle, which finds almost prophetic application to the possible emergency of this present crisis, in the X article of our Constitution, allowing, in case of our giving our orders to a Bishop elected for a foreign country, a variety in the order of Consecration, it being conformed as nearly as may be.
I wish I thought we understood this principle as well as [29/30] they do. For two things are perfectly certain, that the question of intercommunion between us and them, is one that may, at any moment, force itself upon us. It will come while expressions of devotion, ecclesiastical terms, and ceremonial matters remain unchanged. It will come while they retain features, which we shall never adopt. It will come while we reject, because they are foreign affectations, things and names, which are native and familiar to them. It will come, perhaps, in the question of the relation of our English-speaking congregations and clergy, to the old-Catholic Bishops in whose jurisdiction they may be. It will come, perhaps, in the question of the wisest way of caring for the German-speaking clergy and congregations, in the jurisdiction of our Bishops here. Whenever it comes, it will demand, of the Bishops, an ability to resist the popular outcry of that shallow judgment, which never looks below the thin crust of its own arbitrary tests of truth. It will demand, of the people, a careful statement and avowal of the essential distinctions, and the distinctive essentials, between true and false. And it will demand, of the people, a generous rising above the idea, that if the old Catholics of Germany are really to reform, they must become, in name and feature, the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America.
I am not speaking in disrespect of my mother's name. I do not like it; but until she changes it by legislation, I am content to bear it; because through her, and only so, I claim my kindred with the Blood of her direct Ancestor, the Holy Catholic Church, of the Upper Room of the first Ordination, of the Mountain-top of the Commission, and of the Chamber of the Pentecostal gift. I mean just what I say. That because America is not Germany, and because a feature of true unity, is diversity in details; no two national Branches of the Church, nor any two ages of the same national Branch are, or of right, ought to be, precisely and minutely the same. I enter here, a portion of a very wise [30/31] letter from Mr. Nevin, our Chaplain at Rome, which puts the case clearly and strongly, as the subject requires:
"The principles of National Autonomy, so broadly and unequivocally set forth in the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer, and in Article XXXIV, bind us to a very liberal thinking in the premises. I admit at once, that on the part of our Church, as well as the Church of England, our practice has never realized the Catholic spirit of our profession. We have sent Christianity and the Bible to the Chinese and the African heathen, it is true, but insisted upon planting and watering it by means of a service singularly beautiful and edifying to us, but, after all, one that is the outgrowth of the religious life of one island-people, noted above all others--except the Jews--for their stubborn individuality and want of power to comprehend or assimilate themselves to the thinking or feeling of other nations. And it has always struck me that the Zulus and Ashantees might have been found much more tractable to Christianity, had there been given them the Gospel of Christ in a less elaborated form, without those Thirty-nine Articles, which could have been produced nowhere else but in our mother country, and without many accompaniments of foreign thought and feeling, and an enforced civilization, that their far-sighted chiefs saw would be fatally destructive of their proper national life. * * *
"What if a body of the Old Catholics should, at an early day, offer intercommunion, on a basis no less comprehensive or primitive than the Catholic creeds, taught by an Apostolic ministry? and pointing to our Prayer Book and Articles, say further: As for our national discipline and worship, and even those points of teaching which are such as minister to edification simply, rather than to the substance of the faith, all these things it is our affair to order for ourselves, not in any way yours. Could we meet this fairly, with our present habits of thinking, and in a way that would not expose us to the charge of a narrow preference of the interests of our system to the greater interests of Christianity, or of having [31/32] had it in mind, at least, to convert the whole Christian world to "Anglicanism," a system much too narrow to enwrap the world?
"The national local usages and forms which go to make up what we call "Anglicanism" are just as little able to meet the needs of universal Christianity, as those which are specifically "Roman." What we want to strive for now, in the cause of Catholicity, is the spread over the world, and the triumph, not of our national forms of liturgy, but of Christianity itself, in whatever form it can do most effective work for the Saviour in each and every one of the many nations for whom He died. And surely, in the end, every Christian people must be the best judge itself--and we should freely allow it to determine for itself--what forms of worship will best give expression to the up-goings of its soul toward God, and what discipline and usages will best advance the life of Christ in His body the Church, within its borders."
One thing I am very sure of, that inorganic protestantism will not find much sympathy, with itself, in a movement, from whose first Bishop comes the statement, which Bishop Reinkens made to the Evangelical Alliance, that the Episcopal office is to be the leading one; and the further statement, in his first Pastoral, "the validity of Consecration or Ordination depends on the continuity of the laying on of hands; that is, on the uninterrupted succession of Bishops consecrating from the time of the Apostles, to this day." Their "ambition," as Hyacinthe wrote, in September, "is for something higher "than any agreement to disagree. "When you are satisfied with an alliance, I would desire an organic and vital unity." And I am as sure, that a return to the spurious Catholicism of Rome, has become an utter impossibility. I earnestly commend the whole matter to your intelligent and studious consideration, my brethren, to your confidence, your sympathy, and your prayers.
 And now I turn for a moment, by the strange law of association, which we call contrast, to speak, as I think a Bishop ought to speak, within the sphere of his direct, diocesan responsibility, about the revolt of the late Assistant Bishop of Kentucky, and his unjustifiable attempt to found, in America, a schismatic branch of the Church. The younger clergy have a right to know, and the older clergy have given me continual reason to think that they are glad to know, what their Bishop thinks about a matter, insignificant in its present position, but pregnant with fatal principles of error. And the lay people need more instruction than they get, about such things, especially when we remember, how many there are, whom the fair beauty of the King's Daughter has attracted for admiration, more than her true Queenship of Divine Descent and Royal Marriage has won, to recognize her claim on their allegiance.
I say but little, about the man who has lifted his heel against the Mother, whose bread he had been eating, for eight and twenty years. It would be well, I think, if none of us made mention of his name, save only in our prayers, if perhaps this thought of his heart may be forgiven him. Nor do I say much, of the movement itself. Its only principle is one which contradicts itself; the carrying of the apostolic office into a body that denies a continuous apostolate. Having in it, at its birth, the seed of its own death, a papal individualism that matches its protestant self-will, it cannot come to much. It has no raison d'etre at all. Men may go out into the wilderness, to see a reed set, in the quaking morass of an unsteady faith, shaking with every blast of vain doctrine, or swayed by the feeblest gales of popular applause. But they will not stay there. Vagueness, negations, and instability will not hold men long. I am inclined to think, that the old sequence of things in the plain of Shinar is continually reproduced. The attempt to build a great ecclesiastical structure of human devising, with bricks for stone, and slime for mortar; followed by a breaking up, of the oneness of speech of the old Creeds, into the [33/34] confused tongues of varying opinions and beliefs; and that succeeded by the destruction, sent from God, of the half finished structure, the Babel of pride and self-will.
It is the quick device of Rome, to say that this is old Catholicism in the Episcopal Church; and the Press, ingeniously, and often intentionally ignorant, and playing with wonderful facileness into Roman hands, cries out--"a second Reinkens." There are no two things further removed, and no two men more diametrically opposite. Reinkens has been constrained, by the well-considered, patient, deliberate action of a large body of able, intelligent, earnest men, into an Episcopate, which he fills with conspicuous and most unassuming modesty. This man, with heated haste, heads, of his own choosing, an assemblage of men "in debt, and in distress, and discontented," and rushes into violent schism. And it is to be borne in mind always, that this Church has changed no single formulary of the Faith, since the first, or the second, or the third promise of this man, to conform to her doctrine and worship.
Fluctuating changes of opinion, individual practices, unauthorized, or at least not authorized, variations of view, looking in either direction, all these were, seven years ago, and are, to-day, in the Church. But no solitary article, no single principle, no word of worship, no definition of doctrine has been touched. They are, and the Church is, the same. Whereas, the Roman Catholic Church has changed the Creed twice, within our memory, by separate definitions; and, under penalty of excommunication, has imposed new terms of Communion on her Bishops, Priests and people; and added new dogmas to the Faith, which no baptismal or ordination vow pledged them to accept. So that the old Catholics took their first stand, upon the point whence Rome has moved. With them the Church has changed, and the men seem to have changed, only, in the same way that the sun seems to us to move. With us the Church is unchanged, and the men have gone out to follow their own devisings. I emphasize this, because I must allude to it again, and so [34/35] I pass on to discuss with you what seem to me the principles and the warning of this schism.
The principle is, indulged individualism. The warning is, the responsibility for irresponsibility. There will, undoubtedly, be various opinions, in the minds of men, from their different standpoints, as to the causes which have led to this: tyrannical majorities; the indifference and timidity of Bishops; the longing for more liberality; excessive ritualism, etc. But, after all, these are only the superficial reasons; they are not causes at all. The true cause, is indulged individualism. For years, the degenerate descendants, of the old School in the Church that called itself, exclusively, and with a savour of Pharisaism, Evangelical, has been engaged in a bad thing; bitter denunciations of men and measures, from whom they differed, and of which they disapproved. The more they diminished in numbers, the more they increased in venom. And pamphlets have reeked, and platforms have rung, with the gall of their bitterness. This was bad enough. But bad things encouraged, always grow to worse. And the next phase of this evil speaking, after it had spread its seed of suspicion and false witness, was an attack upon the Church, "her imperfect reformation," and upon the Book of Common Prayer, "its germs of Romanism." And in this atmosphere, fatal to honest judging, clear seeing, or true loving, having nothing in it of theology but the odium; men have steeped themselves, till some people have come really to believe it true, not only that many Bishops, Priests and laymen in the Church are, in disguise, or, by avowal, Romanists; but that the Church and the Book of Common Prayer, and really, as the Bishop of Delaware has suggested, in his admirable letter, the Bible, in certain expressions, are all Romish, by implication, at least.
And then comes the cry of conscience, so easily mistaken for self-will. What can such men do? The Bible will not re-translate itself into their language. The Prayer Book will not dilute itself into denials or double meanings. The Church will not give up her ancient formularies. They [35/36] must leave her; and either join the sect that suits them; or make a new one, which for the time will suit them, while they compose it themselves, and control its views. A very large proportion of those who have helped to swell this cry, stand back, aghast at the results of what they have assisted in bringing about; and excuse the separatists on the ground of their conscientious scruples; and ask for change, on account of their own conscientious scruples, and to bring their wanderers home.
Now this is one side of the case; and it is the side whose seed has bloomed out into noxious flower, and borne its unripe fruit. But there is another side of the danger, which I desire to state as strongly, yet undeveloped into its full results. Another set of men, with the same savour of "I am holier than thou," have arrogated to themselves the exclusive title of catholic. They are as far removed from the mighty and spiritual intellect of Pusey, or the sweet and holy learning of Keble, as the modern radical from the old evangelical. And they, too, have indulged in this same sort of thing, calling bad names, attributing evil motives, denouncing, with intense bitterness, all who differ from them. They have not, it is true, attacked the Rook of Common Prayer; but the Reformation, they condemn entirely, chiefly by the illogical absurdity of vilifying the characters of its leading men. And the Protestantism of the Church, not a good, distinctive title, I grant, but an essential, distinctive feature of the Church in every age, they despise and denounce in most unmeasured terms. And, living in this atmosphere, they come to be infected with it, until their consciences become troublesome, and every little matter of taste becomes a conscience, and every personal opinion gets into their creed, generally as its first article: and what can they do? They must leave the Church, and join the greatest schism of history, the Roman communion; or, remaining in the Church, they must keep up an irritating resistance to all authority of Rubric, or of Bishop, or of Canon, with which they disagree; and provoke, with their violent unwisdom, [36/37] extreme positions in the other direction. And with them the cry is: "What can we do?" Their conscience is the trouble with them, too. And if they go to Rome, "they could not help it."
In both these instances, the trouble is that which the prophet denounced, in the Israelites of old. Having gone to inquire of God, with the idols of their wilful opinions in their hearts, God has answered them according to their idols; and they have mistaken the echo of their own wishes, flung back from the Divine silence, for the voice of God. It seems to me, that one and the same evil underlies both these cases; indulged individualism. It is part of that wretched idea, that the Church is half way between Rome and Geneva. As if the one definition of truth was, the half way between two untruths. It grows out of mistaken regard for the Protestant bodies about us, on the one hand; which fraternizes with them, occupies their pulpits and calls it an exchange, confounds their piety, which is undoubted, with their theology, which is imperfect, and their authority, which is not; until the individual is always considering their feelings, conciliating their prejudices, and consulting their views. Or it grows out of an intense tenderness for Rome, which imports her phraseology, imitates her ceremonies, and uses her books of devotion. Under an impression that they are longing and striving for unity, such men are, really, in the one case, proposing an amalgamation with the incoherent antagonisms of discordant sects; or, in the other case, cultivating a tendency to unite with the Communion, which is the mistress of schism. The question, so far as it applies to men still in the Church, is not of the responsibility for the end of all this, but of the responsibility for the beginning of it. It is easier to see the end from the beginning, in morals. And in the department of morals, the illustration furnishes itself readily. Habits of wrong indulged in, in the drunkard, the gambler, the speculator, weaken the moral sense until harmless tastes become sins, and sins become a habit, a disease; and, in time, all self-control gone, they cannot help it. In a [37/38] sense they become irresponsible; but the time was, in each separate life, when he was not irresponsible; or, if he was, somebody was not. There was a time when he was responsible; and therefore he is responsible, or, if he inherited the disease, his father is responsible, for his irresponsibility. And it is just here, that the warning seems to me to apply, to our belief, for which we are just as much accountable as for our life; for our faith, as for our morals and our duty.
If a man allows his religion to consist in a hatred of Rome, or in a contempt for Protestantism; if a man of sheer self-will, and taste, and liking, chooses to dally, and play, and trifle with separatists from the authority, or corrupters of the faith of the Church, whose sworn Minister or member he is, he may get to the point, where he cannot help going to Rome, or founding a schism, or joining a sect. But the time was when he could help it, and, therefore, he is responsible, or those, whose influence has moulded him, are, with him, responsible, for his irresponsibility.
It is not our business to condemn the past, or to curse those who are gone. Anathema means, a thing laid up in store. The Church adds to it, always, Maranatha--the Lord cometh. But learning from it, and warned by them, I do beseech and implore you, my well-beloved, and I pray God for myself, that we may be drawn out of this atmosphere of denunciation and bitterness, and removed from the false, unreal sympathies of self-will, which, in incessant assimilation of our thoughts, and words, and ways to foreign systems, and in continual apologies for our distinctive points of difference, imply a half-hearted allegiance, if not a wholehearted disloyalty, to the Church.
There are two other things, which I think demand saying by a Bishop. The first is this. We are bound to be more thorough in our Catechizings, and more careful about the preparation of our Candidates for Confirmation. The children must be trained in the full-voiced teaching of the [38/39] Church, in her Catechism and her Offices. It will not do for any Clergyman, to leave this to the relative irresponsibility of lay teachers. The careful, public and personal teaching of the Priest must be the chief dependence, for the proper churchly training of the children. And great care in the preparation of adults, coming to us from other religious bodies, cannot be too much insisted upon. Drifting in, often, upon superficial grounds; sometimes on grounds that touch neither personal religion, nor points of belief, they must be built up, before they are built in; made lively stones, before they are set into the Temple walls.
And I earnestly impress upon the clergy, that they do not allow any desire for increased numbers, or any regard for the personal dignity or importance of the candidate, to interfere with their requirement, of a full understanding and an honest acceptance, on the part of those who come to be confirmed, of the distinctive principles and doctrines of the Church. The Church gains nothing, by the addition to her communion, of men who do not know and choose the essential differences, between her and the denominations which they leave. What is true of candidates for Holy Baptism and Confirmation, is as true and as important, in its bearing upon Bishops, and Standing Committees, and Examining Chaplains, of candidates for any of the three Holy Orders of the Church.
One other thing I say here, in my position as a Bishop, in his own Convention. There are indications already of a growing spirit to push a demand, made three years ago, and to push it now under threats, for a change in the Book of Common Prayer. It may be said, in a sort, to be unchangeable, because its doctrinal statements are interwoven into its structure. One word out, here, will not alter the principles of all the Church's services and all her plan of training. And a recent Canon, repealed, cannot undo the doctrinal teaching of her Advent Collects, her Ember Seasons, or the prayers and preface of the Ordinal. This is the turning point of serious difference. When I say changes, I do not [39/40] mean to confound liturgical directions or ceremonial practices, with diminution of, or addition to, the doctrines of the Church. To some people, a musical service, or an act of reverence, seems as serious a matter, as the change of a word, in which is hidden a germ of vital truth. I mean the demand for the omission, or the alteration of misunderstood words. It is a demand which cannot, for an instant, be yielded to, in either direction, if it touch a doctrine of the Faith, without putting the Church, in the attitude of the Roman Church to-day: of imposing new terms of communion upon those, who took their vows of allegiance to her in Baptism, or in Ordination, when she taught what she teaches to-day. The moment that, by any alteration, of addition or of diminution, she changes the doctrinal teachings of the Prayer Book, she absolves from all allegiance to her, every man baptized or ordained before the moment, that the change is made. They will become Old Catholics, or Old Episcopalians, if you will, and she will have caught the Roman fever of change.
If one is asked just what are meant by doctrinal statements, it is not easy to answer in brief. Doctrines are to be found, first, in the Creeds; and secondly, in the Offices of the Church; but one may change doctrine without changing the Creed. To deny the grace of Baptism, would be to deny the Creed, which teaches us "one baptism for the remission of sins." But we may deny this, by changing the baptismal office; and to change the baptismal office for the sake of denying this, would be to change the Faith. Again, while some omissions might be harmless, any omission of a word involving doctrine--certainly the studied and consistent omission of a set of words or phrases involving doctrine, would almost necessarily be a denial of that doctrine. And that because, while it might have been possible, not to put certain expressions into a Liturgy; taking them out, after they have been put in, is a much more serious matter, almost necessarily involving change--change, I mean, of the substance of the Faith; to which, by our recognition of the [40/41] principles of catholicity, in the Preface to the Prayer Book, we acknowledge ourselves incompetent. Anything "clearly determined to belong to Doctrine," cannot be changed. The substance of the Faith must be kept entire. This is the only difficult)*, about the Filioque in the Creed called the Nicene. To take it out, might seem to be a denial of the mission of the Holy Ghost by the Son. But there is even a worse difficulty about keeping it in, because its original insertion was an unauthorized change "of the substance of the Faith."
So an alternate phrase need not be, but might be a denial, because it might destroy the unity of the Faith. To say "the place of departed spirits," instead of hell, changes no doctrine, because the expressions are synonymous. To put "born again," instead of regenerate, is not a change, for the same reason. So I believe there is no change, but only a weakening of positiveness in statement, in the alternate form of ordination; since to "take the authority to execute the office of Priest," necessarily implies "receiving the Holy Ghost." by Whose gift only that authority comes. And "to execute the office of a Priest in the Church" implies the power "to remit and to retain sins;" which were the words, in which the Priestly office in the Christian Church was instituted by Christ Himself. The difficulty about alternate phrases is, first, that where they propose to clear up misconception of words; they create a worse misconception of fact, namely, that the Faith of the Church is not one. And the second difficulty-is, that dilution of statement tends to denial of doctrine, and implies uncertainty of belief, or cloudiness of thought, or cowardice of speech.
And, looked at in this light, it seems to me that no true-hearted son can bear to think that his Mother, whose age, while it makes her venerable, is full of the undying youth of the dew of her birth, should change her clear, strong, certain voice, into the shrill, and faltering feebleness of old age; and with the "stammering lips and uncertain tongue" of alternate phrases, attempt to teach the people a sort of double [41/42] entendre. In matters of doctrine, no alteration and no alternation seem to me the watchword of the time. The teacher that cannot say of every question of the faith, "This is the way, walk ye in it," deserves to be "removed into a corner." I have no fear, whatever, of this result; on the contrary, 1 believe that there are indications of a closer coherence among us, than ever before. In the smelting process, non-assimilating elements are evolved, and separated, and cast off, and forgotten; and then the other particles running together, all fuse and cohere into solid and substantial unity; and harden into the shape, they take in the heat of the crucible. Out of this trial, may God bring this end. That it may be so, more and more, let us promote: first, by toleration, forbearance and modesty of opinion, through all our tenacity of the Faith; and then, by diligence, according to our priestly vow, to "frame and fashion ourselves according to the Doctrine of Christ;" rather than, in wilfulness, to seek to fashion Christ's doctrine according to ourselves. And then may we pray, with consistent and unfeigned lips, that "we may love as brethren," that we may obtain from God that "good and joyful thing to dwell together in unity," that we may all be one, in Christ.