Slike strani
PDF
ePub

But the position of Dr. Briggs' paper in this historic symposium, the directness and fearlessness with which he expresses himself upon the whole subject, coupled with an evident enthusiastic attachment to the Church Principle, gives to his discussion the first place among contemporary utterances on Unity.

The other writers, as is natural, for the most part either decline to enter upon any consideration of the fourth proposal as at all practicable, or demand that it be relinquished by Anglicans. The Lutheran writers, however, do not decline to consider it, though they demand fuller explanatior. Dr. Horn, of Charleston, S. C., sums up thus what he has to say of it: “ If it proposes Episcopacy as a convenient method of government, it is worthy of consideration; if it asserts it as a necessity because of Divine institution, then the Bishops must make good their claim out of Holy Scripture against the conviction of the vast majority of their fellow-Protestants, and the equal but inconsistent claim of Rome.” Prof. Mann, of Philadelphia, is willing to accept Episcopacy as of expediency, but not of Divine right; “ giving it the preference before all other forms of Church government,”—not “as a conditio sine qua non for the existence of the true Church." Professor Wolf, of Gettysburg, says, after stating at length the historic claims of Episcopacy, its perpetuation in some of the Lutheran Churches, and its advantages,—“But if it must be accepted as ' essential to the restoration of unity among the divided branches of Christianity,' then I would humbly but firmly say it were far better to have these divisions continue, sad and reproachful as they seem, than to accord a Divine right to that which, so far as God enables us to see, is lacking the proper credentials for such a claim."

And what have the Episcopal contributors to say in reply? Some with mildly veiled expressions, others with blunt directness a reiteration of the indispensableness of the jure divino theory of the Episcopate. If we misconstrue their statements, it is not because we have taken no pains to try to understand them, but because of hopeless obtuseness. Of course there is and say,

among the writers no Bishop Potter, of New York, or Bishop Huntington, of Syracuse ; Bishop Vincent, of Southern Ohio, is left standing very much in the cold with his (apparently lone) palm branch; there is, seemingly, no one to stand up frankly

“ I for myself believe the Episcopate apostolically instituted, but that belief is after all an adiaphoron, and if you loyally accept the Episcopate you may do so on whatever theory you wish.” No, not one. We cannot but regret it. For there are men who, yielding to none as loyal Episcopal Churchmen, do take that position ; and at this time it would have been peculiarly refreshing and encouraging to hear them.

None the less the present writer will say that (he is speaking only for himself) he as a Presbyterian Churchman is willing to stand in that small minority with Dr. Briggs, as he was four years ago willing to stand with Dr. Shields. One cannot but feel gratified that there should be in the Presbyterian Church two such men, eminent in position, and surpassed in learning by none, masters of the Puritan and Westminster history, who have the courage and the devotion to truth and Church and Christ to speak out as they have done.

At the same time we cannot but feel that the chief need of the hour is not to plan terms of reunion, but to recover the Church Idea. And, shocking as it may seem to our Episcopal brethren, to them also we commend the deeper study of that clause in the Apostles' Creed, "the Holy Catholic Church.” Their strength lies in apprehending the Church as an organization; which, indeed, it is : they for the most part fail to see in the Church an organism, which is the deeper truth of the two. That continuous Life of the Mystical Body of our Lord is but very poorly represented by the outward continuity of a valid and regular Ministry, necessary as such an institution is

Two years ago the Rev. Charles C. Starbuck took up Dr. Morgan Dix's famous “reticulate " argument for an unbroken Apostolic Succession. We regret that lack of space forbids our quoting from it freely; but this sentence certainly

is to the point : “Surely there can be no argument for the continuity of a channel meant to convey waters, either natural or spiritual, comparable to the patent fact that these waters flow through it." It is worth the while of our Episcopal brethren to reflect upon that. Some of them do reflect upon it. Bishop Huntington conceded the fact in that wise and large-hearted address of his before the Presbyterian Social Union of New York City, the 12th of January : “ You are as energetic as we are in spreading the Faith. . . . We see among you such beauty of holiness, such insight into the things of the Spirit, such fair and radiant reflections of the mind of Christ, lives so brave with the valor of Paul and 80 sweet with the loveliness of Jobp." And again, he speaks of “a past from which God has evidently not withheld His gracious benediction," to wit, the past of the Presbyterians he is addressing. In other words, the fruits of the Spirit do abound under non-Episcopal ministrations.

What then of the famous sentence of Cyprian,-“Part a ray of the sun from its orb, and its unity forbids this division of light; break a branch from the tree, once broken it can bud no more; cut the stream from its fountain, the remnant will be dried up?" Or of this, “He who leaves the Church of Christ attains not Christ's rewards !” Seven years ago Monsignor Capel turned these and like words against Episcopalians; and the best reply that Anglicans could make to the Roman Catholic attack was, that evidently the branch did bud, and the stream was not dried up. It is a valid reply, although, as we understand it, the Anglican Episcopate is, in the Cyprianic sense, in schism. However that may be, if "he who leaves the Church attains not Christ's rewards," then it must be that Anglicans are still in the Church to-day. And as with us non-Episcopalians the branch is still budding, the stream not dried up, the rewards of Christ still attained: it must be that we are still in the Church, vitally, whether technically or not. By which token let us learn anew that the continuity of the Church is not in her ministry alone, Episcopal or Presbyterial; even if there be irregularities or breaks in that out

ward chain, irregularities or breaks arising from no impiety or contempt of Divine order on the part of Christ's people, the Head of the Church will not suffer her to be overcome, but will supply her wants out of His own fullness.

This is not to say that there may not be great interests, spiritual interests, which now suffer, and which may be advanced by a restored unity; and that, at this present time, the general reinstitution of the Historic Episcopate may be one important means to the restoration of unity. And if that were so, would it need the mechanical props of jure divino theories to commend it to the Christian conscience ? Let Episcopalians, if they are prepared, show non-Episcopalians the historic claims which may be made good in the court of historical criticism; let them show how their proposal would restore unity, not only with themselves, but in Christendom at large; let them show how the office they magnify would still more build up the Kingdom of Christ, purify and strengthen the social order and minister to the needs of humanity. This is the only sort of Divine Right to which it is worth their while to appeal; if they can show it, it will be Divine enough for all intents and purposes, and it will not fail to command attention.

Whether in my favorable opinion of an Episcopate stripped of untenable pretensions many will concur with me, or few, of this I am assured: that no disciple of the late Dr. Nevin can fail to see at this hour the need of such words as he was wont to reiterate until they were burned into his readers’ and hearers’ minds; the message of a Holy Catholic Church, the Body of the Glorified Christ. What that Church is; what the principle of her life is; what her relation is to the Faith, and to the souls who find in her a home; what is her mission to humanity—these are the questions our Protestant Christianity needs now to ponder as never before, and there is, as we have said, little use to plan terms of reunion till we know why we have a Church, and what is the reason of her being.

Westfield, N. Y.

III.

THE MUSIC OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE

RELIGION OF ISRAEL.

BY REV. J. B. RUST, A.M.

Let us be thoroughly penetrated with the thought that art is also to itself a kind of religion. God manifests Himself to us by the idea of the true, by the idea of the good, by the idea of the beautiful. Each one of them leads to God, because it comes from Him.

-Cousin. Das instinctmässige Gefühl von der Einheit des Wahren und des Guten ist der Sinn für das Schöne, dessen Offenbarung die Werke der schönen Künste sind. Er hat seine Wurzel im religiösen Gefühl und Trieb.

-BUNSEN.
As from the power of sacred lays

The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise

To all the blessed above;
So, when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

-DRYDEN. Who laid the corner-stone thereof, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy ?

-JOB.

The sum of human knowledge has grown into such vast proportions that any single mind can neither master nor retain it all. Especially during the last three hundred years the free spirit of research and the love of invention have not only made incalculably important strides in tearing aside the veil of

« PrejšnjaNaprej »