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one body. The colored delegates having been admitted, and so having the privilege of debate, at once took the floor and stated the case from their point of view. They spoke with clearness and effect, and made a strong impression upon the audience. But as the discussion proceeded, others now joining in it, it became evident, as one member of the Council said, that the Council was getting a good deal of heat to the amount of light. The question uppermost in the minds of the members of the Council was, why did not the white churches accept through their committee some one of the various offers of the committee of the colored churches looking toward a complete union in a common State association ? This was put directly and in various forms to the Committee of the Council which had presented a report favorable in part to the white churches, and also to the white delegates who had been asked to participate in the debate, though not yet recognized as members of the Council. The answers given, though not absolutely satisfactory, showed that the reasons against the plans of union proposed were not necessarily founded in social prejudice. There were reasons growing out of the previous condition of the white churches, their methods of organization and association, which made the particular plans less feasible than they appeared to be, or to use their own word, "impracticable.” And the Council was disposed to accept these reasons as offered in good faith, because of the explicit promise that in the local conferences there should be no distinction whatever between the white and colored churches, and also because of the understanding that continued efforts should be made to bring about a complete union in one State organization. It was therefore voted that the white churches should be recognized so far as they had complied, in promise at least, with the conditions of Congregational fellowship, but that further recognition should await a more complete fulfillment of these conditions. And in consequence the white delegates from the conferences were received, while the white delegate from the General Conference or Association was denied admission, but was allowed to sit as an honorary member. This action, it was understood, met the approval of the leading speaker among the colored delegates, and was acceptable to a large majority of the Council.
The result was not a compromise; it was a recognition of the conditions of fellowship just so far as they had been fulfilled. Possibly the testimony of the Council might have been stronger against the principle of caste, if it had refused to receive the white delegates until all the conditions of fellowship had been complied with, in the State organization as well as in the local bodies. But on the other hand it was felt that the position of the Congregational Church was so well understood that it could afford to be magnanimous. The conciliatory policy seemed to be open without involving the danger of falling into compromises. If for any reason the result should not justify the policy thus pursued, there will be no hesitation about future action. The Congregational Church can never allow itself to occupy a doubtful position upon the "color question,” which is simply the question of caste. The following resolution, adopted in connection with the admission of the white delegates, expressed the mind of the Council, and reflects the mind of the denomina
Resolved, That this Council re-affirms the historic position we conceive to be characteristic of Congregationalism, always the equality of all believers in Christ Jesus, and that we admit the before named delegates of the Congregational conferences in Georgia to membership in this body, in the belief that they also stand with us on this ground; and in the expectation that they will use their uttermost endeavors at home to realize and manifest the fact in the promotion of organic union among all the Congregational churches of that commonwealth.
THE TRIENNIAL CONVENTION OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL
CHURCH. The Convention of 1886 is most generally remembered as the Convention in which an attempt was made to adopt the name “ The Church of America,” instead of the name “ The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.” Alarm was felt by the broader minds of that church in view of the apparent growth of a narrow ecclesiasticism, and the public at large was both amazed and amused at such pretension on the part of a section of one of the smaller religious denominations of this country.
The Convention of 1889 has not been disturbed by any proposals or discussions which would array one party against another, but has been occupied with plans for increasing the practical efficiency of the Episcopal Church, and for giving more flexibility and richness to its worship. Measures for grouping dioceses into departments have been under consideration, and, as usual, missionary work has received earnest attention ; but the time and interest of the Convention have been most largely given to the revision of the prayer book. Various changes have been agreed on which will probably receive final sanction in the Convention of 1892. We have not been able from unofficial reports to compare these modifications in detail with the present prayer book, but have the impression that the object has been to give more option to clergymen in the use of certain portions of the service, to distribute those portions in the order of morning and evening prayer so as to shorten both, and to remove certain infelicities of expression or arrangement. The revised hymnal offered by the committee, which has been at work on it since 1886, was not acceptable to the Convention, and another report is to be made in 1892.
General interest outside the Episcopal Church attaches chiefly to two results of the Convention ; — the direction concerning the use of the Nicene Creed, and the resolutions concerning Christian Unity. Heretofore the use of the Nicene Creed in public worship has not been required. It may be repeated instead of the Apostles' Creed, and the custom is quite general of using it on certain days, but the use has been optional. Now it is to be repeated in every church on Christmas Day, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, and Trinity Sunday. Discussion on the resolution requiring its use was prolonged and animated. Objections were made for a variety of reasons, but they pertained more to the history than to the theology of the Creed. Some opposed the requirement on the ground that the doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Son as well as from the Father was never adopted by the Eastern Church, and that the recital of a creed containing that doctrine should not be required of any branch of the Church Catholic, as the required use thus becomes a hindrance to Christian unity. This, in fact, was the principal objection. It was urged that the Nicæano-Constantinopolitan Creed which was sanctioned by the Council of Chalcedon is the only form that has catholicity, and that the later Western form which added “ filioque” never had any general sanction, and is still an offense to the Greek Church. Others objected on the ground that no more should be required in the order of Holy Communion, with which it is connected on the five days specified, than at Baptism and Confirmation. Still others intimated that it imposed a theological burden too heavy for some of the clergy to bear, although no one made this objection on his own behalf. On the other hand it was urged that the Nicene Creed in the Constantinopolitan form, and with the “ filioque" added, has always been included in the formularies of the Episcopal Church in this country, that the bishops of the Church of England objected to giving episcopal orders here because the proposed prayer book omitted the Nicene Creed, and that the objection was removed by inserting that Creed in the order both of morning and of evening prayer, and that the doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Son is explicitly stated in the Articles of religion and is therefore the doctrine of the Church, and finally that to make the use of it optional might result in the entire disuse of it in some churches, and thus deprive some of the laity of a cherished privilege. These considerations prevailed and every minister must henceforth repeat the Nicene Creed at least five times a year.
The discussion and final action indicate that the Episcopal Church with almost complete unanimity maintains the doctrine of the proper divinity of Jesus Christ. No one objected to the "filioque” as a doctrine, but only to the proposed use of the Creed containing it. Indeed, the ritual of the Episcopal Church is so permeated with Trinitarian expressions, that communicants must accept the divinity of Christ with cordial assent in order to employ sympathetically the prescribed forms of worship. The service of that church to religion is scarcely less through its maintenance of the evangelical doctrine of the Person of Christ than through the importance it attaches to public worship.
There was reaffirmation of the basis of agreement on which it is thought the great evangelical communions can unite, and a direction to continue efforts looking towards union. It will be remembered that, at the Lambeth Conference last year, partly in consequence of overtures already made by the Episcopal Church in the United States, a basis of union was defined, and every encouragement was given to persist in the efforts which had been begun. The Convention in New York sanctioned the basis of union, and advised conference with representatives of other religious communions. The proposals of the Lambeth Conference were as follows: “That, in the opinion of this Conference, the following Articles supply a basis on which approach may be by God's blessing made towards Home Reunion : (a) The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing all things necessary to salvation,' and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith. (6) The Apostles' Creed as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith. (c) The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself — Baptism and the Supper of the Lord — ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him. (d) The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its adıninistration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.” There was no extended debate on the subject, but on the other hand no objection was made to carrying forward the movement as far as possible. It is worth something to have the great agreements of evangelical churches clearly recognized, as in the first three articles of the Lambeth proposals, concerning the Bible, the Sacraments, and the two ancient Creeds. Even the fourth is purposely left vague, so as to emphasize the authorized perpetuation of the offices and sacraments of the Church through a consecrated order of men rather than to insist upon particular forms of government or titles of incumbents. In the Church Congress recently held in Cardiff, Wales, the conditions and prospects of union were discussed at considerable length, some speakers taking up one by one the proposals of the Lambeth Conference. So far as the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in this country are concerned the fourth article alone seems to present difficulty, as many in those churches do not recognize the validity of ordination in some other bodies. Should the opinion become general which is entertained by sonie eminent churchmen that episcopacy, although of early origin, is not of divine command, even this barrier to union might be removed. It is not forgotten by some, also, that at the Reformation the Church of England did not affirm the exclusive claim of her Episcopate, and did not condemn Presbyterian or other ordination, but admitted to benefices without reordination a considerable number who had received only Presbyterian orders. One of the speakers at the Cardiff Congress, Dr. Perowne, the Dean of Peterborough, having recognized the facts just mentioned added in a very noble strain the following remarks:
of Englancondemn dination as of the speugh,
“Let me be clearly understood. I disclaim in the most emphatic manner any desire to treat Episcopacy as a matter of indifference. I do not think one form of church government as good as another. I have never uttered a word which, except by gross and willful perversion, could be made to bear such an interpretation. But I take the ground of our Reformers, I take the ground of our great Anglican divines, and I affirm that Episcopacy is of the bene esse, but not of the esse of a church. I believe it to be the best form of government, but I dare not say that without it there is neither church nor sacrament. I believe its origin may be traced back to Apostolic times. I do not see that it is of Divine command. I believe that Christ may call His ministers now as He called them of old. Paul and Barnabas went forth on their great mission as Christian evangelists before that hands were laid upon them by the officers of the Church. And their ordination, moreover, was not by apostles, but by the prophets and teachers which were in the church at Antioch. Shall we say there can be no true ministry apart from Episcopal ordination ? Or shall we not rather say with Irenæus, “ Ubi Ecclesia, ibi Spiritus Dei, et ubi Spiritus Dei ibi Ecclesia”? But let me repeat, if I urge concession here I urge it only for the express occasion. I urge it because without this concession reunion is impossible, and because to make this concession for the special end in view is to make no sacrifice of any vital truth. It is to take the position of the Reformers of our own Church before the reformation of the most illustrious of our Anglican divines.”
It probably is a long road to a corporate union of the Episcopal Church with other evangelical churches, and it is not certain that an external unification is to be desired. Cooperation in missions and charities is a practical union which removes the reproach of divisions. Occasional alliances on a large scale may be arranged in order to promote cooperation and exhibit brotherly love. Conferences of representatives from the great denominations for the very purpose of discussing the possibility and conditions of union promote fraternal feeling. A delegate from Canada to the Convention in New York speaking of steps towards practical union said : “ We appointed a committee and had a conference with committees representing the Presbyterian Assembly and the Methodist General Conference. The three committees met last spring and I had the honor of being present as a member. Let me assure you it was one of the most delightful occasions. Although we may not in our lifetime bring about this much desired end, still we can never do it unless we commence, and we feel that something has been done in bringing these people together to look one another in the face and confer upon the subject.” Christian union has in fact been partly accomplished. The bitterness of denominational rivalry is fast disappearing on missionary ground, in the English colonies, and in the United States. The spirit of toleration is general. There is mutual recognition of the fruits of the spirit in the different communions. The churches are not antagonistic but supplementary to each other. They respectively exercise functions which are requisite to the complete religious development of the “nations and peoples.” Proposals looking towards corporate union are rather a result and a sign of