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rightly named itself the “ Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East,” could not and did not give; unchristian division followed, but in it the sin of schism, so far as that is chargeable, rests on the church that caused it, the arrogating Church of Rome. It is a singular fact, that at the time of this separation the two churches divided precisely, as would seem, the Christian world between them, the number of dioceses ranked in connection with either church numbering equally one thousand and twenty sees. (Vol.i., pp.198, 199.)
On the subject of the Nestorians our editor again differs from his author, and we fully concur with him, in relieving from the charge of heresy and schism that interesting portion of the Apostolic Church.* On all such points involving doubt, the most charitable conclusion is, in our judgment, the most logical. With the old Saxon Aldhelm we are ready to hold, that “a true faith and brotherly love go hand in hand,” or to borrow the more figurative words of one whose monuments of charity bear record that he spake out of a full heart, and one of the least doubtful saints of the Romish calendar: Prayer,” says Saint Bernard, “ was in a barren land, and without food. Our King, whose nature is goodness, moved by Prayer's tears, exclaimed, “Whom shall we send ?' Then said Charity, · Here am I, Lord, send me.”” On this pointof imputed heresy, the judgment of Field, as quoted by Bishop Whittingham, is both more philosophical and more charitable than that of Palmer. 6.
“ These,” says he, “ holding the rule of faith, and believing all those things that are, on the peril of damnation, to be particularly and expressly known and believed, and their separation not growing (for aught we know) out of pharisaical and damnable pride, but out of error not directly contrary to the rule of faith, or some other human infirmity or defect, and it no way appearing that their obstinacy is such, that though they knew they did amiss they would still continue to do so, we account them in the number of the churches of God, and doubt not but that innumerable living and dying in them, notwithstanding their sundry defects, imperfections and wants, are and have been saved.” — Of the Church, 1. ïïi., C. v.
But it would extend our notice too far to follow our author through the multiplied questions of historic interest which his
* Sce Palmer, part i., c. xiv.; also, part iv., c. ix., $ iii., together with Bishop Whittingham's notes in loco. Also Dr. Grant's recent visit.
Catholicity of American Churchmen.
subject brings before him. We prefer, therefore, looking into the question of his work again at large, with especial reference to its bearing on our own western Christian world. In taking up such catholic view of our subject, we, as American Christians, may be said to enjoy some especial advantage over those of elder Christendom. The Christian Church has there been so long and closely identified with local and national interests, that it is no easy task, even in thought, to rise above such entanglement, and separate its heavenly from its earthly elements. We do not deny that such separation is, and ever has been made, by pious and catholic minds there, as elsewhere, and that there, too, we find both our teachers and prompters in this holy task; but what we mean is this, that churchmen in America, going upon sound Church principles, do rise more readily, and perhaps more truly, into catholicity than our elder brethren of European Christendom. Blest, too, in that respect, “is a pilgrim church," for its ties of earth are both fewer and less stringent, while its heavenward path lies more clear and free. The licentious spirit of a worldly will, here once trampled under foot, leaves free the Christian to rise at once untrammelled into purer regions- a Church "ONE, HOLY,
, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLICAL,” thus becomes the pole star of his desires, the anchor of his hopes, the home of his best affections; no temporal head to thwart, no civil establishment to allure as in the Church of England, no local centre of unity to delude as in the Church of Rome, with its arrogant claims and its usurping sovereignty ; none of these clog his fight up to the “ blue empyrean.”
The vision of a church is before him, wide as a fallen world, pure as the heaven from which it springs, with its centre every where, and its circumference nowhere. The same, and not the same, go where he will, with its “countless shrines all one." This vision, we say, is ever before his better thoughts, and he realizes its fulfilment clearly, with open eye, wherever he finds Christ truly preached, and his sacraments duly administered, and even beyond these verifying marks he can yet see its true members, though with dimmer eye, wherever Christian baptism extends, and the catholic Christian spirit has taken up its abode within the heart — wherever any are found who, having by baptism put on Christ, though it may be administered by irregular hands, yet have with willing minds gone on, though it may be, too, through manifold NO. XIX. VOL. X.
errors, to seek and to know Him whose name they bear; in whose mediation alone they trust, and whose healing spirit they daily supplicate. Such, we say, is the notion of THE Church which promptly opens to the eye of the American Christian whose heart is but once set right to seek it. We deny not that it requires in him a deeper previous self-renunciation than belongs to those who have been from infancy less their own teachers in civil and religious questions. On the contrary, we deem his first struggle a far greater one to abandon his uncatholic self-confidence, to put on the childlike spirit, and to seek God and his gracious influences, humbly and thankfully, through those sacramental channels which Christ hath appointed, and which speak peace but to the believing trustful spirit. This victory over self-will, under the mental as well as external habits of our democratic training, is doubtless a contest neither so readily undertaken nor so easily won, with us, as elsewhere, and yet when won, is the victory, we deem, more perfect; and that from spirits thus defecated, from minds thus disciplined, provided they possess the requisite powers of intellect, and needful ecclesiastical learning, would we rather look to receive the scriptural scheme of the Church of Christ, and anticipate in their conclusions a firmer and a purer catholicity than from any equivalent source in any other portion of Christendom. There are sneerers doubtless in elder Christendom who will esteem this language but as another proof of our western self-exultation. Be it so; as Christians and churchmen, as well as patriots, we bide our time. Westward not only “ the course of empire takes its way,” but religion, too; we see as yet but iheir rising beams in the new world ; before their meridian who will pretend to measure their aluitude? True to ourselves who will venture to set limits to our coming power? true to our God and Saviour who will narrow the triumphs of his Church, or say that, under God's Providence, America may not be called, in her mission, to instruct even her own Christian parent - how best to heal divisions among professing Christians — how best exhibit the catholic principles of a primitive age, and thus become the restorer of unity to the divided Church of Christ - such unity, we mean, as man's free nature admits of, and God's providence every where exhibits in the works of his hands; the unity of united parts, uniformity that excludes not harmonious variety - the unity of the tree 1842.]
Triumph of Truth Predicted.
with its common root, yet varying branches, and like, yet unlike, countless leaves — the unity of animal life with its concurring members, and its ruling Head, though not here on earth, or nearer yet, the unity of loving and agreeing hearts a family of Christian charity - one, yet many, bound together by the visible ties of an open communion, and yet more closely by that invisible bond which binds into one the saints on earth with the saints in heaven.
Such Catholic unity, holy and apostolic, to witness its rule on earth is among the treasures of as yet unfulfilled prophecy, and so far as man may look into the future, no portion, surely, of Christendom opens so fair a field for its earliest development as the virgin soil of America, where it already exists as a kingdom not of this world. One fact, at least, must stand unquestioned, and that is, that in no portion of Christendom are these principles of a true Catholic Church making more rapid progress or taking a higher stand than here. Christians of every varying name and creed hear and read of them, wonder at them, fight against them, refute as they proceed their own uncatholic errors, argue themselves into positions they set out with opposing, and end at last with adopting, in their own language, those very same invidious principles which, in another's language, they had anathematized, the name of which they had misliked, but the nature of which, until they came to oppose them, they had never truly understood. Now, such transformation is unquestioned fact in the history of thousands, and no wonder, for these are principles that lie deeply hidden in every humble believing Christian spirit ; and, in adopting them, the mind is but bringing forth of its own stores, taught therein not of man but of the spirit. Therefore, do we predict for these princi
, ples in a land which, with all its religious errors, is a land inquisitive in its search of truth and fearless in its profession of it, a widespread if not an early triumph. The Church Catholic has, as already said, but one truly formidable foe in our land — the arrogance of self-will, that heathen goddess
of liberty whom we have exalted into a rival to God, and at whose footstool we are too apt to offer that homage we owe but to Him “ whose we are and whom we serve. Not till we feel that there is for man a higher law than of his own making, a happier rule than his own will, a truer freedom than his own choice, a safer path than mere sincerity of faith, and a surer criterion of revealed truth than his own
arrogant interpretation of it - not till then can we ever appreciate, even in thought, the blessings, nay, even the very nature of the Church Catholic. But all these are only varying forms of man's over-confident, unregenerate, self-choosing nature. The moment that illusion vanishes and he begins to look out of himself for wisdom and guidance, that moment arises within him the true vision of the Church of Christ-a guide that is wiser, a rule that is higher than himself, a channel of grace efficient because appointed, and available because covenanted, and that to all who seek faithfully spiritual life through its life-giving sacraments.
We have termed this the only enduring obstacle in our country to the growth of true Church principles. There are others, indeed, but of a more temporary existence - errors which are working out their own cure-poisons which have already begun to exhibit their own antidote. Among them we would note first, the spirit of dissent which, through its naturally advancing excesses, is leading men's minds back to union. The thoughtful Christian cannot long rest contented either with the principle or the practice of dispersion. It is not the iDEA involved in Christian faith, not the image impressed on his conscience; on the contrary, it is alien to it, and, in its working, destructive of it. Union, on the other hand, is of its essence; therefore it is, that in the midst of ruin his heart will ever be bringing up the picture of the true Church of Christ, and, by degrees, he will seek to rebuild that temple he once labored to pull down. Now, such we believe to be the rising spirit in our country-a work which God is blessing and, in his own good time, will bring about. In the meantime, we see it working, and day by day is the Church gathering the fruits of it.
A second evil, working out its own cure, is the departure from an apostolic ministry, the result of which has been and daily is, to prostrate under the feet of the laity the spiritual power of the ambassador of Christ. In doctrine, in discipline, in the administration of the sacraments, is the dissenting minister at the mercy of his own congregation, and the teacher daily instructed by those whom he is appointed to instruct. Such, then, feel that they have lost their true position — that which Christ willed and commanded his ministers to take — and they feel too that they can regain it only by being replaced on the apostolic platform, and in the per