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. Second. Why should an interpretation of the “Historic Episcopate," a theory about it, which no bishop is enjoined to require of a presbyter or deacon, and no bishop is himself lawfully subjected to, be set up as a term of church reunion ?
The Bishop of Iowa says: “Our longings for union must not lead us to the surrender of the great trust committed to us as an integral part of the Church Catholic of CHRIST. Concessions involving disloyalty to revealed truths, to apostolic practice, and to primitive belief, are out of the question.” Granted; but why should that be construed as “ disloyalty” out of the Church which is not so treated within it? And why should that be imposed as a condition of reunion which is not insisted upon in the body from which the proposal emanates ? If it be said, the ministry of the Anglican Church is de facto episcopally consecrated, we reply that if this is all, we are dealing with a matter of form and usage, and on this basis it would be comparatively easy to reach an adjustment; an adjustment which should attach all due importance to method and practice and historical continuity. Our question is addressed to those who attach to the Episcopate a different meaning, and yet do not require an acceptance of this interpretation from those who are received into orders.
The Bishop of Iowa fears that if “the grace of Holy Orders,” that is, a particular theory of this grace, is abandoned, the church which he represents, though it might make some “small gain,” would lose the possibility of uniting “all Christian men and peoples in the unity of God's Church.” How any one can have read the history of the church, either in the first or the last three centuries, and expect that there will be ultimate unity by a renunciation and denial of the validity of all ordinations save those effected in episcopally organized churches, is a difficult matter. But we think it is a simple problem compared with that presented when a member of the Lambeth Conference interprets its overture of union as meaning that it intended to announce to the world the willingness of its members to consider approaches to unity with them, provided that a theory of the Episcopate is accepted which the Episcopal Church itself does not require of those who are ordained to its ministry.
THE MORAL UNDERTONE. A COMMON strain of reflection on the tendencies of modern life is a bemoaning of the decline of morality. It is said with endless reiteration that the standards of public and private virtue are lowered. It is taken for granted that political, corporate, commercial, social, and domestic morality is continually relaxing. Whatever may be true of great numbers of individuals who are upright and conscientious, it is commonly believed that the tendency of general custom and of public sentiment is towards increasing laxity. And there are, it is true, certain facts which
at first glance make such impression. An English writer on ethics presents so graphic a sketch of the vices of the aristocracy that, with a change of names, the account might be taken to apply to the moral corruption of Rome in its decline, or of France at the time of the Revolution. Indeed, he runs a moral parallel to quite a length between the London of to-day and the Paris of a century ago. Last week's religious newspaper moralized at length in its most conspicuous editorial on the rapid debasement of morals in this country, and implored young men to be on the defensive. The silver craze, the disposition to repudiate debts secured by mortgage, the schemes to unsettle the rights of property, the venality of politics, and many other things which certainly have a bad look, are cited in evidence of the down-grade movement. The hope is not abandoned that the movement may be arrested, or at least retarded, but the hope is quite indefinite as to time and method. Our moral optimism has received a severe shock. The causes may be this or that, skepticism, irreligion, increase of wealth and of poverty, but the facts are considered by many to furnish unmistakable evidence that the latter part of this century, as compared with preceding periods still within the recollection of some, is a period of moral decline.
Nothing is more difficult than correct generalization concerning existing tendencies, and we therefore do not propose to array facts on either side and strike a balance. But the air is sometimes cleared on a sudden, as it has been recently in England, so that the power of hidden forces is felt, and hope becomes definite and confident for society's future. The political downfall of Parnell on account of his private immoralities, and the loud protest against the election to Parliament of an immoral nobleman, a protest which will almost certainly have to be heeded, — are expressions of the sound morality of the great middle class in England. “ The Nonconformist conscience " is a striking phrase which designates a powerful factor, not only in the social but even in the political life of Great Britain. There is also an exceeding disgust towards such vices of the aristocracy as gambling and looseness of social and domestic relations, which is indicative of vigorous moral sentiment in the nation. A refreshing exhibition of healthy morality was furnished in England last year in the uproar which instantly followed the government's proposal to reimburse at an exorbitant price those liquor-sellers whose licenses were revoked, — an uproar so threatening that the government was obliged to withdraw the bill, and provide instead that a great part of the income from licenses should be turned over to public education. Such protests, breaking out spontaneously and instantly all over the country, indicate a moral undertone of great volume. The conditions of life in England are more favorable than here to rapid and effective concentration of public opinion. There have been no instances in this country for many years of men in public life guilty of so scandalous immorality as that of Parnell and Dilke. If there had been, the protest, we be
breaking ndertone of than here teen no instanc scandalou
lieve, would have been equally emphatic. The suspicion of financial irregularity on the part of our Senators thoroughly discredits them, even if their term of office is allowed to expire. Many other indications could be mentioned, such as the growing demand for purification of national and municipal politics, the strength of the temperance sentiment, hostility to the so-called trusts, which are combinations believed to adopt illegitimate methods of business, and the reaction against easy divorce. There is a moral undertone in America and other Christian countries which is gathering rather than losing strength, which finds clear expression from time to time, and which is greatly influential in the improvement of politics, business, society, and the family. It is manifesting itself in two principal directions, which are easily recognized
One expression is that already noticed, the expression of protest. When an iminoral tendency becomes concrete in some conspicuous person, an objective point is furnished on which protest can fasten. The protest is a surprise to the offender, to his party, and to the very public itself that makes the protest, - a surprise because so much freedom granted to immorality in politics and society, while blame could be distributed, had blinded many to the strong moral sense of the people. A nation has not lost its morality when it is capable of vigorous protest.
The other direction in which moral sentiment is finding expression is response to the crying need of reform. There is no more thrilling story on the pages of Christian history than the story of philanthropic work in London for the poorest and wickedest of the poor. The hotbeds of vice in East and South London have been the scene during the last ten and especially the last five years of a self-sacrificing, intelligent service of education, sanitation, economic improvement, and religion which is almost unparalleled in extent, wisdom, and success. The transformation is outwardly visible to every passer-by in Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. It is a work engaged in by students from the universities taking up their residence in those districts, by workingmen of brains competent for leadership in labor movements, by artists who would bring beauty into the wretched homes of the people, by wealthy men establishing institutions of art and education and living amongst the poor, by young women of refinement who are trained to be nurses, as well as by the preachers, churches, and teachers of religion. The lively interest taken in this country by men of wealth and education, and by all the active clergy in social conditions which lead to vice and crime, and the numerous experiments already under way to reach the evil, indicate anything but indifference to morality throughout the community. A great moral response has been awakened in view of the need of purification at the bottom of society. At the top the immoralities which attend luxury and idleness are coming into greater disrepute. Complaints concerning the economic conditions which permit the rolling up of enormous wealth by a few individuals grow out of a sense of injustice as much as from a feeling of envy, and indicate a growing anxiety because such a class is an element so full of danger morally to the social body.
There is even reason to believe that some tendencies, which seem immoral as promoting dishonesty, are really traceable to ignorance and confusion in respect to economic laws. Not many of those who demand the free coinage of silver, for example, wish thereby to evade honest
cope we conduc laws. , Not many of those who demand debts. They do not perceive the wrong which would be inflicted on many persons. They have been led to believe that more money is needed in the interest of all kinds of business, and that the hard times of recent years are owing to limitation of the currency. They think wealthy capitalists are defrauding the people at large through restriction of currency and other causes. There are, indeed, plenty of politicians to encourage such notions. But when the dishonesty of such schemes is seen, they will lose support and will fail, as many signs already indicate. So the debtors of the West, groaning under heavy mortgages, believe they have been unfairly dealt with by the capitalists and the raiload corporations, and that their hardships are thus explained. If they can be made to see what is just and honest, the great mass of them will favor it. Repudiation has never been popular in this country. A sense of injustice, and economic error, are the principal causes of some immoral theories which become popular. The hope of defeating such schemes lies in an appeal to the moral sense of the people, and the decision will be according to what they believe to be the actual morality of the situation.
We recognize dangerous conditions and accompanying vices, especially at the two extremes of society. Both poverty and wealth are leading to grave immorality. And we should be discouraged if no general alarm were felt. But when protest and response are so vigorous and in so large proportion to the danger, we are encouraged to believe that the moral undertone is stronger than the immoralities which are being forced up to the surface of social and public life.
THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
A GENERAL VIEW OF MISSIONS. SECOND SERIES.
XI. JAPAN (continued). We must correct an erroneous statement which we made in our last number, namely, that the missionaries of the Church of England in Japan are exclusively supported by the Church Missionary Society. We find that the Propagation Society has also missionaries there, and nearly as many.
The * Missionary Herald ” for February, 1890, gives an account of a member of a prefectural assembly — an office corresponding nearly to our state senator — who had become impressed by Christianity. "He became dissatisfied with his life. The barrenness and emptiness of it
were oppressive to him. He went to Osaka to seek relief in travel and the new sights. On his return he rode in the same steamer with Miss Barrows, of Köbe. Not a word was said, but her face deeply impressed him. He thought, . Here is a Christian. If Christianity produces such fruit is n't it the religion that will give me peace?' ... At one time this man studied the Bible earnestly and almost continuously for two weeks, praying, · () God, if thou dost exist, reveal thyself to me.' He at last believed, and was baptized in January, 1885. Still he had not the fullness of light he craved, — could not understand the Bible as he wanted to do. A year later he again set about an earnest study of the Bible and prayer. This time he found the fuller revelation he sought, and for days was filled with great joy. Still another year later, having held his position in the assembly in all about six years, wishing to do a more direct work for the Master, he determined, after consultation with other Christians, to resign his office and prepare for the work of an evangelist. He entered the special theological course of the Doshisha in the fall of 1887, and has been studying ever since.” As his office was not merely reputable, but lucrative, he has made a double sacrifice.
Mr. Pettee, in the same “ Herald," gives an interesting account of the Okayama Orphan Asylum. He says: “ The old priest who rents them half bis temple is very fond of the children and a great admirer of the institution. He frankly says that Christianity is a great deal better religion than his own Buddhism, but he is too old a man to change his faith. • Besides,' he adds, ' my care of this temple gives me my living, and I could do nothing else to support myself.' He has learned a number of Christian hymns, which, through the paper doors, he hears the children singing.”
The asylum seems to have had some such experiences of the providing care of God as those of George Müller. Mr. Pettee remarks that the Housefather, Mr. S., " is one of those rare characters whom such an experience just fits. He is an admiring disciple of George Müller, and believes implicitly in the prayer of faith."
The “ Missionary Herald” for March, 1890, has the following compact and important statement: “Three facts brought to view in recent papers received from Japan indicate the remarkable material prosperity of that empire. The strength of the Bank of Japan is shown by the statement that on the 30th of November last its notes issued amounted, in round numbers, to 76,000,000 yen [a yen being 76 cents gold], while among its reserves there were over 54,000,000 yen of gold and silver coin. At the close of 1888 the entire length of the railway lines opened for traffic was 1,000 miles, of which 314 miles were opened in the preceding twelvemonth. During that year the total foreign trade of Japan amounted to $106,312,820, of which $55,976,790 were imports and $50,336,030 were exports. In 1887 the imports and exports amounted to $85,428,210, showing an increase during the year 1888 of over $20,000,000, or nearly twenty-five per cent. These facts indicate the present stability and future growth of the empire. We notice with interest the growth of the port of Köbe, more than one half of the increase in the foreign trade within the whole empire having been at that city. Nagasaki also shows a large increase, but nothing compared with that of Kõbe.”
A paper appears in the same number, signed by all the members of the