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Christ in the Holy Communion. The laity need not be surprised if they hear men who openly flaunt their disbelief in the necessity of the priesthood, in the continuity of the Episcopate, and the value of an apostolic ministry. Indeed, those who attend these services will have no security that they may not be compelled to listen to a preacher who teaches that He whom we revere as the divine Saviour of the world was a man like the rest of us, who was born of human parents, and whose life ended upon the Cross. For it cannot be denied that there are many Protestants today who disbelieve in the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection of our Lord.
Why, indeed, should the Bishop stop here? Why should he not arrange next Lent for united services with Unitarians, Jews, Buddhists, and Mohammedans,-with any sort of religion that he may find represented in New York? No doubt he would find earnest men, standing for the highest moral ideals, who represent these different kinds of religion. Why should they not be invited to teach the faith from the pulpit of the Cathedral?
The Bishop necessarily from the manifold duties of his position does not come in contact with the average layman as extensively as do most parish priests. Therefore it is not so pressing a problem with him what is to be said to men and women of the Church who come and tell us that they cannot any longer feel any certainty as to what kind of religion is being taught by the Episcopal Church. Yet there are many earnest men and women in the Church today whose minds and hearts are seriously exercised on this subject. They are quite right in feeling that they ought to have some guaranty that when they go to church they shall be taught the Christian faith as it has come down from the beginning, and not one of the fifty-seven varieties of heresy that are prevalent in these modern days.
If indeed it makes no difference what we believe, why should money be spent in building any cathedrals at all? Why maintain seminaries to train men for the ministry? Let every man
stand up and teach what is right in his own eyes wherever he can find a group of people who will be patient enough to listen to him. Is this the new kind of Christian unity the Bishop of New York is working for?
The Sermon and the Service
WHAT should be the relation of the sermon to the act of worship with which it is connected? Does it form an integral part of the act of worship? Should it be thought out and composed with the act of worship in view, so that the teaching of the sermon will harmonize with the teaching of the selections from Scripture used in the service? Is the hearing of a sermon the chief purpose for which the people have assembled?
In answering these questions we shall probably be compelled to choose between two radically different conceptions of the sermon in its relation to the service.
According to one conception the sermon occupies the position of central importance. The hymns and prayers and lessons from Scripture should be chosen with a view to illustrating and re-enforcing the great truth which is to be spoken from the pulpit. Thus the sermon would give unity to the whole service. This conception would of course imply that the chief burden and responsibility for teaching the Christian faith are not to be borne by the Church but by the individual priest in every parish. He is to determine what aspect of the Christian religion is to be set before the people on the First Sunday in Advent or on the Fifth Sunday in Lent. If he chooses to preach on juvenile delinquency on Septuagesima Sunday, he will select hymns and lessons which bear on that subject, and accordingly the whole congregation must subsist for that Sunday on juvenile delinquency. In general this may be called the Protestant conception of the sermon in its relation to the service, and the logical outcome has been that in most Protestant churches the pulpit occupies the place of central importance.
The other conception is that the sermon should indeed be in harmony with the rest of the service of which it is an integral part, but that it does not occupy the place of central importance. People are assembled together in church primarily for the worship of God. The worship of God centres at the altar, and that is the reason why the altar occupies the place of central importance in our churches. The pulpit is erected on one side of the church. The sermon is to be distinctly ancillary to the act of worship. Instead of the preacher selecting his own subject and adapting the scripture selections and hymns and prayers so that they will be appropriate to the sermon, he ought rather to study the collect, Epistle, and Gospel which the Church authorizes for that Sunday, as well as the lessons from the Old and New Testaments, and preach some phase of the message which the Church obviously desires to emphasize on that day. The people, who have in good faith accepted the Church as their teacher and guide in matters of religion, are thus protected from the whims and idiosyncrasies of individual clergymen, whether bishops, priests, or deacons; and may feel some security that the faith of the Church will be not only set forth liturgically in the services, but also driven home to them from the pulpit. This in general may be called the Catholic conception of the relation of the sermon to the service.
Up to the present time it has been the Catholic conception of the place and character of the sermon that has prevailed in all the churches of the Anglican communion. It is our chief criticism of the illuminating article by the Bishop of Long Island which we publish in this issue, that he appears to hold the Protestant conception of the sermon in its relation to the Church's worship. That, however, need not concern us greatly, for, as he says, the Commission on the Revision of the Prayer Book has nothing to do with the Lectionary.
Do the Clergy Pray?
A He was trying to explain to him the function of the priesthood. He asked the boy various questions to draw out from him his ideas as to what was the chief occupation of various kinds of men. The boy was quite ready with his answers, showing that he understood that the function of a shoemaker was to make shoes, of a blacksmith to shoe horses, of a baker to bake bread, etc. Then the priest asked the question: "And what does a priest do?" The boy answered without any hesitation, "He prays."
PRIEST was once preparing a small boy for confirmation.
The boy was right in his conception of the primary function of the priesthood; but do the majority of our priests live up to this exalted conception of their office which was in the boy's mind? We recall once urging a very active, city priest to join a certain society of clergy who placed themselves under obligations to keep a rule of prayer involving half an hour meditation daily, the saying of the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, and two other offices from the "Day Office of the Church.' The priest replied that he could not possibly join such a society, much as he would like to, as he never had time to pray. A few years later that priest was made a bishop.
Most of us have heard or read in various summaries of the differences between the Roman and the Anglican Churches, that in the Roman Church the clergy are required to say their seven daily offices in Latin out of the Breviary; while in the Anglican Church those seven offices have been compressed into the two offices of Matins and Evensong, and turned into English, and that the daily recitation of those offices is all that is required of our clergy.
This sounds very plausible, and reads very well in a book; but if it is simply a matter of what the Prayer Book contains under the designation of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, and if it is not put into practice in the daily lives of the clergy,
then it would be difficult to see what there is to be said in favor of the Anglican use as compared with the Roman.
We gravely suspect that there are vast numbers of our clergy who have never made it a practice to say daily Morning and Evening Prayer out of the Prayer Book wherever they may be. There may be some excuse for those of the clergy who do not know any better, although one would suppose that their knowledge of the history of the Church would make them realize that there was some obligation resting upon them to say their daily offices. But what shall we say of those who profess to be Catholic priests, and who never say any kind of daily offices unless they happen to be required by the exigencies of their position to say Morning and Evening Prayer publicly in church? The most that we could say is that they form a nondescript category of priests, who would not be recognized as Catholic by the learned priests and doctors of the Catholic Church in any age.
Unless a priest does obligate himself to say at least the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer as contained in the Prayer Book, it is very easy,—in fact, almost unavoidable,for him to become immersed in the thousand petty details of parochial life, so that his whole day and a large part of the night are crowded with seemingly important duties and it becomes impossible for him to find a moment for prayer or meditation. In the end such a priest, if he does not lose his faith entirely, will be certain to degenerate into a cold, steel-like piece of mechanism, and his ministry will be utterly devoid of the warmth and love of the Spirit of God.
The Old Testament and the Breviary
N the December issue we referred to a New England priest who had said that he preferred to say his daily offices from the Breviary rather than recite the Prayer Book offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, because of his dislike of the Old Testament.