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Let us be clear that so far from a Federation of Evangelical Churches being a step towards the reunion of the whole of Christendom, it would indefinitely postpone the realization of the better and bigger hope, and would quite definitely rule out the Episcopal or Anglican Church (if this were included in the Federation) from its boasted position of mediation between the historical and the reformed communions. It is all very well to welcome to our churches with respectful greetings Eastern prelates; but we can no more expect them than Latin authorities to enter into serious negotiations with us if they see that we throw in our lot with Protestants and practically repudiate the necessity of an apostolic commission. Our plans and invitations for a World Conference for the discussion of questions concerning Faith and Order that now divide Christendom are doomed to disappointment, if in anticipation of these discussions we stir up fresh trouble by opening our pulpits to preachers of various denominations, and by eccentric devices for the ordination of men who shall be half within and half without the Church, owning a sort of allegiance to a Bishop whose authority is not recognized by these to whom they minister. It is in the interest of real unity that we put aside these makeshifts, which are bound to cause divisions among ourselves and to hinder, not help, reunion on the wider scale.

VII. It may be that some feel the above and like excuses to be unnecessary, though perhaps useful. The Open Pulpit is the means which they take to assert their principle of ministerial equality, that the "organization" of Christian Churches is a mere matter of convenience, preference, or historical association, that the Protestant Episcopal is one among several sister Protestant Churches, rather more highly organized than others, while with considerably

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freer interpretation and laxer enforcement of its standards. This may be the conscious or subconscious motive impelling some advocates of these irregularities. (This word does still apply.) They are determined in practice to impose this interpretation upon our formularies, and (however kindly and gently) to render a Catholic position untenable. Very well, let this be clearly understood, and we shall know where to take our places. We will contend for what we believe to be the truth. But we are not all of us individualists. We have insisted on this or that rule or doctrine because it was the teaching of the Church, not because it represented our opinion. There are numerous and devoted members of the Episcopal Church who will not be contented with Pan-Protestantism, nor be able to retain allegiance to a Church which has belied its own professions, and broken away from historical Christianity. Systems which speak with authority (though it be exaggerated), and which enforce discipline (even if sometimes harshly) will attract those who are repelled by unprincipled laxity. Others, whose knowledge and conscience would not permit subscription to the creed of Pius IV, and who recognize that Anglican laxity does not justify Papal claims, may find themselves obliged (at whatever cost to themselves and to others) to resign responsible positions of authority, if the Church in whose name they would teach and rule fails them or negatives their witness.

Speaking thus plainly, and with a full sense of responsibility for his words, the writer cannot in frankness refrain from an appeal to Churchmen who would in general agree with what has been said, to consider their own policy and to abstain, at any cost of personal preference, from lines of action which are also, if not equally, inconsistent with our existing standards of doctrine, discipline and worship

(to which we in Holy Orders have promised conformity). It is the vagaries and claims for absolute toleration, or license, on both or on all sides which render it extraordinarily difficult for those in authority to restrain plain departures from the Church's law, and which furnish a reply to complaints concerning these violations. A policy of drift is encouraged, allowing every man to do and teach what he conscientiously thinks he may. This forfeits allegiance within, and exposes us quite naturally to ridicule and scorn from without.

I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church

IN

BY THE REV. JAMES H. FLYE.

I.

N the shortest official statement in which a member of the Anglican Church can express his religious faith, i. e., the Apostles' Creed, are these words, "I believe in

the Holy Catholic Church." What is this Holy Catholic Church, belief in which is ranked with belief in the Trinity and the Resurrection as one of the fundamental articles of the Christian Faith?

An answer to this question is possible only on the basis of an historical survey. In order really to understand any existing condition or institution it is necessary to consider its origin and development. If therefore, beginning from our Lord's time we trace the course of Christianity down to the present, we shall have a clear view of the existing religious situation which otherwise seems so perplexing and confused, and obtain the answer to our question; for having seen, as it is easy to do, what constituted the Catholic Church in the early centuries, we can by tracing the

historic continuity of that Church to the present time identify it now.

As a result of the teachings and work of Christ, there came into existence an organized society of those who accepted and followed His teachings. This society was the Christian Church. The precise nature of its origin has been a subject of controversy: whether He Himself ordered the details of its organization, or whether this was done by the Apostles whom He had trained. The difference, however, seems insignificant. It amounts to the same thing in the end. One thing is certain. Our Lord made provision for the carrying on of His work. And indeed we would certainly expect this to be the case. Considering who He was, incarnate God come to earth to reveal to mankind truths important for their eternal welfare,—to give them, too, not only knowledge but spiritual power and life, considering this, it is inconceivable that He should not have provided for the correct transmission of His teachings and of the means of help that He came to give. We should certainly expect, then, that definite means would be instituted by Him for this purpose.

This expectation is confirmed when we turn to the historical record. Christ did not simply scatter His teachings broadcast and at random. He did speak, it is true, as opportunity offered, to the earnest enquirer personally, and to the multitudes; but besides this He chose certain men, the Apostles, and associated them closely with Himself for three years of personal training. Many things which they did not fully understand at the time were made clear in the light of His resurrection. Added to this they had His teaching during the forty days following, when He was with them, "speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3.) And then, at Pentecost, ten

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days after the Ascension, they received yet further enlightenment and power by the gift of the Holy Spirit Who was to guide them into all truth. Moreover, Christ had Himself commissioned them with authority. "As My Father hath sent Me," He had said, "even so send I you" (St. John 20:21), and He had sent them forth to give His Gospel to the world. Thus trained and thus empowered they began the propagation of Christianity, teaching and administering sacraments. The teaching of the Christian Faith was positive, definite, authoritative; a propaganda not of the ideas of the Apostles, but of a Gospel which they had received. The Lord had bidden them go and make disciples of all nations, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (St. Matt. 28:20.) And so they did.

We have, then, the Christian Church, the body of believers. We can see that the Apostles held in it a position of authority, but it is not proposed to discuss here the question of the ministry of the Church at the beginning. The important thing here is simply to note the fact that as a result of the teaching and work of Christ the Church came into existence. In the year 40 A. D., for example, there was in the world a society of people whose religious belief was that received by them as the teaching of. incarnate God, who had lived in Palestine and had been crucified and had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven ten years before. This same society, the Christian Church, with increased membership, was in existence in the year 50, 60, 80, 100.

There was no difficulty, then, in the first century, in identifying the Church. It was plainly one fellowship of those who held the faith taught them as that delivered by Christ to the Apostles, and who were endeavoring to live by the principles which Christ taught.

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