« AnteriorContinuar »
These people make me think of certain Americans who make a great fuss about establishing their Americanism, but who were dissatisfied with America during the war and since have spent their energies in trying to prove that Germany was more sinned against than sinning. They are Americans to be sure, but we know they are a certain kind of Americans; a certain qualifier must explicitly or implicity precede that grand name if they are to be unmistakably identified and faithfully classified. They are German Americans. And so it is with Catholics. There are true Catholics and there are Roman Catholics.
Abraham and Lot came to the parting of the ways; Lot chose; Abraham took what was left. Lot chose the fertile plain, Abraham took the lonely wastes of the mountains-but Abraham became the "friend of God," while Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. The fascination of the lights of that great city of the plain! The longing for the fellowship of kindred spirits! The idealizing and idolizing of the life of the city! When Scripture again raised the curtain on Lot he was living in Sodom.
I am sure that many of us feel that the parting of the ways is not very far ahead for us, perhaps not farther than the next Triennial, but if this cursed thing, schism, must be, let faithful Churchmen pray that a strong remnant may be left; strong in faith; strong in holiness, both personal and corporate; strong in uncompromising witness to the truth as it was once revealed.
But why must there be schism in our Blessed Communion? We are celebrating today a centennial of missionary achievement which did more to weld together the extremes of opinion in our Church than any other palpable agency! Those who expressly call themselves Catholic justify their practices as being a protest against the Unitarianism and paganism of the Broad Church Party. The Broad Party having died spiritually has certainly gone the limit. Their repudiation of the creeds and sacraments and their disloyalty to the faith of the Church and the essential and distinguishing facts of Christianity has forced them to take cover under the camouflage of "Social Service." A thing which is so dead that nothing could be deader, unless it be the materialism of Rome or the formalism of the extreme "Catholic" party.
Every Christian knows that every man is his brother and that unless he takes such interest in and care of him as he can, that himself is "worse than an infidel." But to co-ordinate this care
of the weak, or the ones we may select to call weak, and make the same a corporate activity of the whole Church, involving as it must, meddling with organized labor and politics, shall undoubtedly bring to us the rich reward that Prohibition brought to certain Protestant bodies, that is,-spiritual death. They chose and they got what they asked for. There was a time when some of those Societies had much more spiritually than Catholics generally, but the questionable and devious ways by which prohibition was put over cost them every drop of spirituality they ever had. They tried to reform politics but politics reformed them.
We recognize all this! But, Catholic brethren, two wrongs never made one right, and the more you lean toward Rome, the more you widen the breach in our Church.
Extremes are never right. Extremes are of the devil. The truth always lies between extremes! Why then try to cure one wrong with another and equal one? The choice for Anglicans is between either of these extremes on the one hand and loyalty to their infinitely rich heritage, their Prayer Book, on the other.
So let us stand pat. Compromise is weakness; disloyalty is crime. One of the few things utterly intolerable to our Lord was divided allegiance! No man can serve two masters. So let us stand pat! Let us stand pat! Let us rally around the Incarnation as our Church states this cardinal truth, not as Rome, which manages to get out of it more glory for St. Mary than for our blessed Lord and Saviour. Let us appropriate the Atonementnot look on it as a vicarious thing; for there is one thing in this world which has no substitute, and that is personal responsibility! Let us arm ourselves with the full revelation of the Faith contained in the Creeds! Let us strengthen ourselves with prayer and the Sacraments! And let us reassure ourselves and re-establish our position with the authoritative statements of the written Word.
Never forget this fact: all we see of the schism and disintegration of Christendom today is chargeable to Rome. For a long time people demanded house-cleaning, when Rome by hook or by crook, principally the latter, had secured domination of the Western Church; but Rome chose to force upon us a bloody Reformation, whose bitter fruits shall continue to ripen until the end of the age.
The friends of Rome, who are generally traitors to Catholicity, try to tell us that Rome today is a very different Rome from the tyrant-harlot of the Reformation! Other people try to tell us that Germany is a different Germany from the proud and unscrupulous thief-murderer of 1914! Time will shortly give the lie to both of these inventions.
They speak of the counter reformation! Can a lion be reformed by extracting its teath? It still has claws! It still has claws! The Philistines thought that Samson was reformed when they cut his hair and put out his eyes!
I'll tell you what Rome is today! Rome is like a powerful, rich merchant with plenty of money and patience, waiting to buy out his rivals when they fail and constantly doing all he can to hasten their dissolution, so he alone may dominate the field of enterprise.
You think Rome has reformed? The spirit of the Beast and the lust for world power are only gathering strength from the rest they are taking in her!
What has Rome to offer Anglicans? Nothing of spiritual and eternal value that we do not already possess! Our heritage is far more pure and wholesome than Rome's. With her almost every part of the Faith and Practice of Primitive Christianity is tainted with corruption and exaggeration and extravagance and excess. What Rome has to offer Anglicans is what Aladdin's magician had to offer for the marvellous lamp-"New lamps for old"! Transubstantiation and medieval thought generally, have so fastened themselves upon the Roman system that I believe St. Peter today would look long and mildly on it and say, "This is as closely related to the system I taught, as the people of this generation are related to Adam."
What was the great mistake of the medieval Church? The Papacy? No! This is only one manifestation of the Great Mistake. What was it? This, and please notice this, they elevated tradition to a place of equal authority with Scripture, and upon that mistake turns the whole history of Western Christendom.
Tradition no sooner became the equal of Scripture, than, like Hagar of old, she began to shoulder the real mistress out of her own house!
Please stop and visualize this picture-see two tall cliffs far apart and separated by a great chasm. Call one cliff "Beginning” and the other "Ending" and call the chasm "Time." Notice a
strong cable or rope stretched from cliff to cliff and call this rope "Truth." Now look again and see that figure walking across that rope. Who is it? The Church! And that staff she balances herself with, what is it? One end is weighted with the whole of her past and the other end with the Holy Scriptures!
So it is brethren; so it has ever been and ever shall be, as long as time lasts. The Church is called upon to walk the tight rope of Truth, balancing herself with a staff weighted at one end with the whole of her own history, not some favored part, as the tenth century or the fifth; and on the other end with the canonical Scriptures.
Let us steady and balance ourselves with these tests and Rome will fail to make any further appeal to honest Catholics of the Anglican Communion.
What has Rome to offer Anglican Catholics? A religion long on worship but short on morals!
After Abraham and Lot came to the parting of the ways, many things happened. History, that restless moulder of fate, continued in the making. Lot chose Sodom and cast his portion with the city. The city went the way of all world cities and Lot lost his all and died miserably, leaving in the world cursed races of men born of incest, who should ever be a thorn in the flesh of Israel.
Abraham chose the City of God and cast his portion with it, and died possessed not only of the things Lot coveted and lost, but also possessed of the much richer heritage, for he was the "friend of God" and "the father of Promise."
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."
Herein is the real equator of humanity. A line, only a line of no thickness or width, merely a line, but that line divides hemispheres, worlds in fact. That line separates North from South; it is the great line of cleavage of all humanity, for it separates the children of Seth from the children of Cain; the spiritual from the carnal; the heavenly from the earthly; the eternal from the transitory.
"It is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was born of the bond woman, was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by promise." Which family do you belong to? If material
ism is your goal, then Rome is your Church-Rome, strong, definite, well equipped to fight and hold its own in this world. Rome, the Mohammedanism of Christianity is yours-Rome will welcome you and swallow you and you will be Rome's and Rome will be yours, oh time serving Esau!
But if your treasure is in another world, an impalpable spirit world; if you have "the patience of the saints" and "await the Lord's leisure," you will not look for a Church of great worldly strength and proportions and definiteness, because among other things you realize that spiritual truth cannot be regimented and absolutely defined in the language of man.
Your portion will be Jacob's, who for the hope that was set before him, became a stranger and pilgrim in this world and an exile from his father's home, dispossessed of his earthly inheritance and suffering many afflictions and trials of his faith; and your Church will be the weak and despised and scorned, but truly spiritual Anglican Communion, the real City of God in this. world.
Letters from the Orient
Chosen Hotel, Seoul, Korea,
March 19, 1921.
TY DEAREST MOTHER:
We have had two such interesting days! I wonder if I
can possibly convey a half of it to you? From Miyajima we took a 4.10 train, the same we arrived by twenty-four hours before, on to Shimoneseki (this was on Thursday), had tea and dinner on the train, getting to Shimoneseki at 8.50 p. m. We went at once to the boat, the Shimagi Maru, about the size of the Wilhelmina. We had a nice cabin to ourselves, getting off at 9.30, baggage examination a mere form. We made the dock about 8.45 next morning and had our first sight of these extraordinary people. I knew about their queer little horsehair hats, but if I ever heard, I'd forgotten that the whole nation wears white (except the children, and they wear nothing but plain colors, no figured materials whatever). Of course, it was the coolie class down on the wharf.