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Sacrament. Wherever the Sacrament is reserved for the sick, its spiritual use must extend beyond the convenience of ministering to those who cannot come to church. It will not do to say that the danger of abuse outweighs the possibility of benefit. There was danger in the Incarnation, because it afforded opportunity to reject as well as to receive Him who "came unto His own." The Incarnation is God's great adventure into the life of man, and the sacramental system cannot be free from the peril which accompanies every opportunity.
The Reserved Sacrament should be a potent means of building the character which has been described as Catholic. Consider, for a moment, how easily and how generally we forget and fail to act upon the truth that God is everywhere present and that all life is sacramental. Theoretically we recognize the divine Presence in all that possesses life, from the humblest plant to the neighbor who, like ourselves, is made in the image of God. If we were capable of remembering this truth at all times, and if it were the active principle which governs our thoughts, words and actions, we might, perhaps, have no need of a special sacrament to recall it to our minds. As a matter of fact, we seldom remember that God is everywhere present, and we do not always think of Him as represented in the lives of those with whom we come in daily contact. For this reason there is a tremendous spiritual value in that which recalls our wandering thoughts and centers them in the Presence which we call sacramental.
We may not venture to linger in that Presence for any selfish end, nor chiefly that we may find rest and refreshment from the cares and trials of life. We desire to be with our Lord in order that we may renew our sense of responsibility to become like unto Him, and in order that we may rekindle our zeal for His service. If we shall go forth from the Sacramental Presence to realize that God
is everywhere, and to recognize Him in each one of His brethren whom we may meet in the various walks of life, then we shall turn devotion into action and we shall grow up into Him in all things which is the Head, even Christ, the express image of the Father's Person.
The earnest striving for Catholic character will lead us away from a merely contentious spirit, and will commend our interpretation of the Catholic religion by proving to others that it has the reality which the world recognizes in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Recent Utterances on Church Unity
1. The Call to Unity: Rt. Rev. W. T. Manning, D.D. New York. The Macmillan Co. 1920. ($2.00; pp.
2. The Doctrine of the Church and Christian Reunion: Rev. Prof. A. C. Headlam, D.D. London, Longmans, Green & Co. 1920. ($4.00 net; pp. 318.)
3. Approaches Toward Church Unity: Edited by Rev. Newman Smyth, D.D., and Rev. Prof. Williston Walker, D.D. Yale University Press, 1919. ($1.25; pp. 170.)
4. Christian Unity: Its Principles and Possibilities: Edited by Committee on the War and the Religious Outlook. New York, Association Press, 1921. ($2.85; pp. 386.)
5. The Problem of Christian Unity: Seven Writers. New York, The Macmillan Co. 1921. ($1.75; pp. 121.)
6. Towards Reunion: By Church of England and Free Church Writers. London, The Macmillan Co. 1919. (7/6; pp. 383.)
7. Report of Lambeth Conference: Official Publication. New York, The Macmillan Co. 1920 (80 cts; pp. 161.) 8. Lambeth and Reunion: By the Bishops of Peterborough, Zanzibar, and Hereford. New York, The Macmillan Co. 1921. ($1.60; pp. 115.)
9. The Problem of Reunion: Rev, L. J. Walker, S.J. London, Longmans, Green & Co. 1920. ($4.50 net; pp. 255.)
ERE are nine books in all of which we feel the breathing of the Breath of God. There is much of error and confusion. The speech is the speech of Babel even yet, but the writers have all caught glimpses of Jerusalem from afar, and long to realize the Vision of Peace. The books themselves are a hopeful sign. Fifty years ago Denominationalism had its prophets everywhere, while the vision of a united Church was mocked as "an irridescent dream."
Today Denominationalism is discredited. The waste and shame of divisions among Christians have been held up before men till they have really touched the popular heart. It has come to be felt that he who divides Christ is an anti-christ. That solemn conviction is spreading from the few to the many. The passion for unity seems likely to sweep over a great part of the Christian world of today, very much as the passion for the recovery of the Holy Land swept over Western Europe, eight centuries ago. The crusades did great good and great harm. The Unity movement may do both good and harm on a great scale. It is, in its purpose, a movement to lead men to love and serve one another. It needs profoundly so to be guided that it shall bring men to understand one another. Even the supreme excellence of love needs the guidance of heavenly wisdom. Our nine volumes show that fulness of understanding is still very far to seek.
Persons who think at all about the subject of Church Unity-few can escape thinking a little about it just now! -may be divided into three classes. There are (1) those who have not yet learned to care about such unity, (2) those who care deeply as a matter of emotional concern, and have (on the intellectual side) no convictions which need hinder them from complete union with any other man of earnestly religious mind, and (3) those who care deeply for unity, but have, as a matter of fact, strong convictions about some elements of truth or duty, which convictions are, as things now stand, divisive. The first class may be dismissed from our view. They are a very important group, an inert mass in the Body of Christ, just when our Lord is calling upon His Body to function actively. But when they are converted they will fall at once into one of the two other groups just named, and it is by the interaction of these groups that the movement for Reunion will be made or marred. This great Reform of the Church of Christ is in more danger from those who are eager to promote it than from those who are still indifferent to it. That may seem a paradox. But of such paradoxes the world is full. Our greatest danger is from those who care passionately for our great cause.
These two groups of those who care greatly may be labelled with the letters "A" and "B," and those letters may stand for the words "And" and "But" in two phrases that need to be held up before men's minds insistently. The first is
"It is the Lord's will that His Church should be visibly one,-And we must give up our foolish strifes and let Him have His will."
The other is
"It is the Lord's will that His Church should be visibly
one;-But we cannot give Him His will, till He shows us a way to agree about some matters, as now we are unable to agree."
The great difference between class A and class B is just this: Class A regards our present divisions simply as a sin committed by Christians, of which they have only to repent, and then of course they can put it away. "We are all working under a common inspiration,” says this group, "and we have only to recognize one another's inspiration, and pull together in our common cause." Class B, on the other hand, regards our divisions as a dreadful disaster, a disaster brought about largely by men's sins, certainly, but permitted by Almighty God to fall on us, and one out of which we cannot deliver ourselves until by prayer, and by study, and by special gifts of God's grace, we are enabled to remove the causes of this disaster. "We are building," says class B, "upon a divine foundation, a revelation of faith and order given us by our Lord Himself, and which many of our Lord's people have lost out of sight. We cannot build with these our brethren unless we can agree in building on the foundation laid down for us by our Lord." Class A holds that our trouble is only one of mean tempers and unloving hearts. Class B insists that part of our difficulty lies in error of men's minds, and the removal of error in God's order of human life is a work that takes time.
It may occur to some readers that there is no "Class A," as here defined. There is a group of Protestants whose "common Protestantism" is a very small common denominator, but when men are arguing for the necessity of Church Reunion, they are careful to commit themselves to an appeal for the bringing into organization of all who "acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ as a Divine Saviour." Yet here two points are to be observed. (1) Many who