[VIII. The Anglo-American Church]

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To tell the truth, we think one special enemy to which the American Church, as well as our own, at present lies open is the influence of a refined and covert Socinianism. Not that we fear any invasion of that heresy within her pale now, any more than fifty years ago, but it is difficult to be in the neighbourhood of icebergs without being chilled, and the United States is, morally speaking, just in the latitude of ice and snow. Here again, as our remarks will directly show, we mean nothing disrespectful towards our Transatlantic relatives. We allude, not to their national character, nor to their form of government, but to their employments, which in truth we share with them. A trading country is the habitat of Socinianism. Mr. Caswall in one place speaks of its "alluring doctrines:" this may seem a strange description of them, but it is perfectly true, as he uses it. There is no accounting for tastes; and there is a moral condition of mind to which this dismal creed is alluring. Mr. Caswall's words are as follows: "At Boston and Salem Unitarianism is very prevalent ... and great numbers of the rich and fashionable are attached to its alluring doctrines."—P. 134. Not to the poor, the forlorn, the {348} dejected, the afflicted, can the Unitarian doctrine be alluring, but to those who are rich and have need of nothing, and know not that they are "miserable and blind and naked;"—to such men Unitarianism so-called is just fitted, suited to their need, fulfilling their anticipations of religion, counterpart to their inward temper and their modes of viewing things. Those who have nothing of this world to rely upon need a firm hold of the next, they need a deep religion; they are as if stripped of the body while here,—as if in the unseen state between death and judgment; and as they are even now in one sense what they then shall be, so they need to view God such as they then will view Him; they endure, or rather eagerly desire, the bare vision of Him stripped of disguise, as they are stripped of disguises too; they desire to know that He is eternal, since they feel that they are mortal.

Such is the benefit of poverty; as to wealth, its providential corrective is the relative duties which it involves, as in the case of a landlord; but these do not fall upon the trader. He has rank without tangible responsibilities; he has made himself what he is, and becomes self-dependent; he has laboured hard or gone through anxieties, and indulgence is his reward. In many cases he has had little leisure for cultivation of mind, accordingly luxury and splendour will be his beau ideal of refinement. If he thinks of religion at all, he will not like from being a great man to become a little one; he bargains for some or other compensation to his self-importance, some little power of judging or managing, some small permission to have his own way. Commerce is free as air; it knows no distinctions; mutual intercourse is its medium of operation. Exclusiveness, separations, rules of life, observance of days, nice scruples {349} of conscience, are odious to it. We are speaking of the general character of a trading community, not of individuals; and, so speaking, we shall hardly be contradicted. A religion which neither irritates their reason nor interferes with their comfort, will be all in all in such a society. Severity whether of creed or precept, high mysteries, corrective practices, subjection of whatever kind, whether to a doctrine or to a priest, will be offensive to them. They need nothing to fill the heart, to feed upon, or to live in; they despise enthusiasm, they abhor fanaticism, they persecute bigotry. They want only so much religion as will satisfy their natural perception of the propriety of being religious. Reason teaches them that utter disregard of their Maker is unbecoming, and they determine to be religious, not from love and fear, but from good sense.

Now it would be a miserable slander on the American Church to say that she was suited to such a form of mind as this; how can she, with her deep doctrines of the Apostolic Commission and the Eucharistic Sacrifice? but this is the very point; here we see around her the external influences which have a tendency to stifle her true development, and to make her inconsistent and unreal. If in the English Church the deep sea dried up more or less in the last century, why should it not in the American also? Let the latter dread her extension among the opulent merchants and traders in towns, where her success has principally been. Many undesirable persons will begin to see in the Church what they can find nowhere else; the Sectarian doctrines are more or less enthusiastic; the Roman Catholic despotic; in our Church there is (or may be) moderation, rationality, decency, and order, which are just the cardinal excellences, the highest "idea" of truth, the first and only {350} fair, to which their minds attain. If this view of things is allowed a footing, a sleek gentlemanlike religion will grow up within the sacred pale, with well-warmed chapels, softly cushioned pews, and eloquent preachers. The poor and needy, the jewels of the Church, will dwindle away; the clergy will sink in honour, and rich laymen will culminate. Already, Mr. Caswall informs us, "there are churches which rather resemble splendid drawing-rooms than houses of worship, and in which the poor man could hardly feel himself at home. Handsome carpets cover every part of the floor," and "the pews are luxuriously cushioned in a manner calculated to invite repose."—P. 289. Again: "At Chillicothe [in Ohio] the Episcopal Church contains many of the wealthier and more refined families, but has not established itself in the preference of the great mass of the religious people, who are principally, as in other parts of Ohio, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists."—P. 55. Elsewhere he says, speaking generally, not of any particular place:

"In the congregation there are few, if any, poor persons, so that it is often difficult to dispose of the communion-alms according to the regulations of the Rubric. The Episcopal congregations are generally composed of highly-intelligent and respectable people, many of whom have received an excellent education. Hence, intellectual sermons are held in great esteem, and elegant composition is duly appreciated. Commonplace discourses are disregarded, and old or borrowed ones are never tolerated. Some oratorical genius is always necessary to clerical success in republican America."—P. 296.

We are aware it is a bold thing to speak of a Church which is a hemisphere off us: we are speaking from books, not from practical knowledge; but we think we may say without fear of mistake, that pews, carpets, cushions, and fine speaking are not developments of the {351} Apostolical Succession. Fathers and brethren, we would say, if we might venture a word, dispense with this world when you enter the presence of another. Throw aside your pillows; set wide your closets; break down your partitions; tear away your carpets. Open a space whereon to worship freely, as those to whom worship was the first thing; who come to repent, not to repose; to give thanks, not to reason; to praise, not to enjoy yourselves. Dispense with your props and kneelers; learn to go down on the floor. What has possessed you and us to choose square boxes to pray in, while we despise Simeon upon his pillar? Why squeeze and huddle together as you neither do, nor would dream of doing, at a dinner-table or in a drawing-room? Let the visible be a type of the invisible. You have dispensed with the clerk, you are spared the royal arms; but still who would ever recognize in a large double cube, with bare walls, wide windows, high pulpit, capacious reading-desk, galleries projecting, and altar obscured, an outward emblem of the heavenly Jerusalem, the fount of grace, the resort of Angels?

Having touched on the circumstances of worship, we may as well here notice some other points connected with it, in which the American Church has not yet carried out her elementary principle.

Mr. Caswall, for instance, tells us that "the communion-table seldom occupies its appropriate place, but is often little more than a narrow board placed in front of the reading-desk, in the situation usually occupied by the clerk in the Church of England."—P. 280. He adds, however, that in some churches of recent erection, the altar occupies a conspicuous and somewhat elevated position in a recess at the extremity of the building, opposite to the main entrance. This is a promising {352} symptom of development going on in the Church, in spite of "extraneous influences." At present, however, it marks the inconsistent state of things, that even so good a churchman as Mr. Caswall is but partially sensible of the position which the Holy Eucharist occupies in the Christian system. We hear nothing of its celebration in critical times, when we have a right to expect it; and no remark is made upon the omission. When that interesting man, Mr. Gunn, whose history Mr. Caswall gives at great length, at length fell in with a clergyman, Mr. Caswall thus speaks of the event: "Once more, after an interval of fifteen years, our lay-reader was permitted to hear the word of life declared by a commissioned ambassador of Christ."—P. 97. To hear? and not also to take and eat that Living Word, which a commissioned priest alone could give him? In Mr. Caswall's sketch of a diocesan convention, where he was present, he tells us, "The members assembled at 10 a.m. They took their seats in the front pews, the remainder of the building being occupied by a number of respectable persons attached to the Church. The Bishop entered in his episcopal robes, and took his seat within the rails of the communion-table. A clergyman appointed by the Bishop then read morning prayers; the Bishop performed the ante-communion service, and a sermon was preached by another clergyman. After divine service, the Bishop called the convention to order."—P. 68. The business of the meeting follows; the meeting adjourns till the afternoon; it reassembles; the Bishop reads his annual address. He "urges upon the members the importance of improving the occasion by social prayer and devotional fellowship."—Committees make their reports, or are appointed; resolutions pass: so ends the first day. On the second prayers and a sermon—then {353} business—reports from parishes—"such further accounts as appeared likely to interest or edify." It meets again the third day: divine worship—a canon passed—committee appointed—resolutions—"the members of the convention having been hospitably treated by the inhabitants of the place" (exceedingly proper),—a vote of thanks—a psalm sung—the episcopal benediction given—the convention "finally adjourned." Concerning the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, not a word. We speak of this as what happened in a particular case, without having any right or wish to suppose it a general rule. Indeed, in another place Mr. Caswall, speaking of the "regular Sunday services of a clergyman, says that the holy communion is generally administered once a month."—P. 294. And elsewhere he expressly speaks of its celebration at the Convention of Massachusetts in 1833.—P. 121.

Again: the Gospel is a free gift, and in all its developments must take the shape of a free gift: it must not be bought; to the giver the receiver offers back of his best, but not as a bargain. What then are we to think of paying for seats in churches? or, if we have inherited the custom, what of extending it to the poor? yet we have the following uncomfortable account of what is taking place in the American Church: "There are but few free seats in Episcopal churches, and in fact there is not the same necessity. Few persons are so poor, and still fewer would be willing to accept it as a gratuity."—P. 282. Why not say at once "few persons are so poor as to accept the Gospel as a gratuity? Pride in things visible leads to pride in things unseen.

Again, he says, "The ancient practice of bowing at the name of Jesus is disused to a great extent."—P. 337. "The practice of turning to the east when the Creed is {354} repeated has been entirely forgotten."—P. 295. "The burial-grounds are generally remote from the churches, and are never consecrated."—P. 283. "In the Table of Vigils, etc. (in the Prayer Book), the Vigils are wholly omitted."—P. 243. "There is no place in America in which the service of a Church is performed daily, unless the General Theological Seminary at New York may be regarded an exception."—P. 595. "Some clergymen almost entirely neglect the observance of the feasts and fasts of the Church. I have known a few who have declined to celebrate Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, while they have united with other denominations in monthly meetings of prayer for missions, colleges, or other objects of interest."—P. 337. "The saints' days which occur during the week are very frequently left unnoticed, while weekly lectures on the nights of Wednesday or Thursday are very general."—Ibid. "The service for the churching of women is seldom used, except in the case of English people, who desire to conform to the practice of their ancestors."—P. 299.

All this suggests that there is abundance to do in the way of what we have called development. If persons neglect the ordinances of the Church, it is because they do not believe their virtue and efficacy. If they thought the Church had a gift of grace, they would be instant in the times and places in which she dispenses it. It is difficult to prove that it is a duty to come to church daily; it is easy for a Churchman to feel that it is a privilege.

Again: in the American Church bishops do not assume sees, but are named from their dioceses. In spite of whatever precedents may be urged in favour of this usage, we are clear that it is a piece of purus putus Protestantismus. It is difficult to analyze its rationale, {355} but we have no doubt that so it is. The Church is in a country, not of it, and takes her seat in a centre. If a bishop has no throne or see, where is the one never-dying priest, without break, who is the living Apostle of the Church? Is a bishop a mere generalization of a diocese, or its foundation? a name or a person? Generalizations are everywhere, persons have a position. Does a bishop depend on his diocese, or his diocese on him? meanwhile the Roman Catholics have located their bishops, and though their succession in the country is later than ours, they have thus given themselves the appearance of being the settlers, not strangers on a visit.

On the other hand, we are glad to learn from Mr. Caswall the following pleasing manifestations of a Catholic spirit in the details of worship;—at Christmas the churches are decorated with evergreens, tastefully hung in festoons. Since holly, box, and laurel cannot be obtained, "boughs of the cedar, pine, and hemlock are employed in their stead. These decorations are commonly arranged by the young ladies of the congregation."—P. 283. This is as it should be; the same interesting class should also employ themselves in working altar-cloths, and ornamenting service books, the modicum of embellishment which political revolutions have left us. Again:—

"The sign of the cross has lately made its appearance on many churches, agreeably with the early custom. Bishop Onderdonk, of New York, in a charge to his clergy, has commended the good taste displayed in this appropriate decoration; and has declared that only an anti-Protestant feeling can consider the sign of the cross as symbolizing the corruptions of Romanism."—P. 282.

Both infants and adults are sometimes baptized by immersion, according to the rubric. This, again, is cheering news. In one church in Kentucky the font is {356} in the shape of a large bath, six or seven feet in length. Several persons in Philadelphia have been baptized in the river (pp. 297, 298). Mr. Caswall observes, in another place:

"In Baptist neighbourhoods there are episcopal clergymen who greatly desire to see the old English rubric restored, by which all persons were required to be immersed at baptism, except when they were sick and unable to bear it. I am acquainted with a small episcopal congregation situated in the midst of Baptists, in which not a single infant has been presented for baptism during seven years, the parents being greatly influenced by the arguments of the sectarians."—P. 337.

This is a curious instance of "extraneous influences" working the right way.

7. [sic]

But leaving these agreeable instances of the expansion of the Apostolical idea, which show that we have everything to hope of the American Church, we must go on to allude, for our space will hardly allow us to do more, to a much more systematic and overt deflexion from Church principles than any which we have yet mentioned, viz., the power usurped by the laity over the bishop's jurisdiction, which at present is an absolute bar to the due development of Catholicity. The Americans boast that their Church is not, like ours, enslaved to the civil power; true, not to the civil power by name and in form, but to the laity, and in a democracy what is that but the civil power in another shape? When Bishop Hobart returned from England, he preached and published a Sermon, in which, among other evils in our Church, he freely, but not at all unwarrantably, expressed his regret at what his biographer truly called "the extraordinary and inappropriate prerogative of the king, through his {357} ministers, to designate the persons who shall be chosen for the episcopal office, whose authority is entirely divine, and the absolute incapacity of the clergy to exercise their ecclesiastical power independently of the State."—P. 333. He adds, "But here no secular authority can interfere with our high ecclesiastical assembly, nor control her legitimate powers." When this Sermon reached England it excited no little annoyance in certain quarters; and in the Quarterly Theological Review (before it became connected with the British Critic) a very bitter attack appeared, which called forth an answer from a generous friend of the Bishop's, the late Mr. Rose. It is unnecessary to go into the details of his conclusive defence of Bishop Hobart from the uncomfortable reflections, which an apparently angry writer had thrown out against him. But it is to our purpose to observe the adroit and natural way in which, while defending a friend, he delicately retorts upon him and his the criticisms which the Bishop's Sermon had directed against us. The Bishop had been absurdly accused of ingratitude to his English hosts, merely for expressing opinions in America which in England he had frankly avowed to them! On this Mr. Rose observes:

"For myself I can only say, that if, after a sojourn in America, in speaking of American Episcopacy, I were to urge the strong tendency of an election for the high office of a bishop to produce intrigue, party feeling, and dispute among the clergy—if I were to state my exceeding dislike to make the clergy dependent on the voluntary contributions of the laity for support, and my belief that such a mode of provision would deprive them of that freedom of rebuke which I judge essential to the character of a Christian minister—if I were to object to the {358} mixture of laymen in their Lower House of Convention—if I were to state these things in the honesty of my heart, in a deep conviction that these were evils, and in an unaffected regret to see them in a Church, for the excellences of which, as a true Episcopalian, I had the strongest respect, and for whose continuance and extension I devoutly prayed; I should feel both surprised and grieved that any man could be found who would proclaim me an abuse hunter for thus expressing my honest belief."—Hobart's Life, pp. 348, 349.

Now, of the three evils specified in this passage Mr. Caswall acknowledges the voluntaryism which obtains in his Church, and we have seen that there is a hope of its being in time removed. The evils existing in the elections of bishops he candidly confesses also, though he does not allow that they are necessary or unmixed. As to the third point, which is the one immediately before us, the introduction of the laity into the Conventions, it is implied by the venerable Bishop White, in his Memoirs of the American Church, that that measure originated with himself. In the work in question, he admits, that as regards the early Church, there is no ground for saying that the laity was more than "occasionally present" at its synodical deliberations; but "he thinks it evident that in very early times, when every Church, that is, the Christian people in every city and convenient district round it, was an ecclesiastical commonwealth, with all the necessary power of self-government, the body of the people had a considerable share in its determinations."—P. 86. And he argues that "the same sanction which the people gave originally in a body, they might lawfully give by representation." He concludes, then, "that if the matter pleaded for be lawful, the question of the propriety of adopting {359} it ought to be determined by expediency." And that it is expedient, he determines first, because in the Church of England, which the American Church follows, the parliament has a most considerable synodical power; secondly, from the difficulty of introducing into America the Episcopal polity in any other way; and thirdly, from the impossibility of getting the laity to submit to ecclesiastical laws, (for instance, relating to admission or exclusion from the Lord's Supper,) enacted without their own concurrence. Here we see the operation of "extraneous influences." With all due respect to the memory of the venerable author of the "Memoirs," we must express our strong feeling that such views imply an insufficient appreciation of the "developments" of the Apostolical Succession. He advocated them in a pamphlet published without his name in 1783, and the principle of lay government was carried by the Convention. This was before the introduction of the Succession from England, or Dr. White's own consecration. The only bishop then in America was Dr. Seabury, of Connecticut; and he and his clergy strongly, though ineffectually, protested against it. He wrote to Dr. Smith, of Maryland, with his characteristic clearness and cogency, sweeping away the doctrine of expediency, and joining issue on the question of historical facts. "The rights of the Christian Church," he said, "arise not from nature or compact, but from the institution of Christ; and we ought not to alter them, but to receive and maintain them, as the Holy Apostles left them. The government, sacraments, faith, and doctrine of the Church are fixed and settled. We have a right to examine what they are, but we must take them as they are. If we new model the government, why not the sacraments, creeds, and doctrines of the Church? But then it would not be {360} Christ's Church, but our Church, and would remain so, call it by what name we please." [Note 1]

However, leaving the history of this important departure from primitive order, let us avail ourselves of Mr. Caswall's work to trace the element of lay interference through the various functions of American ecclesiastical government at the present time. And, first, as to the Diocesan Convention, which assembles once in the year. It consists of the bishop, all the clergy, and the lay delegates, of whom in some dioceses three, in others one, are sent by every parish. Thus the lay members of the synod are at least equal, and it may be treble the clerical, supposing, as appears to be the case, there is not more than one clergyman to a parish. In the convention at which Mr. Caswall was present, there were about thirty clerical, and about forty lay members. The committees, etc., appointed at the same meeting were constructed as follows: one clergyman and one layman to report on the unfinished business of the last convention; the standing committee of the diocese, three clergymen and three laymen; six clergymen and six laymen to be trustees of the diocesan college; four clergymen and four laymen as representatives of the diocese in the General Convention. Committees on missions and theological education, seem to have been appointed on the same principle. Moreover, the selection of members was not in the hands of the bishop, but made by ballot. Clergy and laity vote together in Convention, except there is a demand for what is called "a vote by orders." Then each class votes separately, and a majority of each is necessary for the proposed canon or resolution to pass. Thus the clergy, as Mr. Caswall observes (p. 72), can take no important step without the {361} people, or the people without the clergy. In some few dioceses the bishop has a veto upon the acts of the Convention, but its exercise would be so unpopular that it seldom takes place. It must be added, that among the matters which come before the Convention so constituted, are the conditions on which parishes should be admitted into the diocese, the qualifications of lay readers, the appointment of missionaries, the promotion of theological education, and the mode of trying clergy accused of heresy.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese requires a somewhat more distinct notice. It consists, according to the diocese, of five, three, or two, of each order, clergy and laity. It is the council of advice to the bishop; during a vacancy it issues dismissory letters, institutes ecclesiastical trials, and acts, by means of its clerical members, as superintendent of the deacons. No bishop can give ordination except to such as bring testimonials, signed by a majority of the standing committee. No bishop can be consecrated without the consent of the majority of the standing committees of all the dioceses in the Union, or of the General Convention.

When clergy are accused of any delinquency, the standing committee of the diocese prosecute; and a jury of five presbyters, chosen by the accused out of eight nominated by the bishop, try the cause, and a majority decides, and specifies the amount of punishment. The bishop may not exceed the sentence adjudged.

When a bishop needs a coadjutor, he is appointed, not by himself, but by his diocese.

The General Convention comes now to be considered. It is divided into two houses; the upper, consisting of the bishops, now seventeen in number; the lower, of clerics and laymen, not exceeding four of each order {362} from every diocese. When demanded by the deputies of any diocese, the voting is by dioceses, the lay representatives of each diocese having one vote, the clerics another. Sometimes the concurrence of both orders is necessary to constitute a vote. The General Convention thus formed enacts canons about public worship, makes alterations in the Prayer Book, defines the observance of the Lord's day, directs the publication of the Bible and Prayer Book, and gives leave to bishops to compose extraordinary forms of prayers. It defines, to a certain extent, the duties of bishops, priests, deacons, candidates for orders, and standing committees. It determines on what conditions a person may be admitted a candidate, how he shall conduct himself during his probation, the due age for consecration and ordination, the attainments requisite, the testimonials, and the times of ordination. It superintends the clergy in preparing their flocks for the bishops' visitation, in catechising, in registrations; it confines their labours within their own province, arbitrates in differences between pastor and flock, and lays down the law for clerical trial and punishment. It has the oversight of bishops' charges, pastoral letters, visitations, and the yearly reports of their acts to their respective diocesan conventions. It arbitrates between dioceses, it provides missionary bishops, it legislates on the ordination of sectarian teachers, it determines the relation of the American with foreign Churches, and it appoints the board of missions. These are the functions of a body constituted so largely of laymen.

Such is the serviceable sketch which Mr. Caswall gives us of the constitution of the American Church; according to which it would appear, without going to more Apostolical considerations, that those whose business or profession is not religious, are in matters theological and {363} ecclesiastical put on a level with bishop and clergy. We are quite sure such a constitution cannot work well; and if any one demurs, then we differ from him what is well and what is ill. It may throw light upon its practical working to quote a passage from another part of Mr. Caswall's work, which would seem to show that the laity, not to speak of the presbytery, would have no objection to the same high position in divine ministry, which they are allowed in Convention.

"In the reading of the Creed a disagreeable confusion sometimes arises when a stranger officiates. In my own parish, on one occasion, a bishop performed the services in the morning, and two priests in the afternoon and evening. The bishop read the article on the descent into hell, as it stands in the English Prayer Book; the first presbyter read the substitute permitted in America, 'He went into the place of departed spirits;' and the second omitted the article altogether. Very frequently the clergyman says one thing and the congregation another; and occasionally individuals, disapproving of their pastor's choice, repeat with marked emphasis the phrase which he rejects."—P. 295.

In making these remarks upon the system of lay interference, no disrespect is intended towards the venerated person in whom it originated. Every one has his place and his day in the purposes of Providence; and whatever these may be as regards the American Church, so far seems clear, that, if a more apostolical constitution had been insisted on fifty years since, that Church at this day would not have been in numbers what she is. Mr. Caswell calls him "the Cranmer of the American Church;" comparisons are odious; we hold him to be a great benefactor to his countrymen, and this is plain English, and has a better meaning than metaphors or metonymies. He died within the last year or two, in the eighty-ninth year of his age, the sixty-sixth of his ministry, and the fiftieth of his episcopate; and in proportion {364} as his actions have an essential place, so his death must necessarily be a memorable era in the history of his Church. The influence which he exercised so long must be succeeded by other influences, of whatever kind; may the bright day that is past be eclipsed by a brighter on the morrow!

At the General Convention following his death (1838), a resolution was passed, declaratory of their "cherished remembrance of his faithful and uninterrupted services," and of their gratitude to the Great Head of the Church for the long continuance" among them "of one, who by the beauty of his example, the purity of his designs, and the moderation of his counsels, contributed for more than half a century to advance the interests, both temporal and spiritual," of his communion.


One other illustration we shall give of the deficiency of "development" at present observable in the American Church, and so bring these extended remarks to an end. It lies in a saying, we believe, of the excellent Bishop Hobart's, which has a very true and honest sense, but has been much and seriously misunderstood. To write encomiums here upon one whose praise is in all the churches, and whose memory is interesting personally to many around us who saw him when in England, would be beside the purpose; let us confine ourselves to the particular subject in which we consider that he has been misapprehended and his authority abused.

The celebre dictum to which we allude is this; that the true motto of a Church is "Evangelical Truth and Apostolical Order;" and since these words have been adopted lately by deservedly influential persons among ourselves, there is still greater reason for pointing out {365} what they ought to mean and what they ought not. Bishop Hobart seems to have found in America what we find here, a great deal of energy and warmth of feeling among dissenters and low churchmen, and a consequent and prevalent notion that Church principles were cold, formal, lifeless, external, and therefore unconducive, if not detrimental, to true piety and holiness. Accordingly he laboured, and successfully, to persuade persons so imagining, that true Catholicism did not exclude the exercise of the religious affections, and only trained them up to perfection in a right direction and upon a perfect model. The affections are the life of religion; but life does not exist except realized and made substantive in this or that subject; and if it is found to exist in an untoward subject, then it had better not be at all. Each creature has its own life; life is a principle of good or of evil, according as it is in this creature or in that; no one accounts highly the life of a tiger or a toad. And so with moral life; fanaticism implies life, so does bigotry, so does superstition; but none of these is true religion. And so again Evangelical Truth may be called the matter, and Apostolical Order the form which make up "the mind of Christ." What is called a sense of sin, an insight into the divine purity, desire of pardon, a belief in the sacrifice provided, and so on, is the matter of religion; but it is not all that is necessary to make a religious man. According as these feelings and views are combined, directed, and used, they become fanaticism, enthusiasm, antinomianism, or Christian faith. All depends upon the informing principle: if this be short of the true, all will go to waste; if it be "Apostolical Order," it will be right. We are not speaking as if we liked the phrase ourselves, we are but explaining its real sense; we do think it liable to misconception; it {366} has actually met with it; and that misconception is as follows:—

Men speak as if "Apostolical Order" were (to use a homely illustration) like the roof of a house, or the top of a box, shutting in and making fast and tight "Evangelical Truth;" or like the "politeness," the charge for which in some dames' schools used to be an extra two pence. Sectarians of all sorts, who profess the doctrine of Justification by Faith and its concomitants, are considered right as far as they go, only they do not go far enough. When will men learn that the true religious principle is one, and all its parts are parts of one? Apostolicity is not an addition, or a completion; it is one side, one whole aspect of Christian truth, and Evangelicity is another side. They are different modes of viewing one and the same thing; a man cannot have the Evangelic principle in purity without the Apostolic, nor the Apostolic without the Evangelical; they go together. If he believes the doctrine of Atonement, yet does not believe the doctrine of Baptism, he does not believe in the Atonement "in sincerity," to use St Paul's words; his reception of that doctrine is not such as God claims of him. His faith is corrupt. It may be objected, that this excludes multitudes from having a right faith, who to all appearance are pious, excellent men. It does not exclude them; many a man holds implicitly what he has not learnt to put into words or had the opportunity of viewing objectively. Many a man is a believer in the Apostolical Succession who does not confess it, inasmuch as he would confess it, except for unavoidable accidents, such as ignorance and misapprehension. So much may be granted; but it never can be granted by any correct thinker that Evangelical Truth is so distinct from Apostolical, that a man may have one without having {367} the other, as he may know geometry without knowing Greek; or that the rites of the Church are mere matter of external order or arrangement, independent of the substance of the Gospel, instead of being involved in its essential idea. As we know nothing of the Atonement except as wrought through Christ's natural body, so we know nothing of justification except as wrought through His mystical: and we may as well call a man orthodox who denies the truth of the Incarnation, though he professed to believe the Atonement, as one who preaches divine grace, yet denies the gifts and powers of the Church.

We are not entering into the question of degrees of unbelief; but there is no difference in principle between the two; both imply absence of faith. A man who has got to add "I believe in the Catholic Church" to his creed as not holding it in any sense before, has not merely to add, he has to reform the whole. He has to new-create and leaven his creed with a principle, which will affect it in all those other articles, which he already after a fashion holds. If Evangelical Truth (when opportunities have been granted) has not in his mind flowed out and developed into Apostolical Order, it is because he does not really hold Evangelical Truth. Till we master this view of religion, we shall (to use the poet's simile) be fastening the head of one creature on the body of another: we shall have a made-up, artificial being, not a nature, not a truth,—a mere dream of the fancy which never existed. A man who is not only Evangelical, but also Apostolical, is either in heart a mere Calvinist or Wesleyan, and does not firmly hold anything about "order;" or he is a formalist, and has no real warmth in him. If he is both at once, he ceases to be either; he is something deeper; he is not a being made up of two separable {368} things, order and warmth, but one thing, and order and warmth are but qualities of that one thing, which we view indeed under two aspects, but which exist together.


Now, assuming, as we shall do, that this representation is correct, we shall respectfully point out some errors which on both sides the water are the consequences of forgetting it.

It is supposed, for instance, that the two parties in the Church are each right, and have each half of the truth; and that to be quite right each must take the other half. Now that there is a sense in which such a statement is true cannot be doubted; but that, among ourselves for instance, a stiff dry establishment-man completes what is wanting in him by adopting what are called evangelical words and practices, or that a Lutheran or Calvinist "perfects his organization," as excellent men speak, by taking up the doctrine of Episcopacy as the best and most primitive form of Church government, we utterly deny. Such men become at best, as it has sometimes been expressed, "warm preachers of cold doctrines," or "cold preachers of warm ones," as it may be; yet how much of this sort of change is growing among us, and is hailed as an approximation between parties! And when other persons come and declaim against such union as a mere phantom and a deceit, and attempt to draw attention to the true Catholicism of the ancient Church, they are said to be frustrating one of the most favourable prospects of concord which our Church has ever had, and to be throwing back religion in Europe fifty years. Mr. Caswall seems to us to commit the same paralogism, as far as his words go, (for we do not charge him with more than falling in with the current {369} language of the day,) when he invites American Christians "to return to that pure Protestant Church from which they have generally seceded;" because "here is a form of worship scriptural in doctrine and orderly in arrangement, yet sufficiently diversified to meet that appetite for variety which is natural to man."—P. 326.

Hence, again, it is a favourite form of expression to speak of Presbyterians also and other sectarians as "in an imperfect state," and, to use the phrase just above quoted, that their organization needs completing. For instance, speaking of the declension of the Puritans of New England into Socinianism, Mr. Caswall says that "the Episcopalian discovers its origin in the same causes which he thinks have produced the apostasies in the Protestant Churches of Geneva, France, and Germany, namely, a defective form of Church government; and the want of an evangelical liturgy."—P. 127. "The Church," he says, speaking of the time before the American Revolution, "was of necessity presented to the people in an imperfect form, the rite of confirmation being unpractised and almost unknown."—P. 170. Again, "at length an American bishop had been obtained, and the Church, in one State, appeared in a complete form."—P. 177. Perhaps this language is defensible when used of the Church; but "a parish," he tells us, "consists of all in any given place who prefer the Episcopal form of worship and government to any other," etc.—P. 65. And, "there being no Episcopal Church in Andover at the time, we often attended," he says, "the Seminary Chapel on Sundays, where the services were conducted according to the usual plan of the Independents:" (better to say in plain English, we attended the Independent chapel; to proceed:—) "while I could not but lament the imperfect ecclesiastical organization of these worthy people, I admired {370} the energy of religious principle which developed itself among them."—P. 130.

Now that they had religious energy, and the other excellent points of character which he details, we are most glad to hear, and to believe; but we never will violently take it to heart that they or any other people, having these excellent endowments, had not a certain form of government in addition. Either Church organization is far more than a form, or it does not call for a great deal of lamentation. There are no mere forms under the Gospel. Apostolic Order is an ethical principle, or it is not worth much. These worthy Independents were deficient in an inward element of truth, in a something mental, moral, spiritual, mystical, or they had no great loss, considering they were in unavoidable ignorance. They were not up to a certain point altogether right, and only wanted finishing. They were not dressed all but hat and shoes. Our author seems to consider that the Episcopal form is the last thing in the idea of a Church, and that therefore a Presbyterian or Independent body may be considered an imperfect sort of Episcopacy. Imperfect! is a mouse an imperfect kind of bat? is it a bat all but the wings? Could we sew wings on it and make it a bat? Did all the swelling of an ambitious heart develop the frog into the bull? Could it "perfect its defective organization"? So it is with Independency or Presbyterianism viewed in themselves: as forms they are as distinct from the Church as "one kind of flesh" from another. We are not saying that they are without the privileges and grace of Christianity—that is another matter; we only say they are not the Church, they are not part of the Church, or all but the Church. And as to the individuals who profess them, they have already Church principles in their hearts, if they be real Christians; and if so, they {371} certainly, as individuals, are imperfectly organized and imperfectly developed, and ought to be developed perfectly; but that cannot be looked for till stirrings manifest themselves within them which the Church alone can satisfy, a spiritual taste and a hunger of heart which the Church alone can feed, till they join the Church as the correlative of their minds, and gain the perfection of their nature by the gifts imparted through the Church.

The same unphilosophical view of things leads to misapprehension, of course, as regards the Church of Rome. As Sectarianism is thought to be all inside, so Romanism is thought to be all outside. Sectarianism is the man, and Romanism is his clothes,—of a particular make; the clothes indeed by themselves are of no use at all, but it is unbecoming for the man to go into public without them. "In the American Church," says Mr. Caswall, "the Church of Rome is acknowledged, though corrupt, to be a true Church."—P. 341. Nothing can be more exactly worded; but if it is a true Church, it must be living, and if living, it must have the gifts of grace, whatever its corruptions may be. It cannot be an outside only. It must have a real faith, and heart, and obedience. It must be in the main orthodox, as it is; for that Church which holds aright the doctrines of the Holy Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Original Sin, Regeneration, and the Last Judgment, we take to be in the main orthodox. However, to our surprise, Mr. Caswall, (whom, we repeat, we do not make personally responsible for every word he uses,) in his enumeration of the "orthodox" bodies in America, includes "most of the Quakers "and the "Dutch Reformed," and bestows upon the Church of Rome the boon of a most ominous silence. {372}

"In regard to doctrine, I have already remarked that the great majority of American religionists are orthodox. This is most emphatically the case; and affords a strong evidence that the Bible alone is sufficient to impart a knowledge of all truth necessary to salvation. It is a fact, which even a High Churchman can contemplate with pleasure, that the Episcopalians, the Congregationalists, the Dutch Reformed, the German Reformed, the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Moravians, the Presbyterians, and most of the Baptists and Quakers, agree in maintaining nearly all the truths contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Thirty-nine Articles. Among these denominations is found almost the whole religious energy of the country, and from these the great philanthropic institutions of America derive their prosperity and vigour."—Pp. 312, 313.

Now, even taking the Thirty-nine Articles as the strictest form of Apostolic truth, still we must be allowed to consider that the Quakers and Dutch Reformed deviate from them as far as the Roman Catholics.

Another result of the same misconception is an incongruity common with us as well as the Americans, of classing all sorts of persons together as if of one and the same school of doctrine, if they happen to have been prominent as religious writers, whatever difference there be in their faith and temper of mind. We have lately been so stunned with hearing of "our Basils and our Baxters, our Gregories and our Greggs, our Jeromes, our Jewels, and our Jays," that really it is with an effort we can appreciate the difference between one sound and another, or can say when notes are in tune together, and when not. It is said, that a man may go on sipping first white and then port, till he loses all perception which is which; and it is very great good fortune in this day if we manage to escape a parallel misery in theology. What false concords are involved in passages like the following! "The Parish Library, printed at New York, by the {373} Episcopal press, contains the works of Leslie, West, Sherlock, Cudworth, Walton, Bishops Jewell, Gibson, Sumner, Jebb, Burnett, etc., with Chevalier's translation of Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr."—P. 330. Again, an eloquent and distinguished preacher, whose sermon is before us, at a late General Convention calls "for thousands of such preachers as Paul, and Barnabas, and Chrysostom, and Cyprian, and Augustine, and Luther, and Calvin, and Melancthon, and Cranmer, and Latimer, and Ridley, and Hooper." Even so considerable a man as Bishop Hobart, in language, true indeed in the letter, but very paralogistic in the sense, speaks of "our Zion," to use the Americanism, "as adorned with the intellect and erudition of Chillingworth, Hooker, and Horsley, by the eloquence of Barrow, Tillotson, and Porteus, and the piety of Andrews, Taylor, and Horne." [Note 2] But the most remarkable instance of this figure of speech is afforded us by that powerful writer, Dr. Chapman, who, speaking of our Church's champions, enumerates among the archbishops and bishops, "the weight of whose learning and piety no pen can adequately tell, no wealth of words exaggerate," Cranmer, Leighton, Tillotson, Wake, Andrews, Atterbury, Bull, Burnet, Butler, Hall, Hoadley, Hopkins, Horne, Hurd, Latimer, Louth, Taylor, Tomline, Warburton, and Watson. And among "divines inferior to these in dignity alone," Balguy, Barrow, Clarke, Hales, Hammond, Hickes, Jones, Law, Lightfoot, Milner, Paley, Waterland, and Whitby." [Note 3] Let us not seem to bear harshly upon our brethren. It is their kindness and affection towards us which makes them thus speak; they think nothing but good can come from the Church of their fathers; they love us and admire us; alas! That {374} we deserved their affection as fully as they give it to us; but we must not in love to them conceal from them what we really are, what our good, and what our evil, lest we be a stumbling-block in their way.

We know their brotherly feeling towards us, but we wish it shown in higher and nobler ways. Let the American Church take her place; she is freer than we are; she has but to will, and she can do. Let her, as Mr. Caswall in one place suggests, react upon us, according to the light and power given her. Let her not take our errors and increase them by copying, but let her be, as it were, our shadow before us,—the prophecy and omen, the mysterious token and the anticipated fulfilment of those Catholic principles which lie within us more or less latent, waiting for the destined hour of their development.


There are other formulę popular in the American Church, besides that on which we have been principally commenting, which symbolize the same defective apprehension of her true position, and grievously wound our ears. What, for instance, shall we say to the contrast so frequent between "Scripture" and "Liturgy," "Protestant" and "Episcopal"? Our brethren speak as if all Protestants were scriptural, but were wanting in the corona of a Liturgy; and as if all of themselves were Protestants, but of the Episcopal denomination. Thus Mr. Caswall speaks of a large and growing portion of the Church, as "rising up under the full influence of the Liturgy and Episcopacy" (p. 333); and of "the conservative influence of the Episcopate and the Liturgy" (p. 335). But of all combinations, that of Protestant-Episcopal is the least pleasant; yet we are met with this compound everywhere. {375} We hear of the Protestant-Episcopal Church, Protestant-Episcopal creed, Protestant-Episcopal press, Protestant-Episcopal societies, Protestant-Episcopal unions, Protestant-Episcopal clergy, and Protestant-Episcopal bishops. Above all, Mr. Caswall speaks, as a creature indeed of the imagination, but still as a thing in posse, of a "Protestant-Episcopal Cathedral"! Well may he doubt whether a cathedral "would strictly comport with the American Episcopal system" (p. 288). Let him take our word for it, such a vision never can be realized. The eyes of men will never see it. Sooner shall we set eyes on a griffin, or a wivern, than so gross a violation of all the laws of unity and entireness. No possible style of architecture could embrace the idea. Not that the American Church will never have cathedrals, but when she has, as we trust she will have them, it will be because she is a Church, not because she works with such modern spells and under such unpriestly titles.

It may seem harsh thus to speak of "Episcopacy" and "Episcopalian," yet we hope it will not shock any one if we say that we wish the words, as denoting an opinion and a profession, never had been invented. They have done great mischief to their own cause. We are "of the Church," not "of the Episcopal Church;" our bishops are not merely an order in her organization, but the principle of her continuance; and to call ourselves Episcopalians is to imply that we differ from the mass of dissenters mainly in Church government and form, in a matter of doctrine merely, not of fact, whereas the difference is that we are here, and they are there: we in the Church, and they out of it.

We are quite sure that all this is not a matter of words; nothing practically is so chill and unnatural, or {376} gives us churchmen such an air of technicality, pedantry, and narrowness with the many, as this insisting so earnestly upon what we at the same time own to be a form or point of Order added to Evangelical Truth, a portion of extraneous and dead matter, which will not graft into Protestantism, but must irritate and inflame it while it remains, and in the event must be cast out. If indeed the Church is to remain a genteel and fashionable communion for the rich and happy, as indeed it has been in its measure in our own large towns for a long while, then it may preserve any incongruity or monstrosity for any length of time; but if it is to be, what we trust it is both in America and among ourselves, earnest,—if it is to be real, and to encounter the realities of human life, need, sickness, pain, affliction, sin, doubt, despair,—if it is to match the giant evils which it was sent into the world to overcome,—it must take up a simple and consistent doctrine, and will either make Episcopacy more than a form or an opinion, or will give it up.

So much we are bound to say about Episcopacy; as to "the Liturgy," we have lately taken up one of Mr. Cooper's novels, and we find so apposite an illustration of what we would say, that before concluding we are tempted to quote one or two passages from it. It shows the impression produced by the existing American Church system on a clever man who, whatever be his views on the whole, for we know absolutely nothing of them except from this one novel, evidently has a proper respect and love for the Church.

In a sketch then of a clergyman in a rising colony in the woods, among churchmen and sectarians, squatters and Indians, whom he is trying to "organize" into an Episcopal Protestant parish, we have the following touches. The clergyman says to a stranger:— {377}

"‘It is so unusual to find one of your age and appearance in these woods, at all acquainted with our Holy Liturgy, that it lessens at once the distance between us."—Pioneers, p. 125.

"'You have then resided much in the cities, for no other part of this country is so fortunate as to possess the constant enjoyment of our excellent Liturgy.' The young hunter smiled as he listened to the divine, etc., but he made no answer. 'I am delighted to meet with you, my young friend, for I think an ingenuous mind, such as I doubt not yours must be, will exhibit all the advantages of a settled doctrine and devout Liturgy ... Tomorrow I purpose administering the Sacrament. Do you commune, my young friend?' 'I believe not, sir,' returned the youth. 'Each must judge for himself,' said Mr. Grant, 'though I should think that a youth who had never been blown about by the wind of false doctrines, and who has enjoyed the advantages of our Liturgy for so many years in its purity, might safely come.'"—Ibid., p. 129.

"He seated himself and hid his face between his hands, as they rested on his knees. 'It is the hereditary violence of a native's passion, my child,' said Mr. Grant in a low tone to his affrighted daughter, who was clinging to his arm. 'He is mixed with the blood of the Indians, you have heard: and neither the refinements of education, nor the advantages of our excellent Liturgy, have been able entirely to eradicate the evil."—Ibid., p. 134.

Now Mr. Caswall carefully reminds us that "excellent as are its general arrangements, and venerable as are its services, the Prayer Book in America or in England constitutes no essential part of the ecclesiastical fabric. The Church of England, in the Preface to the Prayer Book, has laid down a rule that 'the particular forms of divine worship, and the rites and ceremonies appointed to be read therein, being things in their own nature indifferent and alterable, and so acknowledged, it is but reasonable, that upon weighty and important considerations, such changes should be made therein as seem either necessary or expedient."—P. 234. Very well; but, if so, there is some deficiency somewhere, when what is but an accident of a system, though a necessary {378} accident, and a most salutary provision, assumes in the eyes of the world the appearance of being its one essential characteristic. Every religious body must be known by some badges; but if we must be ridiculed, we had rather it should be for preaching the "Holy Catholic Church," than for preaching the "Liturgy." If indeed we maintain that the Liturgy is necessary and essential, and, on the whole, not an alterable form, as we well may, particularly and singularly as regards certain portions of our Communion Service, that is another thing; but the incongruity we are insisting on is the confessing that the Liturgy is not divine and necessary, and yet making it our special characteristic.

We should be able to illustrate more fully what we mean by the scene toward the end of the same novel of the death of an old Indian, at which Mr. Grant is present: but we could not do justice either to the subject, or to our meaning, without using more words than we can afford here.

In taking leave of our American brethren, we congratulate both them and our own countrymen on the increased interest which is felt in both countries in the early Fathers of the Church. Two bishops, as far as our knowledge of America extends, have especially exerted themselves in encouraging this most promising symptom of advancement in Christian truth. Dr. Doane, Bishop of New Jersey, has, among other excellent works, published editions of the Apostolical Fathers, Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp; and Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont, is the able author of several works, more or less controversial, one of which has lately been re-published in England. {379}

We ought not to be sanguine about anything; the right rule is to hope nothing, to fear nothing, to expect nothing, to be prepared for everything. The course of Religion is guided through the world far otherwise than human conjecture determines. Yet looking at the sincerity, zeal, and activity of the Anglo-Catholic clergy, both here and in America, the pleasing thought will suggest itself to us, that, since to him that hath more is given, they are about to receive a reward for the good thing in them, however poor and worthless it be, by some greater good to come. A fuller gift of Apostolical light may be destined for them in the councils of divine mercy; they shrink from it at present and close their eyes, for it dazzles them. Still in time they may be enabled to bear it: and then it will be seen that in the ranks of popular Protestantism, nay, and of Dissent, there have been many Crypto-Catholics unknown to themselves,—many who, by patient continuance in well doing, are earning for themselves, against their will, to be—what they as yet in ignorance condemn, under the names of Popish, or even Pagan—Catholic believers in the Catholic Church of Christ.

October, 1839.

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1. Memoirs, p. 291.
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2. P. 9.
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3. P. 326.
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