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Recently this Association has put forth a volume of Sermons, the title of which we give in full :
Sermons on the Reunion of Christendom. By members of the Roman Catholic, Oriental, and Anglican Communions. Beati Pacifici. London : Printed for certain Members of the Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christendom, by Joseph Masters. 18mo.
Each individual contributor is alone responsible for what he himself has written. He is in no degree answerable for what stands side by side with his own Sermon; nor is he in any way responsible either for the facts, statements, or opinions expressed in this preface, nor for the terms and sentiments in which the volume is dedicated. Nor is this a publication of the A. P. U. C. in the sense that the seven thousand persons who pray daily a prayer for peace and oneness, are in any way committed either to the particular opinions it contains, or to the general policy or wisdom of issuing it. A majority of the contributors have preferred to remain anonymous.
Others have affixed their initials to their Sermons. Thus the volume, if it prove successful in the work it is intended to accomplish, will have gained that success from the intrinsic truth and power of its arguments and aspirations, rather than from any other causes.
The preface says: “No mere casual observer of the signs of the times can have failed to remark, how continually the high and holy subject of the visible re-union of Christendom, is now being brought prominently forward on all sides. Some years ago, only a limited number entertained the possibility of such a consummation. Now it is otherwise. Amongst each of the separated Churches,—the members of which claim for themselves the inheritance of the priesthood and the name of Catholic,—the movement for restored intercommunion is slowly and surely progressing. Since, in recent times, Dr. Neale first interested, on the one hand, the authorities of the Greek Church in the policy and work of the Anglican Communion, and of many of the English Clergy and Laity in the character and position of the Orthodox Eastern Church, on the other, prayers for the restoration of visible unity have been systematically and continually offered by members of each; while the publication and use of Cardinal Wiseman's and Mr. Keble's respective prayers for unity, indicated a growing desire for peace between Latins and Anglicans. More recently, again, several of the Clergy on all sides have addressed themselves to a special consideration of this important subject. This is manifest in many ways; Roman Catholic Bishops in Ireland, Bishops of the Anglican Communion in the Colonies, and prelates of the Eastern Church, are reported to have brought the suhject of unity specially before their clergy in formal charges and pastorals. It is obviously unreasonable to expect the Bishops in England, whether Anglican or Roman, (though some have ventured to do so), to take any very active measures as yet. The great question, in the meantime, is more or less novel. For the present we must be satisfied if members of the second order, on both sides, and the Laity, ventilate the subject.”
Besides a few other documents, there are eighteen Sermons, of vbich the titles and texts are as follows: Our Lord's continued Presence a Pledge of Future Unity, Habakkuk ii, 20; Work for Re-union, Baruch iv, 20; The Joy of Unity, Ps. cxxxiii, 1; The Church's Unity, St. Matt. xxviii, 19, 20; Unity a Motive of Action and a Pledge of Grace, St. John xvii, 21; The Blessing of Unity, Ps. 1, 5; Re-union our Need and our Desire, St. John xvii, 20, 21; Visible Reunion a Special Necessity, St. John xvii, 20, 21; The Unity of the Body of Christ, St. John xvii, 21; Shall not the Church of England be heard ? Acts vii, 1, 2; Christian Unity, Acts ii, 1; The Prayer of Cbrist for Unity, St. John xvii, 20-23; Christ's Death-bed Sermon disregarded by Christians, St. John xiii, 34, 35; Christian Unity, Eph ii, 16; The Night Cometh, St. Luke xviii, 8; The Broken Net, St. Luke, v, 6; On Future Unity; The A.P. U.C.
As a proof of how this movement is regarded at Rome, it appears that a letter has been received from the “Holy Office" at Rome, by a distinguished Roman Catholic prelate, who has for some years been a warm supporter of corporate re-union, and has taken a deep interest in the Union Review and its policy, intimating that this Church of England Magazine has been formally placed upon the Index, and that Dr. Manning (through whose influence so distinguished a mark of dislike is said to have been obtained) has been commissioned to warn all those members of the Roman Church in England, who have been in the habit of contributing to its pages, that they will be expected to discontinue the practice under pain of excommunication.
EASTERN CHURCH AssociaTION.—Besides the movement just noticed, there has also been formed an Eastern Church Association, whose objects are stated to be: “To inform the English public as to the social state of the Eastern Churches; to make known the doctrine and principles of the Anglican Church to our Christian brethren in the East; and to take advantage of all opportunities which Divine Providence shall afford us of Intercommunion with the Orthodox Eastern Church.”
At a public meeting held at Clifton lately, Mr. Pellew showed how it was that it was easier for the American Episcopal Church to unite with the Greek: “In the first place, the American Church bad already effected an alteration in the Apostles' Creed—that the article .He descended into hell,' at the option of the Clergyman might be omitted, and for it substituted, •He went into the place of departed spirits ;' secondly, they had not the Athanasian Creed in their Liturgy; thirdly, they had a highly educated poor, if poor they could be called; and, fourthly, that for political reasons there was a great deal of affinity between the Russian and American Governments.”
ANGLO-CONTINENTAL SOCIETY.-A meeting of the Anglo-Continental Society was held at 79 Pall-mall, London, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, Canon Wordsworth in the chair. The Lord Bishop of Ely was elected president of the Society; Canon Wordsworth was elected a member of the book committee; Archdeacon Bartholomew, Archdeacon Huxtuble, Archdeacon Jacob, Dr. Biber, and the Rev. Nugent Wade, were added to the general Committee. The Secretary read the Annual Report, containing an account of the Society's operations in France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and England. Information in respect to France was embodied in a letter of the Rev. Archer Gurney; in respect to Italy, in a report of Count Tasco. At Messina, it was stated that a Society, consisting of Clergy and Laity, had been founded, of which the following was the Constitution :
“Art. 1.—The object of our association is to profess and preserve, in all its purity, the religion and the faith taught by Jesus Christ, preached by the Apostles, and transmitted to us by the Primitive Church.
“Art. 2.—The Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, because they contain all that is necessary to be believed by every Christian, we accept as the rule of faith.
“ART. 3.—The three Creeds commonly received by the Church-to wit, that of the Apostles, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan, and Athanasian, are in like manner received by us, because they contain purely Biblical doctrines.
“Art. 4.—We do not admit human authority in matters of faith, but we accept the first four Ecumenical Councils, because we are of opinion that they did not deviate from the sound and infallible teaching of the Holy Bible. In unity of faith, then, we will communicate with those Churches which have maintained, and do maintain themselves firm and constant in the doctrine of the Apostles and the teaching of the Primitive Church. With regard to discipline, every national Church has the power and the right to modify it, as necessity or sound morals, as well of the Clergy as the people, shall require, always, however, in conformity to the Word of God.
“Art. 5.—The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ as means of sanctification for the whole Church in general, and for every one of the faithful in particular, and not for this or that class of persons in the Church; hence it is, that we do not find in the Gospel other than two only Sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ as suchto wit, Baptism and the Holy Supper or Eucharist, and as such they come to be professed by us. Confirmation, Penitence, Holy Unction, Sacred Orders, and Marriage, we retain as suited to certain states and conditions of particular life, but they have not, therefore, the efficacy of the two Sacraments of the Gospel.
“ART. 6.-Inasmuch as the Supper of the Lord was instituted by Jesus Christ as a continual commemoration of His only and sole great sacrifice on the Cross, where He offered Himself, once for all, a victim of propitiation, redemption, and expiation for all the sins of the world, it is necessary that the Communion should be given to the people, whole and entire, according to the practice of the Primitive Church.
“AR'r. 7.—The holy offices, and all the sacred rites, ought always to be celebrated in Italian, and never in a tongue not understood by the people.
“ART. 8.–Our worsbip ought to be addressed to God only, and always, as the Gospel prescribes, in spirit and in truth; therefore we re
ject all those abuses and superstitions introduced into the Church through ignorance or the interests of men, that have corrupted the pure and simple worship of the primitive times of Christianity. We retain, however, the Cross of Jesus Christ, our sole Mediator between God and man, as the imperishable sign of our redemption.
“ Art. 9.–The above articles have been compiled (so far as our feeble light reaches) from the Holy Scriptures, the early Fathers, and the practice of the Primitive Church ; according to which we declare, that when the Italian Church shall have returned to the doctrines and maxims of the first ages, and shall be re-united in a National General Council, or in an Ecumenical Council, then we shall be ready to obey and follow all that shall be established in that Council, in matters of faith and discipline."
After an interesting address from the Chairman on the duty of English Churchmen towards Italian Churchmen, Henry Hoare, Esq., moved the following resolution, which was seconded by the Rev. Nugent Wade :-" That in the present circumstances of the Kingdom of Italy, it is the duty of members of the United Church of England and Ireland, to coöperate, in a brotherly and affectionate spirit, with those Italians, lay and clerical, who are apxious to reform their Church on primitive principles."
Thomas Turner, Esq., moved the following resolution, which was supported by the Rev. J. James, and T. Parry Woodcock, Esq.:“That an effort should now be made to strengthen the hands of the Anglo-Continental Society, so as to enable it to maintain additional agents, charged with the duty of disseminating the publications of the society, and of spreading the principles on which the reformation of the Church of England was effected in the sixteenth century.”
The Secretary explained that, owing to the small funds at his disposal, only two native agents were at present engaged in carrying on the Society's work in Italy. One of them was an Italian nobleman, living in the north of Italy; the other, a Sicilian gentleman, living at Messina. There were great openings elsewhere, and there were men well suited for the post.
After some further discussion on Italy, the Chairman called the attention of the meeting to the other subject before them-Scandinavia. The Rev. Dr. Biber moved, and J. E. Meynott, Esq., seconded the Resolution—" That wbile thankfully recognizing the fact that, amid the schisms and estrangements of modern Christendom, no formal suspension of the ancient Catholic intercommunion has ever taken place between the Churches of England and Scandinavia, this Society deems the present circumstances especially favorable for promoting the renewal of such intercommunion, and will be happy to coöperate in any measures to bring about so desirable a result." The Rev. N. Wade and the Rev. F. S. May carried on the discussion, in which the Swedish and Danish Chaplains joined. The Rev. Trithiof Grafstroem, Swedish Chaplain, expressed his hope of seeing a union of the Scandinavian and English Churches, on the distinctive principles of the Churches, which were essentially one. The Rev. J. Plenge, Danish, Chaplain, expressed his sympathy. The Chairman closed the meeting VOL. XVII.
with an address on the brightening prospect of Christian intercommunion, and with the Prayer for Unity in the Prayer Book.
In respect to the Swedish Church, the following letter, written to the (London) Standard, is worth preserving :
"Your correspondent says, The King of Sweden is head of the Swedish Church. Such a title has never been legally given to the Crown. The title of Summus Episcopus is, conventionally, frequently used, but is not to be found in any legal document as far as I know. This phrase may be understood in the same way as the very similar expression adopted by the first Christian Emperor, Constantine, at the Council of Nice-viz., Episcopus ab extra. Thus also, Gustavus Adolphus termed bimself Defensor et Nutricius Ecclesia.
“ Your correspondent proceeds to affirm, that his Majesty appoints Bishops directly, without the intermediate recommendation of the Minister.' I beg to state that, according to the fundamental laws of the realm, the beneficed Clergy of each diocese have the right of proposing the names of three persons, one of whic the Cro is obliged to choose. It is almost superfluous to add, that in a constitutional monarchy, no nomination whatever by the Crown has any validity, unless countersigned by a responsible Minister. With regard to the so-called • Pope-King's' power of granting dispensations for marriages, &c., I will only remark that, whatever may be the power of the Crown in council, as to the civil aspect of such transactions, no marriage in Sweden-except the marriage between Jews and Christians--can be valid and legal without the benediction of the Church, and this benediction cannot be given by the King, but only by a Priest. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, Frith GRAFSTROEM,
Chaplain to the Swedish and Norwegian Legation to London.
THE DANISH AND RUSSIAN CHURCHES. The following letter appears in an English paper, and contains important statements :
Şir :- Many of our brethren, who are interested in the movement towards intercommunion with both the Eastern and Northern Churches, upon the Nicene basis of evangelical truth and Apostolical order, will have read with regret the following announcement in the daily papers :-"A Commission of Churchmen has recently been named by the Synod of Moscow to visit Copenhagen, with a view to preparing the Princess Dagmar for receiving Baptism according to the Orthodox Eastern ritual.”
This, if true, would have shown the hopelessness of our approaching the Greek and Scandinavian sections of Christendom at the same time, and would convict the former communion (even in Russia) of grievous inconsistency as to the article, “I believe in one Baptism for the remission of sins." Will you, therefore, give publicity to the correction with wbich a distinguished Russian ecclesiastic has kindly favored me ?
“The Synod' holds its sittings, not at Moscow, but at St. Petersburg. There is no room or occasion for any • Commission of Churchmen' to visit Copenhagen. The holy Synod, most likely, is engaged now in choosing and appointing a fit person for giving the Princess