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1.—THE GODLY ADMONITION OF A BISHOP.-Rev. George Woolsey
Hodge, Philadelphia, Pa.,
II.—THE CASE OF ONESIPHORUS.-J. W., Conn.,
III.-REFORM OR REVOLUTION.- Rev. James Craik, D.D., L.L. D., Louis
IV.—THEORIES CONCERNING EVIL.-Rev. Joseph M. Clark, D.D.,
Syracuse, N. Y.,
V.—THE PREACHER OF THE ENGLISH REFORMATION.-Mr. Henry
G. Taylor, New York.,
VI.—THE CHURCH HYMNAL.-Mr. George G. Freese, Bloomsburg, Pa.,
VII.- EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT.—The GENERAL CONVENTION,
VIII. – AMONG THE BOOKS.-NORRIS COMMENTARY-GOULBURN ON THE
COLLECTI—FARRAR'S EPHPHATHA-GOULBURN'S EVERLASTING PUNISH-
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER.
1.—THE ORIGIN OF POLYTHEISM.—Rev. W. D. Wilson, D. D., Ithaca, N. Y.
II.-TAE MORAVIANS.—Rev. R. M. Lowrie, Washingtou, D. C.
III.—THE REVIVED MATERIALISM.---Rev. James Craik, D. D., Louisville, Ky.
V.-EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT.-VALEDICTORY--SHORTENED SERVICES
VI.- AMONG THE BOOKS.--CaldERWOOD ON THE PARABLES-White's MEM
OIRS-LIFE OF WESLEY-GREEN'S ENGLISH PEOPLE-PUSEY ON ETERNAL
VOL. XXXIII.-JANUARY AND FEBRU
THE CHURCH'S MISSION OF RECONCILIATION.
I cannot resist the conviction that a special mission of reconciliation now presents itself to the PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH. This conviction is the result of a consideration of certain peculiarities of our own time, and of the attitude in regard to these peculiarities which this Church is capable of assuming. These peculiarities it is not difficult to recognize. They are for the most part the results of a transition in society from an old to a new order of things. At no period in the history of the world bas there been so eager and persistent a questioning of everything that claims authority over the human mind, and such restlessness under established institutions. The process so far has been chiefly disintegrating and destructive. The great conservative and constructive forces upon which the welfare of society depends have not yet specially asserted themselves. To the mind which has well considered the divine purpose as it has unfolded itself in history, there are openings in the clouds through which we can catch glimpses of the light of the coming order and peace; there are many voices which promise the final reconciliation of the antagonisms which now disquiet the world. But the prevailing aspect is that of confusion, uncertainty and donbt; and venerable institutions of Church and State, and old opinions and philosophies, and ancient inodes of faith seem to be shaken to their very foundations.
It is impossible that this state of things can long con. tinue. The human mind very soon rebels against a mere negative condition ; and positive institutions and beliefs, of some kind, are sure to emerge from the present dreary waste. The problem which presents itself, and is sure to be more or less satisfactorily solved, is to discriminate between what is transient and what is permanent in human life and society; to determine what can safely be thrown aside as dangerous or obsolete, and what must be retained as essential; what are the mere fleeting prejudices of mankind, and what
are, if there are any such, immutable and eternal truths. There is a phenomenon, in our time, wbich is well worthy of our consideration, and that is a tendency to a return to the Church of Rome. I do not now refer to the Tractarian and Ritualistic movement, however much that may have brought about a different feeling in regard to some of the peculiarities of that Church. I refer now to a sympathy which is springing up for the Church of Rome in quarters where perhaps it would least be expected, and where its existence is of very great significance. No one can have failed to notice the altered tone, of late years, in regard to this subject. The bitterness of earlier controversies seems in a great measure to bave passed away. Educated men generally are inclined to admit that the Church of Rome has played an important part in history, in the preservation of civilization and in the maintenance of a spiritual order in society. Political considerations, especially in Germany, are bringing about a different attitude towards the Papacy. Prince Bisinarck seeks the alliance of his old enemies against new and more dangerous foes. The policy of Leo
XIII. seems to be likely to be conciliatory, and to adapt itself to some of the most deeply felt wants of the age. There are many men who are tired of mere individualism, are oppressed with the confusion in which free inquiry has resulted, and, in the reaction which has followed, long for some venerable anthority to which they can submit themselves.
In this state of mind they welcome the most astounding claims of the Church of Rome. If science has driven them, as they think, to a doubt of immortality and a denial of the possibility of knowledge of God, then, in de. spair of finding a religion which can be reconciled with reason, they embrace one which proudly sets reason at defi.
And more than this, there are timid men, in all our churches, who, distrusting their own conclusions and alarmed at the confusion which prevails, are glad to recog. nize a great institution which clairns to think for them, and demands of them only that they shall believe and obey. Various influences combine to give strength to a movement which tends towards authority, unity, and positiveness in religious institutions. The certain end of such a movement, unless it can find itself elsewhere satisfied, is in the Church of Rome.
What is needed, in order to meet most beneficently the peculiar wants of the present day is the authority which belongs to catholic truth and historical continuity in an institution which is in sympathy with freedom and progress ; which encourages scientific inquiry ; which recognizes the right and responsibility of private judgment; and which testifies, with no doubtful voice, to the fundamental truths of a personal God, a divine and redeeming Christ, and a personal immortality for man.
It is a principle common to all forms of Christianity, outside of the Church of Rome, that there is not and cannot be any visible head of the Church on earth. The idea therefore of an universal empire, with any one on earth representing the headship of Christ, is that very feature of the Papal system which all the rest of Christendom rejects.