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$ I. That he shall introduce no other prayers than those of the appointed order.
$ II. That he shall introduce no unordained ceremonies into the performance of the same authorized Ritual.
If S II. is Rubrical, and hence unconstitutional and not binding on the Clergy, then § I. is the same, and we may add any prayers as well as do any acts that we wish. Or, if the obligations with regard to either the prayers or the practices, rest solely on the Canon, and not on universal Catholic principles, then if any one General Convention should repeal the whole Canon, every priest would be at liberty to alter the prayers as well as the ceremonial, and thus by his mere individual will make "alterations or addi. tions” in the Prayer Book from Sunday to Sunday, a thing which is forbidden the whole Church in the United States to do without three years of delay, and the voice of two General Conventions.
The Ritual of the American Church thus continues and applies precisely the same relation between the officiating Priest and the Liturgic services, which the true Catholic idea has always recognized and enforced. The “ Priest at her Altar” is not there with "entire liberty of Ritual” either as one of the “strikingly distinctive features of the American Church” or on any other ground than that of the Puritan conception, of the inherent right of every man to decide how he will perform the worship of the Church in such inanner as may seem to himself the best adapted to the edification of the congregation and to express his own views of doctrine. Such has never been the principle of the American Church, is not so now, and if she shall maintain the true Catholic conception, can never be.
I have not gone into the details of any of the special things which are in issue in the present controversies about Ritual. The acts themselves are, many of them, of very little moment whether they be done or not. It cannot matter very much, intrinsically, what is the cut or name or color of the vestments of the minister, It will not affect
the grace of the Eucharist whether it be administered with leavened bread or with azymes ; nor whether the wine be unmixed or mingled with a little water in the chalice. Whatever of them all the Church should order, all loyal ministers would instantly and gladly do. Nor is it an issue of very much importance just what may be the construction of a doubtful or disputed Rubric, for this is only a difference of opinion between those who recognize the same fundamental principles of the Church's power. The vital question now involved in these new claims of ministerial liberty of Ritual, is of far higher moment, and concerns the very power of the Church to continue in the authoritative exercise of her high functions as the Ecclesia docens.
It is no less than this: “Shall the Church in the United States, for the first time in the history of any part of the Church Catholic, abandon her prerogative as the teacher of the people, by her appointed forms and acts; and admit the principle that every or any of her ministers shall have the right to introduce all such symbolic acts, into her highest and most sacred offices as he may deem advisable as a means of giving his own interpretation to the doctrines of her Liturgy?" If the acts which he interpolates mean nothing, why then disturb the order of the Church with them ? If they do involve some important phase of doctrine, shall any minister be authorized to make the Church's Ritual the agent of his thoughts in ways which she has refused to order ? An entire liberty of Ritual such as this, is at the same time uncatholic in principle, unwarranted by law in any branch of the Church Catholic, and will be suicidal of the Faith in any Church that should perinit its exercise. Hence, on the concurrent grounds of uniform Catholic opinion, and actual legal enactments, we must conclude that both in its intention and its definite obligations, the Ritual Law of the Church in the United States is just wbat it has ever been, a form of worship and an embodiment of doctrine appointed by the Church herself. And as it is the Church's voice, the individual minister has no authority to
either add to, or alter any of the words which she has given him to say, or any of the actions she has commanded him to do. The sole question that any true Catholic Churchman ought to ask is, has "this Church," before whose Altar I stand as minister, ordained that her Priests should perform these actions, or appointed that they should employ these words which I am now about to use in the performance of her Liturgy.
J. F. GARRISON.
THE MISSIONARY EPISCOPATE AND
It has been much disputed of late whether the Diocese or the Parish is the unit of ecclesiastical organization and life. Are parishes formed by the Diocese, or is the Diocese formed by an aggregation or union of parishes? Is the Diocese prior in idea and in fact, or do the parishes antedate and determine the Diocese? Probably many intelligent laymen and rectors of large parishes take the latter view. It was doubtless held quite generally by American churchmen till within a recent period. The former is maintained by those who see some evils in our prevailing ecclesiastical system and practice, who complain of congregationalism in the Church, who would revive primitive discipline and usages.
There is much to be said for the latter theory. In the American Church, Parishes were before Dioceses. Dioceses were formed by the rectors and representative laymen of parishes or congregations having already a corporate existence, as dioceses subsequently united to form the Province or the National Church. It is possible that some of our legislation has been based on the idea of the autonomy or independence of parishes. Practically, at least, the theory has been widely admitted and acted upon.
And yet there has been a growing recognition of the other theory, as if from a consciousness often not understood or not acknowledged that it is or onght to be true. In many of the Dioceses, in nearly all of those recently formed, the Conventions have by legislation determined how and under what conditions parishes should be organized, what officers they should have, and their powers and functions, and have prescribed for them their charters and constitutions. This makes the Diocese the unit and source of power above and independently of the Parishes.
It would seem difficult, too, to reconcile the other view with the polity of the Episcopal Chnrch. According to our interpretation of the New Testament and early Church History, “the Church” is not merely the single congregation. The word is always used of the Christians of a city or country. It is applied invariably to the Diocese, or jurisdiction of a Bishop, or to the Province, embracing several dioceses : as the church at Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome. The Societies of Independents, holding the view that the New Testament writers never mean anything by " the Church " but a single congregation, meeting and worshipping in some place, give all ecclesiastical powers to the individual congregation. Congregations may unite and form Conferences or Associations, but these have no authority save that which the congregations choose to give them. The Congregation is self-governing, may frame its own Articles of Faith, and even ordain its ministers. To the mind of a Churchman this view is inconsistent with all the facts of Apostolic history and ecclesiastical usage in all ages. But does it differ essentially from that which makes the Parish first, actually and in idea, and the Diocese a convenient union of Parishes? And if the Diocese is a federation of Parishes, and the Province as represented in the General Convention, a federation of Dioceses, why may not a Diocese separate itself from the general Church, and a Parish in like manner, from the Diocese, resuming the exercise of its original and independent rights ? Some Churchmen hold this view, at least as to the right of a Diocese to separate and to revert to self-government; as a school of politicians beld that a State might rightfully secede. But we do not see how such a theory can be fairly distinguished from “congregationalism." They who hold that the Province is the ecclesiastical unit are possibly nearer the truth. The Parish cannot perpetuate itself unless the congregation can ordain its ministers. The Diocese cannot continue its own life unless the Bishop can ordain his successor. The Province alone can be self-perpetuating under the ancient and universal rule of at least three consecrators for the commissioning of a Bishop in the Church of God.
But are any of these views adequate? Is not the unity of the Church in the Episcopate? Is not the Bishop the unit sought for, or if not the individual Bishop, the College of Bishops as represented in the Province ? No doubt the whole Church was first in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God. “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” He delegated to the apostles such powers as they would need, for the organizing, instructing, guiding the Church. “As my Father bath sent me, even so send I you." The Church comes down from above; it does not grow up from beneath. It is “ from heaven” and not of men."
The apostles were “sent," not "called” of the people. They send others. They commission presbyters and deacons. They hold “the brethren” responsible for the exercise of a lower but true “vocation and ministry.” But they were made by Jesus Christ the source of ecclesiastical powers under and subordinately to Himself. In thought and in reality the ecclesiastical unit was the College of the Apostles. In due time the apostles separated. They went forth to preach the Gospel to every creature, to add to the Church such as would put themselves in the way of being saved, and to plant the Church in every nation. Every apostle or apostle-bishop laboring in his own field or jurisdiction was doubtless subject to the College of Apostles ;