Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

The full Board, including the outside members, the rural deans and a layman of each deanery, would be the greater Chapter, and would be as suitable a body as could be desired, to be the Board of Missions. The Nebraska plan, in short, in its essential features, only modified to suit the needs of different fields, is probably best adapted to the ends in view. It has been adopted, with slight modifications, in the Diocese of Kansas, and the Missionary Bishops of Colorado and of Northern Texas are working out their Chapters as corporate bodies on substantially the same lines. The proviso of the Resolution of the Board of Missions of 1877, concerning “ the Title to Church property in Missionary Jurisdictions,” should be made a part of the Charter of the Board, to wit: “ That no transfer or alienation of any property shall be made without the consent and signature of the Bishop."

It is far better to have one such corporation to hold property for the various objects, than to begin with several, one for each of the more important. Separate Boards would be more or less in rivalry, and their special claims would interfere with the harmony and efficiency of the work. The unifying, the bringing into harmonious relations all parts of the work, is a prime condition of success. To secure this, they should start from unity, not diversity, and coördinate the several branches of the work, educational, missionary, eleemosynary, under a strong and representative body. Close corporations should be by all means avoided, as being beyond the control of the Diocesan Convention.

No doubt some persons will criticise sharply the young Missionary Bishops ; young, as they imagine, in experience, if not in years, who display their ambition in aiming at a “hierarchy of clergy," and a cathedral system, when their cathedral should be “in their boots," when they should be constantly in the saddle, in the stage coach or buck-board, and have no local habitation or home. But most Church people are becoming too well instructed for such criticisms to have weight. Surely, it ought to be no novelty, when the Church from the beginning has extended herself by working from great centres strongly occupied, when our own Mother Church of England always creates a See, preparatory to sending out a Missionary Bishop, and places him in a cathedral as the base from which he is to work, if the Missionary Bishop of our own Church, on the prarie or in the mountains, strives to realize what the whole history of the Church has sanctioned and common sense suggests to be both reasonable and expedient; if he makes for himself a home at some point which is, or which is to become a centre of population, of business, and ultimately of wealth ; if he plant here his schools and a church where he can worship on his returns from his "journeyings oft,” and his ministration to the scattered flocks and the sheep wandering astray in the wilderness; and at least, occasionally “preach the Word” for which he was ordained, and break to bis people the Bread of Life; if he does, in fine, what all experience proves should be done in all other warfare, if he select and fortify a central base of operations, which can be securely held while the recruits are gained and the training and preparation are secured for the successful carrying on of the aggressive work abroad. What is advocated is simply the making and working from a centre or base. It will be ultimately seen that this plan of work, whether called or not the “cathedral system,” which it really is, is far more effective tban the opposite plan of "scattering;" that it gives strength rather than weakness, and that a Cathedral Chapter is not so very anomalous nor un-American, which shall include the lay element, the peculiar excellency of our American Church polity.

The Missionary Bishop, working in accordance with the genius of the Church as involved in her principles and seen in all her history, will necessarily have his Cathedral Chapter of counsellors and helpers under some form and name. He must inevitably adopt a centre and work from a base. His missions, schools, charitable institutions will ultimately radiate around this centre. He will have herein his church, served it may be chiefly by another, called Dean, Rector or Minister, where the ritual of worship, the warmth and frequency of services and the mode of parochial and mission work, will be what he would desire as a model for the jurisdiction. He will train his candidates for Holy Orders, so far as is practicable, at his own home in both sacred learning and missionary duty. His deacons will have gained their first experience under his own eye, and he will know how soon and where to place them in responsible spheres of labor. There is probably no missionary jurisdiction with a resident Bishop where the work is not shaping itself in some such form as this.

If hindrances are not put in the way by the attempt to carry out a preconceived theory that the cathedral has no place in our system, Church organization will naturally take a cathedral form. The See will be a fact. The organization will be based upon it. The Chapter will be the result of the drawing together for counsel and mutual helpfulness in devising and consummating plans of work, of the Bishop and his leading men who are in places of trust and responsibility. Whatever other centres may be created they will group themselves around that of the Cathedral and be recognized and duly represented in the membership of the incorporated body. Even in the old Dioceses the cathedral system is seen to be inevitable, and is fast becoming a fact. Still more is it necessary, still more speedy and sure must be its realization, in new districts of country where there are no contrary precedents, and no organizations created on a contrary eystem to prevent its natural development.






While the Church owes to Cyprian the triumph of Episcopacy, she owes to him also, for good and for evil, more than to any one man, the formal transference to the Christian ministry of the Sacerdotalism of the Old Testament. The suspicion and even the hatred of Judaism, which had characterized many of the Gnostic sects, and which had required a very cautious handling of the Old Testament Scriptures by the Greek fathers, has no place whatever in the writings of Cyprian. He quotes from every part of the earlier revelation as if it were still appropriate, not only in spirit but in the letter, to the circumstances of the Christian Church. By far the longest of his treatises, under the not very appropriate title of "Three Books of Testimonies against the Jews,” is a summary of Christian duty, consisting almost exclusively of passages of Scripture from both Testaments, without a bint that much of the old law is abrogated and can be applied to the Church of Christ no otherwise than by analogy or metaphor. In the interpretatiou of the Old Testament, it is, indeed, scarcely possible to find gnides who must be followed with a more watchful caution than the early fathers generally, or Cyprian in particular. The slightest verbal parallelism is enough to induce them to construct a prophecy or even a formal and everlasting law. This exceedingly fallacious method of interpretation has been continued to our own day; and it is adopted still, with almost undiminished confidence, by perhaps a majority of expositors. It very seriously lessens the value of patristic theology; and is at the bottom of some of the most dangerous corruptions of Christianity, both theoretical and practical. Very many examples could be selected from Cyprian's writings of misinterpretations se preposterous, that one can scarcely believe they do really occur in the letters of so shrewd and practical a father. Yet, perhaps, the strong, practical bent of Cyprian's mind may account for this very perversity. He wanted for the visible Church an inspired code of positive laws; and as he could not find them drawn ont into minute detail in the New Testament, he sought them in the Old. We all know how easy it is to find anything in the Scriptures which we first have put there; and so we need not wonder that St. Cyprian could find the Gospel in the Law, and the ministers and sacraments of the Church in the ritual of Leviticus.

“Not only,” says Professor Lightfoot, “does Cyprian use the terms sacerdos, sacerdotium, sacerdotalis, of the ministry, with a frequency hitherto without parallel, but he treats all the passages in the Old Testament which refer to the privileges, the sanctions, the duties and the responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood, as applying to the officers of the Christian Church. His opponents are profane and sacrilegious ;

. they have passed sentences of death upon themselves by disobeying the command of the Lord in Deuteronomy, 'hear the priest;' they have forgotten the injunction of Solomon to honour and reverence God's priests; they have despised the example of St. Paul, who regretted that he did not know it was the high priest;' they have been guilty of the sin of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. These passages are urged again and again. They are urged, moreover, as applying not by parity of reasoning, not by analogy of circumstance, but as absolute, and immediate, and unquestionable. As Cyprian crowned the edifice of episcopal


« ZurückWeiter »