Monthly Archives: January 2022

Inter-relations between Anglicans and Moravians (1909)

Inter-relations between Anglicans and Moravians
By the Rt. Rev. Ethelbert Talbot, Bishop of Bethlehem and Central Pennsylvania.

IN REPLY to your kind request I gladly give you such information in regard to our Moravian brethren and the Lambeth resolutions as I possess. The story is not without interest to all Churchmen who desire the unity of God’s people. It should be remembered that there have been a number of our Bishops, both in England and America, who have believed in the validity of the Moravian episcopate; but our Church has never formally pronounced any judgment upon the subject. Our attitude, however, has plainly indicated that there has been doubt in our minds as to the great point at issue.

At the British Provincial Synod of the Unitas Fratrum held in England in 1904, a resolution was passed asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to take such steps as, in his judgment, might be deemed wise, to bring the Moravians and the Anglican Communion into closer alliance. This resolution was based on the well-known fact that, as a Christian body, holding the historic Episcopate in great reverence, and having through men eventful history tenaciously preserved the succession of Bishops, they felt that such alliance should exist between the two historical bodies. It was in response to this overture on their part that a committee of Bishops was appointed at the Lambeth Conference to consider the relation of the Church to the Moravians. It was our privilege to have before us during the sessions of that committee. Bishop Hassé, the president of the British Provincial Synod, now residing in London. As he had presided over the Synod of 1904 he was deeply interested in our deliberations. The resolutions finally passed unanimously by the Lambeth Conference on the subject will soon be considered by the General Synod of the Moravians, which holds its decennial meeting in Herrnhut, Germany, in a few months.

It happened that on the day following the adjournment of the Lambeth Conference, the British Provincial Synod of the Moravians met in Ducinfield, England. His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, requested me to attend the Synod and take with me such other Bishops as I could secure. Bishop Hamilton Bayne, an English Bishop, was good enough to meet me there. The Archbishop sent by my hands a letter to the Synod conveying his fraternal greetings and the expression of his hope and prayer that the outcome of the deliberations between the Unitas and ourselves might be all that could be desired. On arriving I was met at the station by Bishop Hassé and was most kindly received by the Synod. After reading the Archbishop’s letter, I was requested to follow it with such remarks as I cared to make, and my English brother followed me in a speech breathing a most gracious and kindly spirit. There were present three or four Moravian Bishops, all of whom spoke. Before this Synod adjourned the printed resolutions of the Lambeth Conference were forwarded to them by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and were duly considered and referred to the General Synod to meet in Germany.

Since my return home I have learned that my speech was taken down in full by a stenographer and had appeared in the Moravian papers. I have been invited to address the faculty and students of the Moravian Theological Seminary here, and also to tell the story, of the Lambeth resolutions to the large congregation in their venerable church at Bethlehem. Only a few days ago I met in conference several of the delegates to the General Synod in Germany, with other Moravian divines, and we considered somewhat in detail the various points suggested by the Lambeth resolutions.

It is difficult to predict what will be the fate of our resolutions at the General Synod. I should say that the English and American delegates are likely to vote for their acceptance, possibly with some slight modifications. As those living in Germany are not brought in contact with the Anglican Communion they may be somewhat indifferent to the whole subject.

I have assumed that your readers are familiar with the Lambeth resolutions, as they have appeared in the Church papers and have been otherwise more or less widely distributed. They provide that, for the sake of unity and as a particular expression of brotherly affection, any official request from the Unitas Fratrum for the participation of Anglican Bishops in the consecration of Bishops of the Unitas should be accepted, provided that first “such Anglican Bishops should be not less than three in number and should participate both in the saying of prayers of consecration and in the laying on of hands, and that the rite itself is judged to be sufficient by the Church of our communion to which the invited Bishops belong. And secondly that the synods of the Unitas (a) are able to give sufficient assurance of doctrinal agreement with ourselves in all essentials, as we believe that they will be willing to do; and (b) are willing to explain its position as that of a religious community or missionary body in close alliance with the Anglican Communion; and (c) are willing to accord a due recognition to the position of our Bishops within Anglican dioceses and jurisdictions; and (d) are willing to adopt a rule as to the administration of Confirmation more akin to our own.”

There are other matters of detail suggested in the resolutions.

It is not proposed by us to interfere with the autonomy of the Moravian body. They will continue to do their work in their own way after inter-communion has been established. While not a large body, it is one whose record in the mission field is beyond all praise. They are said to be more numerous abroad than at home.

A most beautiful spirit has characterized them in all their relations with us here and elsewhere; and one cannot but hope that whatever doubts exist in any mind as to their historical episcopate may be removed by some such plan as is now proposed. It is a plan which passes no judgment upon their claims, but proposes, under certain necessary safeguards of faith and order, to bestow upon them fully that which is inexpressibly dear to ourselves.

The Living Church (Milwaukee), January 23, 1909, p. 403.

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Our Aunt

Between 1935 and 1946, thirty-one essays were published in Poughkeepsie about “Our Aunt,” a woman of extraordinary age who traveled through metropolitan New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Connecticut to expose the ritual practices of Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians. This is the first collection of the essays.

Editor Richard Mammana is archivist of the Living Church Foundation and a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the founder of anglicanhistory.org.

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Metrical Collects for the Gesimas (1844)

Septuagesima, or the Third Sunday before Lent.

O Lord, incline thy gracious ear
Attentive to thy people’s prayers;
O let them not have cause to fear
Thy favour is no longer theirs;

That, for the glory of thy Name,
We who so oft have anger’d thee,
And suffer justly for the same,
May share thy mercy plenteously.

Sexagesima, or the Second Sunday before Lent.

O Lord our God, who dost perceive
That we put not our trust,
In any thing we here achieve,
Who are but sinful dust;

Vouchsafe that by thy mighty pow’r
We may defended be,
Thro’ Christ our everlasting Tow’r,
From all adversity.

Quinquagesima, or the next Sunday before Lent.

O Lord, who hast instructed us,
That ev’ry thing we do
Is nothing worth, if Charity
Constrain us not thereto;

Send down thy Holy Ghost, and pour
This gift into our hearts:
That hallow’d flame of Christian love,
That he alone imparts.

And since, devoid of this rich grace,
In thy sight we are dead;
O grant it may not be our case;
Thro’ Christ our living Head.

—R.D. Harris, Metrical Collects for Sundays and Holydays throughout the Year (Houlston and Stoneman, 1844), pp. 11-12.

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Quinquagesima, or, the Next Sunday before Lent (1883)

O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee; Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen. (A.D. 1549.)

THE old Latin Collect, for which our Reformers in 1549 wisely substituted this most beautiful production of their own pen, may be thus translated: “O Lord, we beseech thee favorably to hear our prayers, and, having loosed us by absolution from the bonds of our sins, defend us from all adversity.” Two good reasons offered themselves for discarding this old form. First, one of the clauses had reference to an exploded, or at least an expiring, custom. This was the custom of confessing and being absolved (or getting shriven) on Shrove Tuesday, in preparation for the Lenten Communion, by which shrift it was sought to sanctify the forty days’ fast. When the shriving on Shrove Tuesday fell into abeyance, and the day lost its religious character, and (strangely enough) became a day of sports and merriment, it was thought well to dispense with all allusions to a custom now honored in the breach rather than in the observance. Secondly, the original Collect betrayed some poverty of thought, the ideas in it having been presented to the worshipper’s mind in the two weeks previously. And accordingly our Reformers framed a new Collect out of the Epistle for the day, thus bringing that noble passage of Holy Scripture into higher relief in connection with the Lenten season, on the margin of which we are standing.

Let us not omit to observe in the first place the interesting thread of connection which links together this Collect with its predecessor. In the Sexagesima Prayer we were taught that no trust can be put in human doings, even were they the labors of a St. Paul, undergone in the cause of the Gospel, and for the sake of the Lord Jesus:—“O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do.” Here the lesson upon which the prayer is built is, that these “doings,” which break down under us when we lean upon them, are “without charity nothing worth,”—of no avail. The verse of the Epistle to which reference is made is the third: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor” (break it all up into morsels, and dole it out in meals to the hungry), “and though I give my body to be burned” (like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, of whom it is said that “they yielded their bodies,” a phrase which I cannot doubt to have been in the Apostle’s mind), “and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” Martyrdom is the climax of human “doings” towards God. Almsgiving, when it involves the sacrifice of everything we possess, is the climax of human doings” towards man. St. Matthew, who closed his ledger at the call of Christ, and, having made out of his gains a great feast in honor of the Master, then threw what remained into the common stock, from which our Lord and His disciples were supported; St. Stephen, who yielded his body to be stoned in bearing testimony to Christ’s truth,—these went as far as it is possible to men to go in the way of virtuous doing. Their doings, we know, were prompted by love, and through God’s mercy gloriously recompensed with the crown of righteousness. But could such acts as theirs be done without love? Certainly such a case is conceivable; for otherwise the Apostle would not contemplate it. And for this plain reason. A man’s goods are not himself. A man’s body, although a part of his nature, is not himself. He therefore, who gives his substance or who gives his body to God and his fellow-creatures, does not necessarily give himself. “My son,” it is said, “give me thine heart,” which is thyself. O let us see to it that we give our hearts to God in love, to our neighbor in sympathy! With this supreme gift, the widow’s mite is accepted and recompensed. Without it, the largest offerings of the rich men to the treasury are nothing accounted of.

“Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity.” We must travel here out of the Epistle for a Scriptural reference; for nowhere in it is the agency of the Blessed Spirit in producing love explicitly mentioned. But we are expressly told in the Epistle to the Galatians that “the fruit of the Spirit,” the earliest result of His working—”is love.” And in Romans v., which was doubtless the passage principally in the thoughts of the composer of the Collect, we read, “hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Persons tolerably familiar with the exposition of St. Paul’s Epistles are well aware that there is a great question among interpreters of Holy Scripture as to whether the love of God, of which the Apostle here speaks as shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, is to be understood as our love towards Him, or His love towards us. Probably he interprets most safely and soundly both the Scriptural passage and the petition of the Collect founded upon it, who holds that the expression “love of God” in the text, and the equivalent expression “most excellent gift of charity” in the Collect, should be understood both of God’s love to us and ours to Him, of the first as the source and essence of the second. “We love Him,” says St. John, “because He first loved us.” Our love for Him bears to His for us exactly the same relation which the moonlight bears to the sunlight. Moonlight is not only caused by sunlight; it is sunlight reflected from the moon. The very bond of peace and of all virtues.” Here, too, the Collect-writer gives us incidentally his interpretation of certain passages of Holy Scripture. The first of these is to be found in the Epistle to the Ephesians—”endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Origen, expounding this phrase, “bond of peace,” speaks of “love binding together those who are united according to the Spirit.” The Collect-writer takes the same view of the meaning as Origen. Seeing that it is love which holds together the true children of God, he thinks that by the phrase “bond of peace” is meant “love.” And this, though not the only possible explanation of the phrase, is a very old and very good one. But what are we to make of the “bond of all virtues”? Observe, first, that the “virtues” here are “the doings” of the earlier part of the Collect,—the almsgivings, the endurances, and the labors, at which we have already glanced as being nothing worth without love. These virtues need something to bind them together, so that they may not drop off from us and fall away. The reference is to Colossians iii. 14, where, after enumerating divers graces, which he exhorts Christians to put on, “kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering,” and so forth, he adds: “And above all these things” (rather, over them all, as a girdle, or outer garment, is put on over our other dress) “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness,” that is, the power which unites and holds together the various graces which constitute perfection. Without love the virtues and elements of perfection are a detached series. And when our Lord was asked which was the great commandment of the law, He did not name (probably much to the surprise of His questioner) any one of the ten; but simply announced the first of all the commandments as being that which prescribes perfect love to God, and the second that which prescribes the loving our neighbor as ourselves.

And thus we pass by a natural sequence of thought to the last clause: “Without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee.” A strong assertion indeed. Can it be justified by Holy Scripture? Most conclusively and abundantly. “God is love,” we are twice solemnly assured; and, therefore, he who lives without love,—lives only an animal and an intellectual life—must be counted dead before Him, since love constitutes God’s life, His most essential life. And therefore we read: “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death;” because the life of God, which is the true life of all rational creatures,—the life of love,—has never been quickened in such an one. And again we hear from one Apostle that “faith without works is dead,” which is tantamount to what another tells us: “though I have all faith, … and have not charity, I am nothing.” For when St. James speaks of works as the vitalizing principle of a religious profession, he clearly means works, not as separate and detached virtues, but as wrought into a living organism by love, works which express and betoken the life of love, that life which is akin to, and indeed is a scintillation from God’s life, and in the absence of which “whosoever liveth is counted dead before” Him.

The Collects of the Book of Common Prayer: An Exposition, Critical and Devotional (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1883), pp. 121-127.

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Sexagesima, or the Second Sunday before Lent (1883)

O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Deus, qui conspicis quia ex nulla nostra actione confidimus; concede propitius, ut contra omnia adversa doctoris gentium protectione muniamur. Per. (Greg. Sac., Miss. Sar.)

A SPECIAL interest attaches to this Collect, not so much from its contents, which are meagre in comparison with some others, as from the material alteration which the principles of our Reformers obliged them to make in it. The petition of it, as it stands in the Sacramentary of Gregory, and as it still is used in the Roman Church, runs thus: “Mercifully grant that by the protection of the teacher of the Gentiles we may be fortified against all adversities.” St. Paul is, of course, the person referred to, whose tutelage is to fortify the petitioner. In both his Epistles to Timothy he assumes the designation of “teacher of the Gentiles,” preceding it in either Epistle by the words “a preacher and an apostle,” and succeeding it in the first by the clause “in faith and verity.” The petition of the old Collect seems to regard him as being at present, in virtue of the position which he held upon earth, a kind of guardian angel of the Gentile Churches, one who even in Paradise watched their concerns with interest, shielded them from the assaults of hostile principalities and powers in the spirit-world, one, in short, who held towards these Churches very much the same relation, as in the tenth chapter of Daniel certain angels, called respectively “princes of Persia,” “Grecia,” and Israel, seem to hold to the nations placed under their patronage. Now, although there is some authority in Holy Scripture for the tutelage of angels—abundant evidence at all events that by God’s appointment they “succor and defend” men “on earth,”—there is none whatever for the tutelage of departed saints. Sternly, therefore, as they were in duty bound, did the Reformers wield the pruning knife on this occasion, and referred the fortification of the Church against all adversity, not to the protection of the teacher of the Gentiles, but simply to the power of God. But the old form of the petition still has its interest, though it is no longer a practical one. It should be remarked, while we are upon this part of the subject, that the original Epistle for this day (which consisted of twenty-four verses) reached to the end of the ninth verse of the twelfth Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. Our Reformers curtailed it to twelve verses, so that the account of the “visions and revelations of the Lord,” with which St. Paul was favored, was thus omitted altogether, because it might have tended to foster the superstitions, connected with his tutelage, which had left such evident traces upon the Collect.

“O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do.” Think not that it is an easy thing to refrain from putting our trust in the things we do. It is indeed easy enough, so long as in God’s service we are doing little or nothing. If a man has no sacrifices for Christ to show in his life, if he has surrendered for Christ’s sake nothing which he might have retained, if his religion—while it has soothed his own conscience, and won him the favorable opinion of others, has had no element of self-denial in it, then “to put his trust in nothing that he does” is surely the cheapest of all virtues. But look at the toils and sufferings of St. Paul, as he himself records them in this day’s Epistle—all undergone, not with a free unburdened mind, but under the pressure of anxiety and work, connected with the churches which he had founded; who that had done all this, and submitted to all this, in the service of our great Master, would not feel a temptation to plume himself on his exertions, his self-denials, and to take heart from looking rather at what he had done for Christ than at what Christ had done for him? St. Paul insinuates that he felt the temptation to spiritual pride, and felt it so strongly that a special trial was in his case needed to prevent his being exalted above measure. When the life of a servant of God has special trials, he is compensated for them by special privileges. St. Paul is compensated for his “journeyings often,” and for all the weariness and painfulness and cold and nakedness involved in them, by being transported in a heavenly vision to the immediate Presence-Chamber of God, and then to that Paradise, into which the penitent thief after his death had been admitted to companionship with the Divine Master. But an heir of sinful flesh and blood, so tried and so honored, was liable to “be exalted above measure.” And as God will have “no flesh glory in His presence,” a thorn in this man’s flesh is given to him (it may have been an impediment in his speech, or a dimness in his eyesight, or a nervous affection operating in some other humiliating manner) to buffet him, and thus to keep him in continual mindfulness that, though he preaches the Gospel, he has nothing to glory of, and that the treasure of “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” is lodged “in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of” man. And the state of mind to which he is brought by this discipline is represented thus: “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ” (of God in Christ, the power for which the Collect prays as our defence against all adversities) “may rest upon me.”

But one word must be said on the appeal here made to God’s omniscience. “O Lord God, who knowest that we put not our trust,” etc.,—“knowest,” because unto thee “all hearts be open, all desires known, and from thee no secrets are hid.” Every one who takes up this Collect into his lips, should at least pause before using it, to ask himself these two questions: “Am I doing or undergoing anything for Christ’s sake?” and secondly, “Am I putting my trust in the things which I do and undergo for Him, rather than in what He did and underwent for me?” How grievous a sin it is to come before God, with a lie—with an insincere profession—in one’s mouth, let the doom of Ananias and Sapphira declare.

“Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity.” What we must here be understood to deprecate, is not that chastisement, which God inflicts, “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness,” but the pressure, “out of measure, above strength,” which might prove too severe a trial for our faith and patience. By such pressure it was that the great teacher of the Gentiles was thrown, in despair of his own resources, on the Divine power, and then delivered. And this shows us the answer to a question, which naturally suggests itself in reviewing this Collect, namely, how the two parts of it hang together, how is the petition for defence against all adversity connected with the plea that “we put not our trust in anything that we do”? The answer is that, when a man is beaten out of his own resources, then, and not till then, it is that he puts his whole trust in God. And so we realize in our experience the great truth, which “the teacher of the Gentiles” realized in his: “When I am weak, then am I strong.”

The Collects of the Book of Common Prayer: An Exposition, Critical and Devotional (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1883), pp. 116-121.

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Septuagesima, or the Third Sunday before Lent (1883)

O Lord, we beseech thee favorably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Preces populi tui, quæsumus, Domine, clementer exaudi: ut qui juste pro peccatis nostris affligimur, pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur. Per Dominum. (Greg. Sac., Miss. Sar.)

IN the second year of her reign Queen Elizabeth gave orders for a translation into Latin of the Book of Common Prayer, which might be used in the Universities and Public Schools of the realm. Copies of this work still exist in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library. The copy in the Museum has illuminated initials, after the fashion of the day. The collect for Septuagesima Sunday begins with the word “Preces” (prayers), and the illumination of the initial P “represents a traveller in the act of receiving a letter from a venerable-looking man, through the bars of a cell in which he is confined.” There can be little doubt that this woodcut is designed as an illustration of the Collect,—the key-word of which is liberemur, “that we may be mercifully delivered” (or liberated). Sin is thought of as a captivity or bondage, according to those words of a still more familiar prayer: Though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us.” The venerable captive in the cell is the sinner returning to a better mind. The letter with which he is charging the traveller is a supplication for deliverance.

And probably the traveller, free to go about where he pleases, and ready to start for a distant country, is intended to represent an angel, charged to deliver the suppliant’s message at the throne of grace.

One word is necessary upon the title of the Sunday for which this Collect is provided. As Lent consists of forty days, the first Sunday in that season used to be called Quadragesima (a word formed from quadraginta, the Latin for forty, and still retained in the French word for Lent, Carême), because, on a rough computation, it would fall about forty days from Easter. The three preceding Sundays were termed in the same way Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, and Septuagesima, because, in round numbers, and counting by tens, they would be respectively at a distance of fifty, sixty, and seventy days from Easter. The only noteworthy point in this nomenclature is that the Sundays are counted no longer forward as hitherto (Second, Third, Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany), but backward from Lent (Septuagesima, or the Third Sunday before Lent, Sexagesima, or the Second Sunday before Lent, etc.) On Septuagesima Sunday all thought of the Manifestation of Christ, which has occupied our minds since the Festival of the Epiphany, is dropped, and a new period of a different character is ushered in. We catch to-day our first glimpse of the great period of humiliation, and a cloud falls upon the Church’s landscape. The Epistle speaks of the possibility of failure, not only for those who run in the heavenly race (that is, make some exertions to attain to God’s glory), but even for those who, like St. Paul, seem foremost in it. The Gospel strikes the same note in its concluding sentence, reminding us that, though many are called to labor in God’s vineyard, few are those chosen ones who so labor as ultimately to win the prize. The Collect is couched in a strain of humiliation, and is a penitent suit for forgiveness; and thus we are forcibly reminded by all three that a new period of the Christian year, sad and solemn, is about to set in.

“O Lord, we beseech thee favorably to hear the prayers of thy people.” The hearing in the original Latin is not simple hearing. It is a compound verb, which denotes the hearing afar off and at a distance. The ten lepers “stood afar off” when they said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” The publican, whose spirit this beautiful prayer breathes, stood “afar off,” and “smote upon his breast,” when he said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” It is the word ordinarily employed in the Latin Offices to denote God’s hearing of a prayer, which is not a simple hearing, but a regarding and listening.

“That we who are justly punished for our offences.” “Justly cast down” is more near the original; the notion of punishment residing not in the verb, but in the words “justly” and “for our offences.” Our Judge, who is also our most loving and merciful Father, will not, cannot deal otherwise than compassionately with those who, in any trouble or distress which is sent them, confess that they have most righteously deserved it. “We indeed justly;” cried the penitent thief, “for we receive the due reward of our deeds.” “The good thief,” says Francis of Sales, “made of a bad cross a cross of Jesus Christ. Unite we then, as the good thief did, our sinner’s cross to the cross of the Saviour. So, by this loving and devout union of our sufferings to the sufferings and cross of Jesus Christ, we shall enter like good thieves into His friendship, and in His train into Paradise.” Let us digest, during the coming Lent, those words of good Nehemiah, and seek to make them the key-note of our humiliation: “Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly.” “If we would judge ourselves” thus, “we should not be judged.”

“May be mercifully delivered” (set free) “by thy goodness.” Sin is often spoken of, both in the Bible and Prayer Book, as a captivity, a bondage. And, accordingly, part of the predicted function of Him who saves from sin is said to be “to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Sin weakens and afflicts all the powers of the spiritual life, and degrades the sinner. Sin, wilfully admitted, dims our spiritual light, clogs our feet when we wish to walk in the way of God’s commandments, ties our hands when we would do His work, and is a bondage of the will, which, through indulgence in sinful pleasures, loses its freedom.

“For the glory of thy Name.” Blessed be God that He hath Himself put this plea in our mouth; and that being, as it is, quite independent of anything we have to show in character or conduct, it may be urged by those who have fallen lowest, and whose case is most grievous. “O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many,” says Jeremiah.

“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,” prays the Psalmist, unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”

The Collect is appropriately closed with the longer and more jubilant formulary, which recites, not the Mediator’s name only, but also His exaltation to the right hand of God. The mind is thus relieved, amid the shadows which the coming Lent casts on it, by the thought of the divinity and power of our great Intercessor, a remembrance necessary to sustain it through the valley of humiliation, into the hollow of which it takes its first steps to-day.

The Collects of the Book of Common Prayer: An Exposition, Critical and Devotional (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1883), pp. 111-115.

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Corporate Reunion [Arnold Harris Mathew and the Order of Corporate Reunion, 1913]

It is difficult to deal adequately with the ecclesiastical vagaries of the gentleman who calls himself Archbishop Mathew, for, drest in no authority whatever (but in a most gorgeous array of Gothic episcopal vestments), he continues to play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven as must surely give the angels cause for some poignant emotion. [We refer to a picture of himself, giving his blessing urbi et orbi, which is presented along with the first issue of The Union Review and may be had for framing, on terms mentioned in that periodical.] His latest enterprize, as announced in The Union Review, intended apparently to be the organ of the body, is to revive the old “Order of Corporate Reunion,” founded by Dr. Lee and others in 1877, and understood to be extinct long ago. But a certain Mr. Oliver Widdrington, writing to the Universe for February 21, protests against the statement that the Order is extinct and repudiates the notion that any surviving members could be so foolish or so ignorant of Catholic principles as to associate themselves with an “heretical Anglo-Dutch schism.” Manifestly one cannot revive what is not dead, and Mr. Widdrington assures us that the old Order is so far alive that it still possesses a “registrar.” However, as this official, according to the same authority, “has not issued notices for many years,” it is not to be wondered at that Archbishop Mathew thought the field clear for a resurrection of the former futile scheme. Readers of the Universe, in which paper a correspondence on the subject has lately appeared, may be puzzled to notice that the “organizing secretary” of the soi-disant revived Order signs himself “Francis Bacon, Bishop,” and gives Archbishop Mathew’s house as his address. I am credibly informed that there is not only an identity of residence but an identity of person between the two, in other words, that Archbishop Mathew uses “Francis Bacon,” one of his noms de plume, a fact which raises curious reflections when we see the two names mentioned separately in the prospectus of the revived Order as its “Honorary Prelates” and notice that “Francis Bacon” sometimes comes forward, for instance, in the Catholic Times of July 19th last year, as the champion of his “friend and superior,” the latter preferring to preserve a dignified silence under attack. Be that as it may, it is plain that the same characteristics of mystery and make-believe which brought to nought the aims of the previous venture are written large over this new attempt.

The whole conception is wrong from the beginning, wrong in its conception, wrong in its methods. God’s message, delivered and authenticated by the Church, is to the individual soul, not to “orders” or “societies.” He who believes that the sect he belongs to should seek reunion with Rome is bound to seek reunion himself, irrespective of the attitude or action of others. “Quid ad te? Tu Me sequere.”To refuse to put oneself personally into harmony with the divinely-appointed organization of the Church, under pretext of doing more for God outside that arrangement, is to assume a wisdom greater than God’s. We notice in these new plans exactly the same fallacies as marked the old, especially the fallacy that sacerdotal and episcopal powers can be lawfully conferred or exercised without jurisdiction, and an inability to see that once one has separated from the Church by schism or heresy one is no longer a Catholic till one has purged oneself of one’s guilt before a competent tribunal. Mr. Mathew may possibly be a Bishop, but he is certainly not a Catholic, he may have orders but he has no mission nor jurisdiction, and his projected association stands condemned, by experience as well as by reason, by its ideals no less than by its methods. If he wishes to re-enter the Fold, he should not try to climb over, much less to burrow under, but should apply to the Keeper of the Door.

—From The Month: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature, Science and Art (London: Longmans, 1913), pp. 294-295.

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Filed under Anglo-Catholicism, Order of Corporate Reunion