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sality of Christianity in its relation of motive to the race, and that of the self-determining power of sin in the individual. Evidently there ought to be liberty of opinion in regard to the relative place of these truths in the Christian system. As was said at the meeting, "We must differ in opinion unless one or both parties are false to their convictions, which above all things may God forbid ”. a liberty of difference which was expressly recognized in the closing words of Dr. Storrs's plea for agreement, "not in opinion necessarily, but in feeling, in purpose and in
The one effect of the action at New York in its theological bearings is to remand theological discussion to the place where it belongs, and where it always has belonged, outside the American Board. A Board constituted for missionary ends is no place for the philosophical or critical or even spiritual treatment of controverted truth. That demands its own time and place. It belongs within the domain of reverent Christian scholarship, where each and every truth has a fair field, and must expect to abide the issue. To quote again from Dr. Storrs's letter of acceptance: "The questions of Eschatology, vast as they are, wide in their relations, intensely attractive to many minds, are sure to be discussed in years to come, perhaps more largely and more profoundly than they have been hitherto. Congregational scholars and divines will take, no doubt, a distinguished part in such discussions; and it may be that in their final result the new opinion is to gain such a power as it has not yet received; or it may be on the other hand, as many anticipate, that it will disappear, except from individual minds, and that to the general devout thought of the earnest missionary church it will dissolve itself into the baseless fabric of a dream."
The theology of the Board, in its Eschatology, must always be that of the individuals and churches making up its constituency. At present the constituency of the Board has no clear and well-defined Eschatology. Nothing is more evident than the rejection, even on the part of a majority of the majority, of the belief in regard to the universal perdition of the heathen, held at the date of the origin of. the Board, and constituting one of the chief motives of its origin. All discussion, therefore, is timely and necessary which may serve in the end to replace the abandoned belief on this subject with a belief which is at once positive and tenable, a belief which, if it is not in itself the missionary motive, shall be in harmony with and support the motive which is now dominant and active. 'The understanding now is that such discussion shall go on outside the Board and not within.
The result at New York in 'its missionary bearings cannot be overestimated. Even in advance of the final settlement, the principle of coöperation can be put at work for immediate results. Without doubt the missions which belong to that branch of the Church which the Board
represents have suffered through dissensions. As Congregationalists we have not kept pace in our missionary efforts with the growth of the denomination, nor with the advance in missionary zeal and enthusiasm in some of the other denominations. Occupying the great vantage ground inherited through the American Board, we have not fully used our present opportunities. The large and unexpected legacies bequeathed the Board have allowed some enlargement of the work; but we ought to make ourselves more and more independent of this uncertain element of progress. Missions belong to the living church, and are its peculiar responsibility and privilege. We have begun the settlement of our differences none too soon to take our part in the general advance of Christianity throughout the world. The call for reinforcement and enlargement which came from every quarter, the call not of despair but of hope and opportunity, was a plea for union, fellowship, and coöperation. Especially is this true of the appeal from Japan so urgent, so inspiring, so definite with its specification of towns, cities, and provinces, open to and in waiting for Christianity. It is a matter of profound gratitude that in the face of these appeals from brethren of our own and of other races we can turn our thoughts and our energies from the things about which we differ to those in which we agree, relegating opinions to their legitimate fields of discussions, and uniting in the active and aggressive work of Christ among the nations.
CONCILIATION NOT COMPROMISE: THE COLOR QUESTION IN THE CONGREGATIONAL COUNCIL.
Ar the recent Congregational Council convened at Worcester, two sets of delegates presented themselves from the churches in Georgia. They represented respectively colored and white churches. But this fact did not prove that the color question was involved, because the churches had had an independent history. The colored churches, fifteen in number, had been organized in connection with the work of the American Missionary Association. The white churches, fifty-eight in number, were originally Free Protestant Methodist churches, which had about a year and a half ago adopted the Congregational polity and creed.
The colored delegates were admitted without question. An ecclesiastical difficulty arose in regard to the reception of the white delegates, which was intensified by the fear that the difficulty might in some way conceal the color question. The difficulty upon its face was that the white churches had presented not only delegates from the district or local conferences, but also a delegate from the general conference, corresponding to a State association. But there was already a State association composed of colored churches, which held the ground and was entitled to representation. And it soon came out in discussion that continued but unsuccessful attempts had been made to unite the two into
one body. The colored delegates having been admitted, and so having the privilege of debate, at once took the floor and stated the case from their point of view. They spoke with clearness and effect, and made a strong impression upon the audience. But as the discussion proceeded, others now joining in it, it became evident, as one member of the Council said, that the Council was getting a good deal of heat to the amount of light. The question uppermost in the minds of the members of the Council was, why did not the white churches accept through their committee some one of the various offers of the committee of the colored churches looking toward a complete union in a common State association? This was put directly and in various forms to the Committee of the Council which had presented a report favorable in part to the white churches, and also to the white delegates who had been asked to participate in the debate, though not yet recognized as members of the Council. The answers given, though not absolutely satisfactory, showed that the reasons against the plans of union proposed were not necessarily founded in social prejudice. There were reasons growing out of the previous condition of the white churches, their methods of organization and association, which made the particular plans less feasible than they appeared to be, or to use their own word, "impracticable." And the Council was disposed to accept these reasons as offered in good faith, because of the explicit promise that in the local conferences there should be no distinction whatever between the white and colored churches, and also because of the understanding that continued efforts should be made to bring about a complete union in one State organization. It was therefore voted that the white churches should be recognized so far as they had complied, in promise at least, with the conditions of Congregational fellowship, but that further recognition should await a more complete fulfillment of these conditions. And in consequence the white delegates from the conferences were received, while the white delegate from the General Conference or Association was denied admission, but was allowed to sit as an honorary member. This action, it was understood, met the approval of the leading speaker among the colored delegates, and was acceptable to a large majority of the Council.
The result was not a compromise; it was a recognition of the conditions of fellowship just so far as they had been fulfilled. Possibly the testimony of the Council might have been stronger against the principle of caste, if it had refused to receive the white delegates until all the conditions of fellowship had been complied with, in the State organization as well as in the local bodies. But on the other hand it was felt that the position of the Congregational Church was so well understood that it could afford to be magnanimous. The conciliatory policy seemed to be open without involving the danger of falling into compromises. If for any reason the result should not justify the policy thus pursued, there will be no hesitation about future action. The Congregational Church can
never allow itself to occupy a doubtful position upon the "color question," which is simply the question of caste. The following resolution, adopted in connection with the admission of the white delegates, expressed the mind of the Council, and reflects the mind of the denomination.
Resolved, That this Council re-affirms the historic position we conceive to be characteristic of Congregationalism, always the equality of all believers in Christ Jesus, and that we admit the before named delegates of the Congregational conferences in Georgia to membership in this body, in the belief that they also stand with us on this ground; and in the expectation that they will use their uttermost endeavors at home to realize and manifest the fact in the promotion of organic union among all the Congregational churches of that commonwealth.
THE TRIENNIAL CONVENTION OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
THE Convention of 1886 is most generally remembered as the Convention in which an attempt was made to adopt the name "The Church of America," instead of the name "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." Alarm was felt by the broader minds of that church in view of the apparent growth of a narrow ecclesiasticism, and the public at large was both amazed and amused at such pretension on the part of a section of one of the smaller religious denominations of this country.
The Convention of 1889 has not been disturbed by any proposals or discussions which would array one party against another, but has been occupied with plans for increasing the practical efficiency of the Episcopal Church, and for giving more flexibility and richness to its worship. Measures for grouping dioceses into departments have been under consideration, and, as usual, missionary work has received earnest attention; but the time and interest of the Convention have been most largely given to the revision of the prayer book. Various changes have been agreed on which will probably receive final sanction in the Convention of 1892. We have not been able from unofficial reports to compare these modifications in detail with the present prayer book, but have the impression that the object has been to give more option to clergymen in the use of certain portions of the service, to distribute those portions in the order of morning and evening prayer so as to shorten both, and to remove certain infelicities of expression or arrangement. The revised hymnal offered by the committee, which has been at work on it since 1886, was not acceptable to the Convention, and another report is to be made in 1892.
General interest outside the Episcopal Church attaches chiefly to two results of the Convention; the direction concerning the use of the Ni
cene Creed, and the resolutions concerning Christian Unity. Heretofore the use of the Nicene Creed in public worship has not been required. It may be repeated instead of the Apostles' Creed, and the custom is quite general of using it on certain days, but the use has been optional. Now it is to be repeated in every church on Christmas Day, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, and Trinity Sunday. Discussion on the resolution requiring its use was prolonged and animated. Objections were made for a variety of reasons, but they pertained more to the history than to the theology of the Creed. Some opposed the requirement on the ground that the doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Son as well as from the Father was never adopted by the Eastern Church, and that the recital of a creed containing that doctrine should not be required of any branch of the Church Catholic, as the required use thus becomes a hindrance to Christian unity. This, in fact, was the principal objection. It was urged that the Nicæano-Constantinopolitan Creed which was sanctioned by the Council of Chalcedon is the only form that has catholicity, and that the later Western form which added "filioque" never had any general sanction, and is still an offense to the Greek Church. Others objected on the ground that no more should be required in the order of Holy Communion, with which it is connected on the five days specified, than at Baptism and Confirmation. Still others intimated that it imposed a theological burden too heavy for some of the clergy to bear, although no one made this objection on his own behalf. On the other hand it was urged that the Nicene Creed in the Constantinopolitan form, and with the "filioque" added, has always been included in the formularies of the Episcopal Church in this country, that the bishops of the Church of England objected to giving episcopal orders here because the proposed prayer book omitted the Nicene Creed, and that the objection was removed by inserting that Creed in the order both of morning and of evening prayer, and that the doctrine of the procession of the Spirit from the Son is explicitly stated in the Articles of religion and is therefore the doctrine of the Church, and finally that to make the use of it optional might result in the entire disuse of it in some churches, and thus deprive some of the laity of a cherished privilege. These considerations prevailed and every minister must henceforth repeat the Nicene Creed at least five times a year.
The discussion and final action indicate that the Episcopal Church with almost complete unanimity maintains the doctrine of the proper divinity of Jesus Christ. No one objected to the "filioque" as a doctrine, but only to the proposed use of the Creed containing it. Indeed, the ritual of the Episcopal Church is so permeated with Trinitarian expressions, that communicants must accept the divinity of Christ with cordial assent in order to employ sympathetically the prescribed forms of worship. The service of that church to religion is scarcely less through its maintenance of the evangelical doctrine of the Person of Christ than through the importance it attaches to public worship.