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the very nature of Christianity, as here shown, to have this character. It must be catholic. Conceive of it, or try to exhibit it, as in its constitution less comprehensive than the whole nature of man, or as not sufficient to take this up universally into its sphere of redemption, and you wrong it in its inmost idea. It must be commensurate with the need and misery of the world as a whole, or come under its own reproach of having begun to build where it has no power to finish. Say, that it is for all mankind, except the Malay race or the many millions of China; and our whole sense at once revolts against the declaration as monstrous. Substitute for such geographical limitation the notion of an invisible line, in the form of an outward unconditional decree, setting a of the race on one side in a state of real salvability, and another part of it on the other side in a state of necessary reprobation, the atonement being in its own nature available or of actual force in one direction only and not in the other; and the spirit of the whole New Testament again rises into solemn protest. Under the same general view again it is monsirous, as we have already seen, to conceive of a line being interposed in the way of Christianity, in the interior organism of man’s. general nature itself; leaving one tract of it free to the occupancy of this new power, but requiring it to stop on the frontier limits of another, (politics, trade, science, art, philosophy); as though it were deep enough and broad enough to take in a part of the great fact of humanity only, but not the whole. Or take now finally another form of limitation, not unfrequently forced on the idea of what is called the Church in these last days. Suppose a line cutting the universal process of humanity, as a faci never at rest but in motion always from infancy to old age, into two great sections; for the one of which only there is room or place in the restorational system here under consid eration, while the other including all infants is hopelessly out of its reach-unless death so intervene as lo make that possible in another would by Gd's power, which is not possible here by his grace. Is the thought less monstrous, we ask, than any of the suppositions which have gone before?' The redemption of the gospel, as it is the absolute end of all religion besides and the full destiny of man, cannot be less broad in its own nature than the whole life it proposes to renovate and redeem. Shall there be imagined any room or place in this for the dark reign of sin -any island of the sea, any reniote nation or tribe, any reprobate caste, any outside moral tract, any stadium of infancy or unripe childhood-where the reign of grace, (formed to overwlielm it, Rom. v: 15-21,) has no power to follow and make itself triumphanıly felt? That were indeed to wrong this king: dom in its primary conception. It must be catholic, the true whole of God's image in man, the recovery of it potentially from the centre of his nature out to its farthest periphery, in order to be itself the truth and no lie.
7. As the attribute of catholicity is distinctively characteristic of the Church as such, it follows that no mere sect or fragment of this can effectively appropriate the title. The idea of a sect is, that a part of the christian world has been brought to cut itself off from the rest of it, on the ground of some particular doctrinal or practical interest, and now affects to have within itself under such isolated view all church powers and resources, though admitting at the same time the existence of such powers & resources in other bodies also with which it owns no real church union. This is a vast contradiction from the very start, which is found to work itself out afterwards into all sorts of anomaly and falsehood. The sect virtually puts itself always into the place of the Church, and in spite of its own principle of division is then forced to arrogate to itself the proper rights and prerogatives of this divine organization, as though it were identical with its own narrow limits. In other words, it is forced to act as the whole, when it is in truth by its own confession again only a segment or part. So far as any remnant of church feeling remains, (such as is needed for instance to distinguish a sect in its own mind from a voluntary confederation for religious ends,) it must necessarily include in it the idea of catholicity or wholeness, as an indestructible quality of such thought; for as it lies in the very conception of a sphere to be round, so precisely does it lie in the very conception of the Church to be catholic, that is to be as universal in its constitution as humanity itself, with no tract or sphere beyond. Hence every sect, in pretending to be sufficient within itself for all church ends, practically at least if not theoretically asserts in its own favor powers and
prerogatives that are strictly universal, as broad as the idea of religion itself under its most perfect and absolute form; an assumption that goes virtually to deny and set aside all similar church character in the case of other sects; for the case forbids the notion of two or more systems, separately clothed with the same universal force. Nothing short of such claim to exclusive wholeness is involved in the right each sect asserts for itself, to settle doctrines, make laws, and ply the keys, in a way that is held to be for the bounds of its own communion absolutely whole and final. Such ecclesiastical acts either mean nothing, sink into the characier of idle sham, or else they are set forth as the utterances of a real church authority which is taken to be as wide as the idea of the Church itself. Every sect in this way, so far as it secretly owns the power of this idea, puts on in mock proportion at least all the airs of Rome. But now, on the other hand, the inward posture of every sect again, as such, is at war with catholicity, and urges it also to glory in the fact. The sect mind roots itself in some subjective interest, made to take the place of the true objective whole of christianity, and around this it affects to revolve pedantically as an independent world or sphere. Then it is content to allow other spheres beyond itself, under the like independent form. So its unwersal rights and powers as we had them just before, (rights and powers that mean nothing ecclesiastically save as they are thus catholic and not partial,) shrink into given bounds; often ridiculously narrow; much like the power of those old heathen deities, whose universal sway was held to stop short with the limits of the nation that worshipped at their shrines. It is a power dogmatical, diatactical, and diacritical, as they call it, which is of full conclusive force, (the “ keys of the kingdom of heaven,”) for one man but not for another his next neighbor; for James but not for John; for such as have agreed to own it but not for those who have been plensed to own a different church; universal as the boundaries of the particular denomination from which it springs, the numerical all of a given sect, but of no force whatever beyond this for the mighty whole of which the sect is confessedly only a fraction and part. Here comes out of course the inward lie of the sect system, forcing it to falsify on one side what it affirms of itself on another. Sects are constitutionally uncatholic. Commonly they dislike even the word, and are apt to be shy of it, as though it smacked of Romanism, and as having a secret consciousness that it expresses a quality of the Church which their position disowns. By this however they in truth condemn themselves. It is the very curse of sect, to bear testimony here to the true idea of the Church, while it must still cry out, What have I to do with thee thou perfection of beauty! No sect as such has power to be catholic; just as little at least as Judaism has ever had any such power. No one can say truly : “ I believe in a holy catholic Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Methodism, or any like partial form of the christian profession,” as he may say: “I believe in the holy catholic Church.” For every Buch interest owns itself to be a part only of what the full fact of christianity includes, and is so plainly in its own nature. How then should it ever be for faith the whole ? What sect of those now existing, Lutheran, German Reformed, Methodist, &c., can seriously expect ever to take up the universal world of man's life into its bosom-unless by undergoing at last such a change in its own constitution, as shall cause the notion of sect to lose itself altogether in another far higher and far more glorious conception? No such has faith, or can have faith, in any universality of this sort as appertaining to itself; for to have it, would be to feel in the same measure a corresponding right and necessity to extend its authority over the whole world; which we know is not the case. It belongs to that which is in its own nature universal, to lay its hand imperatively on what it is found to embrace. Catholicity asks willing subjects indeed, but not optional. It says not, you may be mine, but you must. true whole is at the same time inwardly and forever necessary. But what sect thinks of being catholic in this style? Is it not counted catholic rather in the sect vocabulary, to waive altogether the idea of any such universal and necessary right, and to say virtually: “We shall be happy to take charge of you if you see fit to be ours—but if not, may God speed you under some different conduct and care !" Not only the sect itself, but the sect consciousness also, the sect mind, is constitutionally fractional, an arbitrary part which can by no possibility feel or act as a necessary whole.
8. In this way we are brought finally to see the difference, between the true catholicism of christianity, and the mock liberalisin which the world is so fond of parading on all sides in its
This last appears in very different forms, though it ends always in the same general sense. Sometimes it openly substitules the idea of mere humanism for that of christianity, and so prates of the universal brotherhood of man, as though this were identical with the kingdom of God, and sentimental philanthropy the same thing with religion. In another shape, it is found preaching toleration among opposing secis, exhorting them to lay aside their asperities and endeavoring it may be to bring them to some sort of free and independent confederation, such as the Peace Society aims at among nations,) that shall prove the Church one in spite of its divisions. Then again it comes before us in the character of an open war against all sects, calling upon men to forsake them as in their very nature uncatholic, and to range themselves under the standard of general christianity, with no creed but the Bible and no rule for the use of it but private judgment. And here it is that the spirit in question often comes to look like an angel of light, by contrast with the demon of sectarianism which it pretensis 10 cast out; so that to many it seems impossible to distinguish it from the true genius
of catholicity itself, as we are taught to acknowledge this in the old church Creed. But there is just this world-wide difference between the two, that the one is positive and concrete, while the other in all its shapes is purely negative and so without real substance altogether. This is at once apparent, where mere philanthropism is made to stand for religion; the liberality it affects has indeed no limits, but it is just because the religion it represents has no contents; it is of one measure with the natural life of man, because it adds nothing to this and has no power whatever to lift it into any higher sphere. The same vast defect however goes along with the pseudo-catholic theory also, in its other more plausible forms. The universality it proposes is not made to rest in the idea of the Church itself, as the presence of a real concrete power in the world, with capacity and mission to raise the natural life of man to a higher order, (the Body of Christ,) which in such view implies historical substance, carrying in itself the laws and conditions of its own being ; which men may believe, but have no ability to make, more than they may pretend to make the natural world: not in this is it made to rest, we say, the indubitable sense of the old Creed, but in the conception rather of the mere outward all of a certain number of men, or parties of men in world convention represented, who consent to be of one mind in the main on the great subject of the gospel, and only need to extend such voluntary association far enough to take in finally the entire human family. All ends in an abstraction, which resolves itself at last simply into the notion of humanity in its natural character, as bringing into it no new whole whatever for its organic elevation to a higher sphere. There is no mystery accordingly ever in this pseudocatholicism; it needs no faith for its apprebension; but on the contrary falls in readily with every sort of rationalistic tendency and habit. Sects too, ihat hate catholicism in the rrue sense, find it very easy to be on good terms with it under such mock form; the most unchurchly andruncatholic among them, taking the lead ordinarily in all sorts of buttery twaddle and sham in the name of christian union. The purely negative character of the spirit is farther shown, in its open disregard for all past history. It acknowledges no authority in this form, no confession, no creed; but will have it, that christianity is something to be produced by all men, in every age, as a new fact fresh fron the Bible and themselves. But how then can it be taken to have any substance of its own in the actual world, any wholeness that is truly concrete, and not simply notional and abstract ? Catholic and historical, (which at last means also apostolical) go necessarily hand in hand together.
J. W. N.