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was, in our case, that time should make clear many a truth half seen at first, and heal many a gaping wound. Tokens of just such a process are discernible in this revised Spanish Prayer Book as compared with its forerunner. Much that was crude has been matured into definite shape; over-coloured phrases have been toned down; harsh expressions have been modified, or altogether expunged, fresh liturgical treasures have been added from ancient sources, before unsought; and as a result we have a Book which, if not wholly free from imperfection, may, I think, claim to occupy a not unworthy place among the recognised Church Formularies of Christendom.
I shall presently advert to some of the more striking features of this revised Prayer Book. But, before so doing, it may be well if I briefly refer to that remarkable movement in the direction of Church-reform which has led to its llation.
RECENT MOVEMENTS TOWARDS REFORM IN
No thoughtful observer of religious life in Christendom can have failed to perceive that during the last fifty years (and especially during the last quarter of a century), the Church of Rome in many parts of the world has been losing her hold upon the allegiance of her members. This is, no doubt, partly owing to that spirit of infidelity which has been manifesting itself of late, more or less, in every Christian land, and which in the Romish Church has met with exceptional facilities for its development. When, as in that Church, men are asked to believe too much, they are in imminent danger of believing nothing. When the reins of authority are stretched beyond reason they
Hence it is that the growing pretensions of ultramontanism, the proclamation of novel and incredible dogmas, and the anti-national attitude assumed by the Vatican in the recent political history of Christian nations, have all combined to invest with a special reactionary power the prevailing tendencies of unbelief as they present themselves to the Roman Catholic mind. It is true that in many a religious community lying outside of Romish influence---in Germany, Switzerland, and even in English-speaking lands—infidelity is making itself heard with a boldness seldom assumed before. But incomparably less fatal are these open—and often earnest utterances than the widespread passive indifference to all religion which prevails so largely in countries—such as France, and Italy, and Spain—where the Church of Rome has hitherto reigned supreme. Such defections, even from a corrupt faith, cannot be viewed by any servant of Christ without sorrow and dismay, They are desertions to the camp of a common enemy. We may be able to account for them, but God forbid that we should welcome them!
SEARCHINGS OF HEART AFTER LIGHT AND TRUTH.
There have been, however, other indications, during the period which I have been reviewing, of a desire upon the part of many thoughtful members of the Church of Rome to separate themselves from that Communion. The desire of which I now speak is something very different from the "evil heart of unbelief” which too often prompts man to
“ depart from the living God.” It is something more than the mere revulsion of natural pride against the assump
tions of ultramontane arrogance.
It is something more than a merely political aspiration after national liberty. Rather is it a desire to seek for that God whom superstition hides and infidelity ignores. Rather is it the cry of those who say—“Oh, that we knew where we might find Him!” It is, indeed, a protest against ultramontanism, but a protest made rather on behalf of God than because of man's wounded feelings. It is, indeed, a craving after freedom ; but not so much after political independence as after that liberty wherewith Christ makes free !
A DAY OF SMALL THINGS--BUT NOT TO BE DESPISED.
That a desire such as I have described has been manifesting itself of late on the part of many earnest men in not a few of the Roman Catholic communities of Christendom is a fact that cannot be denied, and it is a fact that we must hail with thankfulness. We see its development under different forms, and in different degrees of intensity. In no one place, it is true, can we point to any very large number of reformers, or to any widespread popular movement. But we must have patience: To those who have to watch the early and gradual stages of some national or religious crisis, events seem at the time to drag on heavily enough. Upon the page of subsequent history the culminating results occupy a principal space; the intermediate delays and disappointments are overleaped and ignored; all seems the work of a moment. But there were reformers before even our own Reformation-reformers, too, but for whom, Reformation, humanly speaking, would have been impossible. We must not, therefore, despise this “day of small things,” and in one respect we may, I think, discern in it a specially hopeful significance. 1 allude to the
fact that the several movements to which I refer would seem to have had their origin from independent sources respectively, springing into being here and there throughout Christendom in separate countries, and separate districts of the same country, without any mutually concerted action, or even mutual knowledge of each other's doings, upon the part of those concerned in these isolated efforts. This, I say, is a significant and hopeful symptom. For it would, indeed, seem to imply that this movement towards reform is no mere local or transitory burst of enthusiasm, but rather the manifestation of some deep-seated yearning after better things which, through the power of that Spirit by Whom the whole Church is sanctified and governed, is even now being kindled into life throughout the world at large !
WHAT GOD HAS ALREADY WROUGHT. It is foreign to my present purpose to describe in detail all the several movements to which reference has just been made. I may, however, in passing, instance, the Old Catholic Churches of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, which number among their adherents two Bishops--Bishop Reinkens and Bishop Herzog, both men of great ability and deep personal piety-120 priests, and 106,000 lay members. * I may speak of the movement among the French Roman Catholics of Canada (beginning with the conversion of Father Chiniquy), some 30,000 of whom have left the Church of Rome rather than belie their own convictions. Or I may tell of a work
* See address of Rev. Prebendary Meyrick, at Leicester Church Congress.
+ See speech of Rev. L. N. Tucker, reported in “Light unil Truth,” vol. i., No. 7, p. 122. (Partridge and Co.)
of Church-reform among my own fellow-countrymen, which in West Connaught alone (as the Census Returns have shown) resulted in an accession of more than 3,000 souls to the Church of Ireland,* and which, as I can testify from personal knowledge, was the means of winning to the same Church multitudes of converts who are to be found in other parts of Ireland, or whom emigration has carried off to other shores—there to proclaim the truth they had learned at home. Or I may point to the success which has followed the labours of the ancient Vaudois Church, and of other evangelistic bodies in Italy. Or to the Ex-Canon of St. Peter's Count di Campello---who is now carrying on a mission of great promise among his fellow-countrymen in Umbria. Or to the desire for reform which, according to the report of the British Chaplain of Messina, is finding expression in Sicily. Or to the congregations which flock to hear the eloquent Père Hyacinthe in Paris, or attend the meetings of Dr. M‘Call in the Communistic quarters of the same city. Or to the Irish Priest (Father O'Connor), who, with his congregation, not long since left the Church of Rome in New York. Or to the many thousands who have seceded from that Church in Mexico. Or to the groups of reformers gathered together in Cuba, of which the late Bishop (Young) of Florida gave, as an eye-witness, so graphic an account in the Spirit of Missions (1884). Or to those isolated efforts after reform which are to be heard of from Brazil, Chili, Peru, and other parts of the South American Continent. To all these I can only make this cursory reference, for my special object
* Dr. Hume, of Liverpool, in his work on the religious census of 1861, gives all the details of this increase.