The New Catholic Church.
London: Trubner & Co., 60, Paternoster Row. 1868.
At the present day men's minds are gradually reverting once more to spiritual sources for the ultimate elements of religious faith; and oven the physical sciences are assuming a form and direction in which the questions of a first philosophy must again be entertained, and the great controversy will have to be settled between the Theist and the Atheist, whether the universal and eternal Force which is admitted to underlie all phenomena, can receive any satisfactory explanation, apart from the acknowledgment of a Supreme and Infinite Intelligence. Grant this, which is the truth of truths, and religion has a basis in reality, on which its whole superstructure of trust and hope may by the continued agency of prophetic insight be solidly built up."
—Professor John James Tayler, B.A.
The New Catholic Church.
A Church is not a mechanics' institute, a philosophical society, nor a political association. Its supreme purpose is the public and associated worship of God. With this it may, and should, connect instruction, and works of benevolence. Worship, Doctrine, Work, are three forms in which man's nature expresses itself under the conditions of what we call Church Fellowship. There are a thousand ways of useful activity in the world, and in a certain wide sense, all men and women who are working for the good of mankind (their own included) are members of one great Church and holy brotherhood, though they may never have articulated the fact to themselves, and may be unaware of each other's existence. So, too, the Press makes the whole nation into a school, acts as a public censor morum, sparing not the proudest delinquent, and uttering a voice potential for justice to the humblest member of society—the press, that out-preaches the bishops, erects a sort of common pulpit for all who have anything worth communicating to the people. But neither the press, with its myriad voices, nor benevolent societies, in their thousand modes of activity, include all that man needs and desires under the idea of a Church. The primary want is that of some common centre where men may meet to worship the great Invisible, feel those spiritual ties that bind them in a common brotherhood, and receive impulse and inspiration to the practice of a pure and elevated morality. Men feel—at least, the nobler minds among them page 4 feel—that they need to be led to those fountains of spiritual light and strength, which are requisite to prepare them for all needed work, brace them for every trial, give them tranquillity amid turmoil, and sustain them to do their duty as under the eye of the Great Work-master. Now, all this is not to be obtained in philosophical disquisitions, however correct and profound; much less in clamorous appeals to the feelings, or in pictures addressed to the imagination, or in the exciting machinery of public meetings, nor is it found even in "the enthusiasm of humanity," however wide and earnest, if it does not arise from a wise and holy love of man as a child of God, with great powers to be cultivated, and a great career to run. Mechanics' institutes, halls of science, "churches of justice," and other well-meant institutions, have gone but a very little way in supplying this deep-felt want of the human heart.
2. A feeling prevails in many quarters that the existing religious organisations do not completely supply what is needed, and that something far superior might be devised to quietly take their place. Taking the largest religious body in this country, who can doubt that the formularies and services of the Church, "as bylaw established," fail adequately to meet the intellectual and moral wants of many of its most cultivated and devout members? Probably the same thing may be said of the leading Nonconformist denominations. And, if our information is correct, a like state of things exists outside, as well as within, the pale of professing Christendom. Mohammedanism and modern Judaism are passing through a similar phase. Apparently, too, the Brahminism of India has not escaped the wide-spread influence which seems to be taking possession of many of the foremost minds in all parts of the world. We can affirm nothing respecting the Confucianism of the countless millions of China—a system which has never risen to the dignity of a religion, but has always reposed on the lower level of a mere ethical preceptory,—though many of its principles reach a high order of page 5 excellence. Taking an extended survey of the great religious systems of the world, we should he disposed to say that ancient traditions are losing their hold, old repetitions are growing stale upon the ear, and men in many lands, and of many creeds, are dimly groping after something better. Doubtless in due time this grand aspiration will, as heretofore, find expression for itself in some new embodiment.
* "Those who were really acquainted with the state of a great portion of the people of this country, and particularly of the Metropolis, had beheld it with dismay and apprehension. He believed he might state, without fear of contradiction, as the statement was founded on minute inquiry, that not 2 per cent, of the working men in London attended any place of worship whatever. . . . In 1851 we had 9,000,000 in towns of 10,000 people and upwards, and only 8,000,000 in smaller towns, in villages, and in rural districts; and at the close of the present century I believe that 70 per cent, of the gross population will be seated in large towns. Therefore, if our large towns are left to themselves, practical heathenism must inevitably soon outgrow Christianity.—Speech of Lord Shaftesbury in the House of Lords, 24th February, 1860.
* "Enter church after church in the Metropolis, or elsewhere, and you shall hear the prayers read by a machine, and the sermon read by a drone. The supplications are solemn, without being serious; the exhortations have only that gravity that conduces to sleep. The one is a pious form, the other an unpleasant necessity."—The Times, April 1st, 1858.
4. There seems to be neither justice nor wisdom in restricting a National Church to certain prescriptive creeds, mutually conflicting, and to a few types of mind, which are not a full and fair representation of the nation's many-sidedness. In a Church meant for the whole people, and to include the whole nation, all forms of free, earnest, and devout thought should find their representatives. This important object would be promoted by a more liberal introduction of the lay element into the Churches, and especially of the services of educated women, in connection with the everyday work of the Church. A perfectly unsectarian Church would naturally become the secular instructor as well as the religious guide of the entire nation. There are in London at the present time suitable places of worship, centrally situated, in use only two hours in the week. This is surely a great waste of valuable opportunities. Why should not these and other places be used on week-day evenings by competent teachers to set forth the "power, wisdom, and goodness of God," as revealed in the majesty of the heavens and the beauty of the earth, in the laws of number and form, of harmony and colour, of structure and function, of matter and mind.page 8
Lord Amberley, in a highly suggestive article that appeared in the Fortnightly Review (February, 1867) writes:—"A body of educated men, not bound to one special cast of religious faith, nor each insisting upon his own creed as the one thing needful; a clergy not purely sectarian, but containing men of opposite modes of thought, yet all contributing to the grand object of instructing, improving, civilising the people; diversity, rather than unity, recognised as the true ideal; above all, individual speculation not forbidden, but sanctioned by the law—all this is so contrary to ordinary notions of a church, that it is not surprising if many are unwilling to regard it as either possible or desirable. . . . . . . . . That venerable dogmas and old supernatural beliefs are everywhere examined, shaken, and overthrown, appears to be generally admitted. . . . The articles remain as they were in the time of Elizabeth, but men's minds are not such as they were then. Thus it happens that the clergy, the representatives among us of the Elizabethan stage in our intellectual progress, are becoming more and more alienated from, and opposed to, the educated opinion of the country. . . . . No National Church could thoroughly fulfil the duties entrusted to it, if such men as Theodore Parker, Emerson, or Francis (William) Newman were excluded from its Ministry. Such a Church, though it might contain many excellent and distinguished ministers, would still remain partial and defective."
5. But, without attempting to forestall the future or fix the progressive, we ask ourselves whether the principles of a National Religious Organisation may not be indicated with sufficient breadth and clearness to form a basis of union for all earnest and devout minds?
It is clear that a long creed, made up of obscure and disputed points of theology, could never form the basis of a grand comprehensive spiritual community. The experiment has been tried in a thousand forms, has always failed—ending page 9 only in little sectarian bigotry, disunion, and denunciation, and when opportunity served, not stopping short of persecution. The notion of dictating a creed as the exposition of all possible truth, the summary of all attainable religious knowledge, the ultimate point beyond which we must not advance, has now become obsolete. It is needless thrice to slay the slain. A Church must be based on something better and broader than any mere string of theological articles, however correct. We must try to find some basis that shall be certain enough, broad enough, and important enough, to unite if possible a vast majority of religious men. If there is to be union and cooperation, there must be some principles held in common; similar views, purposes, and aspirations, are needed to fuse men into a Church. But evidently this fusion is not to be sought through the trivial, the controverted, the undeterminable, the unreasonable. Principles held in common, and felt to be grand, true, and important, must lie at the foundation of a Church. Such points as are debated between Calvinists and Arminians could not enter into the creed of a Universal Church. We say the same of controversies touching sacraments and forms of Church government. A thoroughly Catholic Church can make no declaration of preference for Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, or Congregationalism. Men, equally good and sincere, espouse opposite views on such questions as these, which, therefore, do not belong to the essence of religion; nor are they intimately connected with the formation of human character. They are properly left open questions. The whole Ritual controversy, which at this moment so agitates the Church of England, would be untouched by our New Catholic Church; that is, in so far as this is a mere dispute about forms and dresses, and the charmed efficacy of sacraments, it deals only with shreds of antiquarianism, and has nothing to do with spiritual religion.
The acceptance of two simple, practical, but most comprehensive principles would seem to be enough. All who accept page 10 with loving heart the worship of God and the service of man, may be members of one Church. They are of one Church, even if they own it not—know it not. This is enough to constitute them of one spiritual brotherhood, how much soever they may differ in all other matters, important and unimportant. This exactly coincides with the teaching of Jesus, wherein he makes the love of God and of our neighbour the sum of all the commandments, the fountainhead and centre of all religion. The teaching of Jesus seems conclusive here. Every one holding and acting on these principles he would have recognised as a disciple, and admitted to his Church. We have his express authority for saying, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another." By what authority then, have the sects prescribed more than Jesus himself has made essential? We adhere to the Master. Our New Catholic Church shall be co-extensive with Christ's description of religion; its creed shall be simply the love of God and the love of man. Simple, but surely sufficient; alike spiritual and practical, as leading directly to worship and to work. Here would be a Church open to all religious minds of every degree of culture. Theists of every name and clime, who accept a benevolent God and a pure morality, might worship together, if not in the same temples, yet with like spirit, One who is the Maker and Benefactor of them all. There is reason to believe that many of the best minds in the Churches, are verging toward the standpoint we are indicating. Would not this be the very euthanasia of sectarianism?—a consummation devoutly to be wished.
6. Other truths, principles, and doctrines might, and would be held, in connexion with the grand and simple basis on which the Church is founded, but this alone would be fundamental and essential; and if thoroughly and heartily accepted and acted on, it would bind men together into a spiritual organisation, such as no mere dogmas or traditional opinions could ever achieve. Instead of being zealous for some excluding page 11 creed or ism, which is at best but a fragment from the great sphere of truth, men thus minded would cherish the love of truth itself, and in due course come to prize God's truth more than their own petty version of it. The study of God's laws, written and unwritten, would thus constitute the delightful and inspiring pursuit of the Church Universal. And a mind aspiring after unison with the Great Mind that animates the universe, would find worship in work, and would be constantly advancing to grander views of creation and of God; and self-culture, and service to man, our brother, would be the embodiment of our love to God, our Father. Does any one fear that these principles would be too vague, or too feeble? We believe on the contrary, that when duly nurtured they would become the most powerful influences that sway the human heart; for they have the whole universe for their sphere, and for their inspiration the two grandest objects that can be presented to the mind of man—God—The Infinite One, the mysterious source of life and sustainer of the universe, and man with all the high capacious powers that lie folded up within him.
7. We wish to combat the idea that by leaving open questions we detract anything from Truth, or oppose any obstacle to its progress. Truth claims only an open field and no favour. But, in the New Catholic Church, men might aim at definite convictions, and the clearest and fullest attainable knowledge on all subjects of human thought. No arrest would be attempted upon the fullest and the freest thought, because (even were this desirable, which we hold it is not) no effectual arrest is ultimately possible. But all those other beliefs and doctrines would be distinct from the creed and practice of the Church Universal. A man might, or might not, believe in plenary inspiration of Scripture, in miracles, prophecies, water-baptism, original sin, a personal devil, and endless punishments; he might declare, defend, and diffuse these or the contrary of them; but he would hold opinions on these subjects as his page 12 individual convictions only, not as the faith of the Universal Church. In point of fact, there is no agreement amongst religious men on such matters as these, hut all are agreed on the duty of the love of God and our neighbour. In affirming that the obscure and the dubious ought not to enter into the creed of the Universal Church, we are but stating the fact as it is. Religious men do not agree, never have agreed, on creeds of Thirty-Nine (or more) Articles; on Westminster Confessions of Faith, or dogmas implying hundreds of propositions, which are viewed differently by minds differently educated, and at differing stages of culture. We must not then look in this direction for a basis of union. Even if there were agreement on these points, such agreement could minister no spiritual power, could supply no moral strength that is not contained in the feeling, the consciousness, of a living and loving God and Father, a Holy Spirit nigh to all devout hearts that are open to that holy influence. The faith, the trust, in one pure and benevolent God, is the common basis of all true religion. Special religious doctrines are but deductions from this. A Divine Government of the world, divine forgiveness, the inspirations of conscience, the future life, and every other noble, elevating, and comforting hope of religion, are all deductions from this one principle, amplifications of this one truth, streams from this one fountain. Let this be our trust, let the heart repose on the moral character of God, and what need we more in the way of creed, or theology, as the basis of our Church? The theological field is thereby at once cleared of the lumber of a thousand years, and with open eye and unquailing heart we may set out on our farther quest after the truth of God, and apply it for healing the woes of human kind.
8. In treating all other questions as open ones, we make no attempt to ignore or shelve them; we merely assign to them a subordinate place. But we must lay the rock foundation of our Church on the love of God and man. This is the force that page 13 binds us to God and to each other. Shall we exclude from our Catholic Church a virtuous and devout man who may have historical or critical doubts of the recorded miracles of the past; or who may not have attained to an unquestioning belief in a future life? This would be to repeat the error of the old creed-makers. In truth, there are tender and beautiful natures that would not desire a future life for themselves, under the dread condition that millions of the human race, or even that one human being, should personally experience the aimless and endless tortures of the Calvinistic hell. Our Free Church must be dwarfed by no final and authoritative creed, but be open to all loving and devout minds that desire to worship God, though they may be in different stages of intellectual and spiritual development, and have as yet taken in unequal portions of His truth. We see but in part, and we prophesy but in part. Our Church then shall include men of full-grown faith like St. Paul, who appears to have had no doubts of the immortal life; and it shall also comprehend those who cannot see afar off, and who cannot walk alone. Men, indeed, are not to be admitted, by reason of their doubts on these matters of high and disputed doctrine; but they are to be recognised as members of the New Catholic Church, because they have accepted the two grand principles that constitute the Catholic faith, the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. But their doubts on any other points shall not exclude them. If with any there be difficulty and darkness, this is rather a reason for admission into the Church, that, like the ancient catechumens, they may be, instructed, not anathematised; that, if there is any light within, they may have the benefit of it; and that, if there is no light, they may at least learn where their knowledge ends and their ignorance begins. It must be understood and frankly acknowledged, that the New Catholic Church does not require agreement in some stereotyped creed, which has been bequeathed to us from the past, but that it is an association of free and earnest souls, united together to page 16 the weak and superstitious dread the idea of thinking for themselves in matters of religion. They call it heresy, pride of intellect, carnal reason, while all the time they employ this same weapon of carnal reason to defend and recommend their own favourite dogmas. In the last result, however, every man that thinks must depend on his own individual reason for guidance toward the true light, just as he must depend on his own eyes in walking the streets. If he cannot or does not think for himself, at the very least it is by his own judgment that he selects the authorities he shall trust. To talk of carnal cars and pride of eyesight would be just as logical as the talk about pride of reason. It is inevitable that we should see by our own eyes, hear by our own ears, think through our own brain, judge by our own reason, worship according to our own conscience. When we call in the helping counsel of those we deem wiser than ourselves, reason still decides: we cannot shift the responsibility upon others. Individual reason is the universal starting-point, and it is the terminus.
11. Those who understand the principle we are endeavouring to set forth will see that our proposed Church cannot, as a Church, descend to regulate and pronounce upon many details that inert and feeble minds might desire to have settled for them without trouble, in order to possess them as they take possession of their paternal estates. Whether we are to have prayers written or printed, prepared or extemporised, what are to be the vestments of the clergy, whether our places of meeting shall be in style Grecian or Gothic;—such questions as these, and a whole host besides, must be left for arrangement to the discretion, taste, convenience, and conscience, of the members in each locality. The Church, as a community, has no judgment to pronounce upon them, because it keeps itself to higher concerns.
12. Work, not less than worship and instruction, will hold a first place in the New Catholic Church. Its mission will be to page 17 do good, its prayer will be work. Kind and good hearts will find their mission in bringing comfort to the afflicted, health to the sick, relief to the oppressed, food to the hungry, freedom to the captive, knowledge to the ignorant, and reformation to the sinner. For a long time to come the best spirits of the Church may find ample employment in training and teaching the young, especially the poorest and most neglected, and inducing the habits that lead to industry, order, cleanliness, neatness, and economy. The existing condition of the dwellings of the poor of London, and of all our great towns, could not endure in presence of a Church animated by the genuine enthusiasm of humanity. Their continuance is a standing reproach to our wealth, intelligence, and Christianity. To promote public health and education, to forward everything that conduces to the peace and prosperity of nations; perhaps to send out to foreign lands its trained missionaries, not to spread a doubtful theology, but to promote the love of God and man; convey the arts of peace and civilisation to tribes less civilised, and exemplify, by deeds of kindness, the goodwill that man owes to man all the world over: these, and such services as these, will be the chosen work of the New Catholic Church. Nor will the great vital questions of the time be deemed too secular for the spirituality of religion. Pure religion and undefiled, established in men's hearts and lives, and not on Acts of Parliament, would be felt as a moral power in the state,—promoting peace, justice, and goodwill to all, rendering legislation wise and humane, and causing the sweet waters of concord to flow over all the earth for the healing of the nations.
13. There is nothing revolutionary or subversive in the idea of the Church which we present in outline. All noble institutions might be linked with it; all earnest workers for human improvement might be included in it, and draw their inspiration from it, and it could never be outgrown by any advance of society. Those whose thoughts run in the old page 18 grooves, will take exception mainly to the shortness of its creed, and the breadth of its platform. "It does not affirm enough," it will be said, "it does not dogmatise enough; its materials would be too heterogeneous; there is needed a common and binding creed." And is not the love of God and of our neighbour, a common and binding creed? We challenge the production of any better, broader, or higher. Surely if there were a community animated by such principles, it would be a blessing in the earth! Let the two great principles—the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man—take root in the mind, and all other truths might follow; only those other truths would not be prescribed by Church enactment, but would prevail by their own evidence, weight, and authority. Whatever is true in them would be taught not less effectually, but more effectually, than if it were set forth in an authoritative creed or symbol. Such attempts have proved to be the failure, the weakness, and the ignominy of the old sects and creedmakers. The New Catholic Church will adopt no such retrograde policy. The whole range of truth must be left open to the searching, advancing, aspiring mind of man; as the whole starry heavens are open to the sweep of his telescopes. The fear to leave the soul of man face to face with the facts of the universe, betrays a scepticism respecting the reality and safety of truth itself far more to be deprecated than any critical doubts regarding ancient documents. Holding absolute faith in Truth and God, the New Catholic Church would close no avenue of knowledge, and bar no approach to God. We have entire confidence that faith, goodness, and right, will gain the final victory over all forms of error, evil, and wrong.
14. Finally, this Church would express the spirit of pure Christianity. It would worship the Father that Jesus worshipped; it would recognise the human brotherhood which he preached and practised. The principles that supported the virtue of Christ himself would be the pillars of the New Catholic page 19 Church. On the disputed points which have divided the Christian world, our Church would leave opinion, criticism, and advancing knowledge free; the religion which all accept, it would regard as alone essential. This is a doctrine of charity, a ground of liberality, a condition of progress. While men lay the foundation of their churches in disputable and secondary matters of mere speculative opinion, they find no agreement, no repose, no orderly progress—but suspicion, ill-will, secessions, and an indefinite dread of new ideas. Taught by past mistakes, let the foundations be laid broad and deep, on principles which all religious men acknowledge to be true, important, and catholic; and we shall, however feebly, be building on a foundation which man in future ages will not desert, but continue to honour and to crown with new and evergrowing evidences and monuments of his restless aspiring spirit; amid all his errors, ever seeking the true; and even amid his vices and crimes never falsifying the ancient testimony that man was made in the image of God, and that of one blood are all nations of men.
The following, among other notices of the pamphlet, have been received:—
A Clergyman of the Church of England writes:—"In the press of many duties and anxieties, I must allow myself the pleasure of writing to thank you very heartily for your pamphlet on the 'New Catholic Church." As a member of the Church of England, and one of its most free-speakers, I should hail with delight and thankfulness any approach to the perfect liberty which you so powerfully advocate. It is my belief that we are tending to the realisation of this hope, so far as our own Church is concerned, and that it will by adopting your Eternal Principles become really National, and so tend to disarm controversy of its present injurious accompaniments. But at present only few stand on such broad and high ground, and we can only with difficulty bring men to see that the dogmas and forms of worship over which they wangle so bitterly, are of really no vital importance.
A Clergyman of the Church of Scotland:—"I am much struck with your really beautiful pamphlet, with which I sympathise to a considerable extent. Such a body as you imagine would, no doubt, be a Church, but not the, nor a Christian Church, which has one dogma at least, and implies another, that ' Jesus is the Christ.' 1 Cor. iii. 2. When we do not assert this and make it the foundation of our system, we may be religious men, and form religious societies, but they are not Christian Churches, nor are we Christians. And we should make that plain. Some great revolution is wanted, and probably it is at hand. Blessed are they that help it forward, and direct it to its true ends."
An eminent Scotch Divine:—"Many thanks for your thoughtful and suggestive pamphlet. With much in it I most cordially coincide, although I think the time for the formation of such a Church as you plan is yet distant, perhaps very far distant. Liberal thinkers are now numerous, but they are isolated from each other. Their views, too, are divers and uncertain, and they are liable to be crushed if not confuted by the overbearing tyrannies of compact bodies, 'moving altogether when they move at all.' Such pamphlets as yours must do good in exciting thought and cherishing hope of the coming of better and more brotherly times."
We have subsequently received the following letter from the same gentleman, which we give as illustrating the present state of religious opinion in Scotland:—"I am glad your excellent little pamphlet has met such a kind reception. The opinions you quote are gratifying, although all like my own pitched on a key, if not of despondency, yet of faint and far off hope. But however slowly, things are moving in the right direction. In Scotland we are far behind; the majority of the clergy are determined neither to think nor to let others think. The minority are cowed and rather downcast. The laymen have a vague feeling that all is not right, and usually take the side of the heretic; but they have not as yet sufficient knowledge of the subjects in agitation, and have little time to acquire it. However, it is in them, and not in the clergy, that I fix my hope. Once a Scotch layman has a decided conviction, he will go through with it, and in forming his opinions he is slow but sure. In one or two churches there is a secret movement in the liberal direction among the very men who are denouncing and all but casting out of the synagogue others who go a little farther or speak a little more plainly."
A Dissenting Minister writes:—"I have read your little Essay with very great interest. As you know, the point at which you aim has been long an object dear page 21 to me, and towards the practical realisation of which I have made some slight though, I regret to say, not very successful efforts. . . . I beg you to believe that I shall watch your progress with a lively interest; I sympathise with your principles and objects; and if I can do anything to promote your success you may command me."
An English Divine:—"I thoroughly approve of the views expressed so ably in your little pamphlet, and I purpose circulating copies of it among the members of my congregation on Sunday. We are on the eve of some mighty movement in the world of religious thought, and such thoughts as your pamphlet contains will fall as seed on good soil."
A gentleman who extensively circulates-literature on religious subjects:—"A copy of this pamphlet has been sent to me, and I have read it with great pleasure. I think it calculated to do so much good that I would willingly circulate it very widely among those who take the greatest interest in the present movement towards liberality in religion. I feel sure that the best reward for your trouble will be found in the acceptance of the views therein expressed. Assuming then that you desire this circulation among careful and thoughtful readers rather than any profit to be derived from its sale, I offer, without any further expense to you, to distribute by post, any number of copies you like to send mo, in quarters where they will not only be appreciated by the individual to whom they are addressed, but a still wider class of readers will be secured for them in the circles of which each of my correspondents is an active 'centre.'"
From various Clergymen and Ministers of Dissenting Congregations:—
"I think the Tract may be described as an able proposal, from a Theistic point of view, to establish an association for the public worship of God, and the encouragement of philanthropic undertakings. An excellent purpose; may it be successful."
"Although far from agreeing with everything that I find in this very interesting and able pamphlet, in fact differing toto cœlo from some of its views and statements, I am glad to express the warm sympathy I feel with the spirit in which it is written, and with many of its genuinely Christian sentiments. By drawing attention, also, to the inadequacy or narrowness of existing ecclesiastical arrangements, it will do valuable service in preparing for a better state of things."
"It was a great joy to mo to find myself in possession of a work which I could use as a fair statement of my own views and desires. . . . . God above, man below, love to him and service to our fellow-men appear to mo all that is necessary in the Church of the Future. For myself, I am heart-sick of the jargon of popular theology. I, indeed, rejoice that I am now enabled to meet with a few who, however small their number, are feeling their way to a purer, surer, and more happy faith."
"I believe your Church would be pre-eminently 'Christian' as well as Catholic. For, if the New Testament be of any value at all, it surely represents Jesus Christ as the great teacher of those two fundamental principles."page 22
"I write to thank you for a pamphlet on the New Catholic Church, and to tell you how heartily I concur with the views. . . . It is very cheering to find evidence coming from every quarter of the yearning there is after a freer and truer life of religious thought and action, of which your pamphlet gives such proof. I thank you for sending it to me. It has given me much gratification, and several of my friends are trying to circulate it."
"I am indeed glad to hoar of the continued sale of 'The New Catholic Church.' Its principles must prevail: we only want the right men in power to take them up and apply them at once in legislation for Established Churches, and the rest must follow."
An active member of a Free Christian Church:—"I have read your article as to a 'Catholic Church' with the greatest pleasure, and I heartily agree with the whole of it. I cannot express to you how much I value it."
A Roman Catholic:—"Were I a Protestant I should approve of the religious basis laid down in this essay, and certainly belong to such a Church. But the Roman Catholic religion, to which I belong, does not allow our thinking on matters of religion. There are certain fixed points of belief which we must accept, and certain forms laid down which we must follow, therefore, as a Roman Catholic I could not belong to it."
An Educational Reformer:—"I have read with deep interest and entire sympathy your pamphlet entitled 'The New Catholic Church,' and I hope to send abroad a considerable number of copies among those to whom such opinions are now, rather than among those to whom they have been long familiar and dear."
A Scotch Poet:—"I have to thank you for that very excellent pamphlet, 'The New Catholic Church.' The conclusion to which the author comes is that to which I have been tending for some time. The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man are the two strong pillars—the Joachim and Boaz—on which the Church of the future must be reared. They are the pillars sot up by the Master himself, and built upon by his apostles."
A lady in the United States of America, speaking of herself and friends, says:—"The 'Now Catholic Church' only came to hand four days ago. It seems to us to be the happiest and most concise statement of the sum and substance of true religion that we have ever met. We are wholly delighted with it, and shall spread it to the extent of our ability."
A Native of India.—"With regard to the common basis upon which you propose that all the different civilized portions of the human race might meet together, it is excellent and merits every encouragement. The two principles you enunciate are the essentials of every religion; and every religionist, under the shield and protection of the accepted preceptor of his peculiar religion, might safely meet upon the common ground you propose, and it is in this sense I express my entire sympathy with you and wish you every success."page 23
From Literary and Professional Gentlemen:—
"I have perused with attention and admiration the noble sentiments in your pamphlet, entitled 'The Now Catholic Church.'"
"I like the spirit in which it is written very much, and think that no one can feel offended in reading it, however sensitive he may be on religious matters, and however widely he may differ from the writer's conclusions. This is in my opinion of considerable importance, in securing for its statements a candid hearing."
"Your paper is sensibly and admirably written. Taken in a right sense, it contains all that is requisite to your excellent purpose and no more. All else being left to private judgment, I do not see what proper objection can be taken to a frank and unreserved adhesion to those two principles. Love to the Lord and to our fellowmen are the essentials of a true and Universal or Catholic Church."
"The idea is a noble one, but of course there is nothing new about it, as all liberal and advanced thinkers entertain views similar, I imagine. I hope the time is not distant when the great scheme will be developed by practical working."
"My sympathies are with you so far as you aim at realising an ideal; but the disenchantments of a lifetime have damped my ardour and made me desponding."
"I have received through the post your very admirable address, entitled 'The New Catholic Church.' When I tell you that to establish such a Church has been for many years the one great object of my life, and of my most earnest endeavours, you will not be surprised that I am anxious for a more intimate correspondence with the author of this address, in hopes of being in some way able to aid the good and noble cause so clearly set forth and so eloquently advocated therein. My own experience has taught me that success in such an undertaking is as difficult as it is desirable, and will need all the help which its humblest as well as its most powerful friends can give it; it is, therefore, that I hasten to give you the moral support of my most hearty approbation, and to tender such other services as it is or may be in my power to afford you."
"At a time like the present, when the attention of the Churches is so much occupied with controversies concerning doctrine and ritual, it is specially needful to recall them from the consideration of those things about which they differ to those far more important and essential things on which there is a common agreement. In this respect I regard the publication of your pamphlet as most opportune. The love of God and our neighbour, on which it insists, and which cannot be too often or too earnestly insisted on, requires not alone to be accepted by the understanding, and to receive a formal acknowledgment, but to be fully out wrought in all our individual and social life. The application of this principle to all the relations of life, and to all the institutions of society, is the great want of this, as indeed it is of every age. Whether this principle can be taken as the sufficient basis of a 'New Catholic Church,' as you propose, or whether it is desirable to form a New Church is another matter. What seems to me to be needed is that the 'National Church' should be so broadened as to include the religious life of the whole nation, and meanwhile that our Nonconformist Churches page 24 should establish open trusts, so that while holding to Christian principles, neither Minister nor Congregation should be bound to any form of religious opinion, but be left free to accept whatever may appear to them higher and better views of religious truth and human duty."
"I have road again with renewed pleasure your excellent Pamphlet. I understand the name has been objected to; but it is much easier to find fault with that than to produce a hotter. To me the title is good, because it implies universality, and the basis of the Church justifies the implication. . . . Certain religious natures of special culture complain that your proposed Church would not be 'Christian.' With all respect for them, I would query whether the letter has not more fascination for them than the spirit? An organisation is not Christian because it is called so, but because it is so: And if this be not the characteristic of a Church whose very foundation is Christ's own summary of 'The law and the prophets,' I am at a loss to conceive what is worthy of the designation."
"I have read the pamphlet carefully and with much interest. It exactly expresses my views as to what the Church of the Future ought to be and will be."
"We have received a pamphlet entitled 'The New Catholic Church,' so liberal in sentiment, and eloquent in argument, that it makes us glad to praise it. It is prefaced with an admirable extract from a speech of the late President Lincoln. This is the whole code of Christianism in a nutshell."—The Cosmopolitan.
"A thoughtful and eloquent pamphlet, which advocates the establishment of the Church of the Future on the simple basis of the Christian principles of love to God and love to man. The fact that this little essay has rapidly reached a second edition, as well as the expressions of sympathy and approval which the Author has received from very various theological quarters, is another testimony to the rising desire for union on a religious as opposed to a theological basis."—The Theological Journal.
"The views set forth in this capital pamphlet our readers are already familiar with as those we have always advocated. How or when the dream of so many earnest souls will come true we know not; but if there is any security for the final triumph of righteousness and truth in this world, come true it will some day. Meanwhile let all such utterances as this be accepted with words of gratitude and good will."—The Truth-seeker.
London: Printed By J. Kenny, 25, Camden Road, N.W.