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During the absence of Rev. Dr.
Rev. Dr. BELLOWS in Europe, communications may be addressed to the Corresponding Editor, Rev. J. H. ALLEN, Cambridge, Mass.
other sect, is by that fact assumed to be born into her communion, and, with rare exception, is baptized by the clergyman of his parish within a few weeks of his birth. No further initiation into the Church is needful. The ceremony of confirmation at sixteen, though usual, is optional. Any adult, without question asked, may partake of the Eucharist in any church in the land; only very notorious offenders, in extreme cases and in places where they happen to be known, being re
VOL. LXIXI11. — NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. 1.
ART. I. - BISHOP COLENSO.
The position of the Church of England, and its relation to the religious ideas of the age, are very hard to explain to Americans, or even to Englishmen not born in her communion. The beautiful old simile of the cathedral with its painted windows so dark and dull and unmeaning, viewed from without; so glowing with light and significance, beheld from within — is singularly true to the character of the great National Church of England. Never yet has it happened to the writer to find the most cultivated, liberal, and learned of Dissenters treat the subject with what seemed, even to an apostate, absolute fairness and comprehension. Let us endeavor, before describing the work of the man who has striven to be the “ later Luther” of that Church, to give some idea of what it is to its disciples.
An Englishman, whose parents are not members of any other sect, is by that fact assumed to be born into her communion, and, with rare exception, is baptized by the clergyman of his parish within a few weeks of his birth. No further initiation into the Church is needful. The ceremony of confirmation at sixteen, though usual, is optional. Any adult, without question asked, may partake of the Eucharist in any church in the land; only very notorious offenders, in extreme cases and in places where they bappen to be known, being re
VOL. LXXXIII. - NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. I.
ceived with any hesitation. Thus an Englishman feels himself, as we may express it, a free citizen of this Civitas Dei by right of birth. All the grandeur and the wealth, the learning and power, of the Church; all the tender piety which hangs, like the ivy, round the village spire, beneath whose shade “the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep;" all the national pride and glory which hallowed the vast old cathedrals, where kings and statesmen and warriors have left their dust, — all these are his own. He is at home in every sacred edifice, and free partaker of every holy rite. And, when he dies, he is assured that the stately service of the Church will be performed over his grave; and, be he saint or sinner, rich or poor, the whiterobed priest must, by the very tenure of his office, commit his body to earth, “in sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection.” It is not a little thing to belong to a Church like this, which in every corner of England has its temple, and in every page of English story its martyrs, saints, orators, and philosophers. The Church which counts York and Winchester and Westminster among its shrines, and Latimer, Hooper, Ridley, Hooker, Butler, and Jeremy Taylor among its ministers; the great State Church of England, which crowns the sovereign, whose bishops share the House of Lords with Howards and Russells, and whose meanest deacon is, by virtue of his office, admitted of right as a gentleman wherever he goes, - this Church is not an institution any Englishman can despise. It is bound up with every thing glorious in our national life. Its head is the crowned chief of the State, around whom gathers the little that remains of feudal chivalry, and the very much that remains of loyalty to a constitutional sovereign in the common sentiment of the people; and its roots strike down into the deepest ground of our family and social life, twining around the cradles of our children, and underlying the graves of our fathers.
Let it be remembered, also, that the Church of England differs from almost every other Church, in offering (at the present day, at least) nothing but benefits and services, without exercising any right of intrusion in return. The sort of inquisition into the spiritual affairs of their members,