IN DEFENCE OF. THE FAITH [To the Editor of the
Sni,—Many will thank your correspondents for their com- ments on the gulf which has been created between the ChriSthinity of primitive days and that of our Own time. It is a point of such vital importance that it deseres the most serious attention. If one 'reads some of the current Anglo- Catholic literature he cannot help being struck with the dominating place given to dogmatic and doctrinal discussion. From the, pulpit, the Anglo-Catholic party are equally icen on " instructions ' on the Mass and those matters of sacrifice and propitiation involved. I do not attempt to ques7. tion the validity of these doctrines, Nit what I do question is the propriety of devoting so much attention to what, after all, can only be controversies on, doctrinal matters. We might be so much hetteremployed_ in the battle of the ideal. Christ Himself pointed out the two great commandments
upon which hang the issue of the day, and if only a way could be found for organized religion to concentrate upon those broad and basic matters, formularies and precise definitions of the indefinable being left for those who have time for them, the Church would be free to do more and better work, and the arch-enemy would have less cause for satisfaction at the divided camp of Christendom.
It is pitiful to contemplate how far organized religion has departed from the ideal and has erected a tremendous edifice of sacraments and rites. One instinctively recalls that con. versation at the well-side in Sychar ". Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, no yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.". On this Renan remarked : " He uttered for the first time the sentence upon which will repose the edifice of eternal religion. He founded the pure worship of all ages, of all lands, that which all elevated souls will embrace until the end of time. Not only was His religion on this day the best religion of humanity, it was the absolute religion ; and if other planets have inhabitants endowed with reason and morality, their religion cannot be different from that which Jesus pro. claimed near Jacob's well."
Is it too much to look for a reversion to the primitive models of simplicity and sincerity, the shedding of the slough of ceremony and formalism and the revival of the true worship of the heart ?—I am, Sir, &c.,
P. H. C. PRENTICE. Streatham Common, S.W.
[This letter has been somewhat reduced owing to pressure upon our space.—En. Spectator.]