20 MARCH 1920, Page 18


TRLS is one of those religious works, of which there are so many, which, thoughtful and well intentioned as they are, leave us in doubt what the writers would be at. For there is no reason why the Free Churches should not have Fellowship with one another ; or why Protestants should not communicate in sacris with other bodies than their own. Intercommunion, in this sense of the word, exists between the various Scottish Churches, and between our own " orthodox " Nonconformists. But when we are told that " the whole Church needs to embrace in one com- prehensive system the different types of Church Government which have been successively developed—Papacy, Episcopacy, Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism," the answer is that these institutions are not in pari materia—there is no common measure of the four. No Presbyterian or Congregationalist thinks either Presbyterianism or Congregationalism part of the Gospel. Not so with the Catholic, Roman or Anglican. To the one the claim of the Papacy, to the other that of the Episco- pate, is de fide. You can only " unite " with Catholics by sub- mission to the Pope ; or with our own High Anglicans by joining the Episcopal communion : no pragmatism can get over this necessity ; it is in the nature of the thing.

That a certain number of Nonconformists would be glad of more frequent opportunities of communion, and of a more liturgical service, is true : and this difference of temperament may in some cases transfer them to the older Churches ; though there is no reason why such requirements should not find satisfaction in their own. Calvin desired that the Lord's Supper should be administered weekly in Geneva ; its infre- quency is a tradition of English Puritanism, and may be over- come. But the two types of piety, the Protestant and the Catholic, correspond to two types of experience and conscious- ness, both of which are good, but which can with difficulty be reconciled. " Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed."