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Note to Article on the Jerusalem Bishopric, p. 132.
If anything were wanted to complete the case which, in our last Number, we established against the Pruss-Anglican scheme, now upon trial at Jerusalem, such will be found in the following document, which has just appeared, of course · by authority,' in the Ecclesiastical Gazette. It requires no comment: indeed, such on our part would be as painful as superfluous. For what possible purpose, save a judicial one, it could have been published at this juncture, we are at a loss to conceive.
If our recent paper has contributed to elicit this most significant detail of principles, there is a melancholy sort of satisfaction, as far as we are concerned, in placing it upon record. “ The Bishopric of the United Church of England and Ireland in
Jerusalem. “ The following is a copy of the Instructions given by the King of Prussia to his Extraordinary Envoy, with respect to the establishment of the Bishopric of the United Church of England and Ireland in Jerusalem :
Should the Government of Great Britain appear disposed, upon certain conditions, to enter with the King's Majesty into an engagement, from which the attainment of these objects may be rationally expected, his Majesty then entrusts his Extraordinary Envoy in this special mission with the following commission.
The Envoy shall, in such form as is approved by the English Ministry, and is strictly confidential, by means of a conference with the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Primate of England, and the Bishop of London, as immediate head of the several congregations of the English Church in foreign parts, endeavour to ascertain
In how far the English National Church, already in possession of a parsonage on the Mount Zion, and having commenced there the building of a church, would be inclined to accord to the Evangelical National Church of Prussia a sisterly position in the Holy
Land. * Inasmuch as an accord of this kind concerns the most delicate points of the national life of both peoples, and the subject itself is of such exceedingly high and holy interest, his Majesty considers it necessary, for the avoidance of all misunderstandings, to speak out plainly and openly the convictions by which he is guided.
* His Majesty, in the first place, proceeds on the conviction that Evangelical Christendom has in the East, and particularly in the Holy Land, no hope of full and lasting recognition, nor of blessed and continued fruit and extension, unless it presents itself in those countries as much as possible as one united body.
• In the first place, both government and people in those countries
have been accustomed to see those who acknowledge each other as co-religionists appear, and act together, in their spiritual affairs, as one body, with a common discipline and order. Thus Judaism presents itself. Thus, also, the corporations of the Latins, Greeks, and Armenians. If, therefore, Protestant Christendom were to present itself by the side of these, and demand recognition as an English Episcopal, a Scotch Presbyterian, an Evangelical-United, a Lutheran, a Reformed, a Baptist, or Independent community, and such like, the Turkish Government would certainly hesitate to grant such recognition, inasmuch as this act implies, for the heads of such recognised corporations, the highest political privileges. Thus, in the preceding month, the Bishops of the various Christian communities of Syria, in Damascus, were summoned together, with the Mufti and the Cadi, to deliberate upon the future administration of government in the land ; and to each it was granted to name five deputies, of his own confession, for the Supreme Administrative Council of Syria. Before the Porte can resolve to grant, even provisionally, such a position and such power to the different evangelical congregations, it will first inquire after the number and condition of her subjects, who are members of each of the new corporations, and after the guarantees which a community of the kind can offer for its continuance ; for it is of natives, subjects of the Sultan, that those privileged corporations have been, and are still, composed. But, at present, all evangelical communities together can point only to a few individual natives who have joined them. It is true, that of late years, in Armenia and Beyrut, several—and some natives of consideration—have expressed themselves inclined to come over to evangelical Christianity, or to have their children educated in it; but have been prevented, chiefly, by the impossibility which the missionaries experience of granting to such persons protection and safety. And yet it is as certain that equality with the ancient corporations must be demanded, without the power of exhibiting a sufficient number of persons of whom the new corporations are to be composed. But as to the guarantees, which they have a right to demand, what Government could and would grant them for such a crowd of communities? And, in this unwillingness the Porte would, beyond all doubt, be confirmed by the solicitations of the already existing religious corporations. But, even looking away from this, to what disadvantage would Evangelical Christendom, in such a state of division, appear beside the ancient Churches ? Whatever these latter may want in internal life, they form a compact body, holden together by Church discipline, liturgy, and the Apostolic-episcopal respect of their see, and operate, by the power of Church-unity, still more than by the advantage of immemorial possession.
* Such are the political reasons which have brought his Majesty to the conviction, that, in this business, unity, in the first onset, must be the first, the indispensable condition of success for the Evangelical Church.
• But the conviction of his Majesty that, on the present occasion, the Evangelic Church must come forward as one in faith, rests essentially upon still higher considerations. The shape which Turkish affairs have at present assumed-most certainly not without the overruling ProviNO, XLVIII.-N.S.
dence of God, and especially the political position of England and Prussia, in reference thereto-have, for the first time, afforded Evangelical Christendom the possibility of demanding, as equal child of the universal Church of Christ, a position in the cradle of Christianity and in the Holy Land, by the side of the primitive Churches of the East, and in the presence of the Roman Church, which would secure for the Gospel a free proclamation, and for the professors of evangelical truth free confession and equal protection. The present moment is an era in the history of the world ; and accordingly as it is recognised and improved, the Evangelical Church will be judged by history, and by the Almighty. His Majesty entertains not a doubt that the Evangelical Church owes it to herself, and to her Lord, at such a moment, and on such a theatre, not to present the stumbling-block of her disunion and dividedness; but, on the contrary, the good example of her unity in faith, and her union in action. Her object in appearing there, beside the elder Church communities, and in the presence of Jews and Mahometans, cannot le to persecute, to invade, to exclude-not to strive, to scatter, to dissolve; her wish cannot be to proclaim to the world her mission as a work of hatred and jealousy, but as a message of love, of peace, and of concord. How then can it be the will of her Lord that she should, for such a purpose, with such words in her mouth, on this her first appearance in the Holy Land, unfold the banner of internal separation and discord? Are not her missions already, besides being the pulse of her common life, so also a witness of the difficulty, in such a state of isolation and separation, of founding Churches, properly so called, and of forming and conserving Christian nations ? And where would this internal disease be revealed more sadly than in that land where all Christian opposites are crowded together—in the face of the three Patriarchates, and the colony of Rabbies—in sight of the Mosque of Omar, and the foundations of the Temple of Jerusalem ? Is it not much rather in the purpose of God, that, in their missions, the feeling of the internal unity and concord of all the members of Evangelical Christendom should be kindled ? May not, especially at the present moment, the favourite thought of the Church's Lord be this : that, in the old land of promise, on the place of his earthly course, not only Israel should be led to the knowledge of salvation, but also the individual Evangelical Churches, built upon the everlasting foundation of the Gospel, and upon the rock of faith in the Son of the living Godforgetting their divisions, remembering their unity-should offer to each other, over the cradle and the grave of the Redeemer, the hand of peace and concord ?
• His Majesty, for his part, will not hesitate, on this occasion, in full confidence to hold out his hand to the Episcopal Church of England, which combines, with Evangelical principles, an historic constitution, and a Church existence, significant of universality.
• His Majesty, in accordance with Apostolic Catholicity, and in expectation of similar dispositions on the part of the English Church, entertains no fear in expressing his readiness to allow the clergy and missionaries of his National Church, in all mission lands, where a bishopric of this Church exists, to unite themselves with it; and, for this purpose, to obtain for themselves Episcopal ordination, which the English Church requires for admission to an office. His Majesty will take care that such ordination shall always be acknowledged and respected in his dominions.
* In the Holy Land in particular, his Majesty is determined to do every thing which can, on Christian principles, be required, in order that united labours may be possible. The English Church is there in possession of an ecclesiastical foundation on the Mount Zion, and his Majesty considers it to be the duty of all Evangelical princes and communities to join this foundation, as the beginning and central point of conjoined operations; for his Majesty regards this as a ground of great hope for the futurity of Evangelical Christendom. In the first place, their missions acquire thereby, throughout the extent of the whole Turkish empire, and in the primitive habitations of Christianity, a visible centre and a living lever, whose power, once set in motion, will soon make itself felt even to Abyssinia and Armenia. But besides this, another object of the utmost importance, and most earnestly to be desired, will also be attained. In the simplest manner possible, a Christian neutral-ground will be acquired, far removed beyond the bounds of narrowing nationality; and upon which, with God's blessing, by the conjoined operations of believing love, a gradual union of Evangelical Christians may be prepared with greater facility than under any other circumstances.
• Of course, it cannot be his Majesty's intention by such an union to sacrifice or endanger the independent existence of the National Church of his country. According to his Majesty's view, an evangelic, true, and living representation of Catholicity, is that only which supposes this unity to be upholden by the divinely-ordained multiplicity of tongues and peoples, and in accordance with the individuality and historic development of each several nation and country. Every national Church has, without doubt, like the people belonging to it, its own peculiar vocation in the great order and unfolding of the kingdom of God. Yea, every narrower, smaller Christian community in a Christian land, has, undoubtedly, in like manner, the vocation and the duty to seek within the circle of the universal Church, a peculiar sphere for the extension of love, and for which a particular opportunity, and a particular blessing, are given to her.
• But especially his Majesty, as German Prince, and King of his country, is penetrated with the liveliest persuasion, that the Evangelical Christendom of the German people is called to occupy an independent position in every representation of such Evangelic-apostolic Catholicity as long as the Word of God is proclaimed in German speech, and his praise sung in the German tongue. His Majesty lives in the hope, especially that in the present century, the position of the Evangelical Christendom of Germany, as soon as it becomes conscious of its vocation, will hold a position proportionate to the general intellectual and political position of that people, from whom, three hundred years ago, the blessed work of the Reformation of the Church proceeded.
'In accordance with these convictions, the above-mentioned confidential conference must be governed by two leading principles. The one, the utmost possible unity of operation and labour in the Turkish empire, and especially in the Holy Land ; the other, regard to the independent existence of the Evangelical German Church, and to the individuality of the German people.
· THAT THE ENGLISH CHURCH ERECT A BISHOPRIO OP ITS OWN at Jerusalem, the King's Majesty regards as first condition and beginning of combined operations. The foundation appears already laid, as it were, by a special Providence. The first-fruits of the Mission in Jerusalem warrant the fairest hopes. Its suspension and present melancholy condition* seem to render an Episcopal arrangement in that place advisable and of urgent necessity. Nothing but Episcopal superintendence and decision on the spot can be of any use; the subjection of the Mission to a see at Malta would not appear to his Majesty either a satisfactory or a truly apostolic arrangement.
The Bishopric to be erected at Jerusalem would, therefore, connect itself with the foundation and buildings already begun on the Mount Zion, and comprehend all Evangelical Christians willing to take part in it. The high-minded sentiments expressed very lately at a meeting of the friends of the Church of England, at which the Venerable Archbishop of Canterbury presided, appear to his Majesty a certain pledge, that the idea so truly Christian, and for the present times so necessary, of founding firm Churches in Mission countries, will in this matter also be realized in a manner worthy of the object. His Majesty is willing and disposed, when a Bishopric of this kind is founded, to allow one or more clergy and missionaries of his subjects, for the sake of the Jewish converts who speak German, and for the benefit of the Evangelical Christians of the German language, to join this episcopal arrangement. As a manifestation of his sentiments, his Majesty will readily allow such persons to obtain ordination from the English Church. His Majesty especially desires to see this take place in Jerusalem itself.
With respect to the position of the Privy Counsellor of Legation, his Majesty herewith empowers him, under the before-mentioned conditions, to confer confidentially with the heads of the English Church.
• With these instructions, the King's Envoy left Sans Souci on the 8th of June, 1841.'”
Alluding to the time when the British Consul and others left Jerusalem in consequence of the war.'