Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
330
CHURCH CONGRESS—CHURCH HISTORY

itinerant evangelists, who hold simple missions, without charge, and distribute literature. Each van missioner has a clerical “adviser.” Missions are also held in prisons and workhouses, at the invitation of the authorities. In 1888 (before the similar work of the Salvation Army was inaugurated) the Church Army established labour homes in London and elsewhere, with the object of giving a “fresh start in life” to the outcast and destitute. These homes deal with the outcast and destitute in a plain, straightforward way. They demand that the persons should show a desire for amendment; they subject them to firm discipline, and give them hard work; they give them decent clothes, and strive to win them to a Christian life. The inmates earn their board and lodging by piece-work, for which they are paid at the current trade rates, while by a gradually lessening scale of work and pay they are stimulated to obtain situations for themselves and given time to seek for them. There are about 120 homes in London and the provinces, and 56% of the inmates are found to make these the successful beginning of an honest self-supporting life. The Church Army has lodging homes, employment bureaus, cheap food depots, old clothes department, dispensary and a number of other social works. Every winter employment is found for a great number of the unemployed in special depots, among them being the King’s Labour Tents and the Queen’s Labour Relief Depots. There is also an extensive emigration system, under which many hundreds (3000 in 1906) of carefully tested men and families, of good character, chiefly of the unemployed class, are placed in permanent employment in Canada through the agency of the local clergy. The whole of the work is done in loyal subordination to the diocesan and parochial organization of the Church of England.

See Edgar Rowans, Wilson Carlile and the Church Army.


CHURCH CONGRESS, an annual meeting of members of the Church of England, lay and clerical, to discuss matters religious, moral or social, in which the church is interested. It has no legislative authority, and there is no voting on the questions discussed. The first congress was held in 1861 in the hall of King’s College, Cambridge, and was the outcome of the revival of convocation in 1852. The congress is under the presidency of the bishop in whose diocese it happens to be held. Recent places of meeting are Brighton (1901), Northampton (1902), Bristol (1903), Liverpool (1904), Weymouth (1905), Barrow-in-Furness (1906), Great Yarmouth (1907), Manchester (1908), Swansea (1909). The meetings of the congress have been mainly remarkable as illustrating the wide divergences of opinion and practice in the Church of England, no less than the broad spirit of tolerance which has made this possible and honourably differentiates these meetings from so many ecclesiastical assemblies of the past. The congress of 1908 was especially distinguished, not only for the expression of diametrically opposed views on such questions as the sacrifice of the mass or the “higher criticism,” but for the very large proportion of time given to the discussion of the attitude of the Church towards Socialism and kindred subjects.


CHURCH HISTORY. The sketch given below of the evolution of the Christian Church (see Church) may well be prefaced by a summary of the history of the great Church historians, concerning whom fuller details are given in separate articles. Hegesippus wrote in the 2nd century a collection of memoirs containing accounts of the early days ofChurch historians. the church, only fragments of which are extant. The first real church history was written by Eusebius of Caesarea in the early part of the 4th century. His work was continued in the 5th century by Philostorgius, Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret, and in later centuries by Theodorus Lector, Evagrius, Theophanes and others. In the 14th century Nicephorus Callisti undertook a complete church history which covers in its extant form the first six centuries. In the West Eusebius’ History was translated into Latin by Rufinus, and continued down to the end of the 4th century. Augustine’s City of God, published in 426, was an apologetic, not an historical work, but it had great influence in our field, for in it he undertook to answer the common heathen accusation that the growing misfortunes of the empire were due to the prevalence of Christianity and the forsaking of the gods of Rome. It was to sustain Augustine’s thesis that Orosius produced in 417 his Historiarum libri septem, which remained the standard text-book on world history during the middle ages. About the same time Sulpicius Severus wrote his Historia Sacra, covering both biblical and Christian history. In the 6th century Cassiodorus had a translation made of the histories of Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret, which were woven into one continuous narrative and brought down to 518. The work was known as the Historia Ecclesiastica Tripartita, and constituted during the middle ages the principal text-book of church history in the West. Before writing his history Eusebius produced a world chronicle which was based upon a similar work by Julius Africanus and is now extant only in part. It was continued by Jerome, and became the basis of the model for many similar works of the 5th and following centuries by Prosper, Idatius, Marcellinus Comes, Victor Tununensis and others. Local histories containing more or less ecclesiastical material were written in the 6th and following centuries by Jordanes (History of the Goths), Gregory of Tours (History of the Franks), Isidore of Seville (History of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi), Bede (Ecclesiastical History of England), Paulus Diaconus (History of the Lombards), and others. Of the many historians of the middle ages, besides the authors of biographies, chronicles, cloister annals, &c., may be mentioned Haymo, Anastasius, Adam of Bremen, Ordericus Vitalis, Honorius of Autun, Otto of Freising, Vincent of Beauvais and Antoninus of Florence.

The Protestant reformation resulted in a new development of historical writing. Polemic interest led a number of Lutheran scholars of the 16th century to publish the Magdeburg Centuries (1559 ff.), in which they undertook to show the primitive character of the Protestant faith in contrast with the alleged corruptions of Roman Catholicism. In this design they were followed by many other writers. The opposite thesis was maintained by Baronius (Annales Ecclesiastici, 1588 ff.), whose work was continued by a number of Roman Catholic scholars. Other notable Roman Catholic historians of the 17th and 18th centuries were Natalis Alexander, Bossuet, Tillemont, Fleury, Dupin and Ceillier.

Church history began to be written in a genuinely scientific spirit only in the 18th century under the leadership of Mosheim, who is commonly called the father of modern church history. With wide learning and keen critical insight he wrote a number of historical works of which the most important is his Institutiones Hist. Eccles. (1755; best English trans. by Murdock). He was followed by many disciples, among them Schroeckh (Christliche Kirchengeschichte, 1772 ff. in 45 vols.). Other notable names of the 18th century are Semler, Spittler, Henke and Planck.

The new historical spirit of the 19th century did much for church history. Among the greatest works produced were those of J. C. L. Gieseler (Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte, 1824 ff., best Eng. tr. revised and edited by H. B. Smith), exceedingly objective in character and still valuable, particularly on account of its copious citations from the sources; Neander (Allgemeine Geschichte der christlichen Religion und Kirche, 1825 ff., Eng. tr. by Torrey), who wrote in a sympathetic spirit and with special stress upon the religious side of the subject, and has been followed by many disciples, for instance, Hagenbach, Schaff and Herzog; and Baur (Das Christenthum und die christliche Kirche, 1853 ff.), the most brilliant of all, whose many historical works were dominated by the principles of the Hegelian philosophy and evinced both the merits and defects of that school. Baur has had tremendous influence, even though many of his positions have been generally discredited. The problems particularly of the primitive history were first brought into clear light by him, and all subsequent work upon the subject must acknowledge its indebtedness to him.

A new era was opened by the publication in 1857 of the second edition of Ritschl’s Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche, in which he broke away from the Tubingen school and introduced new points of view that have revolutionized the interpretation of the early church. Of recent works the most important are the Kirchengeschichte of Carl Müller (1892 ff.) and that of W. Möller (1889 ff., second edition by von Schuberth, 1898 ff.,