Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/59

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good against new forms of ecclesiastical polity; it did not affect the historic Church.

We, who rejoice that we are members of the Holy Catholic Church, find in the record of our Lord's life clear witness that one great aim of His earthly ministry was the formation of a society and the education of its leaders. As a matter of fact He did not found a number of small congregations, but He selected Apostles and bade them preach the Gospel in all the world and gave them the assurance of His abiding presence. The little leaven, the grain of mustard, represent an agency endowed with organic life. We know that Christ hears any prayer anywhere and anyhow offered to Him. We know that "where two or three are gathered together there is He in the midst"; but there is also that other and fuller promise given to the visible Church which the Apostles were bidden to found: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world". There is an invisible Church, known only to its Lord, in which we humbly hope our membership will some day be made manifest. But that does not exclude a visible Church of which we are all members here on earth, and through which, as through a portal, we pass into the Communion of Saints. That visible Church is the eternal legacy of our blessed Lord to the world. It is the witness of His work, the keeper of His word, the guardian and guide of His flock. To it He gave His most precious promises; through it, by divinely appointed channels, He administers the gifts of His grace. The broad lines of its organisation were determined in the time of the Apostles, and round that organisation the visible