Lesson 40: Hallmarks

The holy Catholick Church.

Abe and his small son Mahershalalhashbaz had waited a long time in the queue for the bus that would take them home down Whitechapel Road. At last they reached its head and were about to step gladly on to the conductor’s platform, when a large Gentile pushed them aside and the bus moved off without them. “Daddy,” said young M., “wath it not Wrong of that man to take our plathe in the buth?” “Yeth, my thon.” “Daddy, do you think God vill punith him?” “My thon, God hath already punithed him. I have hith gold vatch.” And showed him the hallmark.

People have made other “churches” (The Baptist Church, The Methodist Church, The Church of Christ Scientist). How can you be sure that you belong to The True Church, founded by our Lord? By making certain that it has The Four Marks. These are one, holy, catholic, apostolic; which I should like you to write in the four quarters of the flag in this week’s picture.

The Church is One; because she has one head (Ephesians 4, 5), and one head can only have one body; also because she has the same seven sacraments all the world over.

The Church is Holy; because God the Holy Ghost lives in her (Ephesians 2, 22), and because her work is to bring people to God.

The Church is Catholic (Greek, meaning the same as Latin “omnibus,” “for every one”). She is for all people at all times (St. Matthew 28,19); as a Number Six bus is for all people who want to travel down Hackney Road. She teaches the whole truth everywhere.

The Church is Apostolic. She can trace her descent back to the Apostles. A man is ordained priest by a bishop, who was consecrated by a bishop, who himself was consecrated by a bishop; and so on, in an unbroken line to the days when the Apostles ordained the first priests. In St. Paul’s Cathedral is a list of the Bishops of London; the first lived fifteen hundred years ago. The first Archbishop of Canterbury was consecrated in a.d. 597.