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Title: The Church: Her Books and Her Sacraments
Author: Holmes, E. E.
Language: English
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IN WATCHINGS OFTEN: Addresses to Nurses and Others.  With a Preface by
the Right Rev.  EDWARD KING, D.D., late Bishop of Lincoln.  With a
Frontispiece (the Crucifixion, by PERUGINO).  Crown 8vo, paper boards,
2s. 6d.; cloth, 3s. 6d.

PRAYER AND ACTION; or, The Three Notable Duties (Prayer, Fasting, and
Almsgiving).  With an Introduction by the Bishop of London.  Crown 8vo,
2s. 6d. net.

IMMORTALITY.  Crown 8vo, 4s. net.  (_Oxford Library of Practical

PARADISE: A Course of Addresses on the State of the Faithful Departed.
Crown 8vo, paper covers, 1s. net; cloth, 2s. net. *** _Extracted from

RESPONSIBILITY: An Address to Girls.  16mo, paper covers, 4d. net;
bound in rexine, 1s. net.  Cheap Edition, 1d. net.




H. F. B. M.



These Lectures were originally delivered as the Boyle Lectures for
1910, and were afterwards repeated in a more popular form at All
Saints, Margaret Street.  They are now written from notes taken at
their delivery at All Saints, and the writer's thanks are due to the
kindness of those who lent him the notes.  Some explanation of their
elementary character seems called for.  The Lecturer's object was

(1) To remind an instructed congregation of that which they knew
already--and to make them more grateful for the often underrated
privilege of being members of the Catholic Church; and

(2) To suggest some simple lines of instruction which they might pass
on to others.  Unless the instructed Laity will help the Clergy to
teach their uninstructed brethren, a vast number of {viii} Church
people must remain in ignorance of their privileges and
responsibilities.  And if at times the instructed get impatient and
say, "Everybody knows that," they will probably be mistaken.  Many a
Churchman is ignorant of the first principles of his religion, of why
he is a Churchman, and even of what he means by "the Church," just
because of the false assumption--"Everybody knows".  Everybody does not

It seems absurd to treat such subjects as _The Church, Her Books, Her
Sacraments_, in half-hour Lectures; but, in spite of obvious drawbacks,
there may be two advantages.  It may be useful to take a bird's-eye
view of a whole subject rather than to look minutely into each
part--and it may help to keep the Lecturer to the point!

E. E. H.



CHAP.                                                    PAGE

       Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  vii
    I. The Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
   II. The Church's Books (1) The Bible  . . . . . . . .   21
  III.       "        "   (2) The Prayer Book  . . . . .   40
   IV. The Church's Sacraments . . . . . . . . . . . . .   58
    V. Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   63
   VI. The Blessed Sacrament . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   81
  VII. The Lesser Sacraments . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   92
 VIII. Confirmation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   94
   IX. Holy Matrimony  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  106
    X. Holy Order  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  123
   XI. Penance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  144
  XII. Unction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
       Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  165

  Dear Saviour! make our hearts to burn,
  And make our lives to shine,
  Oh! make us ever true to Thee,
  And true to all that's Thine--
  Thy Church, Thy Saints, Thy Sacraments,
  Thy Scriptures; may we own
  No other Lord, no other rule,
  But Thee, and Thine alone.

  A. G.





_Christus Dilexit Ecclesiam_: "Christ loved the Church"[1]--and if we
love what Christ loved, we do well.

But three questions meet us:--

(1) What is this Church which Christ loved?

(2) When and where was it established?

(3) What was it established for?

First: _What is the Church?_  The Church is a visible Society under a
visible Head, in Heaven, in Paradise, and on Earth.  Who is this
visible Head?  Jesus Christ--visible to the greatest number of its
members (i.e. in Heaven and in Paradise), and vicariously represented
here by "the Vicar of Christ upon Earth," the Universal Episcopate.


Next: _When and where was it established?_ It was established in
Palestine, in the Upper Chamber, on the first Whitsunday, "the Day of

Then: _What was it established for?_  It was established to be the
channel of salvation and sanctification for fallen man.  God may, and
does, use other channels, but, "according to the Scriptures," the
Church is the authorized channel.

As such, let us think of the Church on earth under six Prayer-Book

  (I) The Catholic Church.
  (II) The National Church.
  (III) The Established Church.
  (IV) The Church of England.
  (V) The Reformed Church.
  (VI) The Primitive Church.


The Creeds call it "the _Catholic_ Church" and describe its doctrine as
"the _Catholic_ Religion," or the "_Catholic_ Faith".  The Te Deum,
Litany, and Ember Collect explain this word "Catholic" to mean "the
holy Church _throughout all the {3} world_," "_an universal_ Church,"
"_thy holy_ Church universal"; and the Collect for the King in the
Liturgy defines it as "the _whole_ Church".  The "Catholic Church,"
then, is "the whole Church," East and West, Latin, Greek, and English,
"throughout all the world ".[2]  Its message is world-wide, according
to the terms of its original Commission, "Go ye into _all the world_".

Thus, wherever there are souls and bodies to be saved and sanctified,
there, sooner or later, will be the Catholic Church.  And, as a matter
of history, this is just what we find.  Are there souls to be saved and
sanctified in Italy?--there is the Church, with its local headquarters
at Rome.  Are there souls to be saved and sanctified in Russia?--there
is the Church, once with its local {4} headquarters at Moscow.  Are
there souls to be saved and sanctified in England?--there is the
Church, with its local headquarters at Canterbury.  It is, and ever has
been, one and the same Church, "all one man's sons," and that man, the
Man Christ Jesus.  The Catholic Church is like the ocean.  There is the
Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean: and yet there are
not three oceans, but one ocean.  The Atlantic Ocean is not the Indian
Ocean, nor is the Indian Ocean the Pacific Ocean: they are all together
the one universal ocean--"the ocean".

But, after all, is not this a somewhat vague and nebulous conception of
"The Church".  If it is to go into all the world, how, from a business
point of view, is this world-wide mission, in all its grandeur, to be
accomplished?  The answer is seen in our second name:--


For business and administrative purposes, the world is divided into
different nations.  For business and practical purposes, the Church
follows the same method.  The Catholic Church is the channel of "saving
health to all nations".  As at Pentecost the Church, typically, reached
"every {5} nation under heaven," so, age after age, must every nation
receive the Church's message.  The Universal Church must be planted in
each nation--not to denationalize that nation; not to plant another
National Church in the nation; but to establish itself as "the Catholic
Church" in that particular area, and to gather out of it some national
feature of universal life to present to the Universal Head.  Thus, a
National Church is the local presentment of the Catholic Church in the
nation.  As Dr. Newman puts it: "The Holy Church throughout all the
world is manifest and acts through what is called _in each country_,
the Church Visible".

As such, the duty of a National Church is two-fold.  It must teach the
nation; it must feed the nation.  First: it is the function of the
National Church to teach the nation.  What is its subject?  Religion.
It is to teach the nation religion--not to be taught religion by the
nation.  It is no more the State's function to teach religion to the
authorities of the National Church[3] than it is the {6} function of
the nation to teach art to the authorities of the National Gallery.
Nor, again, is it the function of a National Church to teach the nation
a _national_ religion; it is the office of the Church to teach the
nation the _Catholic_ religion--to say, in common with the rest of
Christendom, "the Catholic religion is this," and none other.  Thus,
the faith of a National Church is not the changing faith of a passing
majority; it is the unchanging faith of a permanent Body, the Catholic
Church.  Different ages may explain the faith in different ways;
different nations may present it by different methods; different minds
may interpret it in different lights; but it is one and the same faith,
"throughout all the world ".

A second function of the National Church is to feed the nation--to feed
it with something which no State has to offer.  It is the hand of the
Catholic Church dispensing to the nation "something better than bread".
When a priest is ordained, the Bishop bids him be "a faithful dispenser
of the Word of God, and of His holy Sacraments," and then gives him a
local sphere of action "in the congregation where thou shalt be
lawfully appointed thereunto".[4]  Ideally, this {7} is carried out by
the parochial system.  For administrative purposes, the National Church
is divided into parishes, and thus brings the Scriptures and Sacraments
to every individual in every nation in which the Catholic Church is
established.  It is a grand and business-like conception.  First, the
Church's _mission_, "Go ye into all the world"; then the Church's
_method_--planting itself in nation after nation "throughout all the
world"; dividing (still for administrative purposes) each nation into
provinces; each province into dioceses; each diocese into
archdeaconries; each archdeaconry into rural deaneries; each rural
deanery into parishes; and so teaching and feeding each unit in each
parish, by the hand of the National Church.

All this is, or should be, going on in England, and we have now to ask
when and by whom the Catholic Church, established in the Upper Chamber
on the Day of Pentecost, was established in our country.


The  Catholic  Church  was  established, or re-established,[5] in this
realm in the year {8} 597.[6]  It was established by St. Augustine,
afterwards the first Archbishop of Canterbury.  How do we know this?
By documentary evidence.  This is the only evidence which, in such a
case, is final.  If it is asked when, and by whom, our great public
schools were established, the answer can be proved or disproved by
documents.  If, for instance, it is asked when, and by whom,
_Winchester_ was established, documents, and documents only, {9} can
answer the question---and documents definitely reply: in 1387, by
William of Wykeham; if it is asked when, and by whom, _Eton_ was
established, documents answer: in 1441, by Henry VI; if it is asked
when, and by whom, _Harrow_ was established, documents respond: in
1571, by John Lyon; if it is asked when, and by whom, _Charterhouse_
was established, documents again reply: in 1611, by Sir Thomas Sutton.
It can all be proved by, and only by, documentary evidence.  So with
the sects.  Documents can prove that the Congregationalists established
themselves in England in 1568, under Robert Brown; Quakers in 1660,
under George Fox; Unitarians in 1719, under Samuel Clarke; Wesleyans in
1799, under a Wesleyan Conference.  Records exist proving that these
various sects were established at these given dates, and no records
exist proving that they were established at any other dates.  So with
the Church.  Records exist proving that it was established by
Augustine, in England, in 597, and no records exist even hinting that
it was established at any other time by anybody else.


"_As by Law Established._"[7]

A not unnatural mistake has sometimes arisen from the phrase "_as by
law_ established".  Where is this law?  It does not exist.  No law ever
established the Church of England.  The expression refers to the
protection given by law to the Catholic Church in England, enabling it
to do its duty in, and to, the country.  It tells of the legal
recognition of the Church in the country long before the State existed;
it expresses the legal declaration that the Church of England is not a
mere insular sect, but part of the Universal Church "throughout all the
world".  A State can, of course, if it chooses, establish and {11}
endow any religion--Mohammedan, Hindoo, Christian, in a country.  It
can establish Presbyterianism or Quakerism or Undenominationalism in
England if it elects so to do; but none of these would be the Church of
Jesus Christ established in the Upper Chamber on the Day of Pentecost.
As a matter of history, no Church was ever established or endowed by
State law in England.[8]  If such a tremendous Act as the establishment
of the Church of England by law had been passed, it is obvious that
some document would attest it, as it does in the case of the
establishment of the Scotch Presbyterian Church in the reign of William
III.  No such document exists.  But an authentic {12} record does exist
proving the establishment of the Pentecostal Church in England in 597.
It is this old Pentecostal Church that we speak of as the Church of


Who gave it this name?  The Pope.[9]  It was given by Pope Gregory in a
letter to Augustine.  In this letter[10] Gregory speaks of three
Churches--the {13} Church of Rome, the Church of Gaul, and the _Church
of the English_, and he bids Augustine compile a Liturgy from the
different Churches for the "Use" of the Church of England.

We see, then, that the Church of England is the Catholic Church in
England.  As the Church of Ephesus is the Catholic Church in Ephesus,
or the Church of Laodicea is the Catholic Church in Laodicea, or the
Church of Thyatira the Catholic Church in Thyatira, so the Church of
England is the Catholic Church in England.  Just as St. Clement begins
his Epistle to the Corinthians with, "The _Church of God_, which is at
Rome, to the _Church of God_ which is at Corinth," so might Archbishop
Davidson write to the Italians, "_The Church of God_, which is at
Canterbury, to the _Church of God_, which is at Rome".  It is in each
case, "the Church of God," "made visible," in the nation where it is


But, being national (being, for example, in England), it is, obviously,
subject to the dangers, as well as the privileges, of national
character, national temperament--and, in our case, national insularity.
The national presentment of the Catholic Church may err, and may err
without losing its Catholicity.  The Church of England, "as also the
Church of Rome, hath erred";[11] it has needed, it needs, it will need,
reforming.  Hence we come to our fifth name:--


The name is very suggestive.  It suggests two things--life and

First, _life_.  A reforming Church is a living Church.  Reformation is
a sign of animation, for a dead organism cannot reform itself.  Then,
_continuity_.  The reformed man, must be the same man, or he would not
be a reformed man but somebody else.  So with the Church of England.
It would have been quite possible, however ludicrous, to have
established a new Church in the sixteenth century, but that would not
have been a reformed Church, it would have been {15} another
Church--the very last thing the Reformers contemplated.

A Reformed Church, then, is not the formation of a new Church, but the
re-formation of the old Church.

How did the old Church of England reform itself?  Roughly speaking, the
English Reformation did two things.  It affirmed something, and it
denied something.

First, it affirmed something.  For instance, the Church of England
affirmed that the Church in this country in the sixteenth century was
one with the Church of the sixth century.  It affirmed that it was the
very same Church that had been established in Palestine on the Day of
Pentecost, and in this realm by Augustine in 597.  It reaffirmed its
old national independence in things local just as it had affirmed it in
the days of Pope Gregory, It re-affirmed its adherence to every
doctrine[12] held by the undivided Church, without adding thereto, or
taking therefrom.


Then, it denied something.  It denied the right of foreigners to
interfere in purely English affairs; it denied the right of the Bishop
of one National Church to exercise his power in another National
Church; it denied the claim of the Bishop of Rome to exercise
jurisdiction over the Archbishop of Canterbury; it denied the power of
any one part of the Church to impose local decisions, or local dogmas,
upon any other part of the Church.

Thus, the Reformation both affirmed and denied.  It affirmed the
constitutional rights of the Church as against the unconstitutional
claims of the Pope, and it denied the unconstitutional claims of the
State as against the constitutional rights of the Church.

Much more, very much more, "for weal or for woe," it did.  It had to
buy its experience.  The Reformation was not born grown up.  It made
its mistakes, as every growing movement will do.  It is still growing,
still making mistakes, still purging and pruning itself as it grows;
and it is still asserting its right to reform itself where it {17} has
gone wrong, and to return to the old ideal where it has departed from
it.  And this old ideal is wrapped up in the sixth name:--


Re-formation must be based upon its original formation if it would aim
at real reform.  It is not necessarily a mechanical imitation of the
past, but a genuine portrait of the permanent.  It is, then, to the
Primitive Church that we must look for the principles of reformation.
If the meaning of a will is contested years after the testator's death,
reference will be made, as far as possible, to the testator's
contemporaries, or to writings which might best interpret his
intentions.  This is what the English Reformers of the sixteenth
century tell us that they did.  They refer perpetually to the past;
over and over again they send us to the "ancient fathers,"[13] as to
those living and writing nearest to the days when the Church was
established, and as most likely to know her mind.  They go back to what
the "Commination Service" calls "The Primitive Church".  This
"Primitive Church" is the Reformed Church now established in England.
{18} The Reformers themselves never meant it to be anything else, and
would have been the first to protest against the unhistoric, low, and
modern use of the word "established".  In this sense, they would have
been the sturdiest of sturdy "Protestants".

And this word Protestant reminds us that there is one more name
frequently given to the Church of England, but not included in our
scheme, because found nowhere in the Prayer Book.


The term is a foreign one--not English.  It comes from Germany and was
given to the Lutherans in 1529, because they protested against an
edict[14] forbidding them to regulate their own local ecclesiastical
affairs, pending the decision of a General Council.

It had nothing whatever to do with "protesting" against ceremonial.
The ceremonial of the Church in Lutheran Germany is at least as
carefully elaborated as that seen in the majority of English churches.

Later on, the term was borrowed from the Germans by the English, and
applied to {19} Churchmen who protested (1) against doctrines held
_exclusively_ by Rome on the one hand, and by Lutherans and Calvinists
on the other; and (2) against claims made by the King over the rights
and properties of the Church.  Later still, it has been applied to
those who protest against the ancient interpretation of Prayer-Book
teaching on the Sacraments and Ceremonial.

There is, it is true, a sense in which the name is fairly used to
represent the views of all loyal English Churchmen.  Every English
Churchman protests against anything unhistoric or uncatholic.  The
Church of England does protest against anything imposed by one part of
the Church on any other part of the Church, apart from the consent of
the whole Church.  It does protest against the claims of Italy or of
any other nation to rule England, or to impose upon us, as _de fide_,
anything exclusively Roman.  In this sense, Laud declared upon the
scaffold that he died "a true Protestant"; in this sense, Nicholas
Ferrar, founder of a Religious House in Huntingdonshire, called himself
a Protestant; in this sense, we are all Protestants, and in this sense
we are not ashamed of our unhistoric name.


In these Prayer-Book names, then, we see (1) that the Church on earth
is a society, established in the Upper Chamber on the Day of Pentecost;
(2) that it was established to be the ordained and ordinary channel
through which God saves and sanctifies fallen man; (3) that, in order
to accomplish this, and for business and administrative purposes, the
Church Catholic establishes itself in national centres; (4) that one
such national centre is England; and (5) that this Pentecostal Church
established in England is the Church which "Christ loved," the Sponsa
Christi, the "Bride of Christ":--

  _Elect from every nation,_
    _Yet one all o'er the Earth._

[1] Eph. v. 25.

[2] The primary meaning of the word Catholic seems to refer to
world-wide extension.  St. Augustine teaches that it means "Universal"
as opposed to particular, and says that "The Church is called Catholic
because it is spread throughout the whole world".  St. Cyril of
Jerusalem says: "The Church is called Catholic because it extends
throughout the whole world, from one end of the Earth to the other,"
and he adds, "because it teaches universally all the doctrines which
men ought to know" ("Catechetical Lectures," xviii. 23).

[3] "Foul fall the day," writes Mr. Gladstone, "when the persons of
this world shall, on whatever pretext, take into their uncommissioned
hands the manipulation of the religion of our Lord and Saviour."

[4] Service for "The Ordering of Priests".

[5] There was, of course, an ancient British Church long before the
sixth century, and there is evidence that it existed in the middle of
the second century.  It sent bishops to the Council of Arles in 314,
and there is a church at Canterbury in which Queen Bertha's chaplain
celebrated some twenty-five years before the coming of Augustine.  But
its origin is shrouded in mystery, and it had been practically
extinguished by Jutes, Saxons, and Angles before Augustine arrived.
"Of the ancient British Church," writes Bishop Stubbs, in an
unpublished letter, "we must be content to admit that history tells us
next to nothing, and that what glimmerings of truth we think we can
discover in legend grow fainter and fainter the more closely they are
examined.  Authentic records there are none."  Some ascribe the first
preaching of the Gospel in Britain to St. Peter, others to St. Paul, or
St. James, or St. Simon Zelotes, and the monks of Glastonbury ascribe
it to their founder, Joseph of Arimathea, who was, they say, sent to
Britain by St. Philip with eleven others in A.D. 63.  Cf. letter of Dr.
Bright to "The Guardian," 14 March, 1888, and see "Letters and Memoirs
of William Bright," pp. 267 _seq_.

[6] i.e. the English, as distinct from the British Church.

[7] "The word Establishment," writes Bishop Stubbs, "means, of course,
the national recognition of our Church as a Christian Church, as the
representment of the religious life of the nation as historically
worked out and by means of property and discipline enabled to
discharge, so far as outward discharge can insure it, the effectual
performance of the duties that membership of a Christian Church
involves.  It means the national recognition of a system by which every
inch of land in England, and every living soul in the population is
assigned to a ministration of help, teaching, advice, and comfort of
religion, a system in which every English man woman and child has a
right to the service of a clergyman and to a home of spiritual life in
the service of the Church" ("Visitation Charges," p. 303).

[8] A State can, of course, _endow_, as well as establish, any form of
religion it selects.  It has a perfect right to do so.  But the State
has never endowed the Church of England, and it can only disendow it in
the sense that it can rob it of its own endowments--just as it can, by
Act of Parliament, rob any business man of his money.  It has done this
once already.  At the Great Rebellion, the Church of England was, in
this sense, disestablished and disendowed.  By the Act of Uniformity of
Charles II, it was reinstated into the rights and liberties from which
it had been deposed.  But it remained the same Church which Augustine
established in England all the time.  Its reinstatement no more made
the Church a new Church, than the restoration of Charles II made the
monarchy a new monarchy.

[9] It is sometimes asked, Does not the presence of the Bishops in the
House of Lords constitute an Established Church?  No.  Representatives
from all the sects might, and some probably will, sit there without
either making their sect the established Church of the country, or
unmaking the Catholic Church the Church of the country.  Bishops have
sat in the House of Lords ever since there has been a House of Lords to
sit in, but neither their exclusion, nor the inclusion of non-Bishops,
would disestablish the Church of England.

It is also asked, do not the Prime Ministers make the Bishops?  Prime
Ministers, as we shall see, do not _make_ but _nominate_ the Bishops.

[10] Augustine is worried, as we are worried, by the variety of customs
in different Churches, and asks Pope Gregory "why one custom of masses
is observed in the Holy Roman Church and another in the Church of the
Gallic Provinces".  "My brother knows," replied Gregory, "the custom of
the Roman Church in which he was brought up.  But my pleasure is that
you should, with great care, select whatever you think will best please
Almighty God wherever you find it, whether in the Church of Rome, or in
the Church of Gaul, or in any other Church, and then plant firmly in
the Church of the English that which you have selected from many
Churches....  Choose, then, from each individual Church things pious,
religious, righteous, and having, as it were, collected them into a
volume, deposit them with the minds of the English as their custom,
their Use."

[11] Art. XIX.

[12] "I protest," wrote Archbishop Cranmer, "and openly confess that,
in all my doctrine, whatsoever it be, not only I mean and judge those
things as the Catholic Church, and the most holy Fathers of old, with
one accord, have meant and judged, but also I would gladly use the same
words which they used, and not use any other words, but to set my hand
to all and singular their speeches, phrases, ways, and forms of speech,
which they did use in their treatise upon the Sacraments, and to keep
still their interpretation."

[13] See Preface to the Prayer Book.

[14] The Edict of the Diet (or Council) of Spires.




For the purpose of these lectures, we will select two:--

(1) _The Bible_, the possession of the whole Church.

(2) _The Prayer Book_, the possession of the Church of England.


And notice: _first, the Church; then, the Bible_--first the Society,
then its Publications; first the Writers; then the Writings; first the
Messenger, then the Message; first the Agent, then the Agencies.

This is the Divine Order.  Preaching, not writing, was the Apostolic
method.  Oral teaching preceded the written word.  Then, later on, lest
this oral teaching should be lost, forgotten, or misquoted, it was
gradually committed to {22} manuscript, and its "good tidings"
published in writing for the Church's children.

It is very important to remember this order ("first the Church, and
then the Bible"), because thousands of souls lived and died long before
the New Testament was written.  The earliest books of the New Testament
(the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians) were not written
for twenty years after the Day of Pentecost; the earliest Gospel (St.
Mark) was not committed to writing before A.D. 65.  And, even if the
Bible had been written earlier, few could have read it; and even then
few could have possessed it.  It was a rare book, wholly out of reach
of "the people".  The first Bible was not printed until 1445.

But, thank God, the Church, which wrote the book, could teach without
the book; and we may be sure that no single soul was lost for the want
of what it could not possess.  "Without a Bible," says St. Irenaeus,
writing in the second century, "they received, from the Church,
teaching sufficient for the salvation of their souls."

Then, again, the Church alone could decide which books were, and which
books were not, "the Scriptures".  How else could we know?  The society
authorizes its publications.  It affixes {23} its seal only to the
books it has issued.  So with the Divine Society, the Church.  It
affixes its seal to the books we now know as the Bible.  How do we
know, for instance, that St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians are
part of the Bible, and that St. Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians is
not part of the Bible?  Because, and only because, the Church has so
decided.  If we had lived in the days of persecution it would have made
a considerable difference to us whether this or that sacred book was
included in the Christian Scriptures.  Thus, when the early Christians
were ordered by Diocletian to "bring out their books," and either burn
them or die for them, it became a matter of vital importance to know
which these books were.  Who could tell them this?  Only the society
which published them, only the Church.

Again, the Church, and only the Church, is the final _interpreter_ of
the Bible--it is the "_witness_ and keeper of holy writ".[1]  The
society which publishes a statement must be the final interpreter of
that statement.  Probably no book ever published needed authoritative
interpretation more than the Bible.  We call it "the book of {24}
peace"; it is in reality a book of war.  No book has spread more
discord than the Bible.  Every sect in the world quotes the Bible as
the source and justification of its existence.  Men, equally learned,
devout, prayerful, deduce the most opposite conclusions from the very
same words.  Two men, we will say, honestly and earnestly seek to know
what the Bible teaches about Baptismal Regeneration, or the Blessed
Sacrament.  They have exactly the same _data_ to go upon, precisely the
same statements before them; yet, from the same premises, they will
deduce a diametrically opposite conclusion.  Hence, party wrangling,
and sectarian bitterness; hence, the confusion of tongues, which has
changed our Zion into Babel.  Indeed, as we all know, so sharp was the
contention in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, that translations
of the Bible were actually forbidden by two local Church Councils.[2]

An interpreter is as much needed now, as in the days of the Ethiopian
Eunuch.  "_How_ readest thou?"[3] is a question second only in {25}
importance (if, indeed, it is second) to "_What_ is written?"  Upon
"how" we read, will very largely depend the value of "what" we read.
We go, then, to the Church to interpret the book which it gave us.

And notice--to say this, is not to disparage the Scriptures because we
exalt the Church.  It is to put both Church and Scriptures in their
true, historical place.  We do not disparage a publication because we
exalt the society which issues that publication; rather, we honour the
one by exalting the other.  Thus, when we say that the creeds interpret
the Bible, we do not disparage the Bible because we exalt the creeds,
any more than we disparage the Church when we say that the Bible proves
the creeds.  Take the "Virgin Birth," as a single illustration.  Are we
to believe that our Blessed Lord was "born of the Virgin Mary"?  Church
and Bible give the same reply.  The Church taught it before the Bible
recorded it; the Bible recorded it because the Church taught it.  For
us, as Churchmen, the matter is settled once and for all by the
Apostles' Creed.  Here we have the official and authoritative teaching
of the Catholic Church, as proved by the New Testament; "born of the
Virgin Mary".


It is this Bible, the Church's Manual of doctrine and devotion, that we
are to think of.

We will think of it under five familiar names:--

  (I) The Scriptures.
  (II) The Bible.
  (III) The Word of God.
  (IV) Inspiration.
  (V) Revelation.


This was the earliest name by which the Bible was known--the name by
which it was called for the first 1200 years in Church history.  It was
so named by the Latin Fathers in the fifth century, and it means, of
course, "The Writings".  These "Scriptures," or "Writings," were not,
as the plural form of the word reminds us, one book, but many books,
afterwards gathered into one book.[4]  They were a library of separate
books, called by St. Irenaeus "The Divine Library"--perhaps {27} the
best and most descriptive name the Bible ever had.  This library
consists of sixty-six books, not all written at one period, or for one
age, but extending over a period of, at least, 1200 years.

The original copies of these writings, or Scriptures, have not yet been
discovered, though we have extant three very early copies of them,
written "by hand".  These are known as the _Alexandrine_ manuscript (or
Codex), the _Vatican_ manuscript, and the _Sinaitic_ manuscript.  Where
may they be found?

One, dating from the latter part of the fourth, or the early part of
the fifth century, is in the British Museum--a priceless treasure,
which comparatively few have taken the trouble to go and see.  It is
known as the _Alexandrine_ manuscript, and was presented to Charles I
by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1628.  It consists of four
volumes, three of which contain nearly all the Old Testament, and parts
of the Apocrypha, and a fourth, containing a large part of the New

A second manuscript, dating from the fourth century, is in the Vatican
Library in Rome, and is, therefore, known as the _Vatican_ manuscript.
{28} It contains nearly the whole of both the Old and New Testaments,
and of the Apocrypha.

The third manuscript, dating also from the fourth century, is in the
Imperial Library at St. Petersburg.  It was discovered by Prof.
Tischendorf, in 1859, in a basket of fragments, destined to be burned,
in the Monastery of St. Catherine on _Mount Sinai_; hence it is called
the _Sinaitic_ manuscript.

These are the three earliest MS. collections of the Bible as yet
discovered--and strange stories, of mystic beauty, and, it may be, of
weird persecution, they could tell if only they could speak.  Other
manuscripts we have--copies of ancient manuscripts; versions of ancient
manuscripts; translations of ancient manuscripts; texts of ancient
manuscripts.  So they come down the ages, till, at last, we reach our
own "Revised Version," probably the most accurate and trustworthy
version in existence.

"The Scriptures," or "the Writings," then, consist of many books, and
in this very fact, they tell their own tale--the tale of diversity in
unity.  They were written for divers ages, divers intellects, divers
nations, in divers languages, by divers authors or compilers.  They
were not all {29} written for the twentieth century, though they all
have a message for the twentieth century; they were not all written for
the English people, though they all have a truth for the English
people; they were not all written by the same hand, though the same
Hand guided all the writers.  In, and through the Scriptures, "God, at
sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the
fathers by the prophets"; and in, and through them, He "hath in these
last days, spoken unto us by His Son".[5]

Time passes, and these sixty-six books, written at different periods,
in different styles, in different dialects, are gathered together in
one book, called "The Book," or The Bible.


It was so named by the Greek Fathers in the thirteenth century,
hundreds of years after its earliest name, "The Scriptures".  The word
is derived from the Greek _Biblia_, books, and originally meant the
Egyptian _papyrus_ (or _paper-reed_) from which paper was first made.
A "bible," then, was originally any book made of paper, and {30} the
name was afterwards given to the "Book of Books"--"_The Bible_".

Here, then, are sixty-six volumes bound together in one volume.  This,
too, tells its own tale.  If "The Scriptures," or scattered writings,
speak of diversity in unity, "The Bible," or collected writings, tells
of unity in diversity.  Each separate book has its own most sacred
message, while one central, unifying thought dominates all--the
Incarnate Son of God.  The Old Testament writings foretell His coming
("They are they which testify of me"[6]); the New Testament writings
proclaim His Advent ("The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us"[7]).
Thus, all the books become one book.

  _Many the tongues,_
  _The theme is one,_
  _The glory of the Eternal Son._

Take away that central Figure, and both the background of the Old
Testament and the foreground of the New become dull, sunless,
colourless.  Reinstate that central Figure, and book after book, roll
after roll, volume after volume, becomes bright, sunny, intelligible.

This it is which separates the Bible from every other book; this it is
which makes it the worthiest {31} of all books for reverent, prayerful
criticism; this it is which makes its words nuggets of gold, "dearer
unto me than thousands of gold and silver"; this it is which gives the
Bible its third name:--


In what sense is the Bible the Word of God?  Almost any answer must
hurt some, and almost every answer must disappoint others.  For a time,
the "old school" and the "new school" must bear with each other,
neither counting itself "to have apprehended," but each pressing
forward to attain results.

In speaking of the Bible, we commonly meet with two extreme classes: on
the one hand, there are those who hold that every syllable is the Word
of God, and therefore outside all criticism; on the other hand, there
are those who hold that the Bible is no more the "Word of God" than any
other book, and may, therefore, be handled and criticized just like any
other book.  In between these two extremes, there is another class,
which holds that the Bible is the Word of God, and that just because it
is the Word of God, it is--above all other books--an "open Bible," a
{32} book open for sacred study, devout debate, reverent criticism.

The first class holds that every one of the 925,877 words in the Bible
is as literally "God's Word" as if no human hand had written it.  Thus,
Dean Burgon writes: "Every word of it, every chapter of it, every
syllable of it, every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most
High....  Every syllable is just what it would have been ... _without
the intervention of any human agent_."  This, of course, creates
hopeless difficulties.  For instance, in the Authorized Version (to
take but one single version) there are obvious insertions, such as St.
Mark xvi. 9-20, which may not be "the Word of God" at all.  There are
obvious misquotations, such as in the seven variations in St. Stephen's
speech.[8]  There are obvious doubts about accurate translations, where
the marginal notes give alternative readings.  There are obvious
mistakes by modern printers, as there were by ancient copyists.[9]
There are three versions of the Psalms now in use (the Authorized
Version, the Revised Version, and the Prayer-Book Version), all
differing {33} from each other.  The translators of the Authorized
Version wish, they say, to make "_one more exact_ translation of the
Scriptures," and one-third of the translators of the Revised Version
constantly differs from the other two-thirds.  Here, clearly, the human
agent is at work.

Then there are those who, perhaps from a natural reaction, deny that
any word in the Bible is in any special sense "the Word of God".  But
this, too, creates hopeless difficulties, and satisfies no serious
student.  If the Bible is, in no special sense, the Word of God, there
is absolutely no satisfactory explanation of its unique position and
career in history.  It is a great fact which remains unaccounted for.
Moreover, no evidence exists which suggests that the writers who call
it the Word of God were either frauds or dupes, or that they were
deceived when they proclaimed "_God_ spake these words, and said"; or,
"Thus saith _the Lord_"; or, "The Revelation of _Jesus Christ_ by His
servant John".  There must, upon the lowest ground, be a sense in which
it may be truly said that the Bible is the Word of God as no other book
is.  This we may consider under the fourth name, Inspiration.



What do we mean by the word?  The Church has nowhere defined it, and we
are not tied to any one interpretation; but the Bible itself suggests a
possible meaning.

It is the Word of God heard through the voice of man.

Think of some such expression as: "_The Revelation of Jesus Christ
which God gave by His angel unto His servant John_" (Rev. i. 1).  Here
two facts are stated: (1) The revelation is from Jesus Christ; (2) It
was given through a human agent--John.  God gave it; man conveyed it.
Again: "_Holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost_"
(2 Pet. i. 21).  The Holy Ghost moved them; they spake: the speakers,
not the writings, were inspired.  Again: "_As He spake by the mouth of
His holy Prophets_"[10] (St. Luke i. 70).  He spake; but He spake
through the mouthpiece of the human agent.  And once again, as the
Collect for the second Sunday in Advent tells us, it is the "_blessed
Lord Who (hast) caused all Holy Scriptures to be written_".  God was
the initiating {35} cause of writings: man was the inspired writer.
Each messenger received the message, but each passed it on in his own
way.  It was with each as it was with Haggai: "Then spake Haggai, the
_Lord's messenger_ in the _Lord's message_" (Haggai i. 13).  The
message was Divine, though the messenger was human; the message was
infallible, though the messenger was fallible; the vessel was earthen,
though the contents were golden.  In this unique sense, the Bible is
indeed "the Word of God".  It is the "Word of God," delivered in the
words of man.

Thus, as Dr. Sanday puts it, the Bible is, at once, both human and
Divine; not less Divine because thoroughly human, and not less human
because essentially Divine.  We need not necessarily parcel it out and
say such and such things are human and such and such things are Divine,
though there are instances in which we may do this, and the Scriptures
would justify us in so doing.  There will be much in Holy Scripture
which is at once very human and very Divine.  The two aspects are not
incompatible with each other; rather, they are intimately united.  Look
at them in one light, and you will see the one; look at them in another
light, and you will see {36} the other.  But the substance of that
which gives these different impressions is one and the same.

It is from no irreverence, but because of the over-towering importance
of the book, that the best scholars (devout, prayerful scholars, as
well as the reverse) have given the best of their lives to the study of
its text, its history, its writers, its contents.

Their criticism has, as we know, been classified under three heads:--

  (1) Lower, or _textual_ criticism.
  (2) Higher, or _documentary_ criticism.
  (3) Historical, or _contemporary_ criticism.

_Lower criticism_ seeks for, and studies, the best and purest text
obtainable--the text nearest to the original, from which fresh
translations can be made.

_Higher criticism_ seeks for, and studies, documents: it deals with the
authenticity of different books, the date at which they were written,
the names of their authors.

_Historical criticism_ seeks for, and studies, _data_ relating to the
history of the times when each book was written, and the light thrown
upon that history by recent discoveries (e.g. in archaeology, and
excavations in Palestine).


No very definite results have yet been reached on many points of
criticism, and, on many of them, scholars have had again and again to
reverse their conclusions.  We are still only _en route_, and are
learning more and more to possess our souls in patience, and to wait
awhile for anything in the nature of finality.  Meanwhile, the living
substance is unshaken and untouched.

This living substance, entrusted to living men, is the revelation of
God to man, and leads us to our last selected name--Revelation.


The Bible is the revelation of the Blessed Trinity to man--of God the
Son, by God the Father, through God the Holy Ghost.  It is the
revelation of God to man, and in man.  First, it reveals God _to_
man--"pleased as Man with man to dwell".  In it, God stands in front of
man, and, through the God-Man, shows him what God is like.  It reveals
God as the "pattern on the mount," for man to copy on the plain.  But
it does more than this: it reveals God _in_ man.  So St. Paul writes:
"It pleased God to reveal His Son _in_ me";[11] and again, "God hath
{38} shined _in_ our hearts".[12]  The Bible reveals to me that Jesus,
the revelation of the Father, through the Eternal Spirit, dwells in me,
as well as outside me.  He is a power within, as well as a pattern

Yet again.  The Bible reveals God's purpose _for_ man.  There is no
such other revelation of that purpose.  You cannot deduce God's purpose
either in man's life, or in his twentieth century environment.  It can
only be fully deduced from Revelation.  Man may seem temporarily to
defeat God's purpose, to postpone its accomplishment; but Revelation
(and nothing but Revelation) proclaims that "the Word of the Lord
standeth sure," and that God's primal purpose is God's final purpose.

Lastly, the Bible is the revelation of a future state.  Things begun
here will be completed there.  As such, it gives man a hope on which to
build a belief, and a belief on which to found a hope.

    We must believe,
    For still we hope
  That, in a world of larger scope,
  What here is faithfully begun
  Will be completed, not undone.


Thus, we may, perhaps, find in these five familiar names, brief
headings for leisure thoughts.  In them, we see the _Scriptures_, or
many books, gathered together into one book called _The Book_.  In this
book, we see the _Word of God_ delivered to men by men, and these men
_inspired_ by God to be the living _media_ of the _Revelation_ of God
to man.

Our next selected book will be the Church of England Prayer Book.

[1] Art. XX.

[2] The Council of Toulouse, 1229, and the Council of Trent, 1545-63.

[3] St. Luke x. 26,

[4] The first division of the Bible into _chapters_ is attributed
either to Cardinal Hugo, for convenience in compiling his Concordance
of the Vulgate (about 1240), or to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of
Canterbury (about 1228), to facilitate quotation.  _Verses_ were
introduced into the New Testament by Robert Stephens, 1551.  It is said
that he did the work on a journey from Paris to Lyons.

[5] Heb. i. 1, 2.

[6] St. John v. 39.

[7] St. John i. 14.

[8] Acts VII.

[9] The University Presses offer £1 1s. for every such hitherto
undiscovered inaccuracy brought to their notice.

[10] This is the Church's description of Inspiration in the Nicene
Creed: "Who spake by the Prophets".

[11] Gal. i. 15, 16.

[12] 2 Cor. iv. 6.





We now come to the second of the Church's books selected for
discussion--the Prayer Book.

The English Prayer Book is the local presentment of the Church's
Liturgies for the English people.

Each part of the Church has its own Liturgy, differing in detail,
language, form; but all teaching the same faith, all based upon the
same rule laid down by Gregory for Augustine's guidance.[1]  Thus,
there is the Liturgy of St. James, the Liturgy of St. John,[2] the
Liturgy of St. Mark, and others.  A National Church is within her
rights when she compiles a Liturgy for National Use, provided that it
is in harmony with the basic Liturgies of the Undivided Church.  She
has {41} as much right to her local "Use," with its rules and ritual,
as a local post office has to its own local regulations, provided it
does not infringe any universal rule of the General Post Office.  For
example, a National Church has a perfect right to say in what language
her Liturgy shall be used.  When the English Prayer Book orders her
Liturgy to be said in "the vulgar,"[3] or common, "tongue" of the
people, she is not infringing, but exercising a local right which
belongs to her as part of the Church Universal.  This is what the
English Church has done in the English Prayer Book.

It is this Prayer Book that we are now to consider.

We will try to review, or get a bird's-eye view of it as a whole,
rather than attempt to go into detail.  And, as the best reviewer is
the one who lets a book tell its own story, and reads the author's
meaning out of it rather than his own theories into it, we will let the
book, as far as possible, speak for itself.

Now, in reviewing a book, the reviewer will probably look at three
things: the title, the preface, the contents.



"_The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments and
other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the
Church of England._"

Here are three clear statements: (1) it is "The Book of Common Prayer
"; (2) it is the local "directory" for the "_Administration_ of the
Sacraments of the Church," i.e. of the Universal Church; (3) this
directory is called the "Use of the Church of England".  Think of each
statement in turn.

(1) _It is "The Book of Common Prayer"_.--"Common Prayer"[4] was the
name given to public worship in the middle of the sixteenth century.
The Book of Common Prayer is the volume in which the various services
were gathered together for common use.  It is many books in one book.
As the Bible is one book made up of sixty-six books, so the Prayer Book
is one book made up of six books.  These books, revised and abbreviated
for English "Use," were:--


  (1) The Pontifical.
  (2) The Missal.
  (3) The Gospels.
  (4) The Gradual.
  (5) The Breviary.
  (6) The Manual.

Before the invention of printing, these books were written in
manuscript, and were too heavy to carry about bound together in one
volume.  Each, therefore, was carried by the user separately.  Thus,
when the Bishop, or _Pontifex_, was ordaining or confirming, he carried
with him a separate book containing the offices for Ordination and
Confirmation; and, because it contained the offices used by the Bishop,
or _Pontiff_, it was called the _Pontifical_.  When a priest wished to
celebrate the Holy Eucharist, he used a separate book called "The
Missal" (from the Latin _Missa_, a Mass[5]).  When, in the Eucharist,
the deacon read the Gospel for the day, he read it from a separate book
called "The Gospels".  When he {44} went in procession to read it, the
choir sang scriptural phrases out of a separate book called "The
Gradual" (from the Latin _gradus_, a step), because they were sung in
_gradibus_, i.e. upon the steps of the pulpit, or rood-loft, from which
the Gospel was read.  When the clergy said their offices at certain
fixed "Hours," they used a separate book called "The Breviary" (from
the Latin _brevis_, short), because it contained the brief, or short,
writings which constituted the office, out of which our English Matins
and Evensong were practically formed.  When services for such as needed
Baptism, Matrimony, Unction, Burial, were required, some light book
that could easily be carried _in the hand_ was used, and this was
called "The Manual" (from the Latin _manus_, a hand).

These six books, written in Latin, were, in 1549, shortened, and, with
various alterations, translated into English, bound in one volume,
which is called "The Book of Common Prayer".

Alterations, some good and some bad, have from time to time been
adopted, and revisions made; but the Prayer Book is now the same in
substance as it always has been--a faithful reproduction, in all
essentials, of the worship and {45} teaching of the Undivided Church.
As we all know, a further revision is now contemplated.  All agree that
it is needed; all would like to amend the Prayer Book in one direction
or another; but there is a sharp contention as to whether this is the
time for revision, and what line the revision should take.  The nature
of the last attempted revision, in the reign of William III,[6] will
make the liturgical student profoundly grateful that that proposed
revision was rejected, and will suggest infinite caution before
entrusting a new revision to any but proved experts, and liturgical

Whatever changes are made, they should, at least, be based on two
principles--permanence and progress.  The essence of progress is
loyalty to the past.  Nothing should be touched that is a permanent
part of the Ancient Office Books; nothing should be omitted, or added,
that is outside the teaching of the Universal Church.  For the
immediate present, we would ask that the {46} Prayer Book should be
left untouched, but that an Appendix, consisting of many unauthorized
services now in use, should be "put forth by authority," i.e. by the
sanction of the Bishops.

(2) _The Administration of the Sacraments of the Church_.--The
Sacraments are the treasures of the whole Church; the way in which they
may be "administered" is left to the decision of that part of the
Church in which they are administered.  Take, once again, the question
of language.  One part of the Church has as much right to administer
the Sacraments in English as another part has to administer them in
Latin, or another part in Greek.  For instance, the words, "This is My
Body" in the English Liturgy are quite as near to the original as "_Hoc
est Corpus Meum_" is in the Latin Liturgy.  Each Church has a right to
make its own regulations for its own people.

So with "rites and ceremonies".  Provided the essence of the Sacrament
is not touched, the addition or omission of particular rites and
ceremonies does not affect the validity of the Sacrament.  For, the
title of the Prayer Book carefully distinguishes between "The Church"
and "The Church of England," "the _Sacraments_" and the
"_administration_ of the Sacraments".  It is for {47} _administrative
purposes_ that there is an English "Use," i.e. an English method of
administering the Sacraments of the Universal Church.  It is this use
which the title-page calls:--

(3) _The Use of the Church of England_.--This "Use" may vary at
different times, and even in different dioceses.  We read of one "Use"
in the Diocese of York; another in the Diocese of Sarum, or Salisbury;
another in the Diocese of Hereford; another in the Diocese of Bangor;
and so on.  Indeed, there were so many different Uses at one time that,
for the sake of unity, one Use was substituted for many; and that Use,
sufficient in all essentials, is found in our "Book of Common Prayer ".


It was written, in 1661, by Bishop Sanderson, and amended by the Upper
House of Convocation.

What, we ask, do these preface-writers say about the book to which they
gave their _imprimatur_?

First, they state their position.  They have no intention whatever of
writing a new book.  Their aim is to adapt old books to new needs.
{48} Adaptation, not invention, is their aim.  Four times in their
short Preface they refer us to "the ancient Fathers" as their guides.

Next, they state their object.  Two dangers, they tell us, have to be
avoided.  In compiling a Liturgy from Ancient Sources, one danger will
be that of "too much stiffness in _refusing_" new matter--i.e. letting
a love of permanence spoil progress: another, and opposite danger, will
be "too much easiness in _admitting_" any variation--i.e. letting a
love of progress spoil permanence.  They will try to avoid both
dangers.  "It hath been the wisdom of the Church of England to keep the
mean between the two extremes," when either extreme runs away from the
"faith once delivered to the Saints ".

Another object they had in view was to give a prominent place to Holy
Scripture.  "So that here," they say, "you have an Order for Prayer,
and for the reading of the Holy Scriptures, much agreeable to the mind
and purpose of _the old Fathers_."

Next, they deal with the principles which underlie all ritualism.  In
speaking "of Ceremonies, why some be abolished and some {49} retained,"
they lay it down that, "although the keeping or admitting of a
Ceremony, in itself considered, is but a small thing, yet the wilful
and contemptuous transgression and breaking of a Common Order and
discipline is no small offence before God".  Then, in a golden
sentence, they add: "Whereas the minds of men are so diverse that some
think it a great matter of conscience to depart from a piece of the
least of their ceremonies, they be so addicted to their old customs;
and, again, on the other side, some be so new-fangled that they would
innovate all things, and so despise the old, that nothing can like
them, but that is new: it was thought expedient, not so much to have
respect how to please and satisfy either of these parties, as _how to
please God_, and profit them both".

Finally, whilst wishing to ease men from the oppressive burden of a
multitude of ceremonies, "whereof St. Augustine, in his time,
complained," they assert the right of each Church to make its own
ritual-rules (in conformity with the rules of the whole Church),
provided that it imposes them on no one else.  "And in these our doings
we condemn no other nations, nor prescribe anything but to our own
people only; for we think it {50} convenient that every country should
use such ceremonies as they shall think best."

It is necessary to call attention to all this, because few Church
people seem to know anything about the intentions, objects, and
principles of the compilers, as stated by themselves in the Prayer Book


These a reviewer might briefly deal with under three heads--Doctrine,
Discipline, and Devotion.


The importance of this cannot be exaggerated.  The English Prayer Book
is, for the ordinary Churchman, a standard of authority when
theological doctors differ.  The _Prayer Book_ is the Court of Appeal
from the pulpit--just as the Undivided Church is the final Court of
Appeal from the Prayer Book.  Many a man is honestly puzzled and
worried at the charge so frequently levelled at the Church of England,
that one preacher flatly contradicts another, and that what is taught
as truth in one church is denied as heresy in another.  This is, of
course, by no {51} means peculiar to the Church of England, but it is
none the less a loss to the unity of Christendom.

The whole mischief arises from treating the individual preacher as if
he were the Book of Common Prayer.  It is to the Prayer Book, not to
the Pulpit, that we must go to prove what is taught.  For instance, I
go into one church, and I hear one preacher deny the doctrine of
Baptismal Regeneration; I go into another, and I hear the same doctrine
taught as the very essence of The Faith.  I ask, in despair, what does
the Church of England teach? which teacher am I to believe?  What is
the answer?  It is this.  I am not bound to believe either teacher,
until I have tested his utterances by some authorized book.  This book
is the Prayer Book.  What does the Church of England Prayer Book--not
this or that preacher--say is the teaching of the Church of England?
In the case quoted, this is the Prayer Book answer: "Seeing now, dearly
beloved brethren, that _this child is regenerate_".[8] Here is
something clear, crisp, definite.  It is the authorized expression of
the belief of the Church of England in common with the whole Catholic


Or, I hear two sermons on conversion.  In one, conversion is almost
sneered at, or, at least, apologized for; in another, it is taught with
all the fervour of a personal experience.  What am I to believe?  What
does the Church of England teach about it?  What does the Prayer Book
say?  Open it at the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, or at the
third Collect for Good Friday, and you will hear a trumpet which gives
no uncertain sound.

Or, I am wondering and worried about Confession and Absolution.  What
does the Church of England teach about them?  One preacher says one
thing, one another.  But what is the Church of England's authoritative
utterance on the subject?  Open your Prayer Book, and you will see: you
will find that, with the rest of the Christian Church, she provides for
both, in public and in private, for the strong, and for the sick.

This, at least, is the view an honest onlooker will take of our
position.  A common-sense Nonconformist minister, wishing to teach his
people and to get at facts, studies the English Prayer Book.  This is
his conclusion: "Free Churchmen," he writes, "dissent from much of the
teaching of the Book of Common Prayer.  In {53} the service of Baptism,
expressions are used which naturally lead persons to regard it as a
means of salvation.  God is asked to 'sanctify this water to the
mystical washing away of sin'.  After Baptism, God is thanked for
having 'regenerated the child with His Holy Spirit'.  It is called the
'laver of regeneration,' by which the child, being born in sin, is
received into the number of God's children.  In the Catechism, the
child is taught to say of Baptism, 'wherein I was made the child of
God'.  It is said to be 'generally necessary to salvation,' and the
rubric declares that children who are baptized, and die before they
commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved'."[9]  What could be a fairer
statement of the Prayer-Book teaching?  And he goes on: "In the
visitation of the sick, if the sick person makes a confession of his
sins, and 'if he heartily and humbly desire it,' the Priest is bidden
to absolve him.  The form of Absolution is '... I absolve thee from all
thy sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost'.  In the Ordination Service, the Bishop confers the power of
Absolution upon the Priest."  Nothing could be fairer.  It is precisely
what the Church {54} of England _does_ teach in her authorized
formularies which Archbishop Cranmer gathered together from the old
Service-books of the ancient Church of England.

The pulpit passes: the Prayer Book remains.


The Prayer Book deals with principles, rather than with details--though
details have their place.  It is a book of discipline, "as well for the
body as the soul".  It disciplines the body for the sake of the soul;
it disciplines the soul for the sake of the body.  Now it tightens, now
it relaxes, the human bow.  For example, in the _Table of Feasts and
Fasts_, it lays down one principle which underlies all bodily and
spiritual discipline--the need of training to obtain self-control.  The
_principle_ laid down is that I am to discipline myself at stated times
and seasons, in order that I may not be undisciplined at any times or
seasons.  I am to rejoice as a duty on certain days, that I may live in
the joy of the Redeemed on other days.  Feasts and Fasts have a
meaning, and I cannot deliberately ignore the Prayer-Book Table without
suffering loss.

It is the same with the rubrical directions as to {55} ritual.  I am
ordered to stand when praising, to kneel when praying.  The underlying
_principle_ is that I am not to do things in my own way, without regard
to others, but to do them in an orderly way, and as one of many.  I am
learning to sink the individual in the society.  So with the directions
as to vestments--whether they are the Eucharistic vestments, ordered by
the "Ornaments Rubric," or the preacher's Geneva gown not ordered
anywhere.  The _principle_ laid down is, special things for special
occasions; all else is a matter of degree.  One form of Ceremonial will
appeal to one temperament, a different form to another.  "I like a
grand Ceremonial," writes Dr. Bright, "and I own that Lights and
Vestments give me real pleasure.  But then I should be absurd if I
expected that everybody else, who had the same faith as myself, should
necessarily have the same feeling as to the form of its
expression."[10]  From the subjective and disciplinary point of view,
the mark of the Cross must be stamped on many of our own likes and
dislikes, both in going without, and in bearing with, ceremonial,
especially in small towns and villages where there is only one church.
The principle {56} which says, "You shan't have it because I don't like
it," or, "You shall have it because I do like it," leads to all sorts
of confusion.  As Dr. Liddon says: "When men know what the revelation
of God in His Blessed Son really is, all else follows in due
time--reverence on one side and charity on the other".[11]


Reading the Prayer Book as it stands, from Matins to the Consecration
of an Archbishop, no reviewer could miss its devotional beauty.  It is,
perhaps, a misfortune that the most beautiful Office of the Christian
Church, the Eucharistic Office, should come in the middle, instead of
at the beginning, of our Prayer Book, first in order as first in
importance.  Its character, though capable of much enrichment, reminds
us of how much devotional beauty the Prayer Book has from ancient
sources.  In our jealous zeal for more beauty we are, perhaps, apt to
underrate much that we already possess.  God won't give us more than we
have until we have learnt to value that which we possess.

It is impossible, in the time that remains, to {57} do more than
emphasize one special form of beauty in "The Book of Common
Prayer"--The Collects.  The Prayer-Book Collects are pictures of
beauty.  Only compare a modern collect with the Prayer-Book Collects,
and you will see the difference without much looking.

Learn to value the Prayer Book.  From birth to death it provides, as we
shall see, special offices, and special prayers for the main events of
our lives, though many minor events are still unprovided for.

[1] See p. 13.

[2] Possibly, the origin of the British Liturgy revised by St.
Augustine, and of the present Liturgy of the English Church.

[3] From _vulgus_, a crowd.

[4] Cf. Acts iv. 24, "They lifted up their voices _with one accord_".

[5] The word _Mass_, which has caused such storms of controversy,
originally meant a _dismissal_ of the congregation.  It is found in
words such as Christ-mas (i.e. a short name for the Eucharist on the
Feast of the Nativity), Candle-mas, Martin-mas, Michael-mas, and so on.

[6] This was published _in extenso_ in a Blue Book, issued by the
Government on 2 June, 1854.

[7] It is difficult to see how any revision could obtain legal
sanction, even if prepared by Convocation, save by an Act of Parliament
after free discussion by the present House of Commons.

[8] Public Baptism of Infants.

[9] "The Folkestone Baptist," June, 1899.

[10] "Letters and Memoirs of William Bright," p. 143.

[11] "Life and Letters of H. P. Liddon," p. 329.




We have seen that a National Church is the means whereby the Catholic
Church reaches the nation; that her function is (1) to teach, and (2)
to feed the nation; that she teaches through her books, and feeds
through her Sacraments.

We now come to the second of these two functions--the spiritual feeding
of the nation.  This she does through the Sacraments--a word which
comes from the Latin _sacrare_ (from _sacer_), sacred.[1] The
Sacraments are the sacred _media_ through which the soul of man is fed
with the grace of God.


We may think of them under three heads:--their number; their nature;
their names.


In the early Church the number was unlimited.  After the twelfth
century, the number was technically limited to seven.  Partly owing to
the mystic number seven,[2] and partly because seven seemed to meet the
needs of all sorts and conditions of men, the septenary number of
Sacraments became either fixed or special.  The Latin Church taught
that there were "seven, and seven only": the Greek Church specialized
seven, without limiting their number: the English Church picked out
seven, specializing two as "generally necessary to salvation"[3] and
five (such as Confirmation and Marriage) as "commonly called

The English Church, then, teaches that, without arbitrarily limiting
their number, there are seven special means of grace, either "generally
necessary" for all, or specially provided for some.  And, as amongst
her books she selects two, and calls them "_The_ Bible," and "_The_
Prayer {60} Book," so amongst her Sacraments she deliberately marks out
two for a primacy of honour.

These two are so supreme, as being "ordained by Christ Himself"; so
pre-eminent, as flowing directly from the Wounded Side, that she calls
them "the Sacraments of the Gospel".  They are, above all other
Sacraments, "glad tidings of great joy" to every human being.  And
these two are "generally necessary," i.e. necessary for all alike--they
are _generaliter_, i.e. for _all_ and not only for _special_ states
(such as Holy Orders): they are "for _every_ man in his vocation and
ministry".  The other five are not necessarily essential for all.  They
have not all "the like nature of Sacraments of the Gospel," in that
they were not all "ordained by Christ Himself".  It is the nature of
the two Sacraments of the Gospel that we now consider.


"What meanest thou by this word, Sacrament?"  The Catechism, confining
its answer to the two greater Sacraments, replies: "I mean an outward
and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace..."[5]


Putting this into more modern language, we might say that a Sacrament
is a supernatural conjunction of spirit and matter.[6]  It is not
matter only; it is not spirit only; it is not matter opposed to spirit,
but spirit of which matter is the expression, and "the ultimate
reality".  Thus, for a perfect Sacrament, there must be both "the
outward and visible" (matter), and "the inward and spiritual" (spirit).
It is the conjunction of the two which makes the Sacrament.  Thus, a
Sacrament is not wholly under the conditions of material laws, nor is
it wholly under the conditions of spiritual laws; it is under the
conditions of what (for lack of any other name) we call _Sacramental_
laws.  As yet, we know comparatively little of either material or
spiritual laws, and we cannot be surprised that we know still less of
Sacramental laws.  We are in the student stage, and are perpetually
revising our conclusions.  {62} In all three cases, we very largely
"walk by faith".

But this at least we may say of Sacraments.  Matter without spirit
cannot effect that which matter with spirit can, and does, effect.  As
in the Incarnation, God[7] expresses Himself through matter[8]--so it
is in the Sacraments.  In Baptism, the Holy Spirit "expresses Himself"
through water: in the Eucharist, through bread and wine.  In each case,
the perfect integrity of matter and of spirit are essential to the
validity of the Sacrament.  In each case, it is the conjunction of the
two which guarantees the full effect of either.[9]


As given in the Prayer Book, these are seven--"Baptism, and the Supper
of the Lord," Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Unction.

We will think now of the two first.

[1] St. Leo defines a Sacrament thus: "_Sacramentum_.  (1) It
originally signified the pledge or deposit in money which in certain
suits according to Roman Law plaintiff and defendant were alike bound
to make; (2) it came to signify a pledge of military fidelity, a
_voluntary_ oath; (3) then the _exacted_ oath of allegiance; (4) any
oath whatever; (5) in early Christian use any sacred or solemn act, and
especially any mystery where more was meant than met the ear or eye"
(Blight's "Select Sermons of St. Leo on the Incarnation," p. 136).

[2] Symbolical of completion.

[3] Church Catechism.

[4] Article XXV.

[5] The answer is borrowed from Peter Lombard (a pupil of Abelard and
Professor of Theology, and for a short time Bishop of Paris), who
defines a Sacrament as a "visible sign of an invisible grace," probably
himself borrowing the thought from St. Augustine.

[6] Dr. Illingworth calls "the material order another aspect of the
spiritual, which is gradually revealing itself through material
concealment, in the greater and lesser Christian Sacraments, which
radiate from the Incarnation" ("Sermons Preached in a College Chapel,"
p. 173).

[7] God is _Spirit_, St. John iv. 24.

[8] The Word was made _Flesh_, St. John i. 14.

[9] The water in Baptism is not, of course, _consecrated_, as the bread
and wine are in the Eucharist.  It does not, like the bread and wine,
"become what it was not, without ceasing to be what it was," but it is
"_sanctified_ to the mystical washing away of sins".




Consider, What it is;
          What it does;
          How it does it.


The Sacrament of Baptism is the supernatural conjunction of matter and
spirit--of water and the Holy Ghost.  Water must be there, and spirit
must be there.  It is by the conjunction of the two that the Baptized
is "born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost".

So the Prayer Book teaches.  At the reception of a privately baptized
child into the Church, it is laid down that "matter" and "words" are
the two essentials for a valid Baptism.[1]  "Because some things
essential to this Sacrament may happen to be omitted (and thus
invalidate the Sacrament), ... I demand," says the priest, {64} "with
what matter was this child baptized?" and "with what words was this
child baptized?"  And because the omission of right matter or right
words would invalidate the Sacrament, further inquiry is made, and the
god-parents are asked: "by whom was this child baptized?": "who was
present when this child was baptized?"  Additional security is taken,
if there is the slightest reason to question the evidence given.  The
child is then given "Conditional Baptism," and Baptism is administered
with the conditional words: "If thou art not already baptized,"--for
Baptism cannot be repeated--"I baptize thee in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen."  So careful is the
Church both in administering and guarding the essentials of the

And notice: nothing but the water and the words are _essential_.  Other
things may, or may not, be edifying; they are not essential; they are
matters of ecclesiastical regulation, not of Divine appointment.  Thus,
a _Priest_ is not essential to a valid Baptism, as he is for a valid
Eucharist.  A Priest is the normal, but not the necessary, instrument
of Baptism.  "In the absence of a {65} Priest"[2] a Deacon may baptize,
and if the child is _in extremis_, any one, of either sex, may baptize.

Again, _Sponsors_ are not essential to the validity of the Sacrament.
Sponsors are safeguards, not essentials.  They are only a part--an
invaluable part--of ecclesiastical regulation.  When, in times of
persecution, parents might be put to death, other parents were chosen
as parents-in-God (God-parents)[3] to safeguard the child's Christian
career.  Sponsors are "sureties" of the Church, not parts of the
Sacraments.  They stand at the font, as fully admitted Church members,
to welcome a new member into the Brotherhood.  But a private Baptism
without Sponsors would be a valid Baptism.

So, too, in regard to _Ceremonial_.  The mode of administering the
Sacrament may vary: it is not (apart from the matter and words) of the
essence of the Sacrament.  There are, in fact, three ways in which
Baptism may be validly administered.  It may be administered by
_Immersion_, _Aspersion_, or _Affusion_.

Immersion (_in-mergere_, to dip into) is the original and primitive
form of administration.  {66} As the word suggests, it consists of
dipping the candidate into the water--river, bath, or font.

Aspersion (_ad spargere_, to sprinkle upon) is not a primitive form of
administration.  It consists in sprinkling water upon the candidate's

Affusion (_ad fundere_, to pour upon) is the allowed alternative to
Immersion.  It consists in pouring water upon the candidate.

All these methods are valid.  Immersion was the Apostolic method, and
explains most vividly the Apostolic teaching (in which the Candidate is
"buried with Christ" by immersion, and rises again by emersion)[4] no
less than the meaning of the word--from the Greek _baptizo_, to dip.
Provision for Immersion has been made by a Fontgrave, in Lambeth Parish
Church, erected in memory of Archbishop Benson, and constantly made use
of.  But, even in Apostolic times, Baptism by "Affusion" was allowed to
the sick and was equally valid.  In the Prayer Book, affusion is either
permitted (as in the Public Baptism of infants), or ordered (as in the
Private Baptism of infants), or, again, allowed (as in the Baptism of
those of riper years).  It will be {67} noted that the Church of
England makes no allusion to "Aspersion," or the "sprinkling" form of
administration.  The child or adult is always either to be dipped into
the water, or to have water poured upon it.[5]  Other ceremonies there
are--ancient and mediaeval.  Some are full of beauty, but none are
essential.  Thus, in the first Prayer Book of 1549, a white vesture,
called the _Chrisome_[6] or _Chrism_, was put upon the candidate, the
Priest saying: "Take this white vesture for a token of innocency which,
by God's grace, in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, is given unto thee".
It typified the white life to which the one anointed with the Chrisma,
or symbolical oil, was dedicated.[7]


Another ancient custom was to give the newly baptized _milk and honey_.
So, St. Clement of Alexandria writes: "As soon as we are born again, we
become entitled to the hope of rest, the promise of Jerusalem which is
above, where it is said to rain milk and honey".

_Consignation_, again, or the "signing with the sign of the cross,"
dates from a very early period.[8]  It marks the child as belonging to
the Good Shepherd, even as a lamb is marked with the owner's mark or

Giving salt as a symbol of wisdom (_sal sapientiae_); placing a lighted
taper in the child's hand, typifying the illuminating Spirit; turning
to the west to renounce the enemy of the Faith, and then to the east to
recite our belief in that Faith; striking three blows with the hand,
symbolical of fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil: all
such ceremonies, and many more, have their due place, and mystic
meaning: but they are not part of the Sacrament.  They are, {69} as it
were, scenery, beautiful scenery, round the Sacrament; frescoes on the
walls; the "beauty of holiness"; "lily-work upon the top of the
pillars";[9] the handmaids of the Sacrament, but not essential to the
Sacrament.  To deny that the Church of England rightly and duly
administers the Sacrament because she omits any one of these
ceremonies, is to confuse the picture with the frame, the jewel with
its setting, the beautiful with the essential.[10]

We may deplore the loss of this or that Ceremony, but a National Church
exercises her undoubted right in saying at any particular period of her
history how the Sacrament is to be administered, provided the
essentials of the Sacrament are left untouched.  The Church Universal
decides, once for all, what is essential: {70} the National Church
decides how best to secure and safeguard these essentials for her own


According to the Scriptures, "_Baptism doth now save us_".[11]  As God
did "save Noah and his family in the Ark from perishing by water," so
does God save the human family from perishing by sin.  As Noah and his
family could, by an act of free will, have opened a window in the Ark,
and have leapt into the waters, and frustrated God's purpose after they
had been saved, so can any member of the human family, after it has
been taken into the "Ark of Christ's Church," frustrate God's "good
will towards" it, and wilfully leap out of its saving shelter.  Baptism
is "a beginning," not an end.[12]  It puts us into a state of
Salvation.  It starts us in the way of Salvation.  St. Cyprian says
that in Baptism "we start crowned," and St. John says: "Hold fast that
which thou hast that no man take thy crown".[13] Baptism is the
Sacrament of initiation, not of finality.  Directly the child is
baptized, we pray that he "may lead the rest of his life according {71}
to _this beginning_," and we heartily thank God for having, in Baptism,
called us into a state of Salvation.  In this sense, "Baptism doth save

But what does it save us from?  Sin.  In the Nicene Creed we say: "I
believe in one Baptism for the remission of _sins_".  Baptism saves us
from our sins.

In the case of infants, Baptism saves from original, or inherited,
sin--the sin whose origin can be traced to the Fall.  In the case of
adults, Baptism saves from both original and actual sin, both birth sin
and life sin.

The Prayer Book is as explicit as the Bible on this point.  In the case
of infants, we pray:

"We call upon Thee for this infant, that he, _coming to Thy Holy
Baptism_, may receive remission of his sins"--before, i.e., the child
has, by free will choice, committed actual sin.  In the case of adults,
we read: "Well-beloved, who are come hither desiring _to receive Holy
Baptism_, ye have heard how the congregation hath prayed, that our Lord
Jesus Christ would vouchsafe to ... _release you of your sins_".  And,
again, dealing with infants, the Rubric at the end of the "Public
Baptism of Infants" declares that "It is certain, by God's Word, that
children _who are {72} baptized_, dying before they commit _actual
sin_, are undoubtedly saved".

In affirming this, the Church does not condemn all the unbaptized,
infants or adults, to everlasting perdition, as the teaching of some
is.  Every affirmation does not necessarily involve its opposite
negation.  It was thousands of years before any souls at all were
baptized on earth, and even now, few[14] in comparison with the total
population of the civilized and uncivilized world, have been baptized.
The Church nowhere assumes the self-imposed burden of legislation for
these, or limits their chance of salvation to the Church Militant.
What she does do, is to proclaim her unswerving belief in "one Baptism
for the remission of sins"; and her unfailing faith in God's promises
to those who _are_ baptized--"which promise, He, for His part, will
most surely keep and perform".  On this point, she speaks with nothing
short of "undoubted certainty"; on the other point, she is silent.  She
does not condemn an infant because no responsible person has brought it
to Baptism, though she does condemn the person for not bringing it.
She does not limit {73} the power of grace to souls in this life only,
but she does offer grace in this world, which may land the soul safely
in the world to come.

One other thing Baptism does.  Making the child a member of Christ, it
gives it a "Christ-ian" name.

_The Christian Name_.

This Christian, or fore-name as it was called, is the real name.  It
antedates the surname by many centuries, surnames being unknown in
England before the Norman invasion.  The Christian name is the
Christ-name.  It cannot, by any known legal method, be changed.
Surnames may be changed in various legal ways: not so the Christian
name.[15]  This was more apparent when the baptized were given only one
Christian name, for it was not until the eighteenth century that a
second or third name was added, and then only on grounds of convenience.

Again, according to the law of England, the only legal way in which a
Christian name can be given, is by Baptism.  Thus, if a child has been
registered in one name, and is afterwards baptized {74} in another, the
Baptismal, and not the registered, name is its legal name, even if the
registered name was given first.

It is strange that, in view of all this, peers should drop their
Christian names, i.e. their real names, their Baptismal names.  The
custom, apparently, dates only from the Stuart period, and is not easy
to account for.  It would seem to suggest a distinct loss.  The same
loss, if it be a loss, is incurred by the Town Clerk of London, who
omits his Christian name in signing official documents.[16]  The King,
more happily, retains his Baptismal or Christian name, and has no
surname.[17]  Bishops sign themselves by both their {75} Christian and
official name, as "Randall Cantuar; Cosmo Ebor.; A. F. London; H. E.
Winton; F. Oxon.".

We may consider three words, both helps and puzzles, used in connexion
with Holy Baptism: _Regeneration, Adoption, Election_.  Each has its
own separate teaching, though there are points at which their meanings
run into each other.


"We yield Thee hearty thanks that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate
this infant."  So runs the Prayer-Book thanksgiving after baptism.
What does it mean?  The word regeneration comes from two Latin words,
_re_, again, _generare_, to generate, and means exactly what it says.
In Prayer-Book language, it means being "_born again_".  And, notice,
it refers to infants as well {76} as to adults.  The new birth is as
independent of the child's choice as the natural birth.

And this is just what we should expect from a God of love.  The child
is not consulted about his first birth, neither is he consulted about
his second birth.  He does not wait (as the Baptists teach) until he is
old enough to make a free choice of second birth, but as soon as he is
born into the world ("within seven or fourteen days," the Prayer Book
orders) he is reborn into the Church.  Grace does not let nature get
ten to twenty years' start, but gives the soul a fair chance from the
very first: and so, and only so, is a God of love "justified in His
saying, and clear when He is judged".


But there is a second word.  The Baptismal Thanksgiving calls the
Baptized "God's own child by Adoption".  A simple illustration will
best explain the word.  When a man is "naturalized," he speaks of his
new country as the land of his _adoption_.  If a Frenchman becomes a
naturalized Englishman, he ceases legally to be a Frenchman; ceases to
be under French law; ceases to serve in the French army.  He {77}
becomes legally an Englishman; he is under English law; serves in the
English army; has all the privileges and obligations of a "new-born"
Englishman.  He may turn out to be a bad Englishman, a traitor to his
adopted country; he may even hanker after his old life as a
Frenchman--but he has left one kingdom for another, and, good, bad, or
indifferent, he is a subject of his new King; he is a son of his
adopted country.  He cannot belong to two kingdoms, serve under two
kings, live under two sets of laws, at the same time.

It is so with the Baptized.  He has been "adopted" into a new kingdom.
He is a subject of "the Kingdom of Heaven".  But he cannot belong to
two kingdoms at the same time.  His "death unto sin" involves a "new
birth (regeneration) unto righteousness".  He ceases to be a member of
the old kingdom, to serve under the sway of the old king, to be a
"child of wrath".  He renounces all allegiance to Satan; he becomes
God's own child by "adoption".  He may be a good, bad, or indifferent
child; he may be a lost child, but he does not cease to be God's child.
Rather, it is just because he is still God's child that there is hope
for him.  It is because he is {78} the child of God by adoption that
the "spirit of adoption" within him can still cry, "Abba, Father," that
he can still claim the privilege of his adopted country, and "pardon
through the Precious Blood".  True, he has obligations and
responsibilities, as well as privileges, and these we shall see under
the next word, Election.


The Catechism calls the Baptized "the elect people of God," and the
Baptismal Service asks that the child may by Baptism be "taken into the
number of God's elect children".  What does it mean?  The word itself
comes from two Latin words, _e_, or _ex_, out; and _lego_, to choose.
The "elect," then, are those chosen out from others.  It sounds like
favouritism; it reads like "privileged classes"--and so it is.  But the
privilege of election is the privilege of service.  It is like the
privilege of a Member of Parliament, the favoured candidate--the
privilege of being elected to serve others.  Every election is for the
sake of somebody else.  The Member of Parliament is elected for the
sake of his constituents; the Town Councillor is elected for the sake
of his fellow-townsmen; the Governor is elected for the sake of the
{79} governed.  It is so with spiritual elections.  The Jews were
"elect"; but it was for the sake of the Gentiles--"that the Gentiles,
through them, might be brought in".  The Blessed Virgin was "elect";
but it was that "all generations might call her blessed".  The Church
is "elect," but it is for the sake of the world,--that it, too, might
be "brought in".  No election ends with itself.  The Baptized are
"elect," but not for their own sakes; not to be a privileged class,
save to enjoy the privilege of bringing others in.  They are "chosen
out" of the world for the sake of those left in the world.  This is
their obligation; it is the law of their adopted country, the kingdom
into which they have, "by spiritual regeneration," been "born again".

All this, and much more, Baptism does.  How does it do it?


This new Birth!  How is it accomplished?  Nobody knows.  How Baptism
causes all that it effects, is as yet unrevealed.  The Holy Ghost moves
upon the face of the waters, but His operation is overshadowed.  Here,
we are in the realm of faith.  Faith is belief in that which is out of
{80} sight.  It is belief in the unseen, not in the non-existent.  We
hope for that we see not.[18]  The _mode_ of the operation of the Holy
Ghost in Baptism is hidden: the result alone is revealed.  In this, as
in many another mystery, "We wait for light".[19]

[1] See Service for the "Private Baptism of Children".

[2] Service for the Ordination of Deacons.

[3] From an old word, Gossip or _Godsib_, i.e. God relation.

[4] Cf. Rom. vi. 4; Eph. v. 26.

[5] _Trine_ Immersion, i.e. dipping the candidate thrice, or thrice
pouring water upon him, dates from the earliest ages, but exceptional
cases have occurred where a single immersion has been held valid.

[6] From _Chrisma_, sacred oil--first the oil with which a child was
anointed at Baptism, and then the robe with which the child was covered
after Baptism and Unction, and hence the child itself was called a
_Chrisome-child_, i.e. a child wearing the Chrisome robe.

[7] In the 1549 Prayer Book, the Prayer at the Anointing in the
Baptismal Service ran: "Almighty God, Who hath regenerated thee by
water and the Holy Ghost, and hath given unto thee the remission of all
thy sins, He vouchsafe to anoint thee with the Unction of His Holy
Spirit, and bring thee to the inheritance of everlasting life.  _Amen_."

[8] St. Jerome, writing in the second century, says of the Baptized,
that he "bore on his forehead the banner of the Cross".

[9] 1 Kings vii. 22.

[10] It is a real loss to use the Service for the Public Baptism of
Infants as a private office, as is generally done now.  The doctrinal
teaching; the naming of the child; the signing with the cross; the
response of, and the address to, the God-parents--all these would be
helpful reminders to a congregation, if the service sometimes came, as
the Rubric orders, after the second lesson, and might rekindle the
Baptismal and Confirmation fire once lighted, but so often allowed to
die down, or flicker out.

[11] 1 Pet. iii. 21.

[12] Baptismal Service.

[13] Rev. iii. 11.

[14] Not more, it is estimated, than two or three out of every eight
have been baptized.

[15] I may take an _additional_ Christian name at my Confirmation, but
I cannot change the old one.

[16] The present Town Clerk of London has kindly informed me that the
earliest example he has found dates from 1418, when the name of John
Carpenter, Town Clerk, the well-known executor of Whittington, is
appended to a document, the Christian name being omitted.

[17] The following letter from Mr. Ambrose Lee of the Heralds' College
may interest some.  "... Surname, in the ordinary sense of the word,
the King has none.  He--as was his grandmother, Queen Victoria, as well
as her husband, Prince Albert--is descended from Witikind, who was the
last of a long line of continental Saxon kings or rulers.  Witikind was
defeated by Charlemagne, became a Christian, and was created Duke of
Saxony.  He had a second son, who was Count of Wettin, but clear and
well-defined and authenticated genealogies do not exist from which may
be formulated any theory establishing, by right or custom, _any_
surname, in the ordinary accepted sense of the word, for the various
families who are descended in the male line from this Count of
Wettin....  And, by-the-by, it must not be forgotten that the earliest
Guelphs were merely princes whose baptismal name was Guelph, as the
baptismal name of our Hanoverian Kings was George."

[18] Rom. viii. 25.

[19] Is. lix. 9.




The Blessed Sacrament!--or, as the Prayer Book calls it, "The Holy
Sacrament".  This title seems to sum up all the other titles by which
the chief service in the Church is known.  These are many.  For

_The Liturgy_, from the Greek _Leitourgia_,[1] a public service.

_The Mass_, from the Latin _Missa_, dismissal--the word used in the
Latin Liturgy when the people are dismissed,[2] and afterwards applied
to the service itself from which they are dismissed.

_The Eucharist_, from the Greek _Eucharistia_, thanksgiving--the word
used in all the narratives {82} of Institution,[3] and, technically,
the third part of the Eucharistic Service.

_The Breaking of the Bread_, one of the earliest names for the
Sacrament (Acts ii. 42, 1 Cor. x. 16).

_The Holy Sacrifice_, which Christ once offered, and is ever offering.

_The Lord's Supper_ (1 Cor. xii. 10), a name perhaps originally used
for the _Agapé_, or love feast, which preceded the Eucharist, and then
given to the Eucharist itself.  It is an old English name, used in the
story of St. Anselm's last days, where it is said: "He passed away as
morning was breaking on the Wednesday before _the day of our Lord's

_The Holy Communion_ (1 Cor. x. 16), in which our baptismal union with
Christ is consummated, and which forms a means of union between souls
in the Church Triumphant, at Rest, and on Earth.  In it, Christ, God
and Man, is the bond of oneness.

All these, and other aspects of the Sacrament, are comprehended and
gathered up in the name which marks its supremacy,--The Blessed


Consider: What it is;
          What it does;
          How it does it.


It is the supernatural conjunction of matter and spirit, of Bread and
Wine and of the Holy Ghost.  Here, as in Baptism, the "inward and
spiritual" expresses itself through the "outward and visible".  Both
must be there.  And, notice again.  This conjunction is not a
_physical_ conjunction, according to physical laws; nor is it a
spiritual conjunction, according to spiritual laws; it is a Sacramental
conjunction, according to Sacramental laws.  As in Baptism, so in the
Blessed Sacrament: the "outward and visible" is, and remains, subject
to natural laws, and the inward and spiritual to spiritual laws; but
the Sacrament itself is under neither natural nor spiritual but
Sacramental laws.

For a perfect Sacrament requires both matter and spirit.[4]  If either
is absent, the Sacrament is incomplete.

Thus, the Council of Trent's definition of {84} _Transubstantiation_[5]
seems, as it stands, to spoil the very nature of a Sacrament.  It is
the "change of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, of the
whole substance of the wine into the blood of Christ, _only the
appearance_ of bread and wine remaining".

Again, the Lutheran doctrine of Consubstantiation destroys the nature
of the Sacrament.  The Lutheran _Formula Concordiae_, e.g., teaches
that "_outside the use the Body of Christ is not present_".  Thus it
limits the Presence to the reception, whether by good or bad.

The _Figurative_ view of the Blessed Sacrament {85} destroys the nature
of a Sacrament, making the matter symbolize something which is not

It is safer to take the words of consecration as they stand,
corresponding as they do so literally with the words of Institution,
and simply to say: "This (bread: it is still bread) is My Body" (it is
far more than bread); "this (wine: it is still wine) is My Blood" (it
is far more than wine).  Can we get beyond this, in terms and
definitions?  Can we say more than that it is a "Sacrament"--The
Blessed Sacrament?  And after all, do we wish to do so?


Briefly, the Blessed Sacrament does two things; It pleads, and It
feeds.  It is the pleading _of_ the one Sacrifice; It is the feeding
_on_ the one Sacrifice.

These two aspects of the one Sacrament are suggested in the two names,
_Altar_ and _Table_.[6] Both words are liturgical.  In Western
Liturgies, _Altar_ is the rule, and _Table_ the exception; in Eastern
Liturgies, _Table_ is the rule, and _Altar_ {86} the exception.  Both
are, perhaps, embodied in the old name, _God's Board_, of Thomas
Aquinas.  Both contain a truth.

_The Altar_.

This, for over 300 years, was the common name for what St. Irenaeus
calls "the Abode of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ".  Convocation,
in 1640, decreed: "It is, and may be called, an Altar in that sense in
which the Primitive Church called it an Altar, and in no other".  This
sense referred to the offering of what the Liturgy of St. James calls
"the tremendous and unbloody Sacrifice," the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom
"the reasonable and unbloody Sacrifice,"[7] and the Ancient English
Liturgy "a pure offering, an holy offering, an undefiled offering, even
the holy Bread of eternal Life, and the Cup of everlasting Salvation ".

The word Altar, then, tells of the pleading of the Sacrifice of Jesus
Christ.  In the words of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Leo
XIII: "We plead and represent before the Father the Sacrifice of the
Cross"; or in the words of Charles Wesley: "To God it is an {87} Altar
whereon men mystically present unto Him the same Sacrifice, as still
suing for mercy"; or, in the words of Isaac Barrow: "Our Lord hath
offered a well-pleasing Sacrifice for our sins, and doth, at God's
right hand, continually renew it by presenting it unto God, and
interceding with Him for the effect thereof".

The Sacrifice does not, of course, consist in the re-slaying of the
Lamb, but in the offering of the Lamb as it had been slain.  It is not
the repetition of the Atonement, but the representation of the
Atonement.[8]  We offer on the earthly Altar the same Sacrifice that is
being perpetually offered on the Heavenly Altar.  There is only one
Altar, only one Sacrifice, one Eucharist--"one offering, single and
complete".  All the combined earthly Altars are but one Altar--the
earthly or visible part of the Heavenly Altar on which He, both Priest
and Victim, offers Himself as the Lamb "as it had been slain".  The
Heavenly Altar is, as it were, the centre, and all the earthly Altars
the circumference.  We gaze at the Heavenly Altar through the Earthly
Altars.  We plead what He pleads; we offer what He offers.


  Thus the Church, with exultation,
  Till her Lord returns again,
  Shows His Death; His mediation
  Validates her worship then,
  Pleading the Divine Oblation
  Offered on the Cross for men.

And we must remember that in this offering the whole Three Persons in
the Blessed Trinity are at work.  We must not in our worship so
concentrate our attention upon the Second Person, as to exclude the
other Persons from our thoughts.  Indeed, if one Person is more
prominent than another, it is God the Father.  It is to God the Father
that the Sacrifice ascends; it is with Him that we plead on earth that
which God the Son is pleading in Heaven; it is God the Holy Ghost Who
makes our pleadings possible, Who turns the many Jewish Altars into the
one Christian Altar.  The _Gloria in Excelsis_ bids us render worship
to all three Persons engaged in this single act.

_The Table_.

The second aspect under consideration is suggested by the word
_Table_--the "Holy Table," as St. Gregory Nazianzen and St. Athanasius
call it; "the tremendous Table," or the "Mystic {89} Table," as St.
Chrysostom calls it; "the Lord's Table," or "this Thy Table," as,
following the Easterns, our Prayer Book calls it.

This term emphasizes the Feast-aspect, as "Altar" underlines the
Sacrificial aspect, of the Sacrament.  In the "Lord's Supper" we feast
upon the Sacrifice which has already been offered upon the Altar.
"This Thy Table," tells of the Banquet of the Lamb.  As St. Thomas puts

  He gave Himself in either kind,
  His precious Flesh, His precious Blood:
  In Love's own fullness thus designed
  Of the whole man to be the Food.

Or, as Dr. Doddridge puts it, in his Sacramental Ave:--

  Hail!  Sacred Feast, which Jesus makes!
    Rich Banquet of His Flesh and Blood!
  Thrice happy he, who here partakes
    That Sacred Stream, that Heavenly Food.

This is the Prayer-Book aspect, which deals with the "_Administration_
of the Lord's Supper"; which bids us "feed upon Him (not it) in our
hearts by faith," and not by sight; which speaks of the elements as
God's "creatures of Bread and Wine"; which prays, in language of awful
solemnity, that we may worthily "eat His Flesh {90} and drink His
Blood".  This is the aspect which speaks of the "means whereby" Christ
communicates Himself to us, implants within us His character, His
virtues, His will;--makes us one with Him, and Himself one with us.  By
Sacramental Communion, we "dwell in Him, and He in us"; and this, not
merely as a lovely sentiment, or by means of some beautiful meditation,
but by the real communion of Christ--present without us, and
communicated to us, through the ordained channels.

Hence, in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus is for ever counteracting within
us the effects of the Fall.  If the first Adam ruined us through food,
the second Adam will reinstate us through food--and that food nothing
less than Himself.  "Feed upon _Him_."  But how is all this brought


Once again, nobody knows.  The Holy Ghost is the operative power, but
the operation is overshadowed as by the wings of the Dove.  It is
enough for us to know what is done, without questioning as to how it is
done.  It is enough for us to worship Him in what He does, without {91}
straining to know how He does it--being fully persuaded that, what He
has promised, He is able also to perform.[9]  Here, again, we are in
the region of faith, not sight; and reason tells us that faith must be
supreme in its own province.  For us, it is enough to say with Queen

  _He was the Word that spake it;_
  _He took the bread and break it;_
  _And what that Word did make it,_
  _I do believe and take it._[10]

[1] _Leitos_, public, _ergon_, work.

[2] Either when the service is over, or when those not admissible to
Communion are dismissed.  The "Masses" condemned in the thirty-first
Article involved the heresy that Christ was therein offered again by
the Mass Priest to buy souls out of Purgatory at so much per Mass.

[3] E.g. St. Luke xxii. 17.  "He took the cup, and eucharized," i.e.
gave thanks.

[4] _Accedit verium ad elementum, et fit Sacramentum_ (St. Augustine).

[5] This definition is really given up now by the best Roman Catholic
theologians.  The theory on which Transubstantiation alone is based
(viz. that "substance" is something which exists apart from the
totality of the accidents whereby it is known to us), has now been
generally abandoned.  Now, it is universally allowed that "substance is
only a collective name for the sum of all the qualities of matter,
size, colour, weight, taste, and so forth".  But, as all these
qualities of bread and wine admittedly remain after consecration, the
substance of the bread and wine must remain too.

The doctrine of Transubstantiation condemned in Article 22, was that of
a material Transubstantiation which taught (and was taught _ex
Cathedra_ by Pope Nicholas II) that Christ's Body was sensibly touched
and broken by the teeth.

[6] "The Altar has respect unto the oblation, the Table to the
participation" (Bishop Cosin).

[7] Cf. Jeremy Taylor's "Holy Living," chap. iv. s. 10.

[8] Cf. Bright's "Ancient Collects," p. 144.

[9] Rom. iv. 21.

[10] "These lines," says Malcolm MacColl in his book on "The
Reformation Settlement" (p. 34), "have sometimes been attributed to
Donne; but the balance of evidence is in favour of their Elizabethan
authorship when the Queen was in confinement as Princess Elizabeth.
They are not in the first edition of Donne, and were published for the
first time as his in 1634, thirteen years after his death."




These are "those five" which the Article says are "commonly called
Sacraments":[1] Confirmation, Matrimony, Orders, Penance, Unction.
They are called "Lesser" Sacraments to distinguish them from the two
pre-eminent or "Greater Sacraments," Baptism and the Supper of the
Lord.[2]  These, though they have not all a "like nature" with the
Greater Sacraments, are selected by the Church as meeting the main
needs of her children between Baptism and Burial.

They may, for our purpose, be classified in three groups:--

(I) _The Sacrament of Completion_ (Confirmation, which completes the
Sacrament of Baptism).


(II) The Sacraments of Perpetuation (Holy Matrimony, which perpetuates
the human race; and Holy Order, which perpetuates the Christian

(III) The Sacraments of Recovery (Penance, which recovers the sick soul
together with the body; and Unction, which recovers the sick body
together with the soul).

And, first, The Sacrament of Completion: Confirmation.

[1] Article XXV.

[2] The Homily on the Sacraments calls them the "other
Sacraments"--i.e. in addition to Baptism and the Eucharist.




  (I) What it is not.
  (II) What it is.
  (III) Whom it is for.
  (IV) What is essential.


Confirmation is not the renewal of vows.  The renewal of vows is the
final part of the _preparation_ for Confirmation.  It is that part of
the preparation which takes place in public, as the previous
preparation has taken place in private.  Before Confirmation, the
Baptismal vows are renewed "openly before the Church".  Their renewal
is the last word of preparation.  The Bishop, or Chief Shepherd,
assures himself by question, and answer, that the Candidate openly
responds to the preparation he has received in {95} private from the
Parish Priest, or under-Shepherd.  Before the last revision of the
Prayer Book, the Bishop asked the Candidates in public many questions
from the Catechism before confirming them; now he only asks one--and
the "I do," by which the Candidate renews his Baptismal vows, is the
answer to that preparatory question.

It is still quite a common idea, even among Church people, that
Confirmation is something which the Candidate does for himself, instead
of something which God does to him.  This is often due to the
unfortunate use of the word "confirm"[1] in the Bishop's question.  At
the time it was inserted, the word "confirm" meant "confess,"[2] and
referred, not to the Gift of Confirmation, but to the Candidate's
public Confession of faith, before receiving the Sacrament of
Confirmation.  It had nothing whatever to do with Confirmation itself.
We must not, then, confuse the preparation for Confirmation with the
Gift of Confirmation.  The Sacrament itself is God's gift to the child
bestowed through the Bishop in accordance with the teaching given to
{96} the God-parents at the child's Baptism: "Ye are to take care that
this child be brought to the Bishop _to be_ confirmed _by him_".[3]

And this leads us to our second point: What Confirmation is.


Confirmation is the completion of Baptism.  It completes what Baptism
began.  In the words of our Confirmation Service, it "increases and
multiplies"--i.e. strengthens or confirms Baptismal grace.  It is the
ordained channel which conveys to the Baptized the "sevenfold" (i.e.
complete) gift of the Holy Ghost, which was initially received in

And this will help us to answer a question frequently asked: "If I have
been confirmed, but not Baptized, must I be Baptized?"  Surely, Baptism
must _precede_ Confirmation.  If {97} Confirmation increases the grace
given in Baptism, that grace must have been received before it can be
increased.  "And must I be 'confirmed again,' as it is said, after
Baptism?"  Surely.  If I had not been Baptized _before_ I presented
myself for Confirmation, I have not confirmed at all.  My Baptism will
now allow me to "be presented to the Bishop once again to be confirmed
by him"--and this time in reality.  "Did I, then, receive no grace when
I was presented to the Bishop to be confirmed by him before?"  Much
grace, surely, but not the special grace attached to the special
Sacrament of Confirmation, and guaranteed to the Confirmed.  Special
channels convey special grace.  God's love overflows its channels; what
God gives, or withholds, outside those channels, it would be an
impertinence for us to say.

Again, Confirmation is, in a secondary sense, a Sacrament of
Admittance.  It admits the Baptized to Holy Communion.  Two rubrics
teach this.  "It is expedient," says the rubric after an adult Baptism,
"that every person thus Baptized should be confirmed by the Bishop so
soon after his Baptism as conveniently may be; that _so he may be
admitted to the Holy Communion_."  "And {98} there shall none _be
admitted to Holy Communion_," adds the rubric after Confirmation,
"until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be
confirmed."  For "Confirmation, or the laying on of hands," fully
admits the Baptized to that "Royal Priesthood" of the Laity,[4] of
which the specially ordained Priest is ordained to be the
representative.  The Holy Sacrifice is the offering of the _whole_
Church, the universal Priesthood, not merely of the individual Priest
who is the offerer.  Thus, the Confirmed can take their part in the
offering, and can assist at it, in union with the ordained Priest who
is actually celebrating.  They can say their _Amen_ at the Eucharist,
or "giving of thanks," and give their responding assent to what he is
doing in their name, and on their behalf.

And this answers another question.  "If I am a Communicant, but have
not been confirmed, ought I to present myself for Confirmation?"
Surely.  The Prayer Book is quite definite about this.  First, it
legislates for the normal case, then for the abnormal.  First it says:
"None shall be admitted to Holy Communion until such time as they have
been Confirmed".  Then it deals with {99} exceptional cases, and adds,
"or be willing and desirous to be confirmed".  Such exceptional cases
may, and do, occur; but even these may not be Communicated unless they
are both "ready" and "desirous" to be confirmed, as soon as
Confirmation can be received.  So does the Church safeguard her
Sacraments, and her children.

"But would you," it is asked, "exclude a Dissenter from Communion,
however good and holy he may be, merely because he has not been
Confirmed?"  He certainly would have very little respect for me if I
did not.  If, for instance, he belonged to the Methodist Society, he
would assuredly not admit me to be a "Communicant" in that Society.
"No person," says his rule, "shall be suffered on any pretence to
partake of the Lord's Supper _unless he be a member of the Society_, or
receive a note of admission from the Superintendent, which note must be
renewed quarterly."  And, again: "That the Table of the Lord should be
open to all comers, is surely a great discredit, and a serious peril to
any Church".[5]  And yet the Church, the Divine Society, established by
Jesus Christ Himself, is blamed, and called narrow and {100} bigoted,
if she asserts her own rule, and refuses to admit "all comers" to the
Altar.  To give way on such a point would be to forfeit, and rightly to
forfeit, the respect of any law-abiding people, and would be--in many
cases, is--"a great discredit, and a serious peril" to the Church.  We
have few enough rules as it is, and if those that we have are
meaningless, we may well be held up to derision.  The Prayer Book makes
no provision whatever for those who are not Confirmed, and who, if able
to receive Confirmation, are neither "ready nor desirous to be


Confirmation is for the Baptized, and none other.  The Prayer-Book
Title to the service is plain.  It calls Confirmation the "laying on of
Hands upon _those that are baptized_," and, it adds, "are come to years
of discretion".

First, then, Confirmation is for the Baptized, and never for the

Secondly, it is (as now administered[6]) for {101} "those who have come
to years of discretion," i.e. for those who are fit for it.  As we pray
in the Ember Collect that the Bishop may select "fit persons for the
Sacred Ministry" of the special Priesthood, and may "lay hands suddenly
on no man," so it is with Confirmation or the "laying on of hands" for
the Royal Priesthood.  The Bishop must be assured by the Priest who
presents them (and who acts as his examining Chaplain), that they are
"fit persons" to be confirmed.

And this fitness must be of two kinds: moral and intellectual.  It must
be _moral_.  The candidate must "have come to years of discretion,"
i.e. he must "know to refuse the evil and choose the good".[7]  This
"age of discretion," or _competent age_, as the Catechism Rubric calls
it, is not a question of years, but of character.  Our present Prayer
Book makes no allusion to any definite span of years whatever, and to
make the magic age of fifteen the minimum universal age for Candidates
is wholly illegal.  At the Reformation, the English Church fixed seven
as the age for Confirmation, but our 1662 Prayer Book is more
primitive, and, taking a common-sense view, {102} leaves each case of
moral fitness to be decided on its own merits.  The moral standard must
be an individual standard, and must be left, first, to the parent, who
presents the child to the Priest to be prepared; then, to the Priest
who prepares the child for Confirmation, and presents him to the
Bishop; and, lastly, to the Bishop, who must finally decide, upon the
combined testimony of the Priest and parent--and, if in doubt, upon his
own personal examination.

The _intellectual_ standard is laid down in the Service for the "Public
Baptism of Infants": "So soon as he can say the Creed, the Lord's
Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, in the vulgar (i.e. his native)
tongue, and be further instructed, etc."  Here, the words "can say"
obviously mean can say _intelligently_.  The mere saying of the words
by rote is comparatively unimportant, though it has its use; but if
this were all, it would degrade the Candidate's intellectual status to
the capacities of a parrot.  But, "as soon as" he can intelligently
comply with the Church's requirements, as soon as he has reached "a
competent age," any child may "be presented to the Bishop to be
confirmed by him".


And, in the majority of cases, in these days, "the sooner, the better".
It is, speaking generally, far safer to have the "child" prepared at
home--if it is a Christian home--and confirmed from home, than to risk
the preparation to the chance teaching of a Public School.  With
splendid exceptions, School Confirmation is apt to get confused with
the school curriculum and school lessons.  It is a sort of "extra
tuition," which, not infrequently, interferes with games or work,
without any compensating advantages in Church teaching.


"The Laying on of Hands"--and nothing else.  This act of ritual (so
familiar to the Early Church, from Christ's act in blessing little
children) was used by the Apostles,[8] and is still used by their
successors, the Bishops.  It is the only act essential to a valid

Other, and suggestive, ceremonies have been in use in different ages,
and in different parts of the Church: but they are supplementary, not
essential.  Thus, in the sub-apostolic age, ritual {104} acts expressed
very beautifully the early names for Confirmation, just as "the laying
on of Hands" still expresses the name which in the English Church
proclaims the essence of the Sacrament.

For instance, Confirmation is called _The Anointing_,[9] and _The
Sealing_, and in some parts of the Church, the Priest dips his finger
in oil blessed by the Bishop, and signs or seals the child upon the
forehead with the sign of the Cross, thus symbolizing the meaning of
such names.  But neither the sealing, nor the anointing, is necessary
for a valid Sacrament.

Confirmation, then, "rightly and duly" administered, completes the
grace given to a child at the outset of its Christian career.  It
admits the child to full membership and to full privileges in the
Christian Church.  It is the ordained Channel by which the Bishop is
commissioned to convey and guarantee the special grace attached {105}
to, and only to, the Lesser Sacrament of Confirmation.[10]

[1] "Ratifying and _confirming_ the same in your own persons."

[2] The word was "confess" in 1549.

[3] The Greek Catechism of Plato, Metropolitan of Moscow, puts it very
clearly: "Through this holy Ordinance _the Holy Ghost descendeth upon
the person Baptized_, and confirmeth him in the grace which he received
in his Baptism according to the example of His descending upon the
disciples of Jesus Christ, and in imitation of the disciples
themselves, who after Baptism laid their hands upon the believers; by
which laying on of hands the Holy Ghost was conferred".

[4] 1 St. Peter ii. 9.

[5] Minutes of Wesleyan Conference, 1889, p. 412.

[6] In the first ages, and, indeed, until the fifteenth century,
Confirmation followed immediately after Baptism, both in East and West,
as it still does in the East.

[7] Is. vii. 16.

[8] Acts viii. 12-17; Acts xix. 5, 6.

[9] In an old seventh century Service, used in the Church of England
down to the Reformation, the Priest is directed: "Here he is to put the
Chrism (oil) on the forehead of the man, and say, 'Receive the sign of
the Holy Cross, by the Chrism of Salvation in Jesus Christ unto Eternal
Life.  Amen.'"

[10] The teaching of our Church of England, passing on the teaching of
the Church Universal, is very happily summed up in an ancient Homily of
the Church of England.  It runs thus: "In Baptism the Christian was
born again spiritually, to live; in Confirmation he is made bold to
fight.  There he received remission of sin; here he receiveth increase
of grace....  In Baptism he was chosen to be God's son; in Confirmation
God shall give him His Holy Spirit to ... perfect him.  In Baptism he
was called and chosen to be one of God's soldiers, and had his white
coat of innocency given him, and also his badge, which was the red
cross set upon his forehead...; in Confirmation he is encouraged to
fight, and to take the armour of God put upon him, which be able to
bear off the fiery darts of the devil."




We have called Holy Matrimony the "_Sacrament of Perpetuation_," for it
is the ordained way in which the human race is to be perpetuated.

Matrimony is the legal union between two persons,--a union which is
created by mutual consent: Holy Matrimony is that union sanctioned and
sanctified by the Church.

There are three familiar names given to this union: Matrimony,
Marriage, Wedlock.

Matrimony, derived from _mater_, a mother, tells of the woman's (i.e.
wife-man's) "joy that a man is born into the world".  Marriage, derived
from _maritus_, a husband (or house-dweller[1]), tells of the man's
place in the "hus" or house.  Wedlock, derived from _weddian_, a
pledge, reminds both man and woman of the life-long pledge which each
has made "either to other".


It is this Sacrament of Matrimony, Marriage, or Wedlock, that we are
now to consider.  We will think of it under four headings:--

  (I) What is it for?
  (II) What is its essence?
  (III) Whom is it for?
  (IV) What are its safeguards?


Marriage is, as we have seen, God's method of propagating the human
race.  It does this in two ways--by expansion, and by limitation.  This
is seen in the New Testament ordinance, "one man for one woman".  It
expands the race, but within due and disciplined limitations.
Expansion, without limitation, would produce quantity without quality,
and would wreck the human race; limitation without expansion might
produce quality without quantity, but would extinguish the human race.
Like every other gift of God, marriage is to be treated "soberly,
wisely, discretely," and, like every other gift, it must be used with a
due combination of freedom and restraint.

Hence, among other reasons, the marriage union between one man and one
woman is {108} indissoluble.  For marriage is not a mere union of
sentiment; it is not a mere terminable contract between two persons,
who have agreed to live together as long as they suit each other.  It
is an _organic_ not an emotional union; "They twain shall be one
flesh," which nothing but death can divide.  No law in Church or State
can unmarry the legally married.  A State may _declare_ the
non-existence of the marriage union, just as it may _declare_ the
non-existence of God: but such a declaration does not affect the fact,
either in one case or the other.

In England the State does, in certain cases, declare that the life-long
union is a temporary contract, and does permit "this man" or "this
woman" to live with another man, or with another woman, and, if they
choose, even to exchange husbands or wives.  This is allowed by the
Divorce Act of 1857,[2] "when," writes Bishop Stubbs, "the calamitous
legislation of 1857 inflicted on English Society and English morals
{109} the most cruel blow that any conjunction of unrighteous influence
could possibly have contrived".[3]

The Church has made no such declaration.  It rigidly forbids a husband
or wife to marry again during the lifetime of either party.  The Law of
the Church remains the Law of the Church, overridden--but not repealed.
This has led to a conflict between Church and State in a country where
they are, in theory though not in fact, united.  But this is the fault
of the State, not of the Church.  It is a case in which a junior
partner has acted without the consent of, or rather in direct
opposition to, the senior partner.  Historically and chronologically
speaking, the Church (the senior partner) took the State (the junior
partner) into partnership, and the State, in spite of all the benefits
it has received from the Church, has taken all it could get, and has
thrown the Church over to legalize sin.  It has ignored its senior
partner, and loosened the old historical bond between the two.  This
the Church cannot help, and this the State fully admits, legally
absolving the Church from taking any part in its mock re-marriages.



The essence of matrimony is "mutual consent".  The essential part of
the Sacrament consists in the words: "I, M., take thee, N.," etc.
Nothing else is essential, though much else is desirable.  Thus,
marriage in a church, however historical and desirable, is not
_essential_ to the validity of a marriage.  Marriage at a Registry
Office (i.e. mutual consent in the presence of the Registrar) is every
bit as legally indissoluble as marriage in a church.  The not uncommon
argument: "I was only married in a Registry Office, and can therefore
take advantage of the Divorce Act," is fallacious _ab initio_.[4]

Why, then, be married in, and by the Church?  Apart from the history
and sentiment, for this reason.  The Church is the ordained channel
through which grace to keep the marriage vow is bestowed.  A special
and _guaranteed_ grace is {111} attached to a marriage sanctioned and
blest by the Church.  The Church, in the name of God, "consecrates
matrimony," and from the earliest times has given its sanction and
blessing to the mutual consent.  We are reminded of this in the
question: "Who _giveth_ this woman to be married to this man?"  In
answer to the question, the Parent, or Guardian, presents the Bride to
the Priest (the Church's representative), who, in turn, presents her to
the Bridegroom, and blesses their union.  In the Primitive Church,
notice of marriage had to be given to the Bishop of the Diocese, or his
representative,[5] in order that due inquiries might be made as to the
fitness of the persons, and the Church's sanction given or withheld.
After this notice, a special service of _Betrothal_ (as well as the
actual marriage service) was solemnized.

These two separate services are still marked off from each other in
(though both forming a part of) our present marriage service.  The
first part of the service is held outside the chancel gates, and
corresponds to the old service of _Betrothal_.  Here, too, the actual
ceremony of "mutual consent" now takes place--that part of {112} the
ceremony which would be equally valid in a Registry Office.  Then
follows the second part of the service, in which the Church gives her
blessing upon the marriage.  And because this part is, properly
speaking, part of the Eucharistic Office, the Bride and Bridegroom now
go to the Altar with the Priest, and there receive the Church's
Benediction, and--ideally--their first Communion after marriage.  So
does the Church provide grace for her children that they may "perform
the vows they have made unto the King".  The late hour for modern
weddings, and the consequent postponement[6] of Communion, has obscured
much of the meaning of the service; but a nine o'clock wedding, in
which the married couple receive the Holy Communion, followed by the
wedding breakfast, is, happily, becoming more common, and is restoring
to us one of the best of old English customs.  It is easy enough to
slight old religious forms and ceremonies; but is anyone one atom
better, or happier for having neglected them?



Marriage is for three classes:--

(1) The unmarried--i.e. those who have never been married, or whose
marriage is (legally) dissolved by death.

(2) The non-related--i.e. either by consanguinity (by blood), or
affinity (by marriage).

(3) The full-aged.

(1) _The Unmarried_.

Obviously, marriage is only for the unmarried.  But, is not this very
hard upon those whose marriage has been a mistake, and who have been
divorced by the State?  And, above all, is it not very hard upon the
innocent party, who has been granted a divorce?  It is very hard, so
hard, so terribly hard, that only those who have to deal personally,
and practically, with concrete cases, can guess how hard--hard enough
often on the guilty party, and harder still on the innocent.  "God
knows" it is hard, and will make it as easy as God Himself can make it,
if only self-surrender is placed before self-indulgence.  But the
alternative is still harder.  We sometimes forget that legislation for
the individual may bear even harder {114} on the masses, than
legislation for the masses may bear upon the individual.  And, after
all, this is not a question of "hard _versus_ easy," but of "right
_versus_ wrong".  Moreover, as we are finding out, that which seems
easiest at the moment, often turns out hardest in the long run.  It is
no longer contended that re-marriage after a State-divorce is that
universal Elysium which it has always been confidently assumed to be.

There is, too, a positively absurd side to the present conflict between
Church and State.  Here is a case in point.  Some time ago, a young
girl married a man about whom she knew next to nothing, the man telling
her that marriage was only a temporary affair, and that, if it did not
answer, the State would divorce them.  It did not answer.  Wrong-doing
ensued, and a divorce was obtained.  Then the girl entered into a
State-marriage with another man.  But that answered no better.  A
divorce was again applied for, but this time was refused.  Eventually,
the girl left her State-made husband, and ran away with her real
husband.  In other words, she eloped with her own husband.  But what is
her position to-day?  In the eyes of the State, she is now living with
a man who is not {115} her husband.  Her State-husband is still alive,
and can apply, at any moment, for an order for the restitution of
conjugal rights--however unlikely he is to get it.  Further, if in the
future she has any children by her real husband (unless she has been
married again to him, after divorce from her State-husband) these
children will be illegitimate.  This is the sort of muddle the Divorce
Act has got us into.  One course, and only one course, is open to the
Church--to disentangle itself from all question of extending the powers
of the Act on grounds of inequality, or any other real (and sometimes
very real) or fancied hardship, and to consistently fight for the
repeal of the Act.  This, it will be said, is _Utopian_.  Exactly!  It
is the business of the Church to aim at the Utopian.  Her whole history
shows that she is safest, as well as most successful, when aiming at
what the world derides.

One question remains: Is not the present Divorce Law "one law for the
rich and another for the poor"?  Beyond all question.  This is its sole
merit, if merit it can have.  It does, at least, partially protect the
poor from sin-made-easy--a condition which money has bought for the
rich.  If the State abrogated the Sixth {116} Commandment for the rich,
and made it lawful for a rich man to commit murder, it would at least
be no demerit if it refused to extend the permit to the poor.

(2) _The Non-Related_.

But, secondly, marriage is for the non-related--non-related, that is,
in two ways, by Consanguinity, and Affinity.

(_a_) By _Consanguinity_.  Consanguinity is of two kinds, lineal and
collateral.  _Lineal_ Consanguinity[7] is blood relationship "in a
_direct_ line," i.e. from a common ancestor.  _Collateral_
Consanguinity is blood relationship from a common ancestor, but not in
a direct line.

The law of Consanguinity has not, at the present moment, been attacked,
and is still the law of the land.

(_b_) By _Affinity_.  Affinity[8] is near relationship by marriage.  It
is of three kinds: (1) _Direct_, i.e. between a husband and his wife's
blood relations, and between a wife and her husband's blood relations;
(2) _Secondary_, i.e. between a husband {117} and his wife's relations
by marriage; (3) _Collateral_, i.e. between a husband and the relations
of his wife's relations.  In case of Affinity, the State has broken
faith with the Church without scruple, and the _Deceased Wife's Sister
Bill_[9] is the result.  So has it

  brought confusion to the Table round.

The question is sometimes asked, whether the State can alter the
Church's law without her consent.  An affirmative answer would reduce
whatever union still remains between them to its lowest possible term,
and would place the Church in a position which no Nonconformist body
would tolerate for a day.  The further question, as to whether the
State can order the Church to Communicate persons who have openly and
deliberately broken her laws, needs no discussion.  No thinking person
seriously contends that it can.

(3) _For the Full-Aged_.

No boy under 14, and no girl under 12, can contract a legal marriage
either with, or without the consent of Parents or Guardians.  No man
{118} or woman under 21 can do so against the consent of Parents or


These are, mainly, two: _Banns_ and _Licences_--both intended to secure
the best safeguard of all, _publicity_.  This publicity is secured,
first, by Banns.

(1) _Banns_.

The word is the plural form of _Ban_, "a proclamation".  The object of
this proclamation is to "ban" an improper marriage.

In the case of marriage after Banns, in order to secure publicity:--

(1) Each party must reside[10] for twenty-one days in the parish where
the Banns are being published.

(2) The marriage must be celebrated in one of the two parishes in which
the Banns have been published.


(3) Seven days' previous notice of publication must be given to the
clergy by whom the Banns are to be published--though the clergy may
remit this length of notice if they choose.

(4) The Banns must be published on three separate (though not
necessarily successive) Sundays.

(5) Before the marriage, a certificate of publication must be presented
to the officiating clergyman, from the clergyman of the other parish in
which the Banns were published.

(6) Banns only hold good for three months.  After this period, they
must be again published three times before the marriage can take place.

(7) Banns may be forbidden on four grounds: If either party is married
already; or is related by consanguinity or affinity; or is under age;
or is insane.

(8) Banns published in false names invalidate a marriage, if both
parties are cognisant of the fact before the marriage takes place, i.e.
if they wilfully intend to defeat the law, but not otherwise.

(2) Licences.

There are two kinds of Marriage Licence, an Ordinary, or Common
Licence, and a Special Licence.


An _Ordinary Licence_, costing about £2, is granted by the Bishop, or
Ordinary, in lieu of Banns, either through his Chancellor, or a
"Surrogate," i.e. substitute.  In marriage by Licence, three points may
be noticed:--

(1) One (though only one) of the parties must reside in the parish
where the marriage is to be celebrated, for fifteen days previous to
the marriage.

(2) One of the parties must apply for the Licence in person, not in

(3) A licence only holds good for three months.

A _Special Licence_, costing about £30, can only be obtained from the
Archbishop of Canterbury,[11] and is only granted after special and
minute inquiry.  The points here to notice are:--

(1) Neither party need reside in the parish where the marriage is to be

(2) The marriage may be celebrated in any Church, whether licensed or
unlicensed[12] for marriages.

(3) It may be celebrated at any time of the day.  It may be added that
if any clergyman {121} celebrates a marriage without either Banns or
Licence (or upon a Registrar's Certificate), he commits a felony, and
is liable to fourteen years' penal servitude.[13]

Other safeguards there are, such as:--

_The Time for Marriages_.--Marriages must not be celebrated before 8
A.M., or after 3 P.M., so as to provide a reasonable chance of

_The Witnesses to a Marriage_.--Two witnesses, at least, must be
present, in addition to the officiating clergyman.

_The Marriage Registers_.--The officiating clergyman must enter the
marriage in two Registers provided by the State.

_The Signing of the Registers_.--The bride and bridegroom must sign
their names in the said Registers immediately after the ceremony, as
well as the two witnesses and the officiating clergyman.  If either
party wilfully makes any false statement with regard to age, condition,
etc., he or she is guilty of perjury.

Such are some of the wise safeguards provided by both Church and State
for the Sacrament of Marriage.  Their object is to prevent the {122}
marriage state being entered into "lightly, unadvisedly, or wantonly,"
to secure such publicity as will prevent clandestine marriages,[14] and
will give parents, and others with legal status, an opportunity to
lodge legal objections.

Great is the solemnity of the Sacrament in which is "signified and
represented the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church".

[1] Husband--from _hus_, a house, and _buan_, to dwell.

[2] Until fifty-three years ago an Act of Parliament was necessary for
a divorce.  In 1857 _The Matrimonial Causes Act_ established the
Divorce Court.  In 1873 the _Indicature Act_ transferred it to a
division of the High Court--the Probate, Divorce, and Admiralty

[3] "Visitation Charges," p. 252.

[4] It is a common legal error that seven years effective separation
between husband and wife entitles either to remarry, and hundreds of
women who have lost sight of their husbands for seven years innocently
commit bigamy.  Probably the mistake comes from the fact that
_prosecution_ for bigamy does not hold good in such a case.  But this
does not legalize the bigamous marriage or legitimize the children.

[5] The origin of Banns.

[6] The Rubric says: "It is convenient that the new-married persons
receive the Holy Communion _at the time of their marriage_, or at the
first opportunity after their marriage," thus retaining, though
releasing, the old rule.

[7] Consanguinity--from _cum_, together, and _sanguineus_, relating to

[8] Affinity--from _ad_, near, and _finis_, a boundary.

[9] See a most helpful paper read by Father Puller at the E.C.U.
Anniversary Meeting, and reported in "The Church Times" of 17 June,

[10] There seems to be no legal definition of the word "reside".  The
law would probably require more than leaving a bag in a room, hired for
twenty-one days, as is often done.  It must be remembered that the
object of the law is _publicity_--that is, the avoidance of a
clandestine marriage, which marriage at a Registry Office now
frequently makes so fatally easy.

[11] 25 Hen. VIII, cap. 21.

[12] Such as, for example, Royal Chapels, St. Paul's Cathedral, Eton
College Chapel, etc.

[13] Cf. Blunt's "Church Law," p. 133; 4 Geo. IV, c. 76, s. 21.

[14] It will be remembered that runaway marriages were, in former days,
frequently celebrated at Gretna Green, a Scotch village in
Dumfriesshire, near the English border.




The Second Sacrament of Perpetuation is Holy Order.  As the Sacrament
of Marriage perpetuates the human race, so the Sacrament of Order
perpetuates the Priesthood.  Holy Order, indeed, perpetuates the
Sacraments themselves.  It is the ordained channel through which the
Sacramental life of the Church is continued.

Holy Order, then, was instituted for the perpetuation of those
Sacraments which depend upon Apostolic Succession.  It makes it
possible for the Christian laity to be Confirmed, Communicated,
Absolved.  Thus, the Christian Ministry is a great deal more than a
body of men, chosen as officers might be chosen in the army or navy.
It is the Church's media for the administration of the Sacraments of
Salvation.  To say this does not assert that God cannot, and does not,
save and sanctify souls in any other way; but it does assert, as
Scripture does, that the {124} Christian Ministry is the authorized and
ordained way.

The Threefold Ministry.

In this Ministry, there are three orders, or degrees: Bishops, Priests,
and Deacons.  In the words of the Prayer Book: "It is evident unto all
men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that, from
the Apostles' time, there have been these Orders of Ministers in
Christ's Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons".[1]


Who was the first Bishop?  Jesus Christ, "the Shepherd and Bishop of
our souls".  When, and where, was the first Ordination?  In the Upper
Chamber, when He, the Universal Bishop, Himself ordained the first
Apostles.  When was {125} the second Ordination?  When these Apostles
ordained Matthias to succeed Judas.  This was the first link in the
chain of Apostolic Succession.  What followed?  In apostolic days,
Timothy was ordained, with episcopal jurisdiction over Ephesus; Titus,
over Crete; Polycarp (the friend of St. John), over Smyrna; and then,
later on, Linus, over Rome.  And so the great College of Bishops
expands until, in the second century, we read in a well-known writer,
St. Irenaeus: "We can reckon up lists of Bishops ordained in the
Churches from the Apostles to our time".  Link after link, the chain of
succession lengthens "throughout all the world," until it reaches the
Early British Church, and then, in 597, the English Church, through the
consecration of Augustine,[2] first Archbishop of Canterbury, and in
1903 of Randall Davidson his ninety-fourth successor.

And this is the history of every ordination in the Church to-day.  "It
is through the Apostolic Succession," said the late Bishop Stubbs to
his ordination Candidates, "that I am empowered, through the long line
of mission and Commission {126} from the Upper Chamber at Jerusalem, to
lay my hands upon you and send you."[3]

How does a Priest become a Bishop?  In the Church of England he goes
through four stages:--

  (1) He is _nominated_ by the Crown.
  (2) He is _elected_ by the Church.
  (3) His election is _confirmed_ by the Archbishop.
  (4) He is _consecrated_ by the Episcopate.

(1) He is _nominated_ by the Crown.  This is in accordance with the
immemorial custom of this realm.  In these days, the Prime Minister
(representing the people) proposes the name of a Priest to the King,
who accepts or rejects the recommendation.  If he accepts it, the King
nominates the selected Priest to the Church for election, and
authorizes the issue of legal documents for such election.  This is
called _Congé d'élire_, "leave to elect".

(2) He is _elected_ by the Church.  The King's {127} nominee now comes
before the Dean and Chapter (representing the Church), and the Church
either elects or rejects him.  It has power to do either.  If the
nominee is elected, what is called his "Confirmation" follows--that

(3) His election is _confirmed_ by the Archbishop of Canterbury,
according to a right reserved to him by _Magna Charta_.  Before
confirming the election, the Archbishop, or his representative, sits in
public, generally at Bow Church, Cheapside, to hear legal objections
from qualified laity against the election.  Objections were of late, it
will be remembered, made, and overruled, in the cases of Dr. Temple and
Dr. Gore.  Then, if duly nominated, elected, and confirmed,--

(4) He is _consecrated_ by the Episcopate.  To safeguard the
Succession, three Bishops, at least, are required for the Consecration
of another Bishop, though one would secure a valid Consecration.  No
Priest can be Consecrated Bishop under the age of thirty.  Very
carefully does the Church safeguard admission to the Episcopate.



After Consecration, the Bishop "does homage,"[4] i.e. he says that he,
like any other subject (ecclesiastic or layman), is the King's
"_homo_".  What does he do homage for?  He does homage, not for any
spiritual gift, but for "all the possessions, and profette spirituall
and temporall belongyng to the said ... Bishopricke".[5]  The
_temporal_ possessions include such things as his house, revenue, etc.
But what is meant by doing homage for _spiritual_ possessions?  Does
not this admit the claim that the King can, as Queen Elizabeth is
reported to have said, make or unmake a Bishop?  No.  Spiritual
_possessions_ do not here mean spiritual _powers_,--powers which can be
conferred by the Episcopate alone.  {129} The "spiritual possessions"
for which a Bishop "does homage" refer to fees connected with spiritual
things, such as Episcopal Licences, Institutions to Benefices, Trials
in the Ecclesiastical Court, Visitations--fees, by the way, which, with
very rare exceptions, do not go into the Bishop's own pocket!


What is meant by Episcopal Jurisdiction?  Jurisdiction is of two kinds,
_Habitual_ and _Actual_.

Habitual Jurisdiction is the Jurisdiction given to a Bishop to exercise
his office in the Church at large.  It is conveyed with Consecration,
and is given to the Bishop as a Bishop of the Catholic Church.  Thus an
Episcopal act, duly performed, would be valid, however irregular,
outside the Bishop's own Diocese, and in any part of the Church.

_Actual Jurisdiction_ is this universal Jurisdiction limited to a
particular area, called a Diocese.  To this area, a Bishop's right to
exercise his Habitual Jurisdiction is, for purposes of order and
business, confined.

The next order in the Ministry is the Priesthood.



No one can read the Prayer-Book Office for the _Ordering of Priests_
without being struck by its contrast to the ordinary conception of
Priesthood by the average Englishman.  The Bishop's words in the
Ordination Service: "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of
a Priest in the Church of God," must surely mean more than that a
Priest should try to be a good organizer, a good financier, a good
preacher, or good at games--though the better he is at all these, the
better it may be.  But the gift of the Holy Ghost for "the Office and
Work of a Priest" must mean more than this.

We may consider it in connexion with four familiar English clerical
titles: _Priest, Minister, Parson, Clergyman_.


According to the Prayer Book, a Priest, or Presbyter, is ordained to do
three things, which he, and he alone, can do: to Absolve, to
Consecrate, to Bless.

He, and he alone, can _Absolve_.  Think!  It is the day of his
Ordination to the Priesthood.  He is saying Matins as a Deacon just
_before_ his {131} Ordination, and he is forbidden to pronounce the
Absolution: he is saying Evensong just _after_ his Ordination, and he
is ordered to pronounce the Absolution.

He, and he alone, can _Consecrate_.  If a Deacon pretends to Consecrate
the Elements at the Blessed Sacrament, not only is his act sacrilege
and invalid, but even by the law of the land he is liable to a penalty
of £100.[6]

He, and he alone, can give the _Blessing_--i.e. the Church's official
Blessing.  The right of Benediction belongs to him as part of his
Ministerial Office.  The Blessing pronounced by a Deacon might be the
personal blessing of a good and holy man, just as the blessing of a
layman--a father blessing his child--might be of value as such.  In
each case it would be a personal act.  But a Priest does not bless in
his own name, but in the name of the Whole Church.  It is an official,
not a personal act: he conveys, not his own, but the Church's blessing
to the people.

Hence, the valid Ordination of a Priest is of essential importance to
the laity.


But there is another aspect of "the Office and Work of a Priest in the
Church of God".  This we see in the word


The Priest not only ministers before God on behalf of his people, but
he ministers to his people on behalf of God.  In this aspect of the
Priesthood, he ministers God's gifts to the laity.  If, as a Priest, he
pleads the One Sacrifice on behalf of the people, as a Minister he
feeds the people upon the one Sacrifice.  His chief ministerial duty is
to minister to the people--to give them Baptism, Absolution, Holy
Communion; to minister to all their spiritual needs whenever, and
wherever, he is needed.

It is, surely, a sad necessity that this ministerial "office and work"
should be so often confused with finance, doles, charities, begging
sermons, committees, etc.  In all such things he is, indeed, truly
serving and ministering; but he is often obliged to place them in the
wrong order of importance, and so dim the sight of the laity to his
real position, and not infrequently make his spiritual ministrations
unacceptable.  A well-known and London-wide respected Priest said {133}
shortly before he died, that he had almost scattered his congregation
by the constant "begging sermons" which he hated, but which necessity
made imperative.  The laity are claiming (and rightly claiming) the
privilege of being Church workers, and are preaching (and rightly
preaching) that "the Clergy are not the Church".  If only they would
practise what they preach, and relieve the Clergy of all Church
finance, they need never listen to another "begging sermon" again.  So
doing, they would rejoice the heart of the Clergy, and fulfil one of
their true functions as laity.

The Parson.

This is one of the most beautiful of all the clerical names, only it
has become smirched by common use.

The word Parson is derived from _Persona_, a _person_.  The Parson is
_the_ Person--the Person who represents God in the Parish.  It is not
his own person, or position, that he stands for, but the position and
Person of his Master.  Like St. Paul, he can say, "I magnify mine
office," and probably the best way to magnify his office will be to
minimize himself.  The outward marks of {134} respect still shown to
"the Parson" in some places, are not necessarily shown to the person
himself (though often, thank God, they may be), but are meant, however
unconsciously, to honour the Person he represents--just as the lifting
of the hat to a woman is not, of necessity, a mark of respect to the
individual woman, but a tribute to the Womanhood she represents.

The Parson, then, is, or should be, the official person, the standing
element in the parish, who reminds men of God.


The word is derived from the Greek _kleros_,[7] "a lot," and conveys
its own meaning.  According to some, it takes us back in thought to the
first Apostolic Ordination, when "they cast _lots_, and the _lot_ fell
upon Matthias".  It reminds us that, as Matthias "was numbered with the
eleven," so a "Clergyman" is, at his Ordination, numbered with that
long list of "Clergy" who trace their spiritual pedigree to Apostolic


_Ordination Safeguards._

"Seeing then," run the words of the Ordination Service, "into how high
a dignity, and how weighty an Office and Charge" a Priest is called,
certain safeguards surround his Ordination, both for his own sake, and
for the sake of his people.


No Deacon can, save under very exceptional circumstances, be ordained
Priest before he is 24, and has served at least a year in the Diaconate.


This fitness, as in Confirmation, will be intellectual and moral.  His
_intellectual_ fitness is tested by the Bishop's Examining Chaplain
some time before the Ordination to the Priesthood, and, in doubtful
cases, by the Bishop himself.

His _moral_ fitness is tested by the Publication during Service, in the
Church where he is Deacon, of his intention to offer himself as a
Candidate for the Priesthood.  To certify that this has been done, this
Publication must be signed by the Churchwarden, representing the {136}
laity, and by the Incumbent, representing the Clergy and responsible to
the Bishop.

Further safeguard is secured by letters of Testimony from three
Beneficed Clergy, who have known the Candidate well either for the past
three years, or during the term of his Diaconate.

Finally, at the very last moment, in the Ordination Service itself, the
Bishop invites the laity, if they know "any impediment or notable
crime" disqualifying the Candidate from being ordained Priest, to "come
forth in the Name of God, and show what the crime or impediment is".

Why all these safeguards?  For many obvious reasons, but specially for
one.  Priest's Orders are indelible.

_The Indelibility of Orders._

Once a Priest, always a Priest.  When once the Bishop has ordained a
Deacon to the Priesthood, there is no going back.  The law,
ecclesiastical or civil, may deprive him of the right to _exercise_ his
Office, but no power can deprive him of the Office itself.

For instance, to safeguard the Church, and for {137} the sake of the
laity, a Priest may, for various offences, be what is commonly called
"unfrocked".  He may be degraded, temporarily suspended, or permanently
forbidden to _officiate_ in any part of the Church; but he does not
cease to be a Priest.  Any Priestly act, rightly and duly performed,
would be valid, though irregular.  It would be for the people's good,
though it would be to his own hurt.

Again: by _The Clerical Disabilities Act_ of 1870, a Priest may, by the
law of the land, execute a "Deed of Relinquishment," and, as far as the
law is concerned, return to lay life.  This would enable him legally to
undertake lay work which the law forbids to the Clergy.[8]

He may, in consequence, regain his legal rights as a layman, and lose
his legal rights as a Priest; but he does not cease to be a Priest.
The law can only touch his civil status, and cannot touch his priestly
"character".  That is indelible.

Hence, no securities can be superfluous to safeguard the irrevocable.



As in the case of the Bishops, a Priest's jurisdiction is
twofold--_habitual_ and _actual_.  Ordination confers on him _habitual_
jurisdiction, i.e. the power to exercise his office, to Absolve, to
Consecrate, to Bless, in the "Holy Church throughout the world".  And,
as in the case of Bishops, for purposes of ecclesiastical order and
discipline, this Habitual Jurisdiction is limited to the sphere in
which the Bishop licenses him.  "Take thou authority," says the Bishop,
"to preach the word of God, and to minister the Sacraments _in the
congregation where thou shalt be lawfully appointed thereunto_."  This
is called _Actual_ Jurisdiction.

_The Essence of the Sacrament._

The absolutely essential part of Ordination is the Laying on of Hands
(1 Tim. iv. 14; Acts vi. 6; 2 Tim. i. 6).  Various other and beautiful
ceremonies have, at different times, and in different places,
accompanied the essential Rite.  Sometimes, and in some parts of the
Church, Unction, or anointing the Candidate with oil, has been used:
sometimes Ordination has been accompanied with the delivery of a Ring,
the Paten {139} and Chalice, the Bible, or the Gospels, the Pastoral
Staff (to a Bishop),--all edifying ceremonies, but not essentials.


A Deacon is a server.  The word comes from the Greek _diakonos_, a
servant, and exactly describes the Office.  Originally, a permanent
Order in the Church, the Diaconate is now, in the Church of England,
generally regarded as a step to the Priesthood.  This is a loss.  But
it is as this step, or preparatory stage, that we have to consider it.

Considering the importance of this first step in the Ministry, both to
the man himself, and to the people, it is well that the laity should
know what safeguards are taken by the Bishop to secure "fit persons to
serve in the sacred ministry of the Church"[9]--and should realize
their own great responsibility in the matter.  First, there is the age.

(1) _The Age._

No layman can be made a Deacon under 23.


(2) The Preliminaries.

The chief preliminary is the selection of the Candidate.  The burden of
selection is shared by the Bishop, Clergy and Laity.  The Bishop must,
of course, be the final judge of the Candidate's fitness, but _the
evidence upon which he bases his judgment_ must very largely be
supplied by the Laity.

We pray in the Ember Collect that he "may lay hands suddenly on no man,
but make choice of _fit persons_".  It is well that the Laity should
remember that they share with the Bishop and Clergy in the
responsibility of choice.

For this fitness will, as in the case of the Priest, be moral and

It will be _moral_--and it is here that the responsibility of the laity
begins.  For, in addition to private inquiries made by the Bishop, the
laity are publicly asked, in the church of the parish where the
Candidate resides, to bear testimony to the integrity of his character.
This publication is called the _Si quis_, from the Latin of the first
two words of publication ("if any..."), and it is repeated by the
Bishop in open church in the Ordination Service.  The {141} absence of
any legal objection by the laity is the testimony of the people to the
Candidate's fitness.  This throws upon the laity a full share of
responsibility in the choice of the Candidate.  Their responsibility in
giving evidence is only second to that of the Bishop, whose decision
rests upon the evidence they give.

Then, there is the testimony of the Clergy.  No layman is accepted by
the Bishop for Ordination without _Letters Testimonial_--i.e. the
testimony of three beneficed Clergymen, to whom he is well known.
These Clergy must certify that "we have had opportunity of observing
his conduct, and we do believe him, in our consciences, and as to his
moral conduct, a fit person to be admitted to the Sacred Ministry".
Each signature must be countersigned by the signatory's own Bishop, who
thus guarantees the Clergyman's moral fitness to certify.

Lastly, comes the Bishop himself, who, from first to last, is in close
touch with the Candidate, and who almost invariably helps to prepare
him personally in his own house during the week before his Ordination.

It will be _intellectual_.  In addition to University testimony,
evidence of the Candidate's {142} intellectual fitness is given to the
Bishop, as in the case of Priests, by his Examining Chaplains.  Some
months before the Ordination, the Candidate is examined, and the
Examiner's Report sent in to the Bishop.  The standard of intellectual
fitness has differed at various ages, in different parts of the Church,
and no one standard can be laid down.  Assuming that the average
proportion of people in a parish will be (on a generous calculation) as
twelve Jurymen to one Judge, the layman called to the Diaconate should,
at least, be equal in intellectual attainment to "the layman" called to
the Bar.

It does sometimes happen that evidence is given by Clergy, or laity,
which leads the Bishop to reject the Candidate on moral grounds.  It
does sometimes happen that the Candidate is rejected or postponed on
intellectual grounds.  It does, it must, sometimes happen that mistakes
are made: God alone is infallible.  But, if due care is taken, publicly
and privately, and if the laity, as well as the Clergy, do their duty,
the Bishop's risk of a wrong judgment is reduced to a very small

A "fit" Clergy is so much the concern of the laity, that they may well
be reminded of their {143} parts and duties in the Ordination of a
Deacon.  For, as Dr.  Liddon says, "the strength of the Church does not
consist in the number of pages in its 'Clerical Directory,' but in the
sum total of the moral and spiritual force which she has at her

[1] "The Threefold Ministry," writes Bishop Lightfoot, "can be traced
to Apostolic direction; and, short of an express statement, we can
possess no better assurance of a Divine appointment, or, at least, a
Divine Sanction."  And he adds, speaking of his hearty desire for union
with the Dissenters, "we cannot surrender for any immediate advantages
the threefold Ministry which we have inherited from Apostolic times,
and which is the historic backbone of the Church" ("Ep. to the
Philippians," p. 276, later ed.).

[2] The Welsh Bishops did not transmit Episcopacy to us, but rather
came into us.

[3] In a book called _Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum_, Bishop Stubbs has
traced the name, date of Consecration, names of Consecrators, and in
most cases place of Consecration, of every Bishop in the Church of
England from the Consecration of Augustine.

[4] The Bishops are one of the three Estates of the Realm--Lords
Spiritual, Lords Temporal, and Commons (not, as is so often said, King,
Lords, and Commons).  The Archbishop of Canterbury is the first Peer of
the Realm, and has precedency immediately after the blood royal.  The
Archbishop of York has precedency over all Dukes, not being of royal
blood, and over all the great officers of State, except the Lord
Chancellor.  He has the privilege of crowning the Queen Consort.

[5] Cf. "Encyclopedia of the Laws of England," vol. 11, p. 156; and 25
Hen. VIII, cap. 2, s. 6.

[6] 14 Car. II, c. 4, s. 10.  See Phillimore's "Ecclesiastical Law,"
vol. 1, p. 109.

[7] But see Skeat, whose references are to [Greek: klêros], "a lot," in
late Greek, and the Clergy whose portion is the Lord (Deut. xviii. 2, 1
Pet. v. 3, cf. Acts i. 17).  The [Greek: klêros] is thus the portion
rather than the circumstance by which it is obtained, i.e. Acts i. 17
rather than Acts i. 26.

[8] For example: farming more than a certain number of acres, or going
into Parliament.

[9] Ember Collect.





We deal now with the two last Sacraments under consideration--Penance
and Unction.  Both are Sacraments of healing.  Penance is for the
healing of the soul, and indirectly of the body: Unction is for the
healing of the body, and indirectly of the soul.

"Every Sacrament," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "has been instituted to
produce one special effect, although it may produce, as consequences,
other effects besides."  It is so with these two Sacraments.  Body and
Soul are so involved, that what directly affects the one must
indirectly affect the other.  Thus, the direct effect of Penance on the
soul must indirectly affect the body, and the direct effect of Unction
on the body must indirectly affect the soul.  We will think of each in
turn.  First, Penance.



The word is derived from the Latin _penitentia_, penitence, and its
root-meaning (_poena_, punishment) suggests a punitive element in all
real repentance.  It is used as a comprehensive term for confession of
sin, punishment for sin, and the Absolution, or Remission of Sins.  As
Baptism was designed to recover the soul from original or inherited
sin, so Penance was designed to recover the soul from actual or wilful
sin....[1]  It is not, as in the case of infant Baptism, administered
wholly irrespective of free will: it must be freely sought ("if he
humbly and heartily desire it"[2]) before it can be freely bestowed.
Thus, Confession must precede Absolution, and Penitence must precede
and accompany Confession.


Here we all start on common ground.  We all agree upon one point, viz.
the necessity of Confession (1) _to God_ ("If we confess our sins, He
is faithful and just to forgive us our sins") {146} and (2) _to man_
("Confess your faults one to another").  Further, we all agree that
confession to man is in reality confession to God ("Against Thee, _Thee
only_, have I sinned").  Our only ground of difference is, not
_whether_ we ought to confess, but _how_ we ought to confess.  It is a
difference of method rather than of principle.

There are two ways of confessing sins (whether to God, or to man), the
informal, and the formal.  Most of us use one way; some the other; many

_Informal Confession_.--Thank God, I can use this way at any, and at
every, moment of my life.  If I have sinned, I need wait for no formal
act of Confession; but, as I am, and where I am, I can make my
Confession.  Then, and there, I can claim the Divine response to the
soul's three-fold _Kyrie_: "Lord, have mercy upon me; Christ, have
mercy upon me; Lord, have mercy upon me".  But do I never want--does
God never want--anything more than this?  The soul is not always
satisfied with such an easy method of going to Confession.  It needs at
times something more impressive, something perhaps less superficial,
less easy going.  It demands more time for {147} deepening thought, and
greater knowledge of what it has done, before sin's deadly hurt cuts
deep enough to produce real repentance, and to prevent repetition.  At
such times, it cries for something more formal, more solemn, than
instantaneous confession.  It needs, what the Prayer Book calls, "a
special Confession of sins".

_Formal Confession_.--Hence our Prayer Book provides two formal Acts of
Confession, and suggests a third.  Two of these are for public use, the
third for private.

In Matins and Evensong, and in the Eucharistic Office, a form of
"_general_ confession" is provided.  Both forms are in the first person
plural throughout.  Clearly, their primary intention is, not to make us
merely think of, or confess, our own personal sins, but the sins of the
Church,--and our own sins, as members of the Church.  It is "we" have
sinned, rather than "I" have sinned.  Such formal language might,
otherwise, at times be distressingly unreal,--when, e.g., not honestly
feeling that the "burden" of our own personal sin "is intolerable," or
when making a public Confession in church directly after a personal
Confession in private.

In the Visitation of the Sick, the third mode of {148} formal
Confession is suggested, though the actual words are naturally left to
the individual penitent.  The Prayer Book no longer speaks in the
plural, or of "a _general_ Confession," but it closes, as it were, with
the soul, and gets into private, personal touch with it: "Here shall
the sick man be moved to make a _special_ Confession of his sins, if he
feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter; after which
Confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily
desire it) after this sort".  This Confession is to be both free and
formal: formal, for it is to be made before the Priest in his
"_ministerial_" capacity; free, for the penitent is to be "moved" (not
"compelled") to confess.  Notice, he _is_ to be moved; but then (though
not till then) he is free to accept, or reject, the preferred means of

God never handcuffs Sacraments and souls.  Sacraments are open to all;
they are forced on none.  They are love-tokens of the Sacred Heart;
free-will offerings of His Royal Bounty.

These, then, are the two methods of Confession at our disposal.  God is
"the Father of an infinite Majesty".  In _informal_ Confession, the
sinner goes to God as his _Father_,--as the Prodigal, after doing
penance in the far country, went {149} to his father with "_Father_, I
have sinned".  In _formal_ Confession, the sinner goes to God as to the
Father of an _infinite Majesty_,--as David went to God through Nathan,
God's ambassador.

It is a fearful responsibility to hinder any soul from using either
method; it is a daring risk to say: "Because one method alone appeals
to me, therefore no other method shall be used by you".  God multiplies
His methods, as He expands His love: and if any "David" is drawn to say
"I have sinned" before the appointed "Nathan," and, through prejudice
or ignorance, such an one is hindered from so laying his sins on Jesus,
God will require that soul at the hinderer's hands.


It is the same with Absolution as with Confession.  Here, too, we start
on common ground.  All agree that "_God only_ can forgive sins," and
half our differences come because this is not recognized.  Whatever
form Confession takes, the penitent exclaims: "_To Thee only it
appertaineth to forgive sins_".  Pardon through the Precious Blood is
the one, and only, source of {150} forgiveness.  Our only difference,
then, is as to God's _methods_ of forgiveness.  How does God forgive
sin?  Some seem to limit His love, to tie forgiveness down to one, and
only one, method of absolution--direct, personal, instantaneous,
without any ordained Channel such as Christ left.  Direct, God's pardon
certainly is; personal and instantaneous, it certainly can be; without
any sacramental _media_, it certainly may be.  But we dare not limit
what God has not limited; we dare not deny the existence of ordained
channels, because God can, and does, act without such channels.  He has
opened an ordained fountain for sin and uncleanness as a superadded
gift of love, and in the Ministry of reconciliation He conveys pardon
through this channel.

At the most solemn moment of his life, when a Deacon is ordained
Priest, the formal terms of his Commission to the Priesthood run thus:
"Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the
Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands.
Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou
dost retain, they are retained."  "_Now_ committed unto thee."  No
Priest dare hide his commission, play with {151} the plain meaning of
the words, or conceal from others a "means of grace" which they have a
blessed right to know of, and to use.

But what is the good of this Absolution, if God can forgive without it?
God's ordinances are never meaningless.  There must, therefore, be some
superadded grace attached to this particular ordinance.  It was left to
be used.  It is not left merely to comfort the penitent (though that it
does), nor to let him hear from a fellow-sinner that his sins are
forgiven him (though that he does); but it is left, like any other
Sacrament, as a special means of grace.  It is the ordained Channel
whereby God's pardon is conveyed to (and only to) the penitent sinner.
"No penitence, no pardon," is the law of Sacramental Absolution.

The Prayer Book, therefore, preaches the power of formal, as well as
informal, Absolution.  There are in it three forms of Absolution,
varying in words but the same in power.  The appropriating power of the
penitent may, and does, vary, according to the sincerity of his
confession: Absolution is in each case the same.  It is man's capacity
to receive it, not God's power in giving it, that varies.  Thus, all
three Absolutions in the {152} Prayer Book are of the same force,
though our appropriating capacity in receiving them may differ.  This
capacity will probably be less marked at Matins and Evensong than at
Holy Communion, and at Holy Communion than in private Confession,
because it will be less personal, less thorough.  The words of
Absolution seem to suggest this.  The first two forms are in the plural
("pardon and deliver _you_"), and are thrown, as it were, broadcast
over the Church: the third is special ("forgive _thee_ thine offences")
and is administered to the individual.  But the formal act is the same
in each case; and to stroll late into church, as if the Absolution in
Matins and Evensong does not matter, may be to incur a very distinct

When, and how often, formal "special Confession" is to be used, and
formal Absolution to be sought, is left to each soul to decide.  The
two special occasions which the Church of England emphasizes (without
limiting) are before receiving the Holy Communion, and when sick.

Before Communion, the Prayer Book counsels its use for any disquieted
conscience; and the {153} Rubric which directs intending Communicants
to send in their names to the Parish Priest the day before making their
Communion, still bears witness to its framers' intention--that known
sinners might not be communicated without first being brought to a
state of repentance.

The sick, also, after being directed to make their wills,[3] and
arrange their temporal affairs, are further urged to examine their
spiritual state; to make a special confession; and to obtain the
special grace, in the special way provided for them.  And, adds the
Rubric, "men should often be put in remembrance to take order for the
settling of their temporal estates, while they are in health"--and if
of the temporal, how much more of their spiritual estate.


But, say some, is not all this very weakening to the soul?  They are,
probably, mixing up two things,--the Divine Sacrament of forgiveness
which (rightly used) must be strengthening, and the human appeal for
direction which (wrongly used) may be weakening.


But "direction" is not necessarily part of Penance.  The Prayer Book
lays great stress upon it, and calls it "ghostly counsel and advice,"
but it is neither Confession nor Absolution.  It has its own place in
the Prayer Book;[4] but it has not, necessarily, anything whatever to
do with the administration of the Sacrament.  Direction may, or may
not, be good for the soul.  It largely depends upon the character of
the penitent, and the wisdom of the Director.  It is quite possible for
the priest to over-direct, and it is fatally possible for the penitent
to think more of direction than of Absolution.  It is quite possible to
obscure the Sacramental side of Penance with a human craving for
"ghostly counsel and advice".  Satan would not be Satan if it were not
so.  But this "ghostly," or spiritual, "counsel and advice" has saved
many a lad, and many a man, from many a fall; and when rightly sought,
and wisely given is, as the Prayer Book teaches, a most helpful adjunct
to Absolution.  Only, it is not, necessarily, a part of "going to



The abuse of the Sacrament is another, and not unnatural objection to
its use; and it often gets mixed up with Mediaeval teaching about

An _Indulgence_ is exactly what the word suggests--the act of
indulging, or granting a favour.  In Roman theology, an Indulgence is
the remission of temporal punishment due to sin after Absolution.  It
is either "plenary," i.e. when the whole punishment is remitted, or
"partial," when some of it is remitted.  At corrupt periods of Church
history, these Indulgences have been bought for money,[5] thus making
one law for the rich, and another for the poor.  Very naturally, the
scandals connected with such buying and selling raised suspicions
against the Sacrament with which Indulgences were associated.[6]  But
Indulgences have nothing in the world to do with the right use of the
lesser Sacrament of Penance.



The promise of Amendment is an essential part of Penance.  It is a
necessary element in all true contrition.  Thus, the penitent promises
"true amendment" before he receives Absolution.  If he allowed a priest
to give him Absolution without firmly purposing to amend, he would not
only invalidate the Absolution, but would commit an additional sin.
The promise to amend may, like any other promise, be made and broken;
but the deliberate purpose must be there.

No better description of true repentance can be found than in
Tennyson's "Guinevere":--

  _For what is true repentance but in thought--_
  _Not ev'n in inmost thought to think again_
  _The sins that made the past so pleasant to us._

Such has been the teaching of the Catholic Church always, everywhere,
and at all times: such is the teaching of the Church of England, as
part of that Church, and as authoritatively laid down in the Book of
Common Prayer.

God alone can forgive sins.  Absolution is the conveyance of God's
pardon to the penitent sinner by God's ordained Minister, through the
ordained Ministry of Reconciliation.


  Lamb of God, the world's transgression
    Thou alone canst take away;
  Hear! oh! hear our heart's confession,
    And Thy pardoning grace convey.
  Thine availing intercession
    We but echo when we pray.

[1] Cf. Rubric in the Baptismal Office.

[2] Rubric in the Order for the Visitation of the Sick.

[3] Rubric in the Order for the Visitation of the Sick.

[4] See the First Exhortation in the Order of the Administration of the
Holy Communion.

[5] St. Peter's at Rome was largely built out of funds gained by the
sale of indulgences.

[6] The Council of Trent orders that Indulgences must be granted by
Pope and Prelate _gratis_.




The second Sacrament of Recovery is _Unction_, or, in more familiar
language, "the Anointing of the Sick".  It is called by Origen "the
complement of Penance".

The meaning of the Sacrament is found in St. James v. 14-17.  "Is any
sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the
prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;
and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

Here the Bible states that the "Prayer of Faith" with Unction is more
effective than the "Prayer of Faith" without Unction.  What can it do?

It can do two things.  It can (1) recover the body, and (2) restore the
soul.  Its primary {159} object seems to be to recover the body; but it
also, according to the teaching of St. James, restores the soul.
First, he says, Anointing with the Prayer of Faith heals the body; and
then, because of the inseparable union between body and soul, it
cleanses the soul.

Thus, as the object of Penance is primarily to heal the soul, and
indirectly to heal the body; so the object of Unction is primarily to
heal the body, and indirectly to heal the soul.

The story of Unction may be summarized very shortly.  It was instituted
in Apostolic days, when the Apostles "anointed with oil many that were
sick and healed them" (St. Mark vi. 13).  It was continued in the Early
Church, and perpetuated during the Middle Ages, when its use (by a
"_corrupt_[1] following of the Apostles") was practically limited to
the preparation of the dying instead of (by a _correct_ "following of
the Apostles") being used for the recovery of the living.  In our 1549
Prayer Book an authorized Office was appointed for its use, but this,
lest it should be misused, was omitted in 1552.  And although, as
Bishop Forbes says, "everything of that earlier Liturgy was praised by
those who {160} removed it," it has not yet been restored.  It is "one
of the lost Pleiads" of our present Prayer Book.  But, as Bishop Forbes
adds, "there is nothing to hinder the revival of the Apostolic and
Scriptural Custom of Anointing the Sick whenever any devout person
desires it".[2]

_Extreme Unction._

An unhistoric use of the name partly explains the unhistoric use of the
Sacrament.  _Extreme_, or last (_extrema_) Unction has been taken to
mean the anointing of the sick when _in extremis_.  This, as we have
seen, is a "corrupt," and not a correct, "following of the Apostles".
The phrase _Extreme_ Unction means the extreme, or last, of a series of
ritual Unctions, or anointings, once used in the Church.  The first
Unction was in Holy Baptism, when the Baptized were anointed with Holy
Oil: then came the anointing in Confirmation: then in Ordination; and,
last of all, the anointing of the sick.  Of this last anointing, it is
written: "All Christian men should account, and repute the said manner
of anointing among the other Sacraments, forasmuch as it is a visible
sign of an invisible grace".[3]


_Its Administration._

It must be administered under the Scriptural conditions laid down in
St. James v. 14-16.  The first condition refers to:--

(1) _The Minister_.--The Minister is _the Church_, in her corporate
capacity.  Scripture says to the sick: "Let him call for the Elders,"
or Presbyters, "of the Church".  The word is in the plural; it is to be
the united act of the whole Church.  And, further, there must be
nothing secret about it, as if it were either a charm, or something to
be ashamed of, or apologized for.  It may have to be done in a private
house, but it is to be done by no private person.[4]  "Let him call for
the elders."

(2) _The Manner_.--The Elders are to administer Sacrament not in their
own name (any more than the Priest gives Absolution in his own name),
but "in the Name of the Lord".

(3) _The Method_.--The sick man is to be anointed (either on the
afflicted part, or in other ways), _with prayer_: "Let them pray over
him".  Prayer is essential.


(4) _The Matter_.--Oil--"anointing him with oil".  As in Baptism,
sanctified water is the ordained matter by which "Jesus Christ
cleanseth us from all sin"; so in Unction, consecrated oil is the
ordained matter used by the Holy Ghost to cleanse us from all
sickness--bodily, and (adds St. James) spiritual.  "And if he have
committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

For this latter purpose, there are two Scriptural requirements:
_Confession_ and _Intercession_.  For it follows: "Confess your faults
one to another, and pray for one another that ye may be healed".  Thus
it is with Unction as with other Sacraments; with the "last" as with
the first--special grace is attached to special means.  The Bible says
that, under certain conditions, oil and prayer together will effect
more than either oil or prayer apart; that oil without prayer cannot,
and prayer without oil will not, win the special grace of healing
guaranteed to the use of oil and prayer together.

In our days, the use of anointing with prayer is (in alliance with, and
in addition to, Medical Science) being more fully recognized.  "The
Prayer of Faith" is coming into its own, and is being placed once more
in proper position in the {163} sphere of healing; _anointing_ is being
more and more used "according to the Scriptures".  Both are being used
together in a simple belief in revealed truth.  It often happens that
"the elders of the Church" are sent for by the sick; a simple service
is used; the sick man is anointed; the united "Prayer of Faith" (it
_must_ be "of Faith") is offered; and, if it be good for his spiritual
health, the sick man is "made whole of whatsoever disease he had".

God give us in this, as in every other Sacrament, a braver, quieter,
more loving faith in His promises.  The need still exists: the grace is
still to be had.

  _If our love were but more simple,_
    _We should take Him at His word;_
  _And our lives would be all sunshine_
    _In the sweetness of our Lord._

[1] Article XXV.

[2] "Forbes on the Articles" (xxv.).

[3] "Institution of a Christian Man."

[4] In the Greek Church, seven, or at least three, Priests must be




  Absolution, 149.
  Adoption, 76.
  Affusion, 65.
  Altar, 86.
  Amendment, 156.
  Anointing, 104, 158.
  Aspersion, 65.
  Augustine, St., 3, 12, 13, 49.


  Baptism, Sacrament of, 63.
    Forms of administration, 65.
    Ministry of, 65.
  Bible, the, names of, 26.
    Inspiration of, 34.
    Interpretation of, 23.
    MSS., 27.
    Versions, 32.
  Bishops, 124.
    Their Confirmation, 127.
      "   Consecration, 127.
      "   Election, 126.
      "   Homage, 128.
      "   Nomination, 126.
  Books, the Church's, 21
  Breviary, 44.
  Bright, Dr., 8.


  Chrism, 67.
  Christian name, 73.
  Church, the, names of--
    Catholic, 2.
    Church of England, 12.
    Established, 7.
    National, 4.
    Primitive, 17,
    Protestant, 18.
    Reformed, 14.
  Clergymen, 134.
  Communion, Holy, 82.
  Confession, 145.
  Confirmation, 94.
    Age, 101.
    Essentials, 103.
    Names of, 104.
    New name at, 73.
    Sacrament of completion, 93.
  Consecration, 83, 91.
  Consignation, 68.
  Consubstantiation, 84.
    Criticism, 36.
    Higher, 36.
    Historical, 36.
    Lower, 36.


  Deacons, ordination of, 139.
    Age of, 139.
    Laity and responsibility, 140.
    Preparation of, 140.
  Direction, 153.
  Discipline, 54.
  Dissenters and Confirmation, 99.


  Election, 78.
  Endowments, 11.
  Established Church, 7.
  Eucharist, 81.
  Extreme Unction, 160.


  Faith and Prayer with oil, 162.


  God-parents, 65.
  Gospels, the, 44.
  Gradual, the, 44.


  Holy Orders, 123.
  Homage of Bishops, 128.


  Illingworth, Dr., 61.
  Immersion, 65, 67.
  Indulgences, 155.
  Inspiration, 34.
  Interpretation of Scripture, 33.


  Jurisdiction, 129.


  Kings and Bishops, 126, 128.


  Laity responsible for ordination of deacons, 140.
  Lesser Sacraments, 92.
  Liddon, Dr., 143.
  Lightfoot, Bishop, 124.
  Liturgy, 81.


  Manual, the, 44.
  Manuscripts of the Bible, 26.
  Marriage, 106.
    A Sacrament, 107, 110.
    Affinity, 116.
    Age, 117.
    By banns, 118.
    By licence, 119.
    Consanguinity, 116.
    Deceased wife's sister, 117.
    Divorce, 108.
    False names, 121.
    In registry office, 110.
    Who for, 107, 113, 116.
  Mass, 81.
  Matter, 61.
  Minister, 132.
  Missal, the, 43.


  Name, Christian, 73.
  Nonconformists and Holy Communion, 99.


  Oil, Holy, 159.
  Orders, Holy, 123.
    Bishops, 124.
    Deacons, 139.
    Indelibility of, 136.
    Priests, 130.


  Parson, 133.
  Penance, 145.
  Perpetuation, Sacraments of, 93.
  Pontifical, the, 43.
  Prayer Book, 40.
    Its contents, 50.
     "  preface, 47.
     "  title, 42.
  Priesthood, 130.
  Primitive Church, 7.
  Protestant Church, 18.


  Reconciliation, ministry of, 145.
  Recovery, Sacrament of, 93, 145.
  Reformed Church, 14.
  Regeneration, 75.
  Revelation, 37.


  Sacraments, 58.
    Their names, 62.
      "   nature, 60.
      "   number, 59.
    The Blessed Sacrament, 81.
    The lesser, 92.
  Sacrifice, 82, 87.
  Sanday, Dr., 35.
  Scriptures, the, 26.
  Sects, 9.
  Spiritualities and Temporalities, 128.
  Sponsors, 65.
  Stubbs, Bishop, 8, 10.
  Supper, the Lord's, 82.


  Table, the Holy, 88.
  Threefold Ministry, 124.
  Transubstantiation, 83, 84.
  Trine immersion, 67.


  Unction, Extreme, 160.
  Unction, Holy, 159.


  Word of God, 31.


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